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Sheep shearing at Peter Wentz Farmstead in Lansdale, Pennsylvania


I wonder how they see through this dense coat!
I couldn't get a good angle to shoot a photo of the shearing process...
... but here the shearer shows the mass of wool from one yearling sheep.
This fellow was on hand to help with the process as needed.
The sheep looks a lot cooler with that winter coat removed!
A pair of oxen also live on the farm.
Here an ox cozies up to a cow.
And of course we can't have a farm without a rooster and his hens!


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Last stop at the library...

One final stop at the Parkway Central Library which we found nestled behind locked doors, kindly opened by our guide. I have searched online for more information to share with you, but cannot find anything - it's apparently a fairly well-kept secret. But our tour guide told us that a wealthy Philadelphian left his library - containing a glorious rare book collection - to the "Free Library" in Philadelphia, which eagerly anticipated this fine bequest. But they were told that Mr. Elkins wanted his library - the entire structure - given to the library.
As it happened, an architect named Moshe Safdie had built Mr. Elkins' library and had recently renovated the stacks in the center of the Parkway library to create more flexible spaces for learning and working. He undertook the challenge of moving Elkins' library - walls, floor, shelves, carpet, furniture, and fixtures - to the second floor of Parkway Central Library adjacent to the Rare Book Collection. So we have a library within the library, which includes a fine collection of first editions of Charles Dickens and hundreds of other fine rare books. In one corner is Charles Dickens' desk, and in the veneer of the desk are the initials "CD", which the author himself allegedly scratched there himself.
Here are some photos of the "library within the library". We were grateful to have the opportunity to see it.


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The rare book collection

My apologies for the confusion - the linky didn't work earlier!


Last week I shared some photos and information about the Parkway Central Library in Philadelphia. While we were there, we had a tour of their rare book collection, which is quite impressive. Here are some photos from our tour.

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A trip to the library

One thing I take for granted is the public library system, but it wasn't always so. "Back in the day", library membership cost money. The "Free Library" in Philadelphia (now known as Parkway Central Library) was an innovation, allowing people to come and browse, read, and check out books at no cost. It opened in 1927, and it is an impressive building indeed, designed by Julian Abele, a prominent black architect who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. Among his notable works is the chapel at Duke University in Durham NC, another architectural marvel. 

The intricate detail is of the ceilings are different in each of the many different sections of the library.

The marble floors and walls are a thing of beauty.

There is magnificent art work throughout, giving the library "museum quality".

During World War II, the port of Philadelphia was felt to be at risk for enemy bombs, so the beautiful skylights were painted over to prevent light from making the library an easy target.

The paint used to paint the skylight was full of toxic material such as lead, so the cost of restoring them is phenomenal.

Someone in the library ensured that the home team received a place of honor! Go Phillies!
In the section devoted to music, it is possible for patrons to check out musical instruments such as a cello or violin. Other branches of the library have sections for checking out unusual items. Have a friend who's a fan of Micky Mouse and you want to bake a Micky Mouse cake for his birthday? You can check out a cake pan that will allow you to do so without cluttering up your kitchen for years with a pan you'll only use once!



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Groundhog alert!


Outside of the gym I used to attend it was common to see a pair of groundhogs. Unfortunately I never caught sight of the 5 babies they had. I learned that while groundhogs may have up to 10 in a litter, 3-5 is more common.If you ever get this question on Trivial Pursuit, you'll now know the answer!

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Wynne's extra special granola!

 When you have a friend named Wynne who's a FABULOUS cook, you sit up and take notice. I've never been a big fan of granola... until now.

Yum!


Pre-Heat oven to a LOW 275 degrees. Hotter and the nuts will scorch.

Makes about 20 snack-sized servings — 1/3 cup.

 Ingredients:

2 cups regular oatmeal (not steel cut, but the ‘ol Quaker kind, it is already cooked — did you know that?) – NOTE – Wynne doubles this.
1-2 cups large flake unsweetened coconut
2 cups RAW, UNSALTED cashews (if you don’t use raw nuts, they get too brown)
2 cups RAW, UNSALTED pecan halves
1 cup RAW UNSALTED almonds, or blanched almond slivers, (personal preference)
½ to ¾ cup maple syrup (DO NOT USE PANCAKE SYRUP!) grade A or B is fine, but it must be PURE maple syrup
½ cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt

Assembly:

Put the 2 cups of oatmeal in a large mixing bowl.

Add coconut 1-2 cups (depending on how much you like coconut, and be sure it is the LARGE flakes, not the grated kind, it won’t work that way.)

Combine oatmeal with the coconut and mix.

Add in the nuts you want. I used cashews, pecans and almonds, you can also put in walnuts, filberts, macademia, etc.

Mix them all together.  Then, combine the melted coconut oil, the vanilla extract and the maple syrup and the oatmeal/coconut/nut mixture well, it will be wet and sticky.

Lay it on a heavy jelly roll pan (a cookie sheet with sides).  The heavy ones don’t warp and heat evenly.  A baking pan will do, you want to spread it out thin, so that it is a single layer. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the top.

Cook at 275 degrees F for 40 – 70 minutes.  Using a spatula, move the granola from the corners to the center after about 20 minutes so new areas brown up (corners will brown up faster, so shift the mixture around.)

You want the coconut and nuts to turn light brown.  Keep a watch, it can turn fast!

Take it out and use a spatula to scrape it off the pan.  When cooled completely, put in a airtight container so it doesn’t lose it’s crunch.

Ways to customize:

  • Dried fruit:  add it the last 15 min. of baking, otherwise you’ll end up with “hard bits”.  I have used dried diced apricots, dark sweet or tart cherries, cranberries, raisins, etc.  NOTE: I don’t put in dried fruit (glycemic load is too high), but I vary the nuts based on what I have.  If you’re trying to lose weight or have insulin resistance, I would STRONGLY encourage you to stay away from dried fruit. (see below)
  • Dark chocolate can be added when it is cooled slightly, but be sure it is above 70% cocoa, otherwise it will have too  much sugar.
  • Change the vanilla to almond extract for an almond inspired batch of granola.


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