With beautiful weather on Dec. 3, the activities were held outside for the open house at the Lehigh Gap Nature Center.

Kathy Romano, representing the Nature Center, said, "Bill and Lorraine Mineo graciously brought the greens. We thought we'd stay outside because it's so nice."

In addition to the greens, Mineos bring bows and pinecones to decorate the wreaths and swags.

New among the greens was Japanese variegated red pine which was shades of yellow with some green mixed on the same branch. "Aren't these beautiful," said B. Mineo.

He also had Himalayan white pine with six-inch and sometimes longer needles. They shed snow better because their native area is the cold and snowy Himalayan Mountains.

L. Mineo said the branches should be tightly tied to the grapevine wreaths that are used as a base. When they get inside they will dry out and shrink and loose ties will become looser yet.

B. Mineo said they are better hung outside to prevent drying.

Mineos said a lot of their trees shattered during the snowstorm.

They use wild grapevines because their domestic vines are old and no longer provide the long vines that are woven into grapevine wreaths. They use one vine per wreath.

Anne Zagarella of Slatington brought mini-bird treats which were made in small cupcake papers with yarn for a hanger. There was one for each person to take home. She said she always has a tree on the porch for the birds.

"Since I retired I volunteer here at the nature center. I taught science in Northampton Middle School," she said.

Some of the women reminisced about going to college the first year they became co-ed such as Muhlenberg, Moravian, Ursinus and Lafayette - though Lafayette changed over when Lorraine Mineo began to teach there.

Gabrielle Feibert was urged to add bows or pinecones to her wreath, but she said, "I like it plain. I want the grapevine to show through."

B. Mineo talked of his quince trees and said quinces make good jelly or wine. They are sweeter after the frost. There is a Russian variety that can be eaten as fresh fruit but most have to be cooked.

Dan Kunkle, Lehigh Gap Nature Center director, said, "Look at Sean's wreath. It is out of this world." He had made it entirely of holly branches. Cheryl Moser used all four available types of branches: holly, cypress, Himalayan and variegated. She was there with her daughter Amber, daughter-in-law Crystal and grandkids Faith and Dalton.

When the grandkids made outdoor scenes as part of the children's activities, Kunkle asked them to make one for the nature center.