Those innocent-looking sippers are one of the Top 5 plastic ocean pollutants

The least you need to know about solar power

For more than 45 years, Bill Ticknor has kept the 326-year-old St. James’ Parish abreast of history

Plant milkweed to support this ­butterfly’s long migration

1,271 is this week’s magic number

­Put your hand where Nodosaurus tred

Lessons in tackle, bait and reading the water

    Live-lining is one of the best light-tackle techniques for rockfish throughout the Bay this time of year. You’ll need a medium- to medium-heavy-action rod and the means to keep small baitfish alive while you are on the water.     Boat live wells are designed for just this sort of thing, but aerated buckets can work as well. The aerator must be a heavy-duty 12 volts to manage more than a half-dozen baitfish for long periods. Many baitfish species have a...

Escape urban lights to see this sight

     Each August, as the kids head back to school, the galaxy is tilted  in such a way that the Milky Way stretches overhead in full glory. With Monday’s new moon, this may be the best week of summer to gaze on this river of stars. To fully appreciate it you’ll need dark skies away from any urban glow well after sunset. Give your eyes a few minutes to get accustomed to the darkness, tilt your head back and get lost in the glow.     From...

Grandpa, tell me about the good old days

    In the bygone era of 1980s’ movies, a hero’s worth was determined by the circumference of his biceps, the length of his cigars and the heft of his gun. It was a simple time of bloody shootouts, car chases and cheesy lines.     Three decades later, these pumped-up monosyllabic heroes are well past their prime but determined to relive their glory days in the Expendables series. Most of the stars are too old for this stuff, but even action heroes have...

Local coffee shops serve ­individual experiences

    If mocha is your mistress or black coffee is your morning muse, there is a place for you. Local coffee shops don’t skimp on quality and cater right to you.     Locally owned coffee shops offer freshness, friendliness and community.     Don’t get me wrong. Starbucks is my usual go-to for coffee. The chain is easy to find, I know what to expect and I have been a gold card member for two years.     Last fall when I...

By paying Flush Tax, we’re all helping

Rob and Brandi Pryke gawked at the commotion in the front yard of their modest home in Calvert County; their well-kept lawn was being attacked by a backhoe digging a hole big enough to bury a large SUV. The assault was the culmination of a chain of events that started in 2008, a year after they bought the house, and shifted into high gear three months ago. That’s when Brandi noticed the toilets didn’t seem to be flushing correctly, and there was water accumulating in the side yard....

While you’re at play, Bay Weekly is minding Chesapeake Country

    Hello out there?         With everybody from the president to the financial planner on vacation, I considered printing this week’s paper in invisible ink in hopes of convincing you the stories were right below your eyes if you had the right stuff — lemon juice or infrared light — to see them. That idea fell to our watchful puzzlers, who showed me my ruse would be caught. Since last Thursday, call after note has come in...

Help fill a backpack for kids in need

    The best part of summer’s winding down is the acquisition of new school supplies.     Opening the full bag is as thrilling as opening a treasure chest. Abundant new and fresh, here is everything you need to make this the best year ever. Then comes the rush as you sharpen new pencils, use an unmarred eraser and crack open a pristine notebook to write on the very first page.     School supplies give students a better start back to school...

Writing the story of our species

Wonderful things about our species have been discovered by scientists in the last 30 years. We are so much more important to each other than we knew, more a gift to each other, more a needed comfort. Scientists are reporting their work, but the meaning of their work to our everyday lives is just becoming known to the general public. Spreading the news is what I try to do with my writing.     We have evolved an appreciation for the gift of life that gives us a natural sacred...

The very thirsty Silvery Checkerspot

     After being tethered and tightly wrapped since last autumn, checkerspots in the garden are like tiki bar openers, brightly dressed and very thirsty.     I see the silvery checkerspot,  Charidryas nycteis, feeding in groups at everything: bee balm, summer phlox, Shasta daisies — blooming or not, even experimenting with the artificial woodgrain of vinyl siding on our house.     Larvae feed on turtlehead, both Chelone glabra (...

Summer after summer, you’d hear of some unlucky swimmer, waterman or shellfish eater. Then it happened to me

     On and in, I’ve swum, fished, crabbed, eeled, sailed, canoed, kayaked and written about the Patuxent River — from both sides — since 1960. When you live with a place for over 60 years, you think you know it.     From the birds that harvest the river … the migratory swans, geese, red-winged blackbirds and songbirds that visit … myriad sea creatures, terrapins, wiggly critters in the muck, ghosts of Patuxent Indians and...