Click below to download PDFs.

Wildlife Home Plans (build your own)

Order form

Howard Nursery page is here 

(PRESS RELEASE MATERIAL, more houses then just bluebird boxes are available from the order form.)

The Pennsylvania Game Commission again is selling bluebird nesting boxes. The boxes sell for $11 (includes sales tax), and customers can select from assembled boxes or kits that can be assembled as a wood-working project.

Bluebird nesting boxes built by staff at Howard Nursery are available for sale at the nursery office, as well as the Game Commission’s Harrisburg headquarters, region offices, and the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area. Nesting-box kits also are available.

Right click on this link to download the PDF from the game commission site.

If you still cannot obtain the order form, email the editor and ask for one to be emailed to you.

“Also, building nesting boxes is a great project for individuals, families or civic organizations interested in connecting with wildlife. These box designs are proven to attract bluebirds and other native species, such as tree swallows and house wrens.”

Bluebirds live in open country, and are a beautiful songbird native to Pennsylvania. Bluebirds are cavity nesters and became less common due to a lack of suitable nest sites. Many nest sites have been lost through changing land-use practices, as well as to urban and suburban sprawl. But the introductions of house sparrows and starlings in 1851 and 1890 were the primary reasons for the bluebirds’ decline, as these non-native species took over native bluebird nesting cavities.

The bluebird boxes offered by the Game Commission include an opening that is the prescribed 1½  inches in diameter. This precludes starlings from being able to enter. However, house sparrows still are able to enter the boxes. If this occurs, the house sparrow nest should be removed immediately. They’re usually easy to identify; they fill up the whole nesting cavity with grasses and almost always include feathers and manmade materials in their composition. Native species such as tree swallows and house wrens should not be excluded from nest-boxes. Wrens construct nests with twigs; swallows build a nest with a distinct cup below the entrance hole.

Boxes should be placed on a free-standing pole 3 to 5 feet above the ground – facing south, if possible – and facing a nearby tree or fence where young birds can safely land on their initial flights from the box. To reduce predation and competition from other species, no perch should be placed on the box; bluebirds do not need one. Boxes placed in pairs, about 20 feet apart, may help reduce competition from swallows.

The Game Commission’s Howard Nursery has been manufacturing bluebird nest boxes and box kits for more than a quarter century. Each year, about 9,000 boxes are manufactured there and sold or provided to Pennsylvanians to help bluebirds. That annual influx of new nest boxes helps ensure Pennsylvania remains a “keystone state” in bluebird conservation.

The boxes are on sale at the Game Commission’s Harrisburg headquarters, the Howard Nursery, the Game Commission’s six region offices, and can be ordered by mail through an order form available online. Sales will continue while supplies last.

Office hours are Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at the Game Commission’s headquarters is at 2001 Elmerton Ave., just off the Progress Avenue exit of Interstate 81 in Harrisburg.

The Howard Nursery is located at 197 Nursery Road, Howard, Pa.

To order by phone, call the Game Commission’s Harrisburg office at 1-888-888-3459. If ordering by phone, shipping and handling costs will apply depending on how many boxes are ordered.

For more information on bluebirds, visit the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), hover over “Wildlife” in the menu bar at the top of the homepage, then select “Birding and Bird Conservation”, and then “Eastern Bluebird” in the Natural History section of the page. Also, information about additional wildlife nesting structures can be found by putting your cursor on “Self-Help” in the menu bar at the top of the homepage, then clicking on “Download Forms and Brochures” in the drop-down menu listing, and then clicking on “Wildlife Homes Order Form” in the “Agency Programs” section.

From a press release by the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention and Visitors Bureau in Lancaster:

Mud Sales in Lancaster County

Mud Sale is the Lancaster County term for an annual auction/sale at one of a number of local fire companies. The sales, appropriately named for the condition of the thawing ground, attract thousands of people looking for bargains on anything from Amish quilts and antiques to lumber, buggies and lawn equipment.

Most sales begin at 8:30 a.m. sharp, but activities continue throughout the day for those who wish to catch a glimpse of some local color and enjoy sampling traditional Lancaster County farm fare.

To visit the source page for this information, click here.


