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January 2013

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.

Some varieties want winter pruning

If your roses have grown tall and have been in the ground for less than a year, pruning them back to within 18 inches of the ground will minimize wind whipping, which loosens the roots in the soil.     Grafted roses also need pruning to avoid damage to the graft union. You can identify grafted roses by the enlarged stem near the ground where the hybrid rose was joined to rootstock. Prune those tall stems back to about 18 inches from the ground.

And a few tips on tying it

Look up the word ubiquitous in any saltwater fly-fishing dictionary and you’ll see a picture of a Clouser Deep Minnow streamer fly. Look up the word quintessential and pictured will be that fly in a chartreuse-over-white pattern.     The Clouser is the world’s most popular saltwater fly. It has caught every species of saltwater fish that can be caught on a fly and arguably does it better than any streamer ever invented. The chartreuse-over-white pattern is its most deadly variation, especially in the Chesapeake.

Resolved to lose weight this year? To eat healthier? Tackle the topic this Friday, January 11, when the Annapolis Community Health Initiative hosts a tasting, movie and discussion on healthful eating at the Pip Moyer Recreation Center in Annapolis.     Start the evening by tasting local chefs’ presentations of food that’s good and good for health.

The greatest risk would be to pass up the chance to do something that will make you happy

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself. –Alan Alda

Fortunately, its roar is worse than its bite

Few things look scarier than a gelatinous mass with tentacles twisting in the Bay.     Chesapeake swimmers endure sea nettle stings in summer. But few have been stung by a lion’s mane jelly, the world’s largest known jellyfish species. Lucky for us, these jellyfish are seasonal inhabitants of the Bay from November to March.

A second life for Christmas trees

After you take your Christmas tree down, recycle it for a second life.     In your own backyard, recycle your tree by placing it near a bird feeder. The tree’s branches shelter smaller birds. Throw unsalted, unbuttered popcorn into the branches as free-form birdfood. Branches also provide a good place to hang pinecones smeared with peanut butter and rolled in birdseed.