A Preserved Farm … and a Park

Springton Manor Farm is a county park located in Glenmoore, Chester County. Within the farm’s historic landscape of fenced fields, stone walls and misty morning vistas is a preserved patchwork of colonial plantation, Industrial Revolution era scientific farm, Victorian tenant farm, and gentleman’s country estate. The Manor House and Carriage House overlook 300 acres of centuries-old sugar maples, open pastures and stately Penn Oaks, which grace the lower pond. The Manor House is not open to the general public.

Initially part of a William Penn Manor, Springton Manor has been in agricultural use since the early 1700’s. On this demonstration farm, you can meet the animals and learn about Chester County’s farming history. The barn complex consists of the Great Barn, sheep shed, goat shed, a roost and equipment shed. You may see horses, donkeys, rabbits, calves, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens and peacocks. The Family Farm Museum, located within the Great Barn, contains seasonal tools and apparatus used on Chester County farms from the 1700’s to the 1900’s.

The Manor House
A view to the Great Barn
Additional buildings near the Great Barn
Interesting structure. Not sure what it is …
Can you see the house finch? They were nesting in crevices in the stone walls.
Another building with a star …

A Unique Ecosystem

Nestled in southwest Chester County near the Maryland line are several patches of a unique ecosystem called serpentine barrens. One example is found at Nottingham County Park. Dedicated in September 1963, Nottingham Park was the first Chester County park. The 731-acre park sits atop an outcropping of serpentine stone greater than one square mile in size – one of the largest serpentine barrens on the East Coast. It features former feldspar and serpentine quarries, and numerous former chromite ore mines. The National Park Service recognized Nottingham Park as a National Natural Landmark in 2008.

Nottingham Park offers nine pavilions, an 18-station fitness trail, and three modern, handicapped accessible playgrounds. To experience the serpentine barrens, one must wander around some of the trails in the park.

Serpentine, a geological outcrop of rare, light-green rock found only in three small geographic areas in all of North America, has soil so low in essential nutrients and so high in some metals that most ordinary plants will not grow. The barrens have their own community of plants, some of them globally-rare, with practically no species in common with the surrounding forests and fields. Typically, serpentine barrens contain scrub oak, pine, cedar and unique wildflowers. Some areas dominated by grasses are known as true prairies. Some areas with scattered trees are known as a savannah, which can survive and prosper with occasional fires.

Here are some views looking towards the serpentine barrens.
Adorable mini covered bridge next to a pond.

Some Horses and a Vulture Convention

A trip tp eastern Lancaster County provided a look at the following scenes:

A group of vultures found something dead and furry by the side of the road. There was one black vulture and several turkey vultures.

Who’s the other guy?
When I circled back around, the turkey vultures had decided to show off the interloper. More vultures were in the air.

There were also plenty of horses enjoying their Sunday off. I think almost everyone likes horses.

A peaceful browse.
Now I don’t know know what this one is trying to say, but he doesn’t seem happy with me.
Some more horses off in the distance.
A bonus shot of an Amish buggy.

A Drive Around Hibernia County Park and Chambers Lake

A trip to Chambers Lake looking for some Trumpeter Swans didn’t yield any birds, but an assemblage of photographs (as usual). I did get to see some sections of Hibernia County Park that I don’t normally get a chance to visit.

A nice father and son scene at the Lake but no swans.
The back of the barn near the mansion.
A view from the Lake Campground out onto Chambers Lake.
A great stand of oaks in the Lake Campground.
Some interesting fallen branches with last Autumn’s leaves near Fiddlers Campground.

The Goshenville Wetlands

Adjacent to the Goshenville Blacksmith Shop is the Goshenville Wetlands, a nice place for a short walk and a dog friendly area. It is located in East Goshen Township, which lies in northeastern Chester County. Here are some early Spring photos of the wetlands and the nearby historic structures.

The first thing you notice from the parking area is the honey bee project. The Bees by the Blacksmith Shop is a public-private partnership that brought honey producing hives to this open space. The Watermark at Bellingham Senior Living sponsored the hives, and Carmen B’s Honey, a Township-based small business, manages and maintain the bees. The Watermark will introduce apiary education to its residents and begin using the honey in its recipes and cooking classes. The Township was also set to begin a youth apiary program. In 2022, a kids program complete with youth-sized beekeeper outfits so they can safely get close and see the inner workings of the hives will be started.

The walk provides open views over the wetland with a dry walkway and elevated platforms and walks over potentially damp areas. There is a nice view of Ridley Creek which runs along side the property.

The historic structures are adjacent to this area and are connected via the walking path. The Goshenville Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. The Blacksmith Shop was built in 1840 and is open to the public two days a week from April through October. An image of the shop is a symbol of East Goshen Township.

The Milton/Hickman Plank House in the foreground and the Blacksmith Shop beyond.
The front of the Blacksmith Shop …
and the back.

Lancaster County Whimsy

I think this photo an extra large figure of an Amish farmer speaks for itself. It can be found at the Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn in Ronks. This place is one of my favorite smorgasbord restaurants and one of the few open on Sunday.

Spring Has Sprung

My recently untimely absence has been due to a short vacation and an adjustment to a new job situation. After a fairly mild winter, Spring is making an appearance here in eastern Chester County.

Forsythia are some of the earliest flowering shrubs and are great in flower arrangements.
I think almost everyone loves daffodils.
Because you can’t have too many.
The lovely magnolia.
I believe this is also a magnolia variety.
Early azaleas at Jenkins Arboretum.
Winter is still hanging on at Jenkins …

A Northern Visitor

The presence of a snowy owl in the area causes great excitement. Even the local news take notice. A bird in eastern Lancaster County recently created the expected onslaught of birders. I set out one Saturday to have a look as well. Note to self: don’t go looking for an owl without your “good” camera.

The bird was close to the road but not in front of the most photogenic backdrop. The online consensus is that it is a “she,” but I’m not sure how you tell juveniles from females.

On a porch roof.
Grainy close up courtesy of phone camera.
Is the bird thinking “There are so many, but are they edible?”
One of the benefits of an owl on your porch roof is that everyone can see your laundry drying.
The farm across the road.
The area is full of lovely farms.
The hay obsession continues. This is quite a pile.
Horses had clearly been using this hitching post at Hayloft Ice Cream.
The Willows Covered Bridge along busy Route 30. Probably one of the saddest covered bridges in the state.

Happy Holidays

I will be taking a break for a couple weeks to celebrate Christmas and my birthday. Here is a look back at some Christmas pasts.

I think this says it all.
This neighbor is really in the Christmas spirit.
The Nativity at a local church.
My town makes a great collective effort with the Christmas lights.