Backyard

String storytelling: ‘Knotty’ entertainment

Forget all those interlocking pieces, hard to wrap shapes and battery-needing games. Here’s an activity that’s ancient, international and entertaining: string storytelling, as demonstrated recently at the Homer Public Library by David Kitaq Nicolai.

Nicolai’s hands flew as he looped, stretched and twisted his orange, six-foot nylon rope around and between his fingers. Most of the time, his well-trained hands seemed to move on their own while his twinkling eyes focused on his audience and he told the story his hands were illustrating with string. 

Kachemak Bay State Parks: Planning for the future

The last time the Alaska Department of Natural Resources updated its Kachemak Bay State Park and Wilderness Park Management Plan, the parks had gone through some major impacts, including the March 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, and adding 50,000 acres to the parks in 1989 and buying back 23,000 acres of private lands in 1993 to prevent logging. Those events prompted a 1995 update of the management plan.

Making room for grief

The holiday season is known as a season of great joy. 

In reality, however, that isn’t everyone’s experience.

“Holidays are hard for people, especially for people when they’re grieving,” said Rev. Lisa Talbott of Homer United Methodist Church.

Homer Senior Citizens: Forty-years old and going strong

Considering how spread out are the facilities of Homer Senior Citizens Inc., when you talk about something being in our backyard, that means many backyards. The main campus between Herndon Drive and Svedlund Street includes independent living apartments, assisted living apartments, the main center and cafeteria. Further afield are two more apartment complexes off Bartlett Street, Bartlett Terrace and Swatzell Terrace. 

Girls on the run: from a 5K to life goals

Unsure about reaching a goal? Add a coach and see the difference it makes. Add community support and it gets better. Believe in yourself and it’s the best.

In a nutshell, that’s the idea behind Girls on the Run, a nationwide program for girls in third- through fifth-grade that was introduced in Homer 10 weeks ago and wraps up its first session with a 5K community run Nov. 9.

Halloween Hustle inaugurates new multi-use trail

BY MICHAEL ARMSTRONG

STAFF WRITER

In the fall of 2012 when contractors cleared dead spruce trees from the Diamond Creek State Recreation Area, they not only provided firewood for local residents and mitigated fire danger, they also opened up land for possible future trails. A gravel road already exists from the Sterling Highway down to the trailhead for a path to the Diamond Creek beach, but a nonmotorized trail could expand the system on state land along the road.

Halloween: costumes, treats and tricks galore

Halloween — the time of year when dressing wacky is more than a Homer fashion statement, treats are more plentiful than scales on a salmon and scaring each other gets a laugh…hopefully.

Schools and entire neighborhoods, youngsters and senior citizens, the U.S. Coast Guard and the local police department all get in the act, beginning days before and continuing until after Oct. 31.

Looking for a cure one step at a time

Combining his Boston roots with his love of running, Homer resident Mike Illg is aiming for a prize more important than crossing the finish line. The community is invited to join Illg in his cause: raising funds for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. His goal is $4,000 to help researchers find a cure for neurofibromatosis.

“Specifically, I am running on behalf of an affable, 14-year-old young man, Leo Ogle, for the Children’s Tumor Foundation,” Illg wrote in a letter inviting others to join in his support of the Homer teenager.

R/V TiˆGlaˆX: across the USA four times

Some mariners might think they’ve put a few miles on their engines this summer, but bragging rights in the harbor go to the workhorse of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the R/V Tiˆglaˆx. Just back last Friday from her five-month season, the research and transport ship that patrols the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge pegged 16,425 miles on her odometer.

Taste of Homer a ‘flawless’ event

It was shoulder-to-shoulder, plate-to-plate and cup-to-cup at Wasabi’s on Saturday for the first Taste of Homer, with 19 participating vendors offering tastes of everything from Jakolof Oyster Company’s fresh oysters to the delicate rosewater and cream cheese-filled pizzelles created by Red Bird Sweets.

“This is a way to promote Homer,” said Colt Belmonte, who, along with his wife Dali Frazier, owns Wasabi’s. In the midst of the crowd, Belmonte was stopped by guests thanking him for opening up the East End Road restaurant for the event.

10th Annual Burning Basket: ‘Enjoy’

The autumn equinox was set ablaze with Homer’s annual burning basket on Sept. 15. The mythical tale all began in response to a project by artist and naturalist, Mavis Muller. 

In 2004, Muller received a grant from the Alaska State Council on the Arts to travel to Nevada and participate with a team of artists under the direction of artist/architect David Best. Together, the team built a massive, interactive, impermanent, fire-art installation for Burning Man.

A Dog's Nose Knows

Look at a dog face-to-face and what stands out? Its nose. Put a dog in a new environment and what does it do? Starts sniffing. Put two dogs together and what kicks in? Their sense of smell.

If humans’ best friends are dogs, dogs’ best friends are their noses. That, in a nutshell, is what canine nose work is all about. Inspired by the training of and work with detection dogs, nose work is the search and scent activity for all dogs and their human companions. 

Wooden Boat Festival features ‘Year of the Kayak”

Last Saturday for Tamamta Katurlluta, the gathering of Alaska Native traditions, a small fleet of skin-on-frame kayaks and one big umiak landed at the Pier One Theatre beach on the Homer Spit (see photo, page 1). Traditional Native boats return again this weekend for the 21st annual Kachemak Bay Wooden Boat Festival as it celebrates “The Year of the Kayak.”

That’s not coincidental. With Tamamta Katurlluta held this year, Wooden Boat Festival organizers decided it was time to focus on kayaks.

Tamamta Katurlluta combines native Traditions

From Nanwalek elder Nick Tanape’s desire to let people know “who we are that existed in Cook Inlet, Kachemak Bay and Prince William Sound, who were the first people here,” comes “Tamamta Katurlluta: A Gathering of Native Traditions.”

The celebration began in 1997 and has occurred almost every two years since then, organized by the Pratt Museum.

Tanape’s vision was for villagers to bring projects they had been working on to Homer, arrive by traditional qayak and be welcomed by dancers from this and other areas of the state.

Understanding the currents of Kachemak Bay

If you built a raft with a big sea anchor and pushed off from Point Pogibshi, you’d drift east along Kachemak Bay on the south shore, turn left at the Homer Spit and eventually circle around the north shore and go west toward Bluff Point, spinning back around in a big gyre. 

Or, maybe not. You could wind up at the head of the bay. You could be pushed out into Cook Inlet. In a big storm and tide you could get washed up on the beach.

New restrooms taking shape for visitors, locals

Call them what you will — privies, johns, earth closets, the shack out back or nooshniks if you live in Ninilchik — outhouses are an Alaska tradition.

Equipped with a candle to brighten winter’s darkness, a Styrofoam seat positioned for maximum warmth, a little reading material, an open door that captures views of sparkling water, hanging glaciers or the dancing aurora and you have all the makings for the perfect place to enjoy a bit of privacy while you do what you have to do.

Top to top family explores world

By land and sea, world explorers often visit Homer on their way north for further adventures or an end-of-the-road finish from points further south.

Last Thursday, a 50-foot silver sailboat slipped into the Homer Harbor on an expedition that outshines anything else by comparison.

Cottonwood trail: an easy hike with a great view

On the Homer side of Kachemak Bay, finding a good, short hike can be a challenge. Across the bay, Kachemak Bay State Park has some marvelous hikes — if you have a boat and can afford a water taxi. If you’re a visitor or local, the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies has a little gem of a hike off East Skyline Drive, the Billie Fischer Cottonwood Trail.

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