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October 2012

Here’s how to plant them

Pansies give the garden fall, winter and early spring color. Breeders have provided us with a great array of colorful varieties to choose from. These hearty flowers are one of the few plant species with light- and dark-blue flowers. In addition to solid colors — yellow, brown, purple and reddish-brown — my favorite cultivar, the Pacific Giant, includes blooms with brown monkey faces in their center.

October’s Draconids are typically sleepers, but every now and then …

Sunset reveals Mars low in the southwest. Its ruddy glow is usually quite distinct, but it is only a dozen degrees from its rival, orange Antares, blinking to its upper left. You’ll have a harder time spotting Saturn, so low in the west that it’s almost lost in the glare of the setting sun.
                             

Guitarist Chris Stein gives us all the deets

Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famers, punk rockers and American legends Blondie perform their hits at Calvert Marine Museum’s PNC Waterside Pavilion on Sept. 30.     The 40-year-old pioneering punk rock band is named for its leading lady and singer, 67-year-old Debbie Harry.

Homestead Gardens gets its stormwater under control

A new river runs through Homestead Gardens. It’s a little out of the way, off to the side of the garden center with its plants, trees and shrubberies. But this river, which only runs when it rains, is at the center of making Homestead’s 12 acres a zero contributor to the pollution of Beard’s Creek, the South River and Chesapeake Bay.

Osprey leave Chesapeake Country

Somebody’s bound to be the last osprey to turn out the lights on summer 2012 on Chesapeake Bay.     By eight weeks old, this year’s babies were as big as their parents and ready to leave the nests. By the end of July and early August, you could see the youngsters trying out their wings, fishing skills and independence.

Fennel provides plenty for butterflies and me

Observe and serve. That could be my motto with our fennel plants.     The larvae of swallowtail butterflies feed on umbelly plants: fennel, cutting celery and parsley going to seed. I appreciate the mature butterfly, but in the summer of 2011 I removed a number of the larvae to save my plants. I deposited them in the woods across the way. Late last year, the woods were sprayed to stop the poison ivy. The spraying meant moving caterpillars from my plants would no longer be an option.

Skipper’s Pier Corn & Crab Chowder with Smoked Blue Fish

Skipper’s Pier Restaurant and Dock Bar’s new owners Dave Rosage and Jessica LeCronier are clearly risk takers. In May, the young, engaged duo combined their expertise to take over the landmark Deale restaurant. He’s the entrepreneurial owner of several small businesses, including a food truck and snowball stand in Pasadena. She’s the culinary expert, a graduate of Johnson & Wales University with experience as sous and pastry chefs.
Some two weeks ago, a member of the Coastal Conservation Association fishing off of Bloody Point snagged his line on what appeared to be an illegal gill net. When weather permitted (Sept. 20), Maryland Department of Natural Resources dispatched the 80-foot-long icebreaker and buoy-tender A.V. Sandusky to hoist the net’s bulk. About a half mile of the deadly monofilament net — studded with the remains of horseshoe crabs, blue crabs and rotting fish — was removed from Bay waters.

In the future, you won’t have to worry about jury duty

In a post-apocalyptic future, most of the East Coast has morphed into Mega City One, which boasts a dirty, radioactive and heavily armed population. The only thing standing between the city and chaos are the judges. This law enforcement group is entrusted to respond to crimes, sentence and, if necessary, execute criminals on the spot.     After seeing this movie, you’ll never argue with a cop again.