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November 2013

Season’s Bounty Heralds the Holidays

For us at Bay Weekly, this week’s paper arrives like Christmas.     The wait has been long and ticklish with anticipation. Preparation has kept us busy for days and nights, our keyboards ringing like tools in elfish workshops. Visions of what’s to come have danced in our heads.     Now the wait is over.     With this week’s paper, Christmas arrives.     In this season of sharing, it falls from our hands into yours.

After generations harvesting wild oysters, Chesapeake watermen are learning to raise them

Where have all the nicknames gone?     Once upon a time you had one — Popeye, Spanky, Hambone — if you were an oysterman working the Bay.     Nowadays, oystermen are mostly gone, along with their nicknames. In Anne Arundel and Calvert counties, only about a dozen commercial oystermen still work.

In hatcheries, science works to jumpstart nature

Restoring oysters and an oyster economy in the Chesapeake starts in hatchery labs, where scientists are filling the gap in hopes nature will take over from there.     The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Horn Point Hatchery in Cambridge — expanded last year to produce up to two billion spat a year — grows the larvae, nursing the tiny babies as they attach to a hard surface — old oyster shell. Other oyster babies are grown in a smaller state hatchery at Piney Point in St. Mary’s County.

Comet ISON is heading for the sun

If you haven’t looked for Comet ISON yet, now is the time. In just the past few days, the comet has grown more than 15 times brighter and is now visible to the unaided eye low in the east-southeast before dawn.

Thanksgiving’s main course, from free to $6.75 a pound

The bird of the season is a turkey.             We Americans devour over 45 million turkeys and over 675 million pounds of turkey each Thanksgiving. That’s the big day, but not the only day, we eat the big bird. If you’re an average American, you eat 17.5 pounds of turkey every year. That’s more than even Uncle Max could eat in one day.     Some of us will eat turkey for free; others will pay up to $6.75 a pound for Thanksgiving’s main course.

John Page Williams honored for 40 years of conservation

John Page Williams, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s senior naturalist, has been made an Admiral of the Chesapeake by decree of Governor Martin O’Malley. The rank, which dates back to the middle of the last century, recognizes a lifetime of environmental contributions.

Local animal lovers read local Short Leash writer

If you read Marley and Me and cried like a baby, we may have the book club for you.     The readers in this club carry their passion about animals into their taste in books. They’ll read any animal-themed book. They started on The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein and The Pitbull Placebo by Karen Delise.     This month the young, unnamed group — mostly Anne Arundel County SPCA volunteers — is reading local memoirist Janice Gary’s Short Leash.

From perch to rock to sea trout — this lure will get them when others won’t

Temperatures were in the mid-50s, the tide was close to slack and a light wind was out of the southwest at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Hoping for a good score on the white perch that had been gathering there the last two weeks, we were armed with medium-weight jigging rods and two-ounce Bernie’s Bomber Rigs.     Marking a nice school, we dropped our lures down to the bottom some 45 feet below and started the yo-yo action that we hoped would draw some strikes from our favorite frying fish, wintertime white perch. We didn’t have long to wait.

From asparagus to strawberries to tools, you’ve got a few more tasks

The gardening season is almost over, but there are some loose ends that need your attention.

Nothing here but wit, and that aplenty

Of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest 1895 premiere, critic William Archer wrote in The World newspaper, “What can a poor critic do with a play which raises no principle, whether of art or morals, creates its own canons and conventions and is nothing but an absolutely willful expression of an irrepressibly witty personality?”     Wilde’s irrepressible wit lives on, irresistible to even the tradition-revering United States Naval Academy’s oldest club, the Masqueraders.