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

Today’s oysterman is likely to be a woman — and a farmer rather than a hunter-gatherer

Local artist Greg Harlin puts his stamp on the Battle of Baltimore

Species at risk in Maryland are a roll call of birds we know and love

No walk in the park in Chesapeake Country

Mountain laurel, blueberries and other acid-lovers, too

You never know what’s going to happen on the Chesapeake

How to buy and keep a fresh, fire-safe tree

The best way to purchase a Christmas tree from a corner lot is to buy as soon as the tree lot opens. The longer you wait to purchase that tree, the more water it will lose and the more likely it will become a fire hazard.     Even if the corner Christmas tree lot advertises fresh trees delivered weekly, check to see where the trees are grown. A number of Christmas tree farms in Maryland operate corner lots. Often they’ll display pictures of their farms, and their vehicles...

Bringing home the fish on a captain’s holiday

With winter approaching and their businesses winding down, Chesapeake fishing guides Frank Tuma and Tom Hughes finally had a few days off. Of course they decided to go fishing, and they invited me and my friend Maurice Klein to join them.     Cruising down from the Magothy in Frank’s 29-foot C Hawk Downtime, we reached the Bay Bridge at 11am. It was fantastic weather for early December, light winds, 60 degrees, bright and sunny with a nice running, outgoing tide.  ...

Bright lights warm dark nights

We’re still a couple weeks from winter solstice, the day with the least sunlight for us in the Northern Hemisphere. But we’re already enjoying later sunsets one day to the next. Wednesday the 7th, old Sol sunk beneath Annapolis’s southwest horizon at 37 seconds past 4:43, the earliest sunset of the year. By the solstice December 21, the sun sets more than two and a-half minutes later at 4:47:03.     December’s full moon Saturday is called the Yule Moon,...

A Christmas tale for the iPod generation

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring as a spaceship arrived.     Wait. Is that how the story goes?     In Arthur Christmas, a charming if not brilliant update on the story of Santa Claus, St. Nick is driven more by a palm pilot than eight tiny reindeer.     On the eve of his 70th trip around the world, Santa (Jim Broadbent: Harry Potter) is going thru the motions, letting his eldest son and...

Make the first gift to yourself by savoring the Season’s Bounty as you shop.

If you’re one of those people who love to shop, you can stop reading now and go wrap some presents.         But if it takes eight crazed reindeer to drag you to the store during the holidays, this story is for you.     You’ve seen the news, read the paper. You’re thinking OMG. Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Waiting overnight in ridiculously long lines. Mad dashes for sale merchandise. Customers crushed and pepper sprayed. All while...

What to call a giant octopus?

The National Zoo’s new giant Pacific octopus will pick its own name, but suggestions from local kids are welcome. The zoo asks invertebrate enthusiasts ages five to 15 to submit their favorite name for the rapidly growing cephalopod.     The only hitch is that the zoo isn’t sure if the octopus, now the size of a grapefruit, is a boy or a girl yet. So you may want to stay away from suggestions like Ralph.     “We’re thinking it’s a...

Cutting excursions are fun for the family; plus, fresh-cut Christmas trees are safer and smell better

Until 1970, when I published the first directory of Choose and Cut Christmas trees in Maryland, only two growers in the state were marketing their Christmas trees — with limited success — by inviting people to cut their own. Thinking it was a good idea, I convinced another 10 Christmas tree growers to give it a try. The directory was printed using a mimeograph machine and was distributed to local newspapers and county libraries.     The program was so successful that...

Endurance Racers John Crandell and Heraldic

Touch of Class, a Marylander, was the first non-human female equestrian honored by the U.S. Olympic Committee as Athlete of the Year. In 1984, this Hall of Fame horse won two Gold Medals for the United States, clearing 90 of 91 jumps in show jumping Olympic competition.     Her achievement inspired a new award to honor horses and people who demonstrate the highest standards of excellence in Maryland’s horse industry.     The first winner was Maryland horse...

It’s time for the big guys

They started to arrive late last week. First you saw a few 38- and 40-inch rockfish in angler’s boat boxes. Then the really big guys appeared, up to 47 inches so far. The ocean-run migratory fish have reached the mid-Bay, and they are awesome.     Falling mainly to anglers trolling big lures deep, at 40 to 60 feet, the monsters are providing lots of thrills after we’ve been struggling the last several weeks to get fish over 18 inches. It’s a welcome change....

Ancient lava and endless impacts color our natural satellite

No doubt you’ve noticed the blazing light high in the east at sunset. The planet Jupiter rules over the rising stars of autumn and blazes until the wee hours before dawn. By 9pm it is a little to the south of the sky’s zenith; by 1am, Old Jove is high above the west horizon until finally setting in the northwest around 4am.     As if Jupiter didn’t stand out enough, it appears all the more prominent Monday and Tuesday, when it’s joined by the waxing...