Jacob Wright works a barbecue grill by Beluga Lake on Lake Street on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. Wright has been offering free food and coffee at the roadside stand and before that at Baycrest Hill. A recent arrival to Homer with his wife and two children, Wright said when he first came to Homer six weeks ago, he had mechanical troubles and then someone stole his wallet with all his gas and cards. People helped him get back on his feet, and now he’s returning the favor by offering free food. People also have given him donations of food and fish to keep his grill going. “We’re giving back to the community that helped us,” Wright said. “…This is the Alaska spirit. This is what Alaska is all about.”

Jacob Wright works a barbecue grill by Beluga Lake on Lake Street on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. Wright has been offering free food and coffee at the roadside stand and before that at Baycrest Hill. A recent arrival to Homer with his wife and two children, Wright said when he first came to Homer six weeks ago, he had mechanical troubles and then someone stole his wallet with all his gas and cards. People helped him get back on his feet, and now he’s returning the favor by offering free food. People also have given him donations of food and fish to keep his grill going. “We’re giving back to the community that helped us,” Wright said. “…This is the Alaska spirit. This is what Alaska is all about.”

Best Bets

Best Bets

If you trust social media — because, you know, why not? — this week we either lived in a tropical rainforest or a flaming inferno. People posted calm, peaceful photos of double rainbows over Kachemak Bay and torrential rain showers.

But then others put up videos of driving by the Swan Lake Fire on Sunday as flames torched trees and embers fell onto the Sterling Highway — “Serling Highway,” one person wrote, as in Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone.” Yeah, that fit.

Holy Oscar Mike Golf! That had to be scary. Some TV stations picked up some of the more exciting videos, but boy howdy that must have been a challenge editing out all the swear words.

Citizens, this long, hot, dry and fiery summer has tried our tempers. Sure, back in July when the Swan Lake Fire laid down for a bit and it looked like this might be one exceptionally fine run of awesomeness, we rolled with it. No rain? OK, some summers we got enough rain to last a lifetime, so what’s the problem? We got in some fishing. Carpenters could close in cabins without looking over their shoulders. Houses got painted.

Now that we’re sitting in the smoke shadow of one huge fire up north, and have had local scares with other fires, our tune has changed. We actually want rain — in summer. About 4 inches over a couple of days would be great. The weather geniuses say that big low over the Gulf of Alaska might break sometime, so who knows? We will take what we can get.

Meanwhile, try to be kind to each other. Try to be patient. Pause. Take a deep breath. Inhale and hold it. Breathe out slowly.

Think about the daily heroism of firefighters just doing their job. Think of the emergency preparedness people making tough calls and trying to keep us safe. Think about the people caught in fire zones who don’t know if they’ll have to flee at a moment’s notice.

We will get through this. We always have. And if you want to stay home this long Labor Day weekend and support your local tourist businesses, get out and enjoy your town, maybe with these Best Bets:

BEST POLITICS BET: Stay up to date on current legislative happenings by attending a Capital Update with Rep. Sarah Vance (R-Homer) from 5-6:30 p.m. tonight at Captain’s Coffee in Homer. Vance will talk about the operating and capital budget as well as the PFD.

Come grab some coffee and listen to the latest update from Juneau.

BEST LEARNING BET: Also tonight is an opportunity to get outside and learn more about where you food comes from. Join the next installment of Thriving Thursday with SVT Health & Wellness by taking a tour of Kackleberry Farm from 6-8 p.m.

Meet at SVT Health & Wellness in town. Join Terry Jones at Kackleberry Farm as she guides the group through the goat and animal farm and shares how she makes goat cheese and kefir using goat milk. Primarily a dairy goat farm that sells farm shares, they produce raw milk, kefir, cream, yogurt and cheese. In addition, they raise organic vegetables, eggs and meat.

BEST READING BET: If you enjoy the words of author Paul Lisicky, you won’t want to miss his public reading coming up tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Kachemak Bay Campus. It is presented in partnership between KBC and 49 Writers, who are celebrating 10 years of partnership in the community. This is a free reading.

Lisicky is a Guggenheim and NEA Fellow whose work appears in The Atlantic and New York Times, and author of five books including “The Narrow Door,” “Unbuilt Projects” and “Famous Builder.” This public reading precedes the 10th annual Tutka Bay Writers Retreat, led this year by Lisicky. More info about that is available at 49writers.org.

BEST PRODUCE BET: Summer is winding down and that means there are fewer and fewer opportunities for you to frequent the Homer Farmers Market. Make sure to pick up all your locally grown and produced goods from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday at the market on Ocean Drive.

The Homer Farmers Market welcomes all growers of farm, garden, and greenhouse produce to participate in a weekly market.

The Homer Farmers Market was established in 2000 to aid in the development of a sustainable local agricultural community for the benefit of the greater community of the Kachemak Bay area.

BEST RESEARCH BET: Curious about what your friendly neighborhood Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve has been up to lately? Now’s your chance to find our and also provide feedback to the reserve.

Head to its Community Council Meeting from noon to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 4 at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Center. Find out what the folks at the reserve have been doing this summer and where they’re headed in the upcoming months. Please meet in the Seminar Room at Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center. Coffee, tea and snacks will be available.

BEST COUNT ’EM BET: Here’s a cool little thing you can do that’s free and will totally amaze you: Watch the nightly gathering of cranes at sunset about 7 p.m. at the Beluga Slough gravel trail by the end of East Bunnel Avenue. On some nights hundreds of cranes will drop in, honking and carrying on.

Better yet, join Kachemak Crane Watch, be a citizen scientist and help count cranes. The organization seeks people to make sandhill crane observations as the cranes gather together before their annual migration south.

Count Days are today and Sept. 7. Count the cranes where you see them. Submit your information on the day of each count, or as soon as you can before the next count day.

Please report the number of adults, colts, or banded cranes seen by location, time, and day for each count day, and your name and contact information to reports@cranewatch.org or by calling 907-235-6262. For more information, contact Nina Faust at 235-6262.

Jacob Wright works a barbecue grill by Beluga Lake on Lake Street on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. Wright has been offering free food and coffee at the roadside stand and before that at Baycrest Hill. A recent arrival to Homer with his wife and two children, Wright said when he first came to Homer six weeks ago, he had mechanical troubles and then someone stole his wallet with all his gas and cards. People helped him get back on his feet, and now he’s returning the favor by offering free food. People also have given him donations of food and fish to keep his grill going. “We’re giving back to the community that helped us,” Wright said. “…This is the Alaska spirit. This is what Alaska is all about.”

Jacob Wright works a barbecue grill by Beluga Lake on Lake Street on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. Wright has been offering free food and coffee at the roadside stand and before that at Baycrest Hill. A recent arrival to Homer with his wife and two children, Wright said when he first came to Homer six weeks ago, he had mechanical troubles and then someone stole his wallet with all his gas and cards. People helped him get back on his feet, and now he’s returning the favor by offering free food. People also have given him donations of food and fish to keep his grill going. “We’re giving back to the community that helped us,” Wright said. “…This is the Alaska spirit. This is what Alaska is all about.”

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