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Trick or Treat! says groundhog aka whistle pig

      Groundhogs must have identity crises, given that they also are known as woodchucks (even though they have nothing to do with wood, or chucking.)          They are known, too, as whistle pigs, a term some folks associate with Whistle Pig whisky, a brand of 15-year-old rye.          At dusk on a recent evening, a time when creatures in our midst get hungry, terminology became clear.

Low Country cuisine in ­Chesapeake Country

     Thanksgiving is by tradition a gathering of people for a feast that shares their cultures.       If you come from Daufuskie (say Daw-Fo-skee) Island, as Shady Sider Emily Bryant does, you’d be sharing Gullah culture in such Low Country dishes as Daufuskie deviled crabs and Gullah stew.

See the place and its portraits this weekend

      Painter Suzanne Shelden likes her subjects — and canvases — big. So big that she’s making a reputation as a regional portraitist for Calvert County and its distinctive places. She’s made both a Rt. 4 series and the county in winter, painting huge canvases of her favorite sites plus places now vanished except in memory and photos.          “I do a lot of my observing and composing with my camera,” she told me.

One pet earns five free Annapolis parking validations

      Adopt a shelter animal at the SPCA of Anne Arundel County pop-up adoption on Main Street Annapolis this weekend, and you’ll gain more than a loving addition.          You’ll also receive five validations for free garage parking in Annapolis, which can be used at any time. 

In Virginia Beach, the challenge of a dead whale

       A 26-foot-long, decomposing creature washes up on your beach. What are you going to do?          Virginia Beach had that challenge last week with a dead juvenile humpback whale that had been seen floating at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

Splashing down after two years’ Peace Corps service in Armenia

    I had not been back in Shady Side for even an hour before I was using a tumble dryer, an appliance I hadn’t seen for nearly three years. In Armenia, where I spent 27 months serving with Peace Corps, a washing machine is a luxury. Clothes are always dried outside on a line. In winter, laundry freezes hard.       It had been very dry here in Chesapeake Country, but rain threatened the day I arrived at Peggy’s house with a giant suitcase, much of it filled with dirty washing.

The local hunter’s choice for a half century

      Celebrating 50 years of business, Rowell’s Butcher Shop in Prince Frederick is still a family-run business. Started by Ernest Rowell, now 90, it was handed over to his son-in-law, Ron Weimert who sold the business to his son, Darrin Weimert, 50, Rowell’s step-grandson. Weimert now runs the business full-time under the watchful eye of Pop Pop.

Yes, that’s a plane coming in over busy Rt. 2 in Edgewater

      Before the plane could fly out of Lee Airport, pilot Bill Friday had a lot to check.       Are we clear for runway? Is this dial in the off position? Is the crossfeed on?       I sat in the back of the 4,000-pound light aircraft — the Federal Aviation Administration’s name for a small airplane that typically seats six or fewer people — trying to scribble down everything being said.

The autumn glory of deciduous conifers

      From the Allegheny Mountains to the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland’s varied topography justifies our state slogan, America in Miniature. The autumn leaf-peeper can visit more than one of these variable landscapes in less than a day. How lucky are we?

Galway Bay named Best in the Americas

      The Irish experience at Galway Bay is the real deal: The bar was built in Ireland and shipped to Annapolis. Six Irishmen came to the States to install the custom-made bar, which features dark wood and glass shelving.          As much thought as went into the design of the bar itself went into the decision about what to stock.