Sports & Outdoors

The Art of Taxidermy

The Victorian Era is known for its décor, literature and scientific developments. However, alongside the works of Dickens and the birth of photography, a long-dead style of art re-emerged in Victorian homes: taxidermic animals. That art originally began as a way for scientists to showcase an animal’s biological features and was used by ancient Egyptians …

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What a Rack! The True and Weird Story of Antlers

Doug Lovstuen saw movement first, then his quarry. The average buck’s antlers are seven points, but this one had the biggest antlers he’d ever seen. Sweat dripped down his neck. He aimed. And the buck bolted. Lovstuen’s shot grazed the buck’s neck, stunting its right antler. Two years later, after its gigantic rack regrew and …

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Things Seem Great with the Steelers, But…

Something’s missing. That seems to be the general feeling among pundits of late, even as the Steelers sit comfortably atop the AFC North with a 3-game lead over the Ravens. Some things, retrospectively, look slightly more forgivable now. The earlier defeat to the Jaguars stings less, as Jacksonville now shares a 1st place tie within …

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Pittsburgh Quarterly Readers’ Top Garden Photos

We asked our readers and the Pittsburgh community to submit photos of their gorgeous gardens and unique backyards. The results are in! Below is a selection of our favorites. Fox Chapel Golf Club’s Tennis Bed The Tennis Bed at the Fox Chapel Golf Club borders the front lawn and tennis courts, providing an explosion of …

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Hornets’ Nest

Anyone looking at the back of my house would see it—the lamp just outside my back door stuffed with hornet accretions, the nest shaped like a rugby ball but twice the size. “What the hell is that?” “Hornet’s nest.” “Jesus.” Yes, what would Jesus do? Some days, I stand a few yards away, safe, and …

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Steelers Ready to Go: Breaking Down the 53

The Steelers trimmed their roster to 53 by the Saturday deadline, and the acquisitions of cornerback Joe Haden and tight end Vance McDonald signal that this team is built to win now. Ben Roethlisberger has already mulled retirement once, James Harrison can only hold off retirement for so long, and Le’Veon Bell is, for all …

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Garden Warfare

Having a vegetable garden sounds like a gentle, relaxing and easy hobby. Dig a few holes in the dirt, put a few plants in, water, and before you know it—bushels and bushels of pest-free, perfectly ripened vegetables in the summer. Anyone who gardens knows how much a load of hooey that is. Gardening, if done …

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Steelers Rundown: Progress Report After Two Preseason Games

The Steelers are halfway through the preseason, and all signs are pointing to another electric season on both sides of the ball. Here are a few notes from Pittsburgh’s victories over the Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants, as well as some training camp observations from Latrobe. Watt Strong through two games It didn’t take …

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Give a Little Whistle

It’s not until chapter 10 of Harper Lee’s famous novel that we are told of the magic of mockingbirds. Atticus Finch, lawyer and father extraordinaire, says, “Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” Benevolent Miss Maudie explains, “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing …

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Seeing Autumn Through a Spider’s Web

“I had never paid much attention to spiders until a few years ago. Once you begin watching spiders, you haven’t time for much else—the world is really loaded with them. I do not find them repulsive or revolting, any more than I find anything in nature repulsive or revolting, and I think it is too …

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Golden Eagle: High, Wild and Here

Imagine the view from a thousand feet up. Snow-mantled ridges cloaked in barren forest, angling southwestward as far as an eagle can see. On the northwest horizon stands a crisp urban skyline above the glint from three rivers. That’s the view golden eagles survey as they soar along the Laurel Highlands to their wintering grounds …

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Finding the Waterfalls of the Middle Allegheny

When the last Wisconsin glacial age reshaped North America more than 10,000 years ago, it excavated the Great Lakes and carved out the Middle Allegheny River Gorge southward from the current-day Allegheny Reservoir in Warren County down to Emlenton in southern Venango County. There, far above the river, the steep slopes send streams tumbling down …

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Sailing into the Fray

In May, my older sister emailed, wondering if I’d be sailing in the nationals, which this year would be where we spend summers in Michigan. I’d been considering it, but there were two impediments—pulling together a four-man crew and the spinnaker. No problem with the crew, but flying a spinnaker loomed in my mind like …

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Exploring the Cherry Run Game Lands

Traveling east from our Pittsburgh plateau area to the central Appalachian Mountains in the middle of the state makes us aware of the vast and diverse lands of Penn’s Woods. Hikers and nature lovers can experience the unique characteristics of central Pennsylvania’s rugged mountain terrain by exploring the Cherry Run watershed and State Game Lands …

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Building the Buzz

On a brisk October morning, Dr. Bill Bookwalter dons a billowy, white beekeeping suit complete with veil and hikes up a hill behind his Fox Chapel home to harvest honey. Most days, you’ll find him in surgical scrubs, but during his downtime, Bookwalter, a neurosurgeon, practices apiculture: he maintains colonies of bees. While the honey …

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A Modest Proposal

Mother Nature has a sense of humor and the soul of Monet. The change in the yard was startling. In just a week it went from being a crabgrass plantation to a breathtaking carpet of fluffy, soft-white clover, a pastel hand-delivered from the French master himself. But lawns are supposed to be neat and clean …

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The Scarlet Tanager

A bird on fire, a male scarlet tanager perched just above my eye level. He was in a tree at the edge of the Upper Fields Trail at Fox Chapel’s Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve. Normally high in the forest canopy gleaning insects in spring and summer, this avian migrant, roughly robin size, had decided that …

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The Lure of Fishing

One of my earliest memories was Christmas Eve at my grandmother’s big home with its very high ceilings in Cincinnati. I was 4, and my aunt gave me a tackle box. As I examined the various fishing lures, my father said, “Be careful that the first fish you catch isn’t yourself.” I didn’t understand him …

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A Walk in the Woods

Cook Forest State Park, home to magnificent old-growth forest, is a prime destination for anyone interested in scenic beauty, natural history and a variety of recreational opportunities. Located 75 miles north of Pittsburgh in Clarion County, the state park is named for John Cook, the first American to settle in the area, in 1826. By …

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A Belted Kingfisher

“From the porch at dusk I watched a kingfisher wild in flight he could only have made for joy…” —Wendell Barry (from his poem “Before Dark”) One summer day not long ago, I sat on the front porch of our farmhouse. It’s a log house, built about 1860 and added onto over the years—a happy …

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Steelers Draft: Matt Milligan Gives the Scoop

The theatrics of the NFL draft reached new heights this year. Between a touching tribute to the late Dan Rooney and a pandemonium-inducing tirade by former Cowboys Wide receiver Drew Pearson, there were plenty of made-for-TV moments. A total of 6 trades were processed during the 1st round, 3 of which involved the eventual drafting …

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Hard Hitter

They’re not really going to miss Ralph Cindrich, those suits with the NFL’s 32 teams. If they think of him at all, it’s in vulgar adjectives attached to the devilish contracts he extracted from them for his clients, such as Bill Fralic’s Rabbi Trust, Will Wolford’s Blind Side contract and Dermontti Dawson’s first-ever option-year double …

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