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Getting equipped to clean your tackle will postpone that day of reckoning
     First it was wind and plenty of it. Then rain. Gazing at the dreary, sodden, gale-racked scene from my writing chair, I admitted that foul weather is finally descending on us. We will get days on the water, but more often than not, we won’t.
     Behind me was the tangle of gear I had ignored for some time. Two rod racks hold more than 20 outfits, sufficient for most of the rigs I commonly use. When I’m in a sweet run — weather, tides and fish all cooperating — I don’t put the rods where they belong. I lean them somewhere convenient. My room looks like a forest of falling timber. 
     With fishing in the near future doubtful, I considered cleaning my gear in preparation for wintertime storage. Taking stock, I saw missing maintenance items, mostly products that had been hijacked for household use.
     A list was what I needed. I liked the idea. A list would take me a while. Then I would have to make a trip to buy what was missing, thus putting off cleaning anything. Perfect. 
     The first item on my list is Soft Scrub. A wonderful cleaning product containing a mild abrasive, Soft Scrub is perfect for resurrecting a fresh gleam from a fish slime-encrusted rod. I made a note to get the kind without bleach, as I always get some on my clothing and it leaves its mark.
      The Soft Scrub is used on a sponge so I’ll need a few of those. There are at least one or two in the kitchen, but my wife would not like me using them on tackle contaminated with menhaden residue or worm goo. She might think I would return them for further use on pots or pans, though I assure you I would not.
     A toothbrush is also handy for cleaning the guides on a rod or the crevices of a reel. They are useful for many applications and, with a good dollop of Soft Scrub, can make a tedious job much easier. I added a couple of inexpensive brushes to my list. I offer a word of caution: To avoid embarrassing confrontations, an angler should not purchase any toothbrush in the same color that anyone else in the household is using.
     Regular powdered sink cleanser is also a necessity for a thorough cleaning job. I don’t recommend it for rods or reels as it is too abrasive, but it can bring a dirt-encrusted cork or foam rod handle back to great condition. It should be applied with a sponge. Never use a brush to clean cork as it can easily erode the softer parts of the surface.
     A can of WD-40 is also on the list. Both a cleaner and a preservative, it is wonderful for a quick cleaning of the surfaces of any tackle; a light covering will protect most metals during winter storage. Do not spray it directly onto reels; it is not a lubricant. As it contains a potent solvent, it can dilute or displace heavy grease or other interior petroleum lubricants. 
     As a final item, I include line conditioner. Monofilament and fluorocarbon fishing lines can dry out in storage, becoming stiff and brittle and retaining spool memory. As a last step, a thorough and generous application of a good-quality line conditioner on your spooled reels will minimize these effects and keep all types of fishing lines soft, fresh and ready to use come spring.  
     Now I’m ready to go shopping. When I get back with my replenished supplies, it will be too late to start cleaning.

Fish Finder
     On the fifth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, another nor’easter descended on us. Expect the gale to break up and relocate the large migrating schools of baitfish as well as the rockfish that have been following them. All bets are off on how or where the bite will resume. The storm will also close down crabbing, and any spot, croaker or Spanish mackerel action. 
Hunting Seasons
Wild Turkey: thru Nov. 4
Sea Duck: Nov. 4-12
Duck: Nov. 11-24
Snow goose: thru Nov. 24
Whitetail deer, antlered and antlerless, and Sika deer: Muzzleloader season thru Nov. 21; Bow season thru Nov. 24
Woodcock: thru Nov. 24
Ruffed grouse: thru Jan. 31
Squirrel: thru Feb. 28

Research is what you call it when you’re not catching

      Thumbing the spool, I cast my lure just off a placid riprapped Chesapeake Bay shoreline. The morning had been perfect for surface plugging to cruising rockfish: The tide was in flood stage, there was little wind and the water was 66 degrees. Yet there were no fish.
      Having just worked about 50 yards of rocky shoreside with my favorite popper, a black Smack-It, I switched to a Rat-L-Trap-type lure in gold, a sub-surface producer. The three-quarter-ounce lure was easy to cast long distances, and I often used it when prospecting large unknown areas for stripers.
     “Research is what we’re doing when we don’t know what we’re doing,” Albert Einstein said, and that popped into my head after another half hour of casts and retrieves. I imagined this as angling research, unproductive but still research.
      That stretch of shoreline was one of the last resort locations for the day. Farther up the river, I had already tried a half-dozen prime spots, all places where over my many years I had caught a fish. But the results so far, no matter where I fished, were zip, nada, nothing, a big smelly skunk. This was not my first skunk of the week; it was more like the third.
     I was now into a desperate pattern, working locations where I had never caught a fish but that looked as if I should have. 
      It’s easy to remain focused when I’m fishing areas that have been productive in the past or after I have caught a few fish. I can envision the slamming strikes, the angry boils, the charging fish that I experienced in the past. But when I’m getting tired after long episodes of no fish, my shoulders starts to ache, my back begins to complain and my attention can wander.
      Long stretches of no fish can also result in depression. This will never get you any sympathy from your spouse or friends. Plus, you’re actually getting a beautiful day on the water. But any serious angler knows what I’m talking about.
      So I have to hope. I concentrate on my casting. When throwing plugs with a spin rig, you simply gauge the distance and make the throw. You’re either on target or not. But with the revolving-spool casting rigs that I use, that action can be more complicated. 
      If the initial throwing effort has caused the lure to tumble in the air, you can steady it with very light thumb pressure on the spool. Steadying the lure will cause it to become more aerodynamic, increasing your distance, and also minimize the chance of fouling the lure on the line that trails it.
       The angler with revolving-spool tackle can also alter the trajectory of the cast. Holding the rod tip off to the appropriate side and thumbing the spool will cause the lure to move to one side or the other. Thumb pressure will also shorten the cast and, if it is done just before the lure hits the water, soften the landing.
      I imagined instances where these actions might be important and practiced variations.
     At this point, a large bird wafted overhead. I looked up and realized it was a juvenile bald eagle giving me the hairy eyeball. I love to see eagles flying over the Chesapeake; they’re the only creatures I don’t resent for out-fishing me. 
       By that point the day had worn on past lunch. Hungry, sore and still fishless, I decided that the eagle would have to do it for the day. Tomorrow would be another cause for hope. Tomorrow things would be better.

