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Six new reasons to give thanks for too much turkey

Whole Foods French wine & cheese tasting raises palates to new levels

Recipes for humans and other fanciers

A beautifully staged and wonderfully acted ­communications breakdown

At Thanksgiving, this year’s garden continues giving

A fat eel is the best winter bait

Books still cast their spell

    Carl Casary came to our school as an older man, somewhere in his 40s, to teach sixth grade. I think he was a World War II veteran. After lunch, he would read Edgar Allan Poe to us: “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Black Cat,” “The Cask of Amontillado.”     It didn’t matter that some words were beyond us; Mr. Casary’s voice cast a spell. The rowdy boys settled down; we girls...

And it teaches across the curriculum

    “Did you meet any strange creatures on your way to school this morning?”     My dog … Just a squirrel … My bratty kid brother…     “I met a timber wolf when I was far up North, taking a walk alone through a snowed-in forest on the edge of the Arctic where I’d been interviewing Native Canadians on the Little Black River in Manitoba … Someone get the globe so we can find Manitoba …...

Thoughts from a 20-year teacher

     I’ve been a teacher, part-time, for 20 years. My students have ranged in age from two to 79. My subjects range, too: music, French and English as a Second Language. I’ve taught at two elite private elementary schools and two public institutions of higher education. Except with my own kids, I’ve skipped middle and high school.     This non-traditional career path — along with observations gleaned from the education of my own two...

Gardening in bales of straw

     As I prepare my fall garden, I’m walking in the footsteps of an Ohio gardener with poor soil who planted in bales of straw rather than install raised beds. He found his solution in a British gardening magazine on growing vegetables. Now I’m trying it, starting with four bales of straw that I placed in full sun along the edge of my vegetable garden.     To minimize weed problems, use straw rather than hay. Straw is the residue after the grain...

Lessons in tackle, bait and reading the water

    Live-lining is one of the best light-tackle techniques for rockfish throughout the Bay this time of year. You’ll need a medium- to medium-heavy-action rod and the means to keep small baitfish alive while you are on the water.     Boat live wells are designed for just this sort of thing, but aerated buckets can work as well. The aerator must be a heavy-duty 12 volts to manage more than a half-dozen baitfish for long periods. Many baitfish species have a...

Escape urban lights to see this sight

     Each August, as the kids head back to school, the galaxy is tilted  in such a way that the Milky Way stretches overhead in full glory. With Monday’s new moon, this may be the best week of summer to gaze on this river of stars. To fully appreciate it you’ll need dark skies away from any urban glow well after sunset. Give your eyes a few minutes to get accustomed to the darkness, tilt your head back and get lost in the glow.     From...

Grandpa, tell me about the good old days

    In the bygone era of 1980s’ movies, a hero’s worth was determined by the circumference of his biceps, the length of his cigars and the heft of his gun. It was a simple time of bloody shootouts, car chases and cheesy lines.     Three decades later, these pumped-up monosyllabic heroes are well past their prime but determined to relive their glory days in the Expendables series. Most of the stars are too old for this stuff, but even action heroes have...

Theater al fresco at Reynolds Tavern, where the humor is bawdy, the medicine primitive and the fun timeless

     Annapolis Shakespeare Company keeps the comedy in the courtyard coming. After a successful run with Molière’s The Schemings of Scapin, now on tap outdoors at Reynolds Tavern is a lively and very funny Imaginary Invalid. Molière’s final play was written by the tuberculosis-wracked playwright/actor to star himself and reflect his disdain for the medical mores. He indeed played the lead to great acclaim before succumbing to his malady soon after the curtain...

Local coffee shops serve ­individual experiences

    If mocha is your mistress or black coffee is your morning muse, there is a place for you. Local coffee shops don’t skimp on quality and cater right to you.     Locally owned coffee shops offer freshness, friendliness and community.     Don’t get me wrong. Starbucks is my usual go-to for coffee. The chain is easy to find, I know what to expect and I have been a gold card member for two years.     Last fall when I...

By paying Flush Tax, we’re all helping

Rob and Brandi Pryke gawked at the commotion in the front yard of their modest home in Calvert County; their well-kept lawn was being attacked by a backhoe digging a hole big enough to bury a large SUV. The assault was the culmination of a chain of events that started in 2008, a year after they bought the house, and shifted into high gear three months ago. That’s when Brandi noticed the toilets didn’t seem to be flushing correctly, and there was water accumulating in the side yard....