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In the Dirt – Gardening December

Garden

This is the month to look at the bones of the garden. Explore the landscape without the flash of stunning flowers and deep green foliage. It’s the best time to plan for next season. I take my garden journal out and walk the garden to scout for planting areas. It’s a fun thing to do […]

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A perfect Christmas punch

Food

Every holiday party needs a pretty drink to pass around. This punch is festive and so delicious” it will be gone in no time. It’s the holiday season, so splurge on the good stuff. Skip the juice “cocktail” and get 100% cranberry and pineapple juices. Cocktail juices tend to have tons of unnecessary added sweeteners […]

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Loaded Ranch Snowman Cheeseball

Food

You’ll win at Christmas Eve when you set this ranch snowman cheeseball on the table. SeriousLY, cocktail shrimp, who? Everyone will be talking about the cute — and delicious — snowman dip! Plus it’s loaded with turkey bacon, green onions, and tons of flavor, so you know everyone is going to love it! LOADED RANCH […]

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What, exactly, are sugar plums?

Food

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ by Clement Clarke Moore paints a peaceful Christmas Eve scene, with new-fallen snow, carefully hung stockings, and visions of sugar plums. And you’ve probably heard of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from “The Nutcracker.”  But have you ever stopped to ask what, exactly, is a sugar plum? […]

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Winter white hot chocolate makes the best cup around

Food

Living in Pittsburgh, it seems hot chocolate is everywhere — and that, in my opinion, isn’t always a good thing. Those watered-down styrofoam cups at freezing cold football games or the overly sweet stuff handed out after cold weather 5Ks, are really consumed out of a need to stay warm, more so than for the enjoyment. […]

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Overnight apple cinnamon raisin French toast casserole

Food

Dishes like this overnight apple cinnamon raisin french toast casserole are particularly great around the holidays when you have guests, but you also want to sleep in. You want it all! And I agree. On top of being easy to make, breakfast casseroles are a great choice because you can prep them ahead of time, […]

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Avoid these 10 common baking mistakes for better baked goods

Food

Sometimes a fun afternoon in the kitchen turns into a stressful battle with baked goods. There are some mistakes that even seasoned bakers continue to make. Here are a few easily avoidable mistakes that can help you correct your process, and return baking to a productive, enjoyable activity. YOU CHECK YOUR OVEN TOO OFTEN. Naturally, […]

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Crispy cheese tortellini appetizer with a kick

Food

These cheese tortellini are breaded and fried to crispy, golden perfection. Sprinkle them with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and dip them in warm marinara sauce. I call it an appetizer, but really, you’ll end up eating them as your meal, they’re so good! You can use a deep fryer, but I just stick with […]

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Poinsettias

Garden

Stepping out of the cold and into the cozy greenhouses at Janoski’s Farm and Greenhouse in Clinton reveals an expansive sea of red, white and pink poinsettia bracts. That’s right, bracts, as the colors we see on poinsettias aren’t the flowers at all. The blooms are actually in the center of the plant and are […]

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First Day Hikes a growing way to celebrate the season

Outdoors

These are parades of a different kind. The usual New Year’s Day version is fun and festive, if you like noise and crowds and giant balloons and standing in one place for a long period of time. And some do. But others – me, and maybe you – prefer something else. Serenity, if not absolute […]

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Cold water boating fun, but safety paramount

Outdoors

There are a lot of good reasons to spend time on the water in winter. One is the anticipation of late-season ducks banking over decoys to approach your blind. The lure of catching a few more fish, like the trout stocked by states including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, before things freeze over is another. And […]

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The Winter Rose

Garden

The Winter Rose (Helleborus niger) isn’t a rose at all, but a late-blooming perennial plant that should be in everyone’s garden. There are two types of hellebores, H. niger and H. orientalis (Lenten Rose), which blooms in the early spring. They are both plants of merit, but the Winter Rose arrives when there isn’t much […]

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Outdoor Extras, including a fun archery target

Outdoors

You want outdoor extras? We’ve got outdoor extras… Gear of the week Gear name: Six Pack Company: OnCore Targets (https://www.everybodyshops.com/2d-bottle-archery-targets.html) Gear type: Archery target Product description: Probably everyone who’s ever visited an amusement park or carnival has played the game. You know, you get a trio or softballs or a BB gun, depending on the […]

