Best Bets

“Skjdfsdan,” one of our hotshot reporters wrote as a draft lede to Best Bets. No, that’s not the French keyboard that Mr. Scarf Man got stuck in his head after his Paris vacation. That would be “azertyuiop.” We don’t know what skjdfsdan means. Maybe it could be:

• The sound of a thousand shorebirds digging for clams in Mud Bay,

• The gentle roar of 87 moose crunching on fresh greenery as you drive between Homer and Soldotna,

• The grand whoop of college and high school graduates as they throw their mortarboards to the rafters, or

• The groan one makes after pulling a 15-hour shift at any of the hundreds of jobs people work to make a living in this amazing little town.

Last weekend, tourist season got a jump start on the traditional beginning of summer we know as the Memorial Day holiday. We might as well admit it: with the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival happening around Mother’s Day weekend and the first cruise ships docking in early May, visitors start coming to our town a wee bit earlier. We’re not just talking other Alaskans, either. Going by the rusty license plates of some motorhomes parked on the Spit in April, our northern neighbors show up even earlier.

While on patrol for peeps, the Betster ran into a nice guy from Arkansas and a man from Toledo, Ohio (“That’s where they make Jeeps,” he said) who had driven up the Alaska Highway in May. He didn’t even know about the shorebird festival, but he sure got excited about our wildlife. “How often do you see moose?” he asked. The correct answer this time of year is, “Oh, about every three minutes.” You can boil an egg by moose sightings.

What we don’t see yet, or feel, is that blazing sun making our goosebumps disappear. It’s still pretty darn cold, Betsteroids. Trees, shrubs and flowers bravely have burst forth, but if vegetation could have deep thoughts, they might be questioning their emergence. Meanwhile, keep that puffy jacket and windbreaker handy and hope for warmth. Meanwhile, there’s still lots to do, like some of these Best Bets:

BEST BRAINY BET: Want to feed both your stomach and your brain? Thriving Thursday is hosting a session about just such a winning combination. Make some time to attend “Brain Foods” with Deb Evensen, a master teacher, speaker, researcher and parent trainer. Meet with Deb and learn about maximum nutrition for the brain. Deb will be sharing her nutritional knowledge and strategies for protecting and feeding your family to enhance their brain development, before you become pregnant, during your pregnancy and into old age. She will be sharing healthy recipes and snacks for you to try. This Thriving Thursday session will take place from 6-8 p.m. tonight at SVT Health and Wellness. There is no cost.

BEST BREAK IT AND YOU BUY IT BET: The moment you’ve been waiting for is here. If you’ve been taking advantage of the sneak peeks of the results of this year’s Plate Project, the opening reception won’t be much of a surprise. For those of you still in the dark, get on down to the Bunnell Street Arts Center from 5-7 p.m. on Friday to see just what all the fuss over pottery is about. The project is a creative collaboration between potter and painter which inspires annual membership giving and commemorative plate collecting for Bunnell Street Arts Center’s donors. Plates are available for selection at the $125 donation and above.

BEST CULTURAL BET: In the mood for something a little more literary? Barbara and Ethan Atwater will present their new picture book “How the Raven Got His Crooked Nose,” the modern retelling of a traditional Dena’ina tale. The authors will talk about the making of the book and read their cautionary tale with help from the audience. There will be time for questions and a book signing will follow. This reading takes place from 4-5 p.m. Saturday at the Homer Public Library and is open to all ages.

BEST BUSHWACKING BET: Itching to get out there and enjoy that fickle sunshine? The Homer Native Plant Society is host a “Nettle Tea Party” during which participants can travel through the local wilderness in search of nettles, and then learn about their uses. With local ethnobotanists, learn the correct way to harvest nettles, where to find them, and how to use this amazing local plant for food and medicine. This outing will take place from 1-3 p.m. Sunday, starting at Kachemak Bay Research Reserve. Participants are encouraged to wear rubber boots and bring light plastic gloves. For details, email There is no cost.

BEST IT DOTH RETURN BET: Pier One Theatre concludes its exciting, 3-year trilogy loosely (as in “unraveled”) based on Star Wars, with Pier One Doth Return. It’s the big kick off to the summer season that starts next weekend. Catch the fun at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the little red theater on the Spit. Get there early — that’s real time, not Homer time — for a good seat.