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Donegal Students Assist With Trout Stocking March 16, 2018

Stocking streams with trout in time for fishing season is a community endeavor in Lancaster County, with volunteers, neighbors, and even local students pitching in to help. On March 9, students from the emotional support class at Donegal Intermediate School had the opportunity to assist with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's (PFBC) trout stocking event, which helps to supplement the fish population living in the waterways before opening day on Saturday, March 31.

PFBC Officer Jeffrey Schmidt conducted an interactive presentation in the students' classroom on Feb. 23 in order to prepare them for the task. Schmidt explained the stocking process, which entails using buckets provided by the PFBC to transfer fish from the truck to the waterways. Making sure that the buckets do not come in contact with the receiving water is important, Schmidt said, as to prevent cross-contamination between the water in the creeks and the stocking truck. As with every education program Schmidt presents, he also spoke on boating safety, emphasizing the importance of wearing a personal floatation device/life jacket.

"I have three primary objectives for the student teams," Schmidt said. "Safety first, learn something new in engaging in the outdoors, and take away an earned self-reward in your efforts and accomplishments."

On stocking day, the Donegal students were guided by IU 13 job trainer Becky Surra, who coordinates the students' involvement with PFBC. "This (was) their first time helping, and they (were) really excited," said Surra.

The school van closely followed the PFBC stock truck, with a caravan of vehicles driven by community volunteers behind them as they journeyed from Conoy Township Park to various stops along the Conoy Creek, Donegal Springs Creek, and Chiques Creek.

"The student stocking volunteers are a valued hands-on asset in accomplishing the work to stock trout waters in advance of both the opening day, as well as throughout the spring trout season," Schmidt noted.

Individuals interested in helping with the stocking efforts are welcome to participate on any of the upcoming dates scheduled for northern Lancaster County. The final preseason stock is set to begin at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, March 23, at the PPL Service Center, 651 Delp Road, Lancaster, for the Little Conestoga Creek and Swarr Run. An in-season stocking event is planned for Tuesday, April 24, at Conoy Township Park, located along Route 441 in Bainbridge. Additional dates and details are available at the PFBC's website,

Once the season commences, fishing licenses are required for anyone age 16 and older. In addition, trout anglers age 16 and older must possess a trout/salmon permit to fish for trout. Licenses may be purchased any time either through the Fish and Boat Commission's website or at local issuing agents, including Kinsey's Outdoors, 1660 Steel Way Drive, Mount Joy; Kmart, 1605 S. Market St., Elizabethtown; and Longenecker's Hardware, 127 Doe Run Road, Manheim.

PFBC will host Mentored Youth Trout Days on Saturdays, March 24 and April 7, from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. On both days, youths age 15 and younger may join an adult angler who has a current fishing license and trout permit to fish stocked trout waters.


Sunrise Service To Feature African Children's Choir March 15, 2018

The African Children's Choir will perform during the annual Easter sunrise service that will be held at Black Rock Retreat, 1345 Kirkwood Pike, Quarryville, on Sunday, April 1. The program will begin at 6:15 a.m. and will take place on the ballfield directly below the crosses. Guests are welcome to bring blankets or lawn chairs to sit on. Some benches will be provided, but they will be limited.

According to, the African Children's Choir is a program of Music for Life, a Christian organization that strives to provide education, discipleship, and leadership skills to children throughout Africa. The members of the choir range in age from 7 to 10, and they sing a blend of traditional and contemporary music. Many of the performers have lost one or both parents through the devastation of war, famine, and disease.

A continental breakfast will be provided after the program. The refreshments will be served free of charge in the Maranatha Retreat Center.

Registration is not required to attend the event. If guests would like to spend the night before the service in the Maranatha Retreat Center, discounted rates are available. Folks may call guest services at 717-529-3389 to learn more.


From Natural To Legal, Symposium Will Cover Array Of Topics March 15, 2018

"We want to support residents who want to support nature," said Holly List, a Lancaster County Master Gardener and chair of the committee that has organized the 26th annual Shirley R. Wagner Garden Symposium. The event will be held on Saturday, April 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Farm and Home Center, 1383 Arcadia Road, Lancaster. "We try to have a diversity of topics and speakers," she said, adding that feedback from symposium attendees influences the next event.

