FHA Newsletter 2020-07 July/August


FHA Newsletter 2020-07 July/August


July/August, 2020 Volume 39 Number 7


Open Meeting/Webinar Scheduled for Thursday, July 16 at 7 pm

The FHA board invites you to a webinar in which board members will present an overview of important issues that confront the FHA. This is in lieu of an open meeting that we would normally hold at this time of year. Three presentations are planned.  Click on a link to read an update on a specific topic.

Before attending the meeting, you will need to download the Zoom Client for Meetings. You can do this for free, and it should work on most recent operating systems.

More information will be sent by email to all Fearrington residents, including instructions on how to access the meeting.



“Old age ain’t no place for sissies” said Bette Davis. If you are old enough to have a solid memory of her, then you are old enough to know what she meant. Of course, like me, when we look into the mirror we do not say “I am old”, we say “I’m getting older.” Perhaps this is not merely avoiding reality, for as Mark Twain observed, “I am aware that I am very old now, but I am also aware that I have never been so young, in spirit.”

While there is some diversity of ages in Fearrington Village, most of us fall into the “old-ER” group. And most of us probably have the same reaction as Twain. I often wonder what there is about our village that attracted so many accomplished, spirited, and very smart people. These are people who have often fled the hectic pace of cities for our semi-rural village, where our entry is greeted by whirligigs and cows and goats in a field.

It seems clear that our landscaping is one attraction. Unlike many developers who take the easy path and clear cut all the trees to build, Fitch Creations has built to save the trees and create some level of privacy. But I think the big attraction is community – people who share and support each other in neighborhoods as people do in small towns. A perfect example is Fearrington Cares, an organization of volunteers who believe that when neighbors help neighbors, everyone benefits. Today, Fearrington Cares is recognized as one of the most dynamic and effective non-profit community care organizations in the nation.

The sense of community is strengthened when I meet residents on my walks. I do not pass anyone without saying hello, and the response is always positive. Try that in many cities and it would frighten people. We all need the support our village offers.

However, some things might surprise people in our community, which has grown to the size of many small towns. We rely on our residents to provide the backbone of services; our FHA Board, its committees and many volunteers, make things work, where in a town there would be a structure of paid employees. This takes a lot of work. Take, for example, the work being done to ensure a good waste treatment process. Many, like me, may have asked if the village had a sewage system; glad to hear “yes” we find later that it is a village system, not one provided by the County. Now we rely on a committee of volunteers to determine what this might imply for the future of the village.

Our community differs from cities or large towns in that we who live here must take care of our properties, down to the street level for things like tree limbs that block visibility on roadways, or drainage canals that border or cross our property. We all rely on each other to observe our village covenants. In our village those are not just meaningless rules, they are guidelines that are needed to preserve the quality of life that all of us enjoy.

To help FHA keep us an informed village takes new approaches to communications. By the time you read this we will have announced our first open meeting via webinar (see above). We did it in response to the Coronavirus, but it may offer a new path for reaching more of us than the 100 or so who typically attend the open meetings, and perhaps use it then for other presentations. Our newsletter has taken a new path for more articles and features in an electronic format and we have gotten a lot of positive feedback on that. Our website has been evolving. All this is to better inform us all and provide a way to hear from more of us. The goal is to maintain and improve the village feel that caused us to choose a home here.

Carl Angel



Dinah McAllister
Caroline Taylor
Diane Vannais

Email all submissions to: editors@fearringtonfha.org, in the body of the message or as an MS Word attachment. No PDF files please.


Judith Andersson, Arleen DeLuca, Carol Kurtz, and Marji Maarschalkerweerd (chair)

Deadline for submissions to the September issue:
August 15

  • All submitters will receive a confirmation email. Contact the editor if you don’t receive this confirmation.
  • Submissions are limited to 150 words for village groups and 100 words for outside groups. FHA submissions are not restricted.
  • Items to be listed on the calendar page must be listed separately.
  • Articles may be edited for space and formatted at the editors’ discretion

For more information: see website: www.fearringtonfha.org


President: Carl Angel

Vice President: Rose Krasnow

Secretary: Leslee Shell

Treasurer: Tony Daniels

Director-Communications: Gordon Pitz

Director-Community Affairs: Margaret (Maggie) Tunstall

Director-Covenants: Eric Frank

Director-Grounds and Landscaping: Jesse Fearrington

Director-Health, Safety and Security: Warren Ort

Director-Infrastructure and Facilities: Mark Haslam


Dear Readers,

It is with full and grateful hearts that we are saying farewell as editors of your monthly FHA Newsletter, effective with this issue. The future looks as though there will be a decided emphasis on the electronic version for people to read more easily on computers, smartphones, and tablets. Because of this technical trend, formatting as you have been used to seeing in the print version will not be necessary. These upcoming changes convinced us to pass the baton to others, led by Communications Director, Gordon Pitz.

Serving as your editors has been a privilege and a labor of love. We hope that we have provided you with accurate and pertinent information, all of which was generated by the articles you submitted for publication. It’s been a cooperative effort and we applaud your participation in making the newsletter a vital communication tool for the community. Our hope is that the newer tool will be a successful.

