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Winter is on the way

We lay in bed, just before lights out, and watched the small battalion of gunmetal gray tanks make their way across the top of our curtains. Three windows, three stinkbugs each. After fall’s bombardment, we didn’t get too worked up over just nine of the little buggers. But we did wonder what entrance they were using. My husband suggested our double-hung windows were probably not shut tight, and the slender gap at the top and bottom of each gave the invaders — and the now...

A Veterans Day Memoir

Veterans’ Day holds special meanings for native Marylander Lillian Caplins, of Huntingtown, who was a cadet nurse at McGuire General Hospital in Richmond, Virginia.  Like her husband Alphonse, Lill was born in Baltimore of 100 percent Lithuanian stock. Like Lill, Al served in World War II. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in August 2, 1942, and on June 20, 1943, left for China with the Air Force in the India-Burma-China Theater of Operations in support of General Claire Lee...

Survival of Spriggs Farm is touch and go

  There aren’t many farms left once you head north from Annapolis. The Spriggs Farm on the Magothy River is part of a dying breed. With its sweeping views of Dobbins Island and bird-draped, saltwater tidal pond, it’s a one-of-a-kind place. According to legend, Ulmstead Point, its promontory, was the site of feasts between the Indian tribes of western Maryland and Gibson’s Island. Touring the farm with Jack Neil, trustee of Spriggs Farm Preservation Foundation, a group of...

Encounters under the full moon

An angler’s skunk may stink only metaphorically, but it can be every bit as unpleasant as an encounter with the actual Pepe Le Pew. I’m talking about a day spent fishing without catching a fish.    Fish Are Biting Drifting eels is producing really nice-sized rockfish, with 36-inchers being boated on occasion. Chumming and fishing cut bait is working now as well. If you don’t have a favorite honey hole, try the mouth of any of the Bay’s tributaries for some...
Dear Bay Weekly: I congratulate you on the Election Educator [Oct. 28]. The present, mid-term election is my second experience in your country after the Barack Obama victory two years ago. The rubbishing of candidates of opposing camps is no different from electioneering in my own country, South Africa. You aptly put it as “a season of mud-slinging.” As a retired councilman of the City of Cape Town, I discern certain similarities and differences in the contenders, here and back home...
Dear Bay Weekly: Every year on November 11, a grateful nation honors and recognizes more than 23.4 million living veterans. While our foremost thoughts are with those in distant war zones, on Veterans’ Day Americans pay their respects to all who answered the nation’s call. Participation in Veterans’ Day can be as simple as placing the American flag on your porch or reminding youngsters about friends and relatives who served in the military. This Veterans’ Day, I...

For a Veterans’ Day conversation with Bill Burton

Other seasons, change sneaks into our lives so stealthily that we can forget it is the law of time. This time of year, change shakes its scepter — and the leaves fall from the trees. Overnight, fall turns its back on summer and runs for winter. Frost wilts the petunias, and we scramble to shut windows and find winter coats, while just days ago, we wore short sleeves.  This very week, the Texas Rangers could have been on top of the world. Now that’s where the San Francisco...

Tundra Swans Winging Their Way to Chesapeake Country

Migrating to their winter home, tundra swans will soon be filling the gap in the sky left by south-migrating osprey. Our snowbirds could be arriving any day. Most of their 3,000-mile journey south from their homes in Alaska and Canada occurs during November, according to Larry Hindman, the Water Fowl Project Leader of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The birds migrate in family groups. Parents with their young plus teens and non-breeders all fly in the famous V form that most...

Recreational Outreach Project gives a day on the Bay to those who serve

Veterans and their families are invited to go fishing with Maryland Department of Natural Resources on 35 fall fishing charters now thru Dec. 15, when rockfish season closes. “We are very pleased to give something back to our veterans, who so courageously serve on our behalf — in this case, a day of fishing on our beautiful Chesapeake Bay,” said Gov. Martin O’Malley of the new Recreational Outreach Project for Veterans.  Wounded vets and those recently returned from...

Digging out of last year’s snow cost over $54 million; guess who paid?

April, when we pay our taxes, may be the cruelest month. But winter is the most expensive season. At least it was in 2009-10, when what we saved in autumnal hurricanes was lost in the avalanche of winter snow.  In Maryland alone, last year’s record-setting snow cost American taxpayers $54,699,527.85 — yes, the fed counts down to pennies. That’s how much cash the Federal Emergency Management Agency has shoveled into Maryland to help dig out from under last winter’s...