Page 1

Spring 2015

HOME & GARDEN Supplement to The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle — May 6, 2015


Page 2 — 2015 Spring Home and Garden, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash.

Brace for a hot, dry summer “

Drought conditions increase chances of another bad fire year

We expect to have the kinds of conditions like we had last summer.

By Dee Camp The Chronicle OKANOGAN – Okanogan County residents are bracing for a hot, dry summer and, with it, the prospect of another bad fire season. Last summer’s Carlton Complex fire raced across 256,108 acres of land from Winthrop to Pateros and across the mountains to the Chiliwist and Malott areas. It destroyed 237 homes, 53 cabins and dozens of outbuildings and barns; blackened timber, crops and orchards, and killed livestock and wildlife. Additional fires charred lands in Ferry County and on the Colville Indian Reservation. As residents work to rebuild, the state is warning of another dry summer in the offing. Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a drought in several parts of the state, including the eastern portion of Okanogan County. Along with the lack of snowfall last winter translating into a short supply of water this summer, the county’s foliage already is bonedry. “We expect to have the kinds of conditions like we had last summer,” state Department of Natural Resources Deputy Supervisor for Resource Protection and Administration Mary Verner said. “It’s prudent to plan for these scenarios.” “As we know from looking out the window, this past winter has been exceptionally warm, and in

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Dee Camp/The Chronicle

many places, quite dry,” Okanogan Conservation District Firewise Coordinator Kirsten Cook said. The district and the state

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Trees stand charred on North Star Road after the Carlton Complex fire.

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Home and Garden © 2015 The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle Owned and operated by Eagle Newspapers Inc. 618 Okoma Drive, Omak, Wash. P.O. Box 553, Omak WA 98841 Roger Harnack, Editor and Publisher Dee Camp, Section Editor Teresa Myers, Advertising Manager 509-826-1110 • 800-572-3446 509-826-5819 fax www.omakchronicle.com

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2015 Spring Home and Garden, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash. — Page 3

Dry from 2 Department of Natural Resources are urging people living in rural areas to prepare their homes for fire by creating defensible space and using techniques in the Firewise program. Firewise, a program of the National Fire Protection Association, offers tips and methods of preparing property to survive a wildfire with minimal damage. Clearing trees and shrubs away from a home, planting fireresistant landscaping and using fire-resistant building materials are among the precautions. Cook said she’s made dozens of Firewise assessments around the county in the wake of the Carlton fire. Communities can join the Firewise program and get additional support. Many people traditionally wait until July 4 to work on making their homes fire resistant, but with the dry winter and early fire season, now is the time to prepare, Cook said. “Wildland fire is a fact of life here,” she said. “There is no way to ‘fire-proof’ a forest or house, but there are many things you can do to make your home more resistant and resilient.” The conservation district, Firewise and Natural Resources offered tips for making homes and other property safer from wildfire: • Keep leaves and needles off your roof and deck. • Create a fuel-free area within three to five feet of your home. Make sure organic mulch is at least five feet from structures. • Thin and space vegetation from five feet to 30 feet. • Keep areas around decks, sheds, fences and swing sets clear of debris and vegetation. • Trim branches that overhang structures and prune branches of large trees up to six to 10 feet from the ground. • Remove plants containing resins, oils and waxes. • Select fire-resistant plants for landscaping. • Have a disaster plan. It should include an emergency escape route; plans for saving pets, large animals and livestock; emergency phone numbers programmed into cellphones; tools such as a shovel, rake, ax, hand saw or chainsaw, and an emergency water source. • Leave if you feel unsafe. Don’t wait to be notified. Be sure to designate a rendezvous location with other family members. • Make it easy for emergency responders to find and access your home. Mark your home with the

See Fire 4

Fuel treatment shows a success The Chronicle

Al Camp/The Chronicle

Fire bears down on a home, above, on B&O Road outside of Malott during the Carlton Complex fire last July. At a neighboring home, below, a firefighter on the deck, left, awaits the fire’s approach. The home above burned to the ground. The one below was deemed defensible, and was saved.

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CHILIWIST – The value of fuel treatment has a success story in the Chiliwist, where the Carlton Complex fire swept through last July. Three dozen homes in the valley were destroyed, but Ann and Louis Stanton’s property survived. “They believe their home and tall pines probably survived largely due to the thinning and chipping treatments that were applied in 2013,” the Okanogan Conservation District said. “The fire stayed on the ground. There was very little scorching on tree trunks, and approximately 95 percent of the

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trees should survive.” Within nearby untreated areas, 95 percent of the trees are likely to die. Thirty-eight properties totaling more than 1,000 acres that had fuel reduction or forest health treatments burned during the Carlton Complex fire. On the treated properties, 59 of 67 structures were saved. The structures destroyed in the fire tended to be outbuildings rather than homes, or homes that weren’t in treated parts of the properties, the district said. Tree damage varied widely in the fire, but almost 40 percent of the treated sites are likely to have more than 25 percent tree survival.

