9.22.2013 1:04 AM

Fall Equinox is Today

The first day of fall signals much--but it's not yet time to set the clocks back.

Fall Foliage
Photo: Earl Dawson

By Dan Shapley

The Autumnal Equinox, the official first day of fall, is Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013.

On the Autumnal Equinox, the sun is directly over the Earth's equator, and there are equal hours of day and night. Since the Summer Solstice, the days have been getting shorter, and from now until the Vernal Equinox, the days will remain shorter than nights. *Sigh*

The first day of Fall shouldn't be confused with the end of Daylight Savings Time, which in 2013 ends on Sunday, Nov. 3 at 2 a.m. At that time all clocks need to "fall back" one hour.

How should you spend the fall season? Here are a few thoughts to get you started:

1. Winterize your home so you spend less on energy this winter. Use our Complete Home Energy Makeover to get started.

2. Start composting! The wealth of leaves that fall off trees (along with that jack-o-lantern) makes for a great source of material to start your compost. Move from basic composting to advanced as you learn to compost almost anything, reducing your household waste and waste-hauling expenses.

3. Go for a local fall hike, kayak trip or other outdoor adventure. Enjoy the fall foliage. (Hey - why do leaves change color, anyway?)

4. Plant fall bulbs so that you can enjoy early spring flowers next year. Don't forget to plant your own garlic, too. It's one of the easiest perennial vegetables to grow.

5. Head to the farmers market for fall produce: The bounty of apples, greens, root vegetables, heirloom pumpkins and gourds and other produce is incredible at this time of year. Pick-your-own farms are also great places to find apples, pumpkins and other fall staples.

6. Make a homemade Halloween costume (for yourself or your kid), carve a pumpkin or put together your Thanksgiving menu, full of local, vegetarian, heritage turkey or even slow-cooker recipes.



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