Thank you for your support of us and the work we have done. We leave with many great memories of the years at this “job.” We will miss working with those of you who volunteered to be the voice for your particular club or group. Please continue to see that your news gets out to the community because it is so important.

Again, thank you for allowing us to serve. Volunteering never felt so good and we heartily recommend it.

Dinah, Diane, and Caroline




It is with great regret that the FHA Board must say farewell to the three editors who have guided and nurtured the newsletter for over 15 years. Dinah McAllister, Caroline Taylor, and Diane Vannais have shared the editorial duties, and steered the newsletter through a number of changes at the local and national levels. They have asked to step down once the July issue is safely completed. The board is very, very grateful for all the time and effort they have invested, and for what they have accomplished.

Fortunately, two highly qualified residents have agreed to take over the reins. Jan Kowal has lived in Fearrington for six years. She spent most of her working years with Berkeley County Library System, where she founded and developed newsletters for them. After moving to Fearrington she has edited the newsletter for a church where she was secretary. Most recently she has helped prepare features and news for the FHA website.

Ann Fox Melchior is a relative newcomer to the village. Beginning in high school, she has had extensive experience writing for and editing newsletters and other publications. She worked on community newsletters for two large residential communities in Maryland, as well as creating and editing material for newcomers in these communities.

Are you interested in helping to edit the newsletter?

The success of the newsletter has always depended on the willingness of volunteers to manage every stage of its production. The work involved in editing the newsletter is more than can be asked of two people.

We seek a few people who are interested and willing to assist. Prior experience would be helpful but is not essential. Someone who has experience with layout, design, editing, and proofreading, and some proficiency using software such as MS Word, would be welcomed. But anyone who is interested in promoting communication between residents, the clubs, and the FHA Board, using the newsletter as the vehicle, would be of great help. We can offer training in the necessary skills.

If you are interested in exploring this opportunity, please send an email to communications@fhaboard.org, with the subject “Newsletter Editor”.


A few weeks ago, when the state initiated Phase 2 of its reopening plan, it appeared there could be a gradual but steady relaxation of the restrictions that had been imposed earlier. Unfortunately, the published statistics on COVID-19 since then have been disappointing, and given our more vulnerable population we must exercise extra care. Plans for opening facilities in Fearrington have progressed slowly. Some shops in the village are open, if only for limited hours. The Belted Goat does not yet offer indoor seating, and the Roost is open but without live music.

FHA had hoped to partially reopen the Gathering Place. However, doing that may place at risk the volunteers who have staffed the Hospitality Office at The Gathering Place. These volunteers feel it is not yet safe enough. We continue to explore ways in which a partial opening could eventually be implemented, but we cannot predict how long that will take.

The changes in distribution of the newsletter, delivering paper copies only to those who could not access the newsletter electronically, will probably continue through the fall. Meanwhile we are discussing ways in which paper copies might eventually be made available for those who prefer them. It is still not possible to say when or if this might happen.

The continued threat and uncertainty reemphasize the need to preserve a sense of community within the village, but perhaps in different ways. One way the FHA Board will try to do that is by holding the equivalent of open board meetings online. By the time you read this we may have held our first webinar. It is an experiment, but we hope to do this again and do it better with experience.

All of us have to look for ways in which we can help one another. Often this involves nothing more than sensitivity to others. A friendly greeting, even at a distance while wearing a mask, is never unwelcome. And gestures to indicate that one is concerned about the health and safety of fellow residents are never amiss.

— Gordon Pitz, communications@fhaboard.org


The FHA Board is keenly aware of the need to ensure that expenditures are in line with our fiscal responsibilities and residents’ expectations. This year the Board is addressing two key concerns in preserving our community. Probably neither of these is foremost in residents’ minds. Yet they are most important, largely because maintaining our grounds is the usually the single largest expenditure for the FHA.

  1. An outside engineering firm has been hired to evaluate the Beechmast pond area and provide alternatives for its use. Over the last four years we have spent an average of just over $14,000 a year to maintain the area. Much of the expense involves removing sediment from the pond. Are there alternatives for the land that the pond occupies? Once the evaluation is complete, the community will have an opportunity to review the options and vote on which is preferred. Of course, maintaining the status quo will be one of the alternatives.
  2. Transfers of parcels of land containing our forests and walking paths, referred to as “common properties,” from Fitch Creations to a Homeowners Association (HOA) has proven to be a major undertaking. In 1999 the state passed laws regulating the transfer of “common properties” to an HOA. Since Fearrington Village was formed prior to these regulations, the Long Range Planning Committed (LRPC) requested that the board engage a lawyer to understand our obligations. The lawyer’s conclusion is that Fitch Creations will be transferring common property to either the FHA or to a Service Group. At this time, the LRPC has not presented its recommendations to the board.

Presently Fitch Creations wants to transfer two retention ponds and the walking paths along East Camden and Millcroft. This is estimated to add approximately $9,000 in additional expenditures on an annual basis.

Many of our residents move to Fearrington Village from towns or other municipalities. Municipalities provide many services to their residents that are not provided by the FHA. Responsibility for these services thereby falls on our residents. Recently the Board has received complaints about ditches that are not draining properly, and trees that are interfering with traffic along our roads. In responding to these complaints we found in every case that the problem lay with property that is not owned by the FHA. While the FHA and service groups have continued the practice by Fitch Creations of mowing the shoulders of our roads, the FHA is not responsible for maintaining the ditches and trees unless they are on FHA property.



