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Plant scientist Bert Drake warns that in Earth’s changing climate, plants are odds-on winners. It doesn’t look so good for us.

Canine Companions for Independence are half dog, half angel

Alana Johnson: In her own words

A higher price than we’ll like paying

The big fish are here, with anglers on their tails

Otherwise, you’re planting trouble

My year of reconnections

This wasn’t supposed to be my year of reconnections; it was supposed to be the year of nothing. 2011 had been the year of moving to Annapolis; 2012 the year of my retirement. I assumed I would look back and find the months of 2013 unexciting and unmemorable.     But fate intervened. A series of events turned 2013 into my year of reconnections. I connected with 22 people with whom I had lost contact for anywhere from five to 45 years. Old College Ties     ...

Organize the coming year with one of these Bay calendars

Want to know where you’re headed before the clock strikes midnight on December 31? Buy your calendar now, and you’ll kick off 2014 with map in hand for your new year.     To guide you in a decision that will hang over you for the next 12 months, we reviewed 11 calendars with ties to Maryland and Chesapeake Country, plus the Farmers Almanac calendar, indispensible for Bay gardeners of all skill levels. January Baltimore History See Baltimore in a new (or old)...

And plenty of good reading now and in the new year

Isn’t this a complex time of year?         On the one hand, we’re rushing about to create perfect Martha Stewart holidays. Deck the halls, trim the tree, bake the cookies, plan the parties, shop and spend, choose the presents and wrap them. Ah to be Jewish, with Chanukah already celebrated and put to rest.     On the other, we’re harkening back to a perfect time of peace, comfort and joy, whether our ideal is a Silent Night, White...

Reindeer are perfectly suited to pull Santa’s sleigh

On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer and Vixen, on Comet and Cupid, on Donner and Blixen.     Why are reindeer the right choice for Santa to lead his sleigh on his annual voyage?     Maneuvering through the middle of the night with a load of precious cargo for millions of girls and boys leaves no margin for error.     Reindeer are physically well suited to pull a sleigh loaded down with toys. Males weigh between 350 and 400 pounds; females weigh...

Calvert Marine Museum closing for three months of renovation

Now’s the time to pack up family and holiday visitors for a trip to Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons. Come January 1, the family-friendly, 43-year-old museum closes for three months for renovation. When it opens again, it won’t be the old familiar place.     For starters, you’ll have to find the front door as the redesigned museum will have a new orientation. Expect a new store, too, says deputy director Sherrod Sturrock. “A volunteer left us a legacy...

Evergreens to welcome home — and those to avoid

As Christmas approaches, it’s time to bring fresh greens, with their piney aromas, into your home. Here in Bay Country, we have an abundance of evergreens to choose from. Many will last through the season, even without water. Others dry up too quickly to come inside.     To add both beauty and aroma to your home, choose narrow-leaf greens like arborvitae, white pine, Scots pine, red pine, Douglas fir, Canaan fir, Nordman fir, juniper, red cedar or any of the cedrus species...

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:...