“There is nothing like the first hot days of spring when the gardener stops wondering if it’s too soon to plant the dahlias and starts wondering if it’s too late.” — Henry MillerIt has been so nice to get out in the garden but the work is overwhelming. Many of the evergreens have winterkill.…

The game of Chunkey Stones was a game created by Native Americans around 600 AD, in the Cahokia region near what is now St. Louis, Missouri. The game was played using polished stone disks with concave sides, two to six inches in diameter, and one and one-half inches wide, and a slender, spea…

Sauk Prairie will get a glimpse of one of the two eclipses that will occur over the next thirty days. The total solar eclipse is only visible over the Atlantic Ocean ending toward the North Pole on March 20, and the total lunar eclipse is best seen in western North America on April 4. However, the partial phase of the lunar eclipse will greet those who rise before the sun on the morning of April 4.

The Full Moon occurs on April 4 at 7:05 a.m., but the moon sets just before this, around 6:40 a.m., as the partial eclipse is ongoing. The partial phase begins around 5:17 a.m., as the moon slips into the deeper part of Earth’s shadow and begins to turn a bit red. The moon will become close to completely eclipsed around 6:34 a.m., just as it is setting. This will make for a strange and wondrous view for those awaking to the day to find a “blood red” moon setting in the west.

At the same time that the moon is setting, the sun is rising in the east. Sunrise will continue to arrive earlier every morning and sunset later every evening from the spring equinox on March 20 through June. Spring arrives precisely on March 20 at 5:45 p.m.

Spring planets and constellations

On March 21, a day after the new moon and eclipse graces the far north, a crescent moon returns to the sky just after sunset. The moon will be right beside Mars, and the next night the moon rises a bit higher to float beside Venus. On March 29 the moon will be high in the sky and not far from Jupiter. The moon and Saturn keep close quarters around April 8, but they don’t rise until after midnight.

Back in the west, Venus draws attention as it shines at magnitude -4 and stays above the horizon for three hours. In early April, Venus closes in on the star cluster the Pleiades in the constellation Taurus. This grouping of stars is setting in the west while the spring constellations rise in the east. Leo, Virgo, and Libra rise up from the horizon, carrying along a slew of distant galaxies that can be viewed through large telescopes. Ursa Major, the Big Dipper, is taking on its spring look, with the bowl of the dipper turning upside down as it sends spring showers to Earth.

“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.” —Doug LarsonMost gardeners prefer to use organic insect control as much as possible. This is called integrated pest management. A few of the best non-toxic controls that I have used for many years are sold in most good …

  • +2

“They know, they just know where to grow, how to dupe you and how to camouflage themselves among the perfectly respectable plants, they just know, and therefore, I’ve concluded weeds must have brains.” — Diane BensonThe weather has been wonderful and everyone is buying plants at garden cente…

BARABOO — President Richard Nixon established National Volunteer Week with an executive order in 1974, as a way to recognize and celebrate the efforts of volunteers. Every sitting U.S. president since Nixon has issued a proclamation during National Volunteer Week (as have many U.S. mayors an…

“There can be no other occupation like gardening in which if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.” — Mirabel OsterThe daffodils and tulips are starting to grow and a few snow crocuses are blooming. If I ever get out to do some work uncovering my bul…