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At Annmarie Garden, nature and art live in harmony

Among art from the Smithsonian and the National Gallery of Art at the Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center in Solomons stand seven houses occupied by bluebirds.     Bluebirds are masterpieces in the world of gardening, both for their beauty and for their appetite for garden bugs. So Annmarie is more than happy to host them. To encourage the birds to add life to art in the garden, staff artists have hand-painted the houses. Baby bluebirds are now growing feathers amid the...

Rather than gimicks, test your soil for a ­productive garden

On a Saturday morning garden show, a caller was advised to plant long-stemmed tomato plants deep. Supposedly, burying the stems deep in the garden soil forces the plant to produce new roots along the stem, resulting in a stronger plant. I strongly disagree.     That tomato plant was growing in a pot in a greenhouse. Its roots were surrounded by air containing 21 percent oxygen. Roots of plants need oxygen, while the green tops need carbon dioxide. Planting the roots deep means...

Here’s how to catch your share chumming

My reel began clicking out an alert, slowly at first but quickly turning into a metallic shriek as the fish that had grabbed my bait shifted into high gear. I plucked the outfit from the rod holder and switched off the line-out alarm, thumbing the reel spool lightly and letting the striper run with my bait. Fishfinder     The rockfish bite has slowed the last few days, but it should pick up after the hectic boat traffic of the recent holiday dissipates and the stripers return...

You won’t have another chance

This is the final countdown to one of the rarest sights in the heavens, a transit of Venus. Venus crosses the face of the sun in eight-year pairings, each cycle separated by 115 years. The last transit of Venus was in 2004. The next is Tuesday, June 5. After that, there won’t be another until December of 2117!     Clear skies are a must if we’re to see this, but so is eye protection, as looking at the sun for even a moment can lead to permanent eye damage, even...

Third time’s the charm for this space spoof

Men in Black agents J (Will Smith: Seven Pounds) and K (Tommy Lee Jones: Captain America) have worked together for over a decade managing Earth’s alien population. This hasn’t made them close, as K won’t share his life story with his more effusive partner.     Still, when J wakes up after an argument to find out that K has seemingly been dead for 40 years, he’s pretty upset about the whole thing. Turns out an evil assassin named Boris the Animal (Jemaine...

Nice guys get a pass

In the small town of Carthage, Texas, the most popular guy in town is the man who puts you to rest. Mortician’s assistant Bernie Tiede (Jack Black: Kung Fu Panda 2) sings in the church choir, gives care packages to new widows and delivers inspirational speeches to Little League teams. So it’s understandable that the town forgives Bernie his one, itty-bitty transgression: shooting a rich widow in the back and keeping her body in a freezer for nine months.     You see...

Veterans recount their stories this Memorial Day

Memorial Day Weekend does more than welcome summer with parades, picnics and pool openings. Begun as a sacred day of remembrance at cemeteries where our war dead rest, the holiday has expanded to honor all veterans, including those still on active duty.     What better way to honor these veterans than to tell their stories? Stars and Stripes at Chesapeake Beach   The Chesapeake Beach inaugural Stars and Stripes Festival, Saturday, May 26 thru Monday, May 28,...

Buying a Bay license plate or checking line 35 of your state tax form helps the Chesapeake

What’s removed more than 1,000 tons of trash from the Bay, engaged 800,000 students and teachers and planted 500,000 trees and plants along the shoreline?     Your Bay license plates and income tax check-offs.     Last year alone, over 400,000 Marylanders chose Treasure the Chesapeake license plates or checked off a donation to the Bay Fund on their state tax return. Contributions amounted to $5.5 million, which helped over 110,000 students, teachers and...

Time to Look Back and Ahead

We’re on the verge of big things.          Memorial Day weekend opens not only summer but also our hearts.     Our national habit of making holidays of our holy days gives us fun, on the one hand, and I’m a fan of fun.     But Memorial Day does an honor we must not forget.     American soil was still stained with the blood of Union and Confederate soldiers when Decoration Day was conceived to pay them...

Mother and daughter walk down this aisle together

Each graduation is an epic, bursting with stories of human aspiration, frustration, perseverance and sweat. Here are two, intertwined.     Dawn Rasmussen and her daughter Courtney Stewart shared the Anne Arundel Community College stage on May 24. At 19 and just two years out of high school, Courtney had the easier journey to commencement, with her mother and grandmother pushing and cheering her all the way.     At 45, Dawn, a single mother of three, walked a...