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Supplement to The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle April 13, 2011

Page 2 — 2011 Step Into Spring, The Omak Chronicle, Omak, Wash.

Keeping good critters in, bad critters out Some creatures will help the garden while others will destroy it By Brenda Starkey The Chronicle REPUBLIC – Garden pests eat, trample and otherwise kill garden and ornamental plants. So, getting rid of them is a topic of interest to most who work in the yard or garden. Public enemy No. 1 is the deer, according to Master Gardener Ann Miller. Republic gardeners have town deer that are used to people and fear very little – a special annoyance, she said. Basically, anything that moves quickly or makes loud sounds will deter deer, Miller said. But those deterrents have to be changed regularly because deer get used to them and lose their fear. An 8-foot-high fence can also keep deer out, and gravel around the bottom of a fence is also helpful even with a shorter fence, she said. The deer don’t like unstable ground, and gravel tends to slide and move around. There are plants that deer don’t particularly like, but if they are really hungry, they tend to eat whatever is available. There is also commercial deer repellant, she said. And silver ribbons blowing in the breeze tend to scare them off. Rabbits are the second pests on Miller’s list. Hardware cloth will deter rabbits, she said. Trapping them is legal, but releasing them may not be. Slugs get the No. 3 spot on her list. But they don’t seem to be a big problem in the area, Miller said. Slugs don’t like copper, so if there are slugs, copper objects will Step into Spring © 2011 The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle Owned and operated by Eagle Newspapers Inc. Roger Harnack, editor and publisher Dee E. Camp, managing editor Lynn Hoover, advertising manager P.O. Box 553, Omak, WA 98841 618 Okoma Drive, Omak, Wash. 98841 509-826-1110 voice 800-572-3446 toll free 509-826-5819 fax Cover photo by Norm Williams

keep them away from a specific area. Snakes are also good, and can help turn the soil. Next is the aphid, which will destroy plants. Slow release nitrogen fertilizer can deter them, or they can be eliminated with a strong stream of water, she said. Pruning affected leaves or branches is another solution, but pruned branches should be burned to keep from allowing the aphids to move from one part of the garden to another. Ladybugs are the natural enemy of aphids. These beneficial insects can be purchased, but the trick is to keep them from flying away, according to information from Okanogan County Master Gardener Debbie Morris. If ladybugs were collected in their feeding stage, they will stay around if there is enough to eat and drink. One adult ladybug will eat more than 1,000 aphids, she said. The ladybugs should be released in the evening after watering the area with a sprinkler. Foods like simulated honeydew mixtures keep them from moving on. The fifth pest is the caterpillar, the original eating machine, Miller said. But not all caterpillars are bad. It is important to be able to distinguish the good ones that will turn into butterflies, Miller said. The bad ones can be hand-picked and used for fishing bait. Next up is the mole, which can destroy the ground underneath plants. Moles also eat plants. Traps are the most reliable way of rounding up moles. Someone

Top Seven Bad Critters: 1. Deer 2. Rabbits 3. Slugs 4. Aphids 5. Caterpillars 6. Moles 7. Woodchucks/ marmots with a mole problem can find a hill or weak spots in the ground then locate tunnels in that area, Miller said. The traps should be placed in the tunnels. The ground chuck, marmot or woodchuck is another problem specie. Chicken wire can deter these critters, which seem to appear in late April or early May. Commercial products are also available at garden stores. Other pests are: • The Japanese beetle – it will eat all plants, but an infestation is very short term, Miller said. Hand picking them is the best way to get rid of them. • The beetle bunch – insects including squash bugs, cucumber beetles and other hungry beetles are another group. Miller recommends removing them by hand. Use soapy water to rid the garden of beetles.