This year's event will feature wildlife author Jim McCormac, landscape designer and garden coach Sharee Solow, author Ruth Rogers Clausen, and attorney Rachel P. Roat.

McCormac is an avid photographer and a retiree of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. He has published several books and writes a nature column for a Columbus newspaper. McCormac is so in demand that the symposium committee booked him three years ago to speak at the 2018 event.

McCormac's presentation will focus on native plants that benefit wildlife.

"Native plants are not only attractive but beneficial. (We want the public to know) what (native plants) offer to the bees, bugs, and other insects," remarked committee member Lorri Schmick.

Committee member Dyan Eisenberger related that she became interested in gardening after she attended a symposium with her sister eight years ago. At that event, Eisenberger picked up information about pollinator gardens, and she began to build her own. Since then, Eisenberger has become a Master Gardener and achieved national certification for her pollinator garden. She is currently working on creating a monarch butterfly waystation.

"There are all sorts of things that egg you on (in relation to gardening," Eisenberger commented. "The symposium is one of them."

Solow has degrees in theater, marketing, landscape architecture, and horticulture, and she draws on all of them in her business of designing digital landscape plans for a variety of environments. She is on the advisory board of Temple University Ambler Arboretum. Solow will talk about landscape paths and how they can be used to draw people in and around gardens.

Clausen was trained as a horticulturist in England, but she has lived in the United States for many years. She is currently on the board for the Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek. Clausen will talk about old-fashioned herbs that are essential for modern gardens.

Typically, most of the presentations at previous symposiums have focused on a specific type of gardening or plant; however, Roat will take a broader focus. After representing low-income clients in consumer-related litigation for 25 years, Roat became a Master Gardener in 2005 and switched her practice to tree, neighbor, and garden law. Now she deals with uncertain boundaries, hazard trees, flooding, wildlife, pets, view obstruction, and other issues that homeowners and horticulture professionals encounter. "She's supposed to be quite humorous and entertaining," Schmick remarked.

More than 50 Master Gardeners have helped to plan and produce the symposium. Several of the volunteers will staff the event's "Ask a Master Gardener" booths, where attendees will be able to ask questions on a variety of topics, including vegetables, butterfly gardens, turf and weeds, native plants, and trees and shrubs.

The doors for the event will open at 7:30 a.m., and attendees may enjoy a continental breakfast and shop garden-related vendors after they check in. Lunch will be provided, and both meals will be included in the registration fee. Every attendee will also receive a welcome bag and a door prize.

For more information or to register, readers may visit or call 877-345-0691.


Vintage Baseball Team Seeks Players, Spectators March 14, 2018

"It's historical re-enactment combined with competitive baseball," said team member Rick Stratton when describing the Brandywine Base Ball Club of West Chester, which is currently seeking players for its upcoming season. The team, which formed in 2013, portrays the game of "base ball" as it was played (and spelled) in 1864 by competing with other vintage clubs in the Mid Atlantic Vintage Base Ball League.

According to Stratton, teams follow the rules and customs established in 1864 by dressing in historically similar attire and using period-appropriate equipment, including handmade wooden bats and hand-stitched balls made exclusively for vintage play.

Unlike modern baseball, players do not wear gloves in the field. "(The ball is) slightly bigger than a modern baseball and a little bit softer. It is stitched differently," said Stratton. "A modern baseball uses a figure eight stitching. Vintage baseballs use a lemon peel stitch. The round ball is covered by one piece of leather stitched at four quarters. There is a gentleman in New York who makes them by hand, and most of the clubs order them from him."

In addition, only one baseball is used during the entire game. "During the game, you start with a brand-new ball and you use that ball until the end of the game. At the end of the game, the winning club gets to keep it," Stratton explained. "A concerted effort is made to not lose (the ball during the game). Unless it deformed or the seams are busted open, we use the same ball."

The games have one umpire, and all pitching is underhand. Team members do wear cleats, but all modern-day logos are covered with black tape.

The current club consists of individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Some have no prior experience playing competitive baseball, while others have college-level experience. Men and women 18 years or older are invited to participate as players.

