September 13, 2011 · 8:00 am
It seems that a lot of people are mourning the loss of summer right now. I’ve never been a fan of the excessive heat and humidity, but I can understand the reluctance to let go of activities we traditionally associate with warm weather. So rather than packing away your gear with a heavy heart, why not find ways of extending your favorite hobbies into the colder months?
For example, even though you may be scrambling to collect the last of your harvest right now, your gardening days don’t have to be over when you run out of zucchini.
Fallscaping: Extending Your Garden Season Into Autumn by Nancy Ondra
A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons by Philip Harnden.
Speaking of which, those of us who enjoy cooking (and eating!) local, seasonal foods have been looking forward to that harvest. In addition, dropping temperatures signal the return of baking season.
The Taste of the Season: Inspired Recipes for Fall and Winter by Diane Worthington
Autumn: From the Heart of the Home by Susan Branch
The Fearless Baker: Scrumptious Cakes, Pies, Cobblers, Cookies, and Quick Breads That You Can Make to Impress Your Friends and Yourself by Emily Luchetti
And people who love the outdoors know there’s no reason to head inside yet. Hiking, birdwatching, and many other activities can become fresh again with the change of seasons. (In fact, depending on your sport, the ability to wear more protective gear and clothing can be a plus!)
Fall Color and Woodland Harvests: a Guide to the More Colorful Fall Leaves and Fruits of the Eastern Forests by C. Ritchie Bell
The Bumper Book of Nature: A User’s Guide to the Outdoors by Stephen Moss
Backyard Bird Secrets for Every Season: Attract a Variety of Nesting, Feeding, and Singing Birds Year-Round by Sally Roth.
So even though summer’s days are numbered, autumn gives us plenty to celebrate.
Filed under Uncategorized
Tagged as autumn, baking, birdwatching, cooking, Denise, fall, harvest, hiking, Nature, outdoors, seasons
March 21, 2011 · 7:00 am
According to Wikipedia, the March Equinox occurred last night at 7:26 PM local time. We can finally stop thinking about the groundhog; spring is officially here. All I want to do is go outside and play.
Even though the nights are getting shorter, they’re warming up enough to do some serious stargazing. The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh has published their 2011 schedule of Star Parties at Wagman Observatory and Mingo Creek Park Observatory. I personally recommend visiting the Wagman site and using the telescope that was commissioned by Andrew Carnegie and built by John Brashear. But if you can’t make it to a party, or if you just can’t get enough of that night sky, you can always come to the library and grab a guide.
Viewing the Constellations With Binoculars: 250+ Wonderful Sky Objects to See and Explore by Bojan Kambic
Another exciting part of spring is the local Peregrine Falcon nesting season. Pittsburgh’s National Aviary hosts live Falcon Cams at the Gulf Tower downtown, and Cathedral of Learning in Oakland. If you want to know more about what you’re watching, Kate St. John of WQED has put together an incredible Peregrine FAQ, as part of her blog Outside My Window: A Bird-Watcher’s View of the World. She also covers general bird anatomy and behavior, and describes happenings in the local environment down to the appearance and function of the weeds in the winter. If you find yourself wanting to get a closer look at Kate St. John’s world, we’ve got books that can help you make your little piece of habitat more inviting.
The Backyard Bird Lover’s Ultimate How-To Guide: More Than 200 Easy Ideas and Projects for Attracting and Feeding Your Favorite Birds by Sally Roth
I’m also looking forward to hitting the local trails. I’ve always been a hiker, but this year I may actually get myself a bike and explore some of the nearby rail trails. Of course, when starting any new fitness routine, your doctor should be your first stop. But after you’ve been declared healthy, we can help you figure out what to do next. Here’s the book I’ve had my eye on –
Knack Cycling For Everyone: A Guide to Road, Mountain, and Commuter Biking by Leah Garcia and Jilayne Lovejoy.
Are you getting ready for any fun outdoor activities?
Filed under Uncategorized
Tagged as amateur astronomy, bird watching, cycling, Denise, equinox, hiking, rail trails, seasons, spring, star gazing, trails
February 17, 2011 · 3:22 pm
You’ll pardon our tardiness with today’s post, I’m sure. Today the Carnegie library gang was puzzled–and more than a little distracted–by the appearance of a large, yellow orb in the sky, one that’s giving off warmth and light. We’ve taken off our cardigan sweaters and opened up the windows to celebrate; mind you, we’re not 100% certain, but we think it might be…
…the sun! Hurray!
It is still February in Pittsburgh though, so this solar good fortune probably won’t last. Take advantage of the serendipitous break in the gloom and do something outdoors. And if your travels happen to bring you near the library, pop in to pick up a warm-weather read.
who hopes nobody will shush her if she starts singing
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September 23, 2008 · 7:00 am
Yesterday was the Autumnal Equinox, so HAPPY FALL, everyone!
Autumn turns Western PA into one of the most gorgeous places on the planet, and there are plenty of ways to celebrate the season, from special events related to Pittsburgh’s 250th birthday to statewide annual fesivals.
If you’re a gardener, you’re probably already harvesting tomatoes, other veggies and herbs and figuring out yummy ways to prepare, dry or preserve them. Or maybe your garden is just getting started on its second wind. Either way, if you’re lucky enough to have a surplus of sustenance, consider sharing the harvest by donating or getting involved with Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. September is, after all, Hunger Action Month.
If your engagement with autumn leans more towards the creative side, there are lots of crafty ways to honor fall. You could create a seasonal journal, collage or craft with bright fall leaves or other natural materials, or photograph foliage on long walks in the newly cooled weather. If you want to be both practical and fun, stop by Carnegie Knits and Reads for some rollicking, book-talking company while you knit or crochet yourself a fancy warm hat or scarf.
If none of these ideas ring your bell, you can always resort to the tried and true “curl-up-with-a-good-book-and-hot-cup-of-tea” approach to enjoying pretty much any weather. We can help with the “good book” part (and, actually, the tea part, too).
However you decide to observe the new tilt of the earthly axis, I hope you enjoy it!