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November 2010

A soda can alligator takes top honors at the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Rethink Recycling contest

Josh Tichinel’s alligator may not be able to swim the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. But the soda-can reptile is a reminder that we can all help save the Bay through creative repurposing. The Northern Garrett High School student won the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Rethink Recycling art contest.

Tips on giving thanks by giving to charity

If all the layered meanings of America’s national feast day could be packed into a verb, to have seems to me the right one. We give thanks because we have, rather than have not. So it’s no wonder that the great feast got its impetus in times when having not was such a real alternative that it might be only a step away.

Big rockfish make foul-weather fishing worth while

Getting in on the early-winter rockfish bite can be quite unpleasant. Except for the lucky anglers with big, enclosed boats that can safely and comfortably ply our cold, windswept Bay, most anglers this time of year must simply deal with November’s increasingly nasty weather.   

Composting returns all those nutrients to the garden

The soil in my first garden at Upakrik Farm in 1991 was mostly hard clods of silt. Because I have added liberal amounts of compost over the past 19 years, my soil is now loose, friable and highly productive. I attribute the change entirely to the use of compost.

What do we save and what do we sacrifice?

Saving the Last Farm on the Magothy, my November 4 column, brought lots of interesting mail that sent me down a broader path through the Preservation Woods. Lucy Illif, who owns one of the few remaining farms in Arnold, reminded me that the Jordan Property next to Ritchie Highway has just been rezoned commercial and that the whole area is being swallowed up by houses and shopping malls. “Will our farm now be the last one in Arnold?” she wondered.

See if you can spot the five naked-eye planets

Sunset reveals Jupiter high in the south, shining far brighter than any other object. The king of planets is truly massive — more than twice as large as all the other planets combined. That’s a lot of reflective surface, which makes up for its distance from the sun. While more than three times as far from the sun as its inner neighbor Mars, Jupiter is second in brightness only to Venus. And despite its huge girth, Jupiter spins faster than any other planet, so that one Jovian day is less than 10 Earth hours.
Benz and BMW master-certified, factory-trained technicians. Family Auto Care Mercedes BMW is on Skinners Turn Road in Calvert County: 410-257-7009, www.FamilyAutoMD.com.  

Meet the Farmer, Green Grocer and Buy-Local Restaurant of the Year

Wilderness, farmland, paved land: That’s the trajectory Maryland has followed since its founding as Lord Baltimore’s colony 376 years ago. So a county that can keep its farm traditions alive does so with pride. Thus Calvert County, where 55,000 acres of land are zoned as Farm and Forest Districts, made its First Annual Sustainable Agriculture Awards this year.  Citizens voted awards in three categories: Sustainable Farmer, Green Grocer and Buy-Local Restaurant of the year. 

Sign up for Bird School and you’ll think like a bird

As cold weather sets in and you fill your bird feeders, you’ll find hours of entertainment — and bafflement — in their behavior. What are they up to with all the strutting, head-bobbing, feather-fluffing and wing flapping? Get the answers from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, now enrolling backyard birders in the online bird-behavior course Investigating Behavior: Courtship and Rivalry in Birds. Over five weeks, you’ll learn how to observe and interpret bird behavior in terms of reproduction and survival.

A veteran engineer and novice conductor race to subdue a rampaging locomotive in this fun chase.

Frank (Denzel Washington: The Book of Eli) is a veteran railroad engineer trying to train up a distracted rookie, Will (Chris Pine: Star Trek). They’ve just hit the main line when they find out a fully loaded runaway train with tankers full of highly explosive cargo — “a missile the size of the Chrysler Building” — is roaring through southern Pennsylvania towns at speeds over 70 miles per hour toward a dangerous S-curve.