Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

The Smith House was even scarier than usual today when goblins, ghosts and the occasional superhero and princess attended Princeton Landing's Halloween children's party.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nature Guide: Praying Mantis

We’re always happy to add another entry to our growing list of creatures. Fortunately for us, a few weeks ago we received this very cool photo from Mari Molenaar, a neighbor and member of the Princeton Landing Board. Mari photographed this praying mantis on her deck in Parcel 7. So far we’ve written about the Differential Grasshopper, the Angular-winged Katydid and the Daddy Longlegs. So I asked our Nature Guide Jon Latimer to give us a few facts about the praying mantis.
Mantises are an order of predatory insects that contains more than 2,200 species worldwide. Two species are common in our area. Both have slender bodies that resemble twigs and serve as camouflage. Both also have two spiked forelegs. When they are held in an upright position, it looks like the mantis is praying, which is why they are called praying mantis.
The Carolina Mantis (Stagmomantis carolina) is native to our area, but is more common farther south. It grows to about 2½ inches long and its color ranges from dusty brown to gray or green. The larger European or praying mantis (Mantis religiosa), above, is far better known and more widespread. It can grow to 3½ inches long and its color ranges from tan, like Mari’s, to bright green. A native of Europe, this species was accidentally introduced into the US in 1899 in a shipment of nursery plants. These praying mantises thrived in their new home and spread throughout the eastern US. The species has even been named the official state insect of Connecticut.
Mantises are often considered “good” bugs because they prey on insect pests that can injure garden plants. Actually, they are formidable hunters who will pursue anything small enough to be successfully captured and eaten. Their color and shape allow them to blend into the foliage around them and ambush their prey. They use their forelegs to catch and hold their quarry and usually devour it very quickly. Mantises are known to hunt butterflies and moths, caterpillars, aphids, flies and various other insects.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Dog Tulip

Dog lovers, have you seen this video? It's the trailer to My Dog Tulip, an American independent film based on the book by British editor and literary figure J. R. Ackerley (1896–1967). His 1956 memoir My Dog Tulip chronicled Ackerley's 15-year relationship with Queenie, his German shepherd (renamed Tulip for the book). The film was directed and animated by Paul and Sandra Fierlinger. It is the first animated feature to be entirely hand drawn and painted using paperless computer technology.

The story—made for adults—tells how Ackerley rescued and raised the unpredictable German shepherd. To Ackerley's great surprise, Tulip's "constant, single-hearted, incorruptible, uncritical devotion, which it is in the nature of dogs to offer" changed his life.

My Dog Tulip features the voices of Christopher Plummer, the late Lynn Redgrave and Isabella Rossellini.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Halloween Hike at the Watershed Reserve

On Saturday, October 23, the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association will host Nature of the Night Halloween Hike from 6:30 to 8:00 pm at the Watershed Reserve. The family-friendly (non-scary) hike is suitable for children ages 4 to 10. Participants will discover jack-o-lanterns and learn about some of the creatures that bring life to the folklore of Halloween. The hike will end with a campfire in the woods, refreshments and stories of the season.

The cost for the evening is $15 per family for members and $20 per family for nonmembers. Registration is required. The number at the Watershed is 609-737-7592.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

June Cleaver

1915 – 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Parcel Projects: Parcel 9

L.N. Rothberg & Son has finished the paving work in Parcel 9. Our thanks to property manager Sal Pirrera for directing another important undertaking in Princeton Landing. Sal passes along his appreciation of our contractor, "As always John Rothberg and his crew are extremely professional, courteous and neat. They are respectful and very accommodating to our residents. John and his personnel always go above and beyond—it is a pleasure to deal with such a professional."

Board President Paul Nolting comments, "This is the third major paving project successfully completed in Princeton Landing in the last two years. These projects are essential investments in the value of our homes and in the future of our community."