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August 2011

Once your school days are behind you, it’s time to learn for fun

Whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks was barking up the wrong tree. Or visiting the wrong classroom.

My dad waited too long to learn to fly. I’m correcting his mistake.

A mile above the beach, I soar higher than the gulls, crisp air bathing my outstretched arms, bare feet dangling in the void. The faint whoosh in my ears could be my unfettered thoughts, some vacant, some frantic as bees.     I’ve always been enchanted by the dream of flight, the Icarus myth. This is my dream come true, my ultralight flying experience, my life’s greatest rush and the reason for my current obsession: flying lessons.

Is this fall your time to soar?

Do you envy the kids, just a little bit, as they load up on school supplies, dress up in new clothes and walk to the corner to meet the school bus?     Maybe not the school bus part of the proposition. At least for me.

Pumpkin Ash found at Jug Bay adds to number of native species

When your official list of trees includes only 29 species, the addition of one more makes a big boost. Anne Arundel’s rise to 29 from 28 came from the addition of Fraxinus profunda.     Profunda, familiarly known as the pumpkin ash, was identified and measured at Jug Bay Wetland Sanctuary this month by Maryland Big Tree volunteer Dan Wilson of Harford County.

They shouldn’t have been biting. But they were. And I was catching.

At so many levels I suspected the morning was going to be a waste of time. Plus, getting up at 5:30am, though always painful for me, is even more so when I’m not expecting to catch anything.     I was going to try plugging the shallows for rockfish. It’s my favorite kind of fishing but an end-of-September activity, not promising during a long August heat wave.

What’s the deal?

At the Thursday Deale Farmers Market, a number of Bay Weekly readers have asked what is causing so many trees to turn brown. This year the browning of leaves started in late June and has progressed rapidly. The browning has nothing to do with drought, which some people blame.     The black locust leaf miner is responsible.

More than stars and planets brighten our night skies

The moon wanes through week’s end, reaching new phase Sunday. Friday the thin crescent rises around 4am, trailing a dozen degrees behind the Gemini twins Castor and Pollux to slightly to the north and ruddy Mars a little to the south.

Vampires finally get to be the bad guys in this clever remake

Vampires have been in a sorry state for over a decade. With the advent of Twilight, True Blood and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, these creatures of the night have been defanged by popular culture. Turned into tortured and misunderstood souls, the once great monsters became the mopey teens of the horror genre.     That’s why it’s a delightful surprise that Fright Night allows its vamps to have some bite.

Dogs Finding Dogs sniffs out missing pets

Heidi doesn’t run. She surges. The original tracker for Maryland’s Dogs Finding Dogs, Heidi is expert at following the scents of animals who leave home without their owners. When the black German shepherd gets the scent, she follows her nose wherever it takes her: through brush, across mud, over concrete and anywhere else your pet may have gone.

Our best friends speak through action

When you come home, your Welsh corgi Buster greets you happily, but you’re almost sure there’s something else on his mind besides that welcome home ritual.     Or your chocolate Labrador, who’s always ready for fetch, has a couple of comments. If dogs used words to communicate, he might tell you, Come home from the office earlier. I want to play more fetch.