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A night on the dance floor in Davidsonville is good exercise and a great bargain

Spring’s sirens are sounding

Please don’t crape murder it

Help keep birds safe on power poles

Maryland Day: Our heritage, our legacy

And how should we spell her name?

Read on for winter relief in food forests, seed catalogs and squirrely tales

January seems the grayest of times. But nature is at work, nurturing new life in often-invisible ways.     In this week’s paper, we turn to some of those ways. You’ll read about a new frontier in local eating, a food forest. Planted last spring at American Chestnut Land Trust in Calvert County, it is taking root in earth’s magical soils in preparation for its first burst of growth this spring.     More visible are the seed catalogs filling...

Taking on the rise and fall of your political ideals

It’s always good to make an audience think. In The City of Conversation, Colonial Players makes us do just that with a story that is well told, emotional and often laugh-out-loud funny — as well as relevant, with its look at how politics can split families.     Novelist and playwright Anthony Giardina’s script is set in the elegant Georgetown townhouse of Hester Ferris, a left-leaning socialite whose legendary dinner parties are modeled after those of real-life...

Thick and blue is tried and true; thin and crispy is way too risky

Shivering, I resettled my stool, a plastic five-gallon pail, and reached for the skimming spoon. Easing over to the two holes we had spudded in the six-inch-thick ice an hour earlier, I scooped the already thickening slush threatening to close them. Meanwhile, I hoped that my mother hadn’t noticed her favorite slotted spoon missing from its peg in the kitchen.     That long ago late January, temperatures were in the low teens as a friend and I perched, cold and...

Put those seed catalogs to good use

Perhaps you have received seed catalogs for the coming spring planting season. On the the front and back cover you will likely be encouraged to order early to receive bonuses or discounts. Many seed companies also offer free shipping for early orders. You can save quite a bit if you take advantage of these special offers.     My method for ordering seeds begins with selecting at least three different catalogs that I have purchased from in recent years. After I have made an...

Three decades in the making, three (boring) hours in the watching

In the 17th century, Japanese governors forestalled the growth of Catholicism in their country by rounding up priests and converts. Those who recanted were released. The faithful were tortured.     Word reaches the Jesuits of Portugal that Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson: A Monster Calls) has foresworn his faith and is living among the Japanese. Horrified, Fathers Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield: Hacksaw Ridge) and Garrpe (Andrew Driver: Patterson) volunteer to go learn the truth....

In the Maryland General Assembly, C. Rhoades Whitehill reads every last bill … Out loud

With up to 2,000 bills churning through each chamber in the Maryland General Assembly, you might wonder who reads them all.       Legislators? Not a chance.     Who you gonna call? Only one number in Annapolis, that of C. Rhoades Whitehill, Reading Clerk for the Maryland House of Delegates.     How many? Last year, Whitehill says, “That was 1,600, nearer to 1,700.”     Whitehill announces each bill with its number...

It’s worth your while to catch this show

What will you be watching in 2017? The new Homeland series on Showtime? The Young Pope? The Good Fight? Perhaps the Maryland General Assembly?     The legislature may get few votes. Yet between now and April 10, the Maryland General Assembly will wrangle with the governor to decide how to spend billions of your dollars.     One hundred eighty-eight men and women convened January 11 to make an array of decisions that shape your life. The air we breathe, the...

Grasonville environmental center schools grown-ups

So you want to learn more about life in Chesapeake Country, but you’re just a bit intimidated by lengthy Master Naturalist classes with lots of study time and volunteer hours?     The Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center in Grasonville has the answer you didn’t know you were looking for.     “LIFE, or the Legacy Institute for the Environment, is a free program, with no tests, no homework and only nine sessions,” says Courtney Leigh,...

Their winter nutrition is worth your money

Set up a feeder, and you’ll have the energetic company of snowbirds that, like you, aren’t driven south by January’s black-and-white chilly minimalism.     Holly-berry red male and Dior-cloaked russet females add color and conflict, as each pecks off others of its own sex. The cold first weekend of January, scattered black oil sunflower seed brought a battery of six Cardinals into view.     Yellow-throated sparrows came out in abundance, too....

Planning for spring starts now

Calvert Garden Club awards mini-grants of $100 to $1,000 to local non-profits to Beautify Calvert County.     Last year, when the grant theme was educating a new generation, a $750 grant to Mt. Harmony Elementary School funded a vegetable garden and wildflower bed.     Apply by Feb. 1: calvertgardenclub.com. In Anne Arundel County, Unity Gardens will give up to $1,500 to greening projects, environmental enhancement and education.     Need a model...