Local Columns

Catch more fish this year

The fishing season in several states across the Midwest will be opening soon. In areas where seasons are open year ‘round, anglers are already out there chasing walleyes, northern pike, bass, and panfish. The next few weeks and months are the most popular times for an angler to get on the ...

Hardening off transplants

Before planting newly purchased annual flowers or vegetable plants out in the garden, it is important to know they need to be hardened off for best results. Hardening off is the process of acclimating new plants to the lower temperatures and harsher weather conditions of the out of doors. ...

Good medicine — laughter

April is National Humor Month. It’s no coincidence that the month that starts with April Fool’s Day was chosen for the honor. I read that National Humor Month was established in 1976 “as a means to heighten public awareness of the therapeutic value of humor. Laughter and joy—the ...

We just want stuff that works

Let me go on record as saying that I enjoy technology and have for years. Lately, however, some technology is getting on my nerves. It’s too complicated. For many years home radios have been simple to operate. Turn it on, tune it in and turn it up. Many modern radios, however, produce a ...

Talking about my generation

Did you know that right now in the world there are five generations trying to communicate, work and live together in the world? Each generation has a set design of influences that contributed to the way people live, work and communicate with each other. The Old School generation is ...

A neat tribute for athletes … and the photographer

Have you seen the cool new window graphics at the Webster City High School Competition Gym? They went up just this week, facing the west parking lot of the gym, installed by Sports Graphics of Clarion. It's a great use of the space and it's a terrific way to greet fans as they arrive for ...

Plant hardiness zones

‘Tis the season to be browsing your local greenhouses for new plants for your garden. A common mistake that a new gardener may make is that of purchasing a plant that is not suited to survive our cold Iowa winters. To prevent winter kill and loss of perennial plants, be sure before ...

Experiment with color to catch more fish

People who like to fish spend a good amount of time talking about the different things that can help them catch more fish. There are a number of considerations that can partially or fully determine our fishing success, but perhaps the one consideration that we talk about the most is lure ...

The fresh smell of springtime

One recent afternoon as I was driving down the highway in our county, of course I couldn’t help but notice that the trees are almost budding, the grass is green, and there were a few fields where tractors were moving. All the means spring, for sure. The air even smelled like ...

Who else has had contacts with Russia?

There’s been a lot of finger pointing in Washington recently in regards to the Russians. While it seems that most of the White House brass has had contact with the Russians, very few want to admit to it. In the interest of transparency, I hereby go on record declaring that I have had ...

April, the month of celebrations

Happy National Dolphin Day! Or perhaps you are gearing up for International Haiku Poetry Day on April 17 or National Stress Awareness Day on the 19th? It seems that every day, week and month of the year has numerous celebrations, holidays and observances. From serious to silly, the library ...

The beauty of imperfection

I don’t know about you, but I have been one happy camper over the past two weeks with the warm weather and sunny skies. With spring comes an influx of all things new. When I think spring, I think new blooms and new life. There is no better representation of the beauty of new life than ...

Dividing perennials

April showers bring May flowers. If you notice some of your perennial plants seem crowded as you are scouting your landscape, it may be time to consider dividing them. The typical rule of thumb is, that if a plant blooms in spring or summer, divide it in the fall, and divide fall ...

Some ideas for more fishing success

Different anglers have different definitions of what fishing success is. To some, fishing success is catching a bunch of fish: Size doesn’t matter, they just want to catch something. To other anglers, fishing success means you caught a big one. Size is more important than numbers. And ...

The benefits of reading out loud go both ways

Now that I’m retired, I have some time available to volunteer. So ever since this fall several times a week I’ve been able to read with some of the elementary students at Stratford school. Now that the school year is on the wane, I’m getting pretty well acquainted with the routine and ...

Guard your heart

Vice President Mike Pence generated some debate recently when he revealed that he does not have lunch with a woman unless his wife is present. He claims this is to protect their marriage and that is an honorable motive. In the real world most people don’t have the option of such a ...

Planning spring pruning

While waiting for warmer weather to arrive, pruning of shrubs is a spring garden chore that can be performed. Remember to wait before pruning spring-blooming shrubs until after they have finished flowering as not to remove flower buds. Be aware that a few summer-blooming shrubs, such as some ...

Hope springs eternal

I see that April is National Gardening Month. How fitting, seeing as our April showers are supposed to bring May flowers. Vegetables come later, if we work it right. Maybe that’s why the deluge of seed catalogues has started arriving at my house. I have to say that most of them get ...

A conversation with a three-year-old

Earlier this week I accompanied my wife to the supermarket. This isn’t my favorite retirement activity, but Julie has had some health problems lately and needed my help. Glad to do it. Upon finding a parking spot, I noticed a young mother and her son who I am guessing is three-years-old. ...

What we love most (and it’s not books)

Let’s play a word association game. When you hear the word “library”, what’s the first word that comes to mind? My guess is for most of you the word would be “books”. As we are a large-scale curator and lender of books of all kinds, that is a fair word to associate with libraries. ...