When we purchased homes and took up residence in Fearrington Village, in effect we bought into the vision of the Village, its physical setting, its ambiance, and its lifestyle. The Fearrington Homeowners Association (FHA) is developing a Community Assessment Survey to ascertain the views of Fearrington residents about life in the Village. This survey will seek your opinions about issues affecting the unique lifestyle and infrastructure that defines our community.

Over the next several months the FHA’s Long-Range Planning Committee (LRPC), through its Lifestyle Subcommittee, will design, conduct, and analyze a survey of all residents of the Village. This process will involve several steps and will eventually provide information about issues that residents believe are important. The process is still evolving, but will include an initial questionnaire followed by a survey using an on-line survey tool. The survey will be supported by a research professional who will assist in question development, making sure we eliminate bias, and in the analysis of results.

In the next several weeks, random residents will be contacted, asked to participate, and sent an open-ended questionnaire to help define issues of importance. From the preliminary data, a survey instrument will be developed and distributed by email, post, or hand delivery to all Village residents in the Fall. After analysis of the data, using appropriate statistical procedures, the results will be reported to residents, by both written report and by one or more open meetings.

This study will provide a set of guidelines for the Village within which change can occur. We hope that everyone will participate. You are Fearrington Village, and it is essential that your voice be heard. We look forward to receiving everyone’s input!


I sometimes make the analogy that budget reports are like weather reports – they are only accurate for the day they are given, and they are influenced by many factors beyond our control. In order to project the future, budgets are made largely on the basis of historical data, which are susceptible to any number of intervening forces.

This is the summary balance sheet from the end of April, taken from financial reports provided by the management company (May figures are not available at newsletter deadline). If you want to see the entire updated budget (including May) it will be posted on the FHA website.

Balance Sheet (2020-04-30)

ASSETS:   Operating Accounts:      $211,517.39

                  Reserves:                   $660,199.86

TOTAL ALL ACCOUNTS:               $871,717.25 Accrued method

YTD 2020 Operating Expense Budget: Annual: $230,252.25 (after $70,040 to Reserves)

Operating Income:                      YTD Budget: $196,118.93           Actual: $209,683.07

Operating Expenses:                   YTD Budget:   $81,947.72           Actual:   $80,491.16

Minor Showers are expected. They are listed here because we are mid-way through our budget cycle and a few line items are either over or under budget, largely due to some upheaval in economic forces. COVID-19 has interrupted all our daily lives. We are staying home more, changing entertainment expenses, and experiencing shortages at the grocery store. FHA budgets are also impacted. We have lost revenue from Gathering Place rentals, copier usage and the like, but we have contracts to honor and the grass still grows. Like you, the board has had to change the way it communicates and hold meetings, so our software and technical support costs have increased. It just means that in order to balance our budget by year-end we will need to be judicious in other line-item expenditures.

  1. Short-term Revenue Short Falls: GP rentals, copier usage, fax machine
  2. Expense overage concerns: Computer technical help, Legal Fees for understanding land transfers and Wastewater options.

Mitigated Storms are forecast, but these were anticipated, and are within our budget and reserves.

  1. Creekwood Mail Kiosk is to be rebuilt this summer. Mark Haslam, Facilities Director has posted proposed changes at the kiosk and is getting resident feedback. $29,000 are identified in Reserves plus $45,000 for letterboxes to be used at separate times. However, it is important to have a solid foundation before replacing various elements. We intend to take out a couple of trees, replace decking, expand the roofline, and replace the boxes with newer ones. We are currently getting contractor bids. During reconstruction postal service will temporarily be transferred to the Swim and Croquet Kiosk.
  2. A Community Assessment Survey ($12,000) will be conducted this year. The Long Range Planning Committee is preparing a several step process, but everyone will have an opportunity to participate in the eventual survey. We will retain an outside consultant to review the process and interpret the findings, which we will share with you. Your survey input will help guide our budgeting process for the next few years. (See separate article on FHA Assessment Survey.)
  3. An Environmental Engineer’s Study of Beechmast Pond ($7,500) is currently underway and is included in the reserve funds. Decisions about future modifications will need your input, and will have to be addressed in future budgets.

Major Depressions are circulating. Some of these may affect us directly, or may be mitigated by outside high or low pressure systems and may resolve themselves. Final impacts are currently unknown until the issues develop further and more information becomes available.

  1. Management Company Contract – Our contract with Towne Properties is up for renewal. Requests for Proposals have been distributed to a dozen companies.
  2. Wastewater Treatment (see article published next in this newsletter)
  3. Future Land Transfers – These are part of the agreement set in the original articles. Most of these are not large, but they will require new maintenance expenditures. Although land transfers do not occur every year, several will probably come our way by year’s end. (See the article in this issue on Maintaining Village Grounds.)
  4. Beechmast Pond Results – The report from the engineer study will be available late this summer. Community input will then be needed to determine the final direction and costs. (Again, see the article on Maintaining Village Grounds.)
  5. Implementing Community Survey Findings – The findings won’t be known until year-end, but will they will establish priorities that guide future spending and investment.
  6. Covenant Reform – Assessment, Governance

Final outcomes of these developing storms may take several years of collaboration among all of us, as individuals and organizations, to complete.  Some revision of the covenants may affect who is responsible for what and who pays any assessments. An equitable sharing of responsibility and costs is essential in preserving our bucolic Village lifestyle and amenities. Unfortunately nothing we enjoy is free.

