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Articles by Sandra Olivetti Martin

Read this week’s paper with caution; it could lead you astray

Summer did its job on me.    
    It gave me plenty of time outdoors, much of it on the water, by the water and in the water, which is my favorite form of renewal.
    Lots of summer I spent boating on the Chesapeake, bathing in the ocean at Chincoteague, paddling on the Missouri River beneath the White Cliffs described by Meriwether Lewis as worn by water trickling down “into a thousand grotesque figures” so that “we see the remains or ruins of elegant buildings; some columns standing and almost entire with their pedestals and capitals.” But not so much as to eliminate precious reading hours friend Farley calls “news and snooze.” When it was just too darned hot, I news-ed and snoozed inside.
    Vacation helped too, with the wild and rugged terrain of Montana, where rivers always seem to run through it, giving me new perspective.
    So I tied up the season buzzing with ideas. Husband Bill Lambrecht and I came up with so many new projects that I had to use all 10 fingers to count them. I’ve gone so far as to put them in an accounting book, enumerating their step-by-step realization.
    On the domestic front, there’s not a curtain safe from me, and when I’ve changed them (and washed the windows underneath), I start moving pictures and furniture. Though I had to stop that this weekend to can a couple dozen pints of tomatoes while Bill was slicing jalapenos, poblanos and banana chiles for this year’s pickled peppers.
    Effectiveness is a great thing. But I may be courting too much of it, Bill suggested, when I turned down an invitation to a boating party in favor of cleaning the kitchen.
    This week’s paper is the antidote.
    Whether you’re mourning your summer or energized out of all proportion by it, this year’s Fall Fun Guide, 50 Ways to Leave Your Summer, will set you right.
    To bring it to you, calendar editor Kathy Knotts has skimmed the cream from her bulging inbox. From September 22’s autumnal equinox to Thanksgiving, she’s collected 50 ways for you to use this season as playfully as (I hope) you used Bay Weekly’s Summer Fun Guide over summer’s 101 days. You’ll find fun in festivals, field, farm and water.
    Through October you can time-travel at the Renaissance Festival … hob-nob with dream boats … run like the wind … celebrate Oktoberfest … wander through labyrinths of corn … seek the great pumpkin … share in the local harvest, including beer, wine and oysters … dress up your self, your kids and your dog for Halloween … enjoy ghostly company … trick or treat … walk on the wild and the dark side … explore local history and trace your family to kings and knaves. Into November, you can prepare for Thanksgiving by running for fun and fitness and for Christmas by building in gingerbread.
    We know so many ways to leave your summer that you’ll have to pace yourself — for one, lest your good intentions of high achievement go by the wayside. And for two, because come November 17, we’ll be guiding you into the great holiday celebrations with Seasons Bounty.
    So proceed carefully into 50 Ways to Leave Your Summer. You don’t want to have too much fun.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

Preserve their legacies and honor their memories

This time of year, you’d rather think of anything but September 11, 2001.
    Back-to-school rhythms combine with lowering humidity to renew our energy. The sky — typically true-blue this time of year — seems our only limit. I’m full of plans for working smarter than ever before. The outdoors welcomes us again, as first-time Bay Weekly contributor Laura Dunaj reminds us in this week’s feature introducing beginners to backpacking, backed up by Chesapeake Curiosity columnist Christina Gardner’s inquiry into the Appalachian Trail.
    But September 11, 2001, happened, and its long shadow falls on us, especially at this time of year.
    Outrage at the terrorist audacity never goes away. Mourning never ends for all the lives lost on that day.
    Neither, I think, should ever end celebration of the unique vitality of each of those lost lives. What can you do to combat that unconquerable terrorist, death? Living well and regarding each life are the only ways I know. So I’m going to leave talk about fun and fulfillment to other weeks. Next week, for example, when our Fall Fun Guide brings you 50 Ways to Leave Your Summer.
    This week, I’m going to name people of Chesapeake Country so recently targeted by death that they’re being no longer among us is still unbelievable. This list is of course incomplete, as it is my list. There are many others — husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, neighbors — whose legends live in your telling. In obituaries and your recollections, many who I barely knew have touched me these September days. I hope you’ll add the names and fame of people who’ve touched you. Send it to me if you like, for publication in Your Say.
