•  By John Nelson

    I wish I had time to go back to Germany, and maybe spend some time in Bavaria. I’ve spent some time there, in and around Munich, which is one of the most charming cities you can visit in Europe. It’s a fairly large town, but real easy to get around in, and there’s a lot to see and do. Of course, plenty of people like to go to Oktoberfest, which is great, boisterous fun, with huge crowds. (This year it goes from Sept. 17 to Oct. 3.)

  •  By Linda Arnold


         With summer in full swing, you’re likely planning some sort of vacation or timeout. Maybe it’s a traditional trip — or a change-of-pace staycation.

         I’m always intrigued by the different ways folks use their leisure time. How ‘bout you? Do you like to be on the go, exploring new places? Or would you rather curl up with a good book in the hammock?

  •  by John Nelson

    “Now, my Lord Hastings and Sir William Stanley,

    Leave off to wonder why I drew you hither

    Into this chiefest thicket of the park.”Shakespeare, Henry VI Part 3 (Act 4, Scene 5)


  •  By Linda Arnold


     “Life as we knew it Thursday doesn’t exist.”

    Major disasters, like those in the past couple of weeks, can definitely jolt us.

    The devastating floods in West Virginia, shooting in Orlando, Fla., or major wildfires in California.

    Loss of lives, homes and businesses.

    Bill Bell of Rainelle, W.Va., summed it all up with the quote above: life before the “storm of the century” — and life after.

  • Summer means it’s almost time for Homestead Farm Camp at Greenlands Farm in Bolivia.

    For three days in July, children in two age brackets can immerse themselves in modern homestead farming, in accordance with the family-owned and operated farm’s goal of connecting farming traditions with the present.

    Camp sessions are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, July 18, through Wednesday, July 20, for children 5 to 8 and Monday, July 25, through Wednesday, July 27, for children 9 to 13.

    Tuition is $195 per child.

  •  By John Nelson

    Corn won't grow at all on Rocky Top,

    Dirt's too rocky by far.

    That's why all the folks on Rocky Top

    Get their corn from a jar.

    — “Rocky Top,” lyrics by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant


  • Get out your dancing duds and let’s go to the hop.

    Brunswick Senior Resources Inc. is having a summer Sock Hop from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 9, at the Brunswick Center at Shallotte, 3620 Express Drive off the U.S. 17 Bypass in Shallotte.

    Locally renowned Mike’s Garage Band is providing dance music for the event to shake, rattle and roll the night away.

    Classic cars and poodle skirts are optional. Hot dogs and hamburgers will also be available. Beer and wine will be available for purchase.

  • Beach music has long been a tradition in the South, and The Entertainers, who perform at 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 1, in Ocean Isle Beach, are proud to have shared in that tradition for more than 30 years.

    The Charlotte-based band, launched in 1980, scored its first regional smash hit with “Living for the Summer” that same  year.

  • It starts with star-spangled concerts and festivities in Southport, then patriotic fever quickly permeates the rest of Brunswick County.

    Fourth of July events celebrating the 240th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence are already under way and continue into the long holiday weekend.

    Here’s a closer look at local events.

    NC 4th of July Festival

    The celebrating at America’s oldest Fourth of July festival in Southport continues this week with a long schedule of activities.

  •  As a veterinarian who has an interest in pet nutrition and, more specifically, pet obesity, the question I’m most often asked by cat lovers is, “What should I feed my cat?” I’d like to focus in this column not on what brand you should feed, but on what type of food is better for cats: dry or canned food?

  •  By Linda Arnold

    “People lie to protect their self image. We live in a culture where lying is quite acceptable.”


    We’ll never know what goes through the minds of mass murderers. As we’re left to pick up the pieces, we can only wonder what motivates such senseless acts.

    On another level, there are the fallen heroes. Lance Armstrong. Tiger Woods. Bernie Madoff. Obviously, there’s a big disconnect between the public personas and the private realities in all these cases.

  •  By John Nelson

    This one is for the fiddler crabs, sandpipers, seagulls, snails and everybody and everything else that lives in or otherwise enjoys our beautiful coastal estuaries. It’s a plant of open salt flats or meadows landward of the beach, places that tend to be frequently flooded by salt water during high tide, and then drained away when the tide goes out. These sorts of places are fascinating biologically, and there are plenty of natural history stories here to be investigated.

  •  Honey has been used as a healing agent for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians highlighted honey as one of the “Three Healing Gestures” of cleaning the wound, applying a salve made of honey, vegetable fiber and animal fat, and bandaging the wound. Ancient Greeks extolled the importance of honey as both a topical treatment and as an edible elixir.

    So why isn’t honey used more today? Interestingly, medicinal honey is undergoing a bit of a renaissance because of some unfortunate developments.

  • Now that it’s officially summertime, it’s time to celebrate with summertime activities.

    Would you like to cool off while absorbing knowledge? Visit one of the local libraries, which have launched individual summer events and schedules.

    Coastal Stadium 10 at 5200 Bridger Road in Shallotte is another cool summertime indoor venue at this time of the year with its free Summer Kids Series

    If appreciating nature in the great outdoors is more your thing, consider taking one of the weekly summertime walks to Bird Island.

  • The third week of September 1978 marked the start of an era, the launch of The Fantastic Shakers, now renowned and touted as the “South’s Finest Show Band.”

    Since the beginning, the Lincolnton-based band, which graces Calabash’s summer concert series stage starting at 6:30 p.m. next Tuesday, June 28, has performed more than 6,000 engagements from New York to Florida.

  •  By Linda Arnold

         I just returned from an amazing retreat at the Omega Institute in upstate New York that really helped to recharge my batteries.

         It was definitely food for the soul.  I attended workshops with experts in the mind/body/spirit arena, spent time in nature, practiced yoga and meditation and treated myself to some soothing massages. Just what the doctor ordered!


    Doing the work   

  •  By John Nelson

    It has gotten really hot this week … suddenly. Fortunately, yesterday afternoon we had a tremendous thunderstorm that dropped plenty of water on the garden, filled up my rain barrel and cooled everything off considerably. Wonderful! But it’s not even summer yet, technically. I guess we have some cooling thunderstorms to look forward to.

  •  Every year during late spring and early summer, I get the same question from many pet parents: “Can my dog or cat get sick from ‘kissing bugs?’” The short answer is, “It’s extremely rare, but, yes, and you can get it, too.” The longer answer is, “Yes, but it’s really rare and incredibly complicated. There’s a little more to Chagas disease we need to discuss.” Let’s discuss kissing bugs, Chagas disease, and the potential threat they pose to dogs, cats and people.

  •  By Linda Arnold

    As I’ve been reflecting on this Father’s Day, I see lots of cases of happy family connections. I also see examples of strained relationships — and situations of raw emotions stemming from lost family members.

    Fathers and sons