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Here’s how to help your plants avoid self-strangulation

When I visit friends’ homes, being asked to diagnose plant problems is not uncommon. I entered one friend’s front door only to be escorted outside to diagnose the cause of a groundcover juniper’s death. My friend had planted three junipers in 2009; one had died in June.     I told him that I would have to dig it up and perform an autopsy. He found it hard to believe that I could not diagnose the problem by simply looking at  it. I replied that I could give...

Casting into the shallows is my fishing favorite

The conditions were finally right. I was fishing along a tree-lined, rip-rapped shoreline that ran for hundreds of yards just outside the mouth of the Severn. Interrupted only by the occasional stone erosion jetty that eased out underwater every hundred yards or so, this area had proven a hot shallow-water rockfish hunting ground this time of year in the past, especially at first light. Fishfinder   While some anglers have located small pods of rockfish feeding up in the rivers or in...

This week’s moon visits two star clusters a billion years apart

Before dawn Friday morning, the moon appears just a few degrees ahead of the orange star Aldebaran, the fiery eye of Taurus the bull. To either side of the moon, you’ll find the two brightest star clusters. To the east is the Y-shaped Hyades cluster, or the face of the bull. To the moon’s west is the Pleiades cluster, or the seven sisters, which marks the bull’s shoulder.     The Hyades is the brighter of the two clusters. On a dark night you may discern a...

ALL NEW!!! The Dish, an original Bay Weekly column dedicated to the food and restaurants of Chesapeake Country.

Welcome to The Dish, a new Bay Weekly column dedicated to the food and restaurants of Chesapeake Country. In this exclusive, we go beyond traditional restaurant reviews to consider the flavors of the Bay along with the unique people, places, spirits and recipes that whet our appetites. Let’s start in season, celebrating the end of summer with a delicacy that will soon be tasted only in memory: heirloom tomatoes.     Eastport newcomer Vin 909 has forged a robust reputation...

Who we are; what we do

Summer dreams aside, we Americans are working people. In our economy, employment is a blessing and unemployment a curse. That’s so true that the unemployment rate — 8.3 percent nationally as August began — could cost Barack Obama his job as president.     Maryland’s unemployment rate of 7 percent is under the national average. But it’s high enough that a job is a job — and a good job is cause for rejoicing.     It’s not...

... And my phone’s resilience

Balance. All I have to do is stand up. I put my left foot flat on the board, wobble for a second, then stabilize. My right foot is next. If I don’t do this right, I’m going straight in with the jellyfish. The creek is infested with the stinging creatures.     Here goes nothing. My right foot sweeps under me and lands flat on the wobbling board. Standing, I regain my balance.     I did it. I have conquered the paddleboard.     ...

Your front porch is the buffet of choice for the orb weaver spiders, and your light is the headliner, attracting the smorgasbord of bugs that the spiders feast on.     As autumn comes upon us, the days get shorter and the orb weavers come out to play. Hatchlings born in spring grow up in summer. Come fall, they’re amping up their eating to make big egg sacs.     Andy Brown, senior naturalist at Battle Creek Cypress Swamp, compares the orb weaver to...

Good signs make ‘meaningful experiences’

Are we there yet?         No, dear.     But in a couple of years, visitors to our capital city will arrive surely at their destinations, guided by a new Wayfinding Master Plan.     Wayfinding is a fancy word for signs with a lot of thought behind them.     Sixty-five thousand dollars worth of thought.     That’s how much Merje Designs is earning to plan a system of signs to guide visitors into...

At Parks and Rec classes, even old dogs can learn new tricks

Feeling envious as kids strap on their new backpacks to explore the wonders of the universe?     Don’t let age stop you. Whatever your age, or youth, Anne Arundel and Calvert counties can open new worlds for you. And for your dog.     Want to learn wedding calligraphy? Hip-hop dance? Sign language? German or Spanish? Get fit in a couple of dozen ways, including Tom’s No-Nonsense Karate? Play senior billiards? Do art in the park? Partner with you dog...

Without transportation jobs, planning and spending, what will we do when we can’t get there from here?

Bay Weekly reporter Ashley Brotherton missed the news this week.     Instead of getting to know crabs in Cambridge, she spent two hours and $4 to go over the Bay Bridge twice.     So she also made the news. She and the thousand of other drivers whose routine 4.3-mile trip across Chesapeake Bay turned into — depending on their disposition and opportunity — hours of frustration, windfall time to play with their cell phones or impromptu, make-the-best-of...