Submitted photo

A ladybug (good critter) snacks on aphids (bad critters). • Squirrels – they usually seek food containing liquids to quench their thirst. A nearby water source may help prevent squirrels from becoming a problem. But if they do become pests, try marigolds, red pepper and mothballs, Miller said. Cats are also a squirrel’s natural enemy. • Guinea hens are a good animal to keep around, if you live in an area where they are permitted. Miller recommends a flock of three — they love stink bugs and also act as guard birds. Gardeners who want to attract good critters to their property can

try ladybug houses, bee houses, bat houses, butterfly houses and bee skeps. A moist area will also attract frogs and salamanders, which devour insects, she said. Certain plants also act as attractants to bees and butterflies. The most attractive plantings include brightly colored flowers and sweetly scented herbs. Morris recommends gardening publications available at the local extension office or online at and information online at

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2011 Step Into Spring, The Omak Chronicle, Omak, Wash. — Page 3

Shaping up for summer takes hard work No surprises here: Weight loss requires exercise, healthy diet Cheryl Schweizer The Chronicle OMAK – Call it fluff. Call it chub. Call it love handles. Call it whatever you want– it’s there, and summer is coming. It can’t be hidden behind the winter coat anymore. The time has come to start getting rid of it. So… Um, what’s the plan? If the plan is to lose 50 pounds by June 1, it’s too late. Short of a fad diet, it’s difficult to lose a lot of weight in six weeks. But “you can notice a difference in six weeks,” Melody Williams said. Williams is a trainer at Evolution Fitness in Tonasket. A healthy, realistic weight-loss goal is 1.5 to two pounds per week, she said. Lydia Hamilton, manager at North Cascades Athletic Center in Omak, explained it in mathematical terms – each pound represents 3,000 calories. If a person starts with a 2,000calories-per-day diet and eliminates or exercises away 500 calories, they can lose up to two pounds per week. Sounds easy enough, right? “Take in less and do more,” Hamilton said. Well, for a lot of people, it’s easier to put it off until tomorrow. “There isn’t an easy answer, and the older we get, the harder it is. But the older we get, the more important it becomes,” said Rob Dezellem, the manager of Healthbeat Fitness Center in Brewster. Weight loss requires discipline, both in pursuing an exercise program and changing diet, Dezellem said. It starts with commitment. “Ideally you want to be working out three days per week,” Hamilton said. Exercise doesn’t have to mean regular visits to the gym. “The simple thing to do is start walking,” Hamilton said. It’s simple, but it still has to be work.” “The secret is working hard enough,” Williams said. “Hard enough” will be different for different people. Williams said trainers use a 1-10 scale to determine the intensity of physical activity. People who want to improve their cardiovascular function should be in 6-9 range, she said.

“ Ideally, you want to be working out three days per week. Lydia Hamilton

” (That’s working hard, but not so hard it’s difficult to breathe.) “Your nine is going to be different from my nine, but it’s still a nine,” Williams said. Any exercise helps, even if it’s only parking at the back of the parking lot. “Make it a point to walk. Make it a point to move,” Dezellem said. But even the hardest work doesn’t help that much without a proper diet. In fact, Dezellem estimated, “80 percent (of weight loss) is the way we eat.” “Lean proteins, lots of vegetables and fruit, whole grains,” Hamilton said. “You can’t really go wrong with vegetables,” Williams said, adding people should realize the body also needs protein, found in lean meats, dairy products and whole grain breads. If a person is eating enough protein, it aids in burning fat, she said.

Williams said people should pay attention to how much they eat. “Portion is a big, big thing for Americans,” she said, suggesting dividing the plate into four quarters, with one half being vegetables, one quarter carbohydrates (potatoes, pasta, corn) and the other quarter protein. Sticking with the routine can be the hard part, but when it comes to exercise “people stay longer if they work out in groups,” Hamilton said. There’s also the option of a trainer. People who employ a trainer should ask for references and certification, although certification is not a panacea, Williams said. When a person is talking to potential candidates, “you start with asking questions,” she said. Trainers are trained for different kinds of fitness customers – athletes, seniors, injury rehabilitation and weight loss, among others. The trainer’s training should fit the customer’s needs and the trainer should be able to design a program that works for the customer. Dezellem said whatever exercise a person chooses, it should be something they like to do. Experience is a good indicator; “nothing like that experience,” Williams said. “Kind of like driving (instruction).” Williams said there is a simple way to tell when it’s all working: “Muscle doesn’t jiggle.”

