One quarter of all the candy sold annually in the U.S. is purchased for Halloween.
Being on the bottom
In a smaller mid-rise, the bottom floor is really just the garden level of the building. Those buildings with a few more levels may mean the bottom consists of 1-3 stories. Regardless, living on the bottom floors provide:
- Easy access both into and out of the building
- A quicker trip to ground-floor amenities like common outdoor space
- The ability to take the stairs all the time rather than dealing with the elevator
You also don’t have to worry about annoying a neighbor below you should you want to move furniture around, invite friends over or just tend to walk heavily.
Benefit of your home at http://www.starloftspgh.com
Good day, Charlie
Looking for weekend plans? Go down to the Fall Festival this Sunday, October 24th! Don’t miss your chance to enjoy a hayride, pick a pumpkin or treat yourself to apple cider!
Go to the Trax Farm Fall Festival a half hour ride from your home at the http://www.starloftspgh.com
Fall is the perfect time to watch the foliage around us explode in color. Deep reds, bright yellows and cozy oranges shimmer in the wind for just a few weeks before the branches are once again bare and the cold weather ensues.
But why do leaves change color in the fall, and while we’re at it, why do they fall off their trees at all?
Why do leaves change color and fall?
What leaves do for a tree
In a nutshell, leaves make food for the plant they are attached to, whether that be a tree, a shrub or a flower. Leaves are connected to its plant through a vascular system that carries these nutrients around the plant, similar to how our human vascular system carries blood around our body. They do this all through a process called photosynthesis, a system you probably remember learning about way back in middle school.
During the warmer months that make up spring and summer, leaves work constantly to convert sunlight into nutrients for the plant. Chlorophyll, the chemical that gives leaves that green color, absorbs light energy and contains it in the leaf, which then interacts with the natural enzymes found in plant cells found in the leaf. That reaction between the light energy and the enzymes helps to break down the chemical components in the water (supplied to the plant from the roots), breaking it down into oxygen and hydrogen.
The hydrogen reacts with the carbon dioxide found in the plant enzymes to create a form of sugar, and that sugar is what’s funneled through the plant’s vascular system to provide the nutrients the tree needs to grow. Any remaining oxygen is released through miniscule pores found on the leaf’s surface.
Leaves are falling all around…
Not all trees are able to handle the colder weather later in the year, so they drop their leaves until spring peaks its sunny head around the corner a few months later.
Interestingly enough, leaves don’t just fall off with a strong breeze or a cold wind; the trees actually shove the leaves off! If anything, this season should be called “Push” rather than “Fall,” if we want to be scientifically accurate. But anyway…
If we think of leaves as solar-powered cooks, then during the summer months these tiny cooks are working all day every day to make the most of that bright sunlight, all the while depositing an abundance of food and nutrients into the plant. It’s a great system, and those leaves make it well-worth the effort of keeping them around full-time.
In the colder months, though, the days are much shorter and the sun is not nearly as direct. The quality and quantity of sunlight decreases with each passing day, and the tree has to decide if it wants to keep its staff of full-time chefs all winter long, or if it wants a break. It takes a lot of nutrients to keep leaves alive, and if the leaves themselves aren’t able to make a lot of nutrients in the first place, then the tree can be quickly sapped of its reserve. Plus, if the water in those leaves gets cold enough to freeze, then the leaves could die completely and damage the tree’s vascular system.
For these trees, then, it makes more sense to get rid of its leaves and go dormant over winter, rather than hang onto the leaves and run the risk of a bad freeze.
The process by which trees drop their leaves is a fascinating one, and it all starts with the decreasing sunlight.
Hormones inside the leaves can sense when there is less sunlight and lower temperatures, so those hormones will activate a process called abscission that starts to shut down the production process. This means that the chlorophyll stops working, changing the leaf’s color back to its natural state of yellow, orange or red (yes, leaves are not naturally green!). It also means that tiny cells begin building a wall between the leaf and the twig it’s attached to, slowly cutting off the flow of nutrients and water from the leaf.
These abscission cells eventually grow thick enough that the leaf is shoved completely off the twig with just the slightest of breezes, falling to the ground in that magnificent display that we just love to watch. And, because those cells formed such a thick wall, there is no open wound on the branch where the twig was, and the scab of plant cells keeps the twig protected all through winter as the tree lies dormant.
This process is purely self-preservation, and we see this happening in other adverse conditions, too. When faced with a particularly horrific drought, the tree may cut off nutrients to leaves or branches in order to strengthen the more vital parts of the tree. The tree will reactivate these dormant pieces when there are enough nutrients available, and the process starts all over again!
Food for spring
Wading through a forest full of fallen leaves can feel like trudging through snow, as there are just so many leaves! Yet when we return in spring, those blankets of leaves are gone! Where do they go?
