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The stories behind the restaurants — and the people who make them

This old west melodrama could do with more bullets and less monologues

Is there a smarter way to package our takeout?

Now at home in Maryland Zoo

Should we give up plastic bags?

Make a habit of carrying out lunch, and you’ll be as bad as Jonas

Now’s the time to get to work so it’s lush and green come spring

Feeling less than pride and joy in your lawn?     Fall is the best time to lay the foundation for a rich, green, weed-free grass come spring. 1. Test Your Soil     How’s your lawn doing?     There’s no way to know without soil testing. Fertilize without testing, and you’re not only throwing your money away but also polluting the Bay.     Don’t bother with do-it-yourself-test kits. They don’t work....

Increase the odds of a happy ending by doing your part

It’s been three weeks since my home-improvement job was finished and I made the final payment.     Now comes the test: In the first rain since replacement, my gutters leaked. I made the call and waited.     Within an hour my call was returned. A few hours later, a craftsman was fixing the problem.     All contractors are responsive when they’re trying to win your business. The good ones remain that way during the job. The exceptional...

Three things you can do

1. Check your smoke detectors     The batteries in your smoke detectors should be replaced every six months. It’s also important to make sure that interconnected systems function properly. Press the test button on any of the smoke detectors in your home and verify that all of the other detectors ring, too. 2. Check your GFI receptacles     To verify that GFI receptacles are still providing the proper protection, depress the TEST button. If the receptacle is...

The seven most dangerous DIY home projects

One in five DIY-ers tackling home renovations ends up in the hospital each year due to accidents, according to the Home Safety Council. Don’t become a statistic; leave these projects to the experts. Tree Trimming and Removal     Trees don’t always fall in a predictable manner. It’s best to consult a certified arborist, no matter how handy you are with power tools.     “If a tree falls during a storm, a DIY mishap or a careless neighbor...

These little steps can make a big ­difference in comfort

After Jack Frost has moved in, you’ll wish you’d invested a pleasant autumn afternoon in winter-proofing your home. To keep your home and family sound and snug, move these five simple steps to the top of your chore list. 1. Touch up exterior paint. Peeling or flaking paint can expose bare wood, subjecting it to moisture and possible rotting. So if you see bare spots, touch them up. Scrape off any loose paint, sand the surface smooth and prime the bare wood.  Then apply one or...

Why recycle when there’s so much art left in that can?

My friend Alice was gleaming with triumph after recycling her closetful of old latex paint. Her pride, far beyond the ordinary atta-girl (or boy) we feel after a successful trip to our county recycling center, reflected the enormity of the task she’d unwittingly taken on.     Following the dictates of her Calvert County recycling center, she bought kitty litter (though sand or an oil-absorbent commercial product would have worked) and stirred it into the paint, achieving...

Bay Weekly’s Fall Fix-up Guide will get you started

October is Fix the Fundamentals Month, according to Free Will Astrologer Rob Brezsny. Boy is he right, and not just for the Capricorns among us.     For this Cancer, at the opposite pole of the zodiac, October is Fix My Fundamentals Month because with the waning of summer’s pleasures, I’ve seen the truth of all that’s been left undone.     Time to turn to home-front chores, so we can go cozy into winter hibernation.     Just in...

Next year’s flowers and vegetables thrive on what you do now

The leaves of herbaceous perennials are turning yellow with their margins already crisp-brown. Trees and shrubs have stopped growing leaves; winter bud scales are well developed over the buds in the axils of their leaves. Perennial plants are getting ready for winter.     Annuals, too, are dying. When your annual flower garden is at the point of no return, set your lawn mower to its highest level and mow down those dead and dying plants. Mowing creates a mulch and...

This light comedy closes the generation gap

Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro: The Bag Man) isn’t adjusting to retirement. Widowed and 3,000 miles from his son and granddaughter, Ben feels imprisoned in his Brooklyn townhouse. Life is reduced to funerals, busywork and widows who want to pre-heat his lasagna.     A flyer advertising senior internships at an Internet startup leads him back into the workforce, but his new career takes some adjustment. He’s a suit in a sea of hoodies. He uses a clock instead of...

Jug Bay protects the Bay and its creatures big and small

Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary in Lothian is one of those treasures we sometimes forget in our jewelry box of Chesapeake natural wonders. More than just one park and beyond typical county offerings, its ever-expanding boundary lines encompass more than 1,700 acres of wetlands, marsh, upland forests and meadows. The park includes the main sanctuary, the Parris Glendening Nature Preserve, the Patuxent Wetland Park and Wootens Landing.     On a gorgeous September afternoon, I sit at a...