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Good Living

Six small ways Chesapeake neighbors are making a better world 

     Our neighbors are some amazing people. They do not take for granted the privilege of living in Chesapeake Country in comfort and community amidst a larger world where so many suffer famine, flood, fighting and so many degrees of inferiority.      They interpret that privilege as a challenge to make a better world. Rich in resources as we are, many of us take that challenge far and wide. Others find their mission here at home — for even here, good fortune is not equally distributed.

Play Santa in ways that matter

     Taking care of each other is one of the cornerstones of the Christmas spirit, for everyone deserves a gift from the heart — especially those for whom any gifts are hard to come by.      You can give in small ways, like dropping a donation into a Salvation Army red kettle. Or in large ways, like fully funding a family’s Christmas meal and wish lists.      Use this guide to spark an idea on how to spread the warmth and generosity of the season.

Expect more reasons to go back to the farm, in areas near you

      Agritourism has been in full swing with apple buying, pumpkin picking, hay-wagon riding, corn-maze wandering and vineyard and microbrewery touring.      By next fall, Anne Arundel may have caught up with neighboring Calvert, Prince George’s, Charles and St. Mary’s counties in offering day-trippers a full range of ways to get into nature and onto the farm. 

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.

Middle-schoolers learn to see through the lens to bring everyday images to life

This summer middle-schooler ­Kinsey Helmly discovered something surprising about photography.     “I love how every picture has a story behind it,” she writes. “In my photo Blissful Forest, my model has words written on her hand from a classmate at school. That’s why her hand is closed. But you would never have known that had I not told you. That’s what I love about photos. They all have a secret.”

Confessions of a Jay Fleming pupil

After my ninth grade photography teacher’s put-down, I have shied away from taking any photos but snapshots — and definitely no Snapchats. “You manage to capture something that is already beautiful, but you fail to create it as a picture.”

Two prize-winning July recipes — and the people behind them

July is a sizzler this year, running to set the record of the hottest. It’s also the month that explodes with the fresh foods we love best: berries and basil, corn, crabs, cantaloupe and cucumbers, peaches and perch, rockfish, tomatoes, watermelon.     You want to eat local, especially July 22 to 30, when the Buy Local Challenge ices the cake with prizes and recipes. But spend much time at the stove, and you could end up like a stick of butter left out in summer — melted.

We asked, and you delivered, with great nuptial photos and wedding day memories.

  Stacie ‘Jaya’ and Ivan Balaguer Married April 9, 2011, in Punta Cana Dominican Republic

Enjoy smart family fun at Anne Arundel County’s big regional parks

Summer is all about kicking back and enjoying extra time together as vacations begin and the weather warms.     But so many summer activities can mean trouble for the family budget. With some smart planning, a fun-filled summer doesn’t have to break the bank. In Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks, I’ve found good, affordable fun for the whole family, even the dogs.

Water Trail map directs you to the treasures of the Magothy

Paddling in the digital age comes with a new set of advantages. Now, when setting out for an adventure on the Magothy River, paddlers can use an online trail map of 30 points of interest plus nine “hidden gems.”     The digital water trail map links you to 17 videos of the river’s creeks and coves and suggests what to see and how to navigate through those waterways. Many coves are hard to find unless you know where to enter.