Sunday, September 15, 2013

Northern Ohio Lunatic Asylum & Mill Creek

From "Turney Tech" to Cleveland neighborhood

Here's a cool video created by Jason Mihalko, a psychologist in Massachusetts who has a profound interest in thinking and writing about psychiatric facilities and asylums 

Today on a 5-mile hike down in Valley View and Northfield, Sophie and I walked past the campus of Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare, a regional psychiatric hospital on Sagamore Road. It doesn't look like a very inviting place.

Thoughts turned to Mill Creek and our home, which is one of 220 mostly single-family homes sitting on the 58 or so acres where the Northern Ohio Lunatic Asylum (also known by many other names) stood until 38 years ago.

What was before Mill Creek
Originally built in 1855 on land donated by James A. Garfield, who would later become U.S. president, the compound closed in 1975. By then people in various eras had known it by whatever it was called when they were around, including Newburgh State Hospital, Cleveland Hospital for the Insane and Cleveland State Hospital, possibly among others.

Ask anyone who grew up in this Warner-Turney neighborhood or in nearby Garfield Heights what they called it, and all agree on just one name: Turney Tech (it was located on Turney Road).

Jason's webpage is well worth a visit.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Looking for a quick buck

© Steve Cadwell 2013
He was there 48 hours ago in our neighbor's backyard. I was lucky to get close enough for one decent picture. Didn't stay long, nor does he usually. He and his friends visit for happy hour almost daily throughout the year, munching on their deer salad, which we call perennials.

Although she was terrified and nearly killed a few year's ago by one of this guy's maternal ancestors, Sheba knows he'll be back soon. So she waits.
On the lookout -- Sheba will get a piece of him...
... next time
Steve Cadwell 2013
Deer picture: Canon T3i
Sheba and friend: iPhone 4S

September countdown

Shout it: summer's not over! 

© Steve Cadwell 2013

This morning offered us this scene: purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) and the beautiful flowering daisy-like plant behind it. I don't have an ID on the flowering plant, a gift years ago from a dear, sweet woman who volunteered for the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, but I think it might be heliopsis. If you can tell me what it is, I'd be grateful.

A little earlier we saw this guy (or gal) slowly walking up the frame of the garage door. I don't know why I thought katydid, but that was a hunch and only a hunch.

(It's like Miley Cyrus. I know the name. I've seen pictures. I vaguely knew who she was prior to her getting international attention at this year's VMAs, and she appears to be headed for that phenomenon of being famous for being famous. But, put her in a lineup and I would be lucky to even think of her name let alone be able to identify her.)

Thanks to the power of Facebook, we had an answer within minutes of posting a photo. Katydid indeed, said FB friend and naturalist Stephanie. Another FB friend (and neighbor), Pam, added it's also known as a leaf bug. It reminds me of a stealth bomber the way it's angled, as if aero-engineers might have borrowed the design. Not really an example of biomimicry (like burrs and velcro) but interesting similarities. (Wait, do katydids need to evade radar? Avoiding bats, perhaps? Nah. That's echolocation.)

Finally, early this evening we saw and heard hundreds of European starlings in the trees behind our neighbor's house. Couldn't get any pictures. The birds were loud!

Both pics taken with iPhone 4S

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Labor Day weekend scenes

We've really been on top of our garden game this year, and as a result we've had more chances to relax and enjoy the yard. Sure helps just doing a little bit at a time -- regularly.

Always more to do, more weeds to pull, perennials to prune, tomatoes and basil to harvest. But there's no point to any of it if you can't stand at the edge of the fire pit and gaze at the sage or chill in the lounge chair with the one you love, right?
Sheba on patrol

Siegfried From KAOS with mom

Monday, September 2, 2013

I've been grilling corn wrong my whole life

Now I know better

How to grill summer's sweetness perfectly every time

Instructions below
Corn grilled correctly,
the Szalay's way

Have you been to Szalay's Farm Market? It's worth a little drive down to the Cuyahoga Valley, especially now that much of the local produce is at peak. We sampled tasty cantaloup and sweet honeydew and noticed racks and racks of ripe red raspberries, freshly picked strawberries, delicious concord grapes, tree-ripened peaches and much more. An outdoor family-friendly market has live music, comfortable outdoor seating, fresh lemonade and ice cream. And roasted sweet corn.

This is about their good, delicious corn* and how they make it the best tasting in the state. Well, in the Valley anyway.

