Through My Kitchen WIndow: Picking our own apples, then heading to kitchen |Oct 8, 2015

We love apples so getting to pick our apples was an especially enjoyable experience.

Real Estate Column: STAGED TO MOVE! These top 3 must do’s will help your house move quickly in today’s real estate market |Oct 7, 2015

We all want to get the most bang for our buck when we choose to sell anything, especially a house. And no matter what the reason is for selling a home, there is always preparation involved.

Final Expense Life Insurance: A simple option for an inevitable issue |Oct 7, 2015

Do you have a way to pay for final expenses after you’re gone?

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: Donald Ennis’s Treasures, Part I |Oct 7, 2015

Note to Readers: As a substitute driver, I have delivered Meals on Wheels to Donald Ennis for about three years. Since my initial deliveries to him, I have known there is something special about him and many times “threatened” to have lunch with him.

The Historian: Bees, parties, frolics or a chore called by some other name |Oct 6, 2015

We have all heard the expression, “Many hands make light work.” This seemed to be the idea behind the frolics, parties and bees of our Goschenhoppen forefathers. Diaries that have been saved and translated from the original Pennsylvania German dialect attest to the popularity of these “parties.

Welcome to my World: Mom’s (6) Favorite Daughters |Oct 2, 2015

I’m the youngest of 10 children. I have four older brothers, Lester, Paul, Carl and David, and five older sisters, Anita, Jannetta, Mary Alice, Dorothy and Gladys. It’s the older sisters I’ve had a problem with in life.

Letter to the Editor: Longing for the ‘good old days’ |Oct 2, 2015

Dear Kutztown Patriot: For the past 8 years, I have helped out building the sets for the Kutztown High School Musicals.

Christ, the Pope and what Christianity says about those in prisons |Oct 2, 2015

In the Book of Isaiah 42 and 61, two things are said of prison. It is written that it is the will of God “to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house.

Book Beat - Impact: The Runaway Pastor’s Wife by Diane Moody |Sep 30, 2015

I always thought my wife was a peaceful person, but in the last few years, ever since she got her Kindle, she addresses Amazon Gatling gun-like as she downloads dozens of books. I never would have selected The Runaway Pastor’s Wife to read without her urging.

A Look Back in History: Pope Francis, the People’s Pope |Sep 29, 2015

This past Fall’s pilgrimage of the Roman Catholic Pope Francis to honor Christians in America has renewed our Colonial American heritage everywhere. Take, for instance, the Holy Church of the Blessed Sacrament established in Bally, Berks County where thousands of people were devout members.

The Historian: Pennsylvania Dutch music and dance |Sep 29, 2015

Why are there so few references to folk-dancing and music in local history? The record of folk-dance and dance tunes is sparse at best. Didn’t our ancestors bring any folk-dances from Germany and Switzerland in the early 18th century?

Through My Eyes - B.C., Braille and Beyond: Notable Blind Writers in History |Sep 25, 2015

As a writer, I am constantly looking for sources of inspiration. I recently performed a search for a previous column for blind heroes in the field of mathematics. When this search actually yielded results, it got me thinking about the possibility of other blind writers like me.

Welcome to my World: Which is the Oldest Band in the Land |Sep 25, 2015

Community bands were once a part of the cultural social activity of almost every city and village in Pennsylvania. The bands were a popular form of entertainment, whether performing a concert or in a parade.

A Look Back in History: The 1754 Salem UCC and their French Huguenot Connection |Sep 25, 2015

The humility of the Pennsylvania Dutch, specifically the French Huguenot immigrants like the (Johann) Bieber, Bertolet, DeTurck, Lesher, Levan and Yoder (et al) families who went to Philadelphia to market their agrarian homemade products, was not lost among the English Quakers who founded the City of Brotherly Love.

Ask Esther: Pricing your home, higher or lower? |Sep 23, 2015

Dear Esther: We recently met with a real estate agent to discuss selling our home. We were surprised at the price she suggested as we were thinking we could get at least $20,000 more. Shouldn’t we begin high with a price and go down if we have to?

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: George Plimpton I’m Not! |Sep 23, 2015

George Plimpton, who died in 2003 at the age of 76, was known for his many accomplishments. I would like to focus on his athletic endeavors with professional sports teams. Over his career he: pitched a half inning for the American League in Yankee Stadium in a post season exhibition game against the National League; sparred three rounds with boxing greats Archie Moore and Sugar Ray Robinson; played backup quarterback in a preseason game with the Detroit Lions; played a bit in an exhibition game with the Baltimore Colts football team; played as goalie in a preseason Boston Bruins ice hockey game; played with Jack Nicholas and Arnold Palmer on the Professional Golf Tour; was soundly beaten by Pancho Gonzales in tennis; and was even a high-wire circus performer.

