Columns

The Historian: Himmelsbriefen were in most homes |Mar 2, 2015

Movable type was invented in 15th Century Germany, and the consequences were world-changing, allowing literacy and the Reformation to spread with previously unimagined speed.

For what it’s worth: York County’s Live Eagle Camera has my attention |Feb 26, 2015

I’m not sure why it’s so interesting to me—but it is. Since I discovered it, I cannot seem to stop watching York County’s live feed of an eagle nest.

The Historian: Fraktur, the folk art of the Pa. Germans |Feb 25, 2015

During the 100 years between 1720 and 1820, well over 100,000 German-speaking immigrants entered Pennsylvania, most of them through the port of Philadelphia. In just the five years between 1749 and 1754 nearly 37,000 Germans came through that port and spread throughout Pennsylvania and beyond.

The Historian: Fences and the Antes Garden |Feb 11, 2015

In the 18th and 19th centuries, winter was the ideal time for many tasks not directly related to the planting, cultivating and harvesting of crops that took up all available time during the more temperate months.

PERSON TO PERSON – IMPACT: Valentine’s Day should be every day! |Feb 10, 2015

One of the many things that impressed me in my recent BOOK BEAT - IMPACT report on 41 – A Portrait of My Father, is how President George H. W. Bush made new friends, but at the same time was faithful in keeping in contact with his old friends.

The Historian: Spring Houses - valuable additions to the farmstead |Feb 9, 2015

A spring house was a valuable addition to the early farmstead. A good, year-round spring on a property often influenced the location of the dwelling house and barn. The spring house usually was built directly over the spring and served as a cover, protecting it from dirt, leaves, livestock and other foreign material, but it also served as food storage area and sometimes work area.

The Historian: Baking Practices among the Dutchmen, part 2 |Feb 3, 2015

Most Germanic houses built in Southeastern Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries had bake ovens; it was almost a requisite for Pennsylvnia Dutch dwellings.

Ask Steve: How important is installing a carbon monoxide detector in a new home? |Jan 27, 2015

As a service to you and our community, I want to answer your questions so you can make educated and more informed decisions when it comes to your energy, comfort needs and saving money.

The Historian: Baking Practices among the Dutchmen |Jan 27, 2015

Most Germanic houses built in Southeastern Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries had bake ovens; it was almost a requisite for Pennsylvnia Dutch dwellings.

Thrivent Financial: You bought the policy…now what? Knowing your policies supports healthy financial strategies |Jan 27, 2015

Purchasing proper insurance coverage is an important part of a healthy financial picture. However, with many policies, staying engaged ensures you have adequate coverage as your life changes.

Book Beat - Impact: ‘A Portrait Of My Father’ shows 41st President took the less travelled path |Jan 27, 2015

Review of “A Portrait Of My Father” by George W. Bush

A Look Back in History: Salem Church windows depict purple stained Iris colored flowers, a French “Fleurdelis” folk symbol |Jan 23, 2015

Last month a Community Christmas Cantata was held under the musical direction of choir director Kathy Snyder to a packed audience at Salem Church on historic Covered Bridge Road, on a Sunday afternoon, a unique presentation of Oley area churches, whereby old timers would not have to drive home in the dark.

Focus on the Family: Daughter’s lies catching up with her at school |Jan 21, 2015

Q: How can I get my teenage daughter to stop lying? I’ve caught her telling “tall tales,” and now she’s complaining that the kids at school don’t believe anything she says.

The Historian: The Tag-Team Preachers from New Hanover |Jan 19, 2015

Sometime around 1720, John Philip Boehm and a group following the German Reformed faith settled closely together in Swamp, New Hanover, and built a church. The congregation exists today, Falkner Swamp UCC, the earliest German Reformed church in America.

Felicia Fisher’s Slice of Life: Thinking outside the (brownie) box |Jan 16, 2015

I cannot tell a (baking-related) lie. I use boxed, store-bought brownie mix. To me, the ultimate brownie not only has an over-the-top, amazing, “Oh my gosh I need a glass of milk right now to wash this down” chocolate flavor but is of the fudge and not the cake variety.

Person to person - Impact: The Lady in Red |Jan 14, 2015

For many years I was quite reserved and in most cases kept my thoughts to myself. Then I entered a period of “Internal Sweats”. Someone would do or say something that I knew was not correct (at least from my standpoint) and those Internal Sweats would build up until I just had to say something to the person.

Ask Esther: Should I be concerned about a septic system inspection? |Jan 14, 2015

I am planning to sell my home but have heard nightmare stories from coworkers concerning septic inspections. My home is about 40 years old but I have had no problems with my septic system. Should I be concerned about this?