    I’m remembering:
    Mary Brinton, of Millersville, mother of two generations of artists, including Jean Brinton-Jaecks, who has taught so many of us in Chesapeake Country; artist in her own right, creating flocks of painted birds with carver husband Earl.
    Randall ‘Randy’ Brown, of Severna Park, whose abhorrence for waste led to a career in recycling, culminating at Clean Islands International and the Virgin Environmental Resource Station, a living field biology classroom whose students range from university, research and environmental groups to Virgin Islands school children.
    Joseph Allen ‘Sambo’ Swann, of Owings, mastermind of family-owned and run Swann Farms, whose farm-fresh fruit and vegetables made eating local a delicious reality for Southern Maryland and beyond, all the way to Baltimore and D.C. His strawberries begin the good-eating season; his peaches are now in season.
    Robert Timberg, of Annapolis, journalist, author and Marine, overcame disabling and disfiguring burns suffered in Vietnam to rise to the top of his profession as The Baltimore Sun’s White House correspondent, telling thousands of other people’s stories, including stories of fellow U.S. Naval Academy graduates John McCain, James Webb, Oliver North, Bud McFarlane and John Poindexter in his book, The Nightingale’s Song — finally telling his own story in two autobiographies, State of Grace and Blue-Eyed Boy.
    And my Illinois friend, writer Tom Teague, whose life began and ended on September 11 ___ years apart.

~~~~~

    To preserve the legacies and honor the memories of Sambo Swann and Phyllis Horsman, of Horsman Farms in St. Leonard, a Calvert County Farm Bureau Young Farmers scholarship is being created. You can be in on the ground floor by buying tickets for the first fundraising event, Dining in the Fields, an all-local outdoor dinner and gals Thursday, October 6, at The Cage, an historic Calvert County farm on the Patuxent River. Buy tickets at www.calvertfarmbureau.com/dining-in-the-field.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

Tell that to the people you meet this week

Everybody’s got a story.    
    Many of those stories are never told.
    Children grow up with no idea of their mothers’ and fathers’ hopes and dreams, struggles and frustrations, hard roads and high times, determination and doubt. This very week, two friends have told me, with regret: “I never knew …”
    It’s not only husbands and wives whose partners work at NSA who couldn’t tell you what they do. Most of us have no clear idea of what keeps our husbands, sisters, best friends busy. Oh she’s in computers, they might say.
    We think we know. We’re just too busy to ask. It never occurred to us to wonder. Many of our stories remain unknown and untold until our obituaries — if anybody bothers to write us one.
    I can’t bear letting all those stories go.
    If you’ve met me, I’ve probably peppered you with questions.
    “Are you interviewing me?” a reserved friend asked over lunch the other day.
    “No, I’m interested in your story,” I told her.
    “But you’re likely to become a Bay Weekly story,” warned the third in our group.
    Telling the stories of Chesapeake Country — yours, your family’s, your neighbors — has been our job at Bay Weekly these 23 years. You’ve read, I hope with pleasure, chapters of those stories in issue after issue since April 22, 1993. A few among thousands come immediately to mind: the Balloon Man of Annapolis (www.bayweekly.com/node/34431) … Calvert County skateboarders Wayne Cox and Joey Jett (www.bayweekly.com/node/34205) … The Vera behind Vera’s White Sands in Lusby (www.bayweekly.com/old-site/year06/issuexiv25/leadxiv25_1.html) … our own Bill Burton, the great outdoorsman and outdoors writer who retired from the Baltimore Evening Sun to our pages (many, including the last: www.bayweekly.com/old-site/year09/issue_33/features.html).
    The stories in this week’s issue are a little out of the ordinary, focusing on the stories of our advertisers.
    Before making this decision, our editorial board — Alex Knoll, Bill Lambrecht and I — have been alert to the many ways our colleagues in journalism fight for survival in our fast-changing world. Common nowadays: credited sponsors, sponsored content, columns representing special interests, whole sections of bought stories in news format.
    The synthesis of our reflection is the Bay Weekly Local Business Guide you’re reading.
