The stereotypical Saint Patrick's Day signage at the entrance to Princeton Landing is such a cliché that it may be cringeworthy to residents of Irish descent. So, in an effort to bring us closer to the true spirit of Saint Patrick's Day, here's a slideshow we've posted before, displaying the work of a photographer in Northern Ireland, whose beautiful photographs of Saul Church show us what Saint Patrick's Day is really about.
Saul Church, also known as St. Patrick's Memorial Church, is in the small village of Saul in County Down, two miles outside Downpatrick, in Northern Ireland. The church was built to commemorate the 1500th anniversary of Saint Patrick's first church in Ireland. The foundation stone records that it is on the site given to Saint Patrick in AD 432.
On Princeton Landing's March maintenance bill, the management company urged residents who own dogs to pick up after them. This has been an ongoing issue in the community. In the past, management asked us if they could post here about this problem. The fact is the dog situation is worse than ever in Princeton Landing—more dogs and fewer people picking up after them. In truth, people taking their dogs to ruin other's people's lawns is not very neighborly, but there's a lot more to it than that. Our dog-loving Nature Guide Jon Latimer weighs in with some important information.
"If you aren't worried about dog waste left around our homes, you should be. Over time, failure to properly dispose of dog droppings can set off a harmful cycle that can affect your whole family—including your pet. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a single gram of dog waste can contain 23 million fecal coliform bacteria (which includes E. coli), which can pass to humans. These bacteria are known to cause cramps, diarrhea, intestinal illness and serious kidney disorders in humans.
"In addition, dog poop can be infected with the eggs of certain roundworms and other parasites. If these eggs are deposited on our lawns, they can linger in the soil for years. Our lawns could harbor hookworms, ringworms and tapeworms as well as bacteria such as Salmonella and Cryptosporidium. Anyone who comes in contact with that soil, through gardening, playing sports or even just walking barefoot, runs the risk of contracting those diseases. Infections can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, vomiting and diarrhea in humans. Children are most susceptible since they often play in the dirt and put things in their mouths.
"Some people argue the pet waste eventually goes away, so why bother to pick it up? Others say that pet waste makes a good fertilizer, so why not leave it behind? Both of these claims are false! The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies pet waste in the same category as oil and toxic chemicals as a source of long-term pollution. Pet waste can migrate through drainage and runoff and pollute local watershed areas. And pet waste is actually toxic for our lawns, causing burns and unsightly discoloring.
"What can you do? You can pick up after your pet. As management has pointed out, it is not only the right thing to do, it is also required by Princeton Landing's bylaws and the ordinances of Plainsboro. And if you see someone who isn't being responsible, let the office know. We need to keep our lawns clean and safe."
We're fortunate to be able to see eagles in our area. Last year we watched a pair of Bald Eagles raise two chicks in a large nest nearby. But the chicks grew up and the nest has been empty since late last summer. Now several sightings have confirmed that the Bald Eagles have returned to their nest. Our Nature Guide Jon Latimer tells us more.
"An adult Bald Eagle in flight is almost impossible to mistake. Bald Eagles are large, dark brown (almost black) birds with brilliant white heads and tails. Juvenile Bald Eagles are as big as adults, but they don't develop the white markings until they are four or five years old. You can distinguish an eagle in flight from a vulture, our other large black bird, by the way it holds its wings. Bald Eagles soar with their wings held flat; vultures hold their wings in a shallow V-shape.
"Bald Eagles live up to 30 years in the wild and mate for life. Pairs tend to use the same nest year after year. Their nest or "aerie" is usually built in a large tree near a river or coastline, or in our case overlooking Lake Carnegie. Depending on the shape of the tree branches the nest is built on, it can be cylindrical, conical or disk-shaped. Typically a nest is around 5 feet in diameter, but eagles add new material each year, and nests over 9 feet in diameter have been recorded.
"Eagles are territorial during nesting season and will keep other eagles out of their nesting area. The nesting territory usually extends one to two square miles around the nesting site. Bald Eagles also guard their nests against predators, such as crows or gulls, that might try to eat their eggs or chicks.
"It takes 35 days for Bald Eagle eggs to incubate. Both males and females tend the eggs, but the female spends the most time on the nest. During incubation, a male Bald Eagle may bring sprigs of green conifer branches to the nest. No one is sure yet why males do this, but it could be for deodorizing the nest or possibly to control pests.
"The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife considers Bald Eagles endangered, but the situation is improving. They estimate that there were more than 100 active Bald Eagle nests in New Jersey in 2011, up from only 27 nests in 2001."
Yo, Davis! Have you heard this Downton Abbey rap by Adam WarRock? To quote Adam, it's "the best rap song about an early 20th century period drama centered around property law that you'll ever hear. Believe that."
We began Princeton Landing News while my husband Paul was President of the Board of Princeton Landing, a 600-home community sitting on 94 acres above Lake Carnegie. Though Paul is no longer on the Board, we've continued this blog, publishing a mix of information about our community, the Princeton area and beyond. Contributing writer Jon Latimer and I come from the world of publishing, where we wrote and edited—among other things—nature guides. So you'll also find a lot of information about the natural world. We hope you'll see something you like. Feel free to comment—no matter where you live.