What can be better than the smell of cinnamon and a bowl of hot fruit topped with the right amount of crunch?

Last week’s span of warm, clear days found island gardeners scrambling outside, perched on bended knee pulling weeds, transplanting seedlings and slaying slugs. It was a flurry of activity that reminded me of a children’s story called “All Summer in a Day” by Ray Bradbury.

I built my first compost pile around 1986. Give or take a year. Over the years (decades — yikes!), I consider myself on intimate terms with dozens of materials, from toilet paper rolls to pineapple rinds (not recommended for the compost pile. Corncobs, either).

You know the expression, “busy as a bee?” After watching eagles fly back and forth past our living room window from dawn to dusk, I’m more likely to say, “energetic as an eagle.”

It was a cool day in March when I donned a warm jacket and walked up Ole Johnson Street to the Kodiak Daily Mirror office for my appointment with then-publisher Nancy Freeman.

In the 1980s my brother Alby was the manager for the Robert Cray Band, the Grammy-Award-winning blues ensemble that started in 1974 in Eugene, Oregon. Over the years, Robert (who’s actually a bit on the shy side) and his band played with giants like Chuck Berry, Keith Richards and Eric Clapt…

For the first time in a few weeks, the temperature climbed above 40 degrees. I don’t know about you, but my spirit climbed, too. The ground relaxed and softened, ice melted and even the crows seemed happy. With all the activity and celebration, I want to slow things down a bit. You know, tak…

When spring arrives, gardeners take on a different posture: a slight bend at the waist and leaning forward as if hurrying away from winter. Eventually, they’ll pull out one foot, and then the other from winter’s grasp, like stepping onto hard gravel after slogging through the sulfur-smelling…

With the equinox behind us, I like to think that spring can’t be far behind. The sun tells us so, what with it rising more to the north each day. And then you have crocus blossoms tentatively poking their heads above the ground.

In case you missed last week’s column, I covered the basics of starting your own seedlings, beginning with containers, soil and temperature. 

Now it’s time to get down to business. The business of starting seeds, that is. Seed-starting is not only a timely topic — as people plan ahead for the growing season — but it’s a popular one as well.

Growing up in the rainy Pacific Northwest, I thought spring and summer couldn’t come too quickly. I often tagged along with my mother on grocery shopping trips. As we wheeled the cart around the larger-than-life bins in the produce section, Mom would pull up to the display of oranges like a …

Now that we’re well into winter (as mild as it is), have you ever wondered how to compost during the winter, even if don’t have compost bins or a tumbler?

Last week’s assault on our nation’s Capitol by an angry mob left me feeling shocked, ashamed and sad. For a time I, like many people, were glued to their TV sets, radios or devices. But before long I couldn’t take it anymore.

Snow does more than brighten the landscape and encourage us to prepare for spring gardening. Snow can yield some great benefits to your soil.

Across the nation, gardening grew by leaps and bounds in 2020. And it’s not slowing down. In fact, more than 20 million new growers picked up the trowel and pitchfork in response to the pandemic. The good news is that many newbies had such a good experience, they will be back in 2021.

I am teaching myself how to play a 26-string harp. It’s a challenge and it’s not always pretty: My fingers aren’t as young and nimble as they used to be and I’m learning how to read music at the same time.

For today’s column I dipped into my archives, mostly out of curiosity to see what I was writing about back in 2000. 

When I think of holiday dinners of my youth, two things come to mind: oyster casserole (topped with crushed saltines) and a jiggling red tower of cranberry sauce. Following the example set by the grownups, I loaded my fork with what looked like an oyster and, with extreme trepidation, put it…

As we enter Thanksgiving week in this world of COVID, I’d like to focus on a few ways we can shed a little light for ourselves, our neighbors, our community and, since this column is mostly about gardening — our gardens. So for today, I want to cover a few indoor and outdoor projects, includ…

Can you think of a silver lining to COVID-19? It’s a challenge, what with the US continuing to set records for daily coronavirus infections. … Then, one of my newsletter subscribers from Switzerland offered a positive bent to the pandemic in this morning’s email: 

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Now that the elections are behind us, the topic of “what’s next?” is on the front burner of many tongues. I’ll let those who polish crystal balls get to work. Meanwhile, let’s take a look at what’s next in the world of ... weather. At least for the rest of 2020.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising against the door-to-door candy quest during the pandemic. Are you surprised?

Love it or hate it, “pivot” is the buzzword of the pandemic. Pivot refers to a significant change or survival tactic in a business, a household, a relationship or eating habits.


A certain man had a fine horse that was his pride and his wealth. One morning he got up early to go out to the stable and he found it empty. The horse had been stolen!

I went on slug patrol the other morning. Slug patrol means snooping around the garden in search of slimy gastropods. I collected them with my bare hands and then, with a slimy blessing, I tossed them over the cliff. Problem was, few of them ended up in the ocean, thanks to a low tide.

This summer has been like no other. Good weather plus more time than usual to spend in the garden — or fish for silvers, go for long hikes, and ... okay, so the berry harvest wasn’t so great. Yet, more than once I’ve heard people say, almost reverently in a hushed voice, “Where did the summer go?”

Tomorrow is the first day of autumn, when, for a micro-second, we teeter-totter at a perfect point between 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night. Back on Earth, it’s time to make jam, put up pickles, smoke and can fish, and prepare the garden for next spring. 

For today’s column, I’d intended to dive into composting and how to harvest and store potatoes. Then my copy of GreenPrints arrived in the mail, and I changed my mind. Oh, yes, I promise to talk about compost and spuds soon. But for today, it’ll be different.

You know that carrots are good for you, but what else can you do with them besides eating them raw Bugs Bunny style, or grating them into topper for a dinner salad?

It’s been a dry summer. Precipitation is down 20% below the average for this time of year. Consequently, flowers, veggies, herbs and wildflowers and berries are moving along quickly. Wild grasses and Puschki are going to seed. So if you want to taste summer this winter, get out and pick the …

Here’s the deal: You bring home fresh fruits and vegetables, stash them in the fridge and then wonder what happened to make them shrivel, rot or go limp just a few days later. Most of the time, the problem is how you’re storing them. Here are a few tips to keep your produce fresher longer.

This week we are going to celebrate summer in four small bits. As in, mini-projects. I figured with COVID-19, many of us might be burned out on coming up with projects. It’s like eating salads: Why is it that a salad made by someone else tastes better than your own? With that, let’s get started ...

If the word “rat” makes you squeamish, then you might want to move on over to the comics. Today we’re going to cover a topic that affects everyone, whether you realize it or not.