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Page 4 — 2015 Spring Home and Garden, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash.

Flooding also is a concern

Hughes Greenhouse

The Chronicle OKANOGAN — Okanogan County residents saw the effects of heavy rainfall on a fire-scarred landscape last August when flooding and slides occurred in the Carlton Complex fire area. The Okanogan Conservation District warns that flood and slide dangers will continue for some time in the Carlton fire area. Potential problems can include significant increase in sediment delivery to stream channels, surface and gully erosion on slopes and possible debris flows, loss of vegetation and forest cover, and increased danger of weed and insect invasions. Some tips: • Check for and remove debris in and near draws and/or in and near culverts. • Secure or anchor outdoor items such as lawn furniture, barbecues, propane tanks, pool covers and sonon. • Re-seed or re-plant.

Fire from 3 address, make your driveway at least 12 feet wide, clear a vertical area of 15 feet and try to keep your drive’s slope to less than 5 percent. • Use fire-rated shingles, such as asphalt, metal, slate, clay tile or concrete. A fire-resistant sub-roof adds protection. • Box in the eaves, but provide adequate ventilation to prevent condensation and mildew. • Use one-eighth inch screen on vents to prevent ember entry. • Make sure decks, porches and fences are fire-resistant. • Use fire-resistant siding, such as brick, fiber-cement, plaster or stucco, and tempered or doublepaned glass windows. • Repair loose or missing shingles or roof tiles to prevent ember penetration. • Repair or replace damaged or loose window screens and broken windows. • Remove items stored underneath decks or porches. • Mow the lawn regularly and dispose of cuttings and debris. • Store firewood away from the house. • Keep your irrigation system maintained. • Consider xeriscaping.

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Al and June Apple

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Dee Camp/The Chronicle

A stream along Three Devils Road shows effects of fire and flooding.

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2015 Spring Home and Garden, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash. — Page 5

Expect Excellence and Get It!

Pam Criswell Broker

Tami Tatom Des. Broker

Northwest Multiple Listing Service 317 Whitcomb Ave. S., • Tonasket • 509-486-0507 • www.okanoganproperties.net

Dee Camp/The Chronicle

A bee extracts nectar from a Wood’s rose, one of the native plants considered fire-resistant.

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Fire-resistant plants can help The Chronicle OMAK – Homeowners can reduce their risk from wildfire by creating a buffer between their buildings and forested or range lands, and also by selecting fireresistant plants for landscaping. Many plants are fire resistant, while others are full of oils and resins and can explode in flame when fire nears and help fuel the blaze. Fire-resistant plants “are those that do not readily ignite from a flame or other ignition sources,” Pacific Northwest Extension said in its “Fire-Resistant Plants for Home Landscapes” publication. “These plants can be damaged or even killed by fire; however, their foliage and stems do not significantly contribute to the fuel and, therefore, the fire’s intensity.” Plants that are fire-resistant – which does not mean fire-proof – have: • Leaves that are moist and supple. • Little dead wood and tend not to accumulate dry, dead material within the plant. • Have water-like sap that does not have a strong odor. • Have low amounts of sap or resin materials. Most deciduous trees and shrubs are fire-resistant, as are annuals and turf, as long as they’re

well-watered. Plants that are not fireresistant generally contain fine, dry or dead materials and volatile waxes, terpenes or oils; have aromatic leaves, gummy, resinous and strong-smelling sap, and may have loose or papery bark.

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Decorative bark mulch, if placed next to or very close to a home, should be kept moist. Fire-resistant ground covers include kinnikinnick, ceanothus, iceplant, wild strawberry, creeping

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Page 6 — 2015 Spring Home and Garden, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash.

