Tags Posts tagged with "Autumn"


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With the ending of daylight saving time around the corner and the fall season officially here, it’s beginning to get dark earlier. 

While cool autumn nights are a nice break from the hot and wet summer we’ve just had, what comes with the pleasant weather is also nighttime appearing closer to 6 p.m. 

The worst part about the darkness creeping up is that many people still act as though the sun is still out during the late evening. It’s not, and we all need to be careful. 

When the sun is shining, drivers are able to see pedestrians walking, biking, skating — but not so much anymore with the season change. Dog walkers are normally good about bringing a flashlight, and cyclists almost always have reflectors on their bikes — but a few do not, and they can get seriously hurt if both parties are not paying attention. 

But it isn’t just the people outside getting their exercise and enjoying the fresh air who are at fault. Drivers need to slow down. 

The combination of darkness plus speeding can cause a catastrophe. Both parties would be at fault. 

And then there are the deer and the other woodland critters that live in our backyards. Unfortunately, they don’t own a flashlight, so it’s our responsibility as good humans to keep an eye out for the animals who dart into the street. 

If we are driving slowly and cautiously, there’s a good chance we can avoid them and let them be on their merry way. If we don’t, not only could we kill the poor animal, but they can cause serious damage to the car and to us.

While we appreciate the lights we have on our local streets, it’s not enough. Please, don’t wear all-dark colors while out during an evening stroll. Do bring a flashlight or indicator that you are there. Be aware of your surroundings — if you want to listen to music on your earphones, keep it down so you can hear if a car is heading your way. Remember to walk against the traffic. If you’re a cyclist, go in the same direction as the vehicles. 

And drivers, as we said, be mindful of our neighbors taking advantage of our beautiful North Shore. Slow down and enjoy the ride, too. 

As the days grow shorter and temperatures begin to fall we turn our attention to the sights and sounds of autumn. In celebration of the season, the Reboli Center for Art and History presents Autumn Shadows, a beautiful exhibit featuring artwork by Joseph Reboli, Laura Westlake, Vicki Sawyer and more that include some beguiling and bewitching crows and ravens in paintings, drawings, ceramics and jewelry.

The show will run from September 28 to Oct. 31.

Some of Joseph Reboli’s paintings are on loan from private collectors, and are rarely exhibited, providing a great opportunity for Reboli fans to see some of his work for the first time. 

Laura Westlake is a native Long Islander, who grew up in Stony Brook and now lives in Orient with her artist husband, Dominic Di Lorenzo. Having studied at Santa Barbara City College in California and the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, she spent 15 years working in commercial illustration for television, magazine and print ads, portraiture and book illustration. 

Westlake excels in both color pencil and oil paints and has been exhibiting in galleries for over 35 years. Her love of birds and nature complements the work of internationally known artist, Vicki Sawyer, another show participant.

Celebrated for her incredibly imaginative and whimsical art, Vicki Sawyer, former Stony Brook artist and designer, has had two shows at the Reboli Center in recent years. Growing up in farm country, she spent years studying and admiring birds and animals. 

Sawyer works in acrylic and incorporates vegetables, twigs and flowers to adorn her whimsical creatures with hats, necklaces and other decorative accessories. Her paintings are definitely one of a kind. Her notecards, calendars and other home decor items are on sale in the Reboli Design Shop.

Other participating artists include Kevin McEvoy, Linda Giacalone, Laura Peters, Barbara Glynn Prodanuik and more. The Center’s History Room will continue on with an interesting exhibition curated by Tricia Foley, The Legacy of Leslie Marchant, which showcases the life and accomplishments of the accomplished Long Island builder.

“We are thrilled to have such a high caliber of artists participating in Autumn Shadows,” said Lois Reboli, a founder of the Reboli Center. “They each bring a distinct element of talent and creativity that supplement each other’s work.”

The Reboli Center for Art and History is located at 64 Main Street in Stony Brook. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, please call 631-751-7707 or visit www.rebolicenter.org.

Tales, Trails and Treats, Sweetbriar Nature Center's Halloween celebration provided families with a day outdoors with hands-on activities.

