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Fresh from the woods, we dug up more than we bargained for

The family agreed. This shapely 10-foot Norway spruce with beautifully spaced branches was our perfect Christmas tree. After Christmas, the living tree would find a new home in a corner of our half-acre lot.
    But this was an out-of-the-way farm, and the tree digger was unavailable. So we would have to wait a few days before we could take The Tree home.
    No problem. Christmas was four weeks away.
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How do we know if our oyster dollars are paying off?

Open any local newspaper these days, and you’ll probably read about the dollars we are pouring into restoring oysters. In writing a few myself, I pondered how we would cut through the hyperbole and verify, in a scientifically reliable way, whether the efforts were bearing fruit — or in this case, oysters.
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It’s all online in Calvert County

In old-fashioned walk-around communities, construction projects were everybody’s business. In these times of zipping past in cars, who knows what’s going and coming?
    In Calvert County, you can find out online. What’s Going Where lets you track commercial projects county wide. You can search by postal Zip Code or review a list of projects completed in the last 12 months.
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A New Guide to Bay Play

Chesapeake Conservancy’s Trips-and-Tips covers the watershed

When you want to strike out farther than the here-today-gone-tomorrow in Anne Arundel and Calvert events of 8 Days a Week, where do you go?
    Subscribe to Chesapeake Conservancy’s Trips-and-Tips, and weekly updates from all over Chesapeake Country appear in your inbox each Thursday. The price is right for this brand-new, free guide to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
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Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race

The first leg of the Volvo Ocean race is really five different races rolled into one. The seven boats left warm and sunny Alicante, Spain, heading west across the choppy Mediterranean before sailing through the Straits of Gibraltar and out into the mighty Atlantic Ocean. Next they turned south along the coast of West Africa in moderately steady winds until they neared the equator....

Join Maggie Sansone for Cold Frosty Morn at historic Christ Church
 

Since 2002, Shady Side musician Maggie Sansone’s Celtic Christmas concerts have filled historic Christ Church in West River with the tingling sounds of hammered dulcimer, harp and fiddle. Inspired by a visit to Ireland to study early Christianity, then-rector Sandra Cordingley invited Sansone’s collaboration.
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How to get to know our ­regulars and seasonal visitors

At the tip of Thomas Point in Annapolis on a windy November morning, Linda Davis sees buffleheads, horned grebes and a loon diving in the Bay’s chop.
    “I am just learning my birds,” says Davis, of Shady Side. “I had surgery last winter, so I put up feeders outside the window where I sat and saw all these birds I didn’t even know existed. Then I began photographing birds, and now it’s all I want to do.”
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Resources abound online and in nature to help you sharpen your birding skills. Here’s a short list, organized by key questions

Who?
    Find tips on birding basics plus how to identify birds by song and plumage at All About Birds: www.allaboutbirds.org.
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Three nights to make gift-buying fun

Shopping is more fun at stores that want your business. To lure you in, New York City stores fill their windows with scenes as highly produced as a Broadway show. Annapolis throws three after-hours parties. The festivities are good enough to win the city Travel & Leisure magazine’s vote as one of America’s Best Towns for the Holidays.
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Fill his bag with toys for those in need at SoFo December 6 or throughout Annapolis December 13

Once again this year, Santa will be making special deliveries to families in need. In more than a decade, the Annapolis Santa Run has helped over 7,000 children wake up to a brighter Christmas morning. Santa makes his run courtesy of Annapolis Firefighters Local 1926. But the elves providing the toys are the citizens and businesses throughout the Annapolis region.
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