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January 2014

The Rufous Hummingbird makes another unseasonable appearance

Rufous hummingbirds travel great distances. The red-tinged birds’ migration takes them from their wintering grounds in Mexico and the southern United States to their breeding grounds in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, western Canada and southern Alaska.     They breed farther north than any other hummingbird.

Broadneck Peninsula Trail links Arnold

In New England where I grew up, everyone knew everyone else and you always got a friendly nod or a smile, especially if you were out walking the family pooch or trekking to school in inclement weather. I loved running down country roads, knowing I’d likely see someone I knew at some point along my route.     We’re lucky that way in Annapolis, too. An abundance of trails and sidewalks make Maryland’s capital city a walking- and running-friendly town.

Sometimes, you shouldn’t go home again

The only thing that could bring together the Weston women is tragedy. When the family patriarch — poet ­Beverly (Sam Shepard: Out of the Furnace) — goes missing, the three sisters converge at their ancestral home, steeling themselves to deal with old hurts, family secrets and, worst of all, their mother.

Crappie are at the head of the class, followed by yellow perch

The winter solstice, officially the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year, is already two weeks behind us. This annual planetary event is in another way the beginning of the end of winter. From here on out, daylight hours are growing longer and springtime ever closer.     That also means the blooming of the new fishing season since the fish, their instincts triggered by this change in the amount of sunlight, begin moving out of their deep water holes to migrate toward shallow water to spawn.

Get out and dig to be ready for spring

If you did a good job of building your compost pile last fall, now is a good time to stimulate more microbial activity.     Just before Christmas, temperatures in my compost pile dropped below 100 degrees from a high of 130 degrees measured just three weeks earlier. This falling temperature is due partially to a drop in surrounding ambient air and partially to a lower rate of microbial activity.

Our closest approach to the sun does make for the shortest season

Twilight Thursday and Friday evening reveals the new crescent moon low in the southwest with Venus blazing a few degrees away tight against the horizon. Venus sinks lower in the early evening sky over the next week, finally disappearing between the sun and earth on January 11. Then, after a few days absence, it reappears in pre-dawn skies, where it will blaze as the Morning Star until autumn.

Beyond generosity to jobs

It seems like just yesterday that I last saw you here, but here it is a whole year later. 2013 — so recently new and now all used up — raced into history in record time. 2014 will go just as fast, so we’d best plan right now to make best use of it.     That was the resolution I drank to as midnight, December 31, turned 2013 into the thin stuff of memory. New Year, I said, I’m going to make something of you. Like the Broadneck Trail you’ll read about in this issue, I’m going some place this year.