Monday, July 28, 2008

The people of Mill Creek: part 1

Yesterday, neighbors Pat & John Shields renewed their wedding vows to celebrate 40 years of marriage, at Holy Name Church on Broadway Avenue. We've known this extraordinary couple since our move-in date 10 years ago. They preceded us here by several months. 
Following the mass, family, friends and neighbors from Mill Creek partied and wished them well. It was one of those days, one of those life events, that helped to underscore how special this community is and how rich are our blessings: friends, neighbors, families, community. It's all here in Mill Creek. 

During his remarks at the reception, John spoke eloquently about what it took to create a solid foundation for a marriage and all the additional help Pat & John have received over the years, from many sources. In particular, he paraphrased a Zulu expression, which is apt: 
"A person is a person because of other people." 
(The original phrase is umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu, but John stuck to the English translation.) 

We are blessed indeed. 

The entire cake was edible, including the flowers. Pat had bid on the services of the baker during a Live Auction last summer at the summer benefit for the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Snake's alive

I caught this beautiful girl sunning herself yesterday during a relatively cool, July afternoon at the base of the CadMur Manor fire pit. She's maybe a foot long. Lara Roketenetz, a former co-worker and current natural-resources specialist at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes in Cleveland, offered a tentative confirmation ID, based solely on the photo. 

"I think it is an Eastern garter snake, spotted phase," Lara emailed. "They tend to be brown and splotchy rather than green and striped because they use camouflage rather than speedy escape to avoid predation." Lara added that the snake looks to be pregnant. 

Garter snakes give birth to live young -- they are viviparous. Newborns are independent upon birth, having spent two to three months developing during gestation. The Eastern garter snake, Thanophis sirtalis sirtalis, is the most common of the Thamnophis genus. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Moonflower blooms

The first blooms on our moonflower plants appeared a couple days ago. Nightly from now until the end of summer, Ipomoea alba opens one or two blooms around sunset in a matter of minutes. The large, white flowers attract night-flying moths for pollination. The flowers die off in the next morning's sun. The plants grow and spread quickly, but are easily controlled, thankfully, due to their shallow roots. 

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Clearwing hummingbird moth

When we first noticed these creatures a few years ago we mistook them for hummingbirds, also fairly common visitors to CadMur Manor. This clearwing hummingbird moth (Hemaris thysbe) visited our bee balm yesterday for a sip of nectar. 

Thursday, July 10, 2008

10 years after: Mill Creek maintains Mecca status

We moved to Mill Creek in 1998. To aid us in our home-buying decision, we created a quality-of-life spreadsheet, weighing factors such as affordability, location, housing stock, location, safety, location, diversity and location. Mill Creek had it all, especially a close proximity to everything: work, recreation, parks, downtown, University Circle, etc. Today our decision seems extra sound, especially in light of this year's big surge -- in energy costs.

The July 14 Time focused on some of the ways high gas prices are affecting us all. Believe it or not, writer Amanda Ripley found  10 Things You Can Like About $4 GasNumber 2 on her list is the surging popularity of cities, living closer to where you work and play while spending and driving less. Read about it here

This is the only urban sprawl we ever see at CadMur Manor