Category Archives: health and wellness

Bedner’s Farm and Greenhouse: More than Flowers & Veggies

bednars3I’m not sure that Stephen and Elizabeth Bedner could have foreseen the generational farming heritage their family would spawn in the years following their beginning acreage in Upper St. Clair in 1917. For decades their family would grow exponentially as would their farming community. It would even reach as far south as Palm Beach County in 1960. In 1985, the effort expanded to 42 acres in McDonald, Pennsylvania delivering fresh vegetables and hanging flower baskets to their retail shop in Upper St. Clair. In 2000, four more greenhouses were built to grow more container gardens and perennials. In 2006, a nexus garden was built to be used as a larger retail space in McDonald, Pennsylvania to include an expanded perennial section and a nursery area. Nexus gardens are greenhouses using heating and cooling for food and floriculture production. Finally, Passiflora Springs debuts as their newest venture into wine making.

Currently, Bedner’s Farm and Greenhouse is a member of six associations including Washington County Farm Bureau and American Nursery and Landscape Association. Additionally, the farm has strong community support from fourteen organizations including Pittsburgh Botanic Garden and Cecil Township Parks and Recreation.

In keeping with its commitment to community, Bedner’s has added many social events to their retail offering of plants, vegetables and flowers. All the following take place at their location at 315 Coleman Road, McDonald, PA 15057. You can contact them at (724) 926-2541. Their hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Weekend hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They have a Facebook page at BednarGreenhouse.

August 2, 5, 9, 12, 16, 19, 23, 26 and 30 – 11 am – 2 p.m., U-Pick Veggies

Pick your own vegetables at their Family Farm. Stop by anytime between the hours of 11 a.m.- 2 p.m.  They provide the picking containers. $15 per chip basket.

August 4 – 2 p.m. – 3 p.m., Sandcast Leaf Birdbath

In this workshop, you’ll cast your very own garden-ready birdbath. $15 per person. Registration is required.

August 12 – 2 p.m. – 3 p.m., Rock Fairy Houses

Join local artist Jane Irwin as she guides you step by step to paint several of these adorable rock fairy houses. No prior art experience is necessary. Painting will be adapted to work with every level of artist. Fee: $20, includes instruction and all materials. Registration is required to hold your spot. Max class size of 15 people.

August 12 – 2 p.m. – 3 p.m., Monthly Weed Walk

Meet at the store entrance to go on an educational plant walk around our property with expert Jen Dalke.

August 18 – 10 am – 11 am, Yoga on the Farm

Take your yoga practice outdoors for an invigorating and peaceful yoga experience. Increase your strength and flexibility while soothing your mind, body and spirit. Classes will be led by Kristen Kolenda RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) and adapted for all age and experience levels. $10 per class.

August 18 – 2 p.m. – 3 p.m., Fairy Garden Workshop

Enjoy building your very own miniature garden in this all ages workshop.

Construct enchanting fairy hideaways with tools and supplies included in the class fee. Participants will take home one fairy garden with plants, accessories, and character for $35.

August 18 @ 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., Fields to Fork Wine Dinner

Enjoy a scenic hayride through their fields, live music and a multi-course dinner prepared with homegrown produce and other locally produced foods. Each dinner course will be paired with a wine selection from the debut of Bednars’ own winery, Passiflora Springs. Guest Restauranteur and Wine Connoisseur Debbie Curigliano, Piccolina’s Guest Chef Chelsey Rawson and Piccolina’s Winemaker Russ Bedner. $125 per person, tax and gratuity included. 21 and over. Tickets available online only at and are nonrefundable. The menu is pre-set. Please indicate any food allergies at the time of ticket purchase. Flat footwear is recommended, as this is a true farm experience. In the case of inclement weather, this rain or shine, outdoor event will be held inside the greenhouse. Tickets will be on sale until August 8.

August 19 – 1 p.m. – 2 p.m., Canning Exhibit and Dial Gauge Testing

Home Food Preservation Canning & Freezing Basics An extension educator will be available to teach you all you need to know about canning fruits and veggies. Presented by Dori Owczarzak, Extension Educator. For more information, call: Penn State Extension 724-858-4208.

August 19 – 2 p.m. – 3 p.m., Succulent Centerpiece

Join local artist Jane Irwin as she guides you step by step to paint and plant an adorable centerpiece. Succulents will be planted at the bottom of the dish.  No prior art experience is necessary. Painting will be adapted to work with every level of artist. Fee: $40, includes instruction and all materials. Registration is required to hold your spot. Max class size of 15 people.