    In it, we attempt to tell the stories of our sponsors, the people whose advertising brings you Bay Weekly issue after issue — plus advertisers who thought this particular edition would make a good test of our readership.
    We’ve wanted to know what makes them tick: Why they got in business, why they keep it up, what their rewards are. In other words, we’ve asked them much the same questions reporters ask strangers or those enjoying their 15 minutes of fame.
    Pulling it all together took the whole Bay Weekly team, from ad reps Lisa Knoll, Audrey Broomfield, Donna Day and Karen Lambert; production staff Alex Knoll and Betsy Kehne; myself and staff writer Kathy Knotts, contributing writer Victoria Clarkson and intern Kelsey Cochran, now back at Gettysburg College.
    So it’s not just me but all of us who hope you enjoy learning the stories behind the businesses. If reading them takes you through their doors, be sure to say,
“I read about you in Bay Weekly.”

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

By our work we make ourselves and our world

Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages, the poet Chaucer wrote in the century before Columbus bumped into the New World, and I know what he means. Not April, when his folk were longen, but August — the last slice of summer before Labor Day sets the work year rolling again — puts the longen in me.
    So husband Bill Lambrecht and I joined a New World pilgrimage, 22 souls paddling 46 miles down the Missouri River, through the Wild West landscape of the Missouri Breaks, in the wake of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery. (They, of course, paddled and mostly pulled upstream to discover America’s way west. Downstream, as on their 1806 return journey, is much easier, with a current of about three miles an hour pushing you.)
    Off the grid, I’ve had my hands on no keyboard and my eyes on wondrous sights. My ears I couldn’t help but keep open. Nor could I suppress the journalist’s urge to ask questions.
    The first question you ask a stranger is, Where are you from? From Maryland, only us. From Virginia, Richmond specifically, four. From Wisconsin, three. From North Carolina, two; Colorado, one; Montana, a half-dozen; Canada, one — but her Alberta home is only six hours away.
    The second is likely What do you do? Which led me right back to the Bay Weekly in your hands. And confirmed our findings in all the years we’ve done this now annual issue: the work we do makes us who we are.
    Coloradan Paul DeWitt couldn’t bear the confines of the cubicle. So he broke loose, transitioning through fine furniture making — “I’d never make a living at the prices I had to charge” — to making his hobby his living. A long-distance trail runner, DeWitt set and held, “briefly,” he says, the record for the Leadville Trail 100-mile ultra-marathon: 17 hours, 16 minutes, 19 seconds. Now DeWitt works as a coach for extreme-distance trail runners, coaching online and in elite on-trail settings, say up and down the Grand Canyon a couple of times. The work he does shows in his body. If our paddle had been a race, he would have won.
    But right behind him would have been his mother and father. “We’re an athletic family,” said she, who’s run the Boston Marathon. An active marathoner, DeWitt senior went from football to boxing to coaching at North Carolina State University.
    Then, perhaps, Ingrid Stenbjorn, the corporate exec turned yogi. Unless mathematician Steve figured and beat the odds.
    Followed by the rest of us pilgrims, a psychiatric nurse practitioner; a party of five canvas suppliers and big tent manufacturers, one having just jumped the corporate ship of Cabela, the giant outdoors equipment seller; a development director for the Wisconsin State Youth Symphony with her engineer husband and aspiring journalist son; a city administrator; a corporate marketer and an IBM retiree, agile as a gymnast … and a couple of journalists.
    All of us were led by the indefatigably resourceful Kevin O’Brien, an anthropological archaeologist who has followed the trail of the Missouri River natives — and of Lewis and Clark — from St. Louis up the 2,341-mile river.
    To all of them and to you, from Missouri River country to Chesapeake Country, I tip my river hat. By what we do we make ourselves and make this wide, rich and amazing world. Happy Labor Day!

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

Precious time is ticking away

This time of year makes you think like that.    
    If seasons had clocks to tell the passing of their days, we’d read the numbers 8:25 with advancing insight.
    Ah, it’s getting late, we’d think. Insects have struck up their string and tympanic bands. Even early in the day, the light has a melancholy radiance that reminds me of the lost moments of old photographs. School busses are rolling and kids waking with the sun rather than noonish. Sunsets are getting ­earlier, 7:45ish, meaning we’ve shot past the coincidence of calendar time and sunset time toward longer hours of darkness.
