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September 2011

After Irene and Lee’s one-two punch, hands big and small help Chesapeake Country rise

It’s taking hands big and small to help Chesapeake Country rise from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee’s one-two punch. Lending those helping hands have been neighbors, combined efforts of individuals, local and state agencies, the American Red Cross and big corporate citizens like Dominion Cove Point.

Death interrupts but does not end the osprey cycle

As the osprey head south this year, we say goodbye forever to one special bird: Olive Osprey.     Like many of her species, she was shot. Not over Cuba or the Dominican Republic, where fish farmers consider osprey birds of prey. Olive was shot as she sat on her eggs in her nest in Southern Anne Arundel County, where she had been welcomed and had gained celebrity.     Her killers were neighborhood boys.

National certification hinges on finding 150 homeowners with backyard wildlife habitats

Annapolis is a city with a green ethic. We’ve been cultivating greenspaces for half a century with street-end parks, our Greenscape city beautification program, our commitment to cover half the city with a tree canopy and our cooperative program with Baltimore Gas and Electric to plant the right tree in the right place.

Use the down-time to clean your gear

Today I put on long pants for the first time since last June. Normally this is not entirely a bad thing because chilly fall weather means that bigger rockfish will be in the shallow water I love to fish. But not right now. Around our neck of the woods the fishing is pretty much on hold, and it may take some time before it returns to normal.

Don’t bother trying to put them back together

Irene left us many trees with split trunks. Splitting occurs mostly on shade trees with narrow crotches. Narrow crotches are weak and break easily when strong winds whip the branches back and forth.     I have seen many people, including arborists, bolt these trees back together. It may seem that the operation was a success. But within eight to 10 years, the patient will have developed a good case of heart rot, and the tree will become a hazard.

Enjoy the balance while we can

The waning crescent moon rises around 3am Friday, its upper tip pointing to the red planet Mars, only five degrees away. Both shine within the faint stars of Cancer, home to the Beehive star cluster, which appears as a smudge of light a half-dozen degrees behind moon and planet. By 5am, the moon and Mars are well placed about 30 degrees high in the east.     And then, five minutes past 5:00, our whole world changes.

Farewell to one neighbor; bon voyage to another

For most of my earlier years, the neighborhoods where I lived were grids, and connections followed straight lines, side to side and front to back. Sometimes I was lucky and the next- or nearly next-door neighbors were people of shared interests beyond the chance of proximity. That’s how husband Bill and I developed dear friendships with the Kirkpatricks, next door but one, and the Ladleys, next door but two, in Holland Point, where we spent our first years in Chesapeake Country.

A Hollywood stuntman moonlights as a wheelman but winds up in the mob’s crosshairs after a heist goes bad

Los Angeles stunt driver, Driver (Ryan Gosling: Crazy, Stupid, Love.), isn’t above moonlighting to make a little extra cash. He offers his services as a wheelman to robbers in the greater L.A. area.

Even the actors don’t know whodunit in this appealing mystery

The works of Agatha Christie, the queen of murder and reportedly the best-selling author of all time, are timeless because her characters transcend their settings. The privileged classes, it seems, are no happier than the rest of us, so we adore their frailties as much as the grandeur that surrounds them. Christie mysteries are box-office gold even when they’re so-so; Colonial Players’ The Unexpected Guest is diamond-studded platinum.

Autumn’s Won My Heart Away

Summer on the Chesapeake is not a perfect season, but I sure hate to see it go. Summer 2011 showed us its terrible temper in plenty of ways: weeks in the stew pot, torrential rains, gale-force winds or none at all, stink bugs on the peaches, mosquitoes on me. But such moods don’t overshadow my love for the thrill of a breeze, the exuberance of the leaves, the moment to seize.