Local Columns

Remembering Sept. 11, 2001

So it’s been almost twenty years now since the infamous Sept. 11 attack on the Twin Towers in New York City, as hard as that is to believe. That morning changed our country forever, in subtle ways stealing some of our trust that life would continue as it had always been. What happened that ...

All Cultures Equal: A not-for-profit in my town needs your financial help

Often when I’m watching television it seems like there are ads for organizations needing money from every part of the world.  Children from faraway places needing food and medical supplies, pet charities in big cities, food programs from the US and abroad, and a ton of assorted other ...

Bring plants in — leave pests out

Now is the time to begin planning to bring houseplants that spent the summer out of doors for their safe return into your home. When night time temperatures fall below 45 degrees, plants will begin to stress. Begin their journey back inside before this by bringing them in at night, and ...

Catch more fish this fall

Labor Day 2018 has come and gone. When it comes to people who like to go fishing, for many of them, there are 2 switches that could get flipped at this time of the year. For some anglers, Labor Day flips that switch that says fishing season is over. For other anglers, the Labor Day switch ...

Spread out for perch

In-line planer boards are a very effective tool for catching walleyes and trout. In recent years some anglers have been employing boards to catch a variety of other species of fish. On a recent trip to Big Stone Lake on the Minnesota/South Dakota border we caught a bunch of perch in a short ...

Do something else

Recently Mike Frisch and I got together for an afternoon of fishing. Our plan was to chase largemouth bass on a lake that is very similar to lots of other lakes across the Midwest. What Mike and I re-learned that afternoon always helps us catch more fish at any time of the year. The lake ...

August in the garden

Now that the Iowa State Fair is over, schools are starting again, and garden produce is at peak; it is time to turn thoughts toward the autumn weather ahead. Fall is one of my favorite times of year, but also bitter-sweet, while thinking about freezing temperatures and when gardening efforts ...

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 ...