2015 Mud Sales


February 28, 2015
Strasburg Spring Consignment & Mud Sale
Strasburg Fire Company
46 West Main Street, Strasburg, PA 17572

March 7, 2015
Bart Township Auction & Mud Sale
Bart Township Fire Company
11 Furnace Road, Quarryville, PA 17566

March 14, 2015
Gordonville Spring Mud Sale & Auction
Gordonville Fire Company
Old Leacock Road, Gordonville, PA 17566

March 19, 2015
Farmersville Mud Sale
Famersville Volunteer Fire Company
74 East Farmersville Road, Ephrata, PA 17522

March 20-21, 2015
Penryn Volunteer Fire Company Sale
Penryn Volunteer Fire Company
1441 North Penryn Road, Manheim, PA 17545

March 21, 2015
Airville Volunteer Fire Company Mud Sale
Airville Volunteer Fire Comany
3576 Delta Road, Airville PA 17602

March 21, 2015
Fivepointville Auction
Fivepointville Fire Company
1087 Dry Tavern Road, Denver PA 17517

March 28, 2015
West Earl Fire Company Quilt & Consignment Auction
West Earl Fire Company
14 School Lane Avenue, Brownstown, PA 17508

March 28, 2015
Gap Fire Company Mud Sale & Auction
Gap Fire Company
802 Pequea Avenue, Gap, PA 17527

April 4, 2015
Robert Fulton Sale
Robert Fulton Volunteer Fire Company
2271 Robert Fulton Highway (Routes 272 & 222), Peach Bottom, PA 17563

April 11, 2015
Rawlinsville Mud Sale
Rawlinsville Volunteer Fire Company
33 Martic Heights Drive, Holtwood, PA 17532

April 11, 2015
Fivepointville Auction
Fivepointville Fire Company
1087 Dry Tavern Road, Denver PA 17517

May 2, 2015
Fivepointville Consignment Sale
Fivepointville Fire Company
1087 Dry Tavern Road, Denver PA 17517

May 9, 2015
Honey Brook Quilt Sale & Consignment Auction
Honey Brook Fire Company
Romano 4H Center, 1841 Horseshoe Pike, Honey Brook, PA 19344

May 16, 2015
Weaverland Valley Mud Sale
Weaverland Valley Fire Company
Terre Hill Community Park, 210 Lancaster Avenue, Terre Hill, PA 17528

June 25-26, 2015
Lancaster County Carriage & Antique Auction
Bird-in-Hand Volunteer Fire Company
313 Enterprise Drive, Bird In Hand, PA 17505

June 27, 2015 (tentative date)
Refton Fire Company Mud Sale
Refton Volunteer Fire Company
99 Church Street, Refton, PA 17568

August 14-15, 2015
Mennonite Central Committee Relief Auction
Solanco Fairgrounds
172 South Lime Street, Quarryville, PA 17566

August 14-15, 2015 (tentative date)
Intercourse Fire Company Consignment Auction
Intercourse Fire Company
10 North Hollander Road, Intercourse, PA 17534

August 22, 2015 (tentative date)
Bareville Fire Company Consignment Auction
Bareville Volunteer Fire Company
211 East Main Street, Leola, PA 17540

August 22, 2015 (tentative date)
Kinzer Fire Company Mud Sale
Kinzer Volunteer Fire Company
3521 Lincoln Highway East (Route 30), Kinzers

Gordonville Fall Mud Sale & Auction
Gordonville Fire Company
Old Leacock Road, Gordonville, PA 17566

Strasburg Fall Consignment & Mud Sale
Strasburg Fire Company
46 West Main Street, Strasburg, PA 17572
October 24, 2015 (tentative date)
Cochranville Fire Company Mud Sale
Cochranville Volunteer Fire Company
3135 Limestone Road, Cochranville

– See more at: http://www.discoverlancaster.com/towns-and-heritage/amish-country/amish-mud-sales.asp

from a press release:

Cook Forest programs 10-30-11-1-14

Programs at Cook Forest State Park

call ahead to register for these activities!

