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However you play it, natural gas export is a high stakes game

Have fun even with a sizzling sun

An American in Annapolis

Our flowering gardens are butterfly way-stations

Blue crabs at quarter-century low

Lesson 1: From the ground up

Hoe, mulch or a touch of herbicide

The better you control weeds in the garden this year, the fewer weeds you will have next year. Weeds have the capacity of generating thousands of seeds, which means that many seeds scattered on the ground this year will be germinating next year. Not all of the seeds will germinate at once. Many hard seeds can remain in the ground for years, especially if they get buried.       Frequent light cultivation while the weed seedlings are small is the best method of...

Spread the joy of the night sky

The moon waxes through evening skies this week, reaching full phase Wednesday. Look for it just a few degrees to the west of Mars Saturday. The next night it is flanked with Mars to the right and Spica even closer to its left. Tuesday the near-full moon is five degrees to the right of Saturn and 10 degrees to the left Wednesday. The moon is so bright, you’ll have to hunt for the ringed planet.     This is Saturn’s best appearance, as the planet reaches opposition,...

Declaring peace doesn’t stop the horrors of war

Eric Lomax (Colin Firth: Gambit) returns from World War II as a shell of a man. Avoiding people, he rides the rails and collects train memorabilia. On a train years later, he encounters former nurse Patti (Nicole Kidman: Stoker). Smitten, they quickly marry.     Patti’s illusion of wedded bliss soon shatters. Eric stares off into space. Small things provoke violent reactions. A bit of radio static causes a meltdown. Eric is hostile about his odd behavior.   ...

In this white world, I seemed to be staring at heaven

I never considered myself the cruise-ship type until I woke up in a luxurious cabin well below 60 degrees south latitude — in Antarctica. The view out the window was so bright and dazzling that I might have been staring at ­heaven, for I could not look too long.     After watching Cape Horn disappear the night before, I had fallen asleep as we clove grey seas into thick fog. Now the curtain had parted to reveal this icy Shangri-La, a splendor of mountains and ice...

I learned from the best

I was 16 months old when I went on my first fishing tournament, joining my grandfather Bill Burton, at the Waters and Woods Ball Fishing Tournament he staged for more than 50 years in the last weekend of April. I didn’t get to fish until my third tournament, and then I was skunked.     At four and a half, I caught my first rockfish, fishing with my grandpop during his April tournament. First we heard the ziinnnnnggggggg! of the reel, then the yell, Fish on! It was my turn...

Away is a word with two meanings

As the spring sky was brightening, Roy completed his checklist of the readiness of the trailored boat in his driveway. On board were life jackets, flares, fire extinguishers, paddles, a whistle, flags and flares.     The boat, another used yet unnamed craft, was a 19-foot aluminum V-hull runabout with an 80-horsepower engine, an engine that seemed to work fine when he tested it. Roy hadn’t boated for a while, but when his son Kevin called from Iraq saying he’d really...

Storms aren’t the Bay’s only surprise

In the summer of ’66, I was 13 years old and halfway through my first summer camp at Severn Sailing Association in Eastport, where I was learning to sail, getting my first full taste of what it was like out there on the waters of the Chesapeake.     All summer long we had sailed our boxy, square-bowed Cadets around short triangular courses in Annapolis harbor, always within eyesight of the club. Instructors in battered Boston Whalers shepherded our motley fleet, making...

In simplicity, I find plenty

It was late October when I launched my kayak from Jackson Landing into the Patuxent River. I wondered what I would find during the lull between migrations. The osprey had already settled into their South American winter quarters, the ducks and swans were still on their way from northern shores. September’s abundance of wildflowers had faded; only remnants of purple asters remained, the rest gone crunchy and brown. A light breeze whisked the wild rice, but the water was mirror flat,...

John Smith was right

The Chesapeake is a country that may have the prerogative over the most pleasant places known, for large and pleasant navigable rivers, heaven and earth never agreed better to frame a place for man’s habitation. –Captain John Smith, 1608 The Bay seemed like a god when I was growing up. It was filled to the brim with opportunity: a fishing spot, a refreshing cool-down, a glassy surface to explore by boat.     There was no rawer excitement than a boat day. We pulled...

10 products to restore luster and arouse envy

When winter abandons Chesapeake Country, it leaves many a boat looking like an old haunted mansion. Now, boaters are full-swing in chores they would have done in March — if they could have.     My Catalina 34 is my home, so I’ve learned how to avoid that haunted look. This back-to-the-water season, I’m sharing my shopping list of 10 cleaning products to help you bring a glow back to your boat and make your neighbors jealous.     1. Dull gelcoats...