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Your guide to Chesaeake Country's freshest produce and more!

Unearthing a forgotten past

Southern migration underway

The Maryland Renaissance Festival has more cars than 16th-century England

Catch Phytophtora quick and save the plant

The best time to fish is when they’re biting

Some seeds are worth trying; others you should avoid

My 2011 vegetable garden was the most productive I have ever had. Even as I write this column in early January, I am still harvesting kale, collard greens, kohlrabi, cabbage, mustard greens and Brussels sprouts. I also had the best harvest ever of fall peas, snap beans and carrots.     The kale we are eating and sharing with friends is called Siberian kale. It is a tenderer curly variety, with leaves closely resembling those of collards. The collards have also been great and...

Behind this glowing mass of cosmic gas is a stellar nursery

The waning crescent moon reaches new phase Monday, leaving our night skies free of its overpowering glow. As darkness settles and the stars come into view, the familiar outline of Orion is appears above the southeast horizon.     Easily the most recognizable constellation, Orion has marched through the heavens and played a role in the mythology of every civilization and culture on earth.     Each of the constellation’s stars is magnitude 2 or brighter, and...

Meryl Streep is all teeth, no bite, in this boring biopic

What do you do when you’re making a movie about a political figure whose politics you don’t agree with? Avoid the subject, cast Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher and give her an immense set of dentures. The formula worked. Streep and her dentures just took home a Golden Globe.     The teeth are right. But the rest of the film is all wrong.     The Iron Lady shows a feeble Thatcher pottering around her house. She’s still got some of her feisty...

Previews of the Maryland General Assembly

Americans have a thing for lawlessness.         If we had a mantra, it might go something like this: The fewer laws the better — except as they benefit us personally.     From the Pilgrims, Conquistadors and New Dutch to explorers, pioneers and cowboys — not to mention robber barons — we’ve made our own laws.     Nobody better tell us what to do.     That strain of individual liberty is today...

People on the move in the Maryland General Assembly

Lawmaking is not the only thing on the minds of the members of Maryland’s 430th General Assembly. Among local highlights: Looking for New Jobs     A trio of local Republicans likes public service so well that this year’s General Assembly could be a distraction to their long-range planning.     Tony O’Donnell, five-term delegate from southern Calvert and St. Mary’s County, has climbed the ladder of Republican Statehouse politics. From party...

The dysfunctional family of this fractured fairy tale is the medieval equivalent of trailer park trash in a neighborhood populated by Grimms’ all-stars.

Ladies: Did you grow up on Cinderella dreams? How did that work out for you?     Gentlemen: Is the prince for real?     Parents: Which frustrates you more — the Disney princess culture or books such as the best-selling Cinderella Ate My Daughter that denigrate it?     No matter your stance, you’ll find much to applaud in Colonial Players’ Cinderella Waltz, Don Nigro’s 1978 farcical retelling of the classic. Bring your...

Circulating is now free

    Going to Annapolis?          Since cars claimed roads designed for horse traffic, parking has made visiting our capital city easier by boat than by car.     Where to put the vehicles that bring the city a million visitors each year has kept city planners scratching their heads.     Over the month of December, free parking and trolley make the city more welcoming, and its shopping and cultural opportunities more...

Grass beds survived storm to welcome waterfowl, Bay babies

Housing stock is on the rise for the young fish and crabs who’ll be sheltering at the top of the Bay come spring. The vast grass-filled Susquehanna Flats, the circular area where the Susquehanna River meets the Bay, appeared unexpectedly healthy in aerial survey images made late last year.     The valuable Bay habitats seem to have survived fall 2011’s deluge of runoff and sediment.     That was a welcome surprise. During Hurricane Irene and Tropical...

Who can resist the water on a mild day?

January’s first Saturday afternoon was a beautiful time to be on the water. It was near 70 degrees, sunny, calm and the incoming tide was making up nicely. Drifting in my small skiff over a shell bottom at the mouth of the Magothy, I threaded a piece of worm on a size-two hook. The upper hook on my top and bottom rig already sported a small, wriggling bull minnow.   Fishfinder     Up in the tributaries is the place to fish in the mid-Bay, with lots of...

Here’s what all the fuss is about

Read any good plans lately?         Maryland’s state plan has no suspense, sex, violence or drugs, not even any characters.     Yet PlanMaryland, which Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proclaimed by executive order last month, is becoming notorious.     The 11-page document has a web page, a Facebook page with nearly 500 likes and a game you can play.     PlanMaryland was four years in the making and a half-...