Thursday, October 30 at 730pm – ‘Cooners & Coyotes’     Ever listen to the caterwaulin’ whines and growls of raccoons, or witness their territorial antics?  Ever hear coyotes callin’ in Pennsylvania’s Wilds?  Please meet us at the Log Cabin Inn Environmental Learning Classroom for a driving spotlight tour to wildlife hotspots in the park.  Remember to keep your windows rolled up and fingers inside your car.  One never knows what’ll show up at night… (3 hrs).

Friday, October 31 at 800pm – ‘Cathedral by Candlelight’     Want to experience something different this year for Halloween instead of the standard “trick-or-treaters”?  Come walk back in time with us into the depths of the Forest Cathedral with an historical character from the past.  Come view the ancient forest as we walk beneath the giants by candlelight.  Either a French     Marine from the 1750’s who saw these massive trees 250 years ago, or a lumberman from the 1800’s will be there to guide us.  Candy and hot chocolate will be served at the Log Cabin Inn Environmental Learning Classroom.  Bring your flashlights!  (2 hrs)

Saturday, November 1 at 1130am – ‘Fall Foliage Fire Tower/Seneca Point Historical Tour’    Please bring your binoculars and meet at the Fire Tower Parking Lot for a 45 minute historical interpretive tour of the Fire Tower and Seneca Point.  Learn about local logging history, observe  Indian sign, and take a  breathtaking view of the fall foliage from the box at the very top of the Fire Tower which will be open until 230pm.  This is the last time the fire tower will be open to the public until next season.  (3 hrs)


Cook Forest State Park

Bureau of State Parks

P.O. Box 120

113 River Rd.

Cooksburg, PA 16217


From a Press Release
The World Races to Hershey for the 
AACA Eastern Divisional Fall Meet 
Antique Automobile Club of America Hosts 
Largest Antique Car Show in World Oct. 8 to 11, 2014
Hershey, PA.  Hershey Region and the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) welcome antique and collectible car enthusiasts from all over the world to Hershey, PA, for the Eastern Divisional Fall Meet, October 8 to 11, 2014. Admission to the public for all events is free. Visit our flea market with 3,000 vendors, wander among the 1,200+ vintage cars on display and experience the Car Corral where almost 1,000 antique cars will be up for sale. The show is open dawn to dusk, Wed. thru Sat.

On Saturday, Oct. 11, 1,250 antique vehicles will enter the show field starting at 7:00 a.m., spectator’s welcome, and judging begins at 10:00 a.m. Free programs for kids and adults. At 12:00 p.m. in front of the Giant Center, Hershey Region will celebrate 100 Years of Dodge and 50 Years of the fabulous street hemi to include a birthday cake treat. Pappy Hemi will explain how he powered Richard Petty and others to NASCAR fame. Youth are invited to a hands-on activity, using tools, to help dis-assemble a mini bike and Dodge memorabilia will be on display throughout the day. Free give-a-way for kids.


Top 5 Reasons to Attend the AACA Eastern Fall Meet at Hershey:1.    It’s the largest true antique car show in the world!

2.    Free admission to spectators!
3.    Vintage race car demonstration!
4.    3,000 flea market vendors!
5.    The largest collection of antique cars for sale in one location!

Additional free programs scheduled: Thursday, Oct. 9, 7:00 p.m., Old Time Movies, Music Box Theatre, Hersheypark; Friday, Oct. 10, 11:00 a.m., Race Car Condition Run, Hersheypark Stadium, and immediately following, the Hughes High Wheeler event; 7:00 p.m., Friday Night Talent Show, Music Box Theatre, Hersheypark.

All events are held on the grounds surrounding Hersheypark and the Giant Center.

Interested in selling your antique car in the Car Corral or for additional information, please visit our website at www.hersheyaaca.org or call 717-566-7720.

From a press release:

Game farm tours set for Sept. 28, game lands driving tours to follow.

Those looking to gain perspective into Pennsylvania’s wildlife, habitat and hunting heritage will have several opportunities in the coming weeks to take one or more tours being offered by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

The Game Commission on Sunday, Sept. 28 is scheduled to host guided tours of its four game farms – two in Lycoming County and one each in Armstrong and Crawford counties.
And Sunday driving tours on several tracts of state game lands across the Commonwealth are planned for Oct. 5, Oct. 12 and Oct. 19.

