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January 2016

Kudos to everyone for feeding the birds during and now after Snowzilla.     Studies have found that when deep snow covers many birds’ natural food, our handouts increase their survival.

Is there a smarter way to package our takeout?

Let’s talk lunch.          As a child, each day I carried to school a packed lunch in a metal Holly Hobbie lunch box, later replaced by Wonder Woman.     As an adult, I sometimes remember to pack a lunch from home. But more often than not, lunch is carryout.     Bay Weekly prides itself on running an eco-friendly office, and we try to recycle the majority of our waste. Yet the sheer volume of take-out packaging that ends up in the garbage is disturbing.

Now at home in Maryland Zoo

He wasn’t a fish out of water, but just the same, he was not where he should be. The young sandhill crane was discovered in western Maryland, walking down the center lane of a highway and hanging out in a Home Depot parking lot.

Should we give up plastic bags?

A convenience that has gotten out of hand, plastic bags remind me of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The Disney cartoon from Fantasia is one of my favorite feats of imagination. In search of ease, Mickey Mouse, the apprentice, puts a spell on his mop and bucket. But he hasn’t learned enough sorcery to limit the spell, and his labor-saving devices multiply beyond his power to control them.

Make a habit of carrying out lunch, and you’ll be as bad as Jonas

Talk about leaving behind litter!         Snowstorm Jonas has left us tons to recycle. Mother Earth will do much of the job, melting the snow and filtering it into groundwater aquifers. Where the piles rise into mountains — as in RFK Stadium where D.C. snow is dumped — a tractor-trailer-sized melter hired from Indiana is speeding up the return of snow to water, which will then be treated before entering the stormwater sewer system that eventually leads to the Bay.

The waterfowl hunter is a different sort of man — or woman

The sound of a half dozen rapid shots followed by a pause, then two or three more measured reports rolled in from the nearby Magothy River. I was drinking my first coffee that morning, still in my bathrobe and looking out the front window when I heard the gunfire. It was bitter cold, windy, overcast and an altogether miserable morning. The duck hunters must be in heaven, I thought.

Here’s how I know which to trust

In winter’s grip, there is nothing like a good nursery and seed catalog, full of colorful pictures of thriving plants, to put you in the mood for digging in the soil. These books may even encourage you to build a small greenhouse or hot bed to get started early.     Which is why mailboxes fill up with seed and nursery catalogs this time of year.     I receive many more catalogs than I keep because I discard those with altered images or illustrations to describe what they have to offer.

Five planets shine at dawn

Sirius the Dog Star, blazes high in the south by 10pm. The brightest star, Sirius is easy to spot, but if you have any trouble, follow the three belt stars of familiar Orion down and to the left.     Last week we traveled the Great Winter Circle, which encompasses Sirius. The Dog Star also anchors another asterism, the Winter Triangle. The other two points are Betelgeuse, marking Orion’s upper shoulder, and Procyon, the Little Dog in Canis Minor, which together with Sirius, the lowest of the three, form a near-perfect equilateral triangle.

Four Coast Guardsmen attempt an impossible rescue in this stirring drama

In an intense Nor’easter, The Pendleton cracks in half off the coast of Cape Cod. The men on the stern watch in horror as massive swells swallow half of their oil tanker. As they’re taking on water fast, engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck: Interstellar) knows that they have only hours afloat.     But all the Coast Guard’s large boats are working to save another oil tanker.

Genealogical Society

Members of Coming to the Table, an organization that educates on slavery, discuss their personal histories and legacies. 7-9:30pm, Severna Park UMC, Benfield Rd.: aagensoc.org.