Dock of the Bay
Vol. 9, No. 22
May 31-June 6, 2001
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Piecing a Path from Log Cabin to Chesapeake Night Sky

Mary Matton, of Davidsonville, and Hilke Reid, of Dunkirk, designed the Annapolis Quilt Guild’s raffle quilt, “Chesapeake Night Sky.” Seventy members worked on the quilt for a year.

This is not your grandma's quilting bee. The members of the Annapolis Quilting Guild are serious, organized and technology savvy. Yet, as progressive as they seem, it is the American frontier tradition of quilting that brings them together. On June 2 and 3, women and men of the Guild present their work.

On June 1, the hanging day, they will turn Annapolis Senior High School cafeteria into an art gallery. The room will be a sea of fabric stripes, stars and flowers in vivid patterns of rainbow colors. More than mere blankets, today's quilts are works of art with color, texture and pattern - traditional, new and improvised - combining to make masterpieces.

The exhibit's centerpiece, "Chesapeake Night Sky," is a shining example of old-fashioned teamwork with a twist, using technology to enhance the work of 70 contributors. The center square of this 98-by-108-inch quilt is a large spiky star that was designed on computer by engineer Diane Durahn. Then Hilke Reid took over, adapting a star pattern that spreads out over the rest of the quilt. Mary Matton did most of the quilting on this entirely hand-made quilt. About 200 other amazing quilts, most made by members, will hang beside the raffle quilt.

For over a year, many of the 320 Annapolis Guild quilters have been piecing the quilts they'll show this week. Members come from as far away as St. Mary's County, the Eastern Shore or Towson to meetings at St. Martin's Lutheran Church on Spa Road and Forest Drive in Annapolis at 7pm on the first Monday of each month.

So great is the appeal that the Guild has grown from 12 members in 1980. They come to share the quilts or quilt pieces they are working on and give each other encouragement and advice. Working together with friends who share their passion, they revive this esteemed quilting tradition.

"The Guild is a great place to recapture what's missing today," says Hilke Reid, this year's quilt show publicity Chairman. "It's very social."

Within the Guild, smaller "Bees" create more intimate settings for learning and discussion. There are also "Go Bees" that "road trip" to quilt shows, meetings and shops.

"You do a lot of sharing, but you're not just sitting around gossiping over coffee. You're actually accomplishing something," adds Reid. Quilters are known to be as busy as bees, most have at least one project in the works at all times.

Traditionally, most quilts are started with scraps of fabric sewn together in a prearranged pattern. This creates the top layer that is quilted to a middle layer of cotton or polyester and a bottom layer that complements the top. Quilters today still use scraps, but searching for fabric is a constant preoccupation that finds them also swapping with friends and scouring fabric and quilt stores.

The Annapolis Quilt Guild offers members a chance to find the best resources: other members. Members include professionals and homemakers, highschoolers and retirees. All levels of ability are represented, from those who can't sew a straight line to nationally recognized teachers, appraisers and judges.

These modern quilters aren't afraid to break with tradition. Indeed, they're taking advantage of the technology boom. Some work on $3,000 machines that have quilting feeds to push the fabric through evenly; others use quilt patterns on computer disk. There are thousands of web sites where quilt shops publicize their wares and quilters share patterns. Quite a few Annapolis Guild members have bought quilts on ebay - some good, some not so good - and many use e-mail.

This weekend, you won't have to look to virtual reality. Organizers expect 500-plus people to attend each day, but, depending on the weather, the turnout could be twice as big. Sunday morning is the best time to go to beat the crowds.

As well as quilts and meet-the-quilter demonstrations, certified quilt appraiser Phyllis Twigg will appraise your historic quilts for a fee. Over the 2 days, 16 demonstrations show surface design, software design, crazy quilts, hand quilting, bindings and more. (Find a full list at There is also a country store with gifts and craft supplies.

See the 19th annual Quilts by the Bay exhibition June 2 & 3 from 10-5 Sa; 11-5 Su @ Annapolis High, 2700 Riva Rd. $5: 410/956-4815.