"The barehandedness and old-school rules are a great equalizer," Stratton stated. "It kind of puts everyone on the same playing field, regardless of ability."

Home matches are played at East Goshen Park, and games are free to attend by spectators. "We play on an open expanse of grass," said Stratton. "There are canvas bags or sacks for bases. We fill ours with rubber chips. Traditionally they filled them with sawdust."

He noted that old-fashioned baseball also has its own lingo. "Players are called ballists; the batter is called the striker," Stratton said. "They don't call them outs; they call them hands. Fielders will say two hands down (meaning there are two outs)."

Since the team formed, the club has improved its level of play. "Our first year we were learning the game and getting used to it. Our first season we only had three or four wins out of 25 games," Stratton stated. "At one point last year, we won 10 in a row.

"It's more about educating the public, having fun and getting the exercise," he added. "It's fun to win, but we love getting out there and playing the game."

In addition to players, the team is also recruiting umpires and scorekeepers. "The historically accurate way to keep score is (to record) if someone scores an out or a run," he pointed out. "We do keep a modern tally of the score for our own record keeping."

Team players are asked to pay a fee to participate. Full- and part-time memberships are offered. "As the year goes on and people get busy and go on vacation, we need reinforcements," Stratton said. "The more people we get out, the better."

He also encourages non-players to check out a game. "(It's for anyone) who appreciates baseball and history," Stratton added. "It looks like a baseball game, but slightly different."

For more information, readers may email or visit or


Farm Center Plans Work Day March 13, 2018

Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education, 4945 Horn Road, York, will hold a Spring Cleanup Work Day on Saturday, April 7.

Horn Farm is seeking assistance with a variety of projects, including repairing bluebird boxes, painting sign posts, painting a picket fence, monitoring the bluebird boxes during the nesting season, leading tours of the Horn Farm Center for school and community groups, and writing press releases. Also sought are stewards for the pollinator garden, kitchen garden, and farmhouse garden, as well as a community gardens coordinator. Training will be provided for tour guides. Groups are needed to construct a hoop house and work in the summer kitchen.

All of the organization's programs and operations are dependent on volunteer contributions. Volunteers may participate regularly or for one-time events. Assistance is needed in all seasons.

To sign up for the Spring Cleanup Work Day, readers may visit and click on Volunteer.


Usable Garden Items Wanted March 8, 2018

The Penn State Master Gardener program of Lancaster County is seeking unwanted but usable gardening items. Items will be sold at the Garden Shed, a sale of gently used items in conjunction with the annual plant sale on Saturday, May 5. Tools, bird feeders/houses, decorative containers, patio items, wind chimes, and any usable item with a garden connection will be considered.

Proceeds will benefit Master Gardener programs. To arrange for pick-up, call 717-341-2759.


Easter Egg Hunt Planned March 6, 2018

The Knights of Columbus Pius X Council 3858 and Columbiettes will sponsor an Easter egg hunt on Saturday, March 24, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish Center, 300 State Road, West Grove. The event will take place rain or shine.

The age groups and hunt times will be as follows: 1- and 2-year-olds, 10 a.m.; 3- and 4-year-olds, 10:20 a.m.; kindergartners, 10:40 a.m.; and first-, second- and third-graders, 11 a.m. Participants should bring their own baskets. There will be goodies for all children. Snacks and beverages will be available.

For further information, contact John Lynch at 610-888-5257 or email


Program Will Focus On Pollinator Gardens February 28, 2018

The Friends of Hopewell Furnace will host "Design Your Pollinator Garden" on Sunday, March 11, at 2 p.m. in the Conference Room at Hopewell Furnace, 2 Mark Bird Lane, Elverson.

Penn State Master Gardener Margaret Yevics of Reading will be the presenter. A retired civil engineer, Yevics serves on the Penn State Master Gardener hotline as an information resource for the people of Pennsylvania. She volunteers her time to assist gardeners at several locations in the greater Reading area, including the Reading Arboretum and Hopewell Furnace. Additionally, Yevics is a member of the Reading Shade Tree Commission and is currently working on a study of bees for Penn State.

Hopewell Furnace's landscape includes a variety of gardens that are tended by staff and volunteers. In 2013, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) recognized the excellence of the gardens at Hopewell Furnace, including Hopewell's pollinator garden, with the PHS Community Greening Award.

