Outdoor Features

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. 

Harvest from these gardens helps others

From swapping plant starts in the springtime to sharing ripe produce in the fall, gardens inspire an attitude of giving. This spring, Homer’s St. John the Baptist Catholic Church joined a growing local trend of gardening for those in need. 

Father Robert Leising is one of three priests who serve the lower Kenai Peninsula. Although he lives in Soldotna, he drives to Homer on Tuesdays to serve the parish on weeknights. 

Arctica wins 18th annual regatta

Two days of sunshine, but more importantly two days of an accommodating wind on Kachemak Bay drew eight boats out for Saturday’s start of the 18th annual Homer Yacht Club-Land’s End Resort Regatta.

Six completed both days of the two-day event, with Arctica taking first place. 

“I want to thank my crew,” said Arctica’s Captain Craig Forrest, acknowledging the winning efforts of Liska Kandror, Kelsey Kleine and Johann Willrich.

Weeds may be ‘medicine at your front door’

What use does a dandelion have besides being a weed in a garden? Does devil’s club really have medicinal qualities? That and many more questions were answered by Nancy Lee-Evans during the Medicinal Plant Walk June 12 at Bishop’s Beach.

The class, part of the diverse series of Thriving Thursday wellness classes offered by Seldovia Village Tribe Health and Wellness, attracted a large crowd in spite of the rain and gusting wind. 

Breeding Bird Survey conducted by listening to songs

I saw the moon for the first time this summer. Waking up at 2 a.m. brings a new perspective to the seemingly perpetual daylight of Alaska summers. However, this darkness didn’t last long, and after a blurry-eyed car ride, I found myself at the turnoff to Skilak Lake Road. Here, Toby Burke and I prepared for the 50 stops to come this morning as we waited for 4 a.m. It was time, once again, to collect data for the National Breeding Bird Survey on one of the many designated routes within the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

Coordinated effort gets help for eagle

When Bernie and Marion Simon arrived at their Kasitsna Bay cabin on June 19, they were greeted by a bald eagle that appeared to be suffering from a wing injury.

“The poor guy was hungry and so cold and wet,” said Marion Simon. “He couldn’t hop around. He kept stepping on his wing.”

The Simons took herring out of their freezer and cut it up to feed the bird.

“He just about ate them right out of our hand,” said Simon.

Plants thrive after wildfire

The massive wildfire that recently engulfed a good chunk of the Kenai Peninsula landscape may look like a bleak, uninviting place for some time, but regenerative ecological forces are already at work. As we embrace the hard work, dedicated suppression efforts, and good fortune that resulted in a positive community outcome, many of our floral friends can rejoice in the opportunities of the fire-altered system.

Church gives park plenty of TLC

This spring Karen Hornaday Park got a lot of love. And not just from young people. Between 40 and 50 volunteers, coordinated through Church on the Rock Homer, prepared the playground, campground and ball fields for a summer of fun.

Through the City of Homer’s Adopt-A-Park Program, the church, which has an average attendance of 450-500 people, has committed to perform spring and fall maintenance on the park. 

Volunteers work, learn on Trails Day

Before the Saturday morning bustle had a chance to begin, volunteer teams with the 17th annual Trails Day had already embarked to the Kachemak Bay State Park from Homer to tackle nine different trail clearing and building projects. In spite of the drizzling showers, all 79 local and visiting volunteers who signed up showed up.

Kachemak Ski Club: enjoying homer’s slopes since ’48

For centuries, traveling across snow on skis has been a common way to travel in Alaska. Given that history, it’s not surprising that one of Homer’s oldest and still active recreational clubs is the Kachemak Ski Club, the organization that has operated a succession of rope tows on Diamond Ridge and off Ohlson Mountain Road. Founded in 1948 as the Homer Ski Club, in its day alpine skiing was one of Homer’s major winter activities.

Don’t overthink it, just garden

Be prepared to shift your expectations. Anything can happen in March: single digits, a ton of snow, wind. Name it, and be ready. I won’t turn the heat on in the greenhouse until the first week in April. In the meantime, all the starts are under lights in the guest room. Good thing there aren’t any guests. 

Sloppy weather proves mettle of fat bikes

Cold temperatures and wet sand didn’t stop the cyclists at Bishop’s Beach last Friday as they celebrated 2014’s Big Fat Bike Festival. 

Whipping their large wheeled machines around a built obstacle course of teeter-totters, log bridges and angled walls, the participating riders clearly enjoyed being able to ride where other cyclists couldn’t. This year’s festival, sponsored by the Homer Cycling Club, gave them plenty of opportunity to do it. 

Gardening season begins in earnest

February. The days are certainly noticeably longer. The weather certainly noticeably strange. Winter started three weeks ago. Does this mean that it will last until the end of July?  

What to do? 

Pull out your begonias, fuchsias and geraniums and get on with it.  Now.

These stored plants will need a good soak and a sunny, clean window. Thankfully I washed said window when the temps were in the 40s.

Tour has ‘perfect’ conditions

Last-minute snowfalls made for good skiing for the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club’s Wine and Cheese and Wooden Ski Tour on Sunday.

“We were really sweating bullets,” said organizer Kevin Walker. “Thursday it was glare ice. Then there was an inch (of snow) here, an inch there, three inches Saturday morning, three more inches Sunday morning, so it turned out to be really good conditions.”

The annual event serves as a fundraiser for the club, usually bringing in around $2,000 and attracting 75-100 skiers. This year, the crowd was a bit smaller.

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