Sweetbriar Nature Center, located at 62 Eckernkamp Avenue in  Smithtown, is hosting a variety of events to bring people closer to nature and animals. On Oct. 26, young children were invited for a spooky trick or treat trail complete with animal encounters. Friday night , Nov. 1, families with children ages 7 and up are invited to hike in the darkness to meet nocturnal animals and call in maybe an owl or two. Bring a flashlight. The event costs $10 with discounts available for Scouts. For more information, call 631-979-6344.

Photos by Media Origin



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Our backyard gardens hold many secrets ready to be uncovered.

By JoAnn Canino

I’m looking out into my garden and find it hard to believe it is November. My yard is still green and the oak trees haven’t yet turned. It is a mystery I can solve. Making observations will naturally lead to asking questions. And by asking questions we can discover the mysteries in the garden. “Come forth into the light of things, Let nature be your teacher,” advised William Wordsworth (“The Tables Turned”).

This month we change the clocks, fall back one hour, and become more aware of the shifting light. Long before this, Nature has been “clocking” the subtly shifting light. The daisy was originally named “day’s eye” as its flower opens its petals in the morning and closes them at dusk. The sunflower turns to follow the sun. Plants detect the direction of the sun’s rays throughout the day to get maximum light for growth.

Why do the leaves of some trees, shrubs and vines turn colorful in the fall? What triggers this event? And why do the leaves fall off? We want to be dazzled by the beauty of the countryside and plan day trips north to catch the fall colors. So why is my garden still very green? I go to my bookshelf to find some answers. Two of my favorite books, “The Practical Botanist” by Rick Imes (Simon & Schuster, 1990) and “The Random House Book of How Nature Works” by Steve Parker (1992) provide some of the answers.

The process that we look forward to every fall is nature’s response to environmental changes. “Bright sunshine stimulates the leaves to continue producing sugars rapidly, and the cool nights (40°F) trap the sugar in the leaves. Dry weather diminishes the intensity of fall colors because parched leaves produce less sugar.” [“The Practical Botanist”]

Environmental changes such as length of day, light intensity, temperature and rainfall trigger an instinctive response — deciduous trees, shrubs and vines form an extra cell layer as a protection against the coming cold of winter. The sugar trapped in the leaf is converted into red and orange carotene. Blue and purple pigments combine with the yellow xanthophylls and green chlorophyll producing the colorful display of fall leaves: crimson and vivid yellow of maples, gold of hickories and bronze, russet and cinnamon of oaks.

But why do the leaves fall off? The specialized cells are easily broken by plant enzymes. Wind and rain sever the connection and the leaf falls.

Keeping a garden journal is a way of interacting with your surroundings. Making observations, asking questions and taking detailed notes give you data to compare in each season. Start by recording the weather conditions, wind direction, daily temperature, season of the year, expected rainfall, time of day and the date you made these observations.

Make lists, for example, of the birds and animals that visit the garden. Many birds migrate, come to our island, stay a while and then leave. Which birds stay? Which are only here for a season? How do they find their way over land and oceans? Before we draw any conclusions, we should make some observations, ask some questions, formulate hypotheses.

Record your observations and musings as you walk through the garden. Include sketches, note details and questions. Later, transfer these notes to a logbook or binder. Arranged by month, you can compare your observations with those you made last year. Expand your notes with research from field guides, magazine articles and internet research. For example, in your index card file, note the common name of a plant, its scientific name and a description.

Don’t limit your explorations to the backyard. Take your notebook out into the field as you walk. Note different habitats, the location and time of day. Take photographs to enhance your observations.

Remember, your garden and the habitat you are exploring are part of a larger system. Look for patterns and make comparisons. Visit the same location at different time of the day. What changes? What phase of the moon is in play? Native Americans and early settlers used moon phases and cycles to keep track of the seasons. Unique names were given to each full moon. “The most well-known names of the full moon came from the Algonquin tribes who lived in New England and westward to Lake Superior” (www.MoonConnection.com).

