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I’m dreaming of Florida fishing

Rockfish season ends December 15, just days away. That is also the end, at least for the next few months, of the focus of my sporting life. Since last April, my schedule has been planned largely around the hunt for stripers and related marine forecasts, the timing of proper tides, desired wind direction, the 10-day outlook, the maintenance of my skiff and for the last few weeks, favorable temperatures. All of that will be over soon.     But wintertime fishing is not hopeless....

A home on the range ain’t all it’s cracked up to be

Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank: Mary and Martha) is a better man than most. Tending a homestead by herself in the harsh Nebraska territory, she’s made her plot a success. But it’s a hard, solitary life. She longs for a family, but the men of the territory revile her self-sufficiency.     Cuddy’s world is unforgiving. Wind whips the dead earth across the flat expanses of dry brown, treeless land. It’s an easy place to die, especially for a woman. Harsh...

Local civic groups help make the world a better place

Drive into most any town in America, and you’ll see pretty nearly the same billboard. Lions, Moose, Elks, Rotary and Zonta welcome you, displaying their logos, contact numbers and often meeting times. You’ll learn that Kiwanis, another of the fellowships, meets Wednesdays at noon at Loews Annapolis Hotel. Rotary Thursday noon at Annapolis Yacht Club.     What Kiwanis, Civitan — or, more obscurely still, G.W.F.C. — mean and what they do remain the mystery...

Add lifesaving gear to your holiday giving

Bob Kight has almost as much to do this season as Santa Claus. The organizer of the annual Help the Homeless Drive in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore and Washington D.C., is on the same schedule as Santa, but his mission is a bit different.     On Christmas, Kight makes deliveries of warm clothing and loaded backpacks to 6,000 homeless people in two dozen shelters, on street corners and in camps.     First, though, he has to gather the clothes and fill the...

Tundra swans return to Chesapeake Country

“The first tundra swans of the season have arrived in Columbia Cove, Shady Side.” Randy Kiser‎ posted the news on Bay Weekly’s Facebook page on Thursday, Dec. 13, documenting their arrival with this photo.     Two mornings later I saw the snow-white birds at Fairhaven marsh pond, three on Saturday, then eight on Sunday.     Swanfall is Bay chronicler Tom Horton’s word for this moment in time, coined for his 1991 book with photographer...

Good for laughs but not much else

Here’s my short list of useless gadgetry to avoid as you shop for the gardeners on your holiday list. I found them in the gardening catalogues now arriving in the mail.     Bulb planters are a gadget I find useless. Instructions with such tools recommend that tulip, narcissus and hyacinth bulbs be planted six inches deep. Most topsoil layers are often less that six inches thick, which means that by following such instructions you are planting bulbs on subsoil. ...

That’s what all these Odd Fellows are up to

There are worse things to keep bumping into, like the doorframe that bruises your toe. The good works of civic organizations were my run-in. They cornered me at every turn, surrounding me, until I had no alternative. This week’s feature story — Get Involved: Local Civic Groups Help Make the World a Better Place — is the result of those confrontations.     Lions, Moose and Elks: What are all these Odd Fellows up to? That was my question.     Odd...

After six days pheasant hunting, we were exhausted, wind-burned — and ecstatic

“Congratulations,” my wife, Deborah, said to me over the phone early that morning. “You boys have managed to put yourselves in the coldest spot in the whole country, and that includes Alaska.”     I was pulling on a pair of thick woolen socks while outside swirling snow was accumulating in the parking lot of our motel. In De Smet, South Dakota, the outside temperature gauge read five degrees above zero as we prepared to go ring-necked pheasant hunting. A...

You say you want a revolution. Well you know, we all want to change the world.

Saved from the Hunger Games quarter quell by rebels in District 13, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence: X-Men: Days of Future Past) is haunted by violence and death. Plagued by nightmares and guilt that she left her pseudo boyfriend Peeta (Josh Hutcherson: Catching Fire), she wakes every night screaming.     The rebels don’t have time for Katniss’ mental troubles. They need her to join their revolution as The Mockingjay, a symbol of truth and justice fighting the...

Six new reasons to give thanks for too much turkey

The food on the Thanksgiving table is a bounty to share while celebrating family, friends and the joys of life. Preparing the feast is a labor of love among my family.     Yet after the frenzy of Thanksgiving cooking, it’s nice to find simple ways to use leftovers while retaining the flavors and special qualities of holiday meals. These recipes are designed to do just that: reinvent Thanksgiving leftovers in easy, flexible ways that are still delicious and satisfying....