Transforming gardening: Book details Webster man’s design for a better, cheaper greenhouse

On cold January days, Bob and Janaye Houghton prefer to eat outside. 

“If it’s 20 degrees in the sunshine, it’s Miami,” Bob said. 

Winter storms slow down vaccine progress

Widespread winter storms last week drastically slowed down vaccination efforts in Jackson County, which still has the lowest percentage of its population vaccinated of the four counties in The Smoky Mountain News’ coverage area. 

For at least a while, all the noise stopped

Short escapes from all of the noise coming from everywhere are so refreshing, so worthwhile. 

The holidays were a fantastic time at our home. Lori and I and our children and their partners had been spending time together since the pandemic started, had been tested, and so we felt safe getting together. My birthday is Dec. 18, a week before Christmas, so from then until New Year’s Day we had children visiting, excursions out and about, long dinners and a relatively busy holiday. Great times, especially in this year when so much was not normal.

This must be the place: You would do anything, you’d give up everything for god knows why

Christmas Eve. Downtown Waynesville. Sitting alone in my one-bedroom apartment, I was bummed that I couldn’t be back home in the North Country for the holidays with my family and friends. Putting on the baseboard heater, I proceeded to make my way to the fridge for a beer.

This must be the place: Olden times and ancient rhymes, of love and dreams to share

Though the baseboard heat was on in the living room, my downtown Waynesville apartment was quite chilly come Tuesday morning. Under warm covers with the anticipation of a blanket of white over the mountainous landscape outside the front door. 

Cold weather means COVID cases could heat up

As the colder weather settles in, many Western North Carolina counties are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases. 

Fire (ants) on the mountain: Research shows invasives species can survive cold winters

Since its arrival to the United States in the early 1930s, the fire ant has been making a slow but steady march northward from the site of its initial arrival in Mobile, Alabama, but scientists had always assumed that cold winters would at some point put a stop to the tropical invasive species’ spread. 

The Naturalist's Corner: Snowbirds part deaux

In a past column regarding snowbirds (“Snowbirds are here”), I wrote, “No, I’m not talking about your Uncle Bernie and Aunt Esther from New York City.” But I recently learned snowbirds (dark-eyed juncos) are kinda like your northern relatives — they like to come back to the same spot each winter. It seems many of the snowbirds at your feeders this winter were probably there last winter. And like relatives, we get used to them being around.

Committed to the slopes: Waynesville snowboarder to appear in international competition

Zeb Powell was 7 years old the first time he tried a snowboard. 

That initial ride wasn’t great — Powell, a lefty, found himself being sent down the mountain right foot forward — but after that something clicked. Powell hit a box the first night and from there on out spent as much time as possible on the slopes at Cataloochee Ski Area. 

Beating back the January Blues

Ugh.

The skies are gray, the wind’s a knife, the dank cold crawls into your very bones, and spring seems a thousand years away. You’re bored with watching television, you never want to hear the word “Impeachment” again in your life, your New Year’s Resolutions — to exercise more, lose weight, do some volunteer work — were given graveside services a few days after January started, you get depressed arriving home from work in darkness by 5 p.m., and you find yourself wanting to do nothing but sleep.

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