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Your guide to Chesaeake Country's freshest produce and more!

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It is hard to remember a transformation such as we just had, when the season seemed to change suddenly, with the decisiveness of a no-nonsense business executive. November was pleasant and mild, warm but not unseasonable, with enough rain and cold to bring out the sweaters and not fool us into thinking we had all been transplanted to Georgia.

Then December came along and it was winter. The calendar might haves said not quite yet, but the thermometer said Now!

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Oh the things you can see!

In the cathedral of the forests, the mysteries and magic of Mother Nature come alive. 

Through the soaring pillars of trees, rising in arching canopies, streams of sunlight reflect on the forest floor. In cathedrals of nature and of faith, we are awed in the presence of harmony.

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Your evergreens will get a good pruning while you clip and snap

The tradition of bringing greens indoors comes from Europe and Scandinavia. The winters were long, and bringing greens in the house gave hope that spring would soon be coming. It must have worked, as we still do it today.

If your evergreens are overgrown, now is the time to prune them back into shape and use the greens for decorations. Don’t be afraid to take the pruners and whack those evergreens.

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Gifts to bring the heavens into focus

While the day of commercial space flight has yet to dawn, a few choice astronomy-related gifts are enough to open up the heavens for anyone on your gift list. Who knows? You could be giving someone the start of a lifelong hobby or even a career.

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A few ideas sure to please

Buying a special holiday present for an avid angler, hunter, canoeist or kayaker is fraught with difficulty. Most dedicated sportsmen and women already have the gear they need. Those who don’t have definite ideas of what they want — but it is almost impossible to divine just what. However, there are a few things this holiday season that can be counted on to give special joy to just about anyone who’s outdoor obsessed.

 

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Not all Christmas trees are created equal

Not all evergreen trees are equally fire resistant. The Douglas fir is the most fire resistant tree, while the popular Fraser fir is the most combustible. Freshness has nothing to do with it. Douglas fir is a low-resin tree while Fraser fir is a high-resin tree.

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And spring 2011 is just around the corner

Sub-freezing temperatures and lots of winter wind guarantee that you won’t find me fishing Bay waters the rest of this month, at least not in my meager skiff. The dismal weather appears to have sealed my angling fate for the remainder of the season, but I have memories to keep me warm over the winter.

 

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December’s sky offers rewards for those willing to brave the elements

The sun sets this week a little before 4:45, and as the sky darkens, Jupiter appears high in the south-southeast. Aside from the moon at this time, Jupiter is one of the brightest objects in the heavens until setting due west at midnight. The planet stands out all the more amid the dim water constellations Aquarius, Capricornus, Pisces and Pisces Austrinus, which holds the nearest bright star, Fomalhaut. On Monday, look for Jupiter less than seven degrees below the first-quarter moon.

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Put out bulbs and bring in geranium cuttings

 

Plant spring bulbs now before the ground freezes

To help your tulip bulbs produce large flowers for several years, dig the planting holes at least eight inches deep so that the top of the bulbs are no less that six inches below ground. Plant in well-drained soils amended with at least one-third compost by volume. 

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The sound and sight of Canada geese overhead

 

Is there a more iconic figure from nature to represent the state of Maryland than the Canada goose? Resplendent as our state bird, the Baltimore oriole, is, it is seldom heard and rarely seen by the majority of Free Staters. The great blue heron and osprey are contenders, and I would also nominate the canvasback. But let’s stick with the goose.

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