view counter

January 2017

Taking on the rise and fall of your political ideals

It’s always good to make an audience think. In The City of Conversation, Colonial Players makes us do just that with a story that is well told, emotional and often laugh-out-loud funny — as well as relevant, with its look at how politics can split families.

Thick and blue is tried and true; thin and crispy is way too risky

Shivering, I resettled my stool, a plastic five-gallon pail, and reached for the skimming spoon. Easing over to the two holes we had spudded in the six-inch-thick ice an hour earlier, I scooped the already thickening slush threatening to close them. Meanwhile, I hoped that my mother hadn’t noticed her favorite slotted spoon missing from its peg in the kitchen.

Put those seed catalogs to good use

Perhaps you have received seed catalogs for the coming spring planting season. On the the front and back cover you will likely be encouraged to order early to receive bonuses or discounts. Many seed companies also offer free shipping for early orders. You can save quite a bit if you take advantage of these special offers.

Three decades in the making, three (boring) hours in the watching

In the 17th century, Japanese governors forestalled the growth of Catholicism in their country by rounding up priests and converts. Those who recanted were released. The faithful were tortured.     Word reaches the Jesuits of Portugal that Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson: A Monster Calls) has foresworn his faith and is living among the Japanese. Horrified, Fathers Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield: Hacksaw Ridge) and Garrpe (Andrew Driver: Patterson) volunteer to go learn the truth.

In the Maryland General Assembly, C. Rhoades Whitehill reads every last bill … Out loud

With up to 2,000 bills churning through each chamber in the Maryland General Assembly, you might wonder who reads them all.       Legislators? Not a chance.     Who you gonna call? Only one number in Annapolis, that of C. Rhoades Whitehill, Reading Clerk for the Maryland House of Delegates.     How many? Last year, Whitehill says, “That was 1,600, nearer to 1,700.”

It’s worth your while to catch this show

What will you be watching in 2017? The new Homeland series on Showtime? The Young Pope? The Good Fight? Perhaps the Maryland General Assembly?     The legislature may get few votes. Yet between now and April 10, the Maryland General Assembly will wrangle with the governor to decide how to spend billions of your dollars.

Grasonville environmental center schools grown-ups

So you want to learn more about life in Chesapeake Country, but you’re just a bit intimidated by lengthy Master Naturalist classes with lots of study time and volunteer hours?     The Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center in Grasonville has the answer you didn’t know you were looking for.

Their winter nutrition is worth your money

Set up a feeder, and you’ll have the energetic company of snowbirds that, like you, aren’t driven south by January’s black-and-white chilly minimalism.     Holly-berry red male and Dior-cloaked russet females add color and conflict, as each pecks off others of its own sex. The cold first weekend of January, scattered black oil sunflower seed brought a battery of six Cardinals into view.

Planning for spring starts now

Calvert Garden Club awards mini-grants of $100 to $1,000 to local non-profits to Beautify Calvert County.     Last year, when the grant theme was educating a new generation, a $750 grant to Mt. Harmony Elementary School funded a vegetable garden and wildflower bed.     Apply by Feb. 1: calvertgardenclub.com.

Black squirrels once were common in America before European migration

Peering out the front window with my first cup of coffee this morning, I was rewarded with the sight of at least a half dozen squirrels cavorting on my snow-covered lawn, running up and down the trees, chasing each other and creating a maelstrom of snow powder and furry activity.     One of the frisking rascals, I noticed with surprise, was melanistic, a black phase of our common gray squirrel. Though fairly rare (one in 10,000) these days, the jet-black variety is a handsome mutation and jogged some interesting facts loose in my memory.