The Sept. 28 game farm tours all will begin at noon and conclude by 3 p.m., and will be held rain or shine.
Those taking a tour will get a comprehensive look at the Game Commission’s pheasant propagation program, which again this year aims to raise about 200,000 birds to provide hunting opportunities statewide. Tour stops include hatcheries, brooder houses and the rearing, “grow out” and over-wintering pens. The tours also will inform on the objectives in propagation management, including the importance of sportsmen’s clubs and members of the public raising day-old hen chicks hatched at the farms, ultimately to provide hunting opportunities.

The tours of state game lands provide an opportunity to talk to the personnel directly responsible for managing and protecting game lands, and four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended for those taking driving tours on some tracts.

Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough said the tours provide an opportunity to show the public the many things being accomplished for wildlife and for Pennsylvania’s hunters.

The state game lands system provides hunting and trapping opportunities on more than 1.4 million acres statewide, and many game lands tracts are stocked annually with pheasants raised through the propagation program.

“We are exceptionally proud of our state game lands and our pheasant propagation program, and these tours provide an ideal setting for our staff to interact with the public and show them the many reasons why we’re so proud of these initiatives,” Hough said.
With autumn nearly here, Hough said, the tours should provide a splash of color and some of the best scenery the Commonwealth has to offer.

The state game lands system has a long history in Pennsylvania. The Game Commission in 1919 was granted authority to purchase lands for the protection, propagation and management of wildlife, and provide areas for public hunting and trapping. Today, tracts of state game lands exist in all but Philadelphia and Delaware counties. Collectively, game lands make up a land base greater in size than the state of Delaware.

With few exceptions, state game lands were purchased using revenues from hunting and furtaker license sales; state game lands timber, coal, oil, gas and mineral operation revenues; the state’s share of the federal excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition, known as the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program; from Working Together for Wildlife artwork and patch sales; and from the Pennsylvania Waterfowl Management stamp and print sales.

Information on the tours is as follows:

All to be held on Sunday, Sept. 28, from noon to 3 p.m. Directions to the game farms are as follows:

· Loyalsock Game Farm: Lycoming County, 136 Game Farm Rd., Montoursville, PA 17754. The game farm is five miles north of Montoursville on Route 87. The game farm is 1.5 miles east of Warrensville on Route 973. Tour starts at the hatchery.

· Northcentral Game Farm: Lycoming County, 1609 Proctor Rd., Williamsport, PA 17701. The game farm is 18 miles north of Montoursville off of Route 87. Tour starts at the hatchery of the Proctor (northern) farm.

· Western Game Farm: Crawford County, 25761 Highway 408, Cambridge Springs, PA 16403. The game farm is 3.5 miles east of Cambridge Springs on Route 408. Tour starts at the office/hatchery.

· Southwest Game Farm: Armstrong County, 217 Pheasant Farm Rd., New Bethlehem, PA 16242. The game farm is two miles south of New Bethlehem off Routes 66/28. Tour starts at the office/hatchery.


· Bedford and Blair counties: Sunday, Oct. 12, from noon to 3 p.m., State Game Lands 26, which encompasses 12,062 acres in a four-county area. This popular tour highlights mountainous terrain and fall foliage. The 7-mile, self-guided auto tour begins at the parking area on the northeast side of Route 869, between Pavia and Beaverdale, and concludes near the village of Blue Knob. Tour participants can scan the scenery for mounted wildlife specimens strategically placed along the route, as well as identification tags placed on examples of tree and shrubs beneficial to wildlife. Game Commission personnel will be on hand to answer questions relating to Game Commission programs and activities.

· Berks and Schuykill counties: Sunday, Oct. 19, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A vehicle tour of State Game Lands 110, which encompasses nearly 10,150 acres of historical, scenic and recreational property. The nine-mile trip will begin at the agency’s parking lot on Mountain Road, midway between the Shartlesville exit of Interstate 78 and Route 61. The tour will exit onto Route 183, north of Strausstown. Game Commission officers will be on hand to answer questions relating to Game Commission programs and activities. Also please note that due to the previously announced construction project on Ellendale Forge Road, the State Game Lands 211 tour will not be held this year. State Game Lands 211 is in Dauphin and Lebanon counties.