Additional question or comments?  Please email Tony Daniels, treasurer@fhaboard.org.



The Wastewater Management Task Force continues to meet on a regular basis to discuss issues related to the Fearrington Wastewater Treatment Facility. The Evidentiary Hearing, which had been postponed from January to June to allow all the parties time to address the information presented at the Public Hearing, was once again postponed, this time to an unspecified date in September. Now that the FHA is officially a party to this matter, our testimony will be due thirty days prior to the September date. We continue to refine our analyses and gather additional information.

A second meeting was held with Fitch Creations with Laura Morgan and Greg Fitch attending for Fitch, and Carl Angel, Rose Krasnow, and Fran DiGiano attending on behalf of residents. It was agreed that a small group (no more than six – given the tight space and the need for social distancing) would be allowed to tour the existing facility.

Task Force Chair Rose Krasnow made a presentation to the Green Scene via Zoom at their regularly scheduled meeting held June 10, 2020. Rose and Fran Digiano will also be presenting new information at the next open meeting of the Board, planned for July.

Interviews are underway to find a consulting engineer. This person will be asked to evaluate our cost analysis to determine whether it might be more cost effective to rebuild our current plant than to pump sewage to Briar Chapel. The engineer will also advise us as to the best way to minimize the footprint of the new plant if it is built onsite, whether it makes more sense to use a pre-built package plant or a longer lasting concrete plant, and what type of treatment would be most cost effective over time while still meeting the Jordan Lake standards for discharge of the effluent.



Our dedicated hospitality office volunteers met online in June to discuss the possible opening of the Hospitality Office. The unanimous opinion of the volunteers was that it is not yet safe. We agreed to keep our eyes on the North Carolina Covid 19 statistics to determine when it will be safe. Watch the FHA website for updates.

Although the hospitality office is closed and the business office is on limited hours, your FHA Board and various resident committees have continued to work hard on your behalf. It’s not clear when VP Rose Krasnow sleeps but she and her committee have been working nonstop on sorting out sewage issues and the Long Range Planning Committee that she chairs have been working regularly on issues that will keep FV the great place it is to live.

Jesse Fearrington and his committee have been working on all sorts of grounds issues and Gordon Pitz and his volunteers have done a spectacular job of enhancing the online newsletter and maintaining the front page of the website with the most current information about the Corona virus and how it is affecting village life. Gordon is looking for help with editing the newsletter. If interested contact him at communications@fhaboard.org.

Warren Ort has been working on ways to enhance safety in various routine and emergency situations. He is looking for volunteers for his safety committee. You can reach him at healthsafetysecurity@fhaboard.org.




We are very happy to report that this year Women of Fearrington is able to grant $33,190 to support organizations that help women and children in need in Chatham County in significant ways. We are most grateful to our sponsors and to those who donated to our Wonderful Options Fund, attended cooking classes, and made purchases at our Holiday Bakery & Market.

Please join or renew your membership to WoF. We have an exciting year planned! To access the membership form, go to WomenOfFearrington.org and click on Forms.

WoF’s Reaching Chatham Children team awaits word from Chatham County schools about the support it will need in the COVID-19 environment. By summer’s end, we hope to have information about plans for keeping children, staff, and volunteers safe. If you would like to know about volunteering in local schools when more information is available, please contact Adrienne Lallo (512-619-1365) or Cathy Somer (919-533-6559).



The Board and members of Fearrington Havurah extend wishes for good health and a safe and enjoyable summer to the entire community. During this time of great challenges, we are moving ahead with planning a full season of meaningful programs and events for our members and guests and we look forward to safely meeting again soon.

Fearrington Havurah is a Jewish-sponsored social, cultural, and educational organization open to all members of the Fearrington Village and Galloway Ridge communities. We usually meet the second Tuesday of each month in the Gathering Place at 7:00 pm. For more information, contact Beryl Sherman at bisherman3@gmail.com.


The Democratic Club is continuing its summer series of Zoominars with statewide and local Democratic Candidates.  Events scheduled include Jen Mangrum (Dept. of Public Instruction), Wayne Goodwin (Insurance), and Beth Wood (State Auditor).  More candidates are being scheduled and all Zoominars are being recorded and posted on the Club’s website.  Fearrington and Galloway residents are welcome to attend live or view the recordings.  For the latest information about dates, times, registration, and recordings check the club’s website: FearringtonDems.org.


Ahoy, Mates! In view of the continued uncertainties connected to the Coronavirus, all fall Yacht Club plans are still on hold for the fall. Once we see how things are developing we will plan appropriately. So far the cruise to the eastern Caribbean for February 21 of 2021 is still on. Hopefully, there will be a vaccine developed before then. Membership is open to residents of Fearrington Village and Galloway Ridge. NO YACHT REQUIRED! For event information and membership form, log onto the FYC page at https://group.fearringtonfha.org?yacht. For general membership questions, contact Treasurer Sally Muncy, at 919-619-8817. For cruise information contact Doug Ashby at 401-954-7680. For club activities, or to volunteer with events, contact Commodore Maggie Tunstall at 919-542-0031.


