The Autumnal Equinox, the official first day of fall, was Friday, Sept. 23, 2011.
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 2011 ends on Sunday, Nov. 6 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. Many of these home improvements pay for themselves. Particularly, now is the time to insulate, install new windows or do other energy efficiency improvements that qualify for federal tax breaks of up to $500. (Most tax breaks expire at the end of 2011, so don't delay!) For some humorous (but useful!) tips on trouble-shooting your home for common fall problems, check out these tips from the Green Cheapskate and Inspector Bob.
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.
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.
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