view counter

Regulars

Hobbes is a seven-week-old Lab pup

     When Hobbes arrived at our home Saturday evening, two things became apparent. Neither order nor melancholy can survive around a seven-week-old black Labrador puppy. Chaos and laughter, however, grow exponentially.      It’s been more than three years since our female German shorthair pointer Sophie passed, long enough for the pain and sorrow of her absence to fade.

Make 2019 your year to start a garden

      I recently returned from a vacation to Greece, specifically, the remote island of Ikaria in the northeast Aegean Sea. My ancestral home, it is designated a Blue Zone by National Geographic’s Dan Buettner.       The world’s five Blue Zones have high concentrations of centenarians —without problems like heart disease, dementia, diabetes and cancer. Research has shown that these Blue Zones have certain things in common.

That’s fishing’s Golden Rule

       As soon as I flipped the small Norfolk spot overboard with a thin 6/0 circle hook trailing from just in front of its dorsal fin, the rockfish tidbit twitched its way into the depths. The tidal current was barely starting to move along the bridge support as I fed out line from my baitcaster and tried to estimate how close to the bottom, 30 feet below, the frisky bait was approaching.

City art new and old collected in a book

Ideas, research and preparation

      It’s about that time of year when parents come to me seeking ideas for their child’s science project. Most of the time, they are desperate because their children procrastinated in announcing they had to turn in a project idea yesterday.        Here’s what I tell them:

The best comes from your own patch

        Once you have eaten fresh homemade horseradish sauce, you will never want to eat the store-bought brands. It’s even better if the roots come from your own garden.        If you grow horseradish plants, now is the time to convert the roots to sauce. The hard freeze a couple weeks ago killed the foliage, and that dieback is essential to making a horseradish sauce that has the kick of a mule. 

This time of year, a bird eats what it can get

      Great blue herons in the Chesapeake Bay area do not migrate in the winter. They struggle to find food when the waters freeze. They will look to areas of flowing water and sometimes stake out grassy fields to catch mice and small birds.        Herons from the snowier north usually migrate to warmer climates.       This Chesapeake heron has caught a hogchoker.

Is January 23 just another so what, like National ­Popcorn Day?

       It was no fun writing lessons in cursive, and no better in the hybrid connected printing I developed in obedient defiance to the nuns’ complaints of my handwriting’s illegibility. My mother couldn’t read anything I wrote, either, which may be why she insisted I take typing in high school summer school. On my own, I signed up at the same public school to learn Chancery script, a pretty Renaissance cursive. I’ve used both skills throughout my life.

Here’s how to water and repot them

     Orchids are so popular nowadays that they are being offered for sale not only in garden centers but also in drug stores and grocery stores as well as big box stores.          As houseplants, they have the advantage of producing flowers over a long period of time. They tolerate shade and perform well even when abused. They are also light to ship.

Most Baltimore orioles head south … Not this one

     This Baltimore oriole failed to migrate. Orioles usually fly down to Central and South America and winter in the warmth. Occasionally a bird will stay behind and tough it out in the cold. I think this is the second year for this bird to winter-over; one of its stops is my backyard in Riva.