Many agencies listed with Chatham Connecting are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. CORA and other organizations that feed our Chatham County neighbors are busier and more stressed than ever. The SNACK! program – aimed at providing nutritious meals to children facing food insecurity – hopes to serve nearly 2,000 children this summer. The Chatham Solidarity Fund, a collaborative effort of 7 non-profit organizations with support from the Chatham Health Alliance is helping the most vulnerable Chatham County families through the pandemic crisis. Other organizations would appreciate volunteers and several offer opportunities to volunteer from home. Listing over 120 non-profits and agencies, Chatham Connecting (chathamconnecting.org) is a one-stop resource for finding a place where you can volunteer and donate. Your help will be appreciated.



The following people have been added to the directory:  Welcome!

CASSELL, Bob, Michelle
492 Beechmast
Home: cassellbob@aol.com
Michelle’s Email: wrytrsblock@mac.com
Home: 410-570-1233
631 Spindlewood
Michael’s Email: smuconnolly@hotmail.com
Gae’s Email: gaewhitener@hotmail.com
Home: 919-542-0080
Michael’s Cell: 214-732-7854
Gae’s Cell: 214-724-5811
DAHL, Eric C
605 Stoneview
Eric’s Email: ericdahl2012@gmail.com
Margaret’s Email: mwdahl2012@gmail.com
Home: 919-533-6865
Eric’s Cell: 706-340-9080
Margaret’s Cell: 706-338-5023
FIELDS, Catherine K (Cathy), James R (Jay)
326 Sycamore Close
Home: Jamesfields1@me.comHome: 860-733-5025
Cathy’s Cell: 860-733-5024
FUENTES, Darlin I, Marvin J
381 Wintercrest West
Home: fountain9192@gmail.com
Darlin’s Email: darlin2014cruz@gmail.com
Marvin’s Email: texas.89mf88@gmail.com
Home: 919-799-3009
Darlin’s Cell: 910-986-7015
Marvin’s Cell: 984-265-9500
HAUSER, Martha
26 Caldwell (1207)
Home: Marthahauser@gmail.comHome: 770-329-9091
ISAEVA, Natalia, Victor
35 Benchmark
560 Weathersfield
Dan’s Email: dlewandoman@gmail.com
Lynn’s Email: infopac@embarqmail.com
Home: 919-542-3331
Dan’s Cell: 919-444-9599
Lynn’s Cell: 919-444-0765
MASON, Jacqueline B (Jackie)
385 Lyndfield Close
Jackie’s Email: jackiemason42@gmail.comJackie’s Cell: 919-200-2446
MILLS, Andrea (Andy)
226 Windlestraw
Andy’s Email: aleemills45@gmail.com 
1308 Langdon Place
Kate’s Email: kpierse@hotmail.com
Jim’s Email: jimwassel@gmail.com
WEEKS, Art, Donna
522 Swim and Croquet
 Home: Dwweeks@centurylink.netHome: 910-584-3153


fcares logo

ZOOM Education Programs Links Are On Our Website www.fearringtoncares.org

A Note from Karen Metzguer, RN, Nurse and Director

The Fearrington Cares Center remains closed for two reasons: because of state guidance related to COVID-19 and to complete our building renovations.

The heart of Fearrington Cares is our 250+ Volunteers, the majority of whom are considered at high risk if infected with coronavirus. Additionally, ~97% of our services put a Volunteer within six feet of you; this is the minimum distance recommended for physical distancing. For these reasons, Fearrington Cares “traditional” services are suspended.

Unable to perform our services during the NC Stay at Home executive orders, on my recommendation, the staff and I have been furloughed for past two months. We will eventually reopen. However, we now have education programs, movement classes and a support group online. We are loaning equipment and picking up prescriptions and prepaid groceries.

Please visit www.fearringtoncares.org to join/log into classes and support groups and to stay informed about State recommendations related to the pandemic.

A Note from Barbara Hummel-Rossi, President, Fearrington Cares

Great News! The addition to our Fearrington Cares building is done! All inspections have been completed and we have a certificate of occupancy for the addition. Work has begun on the remodel of the original building and we have moved furniture from there into the new addition. Updates on the project can be found on our website. Drive or walk by to look at the new addition, but please don’t walk around as the ground is uneven and it is still a construction site.

You can still contribute to our Building Campaign; you can drop off a contribution in our Fearrington Cares box at the Swim and Croquet mail kiosk; mail a contribution to Fearrington Cares, 2020 Fearrington Post, Pittsboro, NC 27312; or make a donation on our website (fearringtoncares.org/donate/).

Caregiver’s Support Group Meeting

June 10 and every other Wednesday, 12:30—2 pm  Find Zoom link at www.fearringtoncares.org.

