In 2004, people in eastern Kansas were having outbreaks of itchy welts. This sent the state entomologists and health department slightly nuts as people were being attacked and no one ever saw anything biting. Now, if this had been just one household complaining, they would have called for th…

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This past summer I was listening to an episode of the “Stuff You Should Know” (SYSK) podcast (“Short Stuff: Beast of Gévaudan”; June 30, 2021) when hosts Chuck Bryant and Josh Clark started talking about something that caught this Francophile’s ear. A strange and sensational news story strai…

This is the time of year when I indulge myself with holiday-themed books, movies, and music.  There are a few books and movies that I read or watch every year. Discovering a new book, movie, or album to add to my holiday reading, watching, and listening lists is a treat. 

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This Christmas, give your favorite gardener something unexpected. Here are a few things that might fit.  An easy one is a gift certificate for their favorite nursery or gardening catalog. A soil thermometer will tell them when the soil is the right temperature to plant peas or when it is war…

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You may find yourself with a fridge full of leftovers after this week’s Thanksgiving feast. And as wonderful as the dinner is on Thanksgiving Day, the idea of eating the same meal every night for the next week might have your taste buds screaming “boring!”

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Last year’s holiday shopping season was a bit wonky to say the least. Between lockdowns and restrictions, shopping for gifts had its own unique set of challenges.

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Abigail and Austin Montgomery, of Battle Lake, are happy to announce the birth of their son, Deegan Austin Montgomery. Deegan was delivered by Tonya Diggins, midwife, CNP, at Perham Health on November 5, 2021, at 3:38 a.m. He weighed 7 pounds, and was 20-inches long. Deegan is welcomed home …

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This Christmas, give your favorite gardener something unexpected. Here are a few things that might fit. An easy one is a gift certificate for their favorite nursery or gardening catalog. A soil thermometer will tell them when the soil is the right temperature to plant peas or when it is warm…

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Have you ever heard of plant criminals? How about invasive plants? Same thing but just a different description. An invasive plant is one that is a neat clump one week and the next is 20 feet away trying to strangle the nearest oak tree.

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“Game of Thrones” jokes aside, here are some of my favorite wintry reads. Quite a few have strong ties to nature. Maybe this is because when the weather cools down, I like to curl up on the couch in front of my electric fireplace and look out the window while I read.

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If you’re not sure what type of book you’re in the mood for, one great way to find your next read is to peruse the library’s new-books shelf. This will give you a variety of authors and genres to consider. It’s like a small snapshot of the library’s larger collection. On top of the new-books…

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We, the Extension Office, tell you that they are beneficial. They eat aphids including soybean aphids. We tell you that they really don’t bite, they just pinch you to see if you are edible. (Not to them anyway.) But now, they are invading your house and you just want them gone. Jeff Hahn, pr…

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During the last year, I have been giving a great deal of thought to the Works Progress Administration (WPA) part of the American New Deal, a program implemented during the Great Depression. The program’s goal was to help alleviate unemployment and improve the country’s infrastructure. The cu…

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The dictionary is wrong, gardening isn’t just about plants, it’s about everything else; the soil, the insects, the birds, the animals and how you fit in the world. The plants are just the frosting on the cake.

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Actually, these trees and shrubs are misnamed. They aren’t ashes, they are actually related to apples. If you look closely, you will notice the resemblance to a very small apple.

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The Fergus Falls Public Library gets by with a little help from our friends . . . actually; we get by with a lot of help from our friends. Friends of the Fergus Falls Public Library group helps fund children’s programming, provide furniture and equipment, contributes funding for new and emer…

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The cornstalks rustled as we walked by, eyes focused on our map and the different paths in front of us. The sun shone brightly overhead while children laughed in the distance. “There it is! I did it!” my mom exclaimed as we came to a numbered post. “Yay!” “Wooo!” my sister-in-law and I cheer…

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It’s getting darker earlier. The days are getting chillier. A recent smattering of wind and storms have hit town causing branches to drop and litter yards with dead-looking sticks and dried, crumbly leaves. At my house, October is referred to as “spooky month” and the books below will help g…

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If you are looking for a smallish tree that is attractive all year, check out some of the mountain ash trees. In the spring they are covered with lacy, umbels of white. The leaves are long and medium green. A mature tree will be oval or a broad pyramidal shape depending on the cultivar. In t…

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Never burn or throw your leaves away. They are brown gold. Used as a mulch, they prevent weed seeds that land on them from sprouting and seeds in the soil die as they can’t reach the light. Leaf mulch is brown and accents the green and colors of your flower beds. It slows moisture loss and k…

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Some of my favorite books to read are armchair travel adventures. I love books about people tackling challenges in the wilderness. Here are some of my favorite reads by people who have endured, persevered and shared their stories for others to enjoy.

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You have heard the expression “fine as frog’s hair.” Well, frogs don’t have hair but bees do.  The bald stingers are hornets but if you are eye to eye with one, you probably aren’t going to be looking that closely. If one of either species is buzzing around your head, don’t swat at it or wav…

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During the last month, the Fergus Falls Public Library issued about 150 new library cards, a fairly standard number of new library cardholders issued monthly.  In September, we issued library cards to a baby only a month old and a man who turned 80. It is never too early or too late to get a…

Welcome to the world Emma Cathleen Julsrud, born Sept. 24, 2021, at 10:19 a.n. to Candice Lestrud and Cameron Julsrud. 

