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Book Review: 'The Farmer’s Wife' a moving plains tribute

If you live anywhere in the Upper Midwest, particularly with our recent blizzard, you can understand the value of a handmade quilt.

Quilting is the subject of a wonderful book, “The Farmer’s Wife: Homestead Medallion Quilt,” by Laurie Aaron Hird of Shullsburg, Wisconsin. The book, one of a series, was inspired by Ada Melville Shaw, whose own story is both intriguing and inspiring.

One Man’s Perspective: Ready for a new year

This weekend, we will welcome in 2023?

Some will get their party on with friends. Others will welcome it a little more quietly with some snacks, football and TV, music fireworks and revelry. A select few may try to squeeze both in.

Regardless of how you choose to get your “New Year on,” I encourage you to spend some time in reflection on the year that was and look toward the year approaching with specificity on how you fit into it.

Ready Seth Go: Mourning amid the merriment

She'd probably be the first to make a joke about it, but my year-end work this week was interrupted by some sad news.

Kari VanderWoude, who worked among our group of newspapers for many years and did so many different things it was hard to say exactly what her job title was, passed away Dec. 22.

Letter to the Editor: Malls should allow pets

As we approach 2023, there are numerous examples of societal ills deserving of our collective attention. Many will take more than the proverbial village to resolve. Not resolving a few of the more glaring issues could be catastrophic. I won't go into detail, as to do so would require too much space.

Pastor's Column: ‘My times are in your hands’

“I want it to go faster!” I told God in frustration, on a cold and wet day in Minnesota. I was driving our family van to my sister’s apartment after class. My outburst was not about the traffic that day. I was slogging my way through what would turn out to be eight years of study in seminary. I was attending part time because I had a busy life as a mom, and the program I was taking only offered a few classes per quarter anyway.

The CommStock Report: GI Joe gets poked to protect US

Last summer we visited Valley Forge on our “granddaughter trip” to Pennsylvania. They have a great visitor center and one of the tidbits of information that I was reminded of was General George Washington's order that all troops in the Continental army be vaccinated for smallpox. I have also been researching civil war diaries of Union soldiers to gain insight into what my family members experienced in the army during the Civil War. Here too, soldiers were required to get vaccinated.

Extension Outreach: Home Gardening webinar series begins Jan. 3

It is never too early to start planning your garden! Join us for a variety of webinars that will expand your knowledge, introduce you to new topics, and allow you to connect with experts from across the field. All ages and backgrounds are welcome to attend, and the sessions are free and open to the public. You can attend them all, or pick and choose the topics you are most interested in.


Topics for the upcoming year include:

The CommStock Report: Underinvestment in commodity CAPEX is bullish!

There are a lot of axions relative to agriculture markets that are the result of long-time experience. Examples are "short crop long tail" where when production is curtailed and demand is squeezed that price highs tend to come contra-seasonally at harvest. Another is, "plant in the dust and the grain bins will bust" which is an observation that dry springs do not necessarily mean summer droughts. Highs tend to come early in the season as well under that scenario.

Lawn & Garden: Ring in the new year with traditions, fruits and vegetables

Start your new year with a bit of luck and nutritious eating. Try a few of these food-related traditions and then plan on growing a few of your own to enjoy.

Eating grapes on New Year’s Eve is a Mexican food tradition. One grape is eaten with each stroke of midnight and is believed to lead to prosperity in the year ahead. Grapes are low in saturated fats and relatively high in vitamins C and K.

Randy’s Review: ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’

Thirteen years after “Avatar” set box office records, James Cameron’s follow up and return to the space planet of Pandora, “Avatar: The Way of Water,” delivers on all the beauty and visuals one would come to expect of the much-hyped sequel.

Outdoors: The thrill of late season pheasant hunting

We’ve hit late December, gone through a couple of blizzards and certainly have more than a little snow on the ground. Even so, there’s still a couple of weeks before the pheasant season closes. This what I call the second and the most physically challenge season of pheasant hunting. The pheasants have been chased for nearly eight weeks, and only the smartest roosters have survived. Their instincts have been honed on how to avoid getting caught in a hunter’s trap.

Outdoors: Small details for bigger fishing catches

People who fish, whether in open water or through the ice, often try to learn what they can do to catch more fish. Maybe it’s a lure, a lure color or the way the lure is moved. Maybe it’s the type of minnow or the size of the leech that’s on your hook. Those are all important considerations, but the reality is that there usually is no one special thing that we can do to catch more fish.

Outdoors: Love that sight fishing

This past week before all the snow and wind arrived, I headed out on West Okoboji to see if I could find some bluegills. I was going to fish the shallows ― in 8-10 feet of water. My first concern was ice conditions, but my grandson and a friend had been out the day before and it was he said it was a good 8 inches thick. I went twice, and I was so excited to see clear, clear water.

One Man’s Perspective: Open meeting discussions

Serving in elected office on a local level can be a rewarding but thankless role. Even more so for a member of the local school board.

Gust Commentary: Tree removal on wildlife management areas

“Why is the DNR cutting down trees on our wildlife areas?” is one of the most common questions I receive as the local wildlife biologist. Which is understandable. It may appear contradictory for the agency in charge of managing our natural resources to be cutting down trees. And the answer can differ slightly depending on the specific wildlife area or the goals behind the tree removal project.

Q&A: Outlook on next farm bill


Q: What’s in store for the new farm bill?

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