The Historian: The Rev. Nicholas Pomp |Sep 22, 2015

Like the other ordained ministers who served this region during the 18th century, The Rev. Nicholas Pomp (1734-1819) was European born and educated. Unlike most of them, though, he was of humble birth, the son of a farmer.

Welcome to my World: “Supper’s Ready!” |Sep 18, 2015

“Suppers ready!” I can still hear Mom, clad in an apron, yelling this from the front porch of our farmhouse, if Pop was in the barn area. If he wasn’t nearby, one of the children had to “fetch” Pop, from the field,to let him know it was time to eat.

A Look Back in History: Rye-thatching roofs, a traditional craft of the Pennsylvania Dutch |Sep 17, 2015

The custom of continuing to thatch farm buildings with rye straw throughout the 19th and into the 20th century was among the most intriguing. This traditional craft was handed down generation-to-generation by the Pennsylvania Dutch and continued here in Berks County and the vicinity long after such ancient roofing methods had been abandoned elsewhere.

Welcome to my World: Tangible Memories |Sep 17, 2015

Scenes of my childhood come into view:

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: Grow up... Not! |Sep 16, 2015

Picnic season is waning, with the beginning of autumn starting this week for all except the hardiest aficionados who back-deck grill all four seasons, or for the diehard football tailgaters. Finally, I figured out why I’m having so much fun at 69 years of age.

LetterMy mother-in-law made the best mac and cheese |Sep 16, 2015

Lisa, I just read your Through My Kitchen Window article on Cheesy Mac and Cheese. I know I shouldn’t sound pompous, but for the last 50 years I have considered myself a bon vivant of homemade mac and cheese.

The Historian: Hinkel und Oyer (Chicken and Eggs) Part III |Sep 14, 2015

Compared to the caged layers in today’s “factory farms,” most chickens of yesteryear lived in idyllic conditions. On our farm, which was, I suppose, rather typical, preparation for chicks began in late winter with the thorough cleaning of brooder houses.

Through my Kitchen Window: From left over noodles to cheesy mac and cheese |Sep 11, 2015

I’m a big fan of mac and cheese. I’m not talking about the stuff you make out of a box. I’m talking about a real melted cheese sauce and macaroni noodles.

America’s Lost History: William Penn, Bayard Taylor and trench art |Sep 11, 2015

For anyone remotely connected to Pennsylvania the question seemed absurd. “Who is this William Penn?”

Welcome to my World: Carole’s Exercise Experiences |Sep 11, 2015

I know exercise is good for me, but that doesn’t say I have to like it. If I wasn’t trying to stay a healthy, walking specimen, I don’t think I’d exercise, period! At 74, sometimes when I’m laying on the mat at the Y, looking up at the ceiling, I say to myself, “Carole, what on earth are you doing down here?”

A Look Back in History: 50 years ago, I discovered the rare Sternberg Conestoga wagon |Sep 11, 2015

50 years ago, I discovered the beautiful but rare Sternberg Conestoga wagon, dated 1803 on its tailgate. At the time, 1965, I was the guest of Gertrude Sternberg who lived down the street from the Berks County Historical Society, and she was showing me her personal property in her second floor of her mansion’s carriage house.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: Andy Rooney’s Spirit Lives On |Sep 9, 2015

Most of you probably recall Andy Rooney. You know, that curmudgeon who came on at the end of the television show 60 Minutes from 1978 to 2011 with his segment, A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney. Still can’t picture him? Think about the old guy who was going bald but had such bushy eyebrows he let them grow and combed them back over his forehead to cover his dome.

The Historian: Hinkel und Oyer (Chicken and Eggs) Part II, Roosting |Sep 8, 2015

A little Pennsylvania Dutch rhyme goes:

Welcome to my World: Thinks I Don’t Like and Why |Sep 4, 2015

I know I’m not the only person in the world that doesn’t like certain things. Actually, it’s typical of both genders. Today, I decided to make “the list” of things I don’t like and why.

A Look Back in History: Kutztown’s famous birch beer far outranked commercial drinks of the 20th century |Sep 4, 2015

When I became a folklorist, writing for Dr. Alfred Shoemaker’s Pennsylvania Folklife magazine, I naturally relied on my native background, my Bieber ancestors farmed in the Oley Hills of Rockland Township.

Young families: The cost vs. protection challenge; finding right balance of protection and affordability is critical |Sep 2, 2015

Being young and starting a family is one of the most exciting times in many people’s lives, with lots of opportunities ahead and so many memories to make together. Unfortunately, young families are often the most vulnerable to life’s uncertainties.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: MJ Dougherty, Saved by God’s Grace Part II |Sep 2, 2015

Next came the ugly part of human nature. Those on the ferry scrambled in fear for life jackets. When they thought there were none left, they started pulling them away from people who had already gotten them.

Through My Eyes: Abraham Nemeth, a hero for blind nerds |Sep 1, 2015

My general philosophy in life is this: in a world of more than 6 billion people, if I have been through something, the odds are that so has at least one other person. As I have stated before, one of my hobbies is the practicing of advanced mathematics.