Fallen leaves decay through natural processes, as fungus, bacteria and invertebrates cover the forest floor and provide the vital processes of decay and deconstruction that keeps the circle of life running smoothly.
Webs of fungus called mycelium send tiny strands of hyphae into organic matter around them, where those hyphae secrete enzymes that break down the chemical structure of the fallen leaves. The nutrients extracted from those leaves are transported through the mycelium to the trees and plants all around it, feeding and strengthening the forest through this massive underground web.
Finally, small critters and bacteria eat through the remaining leaves, breaking down the physical structure and secreting even more nutrients into the soil via their waste.
In the end, all the nutrients stored in those bright green leaves returned right back to the ground, where they will feed the tree yet again come spring. Then, the cycle continues once again.
Fall is a magical time for many reasons, but seeing how this brief interval of time can so drastically affect the livelihoods of deciduous trees makes it all the more fascinating.
Enjoy the beauty of the changing color of the leaves. Take a short rode from your home at http://www.starloftspgh.com to the Laurel Highlands this weekend.
Happy Fall! Best, Janet.
Linguini with clams is one of the most satisfying Italian dishes to cook and eat. The fresher the clams, the more flavorsome the sauce.
LIST OF INGREDIENTS
- 2 LBS. of clams (Wholeys Fish Market, Strip District Pittsburgh)
- 11 1/2 OZ. of Barilla linguini
- 1 OZ. of parsley
- 1 of garlic clove
- extra-virgin olive oil
In a large bowl or pan, soak the clams in lightly salted water for at least 2 hours; every 30 minutes, use your hands to gently drain them without stirring up any sand that has filtered to the bottom of the pan; transfer them to a plate, change the water, and add a pinch of salt. Be careful not to break the shells during this process.
Trim the parsley, removing the leaves only; wash and dry with a paper towel and finely chop. Crush and mince 1 garlic clove.
Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally. Drain about 2 minutes before al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water.
Meanwhile, in a pan large enough to hold the clams and linguini, sauté the garlic with 4 Tbsp. oil for 30 seconds, then add the parsley.
After a few seconds, add the drained clams: cook for 1-2 minutes until they start to open, then add 3 small ladlefuls of pasta cooking water.
Drain the linguini and transfer directly to the pan with the clams. Cook until the pasta is al dente and a creamy sauce forms due to the starch being released. Add extra water pasta cooking water if needed. Top with chopped parsley to taste and serve.
This is a simple, but excellent dish to make at your home at http://www.starloftspgh.com
ESSENTIAL BEDROOM FURNISHINGS, LIGHTING, AND COLORING
You may not think so, but your bedroom is probably the most important room in your home. It’s the place where you get to unwind and relax after your busy day and, if you’re lucky enough, to grab an extra snooze on the weekends.
YOUR BED AND MATTRESS
Your bed is the reason for the existence of this room and should be the focal point. However, there’s no need to get carried away with what’s fashionable at the time; your priority should be comfort.
As far as comfort goes, the mattress is by far the most critical part. There’s a bewildering array of choices out there, so you may want to check US-Mattress to help you decide what’s best for you. Bear in mind that a good mattress should last you ten years or more if well cared for, and don’t be afraid to invest in this – you’ll be grateful for it when you sleep well in comfort.
Although we often think of the bedding, pillows, cushions, and rugs as the soft furnishings of a room, you would do well not to forget the curtains, especially for a bedroom. Depending on where you live, these could range from decorative to more functional.
For instance, if you live in an inner-city environment, you may find you need heavier curtains to block out light and noise. Even if you live in the countryside, you may want to block the moonlight streaming in through your windows at night.
As far as your bedding goes, opt for soft and cozy to lull you to sleep. You may prefer bright and bold colors or more delicate embroidered finishes. If you’re unsure what color scheme to choose for your bedroom, look for tips for the best and worst colors for sleep, especially if you’re one of those unfortunates who struggle to get to sleep at night.
Your choice of soft furnishings will already have set the tone for your master bedroom, but there are still some subtle touches you can add to create a space you’ll be delighted with. Lighting, fragrance, and music can all have small but profound influences on the ambiance of any room.
LIGHTING AND AIR
Lighting may be the last thing many of us think of. After all, bedrooms are supposed to be dark, aren’t they? The truth is, we still need some light in our bedrooms, whether it’s just ambient light for mood or slightly brighter, more focussed light for reading in bed.
Your choice of lamps and light fittings can add interesting detail to your bedroom. This is an area where you can be creative and get the overall effect you desire.
It’s a good idea to ensure there’s fresh air in your bedroom. There’s no need to worry about the cold in winter if you have heavy curtains. A few sprigs of soothing lavender in a small vase near your bed will undoubtedly add to the ambiance but remember to place it where you won’t easily knock it over.
There’s a lot of information out there, but whatever you do, remember the master bedroom is your space, so make sure it suits you and your lifestyle at the http://www.starloftspgh.com