SPORTS & OUTDOORS

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.

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…

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.

Steelers Rundown: Progress Report After Two Preseason Games

by Matthew John Milligan
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.

Unfair to Athletes?

by Marino Parascenzo
Speaking of high school football, as I am, I knew of a chemistry teacher who was so tough, so mean — or at least mean-​looking — that he produced decades of superb students. Not that I’m advocating mean as a teaching method, but he was so good that college chemistry professors could pick his…

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…

“The Slide” chronicles the tough years of the Pittsburgh Pirates

by Fred Shaw
For some locals, October 17, 1979 was the date parents all over southwestern PA let their kids stay up late. That night baseball fans young and old got to witness Willie “Pops” Stargell homering against the Baltimore Orioles, propelling the Pittsburgh Pirates to their most-​recent World Series title. The sound…

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…

A Modest Proposal

by Marino Parascenzo
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…

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…

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.

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”)

Pittsburgh’s 3 Seasons

by John Beale
Forget about winter, spring, summer and fall. For Pittsburgh’s most faithful sports fans, there are only three seasons: hockey, baseball, and football.

Steelers Draft: Matt Milligan Gives the Scoop

by Matthew John Milligan
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…

Hard Hitter

by Marino Parascenzo
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…
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