Cheryl Schweizer/The Chronicle

Manager Lydia Hamilton, Omak, and club members Karen Gilreath, Fish Lake, and Julie Martin, Okanogan, work the machines at North Cascades Athletic Club, Omak.

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Page 4 — 2011 Step Into Spring, The Omak Chronicle, Omak, Wash.

Build green zone to protect homes from fire Good practices credited for keeping Fish Hatchery fire from spreading fast By Brenda Starkey The Chronicle REPUBLIC – Homes with fire retardant roofing and defensible space are much more likely to survive a wildfire. Defensible space is a green zone or large buffer of irrigated vegetation surrounding a house that helps protect the structure from a wildfire. The recommended defensible space ranges between 30 and 200 feet away from outer walls, depending on the slope of the land and vegetation type, according to the Ferry County Extension office. Low tree branches should be trimmed, dead vegetation should be removed and continuous dense cover plants and shrubs should be broken up. Another tactic is to use fire retardant plants in the landscape. The Fish Hatchery Road fire, which charred 667 acres northeast of Republic, was also a test of a fuels reduction program. A Western States Fire Managers program provided a 5050 cost share grant to reduce fuels in 400 acres of land. Forest landowners provided labor as their part of cost sharing, according to spokeswoman Sarah Foster of the Type 2 incident management team for the fire. Republic Fire Chief Tom Lindsey, whose firefighters defended structures in the fire area during the initial response, said his men told him homes with defensible space were much easier to protect from fast-moving, windfanned flames. Although the flames ripped through a populated area, threatening nearly 80 homes, only one out-building was destroyed. The fire was easier to fight in areas where there had been fuels reduction, Department of Natural Resources Highlands District Fire Manager John Foster said at the time. Firefighters can stand and fight a fire that stays on the ground, as it did in the fuels reduction area. When trees are torching – burning to the top and fire is jumping from tree to tree – as they did in untreated areas, that all changes, he said. Fire is more apt to spread when trees are torching, especially in windy conditions because bits of the burning branches can be

carried into a new area and start another fire, he said. Emily Burt, Ferry County Extension forester, who worked with the Forest Service and DNR to promote and educate the public about the program, said she watched the fire from a hill and could tell which areas had fuels reduction. “It was really interesting for me to sit there and watch it (fire reduction treatment) work,” she said. In a recent study of the 175,000-acre 2006 Tripod Fire, U.S. Forest Service and University of Washington scientists found fuel treatments also helped protect older trees desirable for timber. Comparisons in the study found the Tripod Complex Fire killed more than 80 percent of trees in stands without treatment, while in stands with thinning and fuel treatment 75 percent of trees with diameters larger than 8 inches survived. Defensible space information is available from the Okanogan County Conservation District at 509-422-0855 Ext. 127 or from the Ferry County Extension Office at 509-775-5225 Ext. 116. More information is also available online at

Brenda Starkey/The Chronicle

Firefighters check fire lines during the Fish Hatchery Road fire last August.

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2011 Step Into Spring, The Omak Chronicle, Omak, Wash. — Page 5