Reel Experiences with Robert Humanick: ‘Selma’ marches to greatness; ‘Still Alice’ takes the easy route |Jan 9, 2015

“Still Alice” is likely three times the film it would be without its central performance – a tremendous turn by Julianne Moore, who adds texture and detail where the script often glosses over such.

Focus on the Family: Grandparents want to help, not butt in, with new baby |Jan 7, 2015

Question: How can grandparents help new parents without wearing out their welcome? I’m excited to play an active and positive role in my grandchild’s life, but I want to be careful to respect appropriate boundaries with my son and daughter-in-law.

A Look Back in History: The Importance of the Church & Faith in our Pennsylvania Dutch |Jan 7, 2015

As we see our church numbers dwindle and only somewhat filling during the Christmas and Easter times, we need to take a step back and remember how strong religion and faith was to our ancestors driving them to pave the way and persevere in a new and unknowing with unparallel bravery in crossing the mighty Atlantic, and the tremendous hardship they faced in death of loved ones, cold, hunger, and doubt.

What’s Cooking with Linda: Grab a soup mug of Shrimp, Potato & Corn Chowder, sit by the fire |Jan 7, 2015

It’s time to put a movie on, light the fire place and grab a soup mug of this awesome Shrimp, Potato & Corn Chowder. Lenore Lasowecky, Fleetwood, shares this recipe for a hearty flavorful soup.

The Historian: The Real Story of Mountain Mary, part 2 |Jan 5, 2015

As noted last week, there is very little reliable information about the legendary figure Mountain Mary of Pike Township, Berks County.

Felicia Fisher’s Slice of Life: Nuts to your New Year’s Diet resolutions |Jan 2, 2015

I don’t bake healthy. I do not bake gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, or vegan-friendly items and I’m perfectly OK with that decision. I use butter, processed non-whole grain, white flour and refined white sugar and I do not have any way of effectively controlling whether the components of my baked goods are derived from GMO seeds.

Reel Experiences with Robert Humanick: Intense musical-thriller ‘Whiplash’ earns its title |Dec 19, 2014

For all intents and purposes, “Whiplash” is a monster movie -- it doesn’t exactly take place in reality. Concerning an ambitious young man at a renowned music college under the tutelage of a conductor whose technical excellence is outweighed only by his ruthlessness in weeding out imperfections in his students, this is a film that approaches musicianship much like “Gravity” approached space travel.

The Historian: Log Houses in the New Hanover area |Dec 19, 2014

When we think of early houses in the region, the images that usually come to mind are the large, stone farm houses and the associated bank barns.

Book Beat - Impact: Review of ‘The Night Watchman’ by Mark Mynheir |Dec 16, 2014

Ray Quinn makes his way down a deserted street in Orlando, Florida, looking like a man many years his senior as he struggles with his cane and his plastic hip of 10 months. He notices two youths about 20 years old who are tailing him.

The Historian: The West Branch Paper Mill |Dec 15, 2014

Of the many types of mills that were built on the Perkiomen Creek and its tributaries, the most uncommon was the paper mill. I know of just one, located in the extreme northern edge of Douglass Township on the West Branch of the Perkiomen on, appropriately, Paper Mill Road.

The Historian: Six Horse Bell Teams |Dec 9, 2014

A fully rigged Conestoga wagon was a union of graceful craftsmanship and rugged utility. With running gear painted vermilion, sides a bright blue and topped with white canvas on graceful bows, wagon and team could be as much as 60 feet long.

A Look Back in History: The Sarah Boone School and public education |Dec 9, 2014

Located at Hoch’s Corner in Oley Township, the fieldstone one-room school house of Sarah Boone had long been a centennial of pioneer education, even though Sarah Boone was long remembered for female vocational education.

ASK STEVE: What are the ideal thermostat settings for night and day? |Dec 9, 2014

As a service to you and our community, I want to answer your questions so you can make educated and more informed decisions when it comes to your energy, comfort needs and saving money.

A Look Back in History: The Sarah Boone School and public education |Dec 5, 2014

Located at Hoch’s Corner in Oley Township, the fieldstone one-room school house of Sarah Boone had long been a centennial of pioneer education, even though Sarah Boone was long remembered for female vocational education.

Focus on the Family: Tips on helping kids learn about history |Dec 3, 2014

Q: Every now and then I’ll see these “man on the street” interviews on television where people’s ignorance of history is on display -- and it discourages me that our culture doesn’t seem to value its importance.

The Historian: Butchering Day on the Farm |Dec 1, 2014

It’s safe to say that in the old days, most every farm family butchered pigs when the weather turned cold. Meat, more than bread, was the “staff of life,” and meat at every meal was not uncommon.

