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Find help here for all your fall projects

Flowers, Vegetables and Grasses for Fall and Winter

Here’s the help you need to tackle fall’s long must-do list

How to freeze your rockfish

A season’s worth of sitcom plots in two hours

They don’t call it craft because it’s fast

Astronomy tells us summer left us only last Friday, September 23. But the seasonal gears of creatures change sooner, following the light. Like farmers making hay under September’s Harvest Moon, we humans feel this is the month to get something done.     So every September brings me a new crop of writers.     Enthusiasm whisks them in, for you have to be under the power of some heavy confidence to call or write an editor. I love their bright ideas and...

Another week, I’m sitting home cleaning the gear

The past two weeks have been frustrating. Constant marine forecasts for morning rain and thunderstorms have been followed by calm, balmy mornings with lovely overcasts that have not only been rain-free but ideal for working the edges of the Bay for marauding rockfish.     Those same low clouds are excellent concealment for any nasty squalls that do make their way down the Chesapeake. A squall could be on you with no warning whatsoever. Over my many years on the water, I’ve...

Without a soil test, you can’t know what your lawn needs

Fall is the season to renew your lawn. Earlier this month, I advised you that lime is the best treatment you can give to your lawn. Now, I’m cautioning you that fertilizing your lawn may well be counterproductive.     If you have been applying conventional lawn fertilizers for years, most likely you are wasting your money and contributing to the pollution of the Bay.     Lawn grasses require very little phosphorus (P) as compared to nitrogen (N). A single...

Sometimes you have to hunt for the night’s best sights

Just a week past equinox, the balance between day and night is shifting fast, with a loss of nearly 20 minutes of sunshine already.     The sun sets this week before 6:50, with Saturn and Venus in its wake tight against the horizon, although you may need binoculars to find them. At week’s end, the two are just a couple degrees apart, but Saturn is on its way out of our evening skies, while Venus in its retrograde orbit climbs a bit higher night by night.   ...

A trio of killers leaves a bloody path and a pretty entertaining movie in their wake

Let’s get this out of the way now: Killer Elite is not high art. Though veiled under the pretense of a globe-trotting spy thriller, the movie is basically an excuse to watch attractive men beat the heck out of each other.     And that’s fine. In fact, it’s pretty fun.     The movie follows mercenary Danny (Jason Statham: Gnomeo & Juliet) as he leaves the gun-for-hire business and tries to start over after nearly killing a child on his last...

In two new local novels, truth wears the thin disguise of fiction

Captivity, corruption, escapes, flights in truth and fantasy, murder, messages from the dead, revenge, suicide …     The stuff of thriller fiction. But in the lives of authors Donald Shomette, Helena Mann-Melnitchenko and Eugene Melnitchenko, such events were terribly real.     Wars, internments and such tragedies can be buried in memory, but they’re not forgotten. Writing puts a frame around memories, rendering them more manageable. These authors...

After Irene and Lee’s one-two punch, hands big and small help Chesapeake Country rise

It’s taking hands big and small to help Chesapeake Country rise from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee’s one-two punch. Lending those helping hands have been neighbors, combined efforts of individuals, local and state agencies, the American Red Cross and big corporate citizens like Dominion Cove Point.     “Virtually every local organization has helped in some manner or the other,” said Susan Shaw, president of the Board of Commissioners in Calvert...

Death interrupts but does not end the osprey cycle

As the osprey head south this year, we say goodbye forever to one special bird: Olive Osprey.     Like many of her species, she was shot. Not over Cuba or the Dominican Republic, where fish farmers consider osprey birds of prey. Olive was shot as she sat on her eggs in her nest in Southern Anne Arundel County, where she had been welcomed and had gained celebrity.     Her killers were neighborhood boys.     Olive was the heroine of my book, Oscar...

National certification hinges on finding 150 homeowners with backyard wildlife habitats

Annapolis is a city with a green ethic. We’ve been cultivating greenspaces for half a century with street-end parks, our Greenscape city beautification program, our commitment to cover half the city with a tree canopy and our cooperative program with Baltimore Gas and Electric to plant the right tree in the right place.     Beyond those greenspaces to nourish wildlife, we’ve installed osprey nesting sites and made purple martin and bat houses fixtures in city parks....

Use the down-time to clean your gear

Today I put on long pants for the first time since last June. Normally this is not entirely a bad thing because chilly fall weather means that bigger rockfish will be in the shallow water I love to fish. But not right now. Around our neck of the woods the fishing is pretty much on hold, and it may take some time before it returns to normal.     The upper- to mid-Chesapeake has been a disaster zone for angling. Satellite maps of the Bay (http://mddnr.chesapeakebay.net/...