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Your guide to Chesaeake Country's freshest produce and more!

Unearthing a forgotten past

Southern migration underway

The Maryland Renaissance Festival has more cars than 16th-century England

Catch Phytophtora quick and save the plant

The best time to fish is when they’re biting

July 2, North Beach: Red admiral butterflies are abundant in the yard. Some species of butterfly hatch multiple broods during a season. Red admirals have two or more broods in our region. One brood must have just hatched because so many are around. They are one of the widest-spread species on the planet. There is also plenty of Calvert County’s official insect, the zebra swallowtail, flying about. The weather is surprisingly cool, a nice break from the recent heat. But it is going to get...

Depends on how you define it

I am frequently asked if I am an organic gardener, based on my reputation for having been heavily involved in composting and compost utilization research since 1972. My answer is yes and no. The importance of organic matter in soils and the use of compost to improve and maintain soil productivity is not thoroughly appreciated. In my gardening practices, I use a combination of compost and chemical fertilizers and minimize restricted-use pesticides as much as I can. Based on my many years of...

Maryland chefs show you how to keep your cool when the mercury bubbles

It’s too hot to cook. Yet the heat that’s stewing us is sugaring the peach, sweetening the corn, swelling the crab.That’s summer’s dilemma. The heat that cooks fruits and vegetables — even Maryland seafood — to perfection is the same heat that’s stewing you. Nobody knows this better than the chefs whose joy and job torture them with the best raw materials when kitchens are hellishly hot. Except perhaps the farmers, condemned to reap in July what they...

Annapolitan Joel Machak’s Crash Test Dummies break into the Smithsonian

It was a very bright idea indeed that struck Annapolitan Joel Machak and then partner Jim Ferguson a quarter of a century ago. Struck is a key word here. For in that moment of brilliance, the two ad men created the Crash Test Dummies Vince & Larry. For the next 14 years, from 1985 to 1998, Vince & Larry struck and were struck by all sorts of dismembering objects in a variety of collisions so inventive it seemed to be drawn from Looney Tunes. All to keep you safer while driving.  In...

Grants from Maryland Heritage Areas Authority makes two groups flush (with cash)

It’s surprising the difference a bathroom makes. As Maryland Heritage Areas Authority divided its $2,617,146 of grant money between 55 projects, at least two projects in Anne Arundel and Calvert County got cash for bathroom upgrades.  At Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, executive director Linnell Bowen has long hoped to update the old Annapolis high school’s facilities. “We have the volume of people,” she said, “and we need to keep up.” The hard part...

Week 19: On the Road to Independence

A milestone has been reached. Junior is finally feeding himself. Now he can stuff himself with fish to his heart’s content and grow even faster. Here’s how it came about. After Oliver delivered the fish one morning, Olivia hunched over it and tore into it without feeding it to Junior. Then Olivia took off and flew circles and figure eights around the nest, swooping in close every once in a while. She was getting young Junior to feed himself of the pieces she had torn off, then to...

Far ahead of schedule, this summer’s bumper crop is shocking the system

This is the true story about all of us who unwittingly, faithfully and dutifully went to our garden centers and bought tomato plants in mid-April. In this region, we’re cautioned not to plant before May 1. That was then. This is now, 2010, after the coldest, snowiest winter on record. Warm weather swept through our area in early May and upended that theory; holes were dug, plants submerged, things happened. Best-looking tomato plants I’ve ever seen. Thanks in part to the Bay...
  The gibbous moon waxes through southern skies this week, becoming full on the 25th. July’s full moon is known as the Hay Moon or the Thunder Moon. Rising at dusk and setting at dawn, the full moon dominates the sky this week, blotting out all but the brightest planets and stars. As the sun sets in the northwest before 8:25 this week, the first light to appear is the evening star Venus, 20 degrees above the western horizon. As dusk gives way to darkness, Venus is joined by ruddy...
Fish Are Biting Rockfish are continuing to be caught trolling small bucktails and soft shad as well as by live-lining Norfolk spot. The bite is not quite as reliable as it was before the heat wave, but good stripers are still being caught during the right phase of the tide. Spot in the mid-Bay are getting bigger, with good catches of eating-sized fish becoming more common. A larger variety of croaker have shown up as well, with some 18-inchers reported. White perch are pursuing the small...
  Some people collect wine the way that others collect records or baseball cards. This weekend, at the fifth annual International Great Grapes! Wine, Arts & Food Festival, the vinophiles among you get to add to your collection. “The festival is an inexpensive way to taste hundreds of wines right in your own backyard,” said Greg Nivens, president of The Trigger Agency, the event’s promoter in partnership with Mill’s Fine Wine and Spirits of Annapolis. “It...