All posts by Claire

Two Hundred Years of Racket: The History of Squash

Originating in London’s Fleet Prison in 1820, squash is a sport with notable history. The game, created by prisoners, was first known as “rackets”. Later, in 1830, the game migrated to some schools in England. The Harrow School is credited with the invention of the game, turning it into “squash”, because that was the noise the  ball made when it was hit against the wall. Originally the racket ball did not have a hole in it  like today’s ball.  They eventually included a ball with a hole hat there could be a better diversity of shots hit.  That small change ultimately, made a much different game, the one we know as softball squash. Continue reading Two Hundred Years of Racket: The History of Squash

Oink, Moo, Baa, Squeak, and Yum – A Day at The Farm Show

The guinea pigs and rabbits, the enormous farm machinery, lots of cows, and the fried food begin to describe the farm show. It was the Pennsylvania Farm Show, held on January 11, 2013 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Some of the animals were a result of breeding with artificial selection, which created animals unlike any I’ve ever seen prior to this.  There were white turkeys, which we learned sell better than their brown cousins. I pet a suspiciously large rabbit, and later found out that they were meant for human consumption. There were even Teddy guinea pigs that had frizzy fur.

The poultry was a different story all together.  There were black chickens with fluffy white heads. Along with the extensive collection of livestock, there was a butter sculpture, a food court and a tractor square dance. The butter sculpture was made of 1,000 pounds of donated “LandOLakes” butter, then put into a temperture controlled room with glass walls. The food court included the famous Kennet square mushrooms, funnel cake, pie, and milkshakes.

The farm show complex was huge, and took immense effort to navigate.  The competitions included sheep of many different breeds, endless rows of cows, and draft horses. The food court smelled of a mix of manure and deep fried food, which resulted in a uniquely strange smell. Surprisingly, vegetables were scarce. There were prize pies, wine and honey, and gigantic farm machinery that made us all feel small.

All in all it was an interesting experience of Pennsylvania farm culture.

~ Illustration by Thea A-L

Best Gifts to give your Furry Friend for the Holidays

Pets deserve gifts over the holidays just as much as we do, if not more.  They listen to us as we constantly complain to them, about probably meaningless things, and take us on walks and give us a reason to go outside.

Here are some of the most thoughtful gifts to give your pets over the holidays.

Anything homemade: this shows how much you care about your pet, where store-bought items are fine, but not much love is put into them.

Treats:you can actually make these at home.  go to for recipes.

Clothing: -if your pet needs a coat for the winter because they are shorthaired, a jacket is a good idea.

Time: you can literally give your pet time, playing or walking. This is the best gift of all.

Remember, the best gifts don’t always come in boxes.


When we went to Hickory Run, Taia came for the first two days with Otter, Jeff and Taia’s Deutsch-Drahthaar.  Deutsch-Drahthaars are bred for hunting, and are ideal hunters because they have an incredible sense of smell, are intelligent, and have the ability to point or indicate the direction of an object, usually prey.  Deutsch-Drahthaars are known for their intelligence and loyalty.

The commonly known German Wirehaired Pointer has evolved from the Deutsch-Drahthaar, which was developed in late 19th century Germany.  The two breeds split in the 1950’s when breeders started to breed Deutsch-Drahthaar without the standard breeding restrictions and regulations.  The restrictions and regulations involve a performance test.  Any Deutsch-Drahthaar that displays physical aggressiveness to humans would be promptly dismissed from the breeding society (Source: Verein Deutch-Drahthaar Group).

Otter is a medium sized dog.  His fur is dense and wiry, with brown and white speckles on most of his body and large brown splotches.  Otter’s eyes are dark brown and placed under prominent eyebrows.  His nose is brown, surrounded by a sophisticated moustache.  The Deutsch-Drahthaars have these moustaches and wiry coats to protect them against burrs and thorns they encounter while hunting.

Otter came out on the hike to Hawk Falls and on the Boulder Field hike.  He was obedient on both of the hikes, showing intelligence and obedience while walking nicely on a leash.  Otter loves to swim and went into the water at Hawk Falls.  So basically, in the long and short of it, Otter is an awesome dog.

~Photos courtesy of Jeff Fetterman