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However you play it, natural gas export is a high stakes game

Have fun even with a sizzling sun

An American in Annapolis

Our flowering gardens are butterfly way-stations

Blue crabs at quarter-century low

Lesson 1: From the ground up

Chesapeake Field Guides travel with you by iPad or iPhone

  Chesapeake Bay? There’s an app for that. Last week, the Chesapeake Bay Trust released an iOS application called Chesapeake Field Guide. If you’ve ever been out of doors and wondered what that bird call is or if that plant is dangerous, answers are now only a tap away. “It’s a fantastic tool for people to learn about the Bay, with thousands of images at the palm of your hand,” says Alex Hance, executive director at the Chesapeake Bay Trust. “The core...

With oyster supplies stifled by the Gulf oil spill, demand for shell grows

  The oil itself may not soil the Bay, but the effects of the massive spill are being felt along its shores by the people who depend on the Gulf fisheries for a living. Jobs are being lost as Virginia and Maryland oyster shucking houses have already begun to see their oyster supply dry up as Gulf fisheries close, one by one. Louisiana supplies Maryland shucking houses with between 60 and 70 percent of their oysters. In turn, those shucking houses provide shells for Maryland’s seed...

Helping his Duke team win the NCAA basketball championship has earned Nolan Smith, of Upper Marlboro, no summer vacation

  A Bay Weekly exclusive   Only 3.6 seconds remained in the last college basketball game of the season, on April 5, when Butler’s Gordon Hayward grabbed a rebound and sped upcourt. The six-foot-eight Hayward, soon to be a wealthy pro, launched a prayer from 50 feet. Its trajectory held rapt the attention of some 49 million people watching on television — not to mention the thousands in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. Would the ball go in to provide a real-life...

Helping his Duke team win the NCAA basketball championship has earned Nolan Smith, of Upper Marlboro, no summer vacation

  A Bay Weekly exclusive   Only 3.6 seconds remained in the last college basketball game of the season, on April 5, when Butler’s Gordon Hayward grabbed a rebound and sped upcourt. The six-foot-eight Hayward, soon to be a wealthy pro, launched a prayer from 50 feet. Its trajectory held rapt the attention of some 49 million people watching on television — not to mention the thousands in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. Would the ball go in to provide a real-life...

How to prune your bare-bottomed hedges

  A neat, completely green sheared hedge of privet can be very attractive in a landscape. But most often the bottom branches lose their leaves, and the hedge quickly loses its attractiveness. This is a common problem and one that can easily be corrected, as I showed in a recent pruning workshop that required rejuvenating an old privet hedge with nothing but naked branches on the lower half.  Plants lose their bottom leaves because those leaves are being shaded out by branches and...

On vacation, your mind wanders

  The Sailing Emporium, Rock Hall, Maryland—Don’t you love how things fly into you out of the blue? Only the good things, of course. Last week’s letter, Who Says You’re Reading Less?, tickled the memory of an old university friend, who in turn set me remembering another life. “Loved your essay on books and reading choices,” wrote John Knoll. “Walter Ong is smiling.” This week’s letter should keep Father Ong smiling down from the heaven...

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a person in a chicken suit

  Chesapeake Bay is full of crap — literally. An EPA study found that 17 percent of nitrogen pollution and 26 percent of pollution in the Bay comes from animal manure. Environment Maryland wants you to hold the biggest polluters responsible — even if motivating you takes dressing up like a chicken to do it. To educate you about the damage your chicken dinner can cause, the people at Environment Maryland meet you at the point of contact: grocery stores. “We wanted to make...

Kudzu threatens more than biodiversity

  I took a nice boat ride up the Severn River last week, exploring the smaller creeks on the north side of the river and swimming in some of the deeper holes. This is the best time to explore the upper Chesapeake, before the dreaded sea nettles take over. Kudzu has already invaded large tracts along the river. In some places, like over by Rugby Hall, the shoreline resembles a giant Chia pet. Native trees and bushes have been smothered by the lush green leaves of doom that grow about a foot...

Forgetting that maxim, this dummy went home hungry

  It had been a simple plan: Start out before dawn; catch some small Norfolk spot for live-lining; locate a pod of rockfish; catch two keepers; get off the water before the temps hit 100. I’d done it before, and that formula had been a sure route to success. However, all the parts had to cooperate to make my plan work. The before-dawn part was easily accomplished, though the gods know I don’t care for getting up in the dark. But after I had launched and began my bait search, I...

This week, the west is best

  The sun this week passes a psychological yardstick, setting at 8:30 Friday and then a little less than a minute earlier each night. The sun’s exit, stage right, is the parting of the night’s curtain, revealing a stage full of luminaries. The waxing moon reveals a shadow of itself even in the glare of twilight, high in the southwest at week’s end. Thursday it shines just a few degrees below Mars and 10 degrees to the right of golden Saturn. Venus, unmistakably brilliant...