The Historian: Hinkel und Oyer (Chicken and Eggs) Part I |Aug 31, 2015

In the old days, the morning light of farms, villages and towns was filled with the sound of roosters crowing, for almost every place had some chickens. Chickens of yesteryear were perhaps not the calm, fat hens of today, but tended rather to be thin, tough, rangy and somewhat wild.

Welcome to my World: Pennsylvania honors Stephen Foster |Aug 28, 2015

On the campus of the University of Pittsburgh is the only museum, concert hall and library dedicated to an American composer, Stephen Foster. His hometown memorialized him, even though he didn’t write our state song, but Florida and Kentucky adopted his tunes as their state songs.

The Historian: Early Cattle and ‘Watered Meadows’ |Aug 27, 2015

In 1683, William Penn reported to friends in England, “Here is plenty of cow cattle.” Cattle, together with all other farm livestock, were brought to the Delaware Valley from Europe by the Swedes, Finns and Dutch in the 17th century.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: MJ Dougherty, Saved by God’s Grace (Part I) |Aug 27, 2015

A neighbor came to visit us in recent weeks and said that I might be interested in writing a story about a new neighbor who experienced Sept. 11, 2001 firsthand. Barb and I invited MJ Dougherty to have dinner at our house one evening and invited her to dessert several days later.

Welcome to my World: Uncovering the Christman Farmstead History |Aug 21, 2015

At home on the Christman farm, as a kid, I often daydreamed about who lived there before us. Did anyone famous, like George Washington, sleep in the bedroom I now occupied? Were there Indian raids? Barn dances? Quilting parties?

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: Differences in Dentists are Distinct |Aug 19, 2015

During one’s life, one will be treated by a number of dentists, all of whom are different in one way or another. Some of them, I remember, were rather normal and others not quite! When I was in junior high school, I could walk to my dentist because his office was a block away.

The Historian: As Dutch as Sauerkraut, Part II |Aug 18, 2015

Last week’s “Historian” noted that cabbage, often eaten in the form of sauerkraut, was undoubtedly the primary vegetable crop cultivated by the early Germanic immigrants of this area.

A Look Back in History: Remembering Dr. Don Yoder, co-founder of the PA Dutch Folk Festival |Aug 14, 2015

One of the three folklorists who founded the PA Dutch Folk Festival at Kutztown in 1950 with the renowned Dr. Alfred L. Shoemaker, Dr. Don Yoder emeritus professor of the University of Pennsylvania, has written and published significant books and articles on the Americana ethnic peoples who founded this portion of southeastern Pennsylvania.

Felicia Fisher’s Slice of Life: Lemon Pound Cake |Aug 14, 2015

I wouldn’t take offense if you didn’t want to bake this recipe. In fact, I don’t want to bake it lately on account of the ridiculous price of eggs. Each year, I read about a scare of some baking commodity, with chocolate and pecans being the most recent items that were deemed scarce to justify the price increases.

Welcome to my World: The Customs I Grew Up With |Aug 14, 2015

I grew up with some customs that I didn’t know much about, so I decided to do some research.

A Look Back in History: Sacred Oak Tree of Oley Valley in poor condition |Aug 12, 2015

On Monday, July 20 at the regular board meeting of the Oley Valley Heritage Association, President Kelly Spatz remarked that the historic Sacred Oak Tree that was beloved and worshipped by the Native Americans of the Oley Valley (on the property of Mr.

Ask Esther: When to buy and sell to get the most for your home |Aug 12, 2015

DEAR ESTHER >> We have been working all summer to prepare our home to sell and plan to list it sometime in the fall. However, my sister told me we should wait until the spring because that’s the time most people buy.

The Historian: So Dutch as Sauerkraut |Aug 10, 2015

Perhaps it was the humble cabbage, as much as anything else, that made survival possible in the early local farms and settlements. Cabbage in the form of sauerkraut was one of the few vegetables that could be preserved for winter.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: A race for Izzy, a boy beating the odds |Aug 10, 2015

I am lucky enough to have a wife to bounce my thoughts off of. Many times I get what I think are “brilliant” ideas, and when I check with Barb, she sort of throws a wet blanket over the project.

The Historian: Thatched roofs and rye straw |Aug 7, 2015

The Germanic immigrants to this area brought with them the custom of rye straw roof thatching. Rye is a cereal grain similar to wheat, but with a habit of growth yielding stalks almost twice as high as wheat.

A Look Back in History: Kutztown University, a college town whose professors master the uniqueness of Americana and PA Dutch culture |Aug 6, 2015

Having graduated Kutztown State in 1960, I did not fully understand how lucky I was meeting professors who taught me the uniqueness of the Americana culture of the Pennsylvania Dutch people. Their true-grit livelihood stood for our Americana civilization, in art, education and American agriculture, as well as religion.