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Keep your garden free of fungus, pests and disease

Insects and diseases can destroy a garden, but usually they are just annoying. Knowing what to expect and dealing with the problem quickly can minimize damage.

A few spittlebugs in the garden are a common site in June. READ

A cutt above the rest

Outdoors people have polite names for days like we’ve been having far too many of lately, too hot, too bright, too dry: “Bluebird Days” and “Cutthroat Days. Duck hunters hate Bluebird Days because the birds don’t fly then. But anglers love Cutthroat Days,” because our only significant native trout species, the west slope cutthroat (the threatened bull trout is a char and the also threatened Athabasca rainbow trout is rare and tiny) is alone among our trout in feeding heavily in hot, bright sunshine. READ

Kids face pressure to grow up fast

It appears that in today’s world, certain adolescent pressures continue to bombard our children. There are so many milestones to break that simply being a kid is a thing of the past. Nowadays, they must be walking by a year, potty trained by three, breezing through Atlas Shrugged by six and out the door to work a 9 to 5 by 10 years old. READ

Does asking who’s to blame actually solve anything?

“I’m glad for the company,” said Annette. “I’m usually at these things alone.” It was the weekend of the annual craft fair at the local garden centre and the writers group had set up a table displaying books by club members and local authors. I was busy setting out copies of my new self-esteem book while Annette, a fellow writer, was setting out copies of her latest work — the biography of a famous southern belle. I was standing back inspecting the display when Annette recognized a one-time neighbour in the crowd and waved her over. READ

Learning with a garden tower

In the spring, classrooms within the Wild Rose School Division are often full of plants that the students have started. It is not unusual to see grass-forming Happy Hairys, beans, bedding-out-plants or tomatoes being carefully tended. READ

Destructive behaviour

At last count, I’ve been owned by eight SUVs in the last 50 years, three Jeep Wagoneers, and five Toyotas of various models, including two diesel Landcruisers, my favourites. I have always been annoyed about the constant media prejudice against SUVs. READ

What’s your motivation?

“High fives all around!” shouted Al. “We’ve set a new office record!” Years ago, I worked for a media company that conducted regular fire drills. I had volunteered to join the health and safety committee, and Al, one of the department heads, was our team leader. Fire drills were our responsibility, and our goal was to get everybody out of the building in five minutes. READ

An enlightened day

We’ve officially participated in our first beach day of the season and let me tell you, it was fabulous! I cannot begin to explain to you how important these days are in one’s mothering career. READ

Standing Room Only

Standing Room Only. It’s a situation you often bump into if you are, say, riding a subway in a large city, needing to use the men’s at the intermission at a Rebels hockey game, or trying to get a double double and a honey dip at Timmy’s. Or if you are trying to get ticke READ

Lack of rain not hurting local angling

Two weeks ago, the column remembered the “200-year flood” of June 2005, when monsoon-struck Central Alberta rivers and streams were running harder and higher than longtime residents could ever remember, and noted that aquatic life, including fish, of those waters finally seemed to have recovered. READ

There’s nothing like enjoying a homegrown tomato

Store-bought tomatoes never taste as good as ones that are homegrown. It is a combination of the just-picked taste and the different varieties available. Each tomato variety offers a very distinct taste that can be attributed to the amount of sugar and acid in the fruit. Growing conditions also have an impact of the flavour and texture. READ

The art of fly fishing

The fly fishing fad inspired by “that movie” seems to be fading away. I am hearing frequently from surviving beginners who have hung in there that it isn’t as easy as it looked in 1992’s A River Runs Through It, and asking for suggestions to help them become better at the recreation. READ

How to get rid of pesky dandelions

Dandelions came over with the early settlers and have been spread to most parts of the province by animals, people and vehicles. The yellow flowers are so much a part of the spring landscape that there is no chance of eradicating them. READ

The dreaded return of the renovations

One of the first articles I wrote for Me Plus Three was about home renovations. This piece explained in detail the hellish ordeal I put my family through when deciding I wanted to revive the joint with a fresh coat of paint. READ

As easy as remembering how to ride a bike

Riding a bike is a skill we learn as kids and one that generally sticks around for a lifetime. But American missile flight-test engineer Destin Sandlin was presented with a bike no one, not even he, could ride. Sandlin works at the Red Stone Arsenal, adjacent to Huntsville in Madison Country, Ala. He is the host and creator of the popular video blog Smarter Every Day. READ

An ode to June

It’s tough to praise the coming of June properly on the second last day of a cold and dry May with winds constantly playing drought dirges on sinuses like the painful pipes of Pan. READ

Put currants, gooseberries in garden

Lyndon Penner, who is a regular on CBC Calgary, was a guest speaker at the Red Deer and District Garden Club. He is touring to promote a new book on gardening design, but on this particular evening he spoke on currants and gooseberries. READ

Causes and effects in resource development

I’ll admit that I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to economics, so I had to re-read the quote above a few times. But I gather it means that when a province allows the extraction of a valuable resource to proceed at lightning speed, the incoming wealth not only puts cash in our pockets, but it also forces prices up generally. Just ask anyone who has tried to rent a room or buy a house in Fort McMurray. READ

A cold remedy that uses ingredients grown in Alberta gardens

This past couple of weeks, I have been making a traditional cold remedy called fire cider with people who are looking for alternatives to over-the-counter cold medicine. Fire cider is a remedy one makes in the fall, during harvest. All the ingredients but two (and if need be, these can be eliminated from the remedy) are grown in Alberta gardens. READ

Stop fungi, viruses and pests in autumn

In late spring, summer and early fall, deciduous trees and shrubs are covered in leaves. During this time, yellow leaves, dead leaves and dead branches are tell-tale signs that the plant is not healthy. READ

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