Admission to the pollinator garden event is free.

While at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, visitors may go into the village, tour the buildings, see Hopewell's water wheel and learn about iron making and why Hopewell Furnace is important to U.S. history. The site is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays through Sundays. For more information, readers may visit


Irish Dancers Will Perform At Lenten Tea February 28, 2018

Irish dancers from the Paloma School of Irish Dance will present the featured program at the Lenten Tea hosted by Middle Octorara Presbyterian Women (MOPW) on Saturday, March 10, at Middle Octorara Presbyterian Church (MOPC), 1199 Valley Road, located 4 miles east of Quarryville on Route 372. The doors will open at 1:30 p.m., and the program will start at 2 p.m.

The mission of the Paloma School of Irish Dance is to help everyone fulfill their potential in Irish dance, no matter their age, level of natural ability, or commitment level. The training emphasizes Irish dance techniques and fitness so that dancers are prepared to dance competitively, perform, or enjoy it as a hobby. When Paloma School dancers perform, the booking fee benefits the Paloma Irish Arts Foundation. According to, the foundation was formed for the promotion of and education in Irish cultural art forms. The foundation offers noncompetitive Irish dance classes and instrument lessons.

Paloma dancers performed at a Celebration of Mothers held at MOPC last year, and MOPW member Boni Henry enjoyed the performance. When planning the Lenten Tea, Henry suggested booking the group.

"It's mostly kids and teens (dancing), and it's high energy. It's lots of fun," Henry said. "I especially like their mission statement."

Following the program, which will take place in the sanctuary, tea and sandwiches will be served in the fellowship hall. A variety of teas, sandwiches, fresh fruit, and cookies will be offered. Ceramic teapots will grace each table, and guests are invited to bring their own teacups. Additional cups will be provided.

"It's fun to bring your own teacup," Henry said. "I always think of (the Lenten Tea) as a welcome to spring after the dull, dreary days of winter."

The Lenten Tea will be open to the public at no charge, but donations will be accepted. The proceeds will be used by the MOPW to support local missions. Henry reported that in 2017, the MOPW gave almost $1,000 to local families in need.

Folks who plan to attend the tea should contact Henry at 717-808-4534 or as soon as possible with the number of people in their party.


Youngsters Invited To Attend Little Wonders Nature Class February 27, 2018

The belief that it is never too early to learn about the wonders of nature is the motivation behind the Little Wonders Nature Class, which is being offered to children ages 3, 4 and 5 and their caregivers at Green Valleys Watershed Association (GVWA), located in East Nantmeal Township. With the exception of March 28, classes will take place on Wednesdays, March 7 through April 25, from 10 to 11 a.m. and from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m.

Little Wonders Nature Classes will teach young participants and their caregivers about the natural world through age-appropriate themed activities. Classes will be held at GVWA's headquarters, Welkinweir, a 197-acre sanctuary that includes forests, meadows, ponds and streams.

Each date has its own theme, so children may register for one or more classes. Each program will include a discovery walk, story, art project and snack. "We start indoors, then go out on a nature discovery walk. There are lots of things to find around our ponds, meadows and woods," said Dawn White, GVWA education programs coordinator. "Then, we go back indoors for a story and snack and take-home craft. The craft could be anything from painting and coloring to using natural items to create something."

For the opening program, themed "Eye See You," and the program on March 14, "All Ears," participants will learn about the eyes and ears of animals, respectively.

"('Eye See You') will be focused on animal eyes. Which animals can see better than us? And what animals only see black and white?" said White. "Then, we will use our eyes on our nature walk to look for different things.

"For the program on animal ears, we will talk about how they compare to ours and (note that) some animals have big ears, and some are small," she added.

On March 21, the theme will be "Spring Egg-citement." "We'll talk about what happens when spring arrives," White stated. "Animals lay eggs, insects come out, birds sing and plants flower."

"Wings and Things," a program about birds and bugs, will be featured on April 4. "Seed Need," which will take a look at plants and seeds, will be the program on April 11.

"For 'Pond Pondering' (on April 18), we will go to the main pond and dip our nets to see what we can find," White noted. "On April 25 for 'Stream Stomp,' we'll visit the stream and search for bugs and animals that visit the stream."

