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Expert tips for the new year and beyond

That’s our hope for you in 2017

Your pot must runneth over

A triumph of hope over experience

We’ve saved the best for last


My favorite stories of 2016

It’s all connected

Toe bone connected to the foot bone     Foot bone connected to the heel bone Heel bone connected to the ankle bone Ankle bone connected to the ­shin bone Shin bone connected to the knee bone Knee bone connected to the thigh bone Thigh bone connected to the hip bone Hip bone connected to the backbone Back bone connected to the shoulder bone Shoulder bone connected to the neck bone Unless we want to end up as Hoarders on reality television, keeping house is work we do...

Create a haven for migratory birds

Birds are more than beautiful visitors to your lawn and garden. They are also an important component of a healthy local ecosystem.     Here are a few simple steps to keep birds safe. Offer Food and Shelter     Many birds will simply be using your yard as a rest stop on a long migration. Bushes and trees with berries are bird magnets. Robins, for example, adore berries, as do migra­tory hermit thrushes. Keep this in mind, and fill your yard with native...

Switching bulbs makes a ­multipliable difference

The way you light your home can have a big impact on the environment and your energy bills. Indeed, widespread use of light-emitting diode — LED — lighting has the greatest potential impact on energy savings in the United States, according to government findings.     The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 required the gradual phaseout of the old familiar incandescent light bulbs, which convert only 14 percent of their energy input to useful output.  ...

As temperatures drop, decorate your home with warm, cozy accents to set the tone for spending more time indoors.

Follow the Season     Use seasonal throw pillows and blankets to add color, warmth and welcome. Take a hint from nature, filling vases with mums, cattails and colored leaves. Take walks in the woods and gardens to find autumnal treasures, like pinecones and branches of Chinese lantern. Serve warm, rich food: stews have come in season. Bake bread and fill the house with its aroma. Create and enjoy a favorite warm drink. Seek Out Inspiration     Borrow ideas from...

Comfort and value now and late

You’ve got a long list of home remodeling projects. Which goes to the top of the list? Prioritize by choosing projects that make life more comfortable now and improve your home’s value in the future.     These score on both standards. Insulate the Attic     For an affordable home project with a superb return on investment, start at the very top of your home and insulate your attic. This upgrade offers a 116 percent return on investment, according to...

Don’t let  housework get the best of you; there are strategies to help make it easier

When it comes to cleaning up after children, it often feels impossible to keep up. Don’t let the housework get the best of you; there are strategies that can help make being a parent just a little bit easier. Check out these helpful tips to ensure the kids are having fun, while your home stays tidy — and your sanity remains intact. 1. The Cleanup Game     In the words of Mary Poppins, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the...

Give your tackle a good cleaning

As much as we hate to admit it, this year’s fishing season is winding down. It’s suddenly colder, a lot colder than just a half-month ago. Fall’s remaining weeks will be punctuated by periods of frustrating, unfishable, windy weather. However this forced downtime can give the wise angler a head start on winterizing tackle.     Looking about my study, cluttered haphazardly with an embarrassing number of rods and reels, I see that their once clean and glistening...

This mystery never leaves the station

Rachel (Emily Blunt: The Huntsman: Winter’s War) rides the train to Manhattan every day. Sitting in the same spot, drinking clear alcohol from a water bottle, she stares at the passing houses. Two homes interest her particularly. One she shared with her ex-husband, Tom (Justin Theroux: The Leftovers), whose new family now lives there. The other is home to Megan (Haley Bennett: The Magnificent Seven) and Scott (Luke Evans: Message from the King), a sexually adventurous couple idealized by...

German lifeboat did second duty as floating home and chapel

Touring the boats in the Patuxent Small Craft Center at the Calvert Marine Museum, you may notice a rather unusual looking model. Sitting near the Drum Point Lighthouse, this mash-up of houseboat and lifeboat is the Ark of Hungerford Creek.     The story of this 30-foot wooden wonder began in the mid-1930s, when the Rev. Benjamin Lovett purchased a lifeboat from the 1906 passenger liner Mount Vernon, formerly the German Kronzprinzessin Cecilie. The Cecilie was seized by the U.S...

Boats are only part of the fun

It’s a Melamud family ritual 30 years in the making. I announce I’m planning to go to the Annapolis Boat Show. My wife gets a puzzled look, then reminds me that our current boat is perfectly adequate and we are certainly not looking for a new one. I explain that the Boat Show is not just for people planning to buy a new boat; there are other reasons to go. I then promise not to buy a new boat. She wishes me a good time, and off I go.     The last couple of years,...