September’s Harvest Moon allowed farmers to work late into the night to harvest their crops. Not always in September, the Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumn equinox, which sometimes falls in October. The Hunter’s Moon (October) heralds the hunting season when the deer are fat and ready for eating and fox and other animals are easily spotted in the fields that have been cleared at harvest time. November’s full moon, the Beaver Moon, is so named because it was time to set beaver traps.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac continues to be a wealth of information (www.farmersalmanac.com). Data on frosts and growing seasons, schedules for planting by the moon’s phase, along with weather facts and forecasts for the current year are readily available. Check to see how accurate its forecast was for last year.

How do we fit into this ecosystem? Plants and animals coordinate their biorhythms and behavior patterns with changes in the environment. How do we humans respond to these environmental changes? Don’t forget to note your own feelings and responses to the changing seasons as you keep your garden journal up to date. This month we celebrate the abundance and blessings of the season as we gather together to enjoy a very happy Thanksgiving.

Garden chores for November

• Clean up the debris and leaves, and put the beds to sleep for the winter.

• Top dress each bed with at least one inch of compost and mulch to prolong the life of perennials, roses and berry bushes.

• Clean garden equipment and store for the winter. Brush shovels and spades free of caked on dirt. Dry metal tools and wrap in a cloth or old towel before storing.

JoAnn Canino is an avid journal writer and gardener and a member of the Three Village Garden Club.

Thousands flocked to the annual Long Island Fall Festival, hosted by the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce and Town of Huntington, in Heckscher Park from Oct. 6 to 9. The event was lively Saturday as unseasonably warm weather brought attendees out to enjoy a variety of live performances, street vendors, carnival rides and games. Rainy weather thinned the crowd later in the weekend, but did not stop the festivities.

Councilwoman Susan Berland first tried to limit leaf blowers two years ago. File photo

There was a strong desire for change blowing into town hall during a Huntington Town Board meeting on Jan. 12.

More than a dozen residents spoke out asking the board to reconsider a limit on gas-powered leaf blowers, citing the health problems the blowers can cause. But board members are divided about taking action.

“Lots of people have asthma in Huntington and gas leaf blowers make it worse,” Donald Payne, a Centerport resident said at the meeting. “The particles they release stay in the air for hours.”

Payne also brought up the fact that the town could be losing money by continuing to invest in gas-powered leaf blowers.

“When you pay someone to rake or sweep, most of that money stays on Long Island,” he said. “If you buy gasoline, most of that money leaves Long Island.”

Peter Calcandy, a Halesite resident, said he was concerned with the noise disturbance these blowers continue to have on the community.

“The daily noise from gas-powered leaf blowers that occur nine months out of the year seven days a week and up to 12 hours a day has eroded this wonderful lifestyle,” he said at the meeting.

Bonnie Sager, a Huntington resident, said that residents are not asking for a ban, but merely a restriction during June, July and August.

“There are no leaves in the summer and all gas leaf blowers do is create more emissions and unreasonable levels of noise,” she said at the meeting.

Sager said the town should make the switch to lithium battery blowers, which do not use gasoline, have batteries that can last several years, are recyclable and are much quieter.

She is part of Citizens Appeal for Leafblower Moderation, an organization that wants Heckscher State Park to be used as a model for a green zone, which is an area maintained with zero emission lawn-care equipment. CALM’s goal is to limit the use of commercial gas leaf blowers during the summertime and educate the public about the health hazards gas blowers have.

More than 700 residents have signed a petition asking the town’s board to limit the use of these blowers during the summer months, but this is not the first time this issue has come to the board.

In May 2014, Councilwoman Susan Berland (D) drafted legislation to limit the use of leaf blowers. However, there was not enough support from the board to pass the bill.

Supervisor Frank Petrone (D) said at the meeting last Tuesday that this idea was left open-ended in 2014 because he felt the board needed more information and added that the issue needed to be tackled gradually.

“One of the issues at the time was the fact that it must be, one, phased in or, two, there has to be an educational promotional program that will bring people to an understanding and, number three, there has to be an explanation of the various forms of technology,” he said. “Until then, it’s a project that’s very difficult to examine and implement without doing a full-fledged program.”

