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Local Columns

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, ...

Water, water everywhere

Water is a topic of conversation in every circle here recently. “Did you get water in your basement? How much? ” “Did you see the ponds in that field south of town? The road on that corner was covered, so I head to go around the section, and those roads weren’t good, ...

Saying good-bye is never easy

My high school graduating class was composed of 42 fresh-faced baby boomers anxious to meet the world. Our school was a recent reorganization of three small school districts and we were the first freshman class in the fall of 1962. We started out with more students but by May of 1966 our ...

Giving an iconic building a second chance

Too often in this day and age, it's sometimes easier to tear down and demolish rather than repair and renovate. Many times, history is sacrificed for sleek, modern and new. That's why it was so exciting to see the City Council of Webster City agree to purchase the former Elks Club Building in ...

Maple leaf anthracnose

Spots on your maple leaves? This may be due to a fungal condition called anthracnose. As the frequent spring rains coincided with leafing out of maples, some trees are now showing signs of this disease, which thrives in warm, moist environmental conditions. Anthracnose typically affects ...

Feed the fish what they want

Summer is here: It came quickly this year. Fishing in the summer can be very productive. However, on that day when you’re on the water, fishing conditions might not be the best for the species of fish that you want to catch. We might really want to catch walleyes, but in reality, in some ...