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

Still time to escape in a good book

Here’s to one more summer of reading

Sweet fish swim in sweetwater

The everyday banalities of saving the world

Lesson 3: Jumpstart your garden with compost tea

The Volvo Ocean Race is back on the water

The machines are scary sharp, the crews wear bright and sexy clothing and the thrills and spills will keep you coming back for your fear-factor fix.     That’s sailing we’re talking about, not Grand Prix auto racing.     While we await Christmas and winter, one of the biggest shows in the world is playing out. So take a break from holiday madness for a turn on the water.     Follow the racers round the world at www.volvooceanrace.com...

The Volvo Ocean Race isn’t the only high-profile sailing event

The Volvo Ocean Race is an around-the-world marathon showcasing 70-foot high-tech sailing machines. Precise rules govern boat and sail design, making each boat similar. It takes the racers nine months to sail the globe, with extended stops in eight ports. The boats are sponsored by syndicates that hire the world’s finest sailors to ride these carbon-fiber, sail-powered rockets. It costs about $100 million to play that game. The winner gets a silver chalice that can easily hold a couple...

Hang a gift on the National Zoo’s Enrichment Giving Tree

Grateful for the wild things that enrich your world? Choose a wild gift from the Animal Enrichment Wish List to hang on the Smithsonian National Zoo’s Enrichment Giving Tree.     Speaking for the animals, zookeepers and researchers have asked for toenail clippers, bubble machines, natural-colored feather dusters and shower radios with CD players.     Lest you worry that next year the lions will want iPads, understand that every item on the Zoo’s Wish...

How to buy and keep a fresh, fire-safe tree

The best way to purchase a Christmas tree from a corner lot is to buy as soon as the tree lot opens. The longer you wait to purchase that tree, the more water it will lose and the more likely it will become a fire hazard.     Even if the corner Christmas tree lot advertises fresh trees delivered weekly, check to see where the trees are grown. A number of Christmas tree farms in Maryland operate corner lots. Often they’ll display pictures of their farms, and their vehicles...

Bringing home the fish on a captain’s holiday

With winter approaching and their businesses winding down, Chesapeake fishing guides Frank Tuma and Tom Hughes finally had a few days off. Of course they decided to go fishing, and they invited me and my friend Maurice Klein to join them.     Cruising down from the Magothy in Frank’s 29-foot C Hawk Downtime, we reached the Bay Bridge at 11am. It was fantastic weather for early December, light winds, 60 degrees, bright and sunny with a nice running, outgoing tide.  ...

Bright lights warm dark nights

We’re still a couple weeks from winter solstice, the day with the least sunlight for us in the Northern Hemisphere. But we’re already enjoying later sunsets one day to the next. Wednesday the 7th, old Sol sunk beneath Annapolis’s southwest horizon at 37 seconds past 4:43, the earliest sunset of the year. By the solstice December 21, the sun sets more than two and a-half minutes later at 4:47:03.     December’s full moon Saturday is called the Yule Moon,...

A Christmas tale for the iPod generation

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring as a spaceship arrived.     Wait. Is that how the story goes?     In Arthur Christmas, a charming if not brilliant update on the story of Santa Claus, St. Nick is driven more by a palm pilot than eight tiny reindeer.     On the eve of his 70th trip around the world, Santa (Jim Broadbent: Harry Potter) is going thru the motions, letting his eldest son and...

Make the first gift to yourself by savoring the Season’s Bounty as you shop.

If you’re one of those people who love to shop, you can stop reading now and go wrap some presents.         But if it takes eight crazed reindeer to drag you to the store during the holidays, this story is for you.     You’ve seen the news, read the paper. You’re thinking OMG. Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Waiting overnight in ridiculously long lines. Mad dashes for sale merchandise. Customers crushed and pepper sprayed. All while...

What to call a giant octopus?

The National Zoo’s new giant Pacific octopus will pick its own name, but suggestions from local kids are welcome. The zoo asks invertebrate enthusiasts ages five to 15 to submit their favorite name for the rapidly growing cephalopod.     The only hitch is that the zoo isn’t sure if the octopus, now the size of a grapefruit, is a boy or a girl yet. So you may want to stay away from suggestions like Ralph.     “We’re thinking it’s a...

Cutting excursions are fun for the family; plus, fresh-cut Christmas trees are safer and smell better

Until 1970, when I published the first directory of Choose and Cut Christmas trees in Maryland, only two growers in the state were marketing their Christmas trees — with limited success — by inviting people to cut their own. Thinking it was a good idea, I convinced another 10 Christmas tree growers to give it a try. The directory was printed using a mimeograph machine and was distributed to local newspapers and county libraries.     The program was so successful that...