Focus on the Family: Set limits to stifle kids’ narcissistic behaviors |Nov 22, 2014

Question: I recently read that narcissistic behavior is on the rise, and this seems to confirm my own observations of a culture that seems to be increasingly selfish and entitled. I’m especially concerned about my children growing up with these influences.

Through My Kitchen Window: A Day for Thanksgiving |Nov 19, 2014

The past 150 years, Thanksgiving feasts in the White House have been sumptuous affairs. The first official Thanksgiving feast was presided over by Abraham Lincoln after he declared Thanksgiving to be a national holiday in 1863.

A Look Back in History: Baking Bread in the Bakeoven |Nov 18, 2014

In further elaborating on my references of Colonial bread making and shipment made over the past month in my columns and with conversations with Director Shaner, by 1767, the bulk of exports from Colonial Pennsylvania consisted of wheat, flour, bread, corn, pork, and beef, bar iron, pig iron, flaxseed, and beer.

Felicia Fisher’s Slice of Life: Presenting the “it” item of the season, cranberries |Nov 17, 2014

Considering how good they are, it’s quite shameful that their popularity is seasonal. I am not referring to anything involving the words “pumpkin” or “spice” but to cranberries, the tart red berries that are a featured item during the upcoming holiday season yet seem to be forgotten the remainder of the year.

The Historian: A Voyage up the Salt River |Nov 17, 2014

Local historian Nancy Roan has her mother’s diary, which contains this curious entry for Nov. 17, 1932: “Up to Swamp to see the salt river parade tonight.”

Focus on the Family: Life’s difficulties can upset thanksgiving time |Nov 15, 2014

Question: Thanksgiving is this week, and I’m having a hard time getting up for it. I’m usually a positive person, but all of life’s difficulties decided to visit me this year. And the mess the world is in only adds to my feelings of despair.

The Historian: The Ice Industry, part 2 |Nov 14, 2014

Last week’s column noted that at the turn of the last century, the ice companies centered on Green Lane were shipping as much as 150,000 tons a year to Philadelphia and points beyond and providing seasonal work for hundreds of farm workers, many from the New Hanover area.

A Look Back in History: Chicken and waffles: a typical Pa Dutch meal |Nov 14, 2014

Among the Americana inventions of our PA Dutch people who were famous for designing cast iron waffle irons in Colonial times are 18th Century waffle irons with attractive tulip designs molded in their long handle fireplace iron molds, where housewives took pride in creating motifs which were definitely PA Dutch.

The Historian: The Ice Industry, part 1 |Nov 12, 2014

Since the creeks in New Hanover Township flow into the Swamp Creek, which joins the Perkiomen Creek at Zieglersville, New Hanover is part of the Perkiomen Creek watershed and region.

Focus on the Family: Be cautious about revealing too much of your youth to kids |Nov 10, 2014

Q: How much do my children need to know about my past? Is there any reason to be completely open with them about the moral failings of my youth?

A salute to our servicemen and women: Veteran Mac Chandler shares his life story |Nov 7, 2014

WRITER’S NOTE: As Veterans Day approached, I contacted friends of mine, Mac Chandler, and his wife, Joyce, about doing an interview for the purpose of writing an article for the Tri County Record.

Ask Esther: |Nov 7, 2014

Can I Afford to Sell? My wife and I had our 3rd child this year so our 3 bedroom home is becoming cramped. Because of our mortgage, I’m not sure if we can afford to sell. How can we find out what we can get for our home?

A Look Back in History: Kutztown’s familiar Farmer Yonkers |Nov 3, 2014

Among the most endearing farmers of the area, widely seen and easily accessible, is Bryan Yonkers, a dairy farmer, whose operating farmstead is just northeast of Kutztown Borough limits along Hottenstein Road.

Ask Steve: Allergies and asthma are sometimes caused or exacerbated by bad indoor air quality |Nov 3, 2014

As a service to you and our community, I want to answer your questions so you can make educated and more informed decisions when it comes to your energy, comfort needs and saving money.

The Historian: The Ice Industry |Nov 3, 2014

Since the creeks in New Hanover Township flow into the Swamp Creek, which joins the Perkiomen Creek at Zieglersville, New Hanover is part of the Perkiomen Creek watershed and region.

Ask Esther: Clean up messy credit to get keys to dream home |Oct 27, 2014

Dear Esther – My wife and I have decided on the area we’d like to raise our kids in and found a house we love. In the process, we were disappointed to find out our credit score is not high enough to purchase.

Through My Kitchen Window: |Oct 27, 2014

It’s time! This is the week I answer your food and cooking questions, and share your favorite recipes.