He said the town had success when they used an educational program for limiting grass clippings a few years back. The program included teaching residents about mowing fewer times a week and using a specific type of blade to reduce the impact of clippings. Petrone said it was highly successful.

“This is the direction we have to go with,” Petrone said. “We said we would be willing to examine a program and that offer still sits there from my point of view.”

He also said the program would have to focus on educating landscapers and giving them proper direction.

Berland said at the meeting that she is still “absolutely in favor of this,” and that her challenge is convincing the rest of the board to agree.

In a phone interview, she said she would be open to starting with just banning the blowers on Saturdays and Sundays and then working their way up to the entire summer.

Berland said she thinks enforcing this would not be too difficult, because if any resident sees a gas-powered leaf blower in use when it shouldn’t be, they need only take down the name of the landscaping truck or residence and report it to code enforcement.

Some of her fellow councilmembers disagree.

“I think it would be very difficult to enforce,” Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D) said in a phone interview. “It could be a significant hardship on business. We would need to see if it’s even feasible for our workforce.”

Councilman Gene Cook (I) said he thinks banning the leaf blowers for the summer months would be too much of an abrupt change, but he is open to learning more about the alternatives and seeing if there is a possible way to enforce change.

“I think we would need a slower method to get people used to the idea,” he said in a phone interview.

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By Wendy Mercier

As summer fades into fall, many plants and flowers will continue to bloom until the first frost of winter. Annuals, such as geraniums, marigolds and begonias, can have an extended growing season with proper watering and pruning. Plants such as Montauk daisies, Black-Eyed Susans and hardy mums are just beginning to come into season, and are a sign that autumn is upon us.

A scene from last year’s Long Island Fall Festival. File photo by Victoria Espinoza

Come Oct. 9, Heckscher Park in Huntington will transform into a hub of fall festivity.

The 22nd annual Long Island Fall Festival, which will run until Oct. 12, throughout Columbus Day weekend, will fill the park with fun, featuring vendors, music, food and more. The event is hosted by the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce and Huntington Town.

According to the festival’s website, “This community event highlights the best Huntington has to offer — from its civic-minded businesses, cultural institutions and service organizations, to its restaurants, pubs and retailers.”

More than 300 craft, promotional, retail and non-for-profit vendors will line Prime and Madison streets, adjacent to Heckscher Park, as well as within the grounds of the park.

A scene from last year’s Long Island Fall Festival. File photo by Victoria Espinoza
A scene from last year’s Long Island Fall Festival. File photo by Victoria Espinoza

Much like previous years, the festival will have a number of returning vendors, but there will be some new faces, according to Ellen O’Brien, executive director of the chamber. Those include vendors who make birdhouses, sea glass jewelry and more. And for the first time in many years, the festival will feature a farmers’ market.

“It’s always changing,” she said in an August phone interview. “That’s what makes it so exciting.”

Some of the main attractions include four stages of live entertainment, a beer and wine tent, a world-class carnival, two international food courts, a Sunday main stage dedicated to youth talent and more.

O’Brien said that tens of thousands of people frequent the fall festival each day. She also said she’s heard that the festival’s grossed 200,000 park-goers in one weekend.

The chamber’s always on the hunt for new vendors, but space does fill up fast. People learn about the festival through different venues, O’Brien said.

“I think it’s word-of-mouth,” she said. “I think it’s got a mind of its own at this point.”

Those interested in attending the festival can take the Long Island Rail Road to Huntington. There’s free parking at the LIRR train station during that weekend, and round-trip shuttles will run all day, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., for $1, on Saturday and Sunday, she said.

The festival begins Friday, Oct. 9, 5 to 9 p.m., and that night will feature a carnival, food court and music on stage. The fun will continue Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and that day will include vendors, music and shows, a food court and a carnival.

The same activities will be available the following day, Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. And Monday, the festival wraps up from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information and to get involved in this year’s festival, call (631) 423-6100 or visit www.lifallfestival.com.