How to Stay Balanced—The Importance of Regular Exercise During Social Distancing

Thursday, July 9, 7:00 pm

Tiffany E. Shubert, PT, PhD is a physical therapist and a researcher with expertise in healthy aging and injury prevention. She has spent several years studying alternative ways for older adults to stay active using mobile apps, virtual reality and ZOOM. Dr. Shubert will offer suggestions for maintaining your balance with gyms closed and normal activities curtailed. Her suggestions are perfect for the hot, humid North Carolina summer and include Fearrington Cares’ own ZOOM offering “Welcome to OTAGO* with Vickie Mendes” on Wednesdays.

*OTAGO is an in-home exercise program that has proven effective in reducing falls and related injury risk for participants by 35%.

Navigating Change Through the Pandemic

Wednesday, July 15, 1:30 pm

Navigating the stages of any life change can bring a range of challenges—mental, emotional and physical. Join us to explore the normal dips and curves of change. Plus, learn tips to build a personal “pandemic survival kit,” filled with strategies for navigating the challenges of change we face at this moment. Vicki Field is our presenter and has worked with 300+ organizations, as a consultant, coach and Learning and Development Director. Vicki now also leads a program for new residents of Fearrington Village, “Adjust to a Move, Make New Connections.”

How to Help Physicians Help You

Thursday, July 23, 1:30 pm

We all have heard that we should advocate for ourselves in our health care. But how do we do that effectively? Social psychology and health care research can give us guidance. In this presentation, Liz Welfel, a Village resident, will describe several of the ways in which we can help ourselves get the care we need.

Dr. Welfel earned her doctorate in psychology from the University of Minnesota and served on the faculties of Boston College and Cleveland State University. Her research and writing spanned several areas, but her major focus was on promoting the ethical practice of psychology.

A Good Night: Sleep Strategies for Older Adults In These Difficult Times

Thursday, August 13, 7:00 pm

Sleep patterns change as we get older, but nighttime sleep problems and daytime sleepiness (or fatigue) are not part of the normal aging process. Meg Danforth, PhD, Certified Behavioral Sleep Medicine Specialist, returns to Fearrington to provide strategies for getting a good night’s sleep, identify the common causes of sleep problems in older adults and discuss resources for treating sleep disorders. Dr. Danforth is the Director of the Duke Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic.

Innovative Care Options for Living with Dementia

Thursday, August 27, 1:30 pm

The Duke Dementia Family Support Program (DDFSP) has been serving NC dementia family caregivers, persons living with dementia and professionals for over 40 years. They offer free educational programs, support groups and personalized consultation services that work to link individuals to available community resources. Their community-based services have never been limited to the Duke community or Duke patients. This presentation will cover the broad array of education and services available from this program. The co-presenters are Lisa P. Gwyther, MSW, LCSW and founder of the DDFSP, and Janeli McNeal, MSW. Lisa is an associate professor in the Duke Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Janeli has provided a range of social work services at the DDFSP.

Join Movement Classes via ZOOM
All classes 11:30 am

Mondays—Chair Yoga  

Wednesdays—OTAGO exercise program

Thursdays—Line Dancing


Local Mask Resources

  1. Call Sue Merritt (in the directory) to purchase a mask for $5 and arrange contactless pickup on her porch.
  2. Nancy Cherniak will give one free mask to anyone who makes a donation to CORA through PORCH (fearrington.porchcommunities.org/donate). Make a donation and then email Nancy at nancy.cherniak@gmail.com to request a color. Nancy will leave the mask in a plastic bag identified by your name to be picked up contact-free.
  3. Call Sara Hulme (in the directory) to purchase a mask for $5 and arrange contactless pickup on her porch.

Website News!

If you are using the internet, you are likely finding lots of interesting documentaries, brain games and movement classes. The NEWS feature on our website recently posted information about a free site that addresses all three areas: seniorplanet.org/—check it out! Our site, www.fearringtoncares.org, also has information about joining a ZOOM call, virtual classes at the Chatham Library and links to join our movement classes and our education programs.

Hurricane Preparedness—It’s Not Just for the Coast!

The Atlantic hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 1. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is anticipating an above-normal 2020 season, with 13 to 19 named storms and possible major hurricanes.

Fearrington Village is over 200 miles from the coast, but our area can still be threatened by the high winds, heavy rain, flooding and tornadoes generated by a hurricane. We all need to be ready BEFORE an emergency develops! Many valuable suggestions are available from the National Weather Service (www.weather.gov/wrn/hurricane-preparedness), the Department of Homeland Security (www.ready.gov/hurricanes) and many other government agencies.

The Red Cross also has a number of excellent hurricane safety resources, checklists and guides (www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/hurricane.html).

Closer to home, the FHA Health, Safety and Security Committee blog has curated emergency preparedness resources (fhahss.blogspot.com/p/p.html). The blog also explains how to sign up for emergency email notifications from the FHA about conditions that are of immediate concern and could affect Fearrington.

Chatham County Emergency Management’s “READY Chatham” initiative provides an extensive list of resources related to hurricane preparedness (www.chathamnc.org/government/departments-programs/emergency-operations/ready-chatham). Village residents can register for the free “ALERT Chatham”, which will notify you about imminent threats to health and safety, such as severe weather, flooding, gas leaks and police activity (www.chathamnc.org/government/departments-programs/emergency-operations/alert-chatham).

fearrington NL logo

Newsletter Supplement, July/August 2020

You can click on a photo to see the caption and credits.