Area offers wildlife photographic variety By Sheila Corson The Chronicle THE GREAT OUTDOORS – Local wildlife photographers have a lot of tips and suggested hot spots for catching that great shot of area fauna. Photographer Tom Reichner fell in love with wildlife and scenic shots when he first visited Omak from his home state of Pennsylvania in 2006. On the way, he and a friend visited Yellowstone and other parks, taking photographs. Reichner said his two-week visit in the Okanogan Valley turned into a three-month visit because he couldn’t get enough of the area’s scenery and photographic offerings. “By the time I moved, I was totally obsessed with photographing wildlife,” he said. That obsession turned into a pursuit of publication. “I realized that the only way I could justify spending so much time at it would be if I could earn some money doing it,” he said. In the last couple years, Reichner has published well over 100 photos. One of his favorite publications is Ducks Unlimited – he has a few shots in the 2011 calendar. His portfolio also includes Deer & Deer Hunting magazine, and a Christian children’s publication, Nature Friend. Some photos have been from out of the area, but many come from the Okanogan Valley. His top spots vary depending on the species he’s looking for. Looking for waterfowl? Try the confluence of the Methow and Columbia rivers. Bighorn sheep? Head for Loomis. Moose? Search around Armstrong Meadows outside Nespelem, he suggests. This region is well-known to the Audubon Society because of its variety of birds, which photographer Heather Findlay is also familiar with. Findlay has been in the Okanogan area since 1996 and a birding enthusiast for 10 years. With others of like minds, Findlay often travels to find the best spots for the best shots. Varying from season to season, Findlay said there are more than 270 bird species to be seen in Okanogan Country. Dedicated birders maintain the official list of birds seen each year in the area. Some favorite local areas are: Cassimer Bar, where the Okanogan and Columbia rivers meet. It’s a great place for ducks, loons, geese, herons, pelicans and

“ Usually, I am unable to do anything to get the animal to pose correctly, but not for lack of trying. Tom Reichner

” other waterfowl. Cameron Lake Road offers a variety of raptors, owls, sparrows, grouse and more. The Chelan Ridge south of Pateros is a hawk migration observation area. “The Okanogan area is very popular with visiting birders, and many people travel here especially to see particular birds,” Findlay said. Findlay said all one needs for birding is binoculars, a bird identification book and the proper supplies one might normally take for any excursion. Any camera will do. Reichner said he sometimes spends a whole day in the field, so he packs plenty of food and water, as well as thermoses of coffee. Because his strategy often involves hiding in one spot for hours at a time, Reichner includes supplies for creating a blind, such as zip ties and camouflage. He especially wears camouflage to hide from other people, not

animals. He has had shots ruined when other tourists see him taking photos, rush out to snap the animal, too, and scare it away. To take care of a camera, Reichner suggests bringing a microfiber cloth for cleaning, a mini screwdriver and spare batteries. An extra memory card or two is also a plus. Maybe more than anything, the wildlife photographer needs patience. Reichner said he often waits for hours before the right animal in the right setting comes along. “Usually, I am unable to do anything to get the animal to pose correctly, but not for lack of trying,” he said. Findlay said she also makes sure to follow the birding code of ethics: Respect nature and do not harm wildlife.

Heather Findlay

While out birdwatching, the photographer snapped an osprey in flight, above, and a black-capped chickadee, among other animals.

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Page 6 — 2011 Step Into Spring, The Omak Chronicle, Omak, Wash.


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Shoppers search for goodies at the Okanogan Farmers’ Market last October.

Find it fresh at area farmers’ markets By Sheila Corson The Chronicle Okanogan and Ferry counties have multiple farmers’ markets for residents and visitors to enjoy. Bridgeport Sometime in late June, the Bridgeport market will begin its 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday run in Fireman’s Park, at the intersection of 10th and Columbia streets. Market manager Verla Groeneveld said she is waiting to see how the spring goes and will start when produce is ready. She is also looking for more vendors, especially crafters and hot food sellers. Groeneveld is inviting local musicians with original music to come, play and sell CDs. Interested vendors can call Groeneveld at 509686-3875. Okanogan The Okanogan market kicks off May 7 and runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through October. Until produce comes in-season, most of the market fare will be hot foods, crafts and “lots of plants to get your garden going,� new market manager Julia Cousins said. The market is in Legion Park, next to the American Legion Hall, 860 N. Second Ave. Last year, it had a peak of about 35 vendors, organizer Rick DeLap said. Omak Omak’s market opens June 21, and runs from 3-7 p.m. every Tuesday through October at the Civic League Park at the corner of Ash and Central. Cousins is also the new market manager for Omak and can take calls for both markets at 509-826-0457. DeLap said the Omak market has about 15 vendors with a wide range of fruits, canned goods, coffee and some prepared food. A general meeting for the Omak and Okanogan markets will be held at 6 p.m. April 26 at the Okanogan Public Utility District auditorium, 1331 N. Second Ave. DeLap said potential vendors and anyone interested in the market is welcome to attend. Oroville May 7 will kick off the Oroville market, which will operate from 9 a.m. to noon every Saturday through October on library grounds, 1276 Main St. The market is organized by the Library Board, with members taking turns acting as on-site market manager, spokeswoman Barbara Pollard said.

