Local Columns

Seed starting containers

Many types of containers are available for starting seed indoors. Starting seeds with a fresh, new container is best; but to save money and reduce landfill waste, many folks will recycle used seed trays. If you are planning to reuse a container for starting your seeds, it must be cleaned ...

Open water 2017

What a mild winter in the Midwest so far! Rain is falling, so today I’m thinking more about open water then I am ice-fishing. I’m sure there are a couple more ice-fishing trips in my near future, but as I go through some new open water stuff that I received recently, I’m looking ...

The joys of learning to bake

So I went to a class late last week to learn how to make kringla and crescent rolls. I know how to eat both of them, but that’s as far as my skill goes with either delicacy. Since I’m not Norwegian, right there I’m at a deficit when it comes to kringla. My grandma the German wasn’t ...

A visit to the family doctor

A few weeks ago I underwent my annual physical exam. When I was younger I stayed away from doctors as much as possible. By the time I was 40 I had figured out I wasn’t going to live forever and determined that an annual physical examination would be a good investment. So it was that I ...

Liked the film? You’ll love these titles

On Saturday, Nov. 22, 1997, sitting in a darkened theater in Chicago with my cousins, a whole new world opened up to me. The film: Anastasia, an animated feature by 20th Century Fox. It’s a wonderful picture, with a voice cast that includes Meg Ryan and John Cusack, and boasts humor and ...

Finding balance

According to Psychology Today, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is defined as “an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something (compulsions). Often the person carries ...

A great Valentine’s Day memory

I see that our sports editor made a comment on his Facebook page recently, lamenting the fact that the traditional Valentine Mailbox that students take to school to collect the cards and treats from classmates, have become so elaborate. No longer are they simply a shoe box taped together. No ...

All-American selections

Looking forward to starting your spring garden? Consider choosing an All-American Selection (AAS) winner when selecting seeds to start for your garden. With a mission to “promote new garden seed varieties with superior garden performance judged in impartial trials in North America”, the ...

The perils of parking ramps

My first encounter with a multi-level parking garage was in 1969 in downtown Chicago. I wasn’t overly excited about giving my keys to some rough looking character who was about to drive my prized year-old Ford onto an elevator and park it somewhere above. Less than five years later we ...

Caring for cut flowers

February is the time for cut flowers and roses. In order to enjoy them as long as possible, extend the vase life of your cut flower bouquets with a few simple hints. When purchasing, first of all make sure the flowers are fresh. For example, roses should be in bud form or only partially ...

Various fish through the ice

Boy, oh boy, what an ice-fishing season it’s been across the Midwest, and it’s not done yet: There is still lots of time to go fishing and lots of fish are still out there waiting to be caught. This is the time of year though, when it pays to be flexible in your fishing. In some areas ...

Phil’s shadow and other weather proverbs

So now we have had another Ground Hog’s Day, which has always seemed to me a lot of hype about something pretty silly. Not silly enough that I don’t take note of whether or not old Phil the groundhog sees his shadow, though. If it’s sunny and Phil sees his shadow, the fable is that he ...

That’s what Mom and Dad taught us

If you had visited my parents’ home in the 1960s you would never have believed that their six children would get along 50 years later. We were a scrappy bunch who fought much of the time. And when I say “fought” I mean scrapped, brawled, punched, pinched, hit, argued, quarreled and (when ...

Why reading is delicious

Tuesday morning I glanced up to find a woman marching over to my station at the library’s reference desk. “Young lady,” she said to me, “I’m just miserable. My doctor thinks I’m gluten intolerant, and wants me to avoid wheat; basically she’s cutting me off of my homemade breads, ...

A shadow of a doubt

A couple weeks ago I wrote about my hope for an early spring. I wished for warmer weather and sunny skies. My main hope was to have little to no snow in the forecast. Unfortunately for me, according to a feisty groundhog, that isn’t looking likely. Sources say that Punxsutawney Phil saw ...

Walleyes right now

In some states in walleye country, the walleye ice-fishing season is winding down. Some places protect walleyes as they enter the time of the year when they’re preparing to spawn. In the areas where catching and keeping walleyes is permitted though, we are entering a time of year when ...

When you know, you know

I spent my Thursday afternoon visiting with an older couple who reside in Webster City. This couple, who are both in their early 90’s, have been married for 73 years. Their love for one another was evident from the few hours I spent with them. From the good-natured jokes to the ...

Small details for bigger fish

Ice anglers and open water anglers are always looking for a new trick that will help them catch more fish. They’re looking for that magic bait, or bait color, or method of retrieving, or whatever that will help them get more fish to bite. In reality, there is no one bait or technique that ...

Is handwriting obsolete?

Today is National Handwriting Day. Since it feels like writing almost anything by hand is rapidly becoming obsolete, perhaps we should celebrate it when we get the chance. National Handwriting Day was started in 1977 by the Writing Instruments Association as a way to promote the use of ...

When it comes to faux pas and other blunders …

There’s a great old joke about two men who were visiting in a coffee shop. “Boy, did I commit a faux pas this morning!” exclaimed the first man. “Faux pas, what’s that?” his friend responded. “You know, that’s a French term for a social blunder. Like when you mean one ...