The summer edition is devoted to the vegetable kingdom. It celebrates the joy of plants, wild and cultivated, and recognition of those who tend them. The animal kingdom is not forgotten though, and we have included a few delightful images of Bluebirds, a Summer Tanager, and a Red-tailed Hawk.

Bird Life in Fearrington


The photos were submitted by Betty Akiba. The red cedar bluebird house you see was made by her husband Joe Strain on his woodturning lathe from a red cedar log found in the neighborhood. The Historic District is filled with people who love trees and have a lot of them on their property. Joe and Betty have lived in Fearrington for 15 years, and Joe is a member of the Chapel Hill Woodturners Club. Joe says his birdhouse is sized with an appropriate hole for use by bluebirds and is easily accessible for cleaning.

Red tailed hawk

Red-tailed hawk

Joe’s new house (which he just finished and put up in the backyard) may now have a couple! The male was clearly courting a lady friend—see the picture where he was doing his display. She looked interested and poked her head into the house numerous times. He has continued to come to the yard daily to eat and hang out. She shows up occasionally and pokes her head into the house, but doesn’t stay. Betty and Joe are not sure how bluebirds feel about having a cedar house that smells like a coat closet!

Recently Betty reported seeing a Summer Tanager – the first one they’d ever seen! Has anyone else seen them?

And here is a dramatic photo by Tony Daniels of a Red-tailed Hawk taking off from its perch, perhaps in search of its next meal.


Plant Magic

By Betty King

Lyre Leaf Sage, Columbine, Fiddle Head

As all my friends will attest, I am a plant nerd. You would be one, too, if you could only look through my eyes, for I see beauty and fascination in every growing thing. Take for instance, the rarely noticed little plant named lyre-leaf sage. Botanists call it Salvia lyrata; most people just call it a weed. What I see is lovely, dangling, light blue flowers rising above a flat plate of deeply cut basal leaves. The flower is comprised of two lips, the lower one much larger than the top and protruding – a perfect landing pad for pollinators. There’s a trick going on, however. When weight is placed on the landing pad, pollen is released from above and showers the visiting insect, which soon travels to another flower and in so doing, pollinates it. Who knew this unassuming plant had such a master plan?

Take a closer look at our native wildflower and favorite woodland plant, the columbine.  Its flower is a hodge-podge of botanical parts and resembles the creation of some mad scientist.  Five little horns top the flaring red skirt encircling yellow petals.  Shooting out of the center, like the sparks from a child’s sparkler, are clusters of yellow stamens.  It’s a botanical mess, but this little oddity has a secret.  Those diabolical-looking horns above the flower contain the nectar, which means only certain birds with specialized parts can access it.  Even so, to us mere mortals, it is a delight to behold.

Betty King cone

Pine Cone

Ferns are everywhere, and that’s a good thing, for they are some of my favorites.  I love the variety of size and shape of their fronds, and their aura of wildness.  But look closer and there’s even more to appreciate. Every fern begins its new growth as a fiddlehead.  Resembling the neck of a violin, it slowly uncoils from a tight little knob at the center of the fern base to its mature and graceful frond.  The uncurling of the developing frond reveals a clue to its identity.  Some are covered with white, woolly hairs (the Christmas fern), some frankly resemble a grotesque, black-haired unborn thing (the autumn fern), and some just seem a bit naked (the royal fern).  Nevertheless, each is unique and profoundly wonderful.

Fascination is everywhere in Nature.  Did you ever pick up a pine cone and look at its fat end?  The opposing spirals of scales are examples of the Fibonacci Sequence,* a mathematical pattern of growth.  You can see this natural phenomenon in many places – the center of a sunflower, seashells, even the curled form of a hurricane.

fibonacciFor readers who have never heard of the Fibonacci Sequence, it is a sequence of numbers starting with 0, 1, in which every following number is the sum of the two preceding numbers, i.e, 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8….

There, aren’t you glad you asked? You may have seen graphic illustrations of the sequence that form a spiral. The spiral is made up of a series of squares; the size of each square represents the increasing numbers. The astonishing thing is that because of the way living things grow, these spirals appear throughout nature: flowers, leaves, shells, pine cones, and many other examples. No wonder nerds of all kinds love the Fibonacci!

Gordon Pitz   

Gardens of Fearrington Village

Article and photos by Sheila Creth

R.B.Fitch and his late wife, Jenny, admired the smaller villages of England. They wanted to create a “coming together place” . . . enjoyed in a garden setting. [from The Story of Fearrington, https://fearringtonfha.org/history-of-fearrington-village/]

During spring 2020, as residents of Fearrington Village adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic, many have found pleasure and distraction with walks around the gardens of the Village Center. In an area of 10 acres there are approximately 60 garden areas or beds.

Donna Mears

Donna Mears

Donna Mears is one of four gardeners currently working at Fearrington Village who keep the many gardens with varied plants and colors looking beautiful. In October 2020 she will celebrate thirty years (30) years as a gardener with Fearrington Village. Donna began gardening here shortly after Jenny Fitch had begun installing and designing the Village Center gardens. Ginny Gregory, who had a small flower farm nearby, was hired by Jenny Fitch as the gardener for the Village. Ginny in turn hired Donna, whom she knew from when they were pre-school teachers together. For Donna it was initially a part-time position, but she quickly turned to cultivating beautiful gardens as her profession. Donna often will be seen gardening around McIntyre’s Books and the Belted Goat, though she’s also responsible for the gardens by the Barn, the Dovecote, and the center area where the Whirligig is located.