Calvert Marine Museum scientist helps solve the mystery of the ­plesiosaur’s teeth

       Saur, from the Greek, tells you it’s some kind of lizard, likely a dinosaur, as that’s this suffix’s common use. There’s little else familiar about this Plesiosaur — except its connection to Calvert Marine Museum.
     First, the introduction: Plesiosaurs are stout-bodied, long-necked lizards, from the age of dinosaurs that propelled themselves through their oceanic environment using four flippers.
     Then the connection: It’s not the ancient ocean that is now our Chesapeake. Rather it’s the Museum’s man on such ancient environments, paleontologist Dr. Stephen Godfrey. With an international team of paleontologists from Chile, Argentina and the United States, Godfrey found a plesiosaur from long ago Antarctica that was rather like a whale.
     Instead of a marine predator, like other plesiosaurs, this saur was a strainer feeder like baleen whales, creatures that did live in the Miocene Chesapeake.
     Teeth were the clue that tipped off the team led by F. Robin O’Keefe a globally recognized scientist specializing in Mesozoic marine reptiles. The tiny teeth in the fossil’s lower jaw pointed the wrong way. Nor did they meet tip to tip as in all other plesiosaurs, instead lying together in a battery that acted in straining food particles from the water. This feeding style is unknown in other marine reptiles.
     It may, the scientists concluded, be an evolution “linked to changes in ocean circulation brought on by the southward movement of Antarctica during the Late Cretaceous period.”
     Visitors to Calvert Marine Museum can see what this pivotal plesiosaur likely looked like.
A clever premise and charming leads make the year’s best Halloween scare
      Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe: Tater Tot & Patton) has a terrible birthday. She wakes in a geek’s room after a night of drinking. She’s late to class. A glass of chocolate milk is spilled on her head. Then she’s brutally murdered. 
     Good thing she gets to wake up to try the day over. And over, as she dies each new day. Finally, she decides to stop her serial killer dead.
     As Tree investigates the many people who might want to kill her, she starts learning. She develops fighting skills; plans ways to turn the table on her killer; and tries not to act like a garbage person. 
     Can Tree change for the better? Or is she doomed to be murdered for all eternity? 
     Clever, funny and entertaining, Happy Death Day is a tasty piece of Halloween candy for horror fans. Director Christopher Landon (Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to this slasher version of Groundhog Day, focusing on comedy rather than terror. 
     There are jump scares galore, but nothing about Happy Death Day is truly terrifying. Even Tree rolls her eyes each time her killer — wearing the worst baby mask ever — tracks her down. 
     Snappy writing and two fantastic performances make the movie work. 
     Rothe is charismatic enough to pull off bad behavior without making the audience hate Tree. Nor does Rothe push the redemption arc too hard, allowing Tree to fix her more egregious behavior while retaining the sass that makes her fun. Her transition from terrified victim to daring heroine is deeply satisfying.
     As the nerd who helps her figure out the rules of her repeating day, Israel Broussard (Say You Will) is both charming and earnest. Unlike Tree, Broussard’s Carter doesn’t retain memories when the day resets. It’s hilarious to watch Tree recruit Carter to her cause in increasingly odd ways. 
     Entertaining as it is, Happy Death Day is far from perfect. Beyond the clever gimmick, the plot is standard. You’ll also figure out the identity of the murderer long before Tree and Carter do. Still, it’s easy to join the cast and crew in sheer fun. 
Good Slasher/Comedy • PG-13 • 96 mins. 
New this Week
The Florida Project
     Six-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) lives in a motel next to Disney World. Left on her own day after day by her well-meaning but neglectful mother, Moonee has only the harried motel manager (Willem Dafoe) to look after her. 
     Director Sean Baker is known for capturing slice-of-life stories in unexpected places. His filming style, which has included shooting on iPhones, makes his stories seem more like documentaries than works of fiction. 
     See it for Baker’s style, Prince and Dafoe’s rave performances and a story of how the innocence of childhood can make even the direst circumstances an adventure.
Prospects: Bright • R • 115 mins.
     In the near future, a network of satellites controls the weather and forestalls natural disasters. When the system goes down, all hell breaks loose.
     Tornadoes swarm across the plains. Tidal waves surge into major cities. Hail the size of small cars batters the population.
     A climatologist, a secret service agent and a nerd team up to stop these disasters by kidnapping the president.
     After a horrific hurricane season, Geostorm might seem relevant. It is not. This is a big-budget shlock fest that embarrasses its actors. Plus, effects look reused from the equally loathsome disaster flick 2012. 
Prospects: Disastrous • PG-13 • 109 mins.
Only the Brave
     As the Granite Mountain Hotshots battle the flames on Yarnell Mountain, the men think about the reasons they risk their lives to protect others. 
     Based on the true and tragic tale and featuring A-list talent including Jennifer Connelly, Josh Brolin, Jeff Daniels and Miles Teller, this movie should be both tearjerker and excellent drama. 
Prospects: Bright • PG-13 • 133 mins.
The Snowman
     When snow blankets a small town, there’s more to fear than frigid temperatures. A serial killer known as the Snowman emerges from hibernation to dismember women. 
     Detective Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) teams up with a promising young recruit to finally trap the Snowman.
     This Scandinavian noir has all the components of a great thriller: bleak landscapes, isolation and good actors. Will the script go beyond a moody aesthetic and grotesque murders to make us care about the characters? 
Prospects: Flickering • R • 119 mins.
Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea ­Halloween
     The newest entry in Perry’s wildly popular franchise has Madea (Tyler Perry) and her friends venturing into a haunted campground on Halloween. As ghosts and ghouls attack, the crew must fight or flee. 
Prospects: Flickering • PG-13 • 101 mins.