· Bradford County: Sunday, Oct. 5, State Game Lands 12, from 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. (rain or shine). This is a 28-mile, self-guided, circular driving tour through State Game Lands 12, and will take about two hours to complete. State Game Lands 12 consists of nearly 24,480 acres in Bradford County. The route will start at the game lands parking lot on top of Wheelerville Mountain on state Route 154, just south of Canton, Bradford County. Roads are passable for most vehicles, four-wheel drive is not needed but a good ground clearance is advised. The route travels east to the Barclay Cemetery, then down the hill to Laquin before turning west onto the railroad grade to Wheelerville. The tour ends at the intersection with state Route 154 in Wheelerville. From there, those on the tour can travel north on state Route 154 to Canton, or south to Shunk in Sullivan County. The tour goes by Sunfish Pond County Park so a picnic lunch may be the order of the day! Those taking the tour are sure to find the local history of the mountain and the Game Commission’s refuge system is intriguing. A pocket guide full of historical information and photographs will be provided to each vehicle at the start of the tour.

· Cambria County: Sunday, Oct. 19, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., State Game Lands 108, consisting of 23,086 acres. This 7.5-mile, self-guided, one-way, driving tour will highlight mountainous terrain and fall foliage on the Allegheny front. Items of interest along the tour route include a rehabilitated strip-mined area, which has been converted to small-game habitat. The area also serves as a study area for grassland nesting birds, including the Henslow’s sparrow, a grassland species of special concern. Northern harriers and endangered short-eared owls also inhabit the study area. Also highlighted are tree and shrub identification, wildlife habitat food plots and a deer exclosure fence. Each tour participant will be provided a brochure with directions and information about features along the tour route. The tour begins at the game lands access road three-tenths of a mile north of Frugality, along state Route 53, in White Township. Watch for the sign. The tour will conclude on state Route 865, near Blandburg in Reade Township. Game Commission land management, forestry, wildlife management, and law enforcement personnel will be on hand to explain the various habitat improvement projects on this state game lands, and to answer questions.

· Carbon County: Sunday, Oct. 5, State Game Lands 141, which consists of nearly 17,048 acres. Registration will be held from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. at the large parking lot along state Route 93 on State Game Lands 141, Nesquehoning Township. Game Commission personnel will be on hand to explain various points of interest, including wildlife habitat-improvement projects. Four-wheel-drive vehicles with high clearance are recommended for this 9-mile, self-guided driving tour. The tour will begin at the large parking area on the east side state Route 93 and travels east on a game lands road toward the Lehigh Gorge State Park, and back to state Route 93, exiting at the parking lot across from the game lands shooting range. The tour will pass habitat-improvement projects completed by the game lands Food and Cover Corps crew located in Carbon County, along with the National Wild Turkey Federation, The Nature Conservancy, and the Ruffed Grouse Society. Representatives from the Game Commission and conservation organizations will be on hand to explain the projects and answer questions. Directions: Take state Route 93 north from state Route 209 and proceed 3.5 miles and turn right into the parking lot. Proceed through the gate on a dirt road. Each vehicle will be provided a map and brief explanation of wildlife and habitat management programs being carried out on this magnificent tract of public hunting land.

· Elk County: Sunday, Oct. 12, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., State Game Lands 311. Start at the state game lands gate at the end of Dewey Road on Winslow Hill. For more information, contact the Game Commission Northcentral Region Office at 570-398-4744.

· Luzerne and Wyoming counties: Sunday, Oct. 5, State Game Lands 57, which consists of nearly 44,600 acres. Registration to be held from 7:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. at the headquarters building complex on State Game Lands 57, Ricketts Station, Forkston Township, Wyoming County. Game Commission personnel will be on hand to explain various points of interest, including wildlife habitat-improvement projects. Four-wheel-drive vehicles with high clearance are required for this 30-mile, self-guided driving tour. The tour will pass habitat-improvement projects completed by the State Game Lands 57 Food and Cover Corps crew, along with the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Quality Deer Management Association and Ducks Unlimited. Representatives from the Game Commission and conservation organizations will be on hand to explain the projects and answer questions. Directions: Take state Route 487 north from state Route 118 and proceed 7.5 miles. Turn right onto the dirt road near the game lands sign on the right. Travel 0.1 miles to “Y” intersection and proceed 0.3 miles to the headquarters complex. Each vehicle will be provided a map and brief explanation of wildlife and habitat-management programs being carried out on this magnificent tract of public hunting land.

