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Regulars

Here’s how to water and repot them

     Orchids are so popular nowadays that they are being offered for sale not only in garden centers but also in drug stores and grocery stores as well as big box stores.          As houseplants, they have the advantage of producing flowers over a long period of time. They tolerate shade and perform well even when abused. They are also light to ship.

Most Baltimore orioles head south … Not this one

     This Baltimore oriole failed to migrate. Orioles usually fly down to Central and South America and winter in the warmth. Occasionally a bird will stay behind and tough it out in the cold. I think this is the second year for this bird to winter-over; one of its stops is my backyard in Riva.

It’s not always a straight path 

      Like a holiday box of chocolates (thanks Bill Vance, Betsy and Alex), this week’s paper brings you a variety of choices, all I hope to your taste. (And none, I hope, that sticky cough-medicine flavor that makes you say yuck!)

There’s a lot of work if you’re going to harvest your own fruit

      A Bay Weekly reader bragged to me that he’d created an apple orchard by planting a single tree.       “So you purchased one of those trees with four to five varieties of apples,” I replied.       He was crestfallen at failing to fool me.

Not so good? We’ve got you covered there, too

      Very often, my newspaper gives me just what I want. Plenty of puzzles to work over the splendidly empty days after Christmas. Insight into the world around me, from my community to the cosmos. Advertisers to fix what’s broken and bring me unexpected benefits, like the Pashmina shawl from Green Phoenix that’s kept me warm since Christmas.

Some of what you see is too good to be true

      Seed catalogs fill my mailbox every day. If you’ve ever ordered seeds or plants, I bet yours is filled, too. Every picture and possibility looks good this time of year. But can you trust everything you read in these appealing pages?
Help Bend the Arc of the Universe       The holiday season invites us not only to make resolutions for the New Year but also to reflect on our lives and our actions, our values and beliefs. It is the time when we turn the corner of the calendar from the darkest days to increasing light.
Good stories to warm your holiday heart 
      Journalism is about good stories. For us writers and editors, the search for a good story has the urgency of a primal drive. The phrase a nose for news is high praise, alluding to the hound in a good reporter. Like bloodhound or beagle, we have it in our nature to sniff out what’s around. Catch a scent, and we can’t let it go. We need to know who’s doing what, when, where, how, why.

Eagles mark a turn toward the ­season of birth

     Editor’s note: Naturalist, artist and conservationist John W. ‘Bud’ Taylor left us this year, on October 28, but his legacy of hope survives. Bud’s keen observations of nature in Chesapeake Country tell us that spring begins here on the winter solstice, December 21, when daylight begins its six-month, minute-by-minute stretch. His book Chesapeake Spring collects his observations and paintings of that season.

A beautiful fairy tale for fish out of water 

     Orphan Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins: Maudie) knows hard times. Mute since a childhood throat slashing, she works as an unnoticed janitor at a secret government facility in Baltimore.       Her life ticks by in lonely minutes until agent Strickland (Michael Shannon: Nocturnal Animals) introduces an amphibious humanoid called the Asset. Worshiped as a god in South America, the Asset was captured to add to America’s Cold War arsenal.