Tested and true lures and bait

     Drifting to the edge of the channel in my skiff, I had my eyes glued to the electronic finder screen. A glance over my shoulder assured me that I wasn’t getting in the way of anyone navigating through the area, so I released a little more fishing line and felt the one-ounce sinker below continue its tap, tap, tapping contact over the shell-strewn contours. Perfect.
     Watching the numbers increase as the bottom fell away, I tensed as it descended through 14 then 15 feet, the depth that had proved the sweet spot.      Then the screen’s bottom image showed a long bright blob marking a tight school of perch. Seconds later, as my baited rig passed through those marks, my rod tip surged down and I felt the heavy weight of a good fish. It arced deeper as another fish jumped on. Double-header!
     Years ago, during a particularly good panfish bite, I experimented with a number of variations of two-hook bottom-fishing setups, termed hi-lo or top-and-bottom rigs, to see which were the most effective. The best setup — quite a surprise — has remained the top producer for bottom fishing throughout the years, despite any troubling instincts to the contrary. 
     I knew that twisted wire or heavy mono two-hook (maximum permitted in Maryland) setups would scare off every fish with any sense. So I started from scratch designing my own barest fluorocarbon-rigged setups for stealth and effectiveness.
     My creations of light fluorocarbon leaders, fine wire hooks and minimum construction worked well and caught lots of fish, just as I anticipated. But for due diligence, I also tried more popular rigs and hook setups. 
     What I discovered was amazing. The outlandish and all-too-obvious twisted wire top and bottom (or hi-lo) constructions out-fished everything I had so laboriously created. Far from scaring the fish off, the clumsy contraptions seem to attract the attack of panfish of all sizes.
     This was also true of the snelled hooks that I bent on the wire top-and-bottom rigs. The simple small black hook snelled with light monofilament caught fish. But the more obvious bright red No. 4 hooks, dressed with orange beads and a silver or fluorescent spinner blade, caught more panfish of every type, including the bigger, older fish that should have known better.
     Over time, I have also developed a strong preference for baiting with bloodworms. Though soft crab, grass shrimp and razor clams can sometimes provoke more bites, the bloodworms remain on the hook longer, are far more difficult for a panfish to filch and, as a result, reduce the need to rebait empty hooks. More time for your rig in the panfish zone means more hook-ups.
     My day on the water this past week with that bait and those big, obvious setups once again proved the efficacy of the terminal tackle and bait system. Perch as big as 12 inches — with the smallest just under 10 inches — made up the dozen fat keepers that accompanied me home that day. There were of course many throwbacks, but the constant action kept the day exciting.
     If you’ve a yen for some productive fall fishing, this commonly available gear will maximize your chances of a good catch. 
Fish Finder
     The middle Bay is plagued with barely keeper sized rockfish. Trolling has been the top producer, simply because it is superior in covering a lot of water. Bigger fish are falling to vertical jigging, but in this endeavor relentlessness is key. Bluefish are roaming the Bay, providing some lively action but ruining the bite for live-liners using spot.
     White perch are schooling in the tributaries, particularly in 14 to 16 feet of water. They’ll be leaving soon for their main Bay wintering grounds, so if you intend on putting any in the ­freezer, now is the time. 
     Spanish mackerel have shown here and there. Clark Spoons, red hoses and Captain John’s spoons all trolled at about five knots are the key to hooking up with these swift migrators.
Hunting Seasons
  • Ducks: thru Nov. 21
  • Snow geese: thru Nov. 24
  • Whitetail deer, antlered and antlerless, and Sika deer: Bow season Oct. 22-Nov. 24; Muzzleloader thru Nov. 21
  • Black bear: Oct. 23-26
  • Squirrel: thru Feb. 28

Beaches, marsh and mountains blaze with color

     Autumn can be a polarizing season, but I have become quite the enthusiast of this time of harvest, leaf peeping and ubiquitous festivals. I like the hot cider and apple fritters, but what I love most are the seasonal changes we can experience in the natural world.
     Chesapeake Country is a fine place to experience those changes. The watershed we call home is an enormous place — over 64,000 square miles stretched across six states and Washington, D.C. Within those miles are diverse physiographic regions: the ancient Appalachian Mountains, the rolling hills of the central piedmont plateau and the low-lying, marsh-encompassed Atlantic coastal plain. In each of these regions, birds are migrating and mammals are on the move as they forage for precious calories. Exquisite colors adorn the many species of deciduous trees. 
From the Beaches …
     Close to home, the tranquil, still wetlands of Calvert Cliffs State Park in Calvert County give us a double image of autumn color: in the trees and reflected on Bay waters. As well as its namesake cliffs and fossilized shark teeth, the Bayside park also invites wildlife viewing. I have encountered wood ducks and muskrat as they swim through the season’s colorful double image. 
To the Marshes …
     At Calvert County’s Battle Creek Cypress Swamp, you’ll find an unexpected color transformation. An easy stroll on a boardwalk takes you into one of the northernmost naturally occurring stands of bald cypress trees in the lower 48 states. This cypress appears evergreen, but it is deciduous, and its needles change to beautiful fall colors before dropping. If you are lucky, you may be treated to the sight of a bald eagle or barred owl.  
     For a unique sighting of autumnal color, head to saltier marshes to search for patches of glasswort. The plant has simple or branched stems that resemble asparagus stalks. Beginning in late September, it transforms to a brilliant crimson red, making it simple to scan for and identify. Stunning to behold, it is in perfect contrast to the cordgrass, which is turning from green to brown. A great location for glasswort is the salt marshes of Assateague Island.
To the Mountains …
     Take in the bounty of autumn leaves in our mountain regions. Two of my favorite locations are Shenandoah National Park and Catoctin Mountain Park, both operated by the National Park Service.
     The famed skyline drive of Shenandoah is a 105-mile historic highway beginning in Front Royal, Virginia, and traversing the length of the park along the Blue Ridge Mountains. By mid-October the drive will be adorned with a kaleidoscope of autumn color. Additionally there are numerous trails in the park, including the Appalachian Trail, to take you farther into the woodlands.
     There’s a trail for everyone, from the novice hiker to the experienced backpacker, and varying levels of intensity. For an easy walk try the Limberlost trail, which is wheelchair accessible. The more intrepid might spend a day hiking Old Rag Mountain and its famed rock scramble. Be on that trailhead early, as the mountain’s popularity equates to large crowds and long lines on the rock scramble. Bring plenty of water and a backpack to clean up after yourself, and follow the adage to leave only your footprints behind.
     Shenandoah National Park holds a wide variety of wildlife, including whitetail deer, coyotes, bobcats and wild turkeys. Its most famous inhabitants are a thriving population of black bears, which will be active as they seek high-calorie acorns before winter sets in. Seeing a bear in the autumn woods is a real treat. A black bear is a rather timid animal and is more likely frightened by you than the other way around. For a safe as well as memorable encounter, always give the bear plenty of space and admire it from a distance.
     Catoctin Mountain Park in western Maryland is much smaller but no less breathtaking, with numerous trails and vistas. While there, make sure to look down at the leaf clutter and you may be fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of the ruffed grouse, a chicken-like upland bird that blends in with the forest floor.
November’s Whiteout
     By November, when the leaves have moved past peak color and the thought of Thanksgiving dinner is piquing our senses, another color not normally associated with autumn is just returning. The marshes and agricultural lands around the Bay will be sprinkled with the color white, signaling the return of snow geese and tundra swans to the Chesapeake.  
When thousands upon thousands of snow geese blast off in flight together in a cacophony of goose call, it is quite the sensory experience.  These birds flock to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Dorchester County, where another large white bird, the while pelican, is also just returning.
     I hope these ideas inspire you to experience autumn in the natural world.