-Greshen Gaines

That's Not Just Chicken #*!@

photo by Mark Burns
Mike Granados can’t find enough manure for the 2,200 acres he farms. So he’s happy to truck chicken waste from Eastern Shore farmers.

Farmer Granados just got a big load of manure, and he's delighted.

"I can't find enough manure," says Mike Granados of Huntingtown, who farms 2,200 acres in Calvert, Charles and Prince George's counties.

Farmers say that they're used to getting that commodity from state regulators; usually they're not so happy about it. But with rising fuel prices driving up the price of commercial manure, Granados says that he can't get enough - not only for himself but also for the half-dozen Anne Arundel and Calvert county farmers for whom he serves as broker.

"Apparently lower Southern Maryland doesn't have access to manure," said Department of Agriculture spokesman Don Vandrey.

That's because the typical Southern Maryland crops - tobacco, corn and beans - don't make fertilizer. They need fertilizer.

On the other hand, the Eastern Shore is flush with fertilizer. Maryland grows more chickens than any other agricultural "crop," and almost all of Maryland's 1,100-plus poultry farms are on the Eastern Shore. Animals produce fertilizer. It's called manure.

Nearly all those Shore farmers are under contract with poultry "integrators" - in Maryland, that's Tyson Food and Perdue Farms Inc., Allen's Hatchery Inc. and Mount Aire Farms of Delmarva - to produce table chickens. From egg to table, a life span of seven or eight weeks, each chicken produces about 2.2 pounds of, well, manure. Eastern Shore chicken farmers typically spread the manure on their fields. But a field can hold only so much manure before the waste runs off.

Maryland's Eastern Shore's annual 287,000 ton-load of manure (and that only from broilers; egg layers also contribute their share) is not only a lot of fertilizer. It's a lot of trouble, as scientists have found in recent years, tracing not only pollution of the Bay but also outbreaks of disease, particularly pfisteria.

Which is why shortly after pfisteria was traced, in 1998, the state Department of Agriculture created its Manure Transport Project. "To date, since spring 1999 we've removed 30,000 tons and have approved applications for another 13,000 tons," says Norman Astle, who coordinates the project. The state veterinary office oversees the operation to confirm no poultry diseases are being transmitted.

"Each sending farm has to have their soil tested and meet the criterion that they're phosphorus over-enriched," explains Astle. Because of the project, he says, "farmers are applying less fertilizer, and they are not applying it to land overenriched with phosphorus, so we're reducing the amount of phosphorus run-off from those soils into Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries."

There's no season on producing manure, but under this environment protection program, it can be applied to fields only in spring, the plowing and planting season. "This past quarter has been very busy," Astle boasts, proclaiming his project's growing success.

This year, 19 poultry farms sent manure to 67 farms in eight Maryland counties plus three out-of-state locations. Both Calvert and Anne Arundel were on the receiving end.

Farmer Granados' 3,000-ton load is part of 43,000 tons of manure that has moved from Maryland's Eastern Shore to its Western Shore and beyond.

He not only accepted all that manure. He picked it up himself. "Normally," explains Astle, "it's trucked by the receiving operation, on their way back from taking grain to the Shore."

In a year and a half, Granados has moved about 150 20-ton loads in his three tractor-trailers. Most loads are back-hauls after deliveries of his corn, soybeans and wheat. What, you might want to know, does the back-haul do to the truck?

"Poultry litter is really pretty dry in 85 percent of cases. It's powdery, like a peat moss. We stockpile it on the farm where it's going to be spread and then spread just before planting," Granados says. Trailers are sprayed out between loads with a pressure washer.

No wonder Granados is smiling. Not only does he get high-quality fertilizer for free, he gets paid to bring it home.

Maryland and the chicken integrator, split the transport cost. Prices are $12 per ton per mile with a cap of $20 per ton, which means that the longest a load can travel at full price is 166 miles. For the four lower Shore counties, prices rise to 15 cents per ton per mile.

"It helps," says Granados. "It's a cheap source of fertilizer, and the state pays to take it off the Shore."