I wanted to know their secret. I asked. Now I have the answer. The method is easier than any grilling method I've used, and it's the best tasting by far. It comes down to a couple extra things that make all the difference. Read more or skip to the bottom for step by step instructions. 

Szalay's Farm Market
Each Saturday and Sunday, hundreds of visitors line up for these roasted ears. Szalay's must sell several thousand more ears of corn -- un-roasted -- every day.

Two times in the last 10 days, Sophie and I popped over to Szalay's for a taste of that corn and a chance to catch our bearings after a couple of 8-mile hikes along the Buckeye and Towpath trails in the CVNP, one loop north one week and the other loop south the following week (yesterday) both hikes starting at the Boston Store Visitor Center trailhead in Peninsula.

Start: Just cut the top
of each ear. Following
steps below
At Szalay's, a few miles south of the Boston Store, they serve the corn with the inner husk pulled back, after the corn has been roasted in the husk -- but just the inner husk. That inner husk serves as a handle to hold the ear, the cob's juicy rows of perfectly cooked kernels requiring no salt or butter to please the palate. No doubt our long hikes played into our taste receptors being easily impressed and gratified, but for both weeks I couldn't remember a better tasting corn eating experience in my life.

Now that I had the answer from the generous fellow behind the corn counter, I wanted everyone to know about this great place and, especially, this great grilling discovery. (I thought myself not unlike the guy I had recently read about**, the wartime lieutenant who had "discovered" sweet yellow corn in an Indian field in the 1770s. I want to be that guy.)

Today, Labor Day, I tried it on the grill at CadMur Manor, and the corn turned out wonderfully.

The secret is out.***

Try it, and pass it along. It's so easy. (Notes on GMO and the "discovery" of yellow sweet corn follow.)

Here's how:

Grill on high

Repeat: (cut tops)

Peel back just the outer
layer (dark green) husk

On the grill

Lid down

Check time

Wait 5 minutes

Lift lid and give a 1/4 turn,
close lid, repeat:
5 minutes x 4 sides = 20 minutes

After 20 minutes @ 5 minutes per
side, remove from grill, peel back
remaining husk
Ready to eat
* I didn't ask anyone at Szalay's about their corn and GMO, because I knew I wasn't likely to get the answer I wanted. Also, GMO or no GMO, corn, like a lot of foods, has its problems and its detractors, which admittedly I'm choosing to willfully ignore for the moment. Ninety percent  of corn planted and harvested today is genetically modified to both ward off pests and to be "Roundup ready," the latter of which allows farmers to spray the branded herbicide Roundup (glyphosate) over and along planted rows of GMO corn to kill any non-corn plant or weed, including milkweed, while seemingly the corn is not affected. The wondrous monarch butterfly, about which I've written here, lays its eggs under milkweed leaves and depends on the plant exclusively for food in its larval stage. The monarch population has been decimated in recent years in large part due to the destruction of its habitat at the hands of glyphosate. As a guy who has received certification for a backyard habitat for practices including the propagation of milkweed specifically for the benefit of monarchs, this is tough to reconcile: a delicious ear of corn in one hand along with the knowledge of what damage it takes to get that corn.

** I recently learned the story (brought to light last month in a New York Times article on how humans have inadvertently been breeding the nutrition out of our food for eons) about the of the Revolutionary War lieutenant, Richard Bagnal, who, during a battle with the Iroquois nation, was perhaps the first Westerner to come across a field of unusually sweet yellow corn. Bagnal was said to have been so taken with its preferred qualities that he harvested seeds and distributed them to friends and family back home thereby popularizing the variety. 

*** To be sure, the secret is new to me. No doubt it's common knowledge to a fair number of folks. But, I'm confident few of my city slicker friends know about it yet. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Wondrous chamomile

Matricaria chamomilla
Aug. 29, 2013 - This German chamomile plant was the gift of Barbara Bakus, DO, who dug it out of her backyard in Cleveland before moving to Florida a couple years ago. The gift that keeps giving us both beauty and tea throughout the year. Hard to do better than this.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Late summer scene

Nearing Labor Day, there's a lot going on. Monarchs are back, but far fewer in number than what we usually see. Goldfinches feast on Joe-Pye weed seeds. Deer are a little more brazen now, annoying Siegfried and Sheba. 

I took these two shots tonight in the golden hour, just before dusk. Finally getting a little more use out of the camera Sophie got me for Christmas, giving the iPhone camera a rest. 
Love bugs -- on Joe-Pye weed
Milkweed pods host countless milkweed bug nymphs