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August 2015

Take a trip back to Tudor England at this annual royal affair.     Perhaps you’ll meet King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon and their royal court in Revel Grove. Their highnesses, dressed in their finery, arrive in the village to meet distinguished foreign visitors, including the Imperial Ambassador Jehan Jonglet, Georg von Frundsberg, victor at the Battle of Pavia and captor of  France's King Francis and the Queen's sister, Juana of Castile, also known as Juana the Mad.

You’ll have to be as high as Mike to enjoy this stoner comedy

Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg: The End of the Tour) is a loser. Ambitionless, he works a dead-end job managing a convenience store and suffers from a plethora of phobias. The only bright spots in this life are Mike’s endlessly understanding girlfriend Phoebe (Kristen Stewart: Still Alice) and the mountains of marijuana he smokes each day.

There’s a lot involved in getting our kids to and from school safely

Starting next week, 800-plus big yellow school buses take to Anne Arundel and Calvert county roads. Throughout Maryland, some 7,500 10-ton behemoths join the traffic flow.     Hauling kids back and forth to 12 grades in 23 public schools in Calvert and more than 110 in Anne Arundel — all with staggered schedules — keeps school buses on the roads pretty much all day. Indeed, bus drivers work from 4am to 6pm, according to Anne Arundel County transportation administrative specialist Sharon Whitcher.

Once retired, school buses go to auction.     Who would want to buy an old school bus? If you’re thinking the Partridge Family, you’re warm. Thousands of Partridge families around the country buy retired school buses and convert them into RVs, dubbed Skoolies.     The appeal of Skoolies runs deeper than the 1970s TV show. School buses are stout enough to handle rollovers, have a superior ground clearance and are often equipped with diesel engines, which can run on biodiesel or even vegetable oil.

Sesame Peanut Butter Noodle Salad

Use kid-favorite peanut butter to upgrade packaged ramen to a cold noodle salad packed full of flavor and great grains, nuts and vegetables. For the Sesame Peanut Butter Sauce 1 large clove garlic 2 tablespoons tasted sesame oil 3 tablespoons natural smooth peanut butter or almond butter 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (optional) 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 3 limes) 2 tablespoons tamari 1½ teaspoons granulated sugar  

Love them or hate them, school buses weave through the fabric of our experience

One way or another, school buses take us all back to school.     As well as ever-safer and more standardized transport, they’re vehicles of cultural passage. Via the school bus, the freedom of childhood passes to the regimented life of schedules and hurry, bells and detentions. Mother lets go your hand and the motorized door opens to the wide world.     Little wonder school buses also travel our cultural byways as icons of rebellion.

Plant a flower garden and extend your acquaintance

Lantana drew this common buckeye butterfly to Sandra Bell’s Port Republic garden. “Butterflies and hummingbirds love them!” she wrote of this bright, cluster-flowered species of verbena.     They’re drawn to open, sunny areas with low vegetation and some bare ground. The six eyespots on the buckeye’s wings discourage predators that take if for something bigger. The warmth-loving species lays three broods in the deep South, and some of those progeny reach as far north as Canada.

In Deale, Petie Greens lives on

Petie Greens is a name worth money.     Along with the building bearing the nameplate, a third Petie Greens Bar and Restaurant is scheduled to open in Deale in fall.     Petie Greens earned popularity for breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout southern Anne Arundel and northern Calvert counties under the ownership of Sam ‘Petie’ Petro, who restored the rundown site and reputation  early in the century. Bobby Crane took ownership a few years later, keeping a moniker that was money in the bank.

Effort and thoroughness catch fish

The northwest wind pushed up some unpleasant seas, forcing us to shift our efforts from the Eastern Shore to the calmer waters on the leeward, western side of the Bay Bridge. That turned out to be good fortune.     That side of the structure abuts Sandy Point State Park and gets a tremendous amount of fishing pressure.

We have the knowledge but not the will to fix the problem

In a recent fishing trip with residents of the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home, we could not help but notice how brown the water appeared even after several miles of boating into Herring Bay. One of the veterans asked why. I explained to him that what he was seeing was mostly clay in suspension.     Where is it coming from?     Clay comes from agricultural fields and home gardeners with exposed soils as well as from construction sites.