At least one adult must attend with their children. A fee will be charged per child per class. GVWA members will receive a discount.

Adults will be admitted for free. "Nonparticipating siblings, whether they are younger or school-age, can also join at no fee, but materials will only be provided for the (registered child)," White noted.

Space is limited, and preregistration is required no later than one day prior to each class. For more details and to register, readers may contact White at or 610-469-8646.

GVWA is located just off Route 100 at 1368 Prizer Road, Pottstown. Individuals are invited to visit for more information about GVWA's mission and its wide range of programming for people of all ages.


Spring Soup Sale Posted February 27, 2018

The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association (HCVHA) will offer a spring soup sale on Thursday, March 22. The organization will offer Pennsylvania Dutch chicken potpie and homemade chili. The sale will be the only time community may purchase the soups before HCVHA's fall events. There is a fee per quart.

The deadline to order is Saturday, March 17. The food may be picked up between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on March 22 at Historic Joanna Furnace, 1250 Furnace Road, Geigertown.

To place orders, call 610-286-0388.


Dance And Other Events To Support Fire Company February 22, 2018

Amidst all the time spent training for and responding to structure fires, brush fires, and automobile accidents, the members of the Conestoga Volunteer Fire Company (CVFC) also find time to host fundraising events. As a volunteer organization, the CVFC is dependent upon donations and proceeds from fundraisers to operate. Six events have been planned for 2018.

The fire company's 11th annual spring dance will be held on Saturday, March 17, from 6 to 11 p.m. at Millersville VFW, 219 Walnut Hill Road, Millersville. Admission will be restricted to guests age 21 and older. Disc jockey Chuck Colson will provide music for dancing. There will also be a buffet of pulled pork, macaroni and cheese, and baked corn. Event coordinator Missi Frankford noted that last year, the donor of the meat provided brisket and other meats in addition to the pork. This year's proteins will be up to the donor again. Some beverages will be included in the ticket cost, and others will be available for purchase.

There will be numerous prize drawings during the dance. Prizes will include gift certificates to local attractions, gift baskets, and more. If any tickets are available for a prize drawing for a gun that is planned for Saturday, May 19, they may be purchased at the dance.

"It's a big celebration," Frankford commented. "We usually have lots of fun."

Only 275 tickets will be sold for the dance. Readers may call Frankford at 717-629-1990 to purchase tickets. Any remaining tickets will be available at the door the night of the dance.

In addition to the spring dance and the gun prize drawing, the CVFC has planned a turkey supper for Saturday, April 28, and a festival on Saturday, June 9. The Conestoga Car Show will be held on Saturday, Sept. 22, and a ham supper will take place on Saturday, Oct. 20. This year, in addition to the proceeds helping to cover the fire company's operating costs, the funds will help to pay off a state loan of $200,000 that helped the CVFC to buy a new engine.

The 2018 engine was picked up from the manufacturer on Feb. 2, and it was put into service on Feb. 18. The new engine replaces the 1990 pumper as the apparatus that responds first to calls for assistance. The result of three years of planning and customized for the CVFC with a rescue-style body, the engine is equipped with several kinds of electrical saws, metal-cutting tools, brooms, axes, powerful fans, miles of hoses, a 27-foot light tower, and more. Fire company president Troy Bresch noted that the lights on the tower are LED, making it better at illuminating accident scenes than the other lights in the fleet.

Anyone interested in seeing the new engine or learning about the CVFC is welcome to stop by the station, 3290 Main St., Conestoga, on Mondays at 7 p.m. New members are always welcome. In-house training is provided at least twice a month, and opportunities for off-site training are also available.

"(You can be involved) as much as you want to put in it," Bresch said, adding that there is no cost to become an active member. The CVFC supplies all gear and covers the cost of training. "The only thing you have to pay for is the gas to get here," Bresch quipped.

Social media users may follow the Conestoga Volunteer Fire Company on Facebook for updates.


Items Removal Deadline Posted February 21, 2018

Cross Roads Cemetery, 6881 Church Road, Felton, has announced that the deadline to have all Christmas decorations removed from the cemetery is Thursday, March 15.

