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The very thirsty Silvery Checkerspot

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

A few Hail Marys might have saved this horror movie

Michael Kovak (Colin O’Donoghue: The Tudors) doesn’t want to join the family funeral business. To escape this morbid life, Kovak joins a seminary, hoping for a free education. As far as the drawbacks — the whole celibacy thing, the fact that he doesn’t believe in God — Kovak figures he’ll just quit before he makes his vows. What does the church do when this Doubting Thomas tries to quit? They send him to an exorcism class in Rome. Why a priest with actual...
Once again Arnold’s Mill Creek pumping station has failed, dumping over a quarter-million gallons of raw sewage into Mill Creek. This spill is being blamed on the failure of two separate backup power sources. The station has been plagued with problems, most notably 2005’s three-million-gallon sewage spill, for which the watershed is still undergoing restoration. It’s arguable that the pumping station remains grossly inadequate to the development that has occurred in the area...

If it’s a sunny day, a second winter is on the way

On February 2, Punxsutawney Phil saw his/no shadow, answering the question of whether our weather will be wintry. Yes, for about six more weeks. But he begged the real question: Why let a groundhog decide? European folklore tells of sacred animals like bears, badgers and hedgehogs predicting the weather. Arriving in North America in the 19th century, Germans brought this tradition with them, giving the job to the animal that most resembled those back home: the groundhog. Other elements of the...

Who’s that guy on the roof at ATW Hardware & Supplies?

Who’s The Man? He’s the guy Ted Kramer hired to draw attention to his business. The Man has been sitting, standing, lying and climbing onto the roof at ATW Hardware & Supplies on Pike Ridge Road in Edgewater for six years. So it’s a good thing The Man is made of chicken wire and foam rather than flesh and blood. In 2005, Kramer decided something was missing in his then 16-year-old business. “Too many people said they didn’t know where we were,” Kramer...

Brace yourself for the quickening

You might not know it with the cold, gray weather of late, but this week we pass the midpoint of winter, with February 5 marking the first of the year’s four cross-quarter days. January 1 of the Julian calendar marks the new year for us in the modern western world. However, our long-distant ancestors had no such construct, instead looking to the changes in the heavens and here on earth to delineate the seasons and to break up their year. And for many of those peoples, February 2, midway...

Hunting with beagles on the Eastern Shore

Tense silence had settled over the tangled, wooded, bottomland. Then in the distance, Copper’s deep-throated bawl once again rolled across the frozen terrain as he re-located the rabbit’s trail.  A second later, he bayed again. Then Slim’s throaty cry affirmed the scent strike, and with that Jack, Lou and Rocky joined up and threw their rich voices into the effort. Our gang of beagles was in full cry. The chase was on again. The sound of an experienced pack of hounds hot...

They work for you; now it’s time to work on them

Now is the time to care for your lawn and garden tools. Sharpen the lawnmower blades, drain and replace the engine oil, replace or clean the sparkplug and blow the dust and dirt from the cooling fins. When I service my gasoline engines during the winter months, I also like to squirt a few drops of oil in the cylinder head before I replace the sparkplug. If you have an electric mower, all you need to do is sharpen the blade and clear the vents of debris. I have an electric mower that is 41 years...

Need an excuse to den up this time of year? Read on.

We’ve been watching a lot of movies lately. So many that the search is on for explanations. Really excuses. Is it the chicken or the egg? Are we watching movies to prepare for this week’s ever-popular Groundhog’s Movie Review? Or is the mood of the times the compelling force behind both behaviors? If that’s the case, we watch movies for the same reason that we run our annual Groundhog Movie Review on the first Thursday of February: It’s the season for burrowing for...
Dear Bay Weekly: Greetings from an iced-in Charlotte. Typical winter mess down here. Snow, then rain, which all froze, so you can ice skate down our street. All our [transmitter-tagged] osprey are down in much warmer places, and they’re all doing fine. I updated all the maps through the end of 2010. Just a couple of months before the adults head north! There are quick links to the new maps for the youngsters (interesting movements by all, including our S.C. bird, Buck) on the Migration...
Dear Bay Weekly:   In “What’s with That” on January 13, Diana Beechener writes “it’s too cold for even a native Marylander to sit on a pier right now.” I beg to differ. After our afternoon walk, which usually lasts for an hour to an hour and a half, my dog and I go out on the pier, where he enjoys several treats while I have a beer and contemplate the universe. We live just south of Holland Point where Herring Bay meets the Chesapeake. Rain is about the...