Various handmade or homegrown items will be available. Pollard said last year was the largest ever both for vendors and crowds. “It was a very vibrant and active market,� she said. Tonasket Beginning May 19, Tonasket’s market will be from 3-7 p.m. Thursdays through Oct. 20 at Triangle Park, where Western Avenue and U.S. Highway 97 meet. The Tonasket market is forming its own nonprofit, coming out from under the umbrella of the Community Cultural Center this year, steering committee member Steven Sweeney said. The market also has a new Web site, The market is the same, otherwise, except for expanding its space to accommodate more vendors, Sweeney said. Last year, a peak day saw 79 vendors. Market master is Matt Wells, who can sign up new vendors at 509-486-8803. Twisp The Twisp season began April 9 and will close Oct. 29, running from 9 a.m. to noon every Saturday in between. An increased interest led to new vendors last year, bringing the average to 60, with a peak week of 77, organizer Nancy Lince said. Because of the growth, the market board contracted with the town of Twisp to use the grassy Commons Park next door to the community center, 201 S. Highway 20, for more space. A new web page is under construction to make information and applications available online for prospective vendors, Lince said. Winthrop Beginning May 29, the Winthrop Market will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays near the Winthrop Barn off state Highway 20. The market is hosted by the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce and will enter its third season this year, organizer Joanne Uehara said. The last two seasons have had good participation from vendors, with more craftspeople than farmers, Uehara said. Last year was larger than the first, and organizers hope to draw even more. “We are still in a fledgling stage, but there is enthusiasm for this market,� Uehara said. Crafts range from bath salts to artwork to jewelry and more. Some vendors sell plants and starts. A couple food vendors round out the variety.

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2011 Step Into Spring, The Omak Chronicle, Omak, Wash. — Page 7

Getting gardens growing Cheryl Schweizer The Chronicle

Cheryl Schweizer/The Chronicle

Baby finds a soft place to play while a shopper sorts through piles of clothing at last year’s town-wide yard sale event in Pateros.

Shoppers, sellers give tips By Sheila Corson The Chronicle BARGAINVILLE – Attention yard and garage shoppers! With yard sale season starting up, sale-goers and sale-throwers can have a much better experience if they follow a few tips from seasoned veterans. Bridgeport resident June Price said her tips for goers and throwers overlap – the best yard sales are the most organized. If a sale-thrower wants to attract a serious shopper, a sloppy sign won’t do. If Price drives by a sale, she looks for neat piles and organization – if things are tossed around on the ground or piled on blankets, she doesn’t stop. “I want to see a yard sale that is nicely set up,” she said. She’s also less likely to buy if she has to ask prices for everything, so clearly marked prices are important. And to be fair to all shoppers, sellers never allow early birds, Price said. When advertising in local newspapers, list prominent items and give an idea of what a shopper can expect. “Am I going to go out of my way for a yard sale that says ‘lots of stuff’?” she said. If possible, Price said it’s always a good idea to hold a multifamily yard sale.