After this date, any remaining will be placed behind the church for a short time, after which any remaining items will be discarded.


Swiss Mountain Ice Cream February 20, 2018

Readers looking to make an extra-special dessert may want to consider the following recipe for Swiss Mountain Ice Cream from Maxine Clark's "Chocolate: Deliciously Indulgent Recipes for Chocolate Lovers" (Ryland, Peters & Small).

Swiss Mountain Ice Cream (Makes about 2 quarts)

2 cups whole milk

1 cup sweetened condensed milk

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

14 ounces premium milk chocolate (over 32 percent cocoa solids), chopped

1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence

1 1/2 cups whipping or heavy cream, chilled

6 1/2 ounces white nougat, roughly chopped

1 ice cream maker (optional)

1 freezer-proof tray or container

1 mountain-shaped mold (optional)

White chocolate sauce (instructions at end of recipe)


Put the milk, condensed milk, sugar, and cocoa in a pan, bring to a boil, then simmer gently for five minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the chocolate and let melt, stirring occasionally. Let cool completely, then add the vanilla essence and refrigerate for about one hour.

Stir the cream into the mixture, then churn-freeze in an ice cream maker in two batches. This will take 20 to 30 minutes. It will increase in volume as it thickens and freezes. Stop churning when thick and smooth, add the nougat, and churn to mix, then transfer to a chilled freezer-proof tray, cover, and freeze. If you do not have an ice cream maker, put the mixture in a freezer-proof tray or container and freeze until it is frozen around the edges. Mash well with a fork and return to the freezer. Continue mashing with a fork and freezing the mixture until thick and smooth, about two hours. Stir in the nougat. At this stage, you can pack it into a mold and return to the freezer.

If the ice cream is in a mold, remove from the freezer and dip briefly in hot water to melt the outside. Invert onto a chilled plate, lifting off the mold. If the ice cream is in a container, transfer to the refrigerator to soften for 20 minutes before serving in scoops. Drizzle with White Chocolate Sauce and serve.

White Chocolate Sauce (Makes about 2 1/2 cups)

1 cup light or heavy cream

6 tablespoons milk

8 ounces white chocolate (over 25 percent cocoa butter), chopped

Put the cream and milk in a small pan and bring to just below boiling point. Remove from the heat and let cool for two to three minutes. Add the white chocolate and stir until completely melted. Serve warm.

If reheating, do so over gentle heat. Do not allow to boil or the sauce can thicken and seize.


Fishing And Boating Seminar Posted February 15, 2018

A free fishing and boating seminar will take place on Thursday, March 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Derry Township Municipal Building, 600 Clearwater Road, Hershey, in the board room. Representatives from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will discuss a number of topics to get local anglers and boaters ready for the upcoming fishing and boating seasons. The purpose of the program is to inform area residents about the many state programs designed to promote fishing and boating activities.

The seminar is free, and boating or fishing licenses are not required in order to attend. Seating is limited, and advance registration is required.

To register and for more details, readers may call state Rep. Tom Mehaffie's office at 717-534-1323 by Friday, Feb. 23. Information is also available at,


Volunteers Sought For Community Garden February 14, 2018

Organizers of the Grow It Forward Garden are seeking volunteers to prepare and maintain the 40-by-80-foot garden this year. The garden is located on land owned by Yocumtown Church of God, 160 Red Mill Road, Etters. The project is managed by Mark Schuch, horticulturist and retired garden center manager.

The purpose of the garden is to provide fresh, organic produce to the local food bank, RedCAP, in Lewisberry and also to Downtown Daily Bread in Harrisburg, which provides lunch daily to people who are hungry and homeless in downtown Harrisburg. In the past year, weekly deliveries from the Grow It Forward Garden were made from June 6 to Nov. 15.

The garden was started in the spring of 2016 because Downtown Daily Bread lost a source of fresh produce with the closing of an organization called Channels, which collected local gardeners' excess produce and distributed it to local organizations that provided food to people in need.

The local Community Aid organization has provided the funds for fencing, so the Grow It Forward Garden is completely fenced for protection from wildlife. Local businesses have provided a drip irrigation system, tools, organic fertilizers, seeds, and plants. The Yocumtown Church of God supplies storage space and access to water and volunteers.