    But, we’d say, it’s not too late yet.
    Late summer has arrived as a blessing, sweetening our temperaments, ending our ennui and letting us go out to play. Temperatures are blissful and, after two months of stewing, we’re comfortable in our skins and in our world. Meteorological summer has still a month to go, while astronomical summer is ours until Sept. 22.
    Seize the day, seize the season, seize the hour.
    To guide the way, our paper this week is full of fun-seizing opportunity.
    To find out who’s now pushing the edge of the envelope in live music, read The Kids Are Alright. In that scene-setting story, contributor Selene San Felice, who’ll graduate college this year, introduces her generation of musicians. (Bonus points to readers who pick up the hidden references in this paragraph.)
    For a broader range in tastes and times, you’ll find more music in 8 Days a Week’s wide-ranging, weeklong listing of concerts and club dates.
    If your taste is Victorian, this Thursday is your night, when Jane Austen’s songbook is opened at Hammond-Harwood House.
    If hard-rocking outdoors summer concerts staged like mini-festivals are your thing, Friday is your night, when Goo Goo Dolls and Collective Soul play at Calvert Marine Museum.
    On a more intimate scale, most every night is your night to sit at the Tiki bar or on the beach to hear who’s up at Chesapeake Beach Resort and Spa’s classic bandshell.
    You’ll still find concerts in the park this week, too.
    Beyond music, 8 Days a Week guides you — and all the ages in your family — to dozens of ways to seize the season.
    If you’re of age, how about Saturday at Goshen Farm, with wine-tasting, noshes and jazz to benefit the historic farm?
    August 27 is a late-summer day offering too many good things to make your choices easy. You could watch jousting at Calvert’s 150th festival dedicated to Maryland’s state sport and country pleasures. Learn more about jousting in this week Chesapeake Curiosities on page 4.
    Or join the Beaches & Bay Breezes Festival in Annapolis.
    Or hit the opening weekend of the Maryland Renaissance Festival.
    Or cheer on dragon boats racing in Solomons. (Do you think the Chinese will adopt skipjack racing?)
    Or learn to fly fish in saltwater with the West & Rhode Riverkeeper and the Free State Fly Fishers Club.
    That’s just a taste of Saturday. 8 Days a Week brings you seven more days full of opportunity every week.
    I know. At this time of year, you want to do it all.
    I’m sorry to burden you with so many choices. But keeping you active in life in Chesapeake Country is what we do, weekly, at Bay Weekly.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

How some of the world’s most famous art found safe refuge in early-America’s Annapolis

You’d want to know if you were neighbor to a secret treasure of masterpieces.
    So I’m telling you.
    Sixty-three paintings by great Northern European masters — Jan Breughel, Rubens and Van Dyck among them — lived quietly in Annapolis for two years, and Prince George’s County for 16 more years.
    “There was no collection of old master paintings remotely like it in this country,” says Arthur Wheelock curator of northern baroque paintings at the National Gallery of Art. “In fact, in both quality and quantity, no collection of Flemish art in this country would rival it until late in the 20th century.”


    They were here, and then they were gone.
    What were they doing here?
    Where are they now? That’s the mystery that obsesses Susan Pearl.

On the Run
    To unravel that mystery, return in time to 1794, when the newly independent United States of America was a safer haven than war-tossed Europe.
    As ripples from the French revolution threatened Antwerp, art collector Henri Stier fled.
    “He got the paintings and his family out,” recounts historian Pearl.
    By horse and carriage and by sailing ship, family and the art collected by Steir’s grandfather-in-law, Michel Peeters, traveled: 63 paintings protected in heavy wooden crates.
    At the core of the collection were, Wheelock says, “masterpieces by Flemish artists, although it also included paintings by, among others, Jacob van Ruysdael, Rembrandt, Titian and Tintoretto. The collection contained no fewer than 10 paintings by Rubens and six by Van Dyck.”
    The displaced Belgian family and their paintings took up residence for two years in Annapolis, renting the William Paca House.
    At the time “there was good society here, very fashionable, with lots of parties,” says Historic Annapolis curator of collections Pandora Hess. Henri Stier’s young daughter Rosalie and George Calvert met and married there.