Your 2017 guide to finding fall fun
     Summer lingered a little longer this year, thanks to Gov. Hogan’s decree that public schools start after Labor Day. We had 13 weeks of sun, fun, beaches and boats. With the children settling back into their routines, we can now look ahead to Chesapeake Country’s best season. 
     With summer’s humidity wrung out, the air is light, skies often blue and leaves full of color. Autumn is clearly on the horizon.
     This issue of Bay Weekly shows you how to sweetly kiss summer goodbye and welcome the wonders of fall. Here are 50 Ways to Leave Your Summer, a chronology of fun, fare and festivals stretching from the autumnal equinox to Thanksgiving.

1 Take an Equinox Hike
We pass from summer to fall with the autumnal equinox at 4:02pm on Friday, September 22, when the sun spends equal time above and below the horizon, balancing light and darkness. Bid summer farewell as you breathe in the fresh air of a new season on a weekend hike. 4-7pm, Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, Lothian, free, rsvp: 410-741-9330.
2 Hear Two Big Voices
Pack a picnic and outdoor seating to cross from summer into autumn enjoying the music of Troy Ramey — from NBC’s The Voice — and Bryan Frates, both singers whose careers prove that you can — with luck, work and good timing— live your dream; Frates F. Sept 22, 7-10pm, Calverton School, Huntington: $10. rsvp:
3 Kunta Kinte Festival
Celebrate African-American heritage and culture at the 28th annual Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival with music, dance, arts and crafts, traditional foods and children’s tent. Sept. 23, 10am-7pm, Susan Campbell Park, City Dock, Annapolis, free:
4 S’mores with Scouts
Join the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland for a fall celebration with games, crafts, a 25-foot rock wall, candy apples and our favorite campfire treat — s’mores. Sept. 23, 10am-1pm, Camp Woodlands, Annapolis; Oct. 28, 10am-1pm, Camp Whippoorwill, Pasadena; $10 (includes Fall Patch), rsvp:
5 Tour Artists’ Studios
Explore the rolling farmland hills and Chesapeake shores as you visit the 17 artists of the Muddy Creek Artists Guild at work in their studios; a free illustrated guide helps you plan your tour. Artists offer refreshments, demos and music. Sept. 23-24, 11am-5pm:
6 Meet Author ­Chimamanda Adichie for Maryland One Book
Every autumn, you can join thousands of Marylanders across the state in a giant book club, with discussions both in person (at many libraries) and online. This month, you can talk about this year’s One Book with its author. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie — whose Purple Hibiscus was selected by the Maryland Humanities Council as Maryland’s 2107 One Book — joins her readers right here in Calvert County as well as in Gaithersburg and Baltimore.
Purple Hibiscus, Adichie’s debut novel, is the story of a family of privilege in Enugu, Nigeria, during the traumatizing days of a military coup. Its theme are the emotional turmoil of adolescence, the bonds of family and the bright hope of freedom. Purple Hibiscus won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Adichie was winner in 2008 of a MacArthur Genius Award. Her 2013 book Americanah was named one of the New York Times Top Ten Best Books of the Year. Her TED Talks are some of the most-viewed videos of all time.
Talk with Adichie Sun. Sept. 24 at the Baltimore Book Festival’s main Literary Salon at 2pm; Mon. Sept. 25 at Calvert High School in Prince Frederick at 7pm; or Tues. Sept. 26 at Gaithersburg High School at 7pm. rsvp:
7 Savor Beer, Save Land
Enlarge your acquaintance with local brews while supporting a new campaign to preserve Holly Hill, the largest tract of unprotected land in Calvert County’s pristine Parkers Creek Watershed. Sip & Save with American Chestnut Land Trust and beer from four local and four state breweries. The jazz group The Junior Bryce Band plays, and Dream Weaver Café sells delicious local food. Take a butterfly walk and watch monarch tagging demos and tours of the farm and gardens; plus games, prizes and raffles. Sept. 23, 1-5pm, North Side Trailhead, Double Oak Farm, Prince Frederick, $20 w/discounts, rsvp:
8 TrawlerFest
Find your dreamboat at TrawlerFest, an in-water display of powerboats plus first-class boating courses and demos, new marine products and services and more. Sept. 28-30, 10am-5pm, Bay Bridge Marina, Stevensville, $18 w/discounts; rsvp:
9 Calvert County Fair
The Calvert County Fair is a hometown combination of carnival, midway, concert stage and agricultural exposition. See judged displays of home-canning, baking and crafts, with special events daily, including competitions for Calvert Idol, children’s contests, the crowning of Miss Tranquility and Lord Calvert, tractor pulls and concerts. Sept. 27-Oct. 1, Barstow:
10 Calverton Golf Classic 
Take a Friday off to compete on the greens. Sign up now for Calverton Golf Classic on Sept. 29, 9am, Oak Creek Golf Club, Upper Marlboro: $150 or $600/4, includes cart, golf, lunch and banquet. rsvp:
11 Bid Farewell to Migrating Monarchs
Learn how your family can help monarch butterflies by watching with Calvert County naturalists, planting milkweed seeds and practicing netting techniques (three sessions offered). Watch the film Flight of the Monarchs between sessions. Sept. 30, 10am-3pm, Kings Landing Park, Huntingtown, $8 w/discounts, rsvp:
12 Deale VFD Crab Feast
All the steamed crabs you can eat, coleslaw, baked beans, corn, hamburgers, hot dogs, beer, soda, tea and lemonade; plus raffles, door prizes and crab races; all to benefit the volunteer fire department and rescue squad. Sept. 30, 5-10pm, $55, rsvp: 443-822-9468.
13 Raise a Stein for ­Oktoberfest 
The 27th West Annapolis Oktoberfest opens two blocks for German snacking, drinking and arts and crafts vendors with music from The Oom Pa Pa Band. Sept. 24, 10am-5pm, Annapolis St.:
The Second Annual Duckfest beer and music festival hosts musical guests Run Catch Rain, Josh Airhart and the Ryan Forrester Band, and lots of games and contests including cornhole, giant beer pong, giant Jenga, yard-drinking contest, yodeling contest plus face painting for kids and plenty of authentic German food and beer; benefits United Way of Calvert County and Bay-CSS. Oct. 1, 1-6pm, Ruddy Duck Brewery, Solomons, $20 w/discounts, rsvp:
14 Harvest Fall Flowers & Herbs
Autumn brings out the crafters in us thanks to nature’s bounty of beautiful fall flowers. Decorate a pumpkin with dried flowers, make a flower crown or design a harvest wreath with herbs and everlastings. Fall Harvest Wreath workshop Oct. 7, 10am-1pm, $55; Fall English Tea, Oct. 14, noon-2pm, $30; Fall Harvest Day, Oct. 28, 10am-5pm, (fee for craft activities); Willow Oak Flower & Herb Farm, Severn:
15 Eat Local, Eat Well
Taste of North County, dig into dishes from over 25 North Anne Arundel County restaurants and caterers, with beer, wine and live music. Oct. 3, 6-8pm, La Fontaine Bleue, Glen Burnie; $30, rsvp:
Taste of South County, sample the dishes and drinks of local restaurants, caterers, wineries and breweries; live music by Just Us. Oct. 12, 6-9pm, Historic London Town, Edgewater, $35, rsvp:
Harvest Taste of Solomons. Oct. 28, 11am-4pm, Solomons Boardwalk:
16 U.S. Sail Boat and Power Boat Shows