In 2017, the crops consisted of sweet and hot peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, potatoes, summer and winter squash, green beans, peas, cucumbers, parsley, basil, fennel, okra, kale, beets, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli.

Volunteer activities may include tilling and cultivating the soil, assisting with planting beginning in March, weeding, tying up and staking plants, turning compost, harvesting, and performing general garden maintenance. Additionally, organizers are looking for an individual who is willing to monitor the garden for insect and disease and to apply organic, environmentally friendly pesticides/fungicides in a responsible manner. This individual should have prior experience. Equipment and supplies will be provided.

To volunteer, readers may email Schuch at


Tree Seedling Sale Planned February 13, 2018

The Lancaster County Conservation District is holding its annual tree seedling sale. The sale features all preordered and prepaid tree seedlings, perennials, and shrubs. Orders will be ready for pickup on Thursday, April 12, in the auditorium at the Farm and Home Center, 1383 Arcadia Road, Lancaster.

Orders will be accepted through Monday, March 12. Readers may visit for an order form and a pictorial description list of all species or call 717-299-5361, ext. 5, to request that a form be mailed.


Fire Company Sale To Expand To Two Days February 8, 2018

For the first time in the 44-year history of the Strasburg Fire Company's spring donation and consignment sale, the event will take place over two days. The main event will be held at the fire company, 203 Franklin St., Strasburg, on Saturday, Feb. 24, beginning at 8 a.m. with the sale of quilts. Simultaneous auctions will run throughout the day, offering crafts, small goods, new and used tools, antiques, groceries, indoor and outdoor lawn furniture, shrubbery, hay and straw, farm machinery, sheds, building materials, carriages, gift certificates, horses and mules, lawn and garden supplies, collectibles, and hunting and fishing equipment.

Crafts and quilt-related items, such as potholders, wall-hangings, crib quilts, and quillows, will be sold inside the fire station from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23. A vendor will sell burgers, sausage sandwiches, fries, and beverages.

"We always had a big and busy day on Saturday," explained sale co-chair Ivan Fisher. "We thought, a lot of people are here on Friday night previewing the items, so why not sell some items? It won't go so late on Saturday, and the pace won't be so rushed."

Fisher noted that he has received a lot of positive feedback about the addition of a Friday sale.

"We're excited about the Friday evening thing," he added. "That'll be interesting.

Chicken corn soup, which the fire company members make from scratch with chicken, corn, and alphabet pasta, will be available for takeout on Feb. 23 from noon to 8 p.m. Soup takeouts will also be available all day on Feb. 24. Folks who bring their own containers will receive a discount.

The proceeds from the donation and consignment sale, along with the hot and cold foods the fire company will sell on Feb. 24, make up 30 percent of the organization's annual budget.

"This is our biggest fundraiser," Fisher said. "We as a (sale) committee want to thank the local community for supporting the sale."

The spring sale is the only auction that the Strasburg Fire Company will host this year. Until last year, the fire company held both spring and fall sales. The latter had never been as profitable as the spring sale, so in 2016, the organization held two chicken barbecues instead of the fall sale, and fire company representatives were pleased with the results.

Successful fundraisers are necessary for the fire company's continued operation. The group is also planning ahead for a significant expenditure.

"We're in the early stages of replacing our 1982 Seagrave engine," Fisher said. "We are hoping to have a new engine in service by 2021."

The new engine, fully equipped, will cost close to $700,000, estimated sale co-chair Ike Fisher, who is unrelated to Ivan. The fire company has conducted one extra fund drive so far to raise funds for the purchase. Donations are welcome.

To learn more about the Strasburg Fire Company's 44th annual spring donation and consignment sale or to contribute items for the event, readers may call Ike at 717-687-6223.


Girl Scout Cookie Time Is Here! February 7, 2018

Girl Scout Cookies are being sold across the country through early March. With many returning favorite flavors and newer options to try, many people look forward to purchasing the cookies each year.

In the southern Chester County area, Tori Milburn of Oxford Cadet Troop 4240 was selling cookies during a recent weekend at the entrance to a local supermarket, making sales of boxes by cash and, new this year, by credit card.