August 23 – 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., The Surprising Benefits of Goldenrod

Join expert Jen Dalke to learn all about goldenrod and make a tincture to take home. All supplies included. $15 per person.

August 25 – 12 p.m. – 2 p.m., Hypertufa Planter Workshop

Create one, or more, hypertufa containers to take home. They have recycled materials for you to use as molds but feel free to bring your own. Items like planters, dishpans, baskets, soda bottles, etc. will all work. Please bring your own rubber gloves, if desired! $25 per person.

August 25 – 2 p.m. – 3 p.m., Terrarium Workshop

Learn how to make your own terrarium and how to keep them healthy and thriving year-round. Then, you can make your own terrarium to take home. $15 per person includes instruction, planting soil, rocks, moss, twigs and stone selection and light refreshments.

August 26 – 2 p.m. – 3 p.m., “Bee Happy” Garden Sign

Join local artist Jane Irwin as she guides you step by step to paint a rustic garden sign. No prior art experience is necessary. Painting will be adapted to work with every level of artist. Fee: $20, includes all supplies and step-by-step painting instruction, Registration is required. Max class size of 15 people.

August 30 – 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., DIY: Crafting Wild Medicine 101

Master the art of making your own herbal remedies. Discuss how to make tinctures, syrups, salves and more. $20 per person.

For more information and events, visit Bedner’s Farm and Greenhouse at:

Story by Fred Terling for Pennsylvania Bridges

Mental Health Spotlight: How values affect mental wellness

At a recent support group, we discussed values. As I continue on this road of recovery, understanding basic concepts adds more skills to the toolbox. When discussing mental health, the values that we all hold as a foundation of how we deal with work, education, relationships, leisure and personal growth can get lost in the daily struggle of just keeping our collective heads above water. Yet, they are simply another aspect of defining what each of our “normal” can be.

There is a difference here between what our goals are and the values we hold as part of our core in daily life. For example, I write and advocate to help others realize their potential despite mental illness. Actually, I prefer the term mental wellness. That is more of a goal than a value. The values that I must achieve to obtain that goal are acceptance, empathy, honesty, helping others, etc. These are just a few of the values that I must keep developing in myself. More importantly, they are values that answer the question, “In a world where I can choose to have my life about something, what would I choose?”

The exercise we participated in is based on The The Bull‘s-Eye Values Survey (BEVS; Lundgren et al., 2012). It is a tool that is used for assessing values, values-action discrepancies, and barriers to value-based living. After defining the values in each of four categories: Work/education, Leisure, Relationships and Personal growth/health, the responses are charted on a bullseye target graph to see how close to the center we are with our values based on those four categories. The second part examines what the obstacles are from us achieving those values.

I found the exercise extremely helpful on two wellness fronts. The first is obvious, the obstacles. An interesting sub-narrative emerged. The first sub-narrative was who we found as the obstacles. Some found external sources/people to be the obstacles, while others found themselves as the obstacles. Our perceptions and expectations many times drive how we view our goals. I believe regaining that control is imperative. I mean, they are after all OUR values.

The second narrative was applying these values to goals. Goals can be unrealistic which leads to disappointment. Overwhelmed at failure, this can trigger our conditions. We always want to keep in the here and now in group discussions as falling back in the dark abyss of our conditions are by no means wellness, quite the opposite. By examining our values and applying them to the initial premise of “what would I choose?” Certainly, to get better is one of the answers.

I highly recommend going up to the internet and locating the survey. Take your time in completing it to see where your values are, where you would like them to be and how they can help you achieve your goals of wellness. Share with family and friends as they are part of your journey. It will have the added benefit of sharing how you feel about things, which increases understanding of recovery.

You can download the survey at:

Good luck and drop a line with your results. I would love to hear what you’ve come up with.

NEED HELP? IN THE U.S., CALL 1-800-273-8255 FOR THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE.*Mental Health Spotlight is an opinion based column. Any resources mentioned are provided for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the specialized training and professional judgment of a health care or mental health care professional.

