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Your guide to Chesaeake Country's freshest produce and more!

Local coffee shops serve ­individual experiences

By paying Flush Tax, we’re all helping

The very thirsty Silvery Checkerspot

Summer after summer, you’d hear of some unlucky swimmer, waterman or shellfish eater. Then it happened to me

There’s more to espionage than car chases, explosions and bikinis

In the cinematic world of James Bond and Jason Bourne, spies are men with hard abs, steel fists and fast cars. Theirs is a world of high-octane excitement: car chases, shoot outs and loads of hand-to-hand combat. Usually there’s a pretty lady or two to dote upon them when the action slows.     So when we see pudgy, gray-haired, bespectacled George Smiley (Gary Oldman: Harry Potter) meekly enter a room, we don’t think spy. That’s precisely what Smiley is hoping...

How to use seed catalogs to best advantage

The seed catalogs have been coming in the mail since early December; most will have been mailed by mid January. Many of the catalogs offer bonuses if you order early. You can save money by purchasing early, and you are guaranteed against having to accept substitutions.     Concentrate on the same catalog to save money on packaging and shipping. If you examine servicing charges closely you will notice that as the sub-total increases, the packaging fees decrease.   ...

Regardless of the time, there’s plenty to see

The waning moon rises before midnight Thursday and Friday, with ruddy Mars just a few degrees above. They are high in the south by 4am and in the southwest at dawn.     Monday’s last-quarter moon rises after midnight, just a couple degrees below the bright star Spica. Golden Saturn trails a few degrees to the moon’s east, with the three forming a tight triangle.     Before dawn Wednesday, look for the waning crescent moon at the head of Scorpio, while...

Battling rough seas and eluding pirates on the Indian Ocean

On a perfect day for racing in Capetown, South Africa, Telefonica tightened its stranglehold on first place by winning the in-port race. But the real winners were the three boats that had made it to the starting line after withdrawing from the first leg because of equipment failures.     The following day, all six of the boats began Leg 2, a 5,000-mile slog to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Hundreds of spectator boats came out to watch that country’s boat, Abu...

One family proves that an environmentally progressive home doesn't have to look like a science project

Martha and Bill Sykora’s 1951 house looks like a conventional, home. Nothing sci-fi about it. Behind the façade, it’s anything but conventional. It will be Anne Arundel County’s first LEED Platinum-certified home.     The Sykora home proves that an environmentally progressive building doesn’t have to look like a science project.    Dreaming Green              When Bill and Martha...

Simple steps to lower your utility bills and ease the pressure on Mother Earth.

Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat     Keeping your home warm in the winter, or cool in the summer, requires a lot of energy. Control these costs with an energy-saving programmable thermostat. This thermostat is programmed by time and temp so that your heating or central air-conditioning is on when you want it to be and at the temperature you choose.     About $65 at local home improvement centers, it will pay for itself in heating and cooling savings in a year...

Sneade’s donation adds $2,000 to Calvert Hospice’s Festival of Trees

Woodchips and memories will soon be all that’s left of this year’s Christmas trees hauled curbside in Anne Arundel or to Calvert’s convenience centers for recycling. Not so for the 64 trees in Calvert Hospice’s 23rd annual Festival of Trees. Decorated and sponsored throughout Calvert, the trees annually add about $100,000 to Hospice coffers.     The festival is Calvert Hospice’s longest running and biggest fundraiser. It helps support all the...

Hot-blooded Marylanders hoping for icy reception

The frostbite swimming season began January 1 with barely an icicle.     At 43 degrees, Chesapeake waters were cold. That was the common report from plungers at North Beach’s New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim.     “It was so cold I could only go up to my waist,” reported Lizzie Woolsey, newly of Huntingtown. “Brian stayed in 10 minutes,” she said of her soldier husband. Six-year-old Mayhem James waded in up to his knees.  ...

Bird artists flock to 2012 competition

Duck stamps have been preserving marsh and wetlands for waterfowl since the Great Depression, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the federal Duck Stamp program to support the purchase of land for national wildlife refuges.     Maryland adopted that good idea in 1974. In 38 years, our state Migratory Game Bird Stamp Design program has earned around $5 million from the sale of the stamps to hunters and collectors. This year’s $9 fee buys hunters the right to...

Out with the old, in with the new

Winter has been kind to us. I said farewell to the old year drifting under the Bay Bridge in calm and temperate conditions, catching (and releasing) a few fat five-pound rockfish.     Our weather was so unusually mild during the last of 2011 that the water temperatures in parts of the mid-Bay rose three degrees. Judging by the 10-day forecast, into January I can still hold off on winterizing my skiff.     A white perch fish fry may still be possible. But one...