Northern lights glow about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, over Diamond Ridge near Homer, Alaska. At times the aurora spread in a long arc from east to west. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Northern lights glow about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, over Diamond Ridge near Homer, Alaska. At times the aurora spread in a long arc from east to west. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Best Bets

Everyone talks about the Ides of March, but does anyone care about the Ides of September? That would be Saturday, the 15th.

Oh, sure, the Ides of March get all the glamour what with Willy Shakespeare’s Roman play. Stab a glorious leader in the back and it taints a month forever.

Not so with September. Mid-month now means sandhill cranes staging for the big flight south, the last hardy Spit survivors hanging in there for one more cruise ship and grumpy gardeners refusing to plow their plots into compost.

In the spirit of Brother Asaiah, we’re groovin’ on the vibe of this month. Sometimes September can be one big gully washer. Sometimes it can be an early frost, a gully washer and an overnight painting of the Kenai Mountains in termination dust.

Not this month. Oh my. The Betster got two solid weekends of camping in, including a distant corner of the Kenai with spotty cell phone reception. If you think humanity did not evolve to stare at glowing screens, this is a good thing. Top off sunshine with a few nights of grade 5 and 6 northern lights and we’re talking consciousness alteration, the good kind that doesn’t involve illegal hallucinogens.

Really, Ghost of Timothy Leary? You think LSD is better than staring up into a clear night sky as ripples of wild light roar across the heavens? Get high on cosmic particles slamming into the earth’s atmosphere, brothers and sisters.

Also, now would be the time when our toilers in tourism can finally take naps. Fishermen come home. People off in field camp return, a bit smelly and ready for fresh clothes. Moose hunters cruise back, perhaps with meat for the winter, but definitely with some good stories.

Welcome home, Betsteroids. We finally got summer, but fear not, the fun has only just begun, like these Best Bets:

BEST LITWAZEE BET: Throw a Mont-Blanc fountain pen into the crowd at the Burning Basket, and odds are you’ll bonk a member of Homer’s literary community — the litwazee, as the Betster’s friend Jimmo calls it. Welcome two new members tonight at 6 p.m. at the Homer Public Library with a celebration of the release of their new books: Cassondra Windwalker’s “Bury the Lead” and Betty Epps Arnett’s “22 and the Mother of 11.”

BEST BEER AND BREAD BET: Well, Grace Ridge Brewery calls it “Barley & O.A.T.S,” or “Outdoor Adventure Talks.” At 5:30 p.m. tonight at the brewery, our own Homer Farmers Market columnist Kyra Wagner and husband Neil Wagner talk about their exciting eight-day trip from Taylor Bay to Tutka Bay on the newest trail of Kachemak Bay State Park.

BEST THAR SHE BLOWS BET: Join scientists from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Baycrest Overlook for Belugas Count! It’s part of a region-wide event to search for endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales. Biologists will be one hand to help spot and identify marine mammals. Bring binoculars, spotting scopes and sharp eyes.

BEST BIG VOICES BET: Yes, among other talents in this town, we have some world class opera singers Emily Reidel, Eston Jerami Youngblood and Elsa Bishop. Hear them in “Guilty Pleasures Opera” at 5 p.m. Sunday at Bunnell Street Arts Center, part of its September concert series. Admission is a suggested $15-25.

More in Life

In 1964, two years after the Fairs moved to their homestead at the end of Forest Lane, Calvin Fair took this photo from neighbor Dan France’s SuperCub. Note the dearth of large trees in the foreground, where the 1947 Kenai Burn wiped out much of the hillside forest. (Courtesy Fair Family Collection.
One man’s misfortune becomes my family’s good fortune

Without his misfortune, almost everything changes for me.

Snickerdoodle cookies have a distinct cinnamon sugar scrawled shell, photographed on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kalifornsky Kitchen: Memories of snickerdoodles

I asked my grandma if she had her mother’s snickerdoodle recipe.

Russell Wagner graduated from the dental school within the College of Physicians and Surgeons in San Francisco in the spring of 1931. Shortly thereafter, he made his first trip to Seward. (Photo courtesy of college archives)
When the Kenai had just one full-time Dentist, Part 2

Part One discussed how Dr. Russell Wagner, the Kenai Peninsula’s only full-time dentist in 1960.

Christina Whiting poses for a photo on Oct. 5, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Taz Tally)
Homer artist takes pandemic project on road

‘Behind the Mask - Our Stories’ invites people to share experiences

Homemade ice cream steeped with chai spices and churned with local honey is frozen and ready to be enjoyed, on Monday, Oct. 5, 2029, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Churning ice cream at home

Winter is a great time to break out the ice cream machine

This is the 1908 birth certificate of Russell Martin Wagner. (Certificate courtesy of ancestry.com)
When the Kenai had just one full-time dentist, Part 1

Wagner graduated from dental school at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in San Francisco.

Butternut squash soup picnic is enjoyed on the rocky beach at Eklutna Lake, on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020 in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kalifornsky Kitchen: A soup to match the color of the leaves

Getting outside can be a balm to that isolation and grief many of us are experiencing.

File
Minister’s Message: Are we seeing flowers or weeds?

In diffiult times, we need to watch what we watch

A plate of fried fish is photographed in this undated photo. Frying up cod or halibut in a beer batter is a delicious way to enjoy Alaska’s catch. (Courtesy Victoria Petersen)
Kalifornsky Kitchen: A secret ingredient for fried fish

Victoria Petersen serves up beer-battered halibut with a not-so-secret ingredient.

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: So sayeth the almanac 2020

Once again, the summer has rocketed by and we find ourselves on the precipice of the autumn equinox.

Photo from the Anchorage Museum of History and Art 
                                Dr. David Hassan Sleem stands on the front porch of his large Seward home in 1906.
The multitalented D.H. Sleem, Part two

Syrian-born David Hassan Sleem settled in Seward in 1903.