    But the paintings remained a secret treasure.

Hidden in the New World
    Stier, an aristocrat who owned three homes in Belgium, had landed ambitions in the New World. He bought 800 acres in the Anacostia watershed, near the port town of Bladensburg. But before his house was finished, he was back in Belgium. In 1803, Riversdale became the home of Henri’s daughter Rosalie and her husband George Calvert, of Maryland’s founding family. The plantation gained renown, but not the paintings. They remained a family secret.
    From 1794 to 1816, the paintings stayed crated, lifted out only to be wiped clean of mold, shown to just a few artists. Only a few of the smaller paintings were hanging in one parlor and seen by visitors.
    Nobody saw them. Nobody enjoyed them.
    Then Napoleon met his Waterloo, and Europe was again safe.
    Send the paintings home, Henri wrote his daughter in December 1815. His letter traveled by ship. She received it in February. Ever dutiful, she planned their journey home.
    They’d have left unseen were it not for the pleas of American painters Rembrandt Peale and Gilbert Stuart. At Paca House and Riversdale to paint the family, they’d had peeks at the paintings. Peale wrote that Stier “had placed before me three excellent portraits, by Titian, Rubens and Van Dyck, as objects of inspiration for a young artist.”
    Convinced by these artists “that it would be a public wrong that such a collection of pictures — the like of which had never been in America — should pass out of the country entirely unenjoyed,” George and Rosalie Calvert opened their house. In the spring of 1816, Washington society mingled with artists and collectors at the first blockbuster art exhibit in this country.
    “Some of the finest paintings ever in America,” they were called by Sarah Gales Seaton, wife of the co-editor of the National Intelligencer.
    On June 2, 1816, the paintings were again crated to repeat their journey by horse-drawn carriage, then by ship from Baltimore to Antwerp.
    They crossed the Atlantic a second time aboard the sailing ship Oscar, subject to tempest, predation and shipwreck.
    They survived the crossing. What became of them then?
    Tracking the 63 keeps Pearl busy.

The Wide World Over
    Pearl’s quest began in her office. She worked upstairs in the mansion before it was restored as Riversdale House Museum. Her job — researching historic structures for Maryland–National Capital Park and Planning Commission — bumped her into the secret treasure.
    Original letters and papers told her part of the story. The more she learned, the more she wanted to know.
    What had become of them? Where were they now?
    “Finally, I hit the gold mine,” she told me. A genealogist hired by Henri Stier’s fifth-generation descendants shared copies of the “masses of letters” back and forth across the Atlantic.
    With letters, a sketchy packing list — written as family hastened to escape French armies in 1794 — and a catalogue of sales, she set about tracing their post-American journeys.
    Art is long; life is short. The owners died, but the paintings thrived, increasing in value with age.
    Each owner’s death led to an auction that disbursed the paintings more widely. At their sale in 1817, Henri Stier bought his 20 favorites from the collection that had been at Riversdale. His death in 1821 returned one painting to Riversdale. George Calvert — widower of Rosalie, who died three months before her father — purchased Rubens’ Romulus and Remus. That painting crossed the Atlantic a third time.
    Cross-checking list after list with the original packing manifesto, Pearl has successfully traced 20 of the 63 paintings that had long ago found refuge in Chesapeake Country. They are the most prominent and valuable ones, mostly kept in the family.    
    “I find it amazing how much information about that collection one can pull together from the packing list, Rembrandt Peale’s account and descriptions of the works in subsequent sales,” Wheelock said.
    Romulus and Remus continued in the American Stiers’ family and is now in the keeping of the North Carolina Museum of Art.
    Two more are in America: Rubens’ painting of his brother Philippe in the Detroit Institute of Art and Jan Brueghel’s wonderful The Entry of the Animals into Noah’s Ark in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
    The Van Dyck portraits of Philippe LeRoy and his bride Marie de Raet hang in the Wallace Collection in London.
    At the outbreak of World War II, several paintings owned by the European branch of the family found sanctuary in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels, where they remain.
    Pearl has seen almost all 20.
    “Twenty out of 63 doesn’t sound like a lot,” Pearl says, “but it actually is, considering what you have to do to track them down.”
