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Tested and true lures and bait

Mulch, mowers and weed wackers can be murder on trees

A clever premise and charming leads make the year’s best Halloween scare
SPCA to keep holiday tails wagging
Maryland municipalities rise to the challenge of driving positive change 

Unity Gardens grants up for grabs

Plants and flowers aren’t all that grow in gardens. Leadership and civic involvement can also bloom. That’s a motivating idea behind Unity Gardens, a nonprofit that backs its philosophy with dollars.     So twice each year when Unity Gardens gives away seed money, in the spring and fall, human growth potential is a top giving criteria.     “We want projects that build community partnerships, bringing in volunteers and creating opportunities for...

Spa Creek Conservancy fights phrag

Crews and volunteers with Spa Creek Conserv­ancy are claiming success against a nasty foe.     Thick stands of the invasive reed phragmites, a common enemy across the Bay watershed, have been choking Spa Creek. The grasses quickly take over a marsh community, crowding out native plants, changing hydrology, altering wildlife habitat and increasing the danger of fires. Tall stems and dense growth block light to other plants. Its rhizomes spread rapidly.     ...

The Case for Oyster Sanctuaries

As you’ll see down the page in Your Say, reader Fred Millhiser continues the discussion opened by my Editor’s Letter of June 22 — “Gov. Hogan: Champion of the Chesapeake? With the title comes accountability”.     I quoted the governor as sharing watermen’s conviction that “rotational harvesting” is good for oyster sanctuaries as well as their own interest.     On the other side, Millhiser recommended a recent...

10 tips to keep you catching

Chumming is one of the simplest ways to catch your limit of nice rockfish on light tackle. It involves a minimum of fuel, since you’re fishing anchored, and that helps cover the cost for the chum and bait. It is also an excellent way for anyone of any experience to tangle with the Bay’s premier gamefish.     Hang the chum bag over the stern and cast out a few rods with chunks of menhaden on your hooks, weighted down by two-ounce sinkers. Then wait for the bite. It...

Early-rising yellow-bellied sapsuckers The rings of evenly spaced holes you see in the trunks of smooth-bark trees are the work of yellow-bellied sapsuckers. The birds drill into apple, beech, birch, cherry, linden, peach, plum, red maple and southern magnolia as well as pine and cedar trees. I have received several reports from readers wondering what is causing the holes because they have not seen any woodpeckers on their trees.     To see yellow-bellied sapsuckers in action...

After three tries, Marvel gets it right

Peter Parker (Tom Holland: The Lost City of Z) hoped his internship with Stark Industries would lead to more excitement than neighborhood watch duty. The high-schooler is recruited by Ironman Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.: Captain America: Civil War), to fight against Captain America, then sent back to school and allowed to use his new powers, and his neat Stark-industry suit, only to stop small crimes.     After fighting superheroes, Parker gets no thrill from AP Chemistry....

More than one long tease

Meet Hot Metal, an amateur stripper revue featuring six unemployed steelworkers desperate to make a buck in Buffalo. The Chippendales they ain’t — with average dance moves and less than average abs — but that’s just the thong, er thing. Sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do to keep body, soul and family together.             The Full Monty, playing for the next three weekends at the Annapolis...

Today’s organic methods were the only options for gardeners in the early 19th century

We had a storm and terrible rain this week … my garden almost washed away; a dozen tulips were washed out of the ground and carried outside the garden fence. No one has seen such a flood in 10 years.     Any Maryland gardener could have written a similar lament. This writer was Rosalie Stier Calvert describing the plight of her garden at Riversdale in 1804. Like all optimistic gardeners, Rosalie was later to boast about her beautiful replenished bulb collection, only to...

Those talons are sharp!

As an aide at Battle Creek Cypress Swamp Nature Center in Calvert County for almost nine years, one of my duties was to feed the barred owl. The owl was blind, or nearly so, due to a collision with a car. Each morning I would take a couple of mice out of the freezer and put them on a plastic plate to thaw. Before closing I would take the now-thawed mice out back, enter the walk-in cage and touch the plate to the owl’s chin. The owl gobbled down the mice, whole, of course. I accomplished...

For Annapolis town crier Squire ­Frederick, ­Independence Day is a joyous occasion

Folks who live and work in Annapolis, used to seeing guys in breeches and plumed tricorn hats, scarcely bat an eye when Town Crier Fred Taylor strolls by.     Tourists and school children are another story. They squeal in delight when meeting “Squire Frederick,” as Taylor’s known hereabouts.     Taylor’s town crier is hard to miss. He stands tall (a head taller than your average guy). His social behavior sets him further apart.  ...