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Good Living

And keep it open all winter long

It’s a great time of year to take up or enhance the hobby of bird feeding, especially since we can watch outdoor birds from the cozy warmth of the great indoors with hot drinks, field guides and binoculars. It’s good for the birds, too. When ice and snow cover everything in sight, providing food, water and grit (bits of sand, stone, or shell that birds need for digestion), may mean survival for our backyard birds.     How then to best serve the feathered ones? What kinds of foods and feeders? How to manage water? Who might show up?

For Rod ‘N’ Reel’s Chef Rudy, Thanksgiving is a piece of cake

From the first-time turkey roaster to the kitchen master, who among us can anticipate cooking the Thanksgiving dinner without a bit of a flutter?     Chef Rudy Volpe can.     The 54-year-old chef looks forward to serving 1,000 to 1,200 hungry eaters at Rod ‘N’ Reel’s Thanksgiving Day Buffet.     For a chef who’s worked 20-plus years in gaming, most recently at Maryland Live!, Rod ‘N’ Reel’s seven-hour buffet is, well, a piece of cake.

Final year for Festival of Trees

In the Festival of Trees, Calvert Hospice forged a link between their end-of-life mission and joy in the world.     For 27 years, on the day after Thanksgiving, Hospice volunteers have created a magical forest of Christmas trees adorned in whimsy and wonder.     “It’s a wonderful event that really kicks off the season and gets everyone in the spirit of the holidays,” says Hospice board president Gail Gibson.

The B&A Trail provides more than a smooth ride

The Baltimore-Annapolis Trail saved Tom Caraker’s life. In 2000, Type II diabetes and multiple strokes tormented the now 81-year-old, depriving him of feeling in his hands. Defying the doctor’s orders he dug a mountain bike out of his shed and went riding through Severna Park. Squeezing handbrakes brought back first tingling, then full feeling.

Bay beaches keep a record of natural as well as human history.

There’s history in them thar shards

Bay beaches keep record of history. Some of these bits are treasures.     Look and you may find not only sea-washed glass but also pieces of pottery from the China trade, bits of everyday ceramics from the early 1900s or clay pipes from the 1700s.     Learn to read the history of sea pottery this Saturday. Dr. Patricia Samford, director of the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory, offers a free workshop from 1-4pm Aug. 1 at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum in St. Leonard (410-586-8501).

Our beautiful swimmers are starting to run

Dennis Doyle’s cautious Sporting Life report that crabbing finally “may be improving” is seconded by commercial crabbers, who are notorious pessimists. Better still, we’ve seen chicken-neckers pulling in crabs at local piers.     Chicken-necking for Chesapeake Bay blue crabs requires you spend a quiet morning or afternoon alongside the Bay or one of its rivers. It gives you the fun of catching wily crustaceans. Then you get to eat them.

Four easy recipes to savor into darker days

Summer produce has arrived in abundance. Now’s the time to preserve can, pickle and ferment to keep your table local long past summer. Preserving is the trend of the times, and for good reason.

It’s hard work, but someone has to do it

This is one of those tough jobs. Tougher than ever now that crab catches are no longer abundant so that you’ll pay for the luxury of eating a Chesapeake Bay crab cake. But somebody’s got to do, so it might as well be you.     Start with a notebook for recording your tasting results. Here are your judging guidelines. Rank each crabcake you taste from 1 to 5:     1. Most important: Is it made from Chesapeake Bay blue crab? Ask!

From Major League to local teams, the nation’s pastime is alive and well

“I see great things in baseball,” wrote America’s poet Walt Whitman 169 years ago. “It’s our game — the American game.     “It has the snap, go, fling of the American atmosphere.”     Baseball lays out an inviting green carpet on which nine leaping athletes chase each other while throwing, catching and hitting a white ball. They take the field full of hope, follow the rules, trust in skill and and believe luck will bless them.