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These past few weeks of relatively warm weather have many gardeners champing at the bit to get in the garden. Robins have been spotted in several places around Spokane – a month early. The problem is that Mother Nature is teasing us. One of the main issues right now is that the soil is too wet to work and digging in it only compacts it more. In colder parts of the area, there is still a frost layer that needs to melt before any soil work is done. So when is soil dry enough to work? That will depend on the type of soil you have. In general, sandy soils drain away water fairly quickly while soils with a lot of clay tend to hold water for a longer period. To determine if your soil is dry enough to work, scoop up a handful and squeeze it together. Then poke the ball gently with your finger; if the ball falls apart easily then the soil is dry enough to dig in.
Toni Pille lives on a 40-acre farm in Espanola, north of Medical Lake, where she and her husband raise sheep, cut hay and eat local: potatoes they grow, meat from the farmer around the corner. She’s a “from-scratch cook” who’s never been interested in preparing one meal for herself and another for her husband, she said. And she’d “fought the weight battle” all her life,
Patches of red needles on the ponderosa pine trees caught Kent Moline’s attention as he hiked the bluff below High Drive on Spokane’s South Hill this spring. He knew the trees should have already shed their dead needles and “I wondered if it was a pine beetle outbreak,” said Moline, a board member for the nonprofit Friends of the Bluff.
A group of college students pitched in last week to help get a community garden growing for the season in southwest Spokane. The 18,000-square-foot plot uses the latest techniques in vegetable and berry farming to provide produce to low-income residents in the city.
The Seattle Seahawks locked up coach Pete Carroll with a three-year contract extension Friday after he led the franchise to its first Super Bowl title.
Experts advise that a lot of things are fine in moderation, and the same applies to the use of extension cords. They should never be strung together, which two families learned the hard way this week. A heat lamp started a fire in the 1700 block of North Woodruff Road the afternoon of Dec. 29, but not by tipping over and catching something flammable on fire. “The heat lamp was plugged into several extension cords, which caught fire,” said Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford.
The WSU-Spokane County Extension is hosting a free workshop to help those interested in starting community gardens. The workshop will be 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the extension office, 222 N. Havana St.
Master Gardeners in Spokane help people with questions about horticulture, pests and even environmental stewardship. Just don’t ask them for help growing marijuana.
Two dozen volunteers thinned ponderosa pine trees and trimmed branches on the South Hill bluff on Sunday in a demonstration project for reducing fire risk. “The idea is to manage the forest so a fire would be limited to burning grass and brush on the ground rather than blowing up into a crown fire that would destroy lots of trees and put neighborhood homes at risk,” said Erik Sjoquist, Washington State University-Spokane County Extension forester.
Inland Northwest airports may have major construction projects knocked off track by a congressional fight over the Federal Aviation Administration. A $3.3 million grant to finish a runway reconstruction at Spokane International Airport and a nearly $1 million grant for a building at Coeur d’Alene’s airport are in the bill that is stalled because of disagreements between House Republicans and Senate Democrats.
Drivers who routinely go through the Sullivan Road and Indiana Avenue intersection may want to find an alternate route. The intersection is being rebuilt with concrete starting Monday, and traffic through the intersection will be extremely limited for six weeks.
Fly-fishing is one of Debbie Stempf’s favorite pastimes, and that’s why she appreciates the pristine water quality in Shoshone Creek. Even on hot days, the tributary creek delivers cold, clear water to the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River, a blue-ribbon trout stream.
Paddlers, fishermen and residents turned out in force Tuesday to discuss the Indiana Avenue extension with the Spokane Valley City Council. Many wanted to preserve the access to the Spokane River and the Centennial Trail.
Spokane Valley road engineers have added a pathway and a connecting street to the design of a planned extension of Indiana Avenue to address concerns raised by Greenacres residents. Public Works Director Neil Kersten presented those changes to the Spokane Valley City Council Tuesday. The council had postponed a vote to award a bid for the road project after listening to issues presented by residents. “We made a mistake by not having a public hearing on this project,” Kersten said.