Drought conditions mean being ‘water wise’ Holistic approach can conserve water, help provide an attractive landscape By Melinda Myers Special to The Chronicle Too much or not enough water and never when you need it. That seems to be the long-time plight of gardeners. Add to this extended droughts, flooding and watering bans. What is a gardener to do? Become a “water wise” gardener. Water wise is not just about growing drought-tolerant plants or eliminating plantings. It is a holistic approach to managing water to avoid flooding that overwhelms sewer systems, improper watering that wastes water, and poor landscape designs that generate too much work and require too many resources. Make this the season that you incorporate a few water wise habits into your gardening. You’ll find it is good for your garden, the environment and your pocketbook. Start with one or more of these strategies this year. • Select the right plant for the growing conditions. Plants that thrive in normal growing conditions for your area will be healthier, require less care and need less water. Look for droughttolerant plants that require less water once established. • Keep water out of storm sewers and in the garden instead. Prevent flooding while improving

Plants from 5 phlox, Japanese pachysandra, sedum, hens and chicks, creeping thyme and others. Perennials include yarrow, chives, columbine, basket-of-gold, sedges, trumpet vine, coreopsis, delphinium, coneflower, fireweed, iris, hosta, flax, honeysuckle, lupine, evening primrose, salvia, yucca and others. Fire-resistant shrubs include daphne, Oregon grape, salal, rhododendron, serviceberry, dogwood, mock orange, Russian sage, sumac, Wood’s rose, snowberry, lilac and others. Trees on the list include Western larch, ponderosa pine, Western catalpa, flowering dogwood, quaking aspen, chokecherry, mountain ash and others.

your garden. Adding several inches of compost to the top 8-12 inches of soil increases the soil’s ability to absorb and retain water. This means less runoff into storm sewers and less frequent watering. • Use plants to prevent runoff and conserve water. Plant trees, shrubs and ground covers to slow the flow of rainwater, increase the amount of water that stays in your

landscape for your plants and to filter water before it enters the groundwater. Install one or more rain gardens to intercept surface water runoff for use by rain garden plants and to help recharge the groundwater. • Provide plants with a healthy diet. Use a slow-release, nonleaching organic nitrogen fertilizer. You’ll encourage slow,

steady growth, so your plants will require less water and be less prone to insect and disease problems. Plus, the slow-release nitrogen encourages healthy growth and does not prevent flowering and fruiting. • Water wisely. Water plants thoroughly and only when needed. Water the soil, not the plant, using a watering wand, drip irrigation or a soaker hose so less water is lost to evaporation. Water early in the morning whenever possible to reduce water loss during the heat of the day and diseases caused by wet foliage at night. • Manage your lawns to reduce

water use. Select drought-tolerant grass varieties to reduce watering needs. Prepare the soil before seeding or sodding, or aerate and spread a thin layer of compost over existing lawns to increase water absorption and reduce runoff. Mow high to encourage deep roots that are more drought tolerant and pest resistant. Allow lawns to go dormant during hot, dry weather. If irrigating, water thoroughly when needed — that’s when your footprints remain in the lawn. • Conserve water and reduce time and money spent on plant

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Water 7

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Collecting rain in rain barrels when it is plentiful and storing it until it is needed is an effective way to manage water for the landscape.

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2015 Spring Home and Garden, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash. — Page 7

Water from 6

Food for All helps residents with gardens

care. Mulch the soil around trees, shrubs and other plants with several inches of woodchips, shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other organic material. Mulching reduces watering frequency, prevents soil compaction from heavy rainfall thus increasing water absorption. It also adds organic matter to the soil as it decomposes. • Repair leaking faucets, fittings and garden hoses. A slow leak of one drip per second can waste up to nine gallons of water per day. • Look for and use wasted water. Collect the “warming water” typically wasted when preparing baths and showers. Use a five-gallon bucket to collect this fresh water and use it for your containers and gardens. Collect water from your dehumidifier and window air conditioners for use on flowering plants. Do not use this water if environmentally harmful solvents have been used to clean this equipment. • Check with your local municipality or supplier if you are considering using gray water. Once you wash clothes, dishes or yourself, water is classed as gray water; some municipalities have guidelines or

Folks can learn about small-space gardening, help grow produce for bank The Chronicle OKANOGAN – Folks who like to garden or who want to learn about raising their own food can participate in the Food for All program. Components of the Okanogan County Community Action program include a Food for All garden that raises vegetables for distribution through the agency’s food bank. Last year, 343 pounds of produce from the garden went to the Okanogan Food Bank. Volunteers help tend the garden, which is planted in 12 apple bins next to the agency’s office at 424 S. Second Ave. A second component is the Square Foot garden project. Low-income families can establish gardens at their homes, with help from Community Action’s staff. “Together, we build a four- by eight-foot raised bed, fill it with a mixture of peat moss, compost and vermiculite, and plant seeds and starts,” the agency said. Garden mentors join with participating families “and the result is thriving Square Foot gardens, increased access to fresh, nutritious produce, and new gardeners,” Community Action said. Community members can help the program by volunteering as a Food for All gardener or Square Foot mentor, sponsoring a Square Foot garden, planting a “giving garden” on their own property or donating funds. A yearly soup bowl dinner, with bowls made by Okanogan High School art students, is planned each year to raise money. With a giving garden, people can plant a little extra and donate the produce to the agency for its food bank. Community Action also is available for gleaning – collecting produce that’s left over or not up to commercial standards – from fields and orchards.