    As for the others, she says, “I’ll probably be working on it for the rest of my life.”

See for Yourself
    Here it is 2016, the bicentennial of Michel Peeters’ collection’s departure from America.
    And here they are, 16 of the found paintings of the original 63, on exhibit again at Riversdale.
    “Of course we couldn’t get the originals,” Pearl admits.
    Masterpieces are not loaned to county museums with neither security nor ideal air and lighting conditions. Instead the museum purchased high-resolution digital images that, printed and framed locally, now hang throughout the Riversdale House Museum.
    “The exhibit is a wonderful way to step back in time, envision the original paintings and feel the excitement visitors experienced when world-class Old Master paintings were publicly displayed in Riversdale Mansion in the spring of 1816,” said Carol Benson, director of Anne Arundel County’s Four Rivers Heritage Area.
    Docents lead tours, “electronically enhanced” with hand-held tablets that interpret and enlarge paintings for inspection of detail (though connections are temperamental).
    It’s a sight worth seeing, especially now that you know the story.


    Open Friday and Sunday 12:15-3:15pm thru Oct. 23. (On Sunday, Sept. 18, a University of Maryland quintet plays Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition): $5 w/age discounts: 301-864-0420; riversdale@pgparks.com.
    Copies of the Stier-Calvert correspondence are held in the Riversdale Historical Society archives.

I’m inspissated. How about you?

Too hot to move. Too hot to cook. Too hot to exercise (except water aerobics). Too hot to sleep.
    Just how hot is it?
    Hotter than it’s ever been — relatively speaking.
    “July 2016 was absolutely the hottest month since the instrumental records began,” the Baltimore Sun reminds me, sourcing NASA.
    July 2002 felt plenty miserable to then Bay Weekly contributor April Falcon Doss. Heat, she reminded us, is relative — and so is our experience of it.
    With this August leading in the same direction, it’s too hot to write.
    Return with me, then, to those sweltering words of yesteryear:

    “Thermodynamics textbooks neatly evade defining temperature,” smugly reported the writer’s husband, her foil in the story. “Instead of telling what temperature is, they define temperature in relative terms, or whether one material is hotter or colder than another. Really, it’s not that hot out. It’s just the differential you feel.”
    
To which she irritably replied, “Objection: relevance.”
I find myself appallingly intolerant in extreme heat. We step under some trees. “Oh,” I gasp with relief. “It’s so much cooler in the shade.”
“Not really,” my husband badgers. “The air temperature is actually the same in the shade or out. It’s just that here in the shade you’re shielded from the force and effect of solar radiation.”
    These distinctions are absurd, at least as applied to my experience of being hot. I defy anyone to diminish my experience of heat.

Thermal Death Point
    The amount of heat capable of destroying a given species of bacteria in a given time. Three factors are involved — namely, the time, material and temperature.
    Sounds like the risk faced by my husband if he tells me once more that these fiery temperatures are merely ­relative. My encyclopedia defines heat as energy that is transferred from one body to another because they are at different temperatures. Energy transferal? Then how to explain this lassitude I feel, this utter enervation? How to explain the way that beads of sweat quiver on my lip, my chest, my brow on those long summer days?
    According to my source book, “The effect of this transfer of energy usually, but not always, is an increase in the temperature of the colder body and a decrease in the temperature of the hotter body.”
    No kidding. How else to respond to the observation that 100-degree afternoons heighten my own thermal setting?
    The only way to absorb energy without getting hotter is to change form: by melting or boiling or by changing from a solid into a vapor through the process called sublimation.

Lipolysis
    Fat splitting.
    People are known — even hereabouts where opportunities to sweat come plentiful and cheap — to pay considerable money for the opportunity to sit in a steam room, breathing sharp, wet heat while stinging beads of sweat burst through their pores and glisten in a lake on their skin. This is homage to lypolysis, to the presumed fat-splitting properties of steam. Here in Maryland, it comes free.


    Doss found a word for it: Inspissation: the distillation of our own tissues and being in heat.
    That’s what to call it when you’re too darned hot.
    I’m inspissated. How about you?

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

And what our cats see in us

What could she see in him?    
