view counter

Articles by Michelle Steel

Snowy Owls popping up all over

Is it a bird? A plane? A creature flown out of Harry Potter? Or a white paper bag frozen in a field?
    This year, it may be a snowy owl.
    The white bird with bright, yellow eyes, huge talons and a five-foot wingspan is usually a rare sight in Chesapeake Country. So rare that the first-ever snowy owl sighting and photo was recorded in Calvert County this week.
...

Courthouse Square now looks a lot like Christmas

On December 3, the Parish Hall At Christ’s Church in Port Republic bustles with four dozen Calvert Garden Clubbers preparing to decorate the county courthouse with evergreens harvested a day earlier at four local farms.
    “We call it the Greening,” says cochair Mary Berkley.
    Wearing monogrammed aprons, they work likes elves trimming magnolia, grapevine and boxwood for wreaths, fragrant sprays and evergreen ropes.
...

Thanksgiving’s main course, from free to $6.75 a pound

The bird of the season is a turkey.    
        We Americans devour over 45 million turkeys and over 675 million pounds of turkey each Thanksgiving. That’s the big day, but not the only day, we eat the big bird. If you’re an average American, you eat 17.5 pounds of turkey every year. That’s more than even Uncle Max could eat in one day.
...

With fewer tree nuts than in recent years, squirrels are going crazy

I’m under attack. Everywhere I look, squirrels are scampering up trees, toting nuts in their mouths, scurrying across my yard and darting in front of my car.
    The word squirrel was borrowed by the Romans from the Greek word skiouros, which means shadow-tailed. Ancient Greek naturalists found their bushy tails remarkable.
...

Halloween sweetens the bait in this timely production

Agatha Christie catches you in her Mousetrap — the longest running show in the world — baited by Twin Beach Players with Halloween lure.
    Enter the cozy North Beach Boys and Girls Club and you step into the spell. Cobwebs drape the gate of Christie’s barely illuminated Monkswell Manor, now a guesthouse.
...

Repurposed pages become art for the highest bidder

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle take on new meaning in Repurposed Books as Art, an auction-exhibit by artist Carolyn McHugh to benefit Calvert Library.
    McHugh has created 21 new ways of looking at a book: a clock, a wreath, a matchbook, a framed page, a music box, a planter, a candy dish, a tissue box, bookmarks, a birdhouse, a charging station, a jewelry box, a kitchen-utensil holder, a vase with flowers, purses with pins and Hattie the Hedgehog.
...

Then throw your Rock Thoughts into cyberspace

Remember Pet Rocks?    
        The 1970s fad has returned with new legs to Annmarie Garden as a child’s game of hide and seek linked to a global art and collaborative storytelling project called Rock Thoughts.
    Closer to home, Sunderland art teacher Maria Lendacky invited her fourth-graders to add their Rock Thoughts to the 1,500 rocks created worldwide.
...

Keep an eye out for these normally reclusive foragers

Driven by the frenzy of breeding season, deer are coming out of the woods.
    From early fall into deep winter, bucks have two things on their minds: breeding and eating — the latter for energy to breed. Normally reclusive, whitetail bucks are out on the prowl. Searching for mates, they leave their thicket lairs and cross open meadows, lawns — and busy roads.
    That’s where deer, humans and vehicles meet.
...

Arachnids are out in numbers this time of year

Almost overnight, the way it happens in Sci-Fi movies, spiders have invaded. Webs are spun under the porch light, draped from the mailbox and suspended like chandeliers from every shrub and tree. Walk out and you walk into one.
    The arachnid explosion that ripples across Chesapeake Country in late summer and early fall is what happens when the spiderlings we saw on their mommas’ backs last spring grow up.
...

While very hungry, the webworm caterpillar won’t harm your trees

It’s the fall webworm that’s eating your trees from the comfort and security of webby nests.
    The greenish larvae’s appetite is huge and undiscriminating, extending to 636 different species of trees. Redbuds, walnut, hickory, fruit trees and some maples are favorites of these fuzzy worms.
    Late summer through early fall, when the larvae are most active, is prime time to spot webworms chowing down.
...