Sports & Outdoors

Play Ball! Faster Please

Major League Baseball’s department of Faster Play, fearing that people will think the game has become sluggish and dull and will quit watching, has devised yet another new rule to perk things up, as Pirates fans might note this season. This one’s about mound visits. Like when the catcher goes out to the pitcher and …

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The Secret to Finding Morels

“I can’t seem to give ’em up I just like morels too much I like other ’shrooms and such But I just like morels too much Oyster mushrooms mighty fine Seafood and some nice white wine Chanterelles’re tasty too In a wild mushroom ragout Storebought shrooms can be a crutch but I just like morels …

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The Elusive and Beautiful Green Heron

The green heron lay cradled in the crook of Bob Mulvihill’s arm like a baby, or at least that’s how I remember it. He blew on the bird’s belly and a cloud of powder down swirled forth, an adaptation that in all likelihood adds some moisture-shedding resistance to the wing feathers of this water-loving species. …

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Fleeting Blossoms of the ’Burgh

April showers bring May flowers, but May showers can quickly destroy the delicate blossoms on flowering trees. Sometimes the blooms only last a few days before a sudden downpour—of which Pittsburgh has been experiencing often these days—washes them away. In this collection of images, Pittsburgh photographer David Aschkenas captures the fleeting beauty by lighting the …

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Steelers Add Key Players Who Should See Playing Time

The 2018 NFL draft is in the books. The league again elected to feature a number of former NFL players to make team selections, perhaps to quell the booing of Commissioner Roger Goodell. It didn’t make a difference. It did, however, produce a very emotional draft moment. To a roaring crowd, linebacker Ryan Shazier walked …

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The Allegheny River

In many ways, the Allegheny River is the centerpiece of our region. It traverses landscapes from wilderness to urban and provides recreational opportunities in many different places along its course. One of the most spectacular parts of the river is the free-flowing 125 miles of the middle Allegheny from the Kinzua Dam in Warren County …

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Our Changing Pastime

On a snowy night, I’m tossing winter batting practice in a gym to nine-year-old boys who play for Steel City Select, an elite Pittsburgh travel baseball club. We’re getting ready for the 2018 season, another chapter in the history of a game invented by Americans almost two centuries ago, and which has deep roots in …

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Making Maple Syrup

What is this?—syrup, maple syrup in a quart jar, syrup my grandfather made twenty-five years ago for the last time. I remember coming to the farm in March in sugaring time, as a small boy. He carried the pails of sap, sixteen-quart buckets, dangling from each end of a wooden yoke that lay across his …

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The Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbills are birds worth traveling for. Sometimes they even travel to us. Typically found on the Gulf Coast, the first time I spotted one was on a marathon birding adventure I took to south Texas in 2005. To bird far from Pittsburgh meant I’d see unfamiliar species in new habitats. The spoonbills didn’t disappoint. …

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A Mountain in the Winter

People often hike through landscapes without having a real sense of the place. In the Laurel Highlands, there is an opportunity to get a “sense of place” before or after your trek, by taking advantage of a sweeping bird’s-eye view of the east flank of Laurel Hill and the Laurel Hill Creek valley, at the …

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The Cedar Waxwing

Pittsburgh has produced some renowned birders and ornithologists. Our hills and rivers attract a wide variety of birds, and they, in turn, inspire generation after generation to look to the skies—from John James Audubon, who painted the long-extinct Passenger Pigeon while passing through the Gateway to the West (an old moniker for our fair city), …

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Winter Patterns

“Where, twisted round the barren oak, The summer vine in beauty clung, And summer winds the stillness broke, The crystal icicle is hung.” —From “Woods in Winter,” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Walking our woods in winter, I see the natural world differently than in the warmer months. Distracted by neither color nor blossom, I instead …

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Becoming a Deer Farmer

Deer may be the taxidermy industry’s essential resource, but living deer are making a much bigger economic impact now, thanks to the growing business of deer farming. Deer farming is growing faster than any other industry in rural America, according to a study by Texas A&M University. The business provides jobs to tens of thousands …

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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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