Local Columns

August garden chores

Looking ahead to preparing your garden for winter weather, now is the time to supply a sufficient amount of water to perennial plants and shrubs. It is also a good time to check for insect pests and removal of weeds before they go to seed. Removing any diseased or insect damaged foliage ...

Catch walleyes in clear water

If an angler wants to catch more fish, there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration. One really important factor, and one that is becoming more and more prevalent is water clarity. The water in many areas is becoming clearer than it was ten years ago, and that clearer ...

Failing the test of name recognition

The Chinese have an old proverb which says, “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.” Boy, am I in trouble. I work hard to remember names and faces, but I mess up regularly. Too often I find myself in a setting where I should know someone’s name but I just ...

Discovering Iowa one garage sale at a time

I may have found a new way to discover Iowa. Just hit the trail for the famous Highway 141 garage sales, as I did for a whole day last week. I found it’s a fun way to explore western Iowa, check out what’s happening in the little towns in that part of our state, and snag some bargains at ...

Nothing better than a new box of crayons

A few days ago I celebrated National Coloring Book Day. At least as much as one can celebrate such a holiday. It seems to me that this is a fitting time to commemorate the day, as it’s time to buy school supplies, and for the younger children a box of crayons is always on the list. ...

Body (and happiness) built by ice cream

If you happen to be sitting on a bench in the shade at the Iowa State Fair this year and you see me walk by you will probably think to yourself, “That boy likes ice cream!” You would be right. Some people are hooked on alcohol, others on tobacco and still others on drugs. My vice is ...

Mid-summer fishing

We were out in the yard the other night at sunset. The cicadas were making the noise that they make, and that reminded me that summer has reached the halfway point, and that reminded me that, in the minds of some anglers, fishing isn’t very good at this time of year. However, fishing can ...

Harvesting cucumbers – don’t get in a pickle

As cucumbers grow well during warm weather, they have produced prolifically this growing season. But as it gets time to harvest, there can be a few problems that may arise. Hot, dry weather can cause bitterness in cucumbers due to the compound cucurbitacin. Cucurbitacin is found in the ...

Things I have learned while looking for something else

As a kid, I loved reference books. I remember spending an hour or two with a single encyclopedia volume or with a new almanac. You can imagine, then, how much fun I have with an Internet search engine like Google. In the process of looking up something, I often get sidetracked with totally ...

Speaking kindly to everyone

I wonder if you’ve ever noticed that sometimes there is a kind of theme to what’s happening to you and around you. Situations keep popping up that seem designed to drive home a specific point or to make you take special notice of what’s happening in your life or just to open your eyes. ...

Become a Master Gardener

The Master Gardener program is looking for people who are passionate about volunteering and gardening. No previous garden knowledge is required. The program equips participants to grow in knowledge about gardening best practices for Iowa gardens. Orientation will start August 23, at 6:30 ...

Largemouth bass on frogs

I got to go fishing recently. Mike Frisch and I only had a few hours to be on the water, and it was in the middle of a hot summer day: Not always the best time for catching in the summer, but we had the opportunity to be out there and we wanted to take advantage of that opportunity. We ...

What’s your junk food?

You still have time to get prepared for a special day that’s coming up this week. National Junk Food Day is celebrated on Thursday. Of course, for some folks it won’t take much preparation because every day is junk food day, sad to say. Junk foods are usually, by definition, high in ...

Things little boys will say

I have no biological grandchildren but my wife lets me use hers. Julie has three grandsons and two granddaughters. In the past few weeks I’ve had an opportunity to spend some time with all five of them ̶ two in Madison, Wisconsin, and three in Orange City, Iowa. The Wisconsin ...

Deer – Oh dear

Deer are North America's largest garden pest and control is one of the biggest challenges for home gardeners. How to tell the difference between deer and rabbit browsing? Though both will consume the recent new growth and the most succulent plants, deer do not have any upper front teeth ...

Troll up more walleyes in the summer

The dead of summer is when some anglers have trouble catching walleyes. If you would like to increase your odds for putting some walleyes in the boat in the next few weeks, trolling, either forward or backward, will help you do so. Following are some ideas for trolling to catch more walleyes ...

Beetles in the garden

Many insects are now making their appearance in local area gardens. Among these include the masked chafer beetle and the Japanese beetle. These beetles start their life as grubs in the lawn, and adults then emerge to feed on flowers and garden plants. The masked chafer beetle has recently ...

Taking short fishing trips for more fish

Up to this point in the open water fishing season, lots of anglers have been fishing. May and June are outstanding months for fishing, and those months are when a lot of anglers go fishing. Maybe it’s because they’ve been inside much of the winter and just want to get out, but also, May ...

Rain extreme

In recent weeks, many regions of Iowa have been deluged with an excess amount of rainfall this year. Most gardens only need an inch or two of water per week and too much rain can have a negative impact on your yard and garden plants. Over-watered, saturated soils result in a condition ...

Pick the right water for more fish

There are several reasons why people like to go fishing. Some want to get away to the outdoors. Others consider fishing a good way to spend time with family or friends. A few are looking for a meal of fresh fish. Regardless of why we go fishing, we want to catch something. A few is good, ...