# # #

From a Press Release:

Morris Arboretum’s Grist Mill Demonstration Day

On Sunday, September 21 from noon-3pm, Morris Arboretum hosts Grist Mill Demonstration Day at Bloomfield Farm (across the street from garden’s main entrance).  Visit this historic creek-side flour mill to watch one-ton millstones grind corn kernels, and observe 160 year old machinery transport and sift the ground corn to produce meal.  This same process will be used to ground flour, which will be added to the ingredients to bake muffins on site.  Guided by volunteers, including Craig San Pietro pictured here, kids and adults will enjoy grinding their own flour on the pedal powered mill.  Free for members.  $5 for non-members or free with regular garden admission.  For more information about Morris Arboretum, please check the website, www.morrisarboretum.org, or call 215-247-5777.

PWDSC00066 Craig SanPietro talking in mill

From a Press Release:

For more details or tickets, visit www.PANational.org.

The US Show Jumping team, currently in silver medal position at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, will fly their horses home to the United States in time to compete at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, held at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA October 9–18.  Last year’s show jumping competition was dominated by the riders from Ireland. Come cheer on the American riders as they seek to reclaim top honors at one of America’s most competitive events.


With more than $485,000 in prize money, 1,400 horses and 20,000 spectators over the ten days of competition, the challenge of winning a blue ribbon is intense. But competition is interspersed with special attractions that add variety and fun, and the shopping is not to be missed. New this year, limited engagement vendors will be on the main concourse during Junior Weekend (October 9–12), coupled with Trunk Shows on the North Balcony and an expanded number of vendors.

The show begins Thursday, October 9 with “Junior Weekend,” including three national championships for accomplished riders age 18 and under.  Bring the children to “Discovery Day”, Saturday, October 11 from 1-4 pm, and go behind the scenes of one of the country’s largest and most prestigious equestrian events with a knowledgeable tour guide.  Face painting and activities just for kids are all included in the price of admission. The Pennsylvania Equine Council will also have horses to meet and pet representing a variety of breeds.  Behind the scenes tours are offered again on Family Day, Friday, October 17 from 4-7 pm, when the evening lineup of events includes a Meet & Greet with the dynamic Canadian Cowgirls, Jack Russell terrier races and a Celebrity Challenge 5-Drum Barrel Race sponsored by Faulkner Dodge Ram in which Grand Prix riders race head-to-head against the Cowgirls.

Adult week (October 13-18) begins with two days of professional Hunter competition during the day. The popular Hunt Night on Monday the 13th celebrates the sport of foxhunting as riders from the mid-Atlantic’s numerous hunts gather for an evening of individual and team competition. The Parade of Foxhounds brings the foxhunting atmosphere to the Farm Show Complex.

New in 2014 is the Equine Comeback Challenge, presented by Penn Vet New Bolton Center in partnership with A Home For Every Horse.  Ten trainers, paired with mature but untrained horses rescued from abuse situations or the slaughter pipeline, were given three months to earn the trust of and train their charges. They will demonstrate their readiness for a new career in a trail class starting at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, October 14, after which the horses will be available for adoption. Admission on Tuesday only is free—donations to the PNHS Foundation, which provides grants to rescues and other equine non-profits, are welcome. Before then, follow the trainers’ progress at panational.org.

Show Hunters compete during the day for the remainder of the show and the country’s top professional riders compete each evening Wednesday through Saturday, October 15-18, in exciting jumper classes. Wednesday’s class is the new $10,000 Dash for the Cash speed class. On Thursday the Pennsylvania Big Jump presented by Wilmington Trust offers $40,000 in prize money, and on Friday the $33,000 Keystone Speed Classic helps to determine the Open Jumper Speed Champion.  The show’s signature event, the $85,000 Grand Prix de Penn National, is the featured attraction Saturday night.

