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Good Living

Our many reasons for thanks amount to many reasons for giving

As much a part of Thanksgiving as the feast is its sharing.         Like turkey, gratitude is a dish best taken in company. It’s just too big to manage on your own. Alongside the dressing, potatoes and cranberries, tales of blessings make the rounds.     With full hearts and bellies, we’re primed to encompass the community in our circle of grace.

We’re eating well and will be into spring

This year’s fall garden has been better than ever.     The August plantings of Contender and Crocket green beans each provided at least three pickings of the most tender and flavorful green beans we have ever enjoyed.

The interloper visits Spica and Mercury

Mercury is putting on its best pre-dawn show of 2013, more than doubling in brightness this week, from +1 magnitude to –0.5 (each order of magnitude is exponential, so an increase from +1 to 0 is a doubling). Monday marks the innermost planet’s greatest elongation — its farthest point away from the sun as seen from earth and its highest point above the horizon. Mercury rises a little before 6am and climbs nearly 15 degrees above the southeast horizon before the sun rises more than an hour later.

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving ­without the sweet finale

Can Thanksgiving dinner be both wonderful and boring at the same time? I’ve been having the exact same Thanksgiving dinner for almost 25 years now, and it’s getting old. Every year it’s the same people, same place, same menu.     What’s changeable?     It’s family, so that’s not changing.     Turkey with stuffing, sweet potatoes, gravy and the trimmings are too traditional to change.

Serving healthy portions of ­tradition and fellowship

With Christ Church Owensville’s annual homecoming dinner coming right up, parishioners gather to clean the kitchen and wash the dishes for the feast. We eat a potluck dinner because that’s what church people do before we work together. Then, as the dishes come down from the cabinets to be washed, I fall into a reverie. The plates are sturdy diner-style, green-striped, white crockery that, for the most part, match, so they nestle in neat stacks. The small oval plates for oysters are the same pattern.

How to become Spider Woman, the Mummy or the Walking Wounded

And the winner is …     Creating memorable homemade Halloween costumes is a long-running tradition for crafty moms and dads. Some are as easy as cutting up your mom’s favorite sheets, while some require a little more preparation.     If you always wanted to create your own costumes but were discouraged by the complexity or didn’t think you had time, follow these quick directions for a contest winner.

West River Wickets take their croquet mallets to Maryland ­Senior Olympics

Bill Brewer plays croquet with the dedication of a founding father.     From his back yard, croquet rose from an excuse for a party “with lots of rum” to a championship game played by ambitious senior Olympians.     Next week, Maryland Senior Olympics competition adds its first croquet tournament. Brewer’s team, the nationally recognized West River Wickets Croquet Club, will be there to strike for gold.

We’re all sorry to see summer go. So we’ve resolved to keep our summer mind-set through autumn. Read on for 50 ways to enjoy the fun of fall in Chesapeake Country.

1. Pick Fall’s Fat Crabs     Crabs have been scarce all season, hard to catch and accordingly pricy. About this time of year, we usually get a bonanza.     In autumn, Callinectes sapidus are bigger, sweeter, cheaper and more plentiful. Buy a dozen or a bushel at a roadside stand or a seafood market (they’ll cook them for you) and invite your friends over. Or bring your crab hunger to a local crab house.

Build your strength while extending your reach beyond arm’s length

For bicycle riders in the Haiti 80, your pleasure in speed and endurance bring hope and help to the school children in the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, where more than half the people live on less than one dollar a day. La Resurrection School in Gros Morne has been under the wing of St. Martins-in-the-Field Episcopal Church in Severna Park for 28 years. A newer bright idea, only two years old, puts some spin on that partnership.

Chew on these tales of bad behavior before you add a new member to your family

Through the beveled glass oval of the front door, I could see trouble. My friend and hair-stylist Kathy Burns’ brother was not making a social call. His khaki uniform meant he had come on official business. Dogcatcher business.     The dog in question, Slip Mahoney, wasn’t home. Wherever he was, he had stirred up enough commotion to bring out the dogcatcher.     “He escaped,” I said, holding up my hands in helplessness.