The annual U.S. Boat Shows in Annapolis are Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for boat lovers. Hundreds of boats, including the newest models of many top lines, are on display in the water, tethered along a mile and a half of floating docks, all contained in an area of roughly five acres. Many of the boats you can board and explore. On land are even more boats as well as every piece of equipment you could need — or imagine you needed. Demos and lectures; food and drink. Sailboat Show Oct. 5-9; Powerboat Show Oct. 12-15, Annapolis; $18 per day w/age discounts:
17 Maryland Jousting Championship
Watch riders aim their lances, six feet long and chiseled to the point of a needle, at a ring that may as well be a dust speck. Oct 7, 10am, Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, Crownsville:
18 Riverside WineFest at ­Historic Sotterley
Sample wines at the 15th annual Riverside WineFest, listen to live music and tour the grounds and garden of this national historic landmark. Oct. 7-8, noon-5pm, Historic Sotterley Plantation, Hollywood, $25 w/discounts:
19 Oom-pah-pah
It’s Oktoberfest all season long at The Old Stein Inn in Edgewater. German-inspired musicians, both traditional and progressive, play every weekend. 1143 Central Ave., Edgewater: 410-798-6807.
20 Patuxent River Appreciation Days
River-directed exhibits and activities for all ages, including arts and crafts, boat building, live music, and free rides on the Wm. B. Tennison and Dee of St. Mary’s; food and drink sold. Oct. 7-8 with parade Sun. 2pm, Calvert Marine Museum, Solomons, free:
21 Dining in the Field
Pull up a chair to dine al fresco along the Patuxent River at this elegant feast from local farms, chefs, wineries and brewers. Oct. 12, with cocktails at 4:30pm, dinner at 6pm. Briscoe Farm, St. Leonard; $165 benefits Calvert County Farm Bureau youth leadership programs:
22 Quiet Waters [email protected] Park
Six dozen artists show their work, along with live music, food, craft beer, specialty wines and demos. Benefits Friends of Quiet Waters Park programs. Oct. 21-22, 10am-5pm, Quiet Waters Park, Annapolis, $6 parking:
23 See Little Women, the Opera
No Italian necessary for the Annapolis Opera production of Mark Adamo’s American opera Little Women, based on Louisa May Alcott’s beloved story of four sisters’ growing pains, tragedy and romance after the Civil War. Nov. 3, 8pm & Nov. 5, 3pm at Maryland hall for the Creative Arts, $25-100, rsvp:
24  Take a Crash Course in Opera
You’ll learn more this month than you have in a lifetime at Annapolis Opera’s lead-up to its premiere presentation of Little Women in November.
Consider how the page is transformed to the stage, Oct. 3, 7pm, Severna Park Library … Listen in as opera company members join the book club discussion of Little Women: Oct. 4, 2pm, Crofton Library … Learn from opera artistic director Ronald J. Gretz how musical themes and motifs carry you through the story in the opera: Oct. 7, 3pm, Maryland Hall; Travel with Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Matteson into the genesis of Little Women in the lives of Alcott and her father: Oct. 29, 3pm, Maryland Hall … Consider with music authority Nancie Kennedy the tough job of an opera singer: Nov. 3, 6pm, & Nov. 5, 1pm, Maryland Hall … Finally, meet the composer: Mark Adamo talks about how he did it:  Nov. 4, 5pm, Maryland Hall, $20, rsvp:
25 Go Apple Picking
Nothing quite says fall like a fresh, crisp apple. Pick your own (and pumpkins, too) at Blades Orchard in Caroline County on the Eastern Shore. Make a day of it with a picnic, hayride and cider sampling. U-Pick every Sat. & Sun., noon-4pm thru October, Blades Orchard, Federalsburg:
26  Slurp Up Oysters
With its cooler temperatures, October begins the season of the oyster in Chesapeake Country. For the next six months, oystermen resume their traditional labor, harvesting Crassostrea virginica in the wild. Thus, oyster festivals are in season, too. 
Holland Point Oyster Roast is a community feast of oysters raw, roasted and steamed, plus pit beef and sides (beer and wine $1). Oct. 14, 1-4pm, Loveless Center, Holland Point, $30 w/discounts:
Captain Avery Oyster Festival makes a day of it with local restaurants serving oysters raw, fried, in a basket, on a platter or on a roll, and in stew, soup, sushi or shooters; plus local arts and crafts, music, crab races, face painting and the Choose It! auction of goods and services. Buy $5 tickets for $5,000 raffle. Oct. 15, 12:30-5pm, Shady Side, $6 w/discounts:
The U.S. Oyster Festival returns for its 51st year to St. Mary’s County. Saturday, chefs vie to win the National Oyster Cook-off, and you get to sample the same dishes judged by Bay Weekly editor Sandra Martin, former Baltimore Sun food columnist Rob Kasper and Gwyn Novak of No Thyme to Cook. Sunday brings the National Shucking Championship, whose winner goes to international competition in Galway, Ireland. Sat. Oct. 21, 10am-6pm, Sun. Oct. 22, 11am-6pm, County fairgrounds, Leonardtown, $10 w/discounts:
27  Tuck into a Church Supper 
Sit down to an old-fashioned fall supper of fried oysters, ham, potatoes au gratin, green beans, homemade coleslaw, rolls and biscuits, beverages and pies; take out, too ($22); visit the bake and garden shops, and tour the historic church. Oct. 14, 1-5pm, St. James Parish, Lothian: [email protected]
Eat in or carry out shrimp and roast beef dinner at the Friendship UMC Farm Heritage Festival. Silent auction, antique tractors and trucks, demos, cider-making, hayrides and more. Oct. 21, 1-5pm, Owings: 410-257-7133. 
28 Strike Up Some Fun
When fall’s weather turns blustery, head indoors for a day of bowling at Lord Calvert Bowling Center in Huntingtown. Daily specials make bowling an attractive budget-friendly option for families, couples and parties:
29  Step Aboard a Haunted Ship
Celebrate the scary season at a costume party aboard the Maryland Dove in historic St. Mary’s City. The ship is transformed into a not-too-scary haunted vessel for trick or treating, face-painting and games. Oct. 21, 5:30-8pm:
30  Explore Legends by Lantern
Hear the horrific tale of Corporal Frank Scott, the first enlisted man to die in an aircraft accident, as you tour the College Park airfield by lamplight. Come in costume for a hayride, tour and hot cider. Oct. 28, tours at 7pm, 7:30pm, 8pm, and an adults-only, extra-spooky tour at 8:30pm. College Park Aviation Museum; $10:
31 Find the Great ­Pumpkin
No need to spend the night in the pumpkin patch. These events bring the pumpkins to you.
See a dazzling display of dozens of hand-carved illuminated pumpkins as you listen to haunted Halloween tales and roast marshmallows beside a fall Jack O’ Lantern campfire. Sa Oct. 21, 7-8:30pm, Darnall’s Chance House Museum, Upper Marlboro, $4 (cash): 301-952-8010.
Learn to carve a creative pumpkin from artist Nancy Baker, Oct. 1 and 28, noon-4pm. Homestead Gardens’ Fall Fest also features a corn maze plus hay and pony rides; Pumpkin and Pollinator Express; jumping pillow, pipe slide, corn box and moon bounce, food and live entertainment. Sat. 11am-6pm, Sun. 11am-5pm thru Oct. 29, Davidsonville, $12:
32  Haunted Annapolis Tours
Take a ghostly guided tour of the historic Sands House. Fri., Sat. Oct. 6-28, 7:30 & 8pm, Historic Annapolis Museum, $22 w/discounts, rsvp:
33 Dine on the Harvest of a Sharing Garden
Share in an evening of good food grown, prepared and served by neighbors who’ve bonded together over the last decade to preserve Goshen Farm the last farm on the Broadneck Peninsula. Harvest dinner with bread, side dishes, desserts and beverages. Oct. 14, 5-7:30pm, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Arnold, $10 w/discounts:
34 Kinder Farm Fall Harvest Festival
