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UR Here: Rethinking the gnat

Gnats, oh gnats

Those pesky clouds of airborne annoyance come around every spring, but they’ve been especially bad this year. Chalk it up to this year’s cool spring and heavy rains, says Patrick O’Malley from the Iowa State University Extension. Mother Nature’s vichyssoise stewed up an extra-heaping helping of the buggers, and then the sudden heat of late May shot them out of our backyard swamps, all at once, faster than you can say “Anton Arcane” (an arcane reference for the Swamp Thing fans out there).
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UR Here: Home is where the hygge is

Hygge

Hygge (roughly pronounced hö-geh, though with a little more “oo” on that umlauted o) is a Danish word that defies English translation. Its closest Anglo analogue is probably cozy, but that doesn’t fully capture what hygge is all about. Hygge is a feeling, a condition, but Danes tend to define it more by action and situation than abstractions. […]

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UR Here: There’s something a little bit extra about Eble Music

Eble Music

Last week at Eble Music, I picked up the next piece my daughter, Sylvia, will be working on for her saxophone lessons, Alfred Desenclos’s “Prélude, cadence, et finale.” As I walked down Linn Street after my purchase, I said to myself, “You know, I think Eble Music may just be the best local business in town.” I don’t mean to diminish any of our other marvelous local retailers in any way, but, in my experience, there’s something a little bit extra about Eble Music.
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UR Here: Objects of my Admiration

I went to Wisconsin, and all I brought back were a bunch of bark shavings from a red pine tree. This fall, I attended a “Land Ethic Leader” workshop at the Aldo Leopold Center near Baraboo, Wisconsin. If you don’t know, Aldo Leopold—born and raised in Burlington, Iowa—is arguably the twentieth century’s greatest conservationist. He authored […]

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UR Here: Open Spaces

In the days when prairies stretched from river to river across the expanse of what we now call Iowa, bison disturbance was essential to the health of the ecosystem. As the herds thundered across the grasslands and created wallows—depressions in the ground in which the animals rolled to cover themselves in mud and dirt—like a […]

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UR Here: Phasebook Update

I’m kind of an almanac-y guy. I like a day’s statistics—what the high and low temperatures were, the average temperatures, the precipitation. I like to note where a day is in the annual round—solstices, equinoxes, cross-quarter days and everything in between. I like weird holidays (as I finish writing this on August 20, it’s National […]

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