    I’ve often wondered that about my friends’ husbands. Even more often, about their dogs.
    Husbands are more ambiguous. Dogs are absolute.
    Love me, love my dog, my grandmother taught me, was the rule of friendship with a dog fancier — which my grandmother was not. Not, love me, love my husband.
    Other people’s husbands may be more attractive than your own; often must be, as they’re so often switched. But nobody’s dog is more beautiful, suitable or satisfying than your own. Rarely do people divorce their dogs. When they do, in come the rescuers — about whom you’ll read in this week’s paper. Apparently, we do better at choosing our dogs than our husbands. Or perhaps our dogs are better company than our husbands.
    My husband and recent dogs — Labrador retrievers Max and Moe, short for my family name, Massimo — are nearly perfect: Especially the dogs, as their slight imperfections died with them.
    (My success in choosing partners has not come without trial and error. What I saw in Slip Mahoney — a dog you can meet at www.bayweekly.com/node/18404 — nobody outside my household understood. If Slip hadn’t bitten them, he’d chewed up their shoes or through their screen door. Then there was my early husband. Now I claim those errors as proof of the wisdom I’ve gained through experience.)
    Still, my friends’ significant others — dog and human — often call to mind another piece of my grandmother’s advice: There’s no accounting for taste, she told me. That’s what the lady said when she kissed the cow.
    What you see in your husband is a question one dare not ask. (Or do I? How about for our next Valentine’s Day issue?)
    About what you see in your dog — you, me and everybody else waxes eloquent. You’ll read those testimonials in this week’s annual Pet Tales, our Dog Days of August special issue.
    Readers joined contributors in sharing their stories — and pictures — of animal companionship. The stories are wonderful; they bring tears to my eyes and laughter to my heart and lips. For, as Sporting Life columnist Dennis Doyle reminds us, mirth is among the gifts we get from our dogs.
    About our cats, the tales are different. Cats are superior beings; just ask them. The question with them isn’t what people see in their cats. It’s what their cats see in them.
    Read on to learn what we see in our dogs and cats. You’ll find stories of love between species exemplified in intuitions of mood and will; shared spaces; improvisations comic, sad or dramatic; gleeful welcomes; improbable alliances; and partnerships that help us be ourselves and go beyond ourselves.
    You’ll also find insight into caring for your animal companions from Bay Weekly’s nine Sponsoring Pet Partners for this issue. I’ve learned, and I expect you will too, something of the scope of veterinary and boarding options and how our pets’ wellbeing depends on the food we buy.
    I hope you enjoy this issue as much as I have.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

Progress in the Bay … Opportunity in the Cook-off

It takes a long time — two to three years — for an ­oyster to grow up.
    It takes even longer for science to puzzle out how to make the best environment for healthy oysters.
    Just out is the first five-year report on how oysters are faring since Maryland decided to give our native oysters the best chance for survival. The best chance scientists and fishery managers could imagine, that is.
    In the Bay and rivers, sanctuaries were established and furnished to suit oysters, with beds made from lots of old oyster shell where baby spat could settle and grow, safe from harvesting. The bet was that oysters would flourish in sanctuaries, supporting the species, filtering the Bay and making reefs beloved by all sorts of aquatic life. That was the environmental part of the plan.
    Of course oysters are more to the Chesapeake than good environmental citizens. Over our state’s history, they’ve supported an economy, a culture and an enormous national appetite.
    To maintain our oyster economy and appetite, Maryland’s 2010 Oyster Plan made more of aquaculture than ever before. Oyster farming is now a thriving part of our maritime economy. Aquaculturists are making money, and all of us who like to eat oysters enjoy new abundance and variety.
    But the Chesapeake’s oyster culture rises from our oystermen, and they are hunters, not farmers. For their sake, much of the Bay remains open to wild harvest.
    Oysters in wild harvest territory have not fared so well. They’ve declined by 30 percent on average between 2013 and 2015, presumably due to harvesting.
    Protected oysters, on the other hand, increased two and one half times in number and size since 2010, when sanctuary management went into effect.
    You can see what that means.
    But the whole story is more complicated, as watermen strive to protect their livelihood and Gov. Larry Hogan follows up on his promise to promote Maryland business.
