Half full

On their way home from Hawk Mountain, the Cranky Friend reports that he and a pal stopped in at the Turkey Hill on Route 10 in Parkesburg with a hankering for Frozen Cokes. The abstemious CF selected the second-from-smallest size, but his pal poured himself a 32-ounce Big Chiller.

Alas, despite the size differential, the CFs drink cost $1.79 while his friends cost only 69 cents because it was on special!

The CF ruefully told the clerk that he supposed that made his drink all the more valuable.

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Yes, she agreed. So youll enjoy it more.

Auditions

I just spotted this on the Kennett Amateur Theatrical Societys Facebook page. Auditions for the groups 2014 pantomime, A Midsummer Nights Tail, will be held at the Kennett Y on Wednesday, September 11, 7 to 9 pm; Saturday, September 14, 9 am to noon; and Sunday, September 15, 2 to 4 pm. Email katskennett@gmail.com to reserve your audition time.

Newlin dispute

East Marlborough has its Whitewing Farm controversy. West Marlborough has its Whip dispute. And now Newlin -- after settling the affair of the Stargazer stone -- has a new problem that is pitting neighbors against neighbors.

A horse farm on bucolic Hilltop View Road recently changed hands, and the neighbors claim the new owners are operating a commercial equestrian business instead of a private farm and are bringing additional traffic to their quiet one-lane road, only the southern part of which is paved.

Theyve asked the township supervisors to enforce the ordinance and restrict the commercial use of the farm unless the owners apply for permission from the township. The township supervisors, however, are saying that if they strictly enforce the ordinance, theyd have to shut down many such equestrian operations in the rural township; they also say that the use has not changed significantly enough from the prior one to warrant a township hearing.

As a result, the township is considering adopting a new ordinance regulating horse farms. Doubtless it will be a main topic of discussion at the monthly township meeting, at 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 9, at the Lenfest Center.

Tempers have started flaring, and there is already talk of lawsuits and accusations of conflicts of interest and back-room deals. Im told that even West Marlborough officials attended a recent township meeting, realizing that this issue could certainly be relevant to our heavily equestrian township as well.

Yard art

The big straw bunny that used to sit at Schoolhouse Road and Route 926 has been replaced by an interesting sculpture that looks like a spray of cut-apart bedframes, gilded ice-hockey sticks and long-handled branch cutters, linked by springs. Theyd be right at home in the Game of Thrones armory.

Feedback

A few weeks ago I wrote about the Young Relatives week with his Boy Scout troop at Camp Horseshoe, and how much he liked the camp food. The camps Food Service Director saw the item and was kind enough to write, I am glad your Young Relative enjoyed our surprisingly good food and hope he will be back next summer to enjoy it again.

Hunt Cup

The invitation for the 79th running of the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup just landed in my mailbox. I have a few friends involved with organizing this event, so Ive been hearing about just how cool the invite is this year. They werent kidding: among the other wonderful photos by Jim Graham, theres a striking panoramic view of the scenic West Marlborough course near London Grove Village.

Now, of course, the big question on everyones mind is: Whats the weather going to be like on Sunday, Nov. 3? Could it possibly be any colder than it was last year, when we sent one member of the party home to bring back extra socks for all? I had to laugh at the line on the invitation, Dress is country casual. Last year, at least, dress consisted of however many layers you could wrap around yourself.

Website is www.pahuntcup.org

Archies

Word had been filtering back to me that I really needed to visit this one local restaurant spot ... so at noon today I stopped in at Archies, on Newark Road here in West Marlborough Township, just south of the London Grove crossroads. I had a terrific egg-salad sandwich, with a bottle of milk from Bailys Dairy, and enjoyed a bracing discussion about local politics with the second-generation owner, Ron Harris, who has lived in West Marlborough for 64 years and seems to know everyone. His parents opened the store some 70 years ago, and he keeps the place low-key, with a simple unlighted sign, a few tables and absolutely no desire to expand.

Ron said his customers include not only local residents but also golfers from Loch Nairn and commuters on their way to work.

If youre after a tasty breakfast or lunch, a well-reasoned opinion on a local controversy or some interesting tidbits of local history, I suggest you stop in. Deli/Fuel/Conversation, reads his business card.

On the vine (PIX)

An interesting essay was recently floating around the Internet about how August has become the new September, with summer vacations ending earlier and the school year starting earlier. Apparently my Burpee Jack OLantern pumpkins believe that, too, as a few of them are fully grown and bright orange -- and its only the end of August. How will they possibly last until Halloween? Fortunately, though, I do have some that are just starting to grow.

Itll cost you

The Unionville Community Fair board has reluctantly decided to impose a parking fee of $5.00 a day.

Parking is a key component to the fair running safely and smoothly and we are now finding ourselves needing to pay for someone to oversee the function, one Fair board member told me in an email. We are always in need of volunteers; gets harder and harder for such a large event.

The Fair dates this year are Oct. 4, 5, and 6, with the third annual Willowdale Pro Rodeo on Saturday, Oct. 5.

The Fairs website is ucfairinc.com.

Arachnids (PIX)

Im not sure what an abundance of spiders signifies for the upcoming winter, but I have never seen so many spider webs, both outside and inside. And they seem to materialize in no time: I have to clean the corners of the windows, and the windowsills, daily. There are webs where Ive never seen them, even between items that are moved and used frequently: say, inside the kibble bag, and between the faucet and the dish drainer.

Outside Ive seen oversized webs hanging down from telephone wires: how are they anchored?

And I spotted these pretty webs near Doe Run at sunup one recent misty day.

Save the date

A Tilda reader having breakfast at Fran Kellers on West State Street reports that Kathi Lafferty, chair of the upcoming Mushroom Festival (Sept. 7 and 8), brought over some Mushroom Fest placemats with the logo and schedule. He says, All agreed: very sharp! I saw them on the outside tables in front of La Verona, too.

Im sure you will be able to read lots more about the wildly popular Fest elsewhere in the Paper.

Emerald ash borers

Perhaps you remember, in the summer of 2011, the purple kite-like contraptions that youd see hanging from trees around here. They were traps for the emerald ash borer, a destructive insect that back then was moving east across Pennsylvania. The sticky traps, which were purple because the insect likes the color, were installed to enable wildlife officials to keep track of its spread.

Just this week I read an update in the Wall Street Journal on the ash borer. The creature has been found in 21 states since it was first detected near Detroit in 2002. It is believed to have entered the country from its native China by means of packing materials. It has infested tens of millions of ash trees.

Scientists have learned that red-bellied woodpeckers, white-breasted nuthatches and parasitic wasps can help slow the pests devastation, although some predict that dead ash trees will be an all-too-common sight throughout the eastern United States over the next few decades.

Flip-flop

Its the yearly flip-flop between the Kennett and Jennersville YMCAs: the Kennett Y was closed for a week of maintenance starting Aug. 18, and the Jennersville Ys shutdown week starts Aug. 25. Members can use the other Y while their home Y is closed.

I go to both Ys but more often to the Jennersville one; during Kennetts shutdown week Ive been seeing lots of unfamiliar vehicles in the Jennersville parking lot, and several lost-looking people searching for the locker room and aerobics rooms. The new gym floor at Jennersville looks very nice -- and Im impressed with how quickly it was installed.

I used to be ticked off that the Y would close for a week, but now I see it as a chance to try something new at the other Y.