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Dog celebrates homecoming in most unorthodox fashion

In a recent discussion I was told an apartment is not a home. I disagreed. An apartment might not be a house, but it indeed is a home, if its inhabitants think so.

When the atmosphere is upside down

During summer we climb mountains to cool off.

But other than serving as effective natural air-conditioners, mountains have a rather more sinister reputation when it comes to temperature.

Mountains are where you get frostbite and hypothermia.

Brush Beat for January 17, 2014

Brush Beat for January 17, 2014

Locals escape avalanche scare

Most people in Northeast Oregon don’t think about avalanches happening in their own backyard — especially those who ski at local ski resorts.

During the weekend of Jan. 11-12, multiple avalanches were seen across the Wallowa and Elkhorn mountains, including one near Rock Creek Butte that caught local snowmobilers in its path of destruction.

Dog race returns

The 2013 Eagle Cap Extreme Sled Dog Champion Laura Daugereau returns to defend her title in this year’s 200-mile race. (KATY NESBITT/The Observer)

JOSEPH — The running of the 10th annual Eagle Cap Extreme Sled Dog Race is Jan. 23 starting at Ferguson Ridge Ski Area.

The state’s only Iditarod qualifier hosts seven 200-mile mushers, 11 in the 100-mile race and two entries in the two-day, 62-mile pot race.

As the rubber of 2014 hits the road, resolve to eat more jelly beans

I didn’t take my tree down until the 15th day of Christmas this year for fear of getting into a long, involved project. To put the tree up it took the length of the movies “Christmas Vacation” and “Frosty the Snowman,” but it only took about 20 minutes to dismantle.

Skating through winter amid Mother Nature’s slippery ways

En route to cover one of my favorite topics, 4-H, I opened the door of my car and no sooner had I put my foot on the ground than it slid out from under me. It took me a few seconds to figure out how to get up. The parking lot had been transformed into an ice rink, and me without my skates.

Brush Beat for January 3, 2014

Area opens for duck hunters

SALEM—Waterfowl hunters will have a new area to hunt as of Tuesday when the 100-acre former duck hunting club Flight’s End on Sauvie Island opens to hunting.

Sharpening seminar

Tom Claycomb sharpens his Trihone Knife fold-up knife on his diamond stone. It can be a tricky task, but one that Claycomb says all outdoorsmen can learn to do.

Whether you’re a hunter, fisherman or backpacker all of us use a knife, and yet, I bet less than five percent can sharpen one. Let’s see if we can’t help you out today. 

I remember my first knife sharpening seminar 13 years ago. There was an older gentleman attending and he had a brown paper grocery sack with him.  

Being open and ready for anything

Vienna, Austria, is home to the world’s largest Ferris wheel, above, located in Prater Amusement Park, formerly the royal hunting grounds and twice the size of Central Park in New York. It was built in 1897, and stands 212 feet.

For the last few months I have been sharing with you places and events from our river trip through Central Europe last Christmas season. There were some experiences or sights that didn’t fit into any of the other columns, so I will share those with you now. 

Hunters Scrapbook (Dec. 27, 2013)


Dale Mattson shot this 10x12 bull moose while hunting six miles north of Prince George, B.C., on Oct. 10. The Island City man shot the moose, which sports a 50-inch rack, at 106 yards with a .338 caliber rifle.

Feeding fundamentals

Presentation and the type of feed used are important depending on the species. Birds like quail and sparrows often prefer grains spread out on the ground. Moving the feeding site often can help avoid the spread of disease. (JIM WARD photo)

A few simple guidelines to correctly ease bird feeding

Once the first snows hit, Northeast Oregon residents respond according to their interests. Skiers wax and tune up their equipment. Snowmobilers gas up and roll out their vehicles. If you’re a birdwatcher, now is the time to dust off your bird feeders and stock them with seed — unless you feed all year-round. 

Feasting, festing and Christmas cheer

Well, it’s finally here. The shopping is done, the mad wrapping will soon be accomplished and you all will trade the busyness of the last few weeks for a cup of wassail and perhaps a Christmas Eve party or a church service.

Northeast Oregon recreation report

Northeast Oregon recreation report for December 20, 2013

Archery 101

Island City Elementary School teacher Darren Hendrickson explains the workings of a compound bow to his fifth-grade class Wednesday. (PHIL BULLOCK/WesCom News Service)

Physical education to include the art of archery for fourth- and fifth-graders 

ISLAND CITY —  La Grande School District fourth- and fifth- grade physical education students will soon be learning a little about physics and a lot about one of the world’s most popular sports.

Losing a friend

I lost Finn last week. I thought you should know since all of my stories from now on will be from his past. There are so many stories in a nearly 15-year friendship.

Holiday season stirs memory of European trip

The Austrian Benedictine Melk Abbey, left, features a wide winding staircase up to the public rooms, one of which is a museum made up of former smaller guest rooms that features a history of the evolution of the church. In St. Stephan’s Cathedral in Vienna, right, was built in the Romanesque Gothic style with a massive south tower rising 445 feet.

Where has 2013 gone? It is December and we are already well into the holiday season. Last year at this time, Dale and I were partaking in the holiday merriment of Central Europe. I have previously told you of the sights, sounds and odors of the Christmas markets and those still linger in my thoughts as I prepare this year for our celebration here at home.

Brush Beat for December 6, 2013

Brush Beat

Union girl sets Oregon record

Kailee Smith of Union poses with her whitetail deer that set a new Oregon archery record.

Most 10 year olds prefer to watch Saturday morning cartoons, but Kailey Smith wasn’t like most kids her age. She would get up at 4:30 a.m. and go hunting with her uncle.

“She’s always had a passion for the outdoors,” Terry Blankenship said. “Kailey started off just taking pictures of the animals when she went out. She was always excited to go out to the woods.”

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