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Baby birds growing bigger

Nests throughout Chesapeake Country are full of baby birds. Fluffy young osprey are learning to tear their fish into bites in nests topping nearly every channel marker and many utility poles. Mom and Pop Osprey are still delivering the fish to their fast-growing babies.     These youngsters have big things ahead of them, starting with learning to feed themselves. Their parents’ care ends sometime over the next two months. By September, the fledglings will be on their own,...

The emerald ash borer chews half of Maryland

Nothing may seem amiss, but the entire western half of Maryland is now a quarantine area. In 14 counties west of the Chesapeake and Susquehanna, Maryland Department of Agriculture has found evidence of the emerald ash borer. The destructive Asiatic beetle, which has conquered the west in nine years, kills ash trees from the inside out.     The threat the half-inch-long bugs pose is grave. Ash are shade trees for much of urban Maryland. Ones that have fallen prey to the borers...

No need to check your eyes, that was Kevin Spacey in Annapolis

No, you’re not seeing things.         When you thought you saw Kevin Spacey getting coffee at 49 West, drinking martinis on Metropolitan’s roof deck or throwing darts at Stan & Joe’s it wasn’t a mirage from the extreme heat wave and lack of air conditioning. It was Keyser Soze, seriously.     Spacey, in Baltimore filming the Netflix production House of Cards, has been frequenting Annapolis hot spots. According to Men...

 Go to summer school for TEAM DNR and you’ll be teaching come fall

“I’m proud of you that you can name all the states in our watershed and not miss any,” said longtime TEAM DNR volunteer Penny Vahsen to fourth-graders at West Annapolis Elementary School. “Some students say California is part of our watershed.”     Not Candice Gaylon’s class this past school year. They’re up on buffers, erosion and water pollution.     Volunteers from TEAM DNR — Teaching Environmental Awareness in...

Ancient wisdom from the days before AC

One by one, we’re getting back in touch with the grid. By July 3, electricity was restored to three out of four households that lost power to June 29’s derecho. The storm has taught us all a new word and reminded us of some old coping skills.     Even with power on, high summer is Mother Nature’s test of her creatures’ toughness. Over the last half-century, we’ve depended on human ingenuity to skip most of her regularly scheduled tests. But her pop...

I use fences, smells and my dog

Squirrels, rabbits, ground hogs and deer are a common problem in home vegetable gardens. I surround my garden with a four-foot-high four-inch-by-two-inch turkey fence supported by steel fence posts at 10-foot intervals. I also attach an 18-inch-wide pullet fence at the bottom with hog-nose rings. Groundhogs will not climb the turkey fence with the bottom pullet fence. They try but fall backwards because the pullet fence is loosely attached. The bottom edge is buried two to three inches deep to...

Get up early to find the fish and beat the heat

We were drifting quietly well off the mouth of the Severn in 30 feet of water. It was not yet sunrise but the first blush of daylight lit the water’s surface well enough to show some very nervous schools of baitfish swimming around us.     Here and there small menhaden — peanut bunker — would shower into the air, fleeing something sinister below. There must have been a heck of a spawn this spring because I don’t believe I’ve ever seen so many...

Ted

Teddy bears can be pigs

Young John Bennet (Bretton Manley) didn’t have many friends, so for Christmas his parents bought him a stuffed bear named Ted (Seth MacFarlane: Family Guy). Thanks to the magic of the season and the power of a child’s wish, Ted became real.     At first, Ted is a godsend, giving John confidence and companionship. Twenty-seven years later, however, Ted keeps 35-year-old John (Mark Wahlberg:  ) stuck in permanent ­adolescence.     Ted and John...

Who — regardless of age — doesn’t love a good story?

Will Bartlett’s light musical adaptation of Rumplestiltskin has run continuously off-Broadway since 1985 with good reason. With its cantankerous characters and timeless moral, Rumple Who? makes an entertaining way for parents and grandparents to share love of theater with their children.     The familiar story is distilled, updated and less Grimm than the original with musical summaries for each plot development. In this version, Rumpelstiltskin is a kinder and gentler...

A terrific kids’ show — no kidding

Lies. Falsehoods. Tall tales. Call them what you will, some children cling to them long after attaining the age of reason, and Infinity Theatre is to be applauded for broaching the topic with a humorous touch in founder Alan Ostroff’s original play for three to 10-year-olds, The Tall Tales of Enoch.     Enoch (Lance Hayes) is just such a child, a rambunctious third-grader with super-powered imagination, nuclear-fueled energy and a likely diagnosis of attention deficit and...