Take a hayride, visit the farm animals, square dance, make scarecrows, peruse arts and crafts, snack and more. Oct. 14, 10am-4pm, Kinder Farm Park, Millersville, free:
35 Drop Back a Century in Time
Listen to bluegrass, view the handiwork of artisans from the period, see displays by watermen and tobacco farmers, sample homemade butter and ice cream and take a lesson in the one-room schoolhouse at the Deale Area Historical Society’s Harvest Day in the Village. Oct. 1, 1-4pm, Herrington Harbour North, Tracy’s Landing, free:
36 American Indian Festival
Celebrate the rich and diverse cultures of Native Americans at the eighth American Indian Festival, with live performances of traditional and contemporary music, dancing, drumming, singing and storytelling. Try your hand at beading, finger-weaving, flint-knapping, archery, crafts and games. Oct. 21, 10am-5pm, Patuxent River Park, Upper Marlboro, (fee for some activities, food sold): 301-627-6074.
37 Tour Working Farms 
Explore Calvert County’s rural side by exploring working farms. Take hayrides, get lost in a corn maze, pick a pumpkin, hear live music, sample wines and more: Horsmon Farm, St. Leonard; Fridays Creek Winery, Owings; Perigeaux Vineyards and Winery, St. Leonard; Spider Hall Farm, Prince Frederick; Mulberry Hill Farm, Huntingtown; Swann Farms, Owings. Oct. 21-22, 11am-5pm, free: 410-535-4583.
38 Get Spooked at St. Anne’s Cemetery
Get to know citizens who lived here before us, including residents at historic Hammond Harwood House. Stories of love, tragedy and insanity are unearthed in this hour-long tour through the burying ground. Oct. 21, 4pm, St. Anne’s cemetery entrance, Annapolis; $15 w/discounts:
39 Get Lostin a Maze
Greenstreet Gardens specializes in fall fun with a five-acre maze cut in the image of the Brothers Osborne, plus hayrides, cow train ride, a nook in the woods with a giant spider web to climb, and more. Weekends thru Oct. 29, 10:30am-5pm, Lothian; $13:
Montpelier Farms features a seven-acre corn maze (with flashlight Friday and Saturdays) cut to honor first-responders, pumpkin patch, lots of fun and games, plus food and farm market. Sat. 10am-7pm, Sun. 11am-7pm thru Sept.; Fri. 5pm-11pm, Sat. 10am-11pm, Sun. 11am-7pm Oct.-Nov., Upper Marlboro: $12,
Sunrise Farm celebrates Curious George’s 75th anniversary in its eight-acre corn maze. Sat. 10am-7pm, Sun. 11am-7pm thru Oct. 29, Gambrills: $12:
40 Maryland ­Renaissance Festival
Return to the 16th century at the village of Revel Grove as King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and the royal court arrive. Come in costume or rent them on-site to immerse yourself fully in this annual favorite; special themed weekends keep things lively. A variety of performances on multiple stages entertain all ages, as do jousting matches, magicians, jugglers, crafters and of course, giant turkey legs. Huzzah! Weekends thru Oct. 22, 10am-7pm, Crownsville festival grounds, $25 w/discounts:
41 Shudder at the Sounds of the Season
The Halloween/All Saints concert at the U.S. Naval Academy features organist Monte Maxwell, dancers and special effects. Oct. 27-28, 8pm. USNA Chapel, $36 w/discounts, rsvp:
42 Costume Your Dog
Hound of the Town: Calvert dogs dress up for a parade and costume judging. Oct. 28, noon-2pm, North Beach Boardwalk, $7 w/advance discounts; benefits Calvert Animal Welfare League: 301-855-6681;
Howl-O-Ween Barkin Bash: Anne Arundel dogs endure costumes to win contests; human companions enjoy demos, food, raffles and socializing. Oct. 28, 11am-3pm, Quiet Waters Park, Annapolis, free: 410-222-1777.
43 Escape the Zombie Horde
It’s an epidemic invasion as the living dead take over Kinder Park. Will you escape the brain-eaters as they stalk you along the 5K trail? Can you reach the Drop Dead Zone without becoming infected with the zombie virus? Oct. 28, zombie registration 8:30am, runner registration 9am, run 10am-noon, Kinder Farm Park, Millersville, zombies $20, runners $50 w/discounts:
44 Survive the Ghosts of Sotterley 
The 19th annual Ghosts of Sotterley is a fully acted celebration of the spooky. Oct. 20-21, 26-28, 7-10:30pm, Historic Sotterley Plantation, Hollywood, $15, rsvp:
45 Trick and Treat in the Garden
Dress the family for trick-or-treating on the wooded garden path, where costumed spirits hand out candy or treats. Plus art activities, food and drink. Oct. 28, 11am-4pm, Annmarie Garden, Solomons, $2 to benefit local charities:
46 Historic Annapolis by Candlelight
A crisp autumn evening is the perfect time to walk through Annapolis’ historic neighborhoods, and it’s even better when the doors to some of these magnificent homes are open for you to step inside. See how 21st century Annapolitans care for and live in buildings from the 18th, 19th and 20th century. Nov. 3-4, 5-9pm, Historic Annapolis, $40 w/discounts, rsvp:
47 Eastport-Annapolis Tug of War XX 
Watch or lend a hand in the world’s longest International Tug of War  over water — 1,700 feet — in the continuing rivalry between the Maritime Republic of Eastport and Annapolis. Nov. 4, 10am to join a team; festivities follow at City Dock and Chart House Restaurant. Tug heats start at the crack of noon on either side of Spa Creek Bridge: $25 to tug, free to cheer:
48 (Red White and) Blue Tie Bountiful Harvest
Join The Friends of The Light House in contributing to end homelessness among veterans in Anne Arundel County. Food by local chefs and caterers, including The Light House’s own skills-developing enterprise, The Light House Bistro, and open bar, plus music and life and silent auctions. Wear red and white in addition to the traditional blue tie (or gown) in honor of Veterans Day. Nov. 10, 7-10pm, Loews Annapolis Hotel. $100-$150, rsvp:
49 Honor a Veteran
Celebrate those who serve or have served in the military. On Nov. 11, the original Armistice Day, join traditional Veterans Day ceremonies at the Maryland Veterans Cemetery in Crownsville and the World War II Memorial on Route 450 overlooking the U.S. Naval Academy Bridge and Severn River. Head to St. Mary’s County for one of our state’s largest parades (10am, Leonardtown), followed by a memorial wreath-laying ceremony.
50 Run for Fun and ­Fitness
Race for good causes to win prizes, bragging rights and justify your share of Halloween candy, Thanksgiving stuffing and pies.
Friends of the Poor 5K Run/Walk: Support the St. Katherine Drexel Conference and The St. Vincent Depaul Society run by Jesus the Divine Word parishioners to help families with housing, food and utility needs. Oct. 7, 8am, Calverton School, Huntingtown, $25, rsvp: 443-684-9261.
AACC Turkey Trot-Run 5K (and one-mile jaunt). Benefits AACC’s fitness scholarship. Bring canned goods for charity. Nov. 23, registration 10:30am, runs at noon. Siegert Field, AACC, Arnold, $25 5K; $20 one-mile w/discounts:
Join Project Echo’s 6th annual 5K Run/Walk, to support the 24/7 transitional and emergency shelter in Prince Frederick. Nov. 23, registration 6am, trot 7am. Prince Frederick, $35 w/discounts:
Y Turkey Trot Charity 5K: Families run or walk with the Greater Annapolis Y thru the AACC campus. Dogs welcome ($15). Nov. 23, registration 7:30am, race 8:30am, AACC West Campus Drive, Arnold: $35 w/discounts; rsvp:
Work up an appetite at Camp Letts’ 18th annual Turkey Chase, which helps send kids to summer camp. Nov. 23, registration 7:30am, 10K race 9am, 5K walk 10:15am. Camp Letts Rd., Edgewater, $35-$40:
Jug Bay Post Turkey Perambulation: Run 5K to benefit Recreation Deeds for Special Needs. Nov. 25, registration 8:30am, race 9:30am, Glendening Preserve, Lothian. $25 w/age discounts:

This week we bring you 50-plus ways to revel in the new season

     Autumn comes to us in many ways.
     Meteorological autumn, now three weeks past, came with just the right gifts to be welcome. Clear, dry, comfortable days … cool nights that demanded a light blanket … blue skies that made imaginations soar and sent painters scurrying to capture them … clouds that looked gathered for a new entertainment called Cloud Bounce: For benefits like those, we could let summer go.
     Astrological autumn, now upon us, turned the tables, bringing summer back for a last stand — after, alas, the swimming pools have locked us out.
     Anticipatory autumn will surely, one weekend next month, remind us that winter is on its other side. 
     So we come to autumn in many ways.
     This week’s paper brings you 50.
     Our annual welcome to fall, 50 Ways to Leave Your Summer, recompenses us for the ending of the season we idealize.
     As well as recompense, 50 Ways reminds you of the delights autumn brings. In this assemblage, you’ll find pleasures that reprise the best of summer, like Calverton School’s autumn-introducing September 22 concert on the lawn with Troy Ramey and Bryan Frates.
     You’ll find distinctly autumnal entertainments: apple orchards, corn mazes, Halloween hauntings, hayrides, Oktoberfests and pumpkin patches. 
You’ll find boat shows, with three giants coming to us: TrawlerFest at Stevensville September 28 to 30, the U.S. Sailboat Show at City Dock October 5 to 9 and U.S. Powerboat Show, October 12 to 15.
     Many of our 50 Ways, which will keep you occupied all the way to Thanksgiving, lure you outside in this temperate respite between summer’s pressure cooker and winter’s freezer.
     Festivals invite you to parks and historic places throughout Chesapeake Country. American Chestnut Land Trust, Calvert Marine Museum, Camp Whippoorwill (with the Girl Scouts), Goshen Farm, Historic Sotterley Plantation, Kinder Farm Park, Patuxent River Park and Quiet Waters Park are among the many places doubly worth visiting for fall festivals.
     In keeping with the harvest season, many autumnal events invite you to eat well, often at nature’s table. Dining in the Field returns for a second year, setting a long table for 100 or so diners at Briscoe Farms so you look down on the Patuxent as you’re served local dishes created by great Maryland chefs, including PBS Coastal Cooking host John Shields of Gertrude’s in Baltimore.
     For smaller plates and wider sampling, try Taste of South County or Harvest Taste of Solomons.
     To balance all that good eating — and prepare you for the Thanksgiving feast — our 50 Ways end with a half-dozen runs and fun walks.
     As if 50 Ways were not ample, you get one more season-welcoming treat in this week’s paper. Nature and wildlife photographer Mark Hendricks guides you on a tour of autumnal color in our great Chesapeake watershed.
     I’m a summer lover, but this issue is incentive enough for me to be glad to enter autumn.