Village center s

Village Center

Donna also manages the two cutting gardens that are maintained to provide flowers for the restaurant as well as for weddings. Maintaining the cutting gardens requires constant attention so that the plants do not go to seed but continue producing flowers throughout the season. By one cutting garden, a sign indicates people are free to “Browse” – presumably a gentle reminder not to cut the flowers. Donna laughed at the wording but said there has not been a problem with residents assuming the cutting garden was for them.

During the dry months of spring and summer, Donna indicated that a major activity is keeping track of the watering schedule for the gardens that she oversees. While there are watering systems, Donna has to turn them on and off on a schedule and has lots of papers tracking the schedule. The worst, she said, is when on occasion she arrives home and worries that she might not have turned off a particular water system – she then returns to the Village to check.

The Goat

Beside The Goat

There are many aspects of her job that Donna enjoys including the ability to set her own schedule based on what needs to be accomplished throughout the year. The month of January is a favorite time; it is when she designs the gardens and orders seeds for the many plants she grows in the greenhouse. She enjoys the winter months as a time for reading catalogs and other garden publications to learn about new plants and other aspects of gardening.She is free to design and select plants, while keeping in mind the Fearrington ‘taste.’ Her favorite plants are annuals; they provide the color in the gardens from spring through fall while perennial blooms come and go. Donna estimates that annuals are about fifty percent of the garden plants. She does enjoy exploring new plants, such as a beautiful Rice plant (a type of grass) that she grew two years ago from which they harvested some rice.

During her time at Fearrington Village, Donna recalled some of the memorable natural events that have occurred – Hurricane Fran in 1996, the ice storm of 2002, and the state-wide severe drought of 2007. All of these events alter the landscape, she said, causing damage to trees and garden plants.

Donna finds one of the most satisfying aspects of working at Fearrington Village is the “family feel” here. She enjoys the friendliness of staff, from people in housekeeping to the realty office and the shops, many of whom she says have been here a long time. Village staff know each other and are friendly as are the residents of the Village.


Culinary Gardens, Garden beside The Roost

Other Gardeners at Fearrington Village.
Ridley Wendy Moses

Wendy Moses

Wendy Moses, whose garden domain includes the gardens around the Inn, the reception and courtyard areas, and behind the Inn.

Ryan Cadwalader is responsible for gardens in front of the Restaurant, the Park Building, and around the Roost, and he takes care of trees in the Village Center and Camden Park.

Emily Houck is the Culinary Gardener and she takes care of the Herb Garden, and works with the restaurants to grow specialty produce served to guests.

The Fearrington Village gardens are a gift for residents and visitors to enjoy throughout the year. When you see one of the gardeners out working, be sure to say hello and thank them for bringing beauty into our lives.


Fearrington Adapts to a New World

Plants and non-human animals may have suffered little from the pandemic that has affected humanity world-wide. Village residents, however, have been forced to adapt to new constraints. Social gatherings are largely restricted to outdoor settings; we are grateful when the weather cooperates.



Rutherford Close Memorial

Rutherford Close Memorial

A small memorial has been created in Rutherford Close to offer inspirational messages.

And every sunrise offers a suggestion that one day things will improve.

Sunrise at Camden Park Lake

Sunrise at Camden Pond

Where in the Village Is … ?

Below is the third in a series of puzzles we hope will encourage you to explore the village. For each of the four photos below, can you identify the location shown in the photo? They were all taken from a spot on or near public roads, paths, or trails. This should be easier than the May puzzle, which turned out to be much more difficult than I expected. Again, the numbers in parentheses refer to the map numbers that contain the location for a photograph.

Gordon Pitz

Where is...

Left to Right:  “Walk this way …” (1)   Log hut (2)   Ventilation Shaft (5)   Lawn and landscape (5)

Where was …

Where was...

Here are the answers to the May puzzle, left to right: 

146 Windstone, 628 Spindlewood, Bush Creek bench beside North Langdon Trail, Cattle pasture near corner of East Camden and Weathersfield.

Water Feature

Water Feature

Coming Next Month

Of course, there is no newsletter next month—That’s why this issue is the July/August one.  However, in September and through the Fall months we have a number of features planned.  In particular, as a follow-up to this month’s feature on Fearrington Gardens, we plan one on Hidden Gardens—those little gems hidden away out of sight, sometimes on a resident’s property.

Do you know of any?  Do you have photos?  Please send what you have, with an explanation, to communications@fhaboard.org , with “Hidden Gardens” in the subject line.


Supplement Editor:  Gordon Pitz, communications@fhaboard.org.

Send photos (with caption, location, and credit) to the above address.  Please send high quality files, resized to 1000 pixels on the longest dimension.  If you are not sure how to do that, please contact us at the above address.

With many thanks to Jack Brinn, Tony Daniels, Jim Brooking, and Helene Carlson for their help and advice, and to all those who have been kind enough to provide photos. I regret that I can use only a selection of those we receive.