She said that adding the credit card option is making cookie sales easier. "Over the years we've heard, 'We don't have cash; do you take credit?'" Tori said. "(Accepting credit cards is) easier and a lot faster; it's helpful."

Tori is just one of many area Girl Scouts selling cookies. The troops schedule members of all ages to staff various locations such as large stores, drugstores and supermarkets, particularly on weekends, but also sometimes during after-school hours as well.

The troops are also taking part in Operation Cookies From Home, a project of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania (GSEP). Operation Cookies From Home is a partnership between GSEP and the USO to provide Girl Scout Cookies to women and men serving in the United States military. Through the program, customers have the opportunity to donate any amount of money or a package of cookies. Girl Scout troops may also donate their unsold cookies to Operation Cookies From Home.

Tori, 13, has been a Girl Scout for seven years and enjoys Scouting. "I like it. It's good to get out in the community and help people, and I also enjoy the meetings and all the trips that we get to go on," she said. "I think every (girl) should be a Girl Scout sometime."

Selling Girl Scout Cookies is an annual event the girls look forward to. "The girls do enjoy being out. Now that they're older, they can interact well," said Tori's mother, Cheryl Honaker, who is a co-leader of the troop along with Melissa Iaquinto. "They make sure they're all very polite with the customers. It makes me proud to see."

Proceeds from the cookie sales make it possible for Scout troops to enjoy special activities such as trips to a wide variety of locations.

"We enjoy going on trips, and we have started on doing a Silver Award (Project), so we were going to use some of the money for that," Tori said. "The Silver Project we have planned is a food box where people could leave a food donation or take something they need."

The favorite cookie flavor each year tends to be the popular Thin Mints, but thanks to the wide variety available, there is something for every taste. There is even a gluten-free cookie option available. Cookie varieties include S'mores, Caramel deLites, Lemonades, Shortbread Trefoils and Peanut Butter Sandwich.

"I like the Peanut Butter Patties; I like peanut butter and chocolate," Tori added. "I also like Thin Mints."

Hoping for an eventual career in the medical field, Tori noted that talking to potential customers about cookies is a good experience. "I think people skills is a big thing," she said.

For more information on Girl Scouts and Girl Scout Cookie sales, readers may visit or


Strawberry-Glazed French Toast February 7, 2018

One way to start the day off right is to prepare the recipe for Strawberry-Glazed French Toast with Sweetened Sour Cream, courtesy of Betty Rosbottom's "Sunday Brunch" (Chronicle Books).

Strawberry-Glazed French Toast with Sweetened Sour Cream (Serves 4)

8 1-inch thick bread slices, cut from a country or peasant loaf (see note 1)

2 cups half-and-half

4 egg yolks

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract, plus 1/2 tsp

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/3 cup strawberry jam or preserves (see note 2)


1. Arrange a rack at center position and preheat the oven to 400 F. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and bake until dry and very lightly browned, about 8 minutes per side. Watch carefully so that the bread does not burn. Remove the bread from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 200 F.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, egg yolks, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla, and cinnamon. Pour the mixture into a shallow pan (a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish works well). Add the toasted bread slices and soak them, 4 minutes per side. Remove to a large plate or platter.

3. Place a large, heavy frying pan over low to medium heat. Add about 2 teaspoons of the butter, or enough to coat the bottom of the pan lightly. When melted, add enough bread slices to fit comfortably in a single layer. Cook slowly until the slices are golden brown and crisp on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Remove to a baking sheet and place in the warm oven. Repeat, adding more butter to the pan as needed until all the bread slices have been sauteed.

4. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, granulated sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

5. When ready to serve, spread each toast with a thin coating of strawberry jam and top with a dollop of sweetened sour cream.

Note 1: The best bread for this dish is an unsliced loaf of good quality peasant or country bread, preferably one without an extra-hard crust. One that is rectangular, rather than round, is more convenient, but either will do. Cut off the ends of the loaf, and reserve for another use. Then slice the bread into 1-inch-thick slices. If the loaf is large and the slices seem large, cut them in half.

Note 2: You can try other jams, preserves, or marmalades. Cherry, raspberry, or peach preserves and orange marmalade are other possibilities.

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