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Tour the state in one visit

It takes six to 10 years of attention to get it right

Artist John W. ‘Bud’ Taylor inspired an ethic of land preservation

Take advantage of the quiet — and of migration — to go birding

Following a few simple rules, you can grow a mighty oak from a tiny acorn

  A master gardener recently asked me how to germinate acorns because she had repeated failures. To be successful, collect the acorns soon after they have fallen from the tree. Never collect acorns that have caps still attached because those acorns are most likely empty. Only solid, firm acorns that have fallen from the tree without caps should be collected. A healthy, well-developed acorn is one that has separated from its cap while still attached to the tree. After you have collected a...

The sun’s lost ground is the skywatcher’s gain

  As if to hammer another nail into summer’s coffin, the sun this week sets before 7:00. The darkening sky reveals Venus tight above the southwest horizon, and while the evening star is brilliant at magnitude –4, it, too, is fleeting and sets shortly after the sun. As the sun and Venus set in the west, Jupiter rises in the east. Last week this gaseous giant reached opposition — its point opposite the sun as seen from our earthbound vantage — and so rises with sunset...

The sun’s lost ground is the skywatcher’s gain

  As if to hammer another nail into summer’s coffin, the sun this week sets before 7:00. The darkening sky reveals Venus tight above the southwest horizon, and while the evening star is brilliant at magnitude –4, it, too, is fleeting and sets shortly after the sun. As the sun and Venus set in the west, Jupiter rises in the east. Last week this gaseous giant reached opposition — its point opposite the sun as seen from our earthbound vantage — and so rises with sunset...

It’s a complex balance that holds together the web of life

  It was late summer in the coastal plain forest. At mid-day, it was quiet but not quite silent. There was a background buzz of flies, then the whine of a mosquito in my left ear. Swat! Then I heard a sound like water coming from the trees. A flock of grackles, hundreds perhaps, were drifting through the scene, making low clucking sounds that together form a sound like water flowing over rocks. They moved from tree to tree, in the same direction, left to right. Then something startled the...

My Father and the Slugs

My father was a patient man who had no enemies. But I recall a summer when a monster was set free. His prize-winning tomato plants, he tended day and night, invited slugs, such slimy beasts, who knew they’d taste just right. And in the morning Dad would rise to find his plants in shreds he’d curse and stamp his feet with rage and swear upon their heads. He started drowning them in salt to watch their bodies wither. he’d track them by their rainbow trails and catch them in mid-...

Week 14: Birth Order

  The babies are being well fed and cared for. Their feeding schedule is based on the fishing schedule, which is based on the height of the sun. So it’s always early morning and late afternoon, when the sun’s rays are not reflected back from the surface, and enter at an angle instead, making it easier for an osprey to spot fish near the surface. Midday is always a rest period. Oliver delivers the fish, but only Olivia does the feeding. The babies hatch on successive days, in...

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  Carr Stirs the Pot Dear Bay Weekly: I recently read Steve Carr’s June 3 article titled “Big Oil: Big Mess.” It’s obvious he is a liberal zealot that can only resort to name-calling and racist remarks in regards to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and his associates. How could you possibly publish something that represents someone’s disdain to the point of name-calling? Truth of the matter, you have a writer with a lack of respect for people. Will he do the...

Fowler’s Followers wade in for the Patuxent

  Bernie Fowler’s Sneaker Index did not soar this year. He saw 341x2 inches of leg, for a water clarity index equal to that of 2004, but far below the goal of 57 inches last seen in 1960. The former state senator and Patuxent River champion needed many to the ninth power to describe the years it will take before the river is as clear, hence unpolluted, as in his youth.  “Bernie Fowler is never going to live long enough to see the river cleaned up,” he said, comparing...

The Chesapeake Green Living Festival producers hope their event leaves you seeing green

  Save the Bay. Everyone wants to do it. But every year, Maryland seems to miss the mark. Amidst overwhelming reports on oil spills and global warming, rain barrels and natural landscaping can seem small beans. Yet they’re effective weapons in the war on environmental pollutants. As Jim Barthold and Elvia Thompson see it, people have been too busy thinking globally to act locally. To help Anne Arundel Countians find a greener way of life, Barthold and Thompson organized this weekend...

Ten Chesapeake neighbors tell what Dad taught them

  We used to believe that father knows best. The world is not so simple nowadays. The skepticism that belongs to our teen years comes early and stays late in some families. In others, Dad proves himself to be all too human.  But that’s neither here nor there, because Father’s Day we find the best in the men who sired, reared and guided us. On this day we thank our fathers for all they’ve done for us, given us and taught us.  I suspect as we grow older, the ways...