Area Life

Counting the birds in Blair Non-native starlings continue invasion

The latest Juniata Valley Audubon Society bird count showed that starlings remain the most common species present in Blair County, and that's not necessarily a good thing, said JVAS President Laura Jackson.For one thing, no redheaded woodpeckers were spotted because they are scared away by the ...

What, how you serve impacts which birds visit

Bluebirds, robins, other thrushes: Suet, suet mixes, mealwormsBuntings, sparrows: Millet sunflower hearts, black oil sunflower seedCardinals, grosbeaks: Sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, cracked cornCatbirds, mockingbirds, thrashers: Halved apples, chopped fruits, baked goodsChickadees, ...

Garden Notes: Forcing hyacinth bulbs has long, storied tradition

"What is it?" "Maybe we can eat it." "Give it to Mikey..."In the 1600s, when hyacinth bulbs were brought from Turkey to Europe, there was speculation that it was a new food.People thought the bulbs resembled a turnip, so they cut them in pieces and boiled them, they tasted them raw, they fried ...

Kindness makes a difference

Ihave always believed in the old adage, "Never judge a book by its cover." It lends itself to kindness, and I like the fact that it acts as a metaphor for everything I've been trying to achieve in my life.However, I think I gravitate toward that expression for many more reasons than my own ...

Soup recipes?

Soup recipes?The Mirror's Life Department is planning a story on soothing soups for the winter and is asking readers to send in your recipes for publication. Email to chicks@altoonamirror.com or mail to Cherie Hicks, Altoona Mirror, 301 Cayuga Ave., Altoona, PA 16602. Please include a daytime ...

Now is the time to act on global warming

In a world full of conflict, it is notable when nearly 200 countries can agree, at least in principle, on a matter of great importance to the entire planet.The accords reached in the recent United Nations climate summit in Paris finally brought widespread recognition of the problem of global ...

Plaid enters home decor

By Leanne ItalieThe Associated PressNEW YORK - Plaids are having a fashion moment as retailers and designers play with the classic pattern. But the apparel and footwear industries are sharing the love: Fresh takes on plaid have made headway in housewares and home decor, too."The great thing ...

Happy (nearly) 2016: Time for resolutions both big and small

NEW YORK - Sure, sure, sure. You're gonna quit smoking, lose weight, get organized and work for worldpeace in 2016.And we're pulling for you. We really are. You can do it!New Year's resolutions come as big strokes and small victories, along with a high rate of failure. Is it best to reach for ...

Student of the month: Taylor Strong Northern Cambria High School

Age: 17Grade: 12Family: Parents, Holly Rummel and Paul Strong; brother, Shane Rummel, 23, and sisters, Abby Strong, 13, and Whitney Strong, 12Future goals: To attend Indiana University of Pennsylvania to major in nutrition and become a dietitian.Achievements: High honor recipient, ranked second ...

Lucky foods for a great new year: Pork and kraut big in Central PA

Pigs root forward to look for food, while chickens scratch backward and cows just stand there. Sauerkraut comes from cabbage, which starts out the color of green.Thus, the supposed reason why folks in this region eat pork and sauerkraut to usher in the new year with hopes of money and ...

‘Force Awakens’ rakes in $1 billion

LOS ANGELES - "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" has reached $1 billion at the box office, achieving the milestone with record-setting hyper speed.The Walt Disney Co. said "The Force Awakens" crossed the billion-dollar mark Sunday, accomplishing the feat in just 12 days. The previous movie to reach ...

Study says kids’ asthma rates quiet down after earlier increase

CHICAGO - Asthma rates in U.S. children have quieted down after a decades-long increase, a government study found, and researchers are trying to pinpoint reasons that would explain the trend.A possible plateau in childhood obesity rates and declines in air pollution are among factors that may ...

Sacha Baron Cohen, wife fund help for victims

NEW YORK (AP) - Actors Sacha Baron Cohen and his wife, Isla Fisher, are donating $1 million to Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee to support victims of the conflict in Syria.Save the Children has announced that one-half of the sum will fund a program vaccinating more than ...

Trump, Williams, Jenner top list of year’s most eye-popping TV

NEW YORK - It's been a year of shifting sands in late night. A year of broken trust in two vastly different TV personalities. And a year when presidential debates became must-see TV.Here's a rundown of 10 big television happenings in 2015:Say 'good night': Late-night TV's transformation began ...

A garden journal can be an important, multi-use tool

Santa Claus left behind a beautiful garden journal.The cream-colored pages have a deckle edge, and the thought of writing on those unmarked pages makes my hands sweat. If I make one entry, I'll be committing to 364 more. Do I really need another obligation?The last time I tried to keep a ...

Christmas customs: Holiday traditions vary from person to person, near and far

In some Caribbean communities, a priest sends altar boys into the street banging on pots and pans to keep people awake for the midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.On Christmas morning, some streets are closed in Caracas as Venezuelans roller-skate to Mass.In Ukraine, Christmas trees often are ...