Community Action

Plants grow in a Square Foot garden grid.

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Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author and columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written more than 20 gardening books. She has a master’s degree in horticulture.

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regulations related to its use. • Harvest rainwater. The ancient technique of capturing rainwater in jugs, barrels and cisterns has made a comeback. Collecting rain when it is plentiful and storing it until it is needed is one way to manage

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Page 8 — 2015 Spring Home and Garden, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash.

Need gardening help? Washington State University Extension offers a variety of publications, and its Master Gardeners can answer a variety of questions.

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Perennials offer yearly splendor The Chronicle TONASKET – Perhaps there’s nothing more splendorous than the return of favorite plants year after year. Unlike annuals, which last just one season, perennials typically bloom only once per season, but will come back yearly. Perennials typically grow and expand in size, and offer gardeners a vast selection of shapes, sizes and heights. Audrey Holmes, who is a member of the Tonasket Garden Club, said the key to growing such beautiful and lush plants is simply knowing your surroundings. Holmes, 92, said soil type, climate and amount of sunlight can be vital in the success of perennials. “Many gardeners (who recently moved) like to wait a full year to see sun and shade to fit particular flowers, and kind of explore where they’re best suited,” she said. If a person has sandy soil, Holmes recommends a form of peat moss to contain moisture better. “Some people use peat moss,” she said. “It all depending on your soil.” When it comes to fertilizing gardens and flowerbeds, online sources say perennials typically benefit from a single fertilizer application in early spring, before spring growth. It is recommended that

Dee Camp/The Chronicle

Lilies are another perennial choice. gardeners use no more than one pound of nitrogen-based fertilizer per 1,000 square feet, but only if

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Tulips provide a burst of color in early spring. The perennials also attract bees.

no compost has been added, online sources said. Holmes, however, has a different method of fertilization. “If the cows get in my yard, I’ll gather up everything in my wheelbarrow,” she said. Holmes and about 20 others make up the Tonasket Garden Club. The group takes field trips to area gardens and maintains flowerbeds in area parks. It plans to sell baked goods, plants and knickknacks during Tonasket Founders Day at the end of the month, and will join the Twisp Garden Club for a district meeting June 10.

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Page 10 — 2015 Spring Home and Garden, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash.

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Bathroom remodeling is popular Some projects lend themselves to do-it-yourself work The Chronicle OMAK – Home do-ityourselfers are quickly making the bathroom one of the most popular rooms to renovate, redecorate and remodel. In recent years, people have been eager to shed the 1970sthemed floral wallpaper, vinyl flooring and carpeted toilet seat covers, and much focus has been placed on making the bathroom a luxurious retreat. According to home advisor.com, the average home renovator in 2014 invested a national average of about $9,000 to redo a bathroom, with most homeowners spending between $5,000 and $13,000. “Bathroom remodels provide some of the highest resale returns as a home improvement project,” the site said. “However it is not by any means cheap, and it can take a long time to complete.” For those on a budget, or just looking for a temporary quick fix, the site said less expensive means are available, too. Changing flooring, applying new wallpaper or paint and updating fixtures can save homeowners some big bucks while still providing an elegant — and affordable — feel. Other projects can range from replacing or refinishing a bathtub to putting in new shower doors, replacing the vanity and installing new tile. Some projects lend themselves to do-it-yourself work.

Bathroom remodels provide some of the highest resale returns ...

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2015 Spring Home and Garden, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash. — Page 11

Homemade window cleaner is easy to make, safer for environment OMAK – Windows will get dirty. And many store-bought cleaning solutions contain harsh chemicals that can be dangerous for your health and the environment. Here is a recipe for making a cost-effective window washing

solution. ¼ cup white vinegar ¼ cup isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol 1 tablespoon cornstarch (for reducing streaking) 2 cups water Optional: 8-10 drops essential

oil for fragrance. Combine everything in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray onto glass surface and wipe clean with old newspapers. Shake well before each use to reduce the risk of the cornstarch settling to the bottom. —The Chronicle

Brock Hires/The Chronicle

Spring inspires many folks to haul out the cleaning spray.