Featured Wednesday through Saturday, October 15-18, are the crowd-pleasing, energetic and entertaining Canadian Cowgirls, a precision mounted drill team.  The 12-member troupe from Ontario is renowned for intricate maneuvers, stunning costumes and uplifting spirits. The team and their horses, all of which double as therapy horses, have marched in the 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade, won the Best Equestrian Entry at the Indianapolis 500 Parade and performed for HRH Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwell.

The competition on Military Night, October 15, begins at 7:30 pm with free admission for active and retired military and first responders thanks to sponsors Yards Brewing Company and W&L Sales.  In addition to the exciting Dash for the Cash speed jumper class, the evening features a special salute to the military by the Canadian Cowgirls and a rollicking agility demonstration by the Jet Set Flyball Dogs.

Every day, more than 60 vendors provide hours of shopping fun. Browse stand after stand of art, antiques, fine gifts, clothing and leather goods, jewelry, saddlery and tack, and horse show merchandise. Shops are open 11 am to 8 pm daily.

The Pennsylvania National Horse Show begins at 8 am or earlier each morning and continues throughout the evening. Tickets are $12, $7 for students and seniors age 65+ October 9-13; $15 for adults and $10 for students and ages 65+ October 15-17; children under six are admitted free every day.  Admission is free on Tuesday, October 14. On Saturday, October 18, general admission is $20 for adults, $10 for seniors and students and reserved seating is available ranging from $25 to $50. Parking is free. Proceeds benefit community equine and youth programs, to which it has donated over $1.5 million to charitable entities. For more details or tickets, visit www.PANational.org.

From a press release:

Historic Ephrata Cloister Hosts Second Annual Artisans Faire


Over 20 local artists and vendors will be at the Historic Ephrata Cloister on Saturday, September 20, from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. for the museum’s second annual Artisans Faire. Enjoy the opportunity to explore the historic site at your own pace, take a guided tour, and spend time with nationally recognized artisans, all for a special reduced admission rate of just $7.00 for adults that day.


Visitors will be able to see and purchase examples of traditional Pennsylvania German Folk Arts and Crafts, such as Fraktur and Scherenschnitte, as well as engage with artisans demonstrating weaving, pottery, wood carving, metal work, broom and furniture making. In addition, local photographer Les Martzall will also have his photography on display. Make sure to grab a snack from the “Dude with the Dogs” food truck and support our volunteer bake sale during your visit. All admission proceeds from the Artisans Faire will benefit future educational programming at the Ephrata Cloister.

Historic Ephrata Cloister is one of the historic sites and museums administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (www.phmc.state.pa.us ) along the Pennsylvania Trails of History in partnership with the Ephrata Cloister Associates. Persons with disabilities who need special assistance or accommodation should call in advance to discuss their needs.


Early Nineteenth Century Painted Buffalo Hide Robe 
Now on Display at the Reading Public Museum


June 30, 2014 – Reading, Pa. – The Reading Public Museum is pleased to announce the display of one of its most important objects, a painted buffalo hide robe from the early decades of the nineteenth century. The hide robe will be on view, alongside addition objects from Plains nations including the Lakota, in The Museum’s North American Indian Gallery on the first floor. Less than 30 examples survive from this early period, and pictorial buffalo hides are among the most impressive early contact objects.

Probably painted in the Northern Missouri River area, this extraordinary pictorial buffalo hide painting likely depicts a battle scene featuring more than 50 human figures and 18 green, red, and black horses. The scenes are arranged in registers across the “canvas” of the buffalo hide, above and below the central seam. The action ranges from warriors on horseback bearing circular shields, shooting arrows, and swinging clubs, to hand to hand combat and other skirmishes between enemies. There are at least three guns among the weapons pictured and one scalping scene.

The complex subject matter of the robe represents a tradition known as Plains biographical painting. Expertly tanned by women, buffalo hides were worn by both men and women, and used in the recording and proclaiming of a warrior’s exploits. The execution of the hide painting certainly took place before the middle of the nineteenth century, a period from which very few examples survive. Early examples from this period are part of the Peabody Museum at Harvard, one of which was collected from the Mandan tribe in 1805 on the famous Lewis and Clark expedition and shipped to President Thomas Jefferson.

