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However you play it, natural gas export is a high stakes game

Have fun even with a sizzling sun

An American in Annapolis

Our flowering gardens are butterfly way-stations

Blue crabs at quarter-century low

Lesson 1: From the ground up

Is it the captain or the electronics?

My whole life I have believed that the skill of the craftsman was more important than the fanciness of the tools.     I reached this conclusion in college when many of my classmates bought $100 slide rules. I got better grades with my $20 model.     In my field of passion, fishing, my belief was reinforced by the most successful fisherman I have ever been out with. Geoff’s boat was a wreck, and he never got around to mounting his fish finder (probably the...

Young artists needed to retell a grand old story

It’s a story every American knows. A citizen is held captive on an enemy warship attacking our homeland. The defenders are bombarded; everyone expects the defenses will be overwhelmed and the city overrun. But after a day and a night of battle, the shelling stops, dawn comes and the Stars and Stripes are still flying proudly over Fort McHenry. Baltimore is safe; Frances Scott Key pens a poem destined to become our national anthem.     The familiar story has special meaning...

Graham Hays, 18, Riva

My friend Hugh and I just laid hands on a 26-foot, 1970s’ Catalina 27 fixer-upper. Barnacles infest the rudder and hull, and there are stains and chipped paint. This summer we plan to haul the boat out of the water and repair it. Then we will take it on Fleet Week. Six friends will man this ship and take to the Bay for a whole week, sailing from port to port.     Having our first boat is an amazing feeling, even more so than a car because the boundaries are virtually...

To an osprey, I’m the paparazzi

Living on the Chesapeake Bay allows me to play in the playground of osprey. These beautiful birds, also known as sea hawks, are creative in where they make their homes.     Many people on the Chesapeake are such lovers and advocates for osprey that they build nesting stations in hopes that a family will move in. Just down the river from my home is one such nesting station. I went to take photos, but the osprey parent was very protective of the little ones. Screaming at me in...

Learn what you need to know, take what you need to have

If you don’t have some type of watercraft — be it canoe, kayak, skiff, sailboat, sailboard or motor yacht — you’ll miss out on enjoying our largest public playground: the vast, 4,500 square miles of the Chesapeake Bay.     A boat is your magic carpet for roaming the Bay and its tributaries while fishing, sailing, crabbing, clamming, oystering, photographing or cruising and paddling about in the natural beauty of the Chesapeake. Fish-finder   The...

You don’t have to wait until 2061 to delight in its offspringHill in compost to enjoy potatoes early and late

There is nothing like going into the garden and digging a nice big potato with a thin skin for dinner. A freshly harvested white potato from a plant still actively growing guarantees you not only great satisfaction but also a vegetable that is filled with vitamins because you don’t have to remove the skin to eat it.     If you plan ahead, you need not wait for the potato plant to die back to the ground before you start harvesting.     It’s...

You don’t have to wait until 2061 to delight in its offspring

A thin sliver of the waxing crescent moon rises Thursday evening just after sunset, its tips pointing almost straight up. Look a few degrees below its outside curve for Aldebaran, the orange eye of Taurus the bull. High above the moon is Jupiter, shining brighter than any star-like object.     Friday evening the moon has halved the distance from Jupiter, which is 20 degrees — two fist-widths held at arm’s length — straight up. To the moon’s left is...

Hell hath no fury like the trio of women scorned in this crass comedy

What would you do if you found out you were an accidental mistress?     When Carly (Cameron Diaz: The Counselor) makes a surprise visit to her boyfriend Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: Game of Thrones), she meets his wife. Horrified, Carly tries to lose herself in work to forget that she was conned by a philanderer.     Carly’s plan fails when Mark’s wife, Kate (Leslie Mann: Rio 2) appears at her office. But not for vengeance. After marrying Mark, Kate...

Plant scientist Bert Drake warns that in Earth’s changing climate, plants are odds-on winners. It doesn’t look so good for us.

Hailing from Maine, Bert Drake likes cool weather. So you’d expect him to be riled about a world getting warmer. The issue is more than comfort, says the plant physiologist, who retired in 2010 after a 40-year career at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater.     Like Noah, Drake worries about flooding. And crop failure, which would have been an issue for Noah, too. Drake, however, might top Noah on the anxiety scale, for he’s got drought on his...

Canine Companions for Independence are half dog, half angel

Walking through downtown Annapolis, you may have seen puppies training to be service dogs. They seem special, with their colorful vests and ability to go into stores.     They are working to be selected for a special job, one that — in the words of Nancy Patterson who is part of a human-dog team — allows a “person to return to or begin a life of independence.”     Because of Mahler, a Lab-golden mix, this former airline pilot is once again...