Stefan and Michelle Bischof, along with brother Liam, 3, and sister Olivia, 16 months, of Barnesville, are proud to announce the birth of their baby boy, Sawyer Dean Bischof.  He was born on July 3, 2021, at Sanford Hospital in Fargo, North Dakota.  He weighed 8 pounds 11 ounces and measured…

Picture this scene. A father is in the living room with his child. The 1-year-old child toddles over to a bookshelf and chooses the book, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. She finds her blanket and favorite stuffed animal before sitting on the floor with the book. After looking at…

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The stores are full of “garden mums” this time of year. They are great to fill in the empty spots in the flower garden or to add a pop of color to your deck. The problem with them is, they usually don’t winter here in the frozen North.  There are usually several plants in a pot so if you fin…

There was a time when I would walk past the shelves filled with cozy mystery paperbacks and balk at titles such as “The Rocky Road to Ruin” (an Ice Cream Shop mystery by Meri Allen) or “Dead, Bath, and Beyond” (a Victoria Square mystery by Lorraine Bartlett and Laurie Cass). Don’t get me wro…

This time of year, some gardeners are suffering from garden fatigue. They are praying for frost so they can stop gardening. Of course, this is not true for the avid gardener. She/he would like at least another two or three months of garden weather to be sure that the new plant /tree/shrub is…

To me, fall evokes hiking in the brisk air then coming inside to cozy up with a good book. As a big mood reader, the books that feel out of place for reading on the beach are just right once cooler weather starts.

By now you should have planted some colorful shrubs, filled in the bare spots in your flower garden with reduced price perennials (they are usually on sale now), and decorated your yard with new shrubs. So what’s next, you ask? Next spring’s flowers. 

Take a look at your yard from the street. Does it look kind of bland? Is the only color the green foundation plants? Can you still see the front door through the bushes around it? Does the picture window look out on the backside of an overgrown conifer? If that’s the case, maybe you need to …

For the past 18 years, the Fergus Falls Public Library has partnered with Fergus Falls Public Schools to offer reading tutoring for students during the summer. Over summer break, national research shows children can lose their learning achievements from the school year in what is commonly re…

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If you try to avoid the heat of a hot summer by gardening in the early morning or just before dusk, you have met one of the scourges of a Minnesota summer — mosquitoes. They are so big this summer they have to file a flight plan. When you come in you feel like you’ve been to the blood bank b…

For only the second time since performing to a sold-out house in the 2017-18 season “I am, He said: A Celebration of the Music of Neil Diamond” will be returning to A Center for the Arts in Fergus Falls at Kirkbride Park, Aug. 1 at 6 p.m. The show, starring Matt Vee — nephew of ‘60s pop-star…

Historically I have been a big fan of countdowns. This was especially true for the kids. Kids love countdowns! In the past, I have had holiday countdowns, vacation countdowns, first or last day of school countdowns … the list goes on and on! 

Our lawns, gardens and woody plants have been “spoiled” by our normal wet spring and moderate temperatures. Minnesota isn’t supposed to be stinking hot for long periods. If we wanted weather like that we would have moved to Arizona. But, it’s here and now we will have to deal with it.

As my family prepares to move to a new home in town, I have been asking the kids what they are most excited about with the move. There are generally a number of things that they list off, but right at the top of the list — air conditioning! 

A healthy organism is active, doing the job it is designed to do and working in concert with the right partners. Soil health means that the organisms in the soil are present and doing the job they are supposed to be doing. The soil in a healthy garden is a very active place.

Emma and Jeff Christenson, of Fergus Falls are happy to announce the birth of their daughter, Addison Carol Christenson. 

The public is invited to Zion-Sarpsborg Church in Dalton on Sunday, June 27 at 2 p.m. for the “Mylo Hatzenbuhler” concert. Clyde Bauman, professional musician from Bismarck, North Dakota, created Mylo Hatzenbuhler while a student at Dickinson State College.  Beginning with the idea of a rock…

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Fergus Falls High School graduate, Cindy Johnson, grew up frequenting Victor Lundeen Co. Her book, “Buckle Up Buttercup and Breathe,” now graces the shelves at the local bookseller. “I am beyond excited that my book is available and in stock at Victor Lundeen’s,” exclaimed Johnson. “I really…

As Independence Day celebrations heat up, the Humane Society of Otter Tail County asks community members to be considerate of people and pets that may be highly sensitive to noisy fireworks. While most pet owners understand that fireworks will be used over the Fourth of July weekend, and the…

Gardeners are well aware of what various bugs eat but not necessarily how they do it.  If you want to understand your enemy, you need to know how they eat.  We will be dealing with herbivorous invertebrates.  How’s that for a mouthful?  This excludes some insects like flies that “sponge” the…

My spoiled little dog turned 5 years old on Wednesday. It was a busy day filled with appointments, but you better believe we made time to celebrate his furriness!

When you think of management, do you think of how to control diseases in the vegetable garden? Things like spraying fungicide, pulling out virus infected plants, mulching tomatoes, pulling weeds and cleaning up the garden at the end of the growing season? Well here is some good news. You can…

This is what the Herb Society calls herbs. These are multi-tasking plants. They are grown for cooking, fragrance, medicine, crafts, landscaping, wildlife, and beauty. Herbs can be great ground covers. Just remember, the label groundcover means they cover the ground. In other words, they can …

The summer months are a coveted time for many when it comes to planning a wedding. I would imagine now that societal restrictions have been lessened and weddings can return to their former glory, there are hoards of couples who previously had to postpone itching to get their ceremony on the books. 

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Underwood woman, Nancy XiáoRong Valentine, was chosen to participate in Springboard for the Arts’ “Artists Respond: Equitable Rural Future” program, supported by the Blandin Foundation which selected a handful of artists across rural Minnesota, giving precedence to people of color, the disab…

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