Lifestyle Columns

Garden Variety: Prune tomato plants to maximize garden production

Tomatoes are a favorite in Kansas gardens, and gardeners are always looking for ways to get the earliest, largest and best-tasting fruit while fighting the weather and at least a dozen common pests. One beneficial practice with which some tomato gardeners may be unfamiliar is pruning. Although ...

5 new young adult books to read for Pride Month

There are a number of ways to celebrate Pride Month, but the bookworm in me insists there's nothing like a good read. The young adult publishing industry has come a long way since my own teenage years when it comes to diverse and #OwnVoices titles, books written by authors who share a ...

Healthy Outlook: Local produce will freshen up your diet; here’s how to use it

My parents will forever lament that their dainty, suburban-raised little girl never got her hands dirty picking the day’s dinner salad from the backyard garden. Although I never did have that experience, I recently found the next best thing here in town, on an adventure to the farmers ...

Garden Variety: Figuring out the best time to prune specific shrubs

Shrubs respond best to pruning when the act is performed at certain times of year, but when that time occurs varies with plant species and locale. How do you know when to prune what you have, and what is the best method to use? Follow these general rules for landscapes in the Midwest. For all ...

Fix-It Chick: Fixing an outdoor spigot that drips

A dripping outdoor water spigot can be annoying as well as costly. A screwdriver and a few inexpensive parts may save you from replacing the whole faucet. Step 1: Turn off the water supply to the faucet. Hopefully this can be done from the main water valve inside. If not, use a street key to ...

Healthy Outlook: Meet the 77-year-old Lawrence man who can run circles around me

What do you get when you cross a master’s in counseling psychology with a master’s in exercise physiology and a passion for practicing what you preach? A physically and mentally healthy person who can still shatter race records at a self-described “77 years young.” More specifically, ...

Fix-It Chick: Tips for protecting a wood deck or fence using stain, finish

Wooden decks and fences last longer if they are protected with a stain or oil finish. Pressure treated lumber should not be treated with anything until after it has aged a full year. Cedar wood does not need to be treated at all. Regular maintenance of wooden decks and fences is the best way to ...

Garden Variety: Soil depth at base of trees key for long-term health

Trees with soil or mulch piled around the bases of their trunks exhibit symptoms of stress and have shorter life spans than trees that are planted and maintained at the proper depth. Well-meaning gardeners who are planting trees, building tree rings, grading soil around trees, adding mulch and ...

Fix-It Chick: Cleaning tips to make outside deck look brand new

Outdoor living areas need spring cleaning, too. Now is the perfect time to give that old wooden deck an easy face-lift with some good old elbow grease and a little deck cleaning solution. Step 1: Choose the deck cleaner that best suits the needs of the deck. Bleach-based deck cleaners contain ...

Garden Variety: Spotting different traits in 2 types of locust trees

Black locust trees are captivating in mid-May when their large, fragrant white blossoms open and make the medium to large trees suddenly apparent along the edges of wooded areas and in small groves. Black locust is sometimes confused with honey locust because of the name, but the two trees have ...

Healthy Outlook: Sweating it out in an infrared sauna

There’s something to be said for working up a good sweat. After a long workout or hard physical labor, I sometimes feel as though the earned perspiration is stress leaving my body. On a stressed-out whim this week, I decided to go let the infrared sauna at Optimal Wellness and Cryospa, 4931 ...

Gifts from nature: creative inspiration and free art supplies

Now is the perfect time of year to spend time outdoors, and if you need an excuse to do so, gathering ideas and art supplies is a great one. It’s fun to keep your eyes open for treasures when you are on a hike, weeding your garden or just strolling through the neighborhood. I have always ...

Author J. Drew Lanham talks Kansas ahead of his visit to Lawrence

I’m not the only one who views J. Drew Lanham as a superhero of advocacy for the natural world — especially for greater participation among people of color as well as increased celebration of birds! Lawrence Public Library is partnering with community organizations for Lanham’s visit — ...

Fix-It Chick: Replace old dishwasher with new, updated model in 12 steps

Replacing an old dishwasher with a new updated model is a project most homeowners can tackle on their own. Step 1: Measure the dishwasher opening to assure that the new washer will fit. Most dishwashers are standardized in size, but it never hurts to double check. Step 2: If the old ...

Healthy Outlook: Struggling moms, you are not alone

The pressure on a soon-to-be mom or the mother of a newborn is something I cannot begin to fathom, and the weight on the shoulders of a woman simultaneously struggling with mental health issues is that much greater. Imagine everyone you know and love expecting you to be all smiles and joy, ...

Garden Variety: Watch for diseases when planting popular hostas

Hostas are one of the most popular landscape plants in the U.S., known and loved for their shade tolerance, wide array of colors and sizes, and low maintenance requirements. Although they have few pest problems, the plants are susceptible to a disease known as Hosta Virus X (HVX) and gardeners ...

Garden Variety: Hummingbirds make return after winter migration

Ruby-throated hummingbirds, the only hummingbird species common in Kansas, are making their way back to the area after their annual journey to Mexico and the tropics for the winter. If you are interested in attracting these beauties to your yard, now is the time to add flowers and plants as ...

Fix-It Chick: Resurface brick walkway, patio

Brick walkways and patios are timeless, durable additions to any home, but over time the joints between the bricks can become compromised. Brick walkway or patio mortar joints need to be almost level with the brick tops to avoid water damage, as well as to deter unwanted plant growth. Repairing ...