Outdoor Features

Seldovia residents embrace svt’s walking challenge

One, two, three, four…

Step after step. Step after step. Thousands of steps are adding up into millions of steps  all in one tiny town across Kachemak Bay.

Despite the odd spring weather, the roads and beaches of Seldovia have had a little extra traffic — not from vehicles, but pedestrians. 

In March of this year, the Seldovia Village Tribe, or SVT, launched a nine-week walking challenge. Participants were given free pedometers and asked to log their steps each day. 

Family farm day gives kids dose of Vitamin "N"

It takes a special place — and a special person — to host a whole crew of children and their parents for an afternoon. 

On April 4, more than 200 kids and parents attended Family Farm Day, sponsored by Nature Rocks Homer and hosted by Mossy Kilcher and Seaside Farm.

Kilcher began hosting the annual event after a conversation with Carmen Field, chairperson of Nature Rocks Homer, a group of community members trying to help kids reconnect with nature. 

Gardening all about enjoying it

It WILL snow. Do not fear it. Our environment needs water and snow is one way to get it. However much we get won’t last long. Think of it as adding nitrogen to the soil. Think of it as a plus. Or don’t think about it at all. 

The greenhouse is providing sufficient shelter for the tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and green beans that will live in there all season. The other crops are all seeded and planning on spending the next six weeks or so nicely tucked in.  They will be coddled until they meet the truth of a Far North summer. 

Weather calls for wait-and-see attitude

“... and o, the winds do blow. ...”

Cold winds. Single digits for the next five days or so. Who knows? 

I have been coaching my plants: “Don’t listen to the varied thrush. They’re early. Don’t you follow suit. Hang on. Wait. Patience. Survive. Pleasepleaseplease ...” 

I’m grateful for the spruce boughs that have been covering the perennial beds throughout this very mild winter. I often thought that they were out there for naught. No. They are right where they should be — protecting perennials from the vagaries of March and April.

Big Fat Bike Festival: a low-pressure kind of weekend

Fat bikes. Fat-tire bikes. Snow bikes. Omni-terrain vehicles. Ask Chase Warren and they’re all the same. They also are the centerpiece of the Big Fat Bike Festival 2015.

Warren and other members of the Homer Cycling Club have created a festival agenda that begins Friday and continues through Sunday. It includes food, bonfires and lots of fun activities, all of it centered around fat bikes and the places those bikes can take you.

Hummingbird, rabbit, snail found in garden — oh my!

So there I am, fussing around in the west garden and I get buzzed by a hummingbird. This is October. Granted, we had a family of four in residence all summer. I think there may be a nest to be seen when the leaves are gone. 

Little is known about the migratory habits of hummingbirds, but Alaska hummers are usually gone by the end of August. It appears to be an immature rufous but don’t place any bets on that. Try as I might, my identification skills are lacking. 

Onward to New York

Sarah Outen touches the Seafarers Memorial statue after she and Justine Curgenven landed on the Homer Spit on Aug. 14 after a 1,300-mile kayak journey from Adak. Outen speaks at 7 p.m. today at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center about her London2London journey. She restarts her trip this weekend from the Seafarers Memorial and will bike to New York.

Adventurer speaks about world journey

British adventurer Sarah Outen speaks at 7 p.m. today at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center about her 

“London2London: Via the World” journey. With Justine Curgenven, Outen, 29, of Oxfordshire, England, recently completed a 1,300-mile kayak trip from Adak to Homer through the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.

She is more than halfway around the world on her attempt to circumnavigate the planet by boat and bicycle, having kayaked, bicycled and rowed from London to Homer.

Moose hunters’ chances good as season opens

For hunters heading out at the start of the fall moose hunting season this week, as in 2013, the odds of getting a moose should be better compared to 2012. Moose hunting opened on Wednesday, Aug. 20, and continues through Sept. 20. After restrictions limiting the take of younger bulls, the bull-cow ratio has improved, the population has increased and the winter survival rate has gone up for Game Management Unit 15C, the lower Kenai Peninsula south of Tustumena Lake.

Be careful out there: Lead is flying

If Captain Kirk and his gang from the starship Enterprise had popped out of a reverse time warp above the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon over the weekend, they would have stumbled onto a scene that would have spawned serious flashbacks. Only this time around it would have been “The Trouble with Trebles.”

Good, bad news in Homer jackpot Derby

There’s some good new and some bad news in this week’s Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby action.

The bad news comes from Bill Brock of Anchor Point. Brock was fishing with Crystal Sea Charters aboard the Donna Mae on Sunday when he hooked into a tagged halibut. The tag was sponsored by Alaska Adventure Cabins, owned by Bryan and Karen Zak, and valued at $500. The bad part of that fishing story: Brock hadn’t purchased a $10 derby ticket prior to fishing.

Scientist, author focuses on salmon at Inletkeeper’s annual Splash Bash

Not every scientist starts out a talk playing guitar, but David Montgomery, the speaker at Cook Inletkeeper’s 17th annual Splash Bash on July 31, isn’t your average scientist. 

Author of “King of Fish: The Thousand-year Run of Salmon,” recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant and a member of the band Big Dirt, Montgomery played a few licks with artist Ray Troll, a musician in the band Rat Fish Trollers, and John “Johnny B.” Bushell. Both bands also played last weekend at Salmonstock, with Johnny B. joining Troll’s band.

Halibut spread derby message

When it comes to spreading the word about the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby, why not let the halibut do it? 

That was the case with a 35-inch halibut caught by Shawn Berndt of Stoughton, Wis. On July 23, Berndt was fishing with Marv’s Fishing Charter way over in Harris Bay off the Gulf of Alaska near the entrance to Resurrection Bay when he hooked into a 35-inch halibut. Turned out the
halibut was sporting a 2011 Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby tag.  

Fishing superstitions no laughing matter when success counts

My wife and I relearned a lesson over the last week and it wasn’t pretty. Since The Fishing Hole has been handing out silver liked a short-circuited slot machine in Reno, we decide that we’d slip out there and pick up a couple of those beauties for the barbecue.

Something went wrong. Way wrong.

We have this semi-secret special technique that hasn’t failed us for years and we were confident that we would be back in a couple of hours packing some nice fillets.

Nope. 

Remember this glorious summer come January

Hold this growing season close to your heart. Treat it like a treasure to be taken from its cache in the depths of January and lovingly remembered. This is truly a glorious summer. 

That said, the slugs are here. I have long resisted the wholesale killing of these mollusks; after all I have created the perfect environment just by dint of planting a garden. Easy pickings. 

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