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Apricot Pinwheel Cookies

Food

It just wouldn’t be Christmas without these dainty, bright orange apricot-filled cookies brightening up the table. The melt-in-your-mouth cream cheese pastry dough and light fresh, apricot filling are too good not to share this holiday season. I remember my grandmother saying these cookies were an Italian tradition, yet, much like the handful of Italian slang […]

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3 Fun napkin folding ideas for your Christmas table

Food

The holidays are the perfect time to kick your table decorating game up a notch. You’ve spent hours scouring Pinterest to help you create the perfect holiday menu. You’ve dropped serious dough on extra serving platters, and you’ve cleaned corners of your house you never knew needed cleaning. Now is no time for holding back. […]

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9 Things you never knew about eggnog

Food

It’s that time of year when people everywhere get a hankering for holiday eggnog. You already know it’s delicious, but did you know it was responsible for a riot at West Point? Or that it was prescribed as medicine by doctors in the 1800s? Read on to learn more about everyone’s favorite way to imbibe […]

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Gifts for Gardeners

Garden

As panic sets in during holiday shopping season, here are some ideas for your favorite gardener. We’re actually pretty easy to shop for. One thing we always need is another set of good pruners. Dramm ColorPoint Compact Pruners are one of my favorites. They are sharp, indestructible and the colorful handles are easy to find […]

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Gardening with Kids

Garden

When sharing our love of gardening with children, there’s always hope that it will bring them the same happiness we get from working with plants. My kids had their own little garden patches when they were little and loved it. Now that they are grown with their own homes, I’ve seen them embrace gardening. It’s […]

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Crayfish research leads to exciting finds

Outdoors

This isn’t like white-tailed deer, or brook trout or red-tailed hawks. Hunters and anglers and bird watchers seek those species out, all the time, and have lots of success finding them. They’re common enough that it takes s special specimen to even generate much talk. It’s not so with burrowing crayfish. At least not in […]

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Fish and wildlife are economic engines

Outdoors

Consider your guilt assuaged. Mine is, too. Despite what your mother said – not to do something just because others are – it’s OK, at least in this case. Everyone’s in the same boat, or at least the same kinds of boats, or hiking shoes, or hunting coats, or fishing waders. And it’s healthy. Outdoorsmen […]

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Gardening Q&A with Doug Oster

Garden

Everybody Gardens editor Doug Oster gets asked a lot of questions. A lot. And he doesn’t mind offering gardening advice. But rather than just limiting those answers to the person who asked, we thought it might be a good idea to share that wealth of knowledge with everybody. Larry: When should I cut down my […]

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Porcupines and the winter woods

Outdoors

They are one of the slowest moving creatures in the northern woods, generally waddling along at a seemingly carefree pace. Yet they are difficult to catch sight of much of the year. Now is the exception, though. If you want to lay eyes on a porcupine, winter offers your best chance. It’s a matter of […]

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Outdoor Extras, including a squirrel hunting tip

Outdoors

You want outdoor extras? We’ve got outdoor extras… Lure of the week Lure name: Lil’ Corky Clusters Company: Yakima Bait Co. (http://www.yakimabait.com) Lure type: Imitation egg sac Sizes and colors: Available in three sizes – 11/32-, 7/16- and 9/16-inch – in 30 colors, including sherbet, rocket red, pink clown, luminous green, black, chartreuse flame, glitter […]

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In the Dirt – December (Seed Catalogs)

Garden

Planting the seed Cold-weather months are a great time for scouring catalogs for seed-starting purchases. Making grand plans for spring is invigorating thinking of what might be once the weather breaks. Those of us who extend the season are still enjoying the fruits of our labor. Cool weather veggies are tucked away under glass, plastic […]

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The Art of Healing

Garden

Sue Abramson’s beautiful black and white photos of the forest are dramatic studies in light, each one evoking a mood and offering a window into the artist’s life. She has spent much of her time in the woods photographing the beauty of nature. The photographs are part of her book “A Woodlands Journal.” It chronicles […]

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Gardening Q&A with Doug Oster

Garden

Garden Q&A Bette: I took your advice and have been planting bulbs all fall. I got a little carried away at the end of the season and bought a lot of them. You always say they are on sale in the winter, and I’m like you, I can’t resist a bargain. I’m not sure if […]

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