Time for spring cleaning The Chronicle OMAK – Cleaning in and around your home can be both fun and hard work at the same time. A few spring-cleaning tips can help to make the job easier and save you time in the long run. • Clean your windows, but not on a sunny day. Washing windows on sunny days can cause the window to dry too quickly, resulting in unwanted streaks. Overcast days are known to produce the best results for a sparkling clean shine. Wipe horizontally on one side of the pane and vertically on the other. That way, if there are streaks, you’ll know which side to wipe again. • Have patience when using cleaning compounds. Removing dirt, grease and scum from floors, walls and showers is hard enough work. Give your cleaning compounds time to work before breaking in the elbow grease. • Re-caulk in and around your home. Find and seal any and all leaks in your home. Always

remove the old caulking with a knife or razor blade. Typical areas to apply caulk include windows, doors, around sinks, bathtubs, showers and also attics, crawl spaces and basements for potential leaks. • Reduce odors by placing an open box of baking soda in your refrigerator. • Vacuum behind and around your appliances. Vacuuming your cloth dryer’s exhaust duct at least once a year can reduce the risk of fire. It is also recommended homeowners pull out their refrigerators and freezers and vacuum behind them at least once a year. • Replace the batteries in smoke detectors. Officials say even hard-wired detectors have backup batteries that should be replaced annually. • Inspect the chimney. Spring and fall are great times to clean and inspect your chimney, whether it be a wood stove or pellet stove. Make sure there are no leaks in or around the chimney or pipe.

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Okanogan Legion Park Open May 2 — Oct. 31 • Saturdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m. • Fresh Bucks for EBT Recepients at Omak and Okanogan Markets • Plants • Fruit • Vegetables • Baked Goods • Crafts

Omak Market • Omak Civic League Park Tuesdays 3:30 — 6:30 p.m. Beginning June 16

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Page 12 — 2015 Spring Home and Garden, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash.

Spring and summer mean barbecue season Different fuel sources offer varied outdoor grilling options The Chronicle OMAK – As the summer rolls around, an increasing number of residents from Okanogan and Ferry counties will be honing their cooking skills on back porches and patios. For many, spring and summer would not be complete without back yard barbecues. For those who have never tried their hands at the art of grilling, there a few things to consider when purchasing a barbecue or smoker. Many different styles and types of grills are available on the market in various prices and sizes. Propane, charcoal and electric barbecues are available at most home centers, hardware stores and outdoor retailers. While some grills are large and feature extra amenities such as a warming rack, multiple heating zones and side burners, smaller, compact units also are available for on-the-go picnics and camping trips. A few things consumers should consider before purchasing a new unit is how often they will use the barbecue, what capacity is needed and the type of food being prepared. Large grills typically offer a large cooking surface that is ideal

Remember safety when grilling The Chronicle OMAK – Whether you’re a seasoned veteran at the grill or a beginner, it’s important to keep a few key safety tips in mind. • Fire – Cooks should always have an extinguisher nearby in the case of an unforeseen event. The state Fire Marshal’s Office reports numerous barbecue related injuries each year. • Location – Nationally, every year hundreds of structures are

lost because of barbecues being placed too close to homes and outbuildings. • Food safety – Bacteria can grow on foods at any temperature above freezing until it hits about 165 degrees. • Read instructions – Read all instruction and familiarize yourself with the barbecue. Also, read all instructions and food safety tips on properly handling and preparing all foods, especially meats.

for entertaining a crowd, whereas smaller,portable units offer the capacity to cook a simple meal for a couple or small family. Meats such as steak and seafood typically require a larger cooking surface. Here is a brief comparison of different types of grills: • Propane – They are easy to ignite, control temperate well and clean up typically is easy. But, the gas adds little to no flavor to the food. • Charcoal – Burns hot, great for searing, may add additional flavor to food. However, coals burn quickly, and the units cost more to operate than propane and usually take longer to heat up. • Briquettes – Similar to charcoal, but are manufactured

from coal with additives to keep burning at a consistent heat and longer period of time. They usually produce an odor that can affect the taste of foods. • Infrared – Unlike flamepowered grills, infrared utilizes digital technology to prepare foods. The unit generally heats up quickly and hotter than traditional barbecues. • Electric –In some situations such as apartment rules, local ordinances and fire conditions electric grills can be a good choice. Some electric grills can be used indoors in the event of bad weather. However, electric units generally take longer to heat up, cooking may take additional time and authentic grilled flavor is minimized.

Dee Camp/The Chronicle

A sizzling burger, hot off the grill, is a staple of the summer barbecue season.

SHOP DOWNTOWN! Live locally. • Shop locally. Play locally. #' ! !

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Spring 2015 Home & Garden  
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