The moon rises over snow-covered spruce trees on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, on Diamond Ridge near Homer, Alaska. About 4 feet of snow has fallen on Diamond Ridge this winter, nearly covering elderberry bushes and pushki stalks. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

The moon rises over snow-covered spruce trees on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, on Diamond Ridge near Homer, Alaska. About 4 feet of snow has fallen on Diamond Ridge this winter, nearly covering elderberry bushes and pushki stalks. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Best Bets

For all the years the Betster has lived in Homer, we’re still amazed at how much difference a little bit of altitude can make. That’s “altitude” as in elevation, not “attitude.” Yes, a lot of Homerites have some attitude as well, but that’s another subject.

Take this winter. Down in town hardly a lick of snow graces the landscape. Ice, heck yeah. Sea level can be lethal that way. The forecast might call for snow, but seasoned citizens know that’s just the weather person being kind. “Rain mixed with snow” would be more accurate or even “scattered snowflakes to make you feel like you live in Alaska but really expect rain. And ice.”

If you’ve been walking the beaches lately, you might have noticed weird scoops in the sand. That’s from all the people mining the beach to put some grit on their icy paths and driveways. If you haven’t heard, we’re almost as frugal as New Englanders. Why buy sand when with a shovel and a bucket and some elbow grease you can get it for free?

Drive up into the hills, though, and you’ll discover Homer isn’t such a bad place to live considering it’s such a short drive to winter. At about 800 feet or so it can be raining sideways and then, shazam!, you hit snow. Drive a few hundred feet higher and winter not only has come, it’s sticking around for a cup of coffee, maybe some warm brownies and a mug up by the fire. The berms along the roads have become so high you don’t have to worry about going into the ditch. Bouncing off the berms like a pinball and into an oncoming snow plow? Yeah, that you have to worry about.

Those ridge rats can tell you all about surviving winter in the heights of Homer. Mark your driveways. Keep a shovel inside the door. Buy good snowshoes. When a blizzard comes, park you car nose forward and as close to the end of the driveway as you can.

And when the shoveling is done, you can enjoy some good times, maybe with these best bets:

BEST ALL THE BUZZ BET: This coming Saturday, the Homer Area Beekeepers Association (HABA) will be holding a Zoom meeting from 9:30-11 a.m. All local beekeepers and aspiring beekeepers are welcome to join, as well as anyone curious about what might be involved in becoming a beekeeper. Send an email to homerbeekeepers@gmail.com to get the link or call Linda at 907- 399-9211 for more information.

BEST AMAZING WOMEN BET: Join the four-part, virtual family dinner story circle for Mothers of Black History with Skywalker Payne presented by Homer Public Library. These stories, appropriate for all ages, may inspire conversation, questions, research, or creative expression. They’re held live on Zoom from 6-7 p.m. every Tuesday in February. To participate in the live storytellings, register for free at http://bit.ly/hstry11. The videos will be available for viewing on the library website. You will be entertained and educated! Best for ages 6+ years. The first one in the series is on Feb. 2, “Adventurous Ancestors: Black queens & warriors.”

BEST GET WALKING BET: Walk with a Doc Homer is back. Until further notice, all the Docs will give their talks virtually — videos and sometimes audio (so you can listen while you walk) will be available on the Walk with a Doc Homer Facebook page ahead of time so you can talk about it with your walking buddies.

Walks will take place at SPARC (South Peninsula Athletic & Recreation Center at 600 Sterling Highway, beside Homer Middle School), on the first and third Saturdays of each month from 9-10 a.m. During this time, everybody walks for free and by signing in to Walk with a Doc you will be entered into a weekly prize drawing for a Walk with a Doc T-shirt, or a monthly drawing for a gift card to a local business.

Attendees must wear face coverings or masks, and follow all other SPARC requirements while using their facility. Please walk on your own, or only with those who are already “in your bubble” — current members of your household or the few others with whom you are limiting your close contact to.

As we navigate this new process, we hope to have the Docs give their virtual talks in advance, and take questions throughout the week before each walk, so that you can still have your questions answered and get to know your local providers better. Email wellness@sphosp.org anytime with questions.

BEST CHECKING IN BET: The Pratt Museum reopens starting Feb. 4 with hours from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. At 4 p.m. Tuesday, the Pratt holds its annual meeting and a preview of next month’s new exhibit, “Familiar Faces: Portraits of Community” opens.

“Familiar Faces” features special content by guest community members Joshua Veldstra, photographer; Christina Whiting, writer and photographer; and Clark Fair, writer. The exhibit draws on the Pratt Museum’s permanent collections to illustrate the deeper stories behind and beyond these seemingly simple images.

The annual meeting includes elections of the Board of Directors, partner recognition and a preview of the new exhibit. Curator Savanna Bradley and Veldstra, Fair and Whiting will also speak about “Familiar Faces.”

To attend and sign up, visit and register by Feb. 1 at eventbrite.com/e/2021-pratt-museum-annual-meeting-tickets-136900502087.

Mt. Redoubt can be seen across Cook Inlet from Diamond Ridge on the Marathon Ski Trail on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, near Homer, Alaska. About 4 feet of snow has fallen on Diamond Ridge and Kachemak Nordic Ski Club groomers have begun setting the trail from Lookout Mountain to Diamond Ridge Road. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Mt. Redoubt can be seen across Cook Inlet from Diamond Ridge on the Marathon Ski Trail on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, near Homer, Alaska. About 4 feet of snow has fallen on Diamond Ridge and Kachemak Nordic Ski Club groomers have begun setting the trail from Lookout Mountain to Diamond Ridge Road. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

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