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Your guide to Chesaeake Country's freshest produce and more!

October 2013

Stay awake or you’ll become one of them

It was a dark and stormy night, and here I was on a deserted path leading to a deserted house on a deserted hill. The lantern I carried was of little use since the wind was howling and the lightning was flashing and the thunder was crashing. I began to doubt my sanity for having gotten into an argument with Clyde Barston. He had said that the old mansion was haunted, and I had said “With what?”     “Ghosts, of course,” he had said. “It is well known that the old mansion is full of ghosts that roam freely during storms.”

Sometimes the depths hold more than mystery

I have always felt that the ocean held mystery. … dark and foreboding. I inherited a small cottage on the Atlantic shore from my uncle and would spend weekends there to get away from the daily grind. Although I would enter the waves and laugh with friends, I always felt myself hold back a little, unsure of the dark waters around me. It was not the sea life that I feared. It was the realization that the ocean was a vast graveyard of lost souls … countless shipwrecks through the centuries, plane crashes and the drowning of nameless others.

Body snatcher targets mud crabs

When it comes to horror, Mother Nature stands at the top of the class.     Our Halloween Creature Feature comes from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, where scientists have a horribly resourceful parasite under their microscopes. With devilish ingenuity, it takes over its host’s reproductive system for its own replication.     Loxothylacus panopaei (Loxo for short) is a “highly evolved” barnacle preying on white-fingered mud crabs, a Chesapeake species.

Serving healthy portions of ­tradition and fellowship

With Christ Church Owensville’s annual homecoming dinner coming right up, parishioners gather to clean the kitchen and wash the dishes for the feast. We eat a potluck dinner because that’s what church people do before we work together. Then, as the dishes come down from the cabinets to be washed, I fall into a reverie. The plates are sturdy diner-style, green-striped, white crockery that, for the most part, match, so they nestle in neat stacks. The small oval plates for oysters are the same pattern.

Bakers Thomas and Pam Storm of Great Harvest Bread Company

What inspires you?     We love all kinds of baked goods but particularly enjoy trying traditional breads from around the world. What’s your culinary background?     Thomas owned an ice-cream store in downtown Annapolis for 25 years before switching to bread. Where do you eat on a night off — at home or out?

How to tell a spooky story

We like to be scared. Maybe not too much, but enough to feel the chill of possibility in our bones.     As chilling night temperatures tell us the frost is near, time has come to tell spooky stories.     This week, Bay Weekly guides you to the haunts of Chesapeake Country in a special section of Halloween Tricks and Treats.     We have a spooky story, too, imagined and written for you by Richard Johnson of Deale.

Leave the bugs outside

If you moved your houseplants outdoors last spring, this is the week to bring them in before the first frost.     But first you had better inspect them for bugs. One of the major problems associated with moving houseplants outdoors in warm weather is that they become exposed to a greater variety of insects generally not found indoors.     Examine the stems, tops and underside of leaves and flowers closely for both insects and egg masses. The most common insects are spider mites, aphids, spittlebugs, mealy bugs and scales.

Sweet success takes tuning

Easing my skiff up near a Bay Bridge support, I launched the lively Norfolk spot toward the sweet spot where the water eddied behind the down-current side of the concrete pier. I thumbed the spool, directing the baitfish to just the right place, inches from the support.     Stopping the spool just as the bait touched down, I released tension as the spot righted itself and jetted toward the bottom. My light thumb contact with the turning spool monitored the baitfish’s progress.

The brightest Evening Star

Sunset finds Venus ablaze low in the southwest before setting by 8pm. There is no brighter planet or star, and so close to the horizon Venus can pulse and shimmer as its light is distorted by our atmosphere. Traveling close to the sun, Venus appears for at most a few hours either after sunset or before dawn. This led early civilizations to believe that the evening star and the morning star were two distinct objects. The ancient Greeks called the morning Venus Phosphoros and the evening apparition Hesperos.