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January 2011

Follow the waxing moon and test your eyesight

The waxing gibbous moon brightens the night sky this week, appearing high in the southeast Thursday at sunset a little after 5:00. The next evening, and each following night, sunset finds the moon roughly a dozen degrees to the east.

Stay warm with fishing shows and movie nights

This winter has been especially difficult, with record low temperatures in Maryland for the last several weeks. The long-range forecast into late January says we can expect that trend to continue. Past seasons, I have usually been able to get in a couple of days on nearby tributaries for pickerel and maybe a day or two out on the Bay for deep water white perch.

Finding the source of a local river

“What on earth does Magothy mean?” asked a guest as we walked down to the river by my Pasadena home. “It’s the name of the river,” I explained. “But what is it? Is it a person? Or a special word?” persisted my curious guest.

Foreign Fowl Range Free in Calvert County

Backyard birds like the familiar cardinals, bluejays, wrens and woodpeckers are an everyday sight in Chesapeake Country. But guinea fowl waddling through neighborhoods? Or a four-foot emu trekking across fields?  Not so everyday.  A flock of free-range guinea hens enjoyed a pastoral New Year’s weekend wandering through a Huntingtown neighborhood, foraging for insects and seeds across winter-dormant lawns. 

Boys & Girls Club artists hang their own art show

Michelangelo was 17 when he finished his first sculpture. Courtney Johnson, the youngest artist showing her work this month at BayWoods of Annapolis, is eight — and her photo is nationally recognized. Beat that artistic legend. “I paint to show people that everything has some kind of beauty in it,” said 18-year-old Colby Slade, the oldest artist in the BayWoods show and an art class regular at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. 

It’s much easier to buy next year’s colored blooms than to raise them yourself

Every January, I receive questions on how to keep poinsettia plants and have them flower again next Christmas. My best advice is to dump them in the compost pile as soon as you get tired of looking at them or when they start dropping their leaves. Leave the growing of Christmas poinsettias to growers of greenhouse crops who have both the knowledge and the facilities to produce quality plants in full bloom in time for Christmas.

So far, every issue of 2011 has moved you

It’s been a good year. True, 2011 is less than two weeks old. But I believe in counting my blessings while they’re fresh.
Dear Bay Weekly: Thirty years ago, while living in West Berlin, I went on a shopping trip to East Berlin. Although I speak some German, I am not truly fluent. I call it survival level. In the train station where I had to make the mandatory exchange into East Marks, I also made a visit to the ladies rest room. Of course there was a line. By the time I was second in line, the lady ahead of me was arguing with the restroom attendant. When she moved on and I was first, the attendant told me that the lady ahead of me had paid for me.
Dear Bay Weekly: My sister was in a very serious car accident where another driver hit her head-on about 20 years ago. She and her five-year-old daughter were both critically injured. My sister was also five months pregnant and lost her unborn baby in the accident. After recuperating from many broken bones and surgeries, my sister has donated (and continues to) gallons of blood to the American Red Cross to pay them back for helping save her life from that dreaded car accident.

Pay it forward in 2011

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted –Aesop The truck driver approached the tollbooths on the Bay Bridge, laboring to maneuver his big five-axle rig into an open lane. Heavy traffic made it a tough job. An elderly couple approaching the toll lanes behind him saw his predicament and slowed, waving the trucker into their lane, directly in front of them.