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You won’t want to go through this looking glass

Jan Miles was bred to captain Maryland’s ­historic clipper ship

We have food pantries all over the state. Why not furniture pantries?

Three years in, I’m planning ahead for optimal success

See them again this year on the Osprey Cam

Learn to tie flies or fly-cast with this open-to-all club

The morning temperature was well below freezing on my home’s weather gauge as I grabbed my coat and fly boxes. It was way too cold and windy to be on the water, so we were headed for the next best thing: tying some flies and talking about fishing.     I was meeting a friend, Joe Demeo, at the Free State Fly Fishers Club, a winter haven for local fly-fishers. Anglers join the fly-tying sessions at the Davidsonville clubhouse to replenish their supply of fish-foolers while...

This time of year a day is 30 seconds longer

Winter officially begins with the solstice Saturday, December 21. At 12:11pm EDT that day, the sun reaches its most southerly declination, standing still above the Tropic of Capricorn. For the roughly 90 percent of the world’s population that lives in the Northern Hemisphere, this is the first day of winter, the day of the longest night and the shortest day of the year.     We say it is the shortest day of the year, but in truth it is one of the longest days as measured...

How Walt Disney won over Mary Poppins

After Mary Poppins became a literary phenomenon in 1934, Walt Disney (Tom Hanks: Captain Phillips) promised his daughters he would make their favorite book into a movie. A lucrative film adaptation is a dream offer for many, but Poppins author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson: Love Punch) didn’t share the Disney vision. Horrified by all things animated and kitschy, Travers fought for 20 years to keep her beloved book out of the hands of “the Man Behind the Mouse.”   ...

Local and regional authors help you — and your gift list — read into a good new year

    For Bay Lovers … Chesapeake Views: Catching the Light by Wilson Wyatt Jr.      Almost four hundred years ago, one of the first European visitors to the New World, Captain John Smith, extolled the Chesapeake: “Heaven and earth never agreed better to frame a place for man’s habitation.”     Chesapeake Country photographer and writer Wilson Wyatt Jr. takes up that theme in his self-published Chesapeake Views:...

Snowy Owls popping up all over

Is it a bird? A plane? A creature flown out of Harry Potter? Or a white paper bag frozen in a field?     This year, it may be a snowy owl.     The white bird with bright, yellow eyes, huge talons and a five-foot wingspan is usually a rare sight in Chesapeake Country. So rare that the first-ever snowy owl sighting and photo was recorded in Calvert County this week.     The big bird was perched on a Ford tractor in Prince Frederick.   ...

A tottering old soul

King Coal’s crown seems to be teetering.     The second fuel of America’s prosperity may be losing the race to the future, just as wood did before it. Scarcity is not the problem; many of America’s coalfields continue producing high yields. At issue are the consequences of the fossil fuel’s combustion: carbon pollution clogging air and lungs.     More than 150 coal-burning plants have retired since 2010. This week, two of Maryland’s...

Gardening tools you can grow with

Fellow gardeners often ask me which gardening tools are my favorites. In case you’re shopping for one of those gardeners, here’s my list. I don’t stint on price because I want quality tools that last.     The Weed Bandit hoe is my favorite because of its long rake handle and stainless steel head with a corrugated blade that stays sharp. I like the small Weed Bandit for hoeing onions and closely spaced plants, and the medium blade Weed Bandit for all other...

Stuff their stocking with a good book or video

The dedicated outdoorsman or woman is, by definition, equipped. The few things such a person might lack are likely so specialized as to be a mystery to outdoors outsiders.     Books and movies, however, fall into a safe-gift zone. If you’re intent on pleasantly surprising an outdoors lover with your gift, the following suggestions might help.     Kayak Fishing (Sportsman’s Best www.Florida Sportsman.com) details in both book and DVD the fastest...

Can the Geminids outshine December’s full moon?

The moon lights up the night this week, starting as a waxing gibbous, reaching full moon Tuesday and waxing slowly through the middle of the week. Look for the near-full moon beside the Pleiades star cluster Saturday.     You know the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper. The Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters and categorized as celestial object M45, could be called the Mini Dipper. The belt stars of the constellation Orion point up toward Taurus the bull and its orange-...

Grunge, hip-hop and Gen Y angst color this whimsical romance where mortals meet magic

The Annapolis Shakespeare Company has shaken up the Bard to magical effect with a 1990s’ setting of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that is da bomb! Grunge, hip hop and Gen Y angst color this whimsical story of romance, mischief and enchantment in Fairyland, where mortals meet magic and are none the wiser for it.     Guest director Kristin Clippard, formerly of the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, has created a magical forest cloaked in fog and sparkling with frost...