Story by Fred Terling for Pennsylvania Bridges

About Face with Tasha Oskey: Cost effective skincare devices

two-woman-with-cucumber-facSince I’ve been writing these columns, one thing I have always been adamant about is having an efficacious and consistent home skincare regimen. I know not everyone has the time or quite frankly the money to get facials or other expensive skincare treatments, so what if you added something to your everyday skincare routine to give it a nice boost? A good way to do this would be to use an at home skincare device. Incorporating something like this into your skincare regimen would be a great way to get results at home and in most cases it would cost less. There are many of them to choose from so I will be starting with some basic ones in this month’s column and go into some more complicated ones next month.

Neutrogena is one of my favorite drugstore brands and they make some really nice at home skincare devices. My personal favorite is the microdermabrasion system. I use this quite often at home and I love how soft and smooth my skin feels afterward. The microdermabrasion system comes with an applicator, 12 single use puffs, an attachment head, and two AA batteries. The puffs stick onto the attachment head which fits on the applicator wand. What’s really nice about this device is the puffs are pretreated with ultra fine crystals and mild purifiers so you don’t have to add anything yourself. All you do is wet the puff, turn on the applicator wand, and put it directly on the face. It comes with two speeds so you can work your way up. The puff feels a little gritty with a sandpaper texture and as you move it across the skin you feel a vibration. It really gives a nice gentle exfoliation and stimulates cell turnover. You do have to replace the puffs because you discard each one after use. It might not go as deep into the pores as a professional microdermabrasion treatment would but it definitely gives you a deeper exfoliation than using a scrub. I really recommend this device if you want to do something extra for your skin and it’s very simple to use.

Neutrogena makes another skincare device that gets great reviews. It’s called the Light Therapy Acne Mask. The mask emits red and blue lights that help to treat acne. The blue light is supposed to kill the bacteria that causes the acne and the red light helps to calm the inflammation from acne. It comes with a mask and the mask activator. You plug the mask activator into the mask and hold the start button for a full second. This will turn it on. Then you put it on your face for 10 minutes. Make sure your face is cleansed and dry before you use it. It says you can use the mask daily and prides itself for being UV free and chemical free. I have not used this mask because I don’t have acne but it is a best seller. I don’t think it would be powerful enough to completely get rid of acne altogether but I do think it could definitely help reduce breakouts and calm inflammation that usually comes with acne. Also, I really like the research behind light therapy and how its used to treat different skin issues.

Another really simple skincare device that you can use at home is a jade roller. This is one of my favorites and it’s so easy to use. A jade roller is a handheld tool that you massage all over the face and neck. It usually comes with the two jade stones, a big and a small one. The bigger one is for the larger areas of the face and neck. The smaller one is for under the eyes and around the mouth. Jade rollers originated in China and have been around for a long time. They have recently become more popular in Westernized skincare. The jade feels very cool and it helps to reduce puffiness and swelling under the eyes. You take the tool and gently roll it along your face like you are massaging it. This helps to increase circulation and help with lymphatic drainage which reduces fluid retention. I like to use it to help work my serums and oils into the skin.

These three devices are really simple to use and relatively inexpensive compared to professional treatments. In next month’s column, I will be diving into some devices that are a bit more complicated and a little more expensive. In the meantime, enjoy the remaining months of summer and please wear your sunscreen!

Written by Tasha Oskey for Pennsylvania Bridges

Pennsylvania Bridges June 2018 Edition – Lean on Me

june-2018-cover_9xThe June 2018 edition of Pennsylvania Bridges – Lean on Me – is now available online and in print.

May 2018 Edition – “Coming Back to Life”

may-2018-coverThe May 2018 edition of Pennsylvania Bridges“Coming Back to Life” – is now available online and in print.

Pennsylvania Bridges April 2018 – “Spring Into Action!”

april-2018-coverThe April 2018 edition of Pennsylvania Bridges is now available online and in print.

Pennsylvania Bridges March 2018 – “Make Some Noise!”

march-2018-coverThe March 2018 edition of Pennsylvania Bridges – “Make Some Noise!” – is now available online & in print.

February 2018 – “All You Need Is Love”

february 2018 cover.qxdThe February 2018 edition of Pennsylvania Bridges“All You Need is Love” – is now available online and in print.

January 2018 – Opportunity Knocks?!?

january-2018-coverThe January 2018 edition of Pennsylvania BridgesOpportunity Knocks?!? – is now available online and in print.

December 2017 – “The Gift of Giving”

December2017 cover.qxdThe December edition of Pennsylvania Bridges“The Gift of Giving” – is now available online and in print.