In Makerspaces workshops, you can make most anything

     My latest project is building a steam engine for a model railroad. 
     For project-hounds like me, each new ambition means new tools, which are fun but pricey. That’s a big commitment for a beginner. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a way to try a project, get some guidance and use some tools and supplies before having to buy your own? 
     Now there is.
Makerspaces? Places to Make 
     “A Makerspace is a shared workshop where members work on projects, collaborate with others and learn skills,” explained Russ Miller of the new Annapolis Makerspace. “Think of it as a gym where members pay a monthly fee, but instead of weight machines, members have access to many types of tools and equipment.”
     You might first take a Makerspace class to learn basic skills and safe operation of the tools and machines. Likely you’ll find other people with similar interests.
     Each Makerspace has its own facility, organization, specialty and funding, with monthly memberships discounted for students and seniors. All are reasonably priced considering what you get.
The Annapolis Makerspace
     “Everyone has their own interest, and they are varied,” said Jack Warpinski, president of the group of electronics hobbyists, programmers, 3D printer enthusiasts and woodworkers who merged their skills as the nonprofit Annapolis Makerspace. They rented a space off West Street by the National Guard Armory, donated or loaned tools, built workbenches and, by early August, were up and running. 
     “Right now we’re in startup mode,” Warpinski told me.
     Facilities include a computer lab with CAD software, an electronics station with test equipment, 3D printers and a wood shop with a CNC (computer-numeric-controlled) router. Membership is by the month, and classes are offered.
     “The Annapolis area is large enough to support a more substantial organization,” said Warpinski, “so I see us growing in members, square footage, tools, equipment and programs.”
     Microcontroller open houses Thursdays at 7pm, general meetings fourth Tuesday each month at 7pm: 42 Hudson St., Annapolis: 
Chesapeake Arts Center Makerspace
     The Chesapeake Arts Center, housed in the old Brooklyn Park High School, since 2001 has been northern Anne Arundel County’s Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. Now it’s broadened its plan to include technical arts.
     “It meshed with our community’s blue-collar roots in manufacturing and ship building,” headwoman Belinda Fraley Huesman told me. “There were a lot of things made in this area. We wanted to embrace who we were, who we are and lift up the neighborhood.”
     The new Makerspace has its grand opening Saturday September 30. It offers instruction and tools in wood shop, metal fabrication and welding, screen printing and textiles and electronics. There is also a computer lab, laser cutter, a CNC router and 3D printers.
     Mollie McElwain, the center’s education director, is in the thick of preparing for operations.
     “The curriculum for all the safety training is designed,” McElwain said. “We’re now looking for instructors with the specific skills and putting out a call for proposed classes.”
     Anne Arundel County and the state made grants of $90,000 for design and renovation of the space plus $100,000 for fit-up. Annual operating costs will be supported by Makerspace memberships and the Arts Center’s operating budget.
     Open house Saturday Sept. 30, 10am-5pm; open weekdays 10am-6pm, Saturdays 10am-noon. 194 Hammonds Ln., Brooklyn Park:
     Unallocated is what Annapolis Makerspace could be seven years hence. In 2010, eight people with a shared interest in information security met in a local bar. Today Unallocated is a non-profit, membership cooperative with a facility in Severn and an extensive calendar of talks, seminars, classes and interest-group meetings, many open to the public.
     Stocked with some of the same tools common to other Makerspaces, like woodworking and 3-D printers, Unallocated focuses on all things computer: hardware, software and security, microprocessors and gaming, to mention just a few. There is a large server farm and many computers where members can tinker with both hardware and software. Unique offerings include ham radio and analog — traditional board — games. Most supplies were donated or loaned by members. Various levels of membership available, providing different levels of access
     Open houses Wednesdays at 7pm; check website for additional openings: 512 Shaw Court, Severn; ­
The Foundery
     The Taj Mahal of local Makerspaces, The Foundery is a flourishing private enterprise. The facility is huge and very well equipped for a wide variety of hard and soft projects. The wood shop is extensive, and the metal shop well equipped with both machine tools and fabricating tools. Also on-site are a finishing shop with paint and powder coating booths, a blacksmithy, 3D printing, laser engravers and textile working, with embroidery and sewing machines and dress forms.
     The Foundery has recently switched from monthly memberships to pay-as-you-go. With discounts, a day pass can cost as little as $5. 
     The Port Covington area of southern Baltimore, where The Foundery is located, is an easy drive up Rt. 97, only a half hour from the Annapolis area.
     Bi-monthly open houses; open weekdays 9am-10pm, weekends 10am-5pm: 101 W. Dickman St., Baltimore:


Those school supplies last a lifetime

     Once the ritual of going back to school is no longer yours, it falls into the realm of nostalgia.
     Most bad memories fade, courtesy of pain’s blessed inability to be recalled in its actual intensity. The third-grade bully, the looming memory test on the mathematics tables and the hours of confinement are more likely to stay in the past as facts than to haunt the present.
     The good memories, however, awaken with each new school year. 
     That’s at least how it is with me.
     I can’t say I want to trade places with grandson Jack, a junior at Broadneck High School; granddaughter Elsa, a sophomore in Annapolis High’s International Baccalaureate program; or granddaughter Ada, a seventh-grader in the St. Louis suburb of Webster Groves. Still, I miss the formal beginning each new school year brings.
     You enter a new grade, perhaps a new school, with new challenges, new things to learn. You’re equipped for the job with new tools: fresh pencils with sharpened points and erasers, crayons standing at attention in bright-colored rows, binders that expand to hold an encyclopedia of knowledge.
     Of course you and I know it’s not so simple. School children do not live in Eden. Bullies persist, even in modern school environments that try to combat them. We don’t all learn the same way, and none of us learn everything easily and happily. The problems of our homes, communities and world follow us to school.
     And for many students, this new school year brings a new level of insecurity. 
     If you doubt any of this, just read the headlines in your morning newspaper or turn on the TV news. That will sober you up.
     Which is my point. It’s good to know the reality of our world, for how else can we improve it. It’s just as good to keep that sense of possibility we hope inspires each child going back to school.
     Bay Weekly’s newspapering mission is to inspire you to improve your world through hope. 
     So this week, when Maryland’s children go back to school, we bring you an issue heavy on stories of people whose schooling has inspired them to improve the world.
     You’ll read about DaJuan Gay, the 20-year-old Annapolitan community activist running for a seat on the City Council — while commuting to college at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. We are not supporting him as a candidate over opponent Shaneka Henson, who has the endorsement of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. But we are impressed by the way he’s putting ideas into action.
     At the other end of the age spectrum is 88-year-old philosopher Eva Brann, who begins her 60th year as a tutor at St. John’s College with the same enthusiasm that inspired her in 1957.
     You’ll also find stories of schools and school buses working for the good of our Bay and planet while educating our children for a world that needs the best help it can get.