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February 2013

        2013 Bay Weekly Issue Archives                                    

In vernal pools, renewal is under way

This time of year, marbled salamander tadpoles are already swimming through the shallow waters of vernal pools. Vernal pools are temporary wetland habitats in our forests. They hold water long enough during spring to attract special animals that you aren’t likely to see anywhere else. Then the pools dry up, so fish and other large predators can’t live there.     What is that? visitors want to know of the oddities they see when exploring a vernal pool at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary.

Here’s to Magic Weisner, Laura Neuman and the power of possibility

The Odd Chance In 2002, a Maryland dark horse named Magic Weisner came within a half-length of stealing the Preakness Stakes from front runner War Emblem. Local small-scale trainer Nancy Alberts believed in Magic, who she named for the vet who saved the magically resilient foal’s life. That horse could run.     Cheering with the rest of Maryland, I followed the story to Laurel Racetrack, where I interviewed Alberts and Magic.

And earn you a buck a bushel

Oyster shells could be worth more than the change in your pocket if the Oyster Recovery Partnership can talk the political talk.     The nonprofit Partnership, which has planted four billion seed oysters in its work for recovery, is now seeking to persuade legislators to pass a bill giving a $1 tax credit for every bushel of oyster shells you recycle.

Red Wigglers demonstrate the inside story of composting

Red Wiggler worms are busy digging and dining in a compost Can-O-Worms at Annmarie Garden.     Second graders visiting Annmarie Garden on daily CHESPAX field trips explore the world of composting with a little help from the Garden’s squirmy residents, about a thousand in all.     Red Wiggler worms, along with eight volunteers who do the talking, teach the students hands-on and practical ways to go green in their daily lives.

Crossword creator Ben Tausig wins Orca award for Best Crossword

When your favorite movie wins an Oscar, you can say I was there — virtually.     You’ve gotten closer than that in the world of puzzles if you’ve matched wits with Ben Tausig, winner of the Orca for Best Crossword of 2012.     Like the Oscars, the Orcas are awarded by insiders, the followers of Sam Donaldson’s blog, Diary of a Crossword Fiend.

Gardening expert Rick Darke strives to create “liveable landscapes” using both natives and exotics

You won’t find the word invasive — at least in connection with plants — in gardener, award-winning author, photographer and consultant Rick Darke’s vocabulary. Meet him on March 2, when he makes the trek from his garden oasis in Pennsylvania to Annapolis, and you’ll hear about balancing natives and exotics in the garden. His talk and slide show come at just the right time for gardeners thinking about spring plantings.

We pay our way; commercial fishermen should, too

Recreational fishing license fees have been increased twice in recent years to meet shortfalls in the Department of Natural Resource’s operating budget for the administration of recreational programs. As a result, DNR brings in enough money to fund its sport-fishing management, including police enforcement.

Snatch branches from pussy willows and flowering shrubs

Pussy willows are busting out all over. Forsythia buds are starting to swell as are flowering quince, cherries, almond, weigela and crab apples.     Cut those pussy willows ASAP and tie them in small bunches. Then hang them upside down in a darkened shed or garage so they will dry straight. If you dry them standing, the catkins will bend outward and separate from the stems more easily. Do not put the stems of fresh-cut pussy willow in water.

Across time and cultures, the night skies tell the story of the seasons

The waning gibbous moon rises in the late evening at week’s end, and by the time of last-quarter Tuesday it doesn’t rise until almost 2am. Thursday the 28th, the moon appears within a fraction of a degree from blue-white Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo. Spica’s return to evening skies is a sign that spring isn’t far behind. In Greek lore, Virgo is the goddess of fertility, grieving half the year for her daughter’s return from the underworld.