    How to resolve competing, contrary interests?
    It’s only possible if all sides feel they’ve gotten their fair share. Mediation makes that kind of resolution happen, we’re told by our Bay Weekly neighbor Martin Kranitz, who runs Mediation Services of Annapolis.
    Oyster wars have a long history in the Chesapeake. As we begin to understand what oysters need to be healthy, making oyster peace among humans seems a good part of the plan.

Opportunity in the Cook-off
    In this age of relative oyster abundance, it’s time for some oyster culinary invention.
    Can you create an oyster recipe worth $1,300?
    Suit the taste of this year’s judges of the 37th Annual National Oyster Cook-off, and that grand prize will be yours.
    I challenge you to imagine how you — and Maryland oysters — can wow us.
    Yes, I’m one of the judges, along with John Shields, PBS cooking show host, cookbook author and chef-owner of Gertrude’s in Baltimore and Rob Kasper, former Baltimore Sun syndicated food columnist, author and blogger. So I’m invested in your invention. The better you create, the better our tasting experience. We’ve eaten some delectable — and imaginative — dishes over the years; this year, we want to taste yours.
    Submit recipes for any or all of three categories: Hors d’oeuvres, Soups & Stews and Main Dish. Recipes are accepted through August 31.
    If one of your recipes is named a finalist by the National Oyster Cook-off committee, you’ll prepare your recipe to present to the judges and share with spectators on October 15 during the 50th Anniversary St. Mary’s County Oyster Festival in Leonardtown.
     First, second, and third place prizes in each category earn $300, $200 or $150. The grand prize adds an additional $1,000. Awards also recognize Best Presentation and People’s Choice. All contestants plus a guest will be invited to a welcome reception and lodged in a local hotel.
    Judging of the recipes is based on predominance of oysters, oyster flavor, overall taste of the dish, originality and presentation. Judges look for dishes that highlight the taste of the oyster. One judge commented that when you take a bite and close your eyes, you should be able to taste the ­delicacy of the oyster.
    Submit recipes to lisa.ledman@stmarysmd.com. Find official rules and more information at http://usoysterfest.com/page/6433524:Page:611.
    Contest is sponsored by the Rotary Club of St. Mary’s County, St. Mary’s County Department of Economic & Community Development and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

Turn on a light to observe National Moth Week

In the midst of National Moth Week, turn on your porch light any summer night and see who you see.
    Summer because moths get their wings in warm weather. Over winter, they are caterpillars. In spring they pupate, emerging winged from their cocoons to create new generations of moths.
    Night because drawn to light in perhaps some moonstruck phenomenon, most moths are nocturnal.
    Like butterflies, moths are members of the Lepidoptera family, with between 150,000 and 500,000 species, according to National Moth Week founders David Moskowitz and Liti Haramaty. In the United States, there are upward of 11,000 moth species, 15 times more than butterflies.
    As caterpillars, moths are familiar nuisances: in our fields, cutworms and cornworms; in forests, gypsy moths, webworms and tent caterpillars; in our closets, clothing moths; and in pantries, the Indian meal moth, Plodia interpunctella. Yet the hairy-bodied creatures are great pollinators, especially for night-blooming and white flowers.
    Moths come in big and small, from the size of small flies to as wide as large songbirds. They are dull, striking and extraordinarily beautiful.
    Beautiful like the pink, green and purple Pandora sphinx that flew into my still-lighted bedroom late on the night of June 29, 2014, lingering for photographs and drawings.
    Striking like the yellow Clymene haploa moth perched aside my front door on the evening of June 28, 2016. Was its yellow lemon, or butter or butterscotch? I couldn’t tell, and as the light faded, I tried all three, in colored pencil, watercolor pencil and watercolors. The color of its distinctive centered marking, something like an elongated fleur de lis, was clearly black.
    “The Clymene haploa moth looks like a Star Trek communicator badge as it boldly goes everywhere both day and night,” reports insectidentification.org, where I identified this visitor.
    Perhaps National Moth Week will bring a beautiful translucent green luna moth.


Join National Moth Week observers from 8pm Sa July 30 to 9am Su July 31 at Glendening Nature Preserve, free, rsvp (ages 18+): 410-741-9330.