The painted buffalo hide robes were worn wrapped lengthwise around the body, and the painted designs were visible in cold weather, when the fur was turned to the inside. Most, including the current example, retain the stake holes through which pegs were driven during the dressing process.

The Plains nations depended on the buffalo for food, and its hides for shelter and clothing. By the mid-1880s, buffalo were at the brink of extinction, having been over-hunted for their hides. Despite this decline, buffalo and their hides, along with feather headdresses and fringed, beaded clothing, became standard North American Indian symbols in twentieth-century popular culture.

The Reading Public Museum is supported in part by grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and is located at 500 Museum Road, Reading, Pa. Admission per day is: $10 adults (18-64), $6 children/seniors/college students (w/ID) and free to Members and children three years old and under. The Museum is open daily 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Web: www.readingpublicmuseum.org


“Who Lives Here?” at Morris Arboretum’s Garden Railway Opens Memorial Day Weekend !

Make tracks to Morris Arboretum this Memorial Day weekend and kick off the summer with the Grand Opening of the Garden Railway Display, celebrating its 16th year!  This year’s theme “Who Lives Here?” will utilize the houses as a fun way to engage kids by using their own imagination. Clues will be built into the houses, which visitors can use to determine who lives there.  The buildings will be fanciful dwellings, such as a really, really tall giraffe’s house offset by a tiny little home for a hummingbird. A coiled house for a snake will feature shingles that resemble scales, and a possum’s home will hang upside down from a tree. This year’s display will again, surely delight visitors both young and old.

Grand Opening activities will take place on Saturday, May 24 from 1-3pm, including free ice cream (while supplies last) beginning at 1pm.

With a changing theme each year, the Garden Railway display is a miniature world with a quarter mile track running through it, all set in the splendor of Morris Arboretum’s summer garden.  It features loops and tunnels, bridges and trestles and all of the miniature buildings are created entirely of natural materials, each meticulously detailed with leaves, bark, vines and twigs. Logs and branches are also used to create unique tunnels and overhead trestles. Nestled among woody plants, colorful annuals and perennials, the finished product is an enchanting landscape that never ceases to delight visitors both young and old. Free with regular admission. Check out www.morrisarboretum.org for special events all summer long.

Garden Railway is open every day through Labor Day, September 1st, from 10am to 4pm during the week and 10am to 5pm on weekends.  After September 1st, the Railway will remain open on the weekends from 10am-5pm through Columbus Day, October 13.  On Wednesday evenings in June, July and August, the Arboretum is open until 8:00 pm and the trains will run until 7:30pm.  Special weekends are planned throughout the summer, including Thomas the Train Engine Week, Circus Week and other surprise events.

Thomas the Train Engine & Friends Weekend  Saturday, July 12 and Sunday July 13 and an additional weekend Saturday, August 2 and Sunday August 3. Come visit the Garden Railway and see Thomas & Friends take over the tracks.

Circus Week at the Garden Railway  Daily Saturday, June 28 through Sunday, July 6 and an encore week Saturday August 23 through Monday, September 1. The first circus was held in Philadelphia in 1793.  Come see the Big Top and the circus trains, learn the history of the circus and watch for a few surprises.

During your visit, be sure to stop at The Shop at Morris Arboretum for unique Arboretum-branded merchandise.  The Shop specializes in, environmentally-friendly reuse of materials, and items inspired by nature, with an emphasis on birding this season.  And for the person, who has everything, think about the gift of a Morris Arboretum membership, the gift that lasts all year long.

The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is located at 100 East Northwestern Avenue in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia.  The 92-acre horticulture display garden features a spectacular collection of mature trees in a beautiful and colorful landscape. The Arboretum includes numerous picturesque spots such as a formal rose garden, historic water features, a swan pond, and the only remaining freestanding fernery in North America. A new permanent nationally award winning exhibit, Out on a Limb – a Tree Adventure adds to Morris Arboretum’s allure by transporting visitors 50 feet up into the treetops on a canopy walk that requires no climbing.  The Morris Arboretum’s new Horticulture Center Complex has received Platinum Level LEED® Certification, the highest sustainability rating of the U.S. Green Building Council. For more information, visitwww.morrisarboretum.org.