This year, the Manure Transport Project expanded from table chickens to include eggs, dairy, swine and other animal operations.

That's a lot of manure on Maryland roads, Astle admits, but he says, "so far, there's been no complaints.

"We have many biosecurity measures in place to regulate shipping. Plus we cover the loads, so they don't leak."


When the Whisperer Came, Horses and People Listened

photo courtesy of Naomi Perry
Horse Whisperer Monty Roberts with Naomi Perry of Maryland Therapeutic Riding.

Before a hushed crowd of 1,500 people seated around a round ring at the Prince George's Equestrian Center, Monty Roberts ["Listen Up: Straight from the Horse Whisperer's Mouth," Vol. IX, No. 13: March 29–April 5] danced with a chestnut colt. The horse was shy and untrained - what used to be called "unbroken." At this first meeting between man and horse, he was unwilling to be touched or mounted.

It took only 26 minutes until the colt was bridled, saddled and calm as a rider quietly mounted. Roberts had whispered and encouraged and moved toward and away from the horse. He had given the colt courage to accept his advances and "join up" with his proposal. In the end, they were a team, man and horse, working together.

Over the course of his April appearance in Chesapeake Country, Roberts worked with four horses, all Maryland owned. The second would bolt as soon as a male foot was in the stirrup. It took only 15 minutes for Roberts, assuming the role of the lead mare in the herd, to help the horse overcome its fear. The third horse, an older mare, would actually walk right over the owner. Roberts used a similar technique to teach the mare to respect the presence of the human. The fourth would shy and fight when being led aboard a trailer. Monty Roberts worked just a few minutes with the animal, having it walk forward and backward onto the trailer, until it followed him.

"Every session was dramatically successful," said Naomi Perry, director of the Maryland Therapeutic Riding Organization, the local group sharing more than $6,000 from ticket sales with Roberts. "It was a blast to watch."

Since the benefit, she said, "we've had so many phone calls, bringing us lots of new riders, volunteers and supporters."

Maryland Therapeutic Riding, which uses horses to rehabilitate and enable children and adults with physical limitations or injuries, has since moved into new stables at Arden Farms on Old Herald Harbor Road in Crownsville, where the program has expanded to reach 80 riders. To join up yourself as a volunteer: 410/267-8900.

-Hanne Denney

Way Downstream ...

In Annapolis, the Chesapeake Bay Program reports that restoration of the Chesapeake Bay's precious aquatic grasses isn't going swimmingly. Grasses, vital for juvenile crabs and other species, increased by just one percent last year to 69,126 acres, just over 10 percent of historic levels...

In Kentucky, the mystery of the miscarried and stillborn foals may be solved. Scientists blamed the deaths on caterpillars that had eaten cherry tree leaves tainted with cyanide. Then the poison may have been transferred to mares - some of whom might have been carrying future Kentucky Derby champions - through caterpillar feces in bluegrass pastures ...

In San Francisco, if the intersection of Third and 23rd streets smelled like French fries last week, it was because the Olympian filling station began selling biodiesel fuel blended from cooking oil. The smell wasn't awful but the price was: $3.15 per gallon ...

In Florida, you'll never catch another jewfish. It's not because these huge, bottom-swimming specimens are endangered and illegal to keep. It's because the fish's name has been changed as a result of complaints over the years by Jewish people. Something called the Committee on Names of Fishes announced last week that the jewfish henceforth will be called the Goliath grouper ...

Our Creature Feature comes from Tasmania, where Fairy penguins are truly wearing tuxedos to protect them against oil spills. About 1,000 wool jumpers have been knitted to cover the 15-inch-tall penguins from neck to ankle, hoping to prevent them from preening themselves and ingesting poisonous oil.

The Tasmanian Conservation Trust put out the call for the jumpers this year, and they were knitted in all colors by people all over the world. Women in nursing homes were especially helpful. The penguins don't enjoy being dressed up, but word has it that they're less averse to the black-and-white tuxedo jumpers that come with bow ties.

Copyright 2001
Bay Weekly