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February 2014

1. You’d ride an icebreaker rather than stay ashore one day longer. (See Bob Melamud’s feature story, The Coolest Ride up the Bay.) 2. The visiting swans and snowy owls had boots and sweaters shipped in from the tundra. 3. Need a loan to pay your bird (and squirrel) food bill.   4. Holiday decorations have been up for so long a neighbor asks if you’re early this year.   5. The most common-colored car? Salt gray.

Winter boating on board the Coast Guard Cutter Chock

I can’t relate to the three things the chief of the boat is telling me.     “Try to be holding onto something all the time.”     “We’ll arrive in Chesapeake City at 1 or 2pm or maybe much later.”     “We have ear protection if you want it.”

Frostbite sailors stay home

Not cold, wind nor snow deters Frostbite sailors. But ice does.     Most years, the Annapolis Yacht Cub’s Frostbite Sailboat Racing series would be in full swing.     Racers layer up for warmth and follow winter safety rules: no walking on the decks (risk of ice) and sufficient crew (at least three adults) to manage a rescue. The Yacht Club keeps a careful eye on the weather, ready to cancel if conditions appear too hazardous. A fleet of motorboats stands by.

A rare breed proves it’s still Best in Show

Whiskey was the first wire fox terrier to enter our home. He chased children and adults, pilfered food from the table and ripped the shingles off a hand-built doghouse — even after application of sour apple anti-chew spray. He could open coffee cans and drag leaded food dishes up flights of stairs. This miscreant pup was a terror on four legs.     He barked, he dug and he obeyed only when convenient.     After Whiskey, we couldn’t imagine owning another breed.

Artists K-12 sought to translate nature’s inspiration to early fame, prizes

The artist and the photographer seek the mysteries and the adventure of experience in nature.           –Ansel Adams Step into a forest or sit by the side of a local river and close your eyes. When you open your eyes again, what do you see and feel?     Draw, write or photograph what you’re experiencing, and you can enter it into the 2014 Color Maryland Green contest. The winning videos, poems, drawings or photographs are rewarded with 2014 Maryland State Park Passports.

Walk into black history at Back Creek Books

Find the right place in historic Annapolis, and you can walk right into history.     Back Creek Books, between State and Church circles on Main Street, is such a place.

Sow slow-germinating seeds now

As you know from last week’s calendar of when to sow what, now into early March is the time to sow seeds of onions and shallots, begonias and coleus, petunias and impatients. These very fine-seeded species require special treatment. Here’s what to do.     Buy a commercial seed starter that’s a sterile fine mixture of peat moss, pine bark and fine vermiculite amended with limestone to adjust the pH to near 6.5.

Now’s the time to pack the things you’re sure to need

A number of tools can make an angler’s life easier. The most important of these are often needed multiple times a day. Many are the frustrated anglers who have overlooked them.     I’m frequently surprised by the number of experienced fishermen and women who have to rummage around in their pockets or tackle bags to find a tool to cut their line when changing terminal tackle. If you’re using braided line, you’ve found that not every line clipper will manage its thin diameter and tough composition.

Help plot the stars and shine a light on light pollution

With the moon waning through pre-dawn skies, this week marks the year’s second Globe at Night backyard observing drive, which aims to enlist you in charting the night sky. The goal: “to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution by inviting citizen-scientists to measure their night sky brightness and submit their observations to a website from a computer or smart phone.”

Patterson Memories Tour • free

Tour Point Farm and learn about the Jefferson Pattersons and their history in Calvert. 10am & 1pm at Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum, St. Leonard, rsvp: 410-586-8578; www.jefpat.org.