Local Commentaries

Moving out

Retirement is now just around the corner. July 27th. Thirteen days. And yup, there is a lot left to do. This is the time of year that the Struthers Library Theatre works on getting our program book ready for the upcoming season. Writing, editing, designing and layout all come first – ...

‘The Cliffs’

Shhhh. It’s a secret. A few miles from where I grew up in Lander, there is a 60-to-80-feet-deep gorge that winds its way through the woods with a slow running creek at the bottom. Actually, it’s more of a crick. No wider than a local street and ankle deep. Once in a while you may come ...

Returning from a week’s break

I just returned from a week at Chautauqua Institution. If you have never visited there it is time that you did. Sunday is a free day. All you have to pay is for parking. What a great time to let the children and grandchildren see this center for the arts. Last Sunday was a day to ...

Tiny underwater adjustments

It’s a thousand tiny adjustments. The first time I dropped down a descent line onto a tropical reef I was blown away. If it wouldn’t have messed up my view, I’d have wept directly into my scuba mask for the sheer beauty of the world so few get to witness firsthand. I mean, I’d ...

Allegheny wildlife

Days spent along the Allegheny River during the warmer months of the year can be memorable from a wildlife viewing perspective. Bald eagles, with their distinctive white heads, cruise the river and occasionally splash down after prey. They commonly light on branches overlooking the ...

Writing this while I can still play

It’s soccer time again and I plan to bring balance to the forces. The annual Over and Under 200 soccer game is tonight (in the past for you readers). It’s often talked about as a Warren alumni game, but I prefer the ‘old’ vs. ‘young.’ Did I mention that ‘balance’ is not ...

Family picnics

We had many picnics while the men worked together. We just put our food together and ate wherever the men were working. There were no special foods. We just ate out at the picnic table. Fourth of July picnics usually centered around my mother-in-law's birthday. Her birthday was actually ...

Half full or half empty?

Is your glass half full or half empty? One of my favorite things to do on Saturday mornings when the girls have spent the night at a grandma’s house is to go to the farmer’s market - early if possible - and then hit up the Arbor to caffeinate and read. Not enough people read anymore. Not ...

Finian, ch. 2

In my most recent column I explained my heart’s desire for one last kitten - whom we determined had to be a Maine Coon. I did hesitate a bit when one friend commented, “Wow, taking a new kitten at your age is a real leap of faith.” I was a bit hurt, but I did pause to think about it ...

Mountain bikers vs. hikers

One has to drive around the Hickory Creek Wilderness frequently to appreciate how much human use it gets. Folks flock to the allure of ‘Wilderness’. You are liable to find hikers and campers in it at any time of the year. Yes, including January and February. The Allegheny Islands ...

June is dairy month

June is Dairy Month. Just what does that mean. To me it means the time when I remember all of the hard work that was part of our dairying operation. It seemed the men worked from dawn to dusk and sometimes even more than that. My husband used to say, “After the haying is done things will ...

A moral felony

On June 3, 2014, I was crying on the floor of my dining room. I’d been a stay-at-home mom for two years, and my brain was slowly liquefying. My daughters had been up at 3 a.m. for at least three days. It was around 10 a.m., and as I sobbed into the carpet the girls took turns trying to ride ...

Four lures for a river boat

Few things on Earth are more pleasant than float fishing the Allegheny River in Warren County. This particular stretch of the river has a perfect mix of riffles and pools. Steep, forested hills rise from the valley floor. Wildflowers decorate the river banks. And, oh my, is the fishing ever ...

Preventing medicine error

The proper use of medications can help patients manage disease states, live longer, healthier lives and remain independent in their homes. The following tips can aid a patient in preventing medication errors. 1) Ask Questions and Disclose Information: Ask your doctor or pharmacist ...

Hay time

It is the season to make hay. I cannot help but notice how much the haying process has changed through the years. When my husband was farming he mowed his own hay. Since the farm was close to a valley the hay was not dry enough to cut until late morning. First, he'd milk the cows, come in ...

H.P. Lovecraft on Quaaludes

I love my kids’ drawings. They’re six, so everything they draw is at least vaguely terrifying. It’s so great. June is obsessed with writing and drawing. She has a lot of journals. Just like her mother. She is also a heinous pen snob. Just like her mother. Poor kid. Anyhow, she’s ...

You were the best boy

He was a good boy. He was the best boy, actually. Canine Officer Choper, of the Conewango Township Police Department, was laid to rest Tuesday afternoon while I successfully (but barely) managed to keep from ugly crying at my desk. Over the course of the past week, the Times Observer has ...

Easy to get that trophy scored now

For many decades Warren County may have been the poorest trophy big game county in Pennsylvania. No bucks, no bears near the top of the Pennsylvania Big Game Records. It got worse, of course, when comparing local big game animals to the Boone & Crockett or Pope & Young big game records. ...

Creature adventures

This is the time of year for everything – farming, gardening, mowing, planting, harvesting, equipment repairs, house projects, building projects, the list goes on and on. There is so much happening that it is hard to remember to simply take a break and enjoy the world. However, taking that ...

Shed: The focal point of any garden

The garden shed is one of the most charming focal points in any garden. It is in this little building the gardener accomplishes his many garden tasks. A rainy afternoon is perfect for potting up a small plant or cleaning and storing garden tools or flowerpots. The potting shed is also the place ...