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And keep it open all winter long

It’s a great time of year to take up or enhance the hobby of bird feeding, especially since we can watch outdoor birds from the cozy warmth of the great indoors with hot drinks, field guides and binoculars. It’s good for the birds, too. When ice and snow cover everything in sight, providing food, water and grit (bits of sand, stone, or shell that birds need for digestion), may mean survival for our backyard birds.     How then to best serve the feathered ones? What kinds of foods and feeders? How to manage water? Who might show up?

On the hunt in November

The antlered buck posed statue-like in full-focused attention in a valley surrounded, at a fair distance, by the houses of Fairhaven Cliffs. Perhaps he’d seen me seeing him from my perch well above him, but not assuring him safety were I a bow hunter. That hunting season lasts most of November, the month — this odd sighting reminded me — when Maryland’s 227,000 deer are at their most visible.

For Rod ‘N’ Reel’s Chef Rudy, Thanksgiving is a piece of cake

From the first-time turkey roaster to the kitchen master, who among us can anticipate cooking the Thanksgiving dinner without a bit of a flutter?     Chef Rudy Volpe can.     The 54-year-old chef looks forward to serving 1,000 to 1,200 hungry eaters at Rod ‘N’ Reel’s Thanksgiving Day Buffet.     For a chef who’s worked 20-plus years in gaming, most recently at Maryland Live!, Rod ‘N’ Reel’s seven-hour buffet is, well, a piece of cake.

A rested bird and a sharp knife are essential

1. Carve out a proper amount of time to cook the turkey. When coordinating your schedule Thanksgiving morning, keep in mind that between taking the turkey out of the oven and carving it, you should allot about 20 minutes. This waiting period is not frivolous. It makes the handling of the hot turkey easier on your hands, and it gives the meat’s juices crucial time to redistribute. 2.  If your turkey is tied, remove the string. Then remove each leg and thigh from the body of the turkey, using your hands to separate and your knife to slice through the meat.

Two ways you can help this week

As the season of thanks and giving approaches, sharing is the best way to stoke your gratitude.     This week is your time to share through Harvest of Plenty and Operation Christmas Child.     Help Operation Christmas Child send shoe boxes full of gifts to 11 million children in need around the world in Samaritan’s Purse giant annual Christmas project.     Choose a shoebox-sized box and fill it as you like with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and notes of encouragement.

Final year for Festival of Trees

In the Festival of Trees, Calvert Hospice forged a link between their end-of-life mission and joy in the world.     For 27 years, on the day after Thanksgiving, Hospice volunteers have created a magical forest of Christmas trees adorned in whimsy and wonder.     “It’s a wonderful event that really kicks off the season and gets everyone in the spirit of the holidays,” says Hospice board president Gail Gibson.

Auction and gala shines spotlight on science center

The Carrie Weedon Science Center in Galesville is a place with an uncertain future but, its backers say, a great present.     The former elementary school has been home to Anne Arundel County’s outdoor education program since 1988, a science field trip destination for elementary students countywide.     Now, the School Board is weighing turning Carrie Weedon, along with 125 other facilities across the county, into an early education center.

Ships’ graveyard possible National Marine Sanctuary site

The Potomac River continues to bear the legacy of World War I — which ended 97 years ago this week — in one of the Chesapeake watershed’s secret places, Mallows Bay.     Tucked into the coastline of Charles County, Mallows Bay is the final resting place for 88 World War I wooden steamships of the U.S. Emergency Fleet. Built between 1917 and 1919, these ships were to supply European and American troops with much-needed supplies.

Reflecting on Annapolis Library’s half-century at West Street

Words that are sure to kill my children’s enthusiasm for an outing: exhibit, collection, display. Thus my two sons did not approach our trip to the Annapolis Library display on library technology with much vigor and vim.     Technology saved the evening. Once inside the 50-year-old West Street library, Jonah, 11, slunk away to work on homework. Jordan, 7, ­headed straight for the children’s area. There he eagerly attacked the scavenger hunt honoring the library’s 50th birthday. Then on to the Library Tech Then & Now exhibit.

Start building for the Severna Park Lego Open

Break out the bricks for the second Severna Park Lego Open. This year’s competition, sponsored by Speight Studio Architects, is to build a holiday-themed design using Lego bricks, but no assembled kits.     What you choose to build with the Lego bricks you use are limited only by your imagination — and the 16-by-16-by-16-inch size restriction. Set your creation on a base plate.     Who can compete is a tighter fit. You must be between the ages of three and 17 and live in the 21146 zip code or be a Speight client.