It’s worked for many years for Skyview neighborhood residents in Omak. Every year, neighbors hold their block-long yard sale. Organizer Kendra Bartell said nine or 10 of the 16 houses in the cul-de-sac join in every year. Bartell said she sends out a notice in May to get the date set so everyone can participate. Advertising the sale is huge, Bartell said, noting many bargain hunters like the convenience of parking in one place and walking from house to house taking several sales in. For any sale-thrower, Bartell advises being ready when the doors open and the sale starts – sale-goers will be waiting. An “Antiques Roadshow” watcher, June Konz of Republic is always on the look out for that great bargain. As a sale-goer, she makes a plan before heading out, grabbing a newspaper and figuring her route. Konz said she typically plans her way to save on mileage, finding the biggest ones with the items on her list and going from nearest to farthest. And she starts early, wanting to be among the first to shop. “You never know what you might miss,” Konz said. It could be the perfect gift or that treasure no one knows is there.

OMAK – Seed catalogs started arriving in January. And since then, gardeners have been eagerly awaiting that moment when they could get outside and get down and dirty planting, weeding and fertilizing. That day is here. Ferry County Extension agent Don Fagerlie said he always thought it was impossible to grow stone fruits in the Republic area. “One guy, he proved me wrong and got a couple of peaches right in Republic,” he said. It took about five or six years of loving care of those trees, but the guy got peaches, he said. Unfortunately, the trees didn’t last. That’s the problem with raising fruit trees in the high elevations of Ferry County, Fagerlie said. Many varieties are susceptible to winter damage and are frequent targets for gophers and mice. “Usually about the time they start bearing, they die on you,” Fagerlie said. Gardeners who want their own watermelons may be out of luck. “We have a really hard time maturing watermelons around here,” Terry Williams said. Williams, Omak, is a landscape designer and graduate of the WSU-Okanogan County Extension Master Gardener program. In the Brewster-BridgeportPateros area, gardenersknow not to plant until the snow is off Billygoat Mountain. In the OmakOkanogan area, it’s the snow off Omak Mountain. Gardeners don’t dismiss that advice. “There’s definitely a lot of cultural knowledge that I think is really valuable,” Master Gardener Mary Kiesau of Winthrop said. “It’s definitely handy to talk to your neighbors.” “That’s a corn-tomatoespeppers kind of date,” Williams said. Tomatoes, peppers and corn don’t like cold; broccoli and peas are better able to survive chilly spring days. Most seed packages have a chart on the back, estimating the number of days it takes the plant to reach maturity. In Okanogan and Ferry counties, it’s a good idea to pay attention to those charts, and pick the varieties with shorter growing seasons, Kiesau said. Fagerlie said gardeners in Ferry County should add 20 to 30 percent to those estimates in the

higher elevations to compensate for cooler nights. Gardeners can get a head start on Mother Nature by starting plants inside or a greenhouse. Williams said people starting plants indoors need lights – the brighter the better. Insufficient light means wimpy plants more susceptible to cold. The soil should be around 50 degrees to ensure plant survival, Kiesau said. A gardener can check whether or not the soil is ready by picking up a handful and squeezing it, then tapping it, Fagerlie said. If it crumbles, it’s ready to work. If not, wait a few days. Impatient gardeners waste a lot of time trying to work soil that just needs a few more days, he said. “It doesn’t take a whole lot to get there (to 50 degrees)” this time

of year, Kiesau said – a cold frame works, as does a layer of black plastic. This is about the time of year gardeners can start acclimating plants, setting them outside for a few hours in the afternoon and bringing them inside at night. Okanogan County Master Gardeners offer the benefit of their experience to others from 9 a.m. to noon every Tuesday and Thursday from May to October at the WSU-Okanogan County Extension Office, Room 101 in the Okanogan County Courthouse. Plant and insect clinics begin Tuesday, May 3. Master Gardeners also attend farmers’ markets in Okanogan, Oroville and Tonasket during the summer and fall to answer questions and look at problem plants and bugs.

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Page 8 — 2011 Step Into Spring, The Omak Chronicle, Omak, Wash.

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Step Into Spring 2011  

A guide to spring in The Okanogan.