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In its 4th year, the Annapolis Irish Festival draws an ever-larger crowd seeking Celtic music and heritage

Two past winners illustrate the magic of make-believe

Creativity comes out to play in Twin Beach Players’ Kids
Playwriting Festival

Talent Machine’s young actors are rehearsing for life

Summer’s darlings, winter’s pests

Fish recipes from the Chesapeake

Even this time of year, you might find a rockfish. Or two.

The temperatures were actually mild the other day. Rain and wind were forecast as an all-day certainty, but I kept a close eye on the weather. Late that afternoon, sure enough, the stiff breeze lay down. With no looming sign of rain from the heavy cloud cover, I hooked up my trailered skiff and headed for the Bay. My heart was set on a fresh rockfish dinner.     Splashing the boat barely an hour before sunset, I headed full throttle over a glassy calm for my favorite rocky cove...

Thanks to my garden, we eat fresh and well all year long

This year’s fall vegetable garden has been a success.     From seeds I planted in mid-July, I harvested three pickings of peas as well as two pickings of Crocket snap beans, the best variety I’ve tried yet. Crocket pods are round like a pencil, dark green and grow six or seven inches long. They are sweet and crisp and freeze well. For years I had grown Contender, but I have become a true believer in Crocket. I planted some in the spring and made several harvests, but...

Fill up on these heavenly views

Friday’s new moon re-emerges as a razor-thin crescent with sunset Saturday, at 4:45. Look for it low in the southwest, its bottom tip pointing to dazzling Venus just a few degrees higher. Mercury lurks a little farther from the moon but closer to the horizon and buried so deep you’ll likely need binoculars to pick it out before it sets at 5:30.     Sunset Sunday reveals the waxing moon a little higher above the southwest horizon, now with its curved back to Venus,...

So now’s the time to turn thanks into giving

On last week’s visit to St. Louis, six-year-old granddaughter Ada showed us how high she can count: all the way to 100.     On Thanksgiving Day’s annual inventory, she needs all those numbers and more to count her blessings.     Like Ada, most of the family and friends with whom I share three Thanksgiving feasts need good math skills, especially addition and multiplication, to count their blessings. Like our Thanksgiving tables, we are weighted with...

Women don’t need brains when they have a man

Leaving Breaking Dawn Part 1, mercifully the second-to-last installment in the Twilight Saga, I heard a little girl cry:     “I have so many feelings about this movie, but I can’t put them into words!”     Me too, kiddo, but they pay me to try.     Aside from being poorly scripted and woodenly acted, the entire Twilight series spoon-feeds a destructive message to young girls.     The romantic premise is as follows...

Five ways to make sure the season’s favored fowl is full of flavor

Most of us will probably cook turkey for Thanksgiving; America’s national feast day is no time to scoff at custom. Some among us have tried; but we’re back among the faithful.     That’s because the season’s favored fowl need not be dull. We have plenty of choices, both in buying and cooking our bird.     You won’t be able to drop into your neighbor’s farm to buy a local bird, we’re sorry to report. Except in Amish...

Against Thanksgiving’s traditional main course, it’s the sides that add variety to the table

Your Thanksgiving feast is planned to perfection.         Well, almost.         If you’re still looking for last-minute inspiration, we offer three dishes that capitalize on the season’s local bounty to crown your Thanksgiving menu and give all at your table reason for thanks.    Sprout-Stuffed Pumpkin             Here’s a vegetable side dish...

Duck would never again be as fun as the tough, skinny, buckshot-riddled birds Mom and I cooked

“Mrs. Safer, Do you like ducks?” my adorable third-grade student asked as class was dismissed on a November Friday in 1962.     “Oh, yes,” I replied, recalling my many hours spent feeding the ducks and geese and riding the swan boats in Boston Common where I had grown up.     “I mean to eat,” she said, as if she had read my mind. “My dad is going hunting, and I could bring you some for dinner.”     ...

Louisa May Alcott’s classic is perfect for young romantics as well as nostalgic mature ladies

Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women is one of those novels you either love or love to forget. It’s sweet or cloying, buoyant or overblown, fiery or flagging — and so is the musical, Colonial Players’ last offering of 2011. Jason Howland’s contemporary score, embellished with eight period songs to cover scene changes, offers some highs and humdrum, presented by some gifted performers and a supporting cast of sweet young things. Think Broadway meets Victorian...

Welcome the Season of Bounty

This may be my favorite paper of 2011.         The reason is simple. It’s the winning combination of good food and good times.     Summer is the season I love best, but these dwindling weeks of the year are hard to beat. The light leaves us early, but before it goes, it’s as golden as the leaves. Under the warming influence of the Chesapeake, temperatures are often balmy. Early twilights rage in hot pink and smoky blue.   ...