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January 2013

Winter Hike

  Bundle up to hike thru Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary and talk how plants and animals survive in winter. 10am-1pm at the Sanctuary, Lothian. $5 w/discounts: 410-741-9330; www.jugbay.org.

Navigation Workshop • free

  Learn basic navigation, pilot-chart orientation, plotting positions, rules of road and dead reckoning from Annapolis School of Seamanship. 10am-noon at 113 Hillsmere Dr., Annapolis: 410-268-0129; www.westmarine.com. 

Another year has gone by and it’s time for the new calendars to come out.     We start off with New Year’s Day, which is important for the New Year’s Eve revelers to wake up to a start of new year. The first holiday we see on the calendar is Martin Luther King Day, which the children have off from school. When I went to school, we had Lincoln and Washington’s birthdays off; now they are lumped together as Presidents’ Day.

By the glass, water’s cheap. Not so when you have to drill 260 feet for it

Water is pretty cheap in the United States: 61 cents a day supplies each of us with our daily ration of 123 gallons of water. Cheap enough that we take it for granted, until the well runs dry. That’s the day dreaded by every well owner, and there are lots of us.     Public water is a blessing of urban and suburban communities. Rural communities still use wells. In Calvert County, where I live, approximately 15,400 out of roughly 34,150 households draw their water from wells.

Rufous hummingbird thrives in winter

My procrastination finally paid off. Long after the summer visitors to my hummingbird feeder had departed for their winter home, my feeder hung like a lone beacon in the leafless maple tree. I’ll get around to it, I kept telling myself.     While I was lazily watching out my window a flash of tan caught my eye. Then again. What was it? I knew it was some kind of hummingbird, but why was it here this time of the year?

Your photos of weekend high tides will help CoastSmart see into the future

January 9 thru 13, Maryland’s tides will rise higher than usual due to the alignment of sun, moon and earth. CoastSmart Communities wants you to illustrate the rise.     Snap photos showing high water and submit them to www.flickr.com/groups/ MarylandKingTide.

Winter Cauliflower

I am at best a haphazard gardener. To my delight, I recently discovered these cauliflower, which I had given up for a loss, the leaves a lacy design after the insects had eaten their fill. I am amazed and feel the thrill of the winter gardener. I made cauliflower-cheese soup with this small head.     –Gail Martinez, Fairhaven

Forecasting this General Assembly’s environmental future

When your well runs dry — as Michelle Steel’s did, as you’ll read in this week’s feature story — you’re an outlier. In our part of the country, rural living is a luxury. Suddenly you’re paying for that luxury.     When you live on county or city water, you’re part of a collective that shares the hidden cost of bringing this precious resource into your home in the country. When your well runs dry, you’re on your own.

Matt Damon teaches the simple folk about the environment

Slick salesman Steve Butler (Matt Damon: We Bought a Zoo) rolls into a Pennsylvania farming town with a plan. The agricultural community is dying, and Steve has the solution: Lease your land to a natural gas company. Global Natural Gas wants to frack for gas pockets beneath the land, and the desperately poor community will get a percentage of the take.

Can you recognize the Quarterback, the Running Back, the Wide Receiver and the Linebacker?

As the sun sets, now after 5pm, the familiar figure or Orion straddles the east horizon. Named after the mighty Greek hunter of mythology, this figure bears an uncanny resemblance to a hero of our own modern mythos: the Quarterback. There he is, the Raven’s Joe Flacco, leaning back, his weight planted on his rear foot, his right arm cocked for a pass, his left arm extended against the onslaught of rushing defenders.