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

Today’s oysterman is likely to be a woman — and a farmer rather than a hunter-gatherer

Local artist Greg Harlin puts his stamp on the Battle of Baltimore

Species at risk in Maryland are a roll call of birds we know and love

No walk in the park in Chesapeake Country

Mountain laurel, blueberries and other acid-lovers, too

You never know what’s going to happen on the Chesapeake

[Gulp] … he’s also my teacher

    As my summer wraps up, I am slowly preparing for seventh grade at Severn School. I’m pretty excited for school to start, and I’m not the least bit nervous. But there are a couple of changes this year. First, our middle school is under construction.     Second, Mr. Daniel Keller, my former sixth-grade English teacher, was promoted to head of the middle school. I knew what he was like as a teacher, but what would he be like as the new principal?...

Substitute teachers are always on call

    For the 31st time in his post-retirement second act as a substitute teacher, Billy Keyes will report for duty August 25 at South River High School.     “I’m going in the first day,” says Keyes, who at age 93 is the oldest active substitute teacher in Anne Arundel County, and likely on this planet.     Since retiring in 1983 as a guidance counselor in the District of Columbia Public School System, Keyes has logged untold days...

Boys and Girls Clubs helping “to inspire and enable all young people”

    “B-G-C-A-A, b-g-c-a-a, b-g-c-a-a,” students chanted as they embarked on their operation to spread the word about the Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the Westfield Annapolis Mall.     These 50 or so local kids were a small part of Boys and Girls Club of America’s larger movement to raise awareness about the club mission and kick off the Great Futures Campaign for America’s Kids. The after-school organization works “to inspire and...

Books still cast their spell

    Carl Casary came to our school as an older man, somewhere in his 40s, to teach sixth grade. I think he was a World War II veteran. After lunch, he would read Edgar Allan Poe to us: “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Black Cat,” “The Cask of Amontillado.”     It didn’t matter that some words were beyond us; Mr. Casary’s voice cast a spell. The rowdy boys settled down; we girls...

And it teaches across the curriculum

    “Did you meet any strange creatures on your way to school this morning?”     My dog … Just a squirrel … My bratty kid brother…     “I met a timber wolf when I was far up North, taking a walk alone through a snowed-in forest on the edge of the Arctic where I’d been interviewing Native Canadians on the Little Black River in Manitoba … Someone get the globe so we can find Manitoba …...

Thoughts from a 20-year teacher

     I’ve been a teacher, part-time, for 20 years. My students have ranged in age from two to 79. My subjects range, too: music, French and English as a Second Language. I’ve taught at two elite private elementary schools and two public institutions of higher education. Except with my own kids, I’ve skipped middle and high school.     This non-traditional career path — along with observations gleaned from the education of my own two...

Gardening in bales of straw

     As I prepare my fall garden, I’m walking in the footsteps of an Ohio gardener with poor soil who planted in bales of straw rather than install raised beds. He found his solution in a British gardening magazine on growing vegetables. Now I’m trying it, starting with four bales of straw that I placed in full sun along the edge of my vegetable garden.     To minimize weed problems, use straw rather than hay. Straw is the residue after the grain...

Lessons in tackle, bait and reading the water

    Live-lining is one of the best light-tackle techniques for rockfish throughout the Bay this time of year. You’ll need a medium- to medium-heavy-action rod and the means to keep small baitfish alive while you are on the water.     Boat live wells are designed for just this sort of thing, but aerated buckets can work as well. The aerator must be a heavy-duty 12 volts to manage more than a half-dozen baitfish for long periods. Many baitfish species have a...

Escape urban lights to see this sight

     Each August, as the kids head back to school, the galaxy is tilted  in such a way that the Milky Way stretches overhead in full glory. With Monday’s new moon, this may be the best week of summer to gaze on this river of stars. To fully appreciate it you’ll need dark skies away from any urban glow well after sunset. Give your eyes a few minutes to get accustomed to the darkness, tilt your head back and get lost in the glow.     From...

Grandpa, tell me about the good old days

    In the bygone era of 1980s’ movies, a hero’s worth was determined by the circumference of his biceps, the length of his cigars and the heft of his gun. It was a simple time of bloody shootouts, car chases and cheesy lines.     Three decades later, these pumped-up monosyllabic heroes are well past their prime but determined to relive their glory days in the Expendables series. Most of the stars are too old for this stuff, but even action heroes have...