Local Columns

Christmas traditions you probably don’t observe

With Thanksgiving now behind us, Christmas, less than a month away, looms larger on the horizon. Soon, if not already, kitchens will be filled with the aroma of cookies in the oven, living rooms will be filled with the fragrance of pine and closets will be filling up with wrapped boxes. ...

A calmer, gentler time

The first thing just about every single morning you’ll find me on the elliptical in my basement, putting in 20 to 30 minutes to get myself moving and my heart pumping. It’s what I do before I have a chance to give it much thought so I can put it off until that elusive ...

Ideas for better ice fishing

There are a few concepts for ice-fishing that are really good starting points. If you’ll practice these concepts, with minor revisions every time out, you'll be more successful on the ice this ice-fishing season. In any type of fishing, you need to fish where the fish are. We keep on ...

Sweet potatoes or yams?

Although the names are commonly used interchangeably, yams and sweet potatoes are actually two different plants. Yams are monocots, having only one seed leaf, such as grasses, corn and lilies. Sweet potatoes are dicot plants, with two seed leaves, such as beans and roses. The sweet potato is ...

Building memories in Branson

Nearly 30 years ago my in-laws began spending their winters in the entertainment hotspot of the Ozarks ̶ Branson, Missouri. Cindy and I drove down to visit with them and became enamored with Branson. In the ensuing years we usually visited Branson twice a year ̶ in March to visit her ...

Living a healthy, purposeful life

Sometimes it feels like there is a theme to my life, because a certain topic—or variations on it—comes up over and over again in conversations, on the radio, in something I read, maybe on a TV talk show. So lately that topic has been about healthy living, only it’s not so much focused ...

Open water fishing 2018

We were fishing largemouth bass on a lake in Minnesota this late October. It was a beautiful day and the thought never entered my mind that this could be the last trip of the year. Since then the weather has cooled noticeably, and there has been ice on the ponds here in north Iowa for ...

Those !!?#@#!X# cornflakes

The story is told of two young brothers who decided they were old enough to swear. At bedtime one night they agreed that the next morning they would begin swearing. They even chose the cuss words they would use. At breakfast the next morning, their mother asked the oldest boy what he wanted ...

Documenting ones life

In one of the first writing classes I took as a journalism major in college we learned how to write an obituary. I don’t know if that’s still the progression of things. Maybe that’s why I read obituaries in the newspaper now. I just like to learn about how people lived, where they ...

First ice panfish

I was at an ice-fishing Open House at a retail tackle shop recently. There some anglers there who had been looking at a long range weather forecast. According to this forecast, cold weather is headed to the upper Midwest, and these anglers were guessing that they would be on the ice in north ...

There are good people everywhere

Here in Iowa we pride ourselves on being friendly and helpful and supportive of others. Some of us call it Iowa nice. Maybe it is the media that encourages us to believe that we are the good guys while the folks who live in urban areas are impolite, cold, and uncaring folks who live isolated ...

A contribution to international relations

During a layover at the Denver airport some years ago I heard a commotion just a few yards away. Two teenage boys, accompanied by a handful of other teenagers, were boisterously greeting one another. Not an uncommon sight at airports, except these young men were speaking in German. After a ...

To leave or not to leave

Looking to avoid raking leaves this fall? Leaving excessive amount of leaf matter on the lawn can cause problems going into winter, and is bad for several reasons. Leaves can smother the grass and if not removed by very early in the spring, the growth will be inhibited. A mat of ...

Establish a pattern for more fish

It’s that time of year when some anglers are starting to think about ice-fishing, but there are still a good number of anglers who are open water fishing. Regardless of how or where or when we fish, anglers want to catch fish. To do so, we need to figure out where the fish are, what they ...

Thank you for your service

When I was a small boy there was a middle aged man in our community who suffered from an obvious and unusual physical affliction. I remember asking my father about the man and Dad explained he was injured in a gas attack during the First World War. That discussion is one of my first memories ...

Observations from a trip out East

Another time I realized I wasn’t in Iowa any more while I was traveling out East early this month was when we were driving in six lanes of pretty solid traffic in the Boston area. I was thankful not to be behind the wheel of our rental car. My traveling companion lives in Atlanta and deals ...

Paying the kindness forward

Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you. -Princess Diana I’m always amazed by some of the acts of kindness I see in our community. People step up, share their talents, express their generosity, ...

Wrap it up

Fall nights with freezing temperatures have returned, and while some gardeners welcome wrapping up garden chores for the winter, it is not time to relax yet. Now is the time to wrap young and newly planted trees for protection against sunscald or injury from deer, rabbits, rodents and other ...

All the news from Cornfield, Iowa

(In observance of National Newspaper Month, I have asked Buford P. Inkster, publisher/editor of the Cornfield Weekly Sheller, to write a guest column. Mr. Inkster is reputed to be Iowa's oldest active newspaper publisher.) What a year 2018 has been, folks! Why, I can’t remember a harvest ...

On the road to adventure

“I’m not in Iowa anymore,” I thought last week as I sat on the middle deck of a ship enjoying a leisurely afternoon cruise on Lake George, the longest inland lake in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. We motored along at a steady pace that allowed plenty of time to see ...