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Mack the Lab is Maryland’s chief apiary sniffer

High school band tops in Maryland

Clear skies forecast for this weekend’s Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival

Jeanne Kelly’s Encore Chorale proves music can reverse aging

Building a safe place to launch lives

Or, if it’s too late, about her (in which case you can skip the flowers and candy, or enjoy them yourself)

Put those seed catalogs to good use

Perhaps you have received seed catalogs for the coming spring planting season. On the the front and back cover you will likely be encouraged to order early to receive bonuses or discounts. Many seed companies also offer free shipping for early orders. You can save quite a bit if you take advantage of these special offers.     My method for ordering seeds begins with selecting at least three different catalogs that I have purchased from in recent years. After I have made an...

Three decades in the making, three (boring) hours in the watching

In the 17th century, Japanese governors forestalled the growth of Catholicism in their country by rounding up priests and converts. Those who recanted were released. The faithful were tortured.     Word reaches the Jesuits of Portugal that Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson: A Monster Calls) has foresworn his faith and is living among the Japanese. Horrified, Fathers Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield: Hacksaw Ridge) and Garrpe (Andrew Driver: Patterson) volunteer to go learn the truth....

In the Maryland General Assembly, C. Rhoades Whitehill reads every last bill … Out loud

With up to 2,000 bills churning through each chamber in the Maryland General Assembly, you might wonder who reads them all.       Legislators? Not a chance.     Who you gonna call? Only one number in Annapolis, that of C. Rhoades Whitehill, Reading Clerk for the Maryland House of Delegates.     How many? Last year, Whitehill says, “That was 1,600, nearer to 1,700.”     Whitehill announces each bill with its number...

It’s worth your while to catch this show

What will you be watching in 2017? The new Homeland series on Showtime? The Young Pope? The Good Fight? Perhaps the Maryland General Assembly?     The legislature may get few votes. Yet between now and April 10, the Maryland General Assembly will wrangle with the governor to decide how to spend billions of your dollars.     One hundred eighty-eight men and women convened January 11 to make an array of decisions that shape your life. The air we breathe, the...

Grasonville environmental center schools grown-ups

So you want to learn more about life in Chesapeake Country, but you’re just a bit intimidated by lengthy Master Naturalist classes with lots of study time and volunteer hours?     The Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center in Grasonville has the answer you didn’t know you were looking for.     “LIFE, or the Legacy Institute for the Environment, is a free program, with no tests, no homework and only nine sessions,” says Courtney Leigh,...

Their winter nutrition is worth your money

Set up a feeder, and you’ll have the energetic company of snowbirds that, like you, aren’t driven south by January’s black-and-white chilly minimalism.     Holly-berry red male and Dior-cloaked russet females add color and conflict, as each pecks off others of its own sex. The cold first weekend of January, scattered black oil sunflower seed brought a battery of six Cardinals into view.     Yellow-throated sparrows came out in abundance, too....

Planning for spring starts now

Calvert Garden Club awards mini-grants of $100 to $1,000 to local non-profits to Beautify Calvert County.     Last year, when the grant theme was educating a new generation, a $750 grant to Mt. Harmony Elementary School funded a vegetable garden and wildflower bed.     Apply by Feb. 1: calvertgardenclub.com. In Anne Arundel County, Unity Gardens will give up to $1,500 to greening projects, environmental enhancement and education.     Need a model...

Black squirrels once were common in America before European migration

Peering out the front window with my first cup of coffee this morning, I was rewarded with the sight of at least a half dozen squirrels cavorting on my snow-covered lawn, running up and down the trees, chasing each other and creating a maelstrom of snow powder and furry activity.     One of the frisking rascals, I noticed with surprise, was melanistic, a black phase of our common gray squirrel. Though fairly rare (one in 10,000) these days, the jet-black variety is a handsome...

Anne Arundel County offers just the right raw ingredients

Anne Arundel County has more horses than any other county in the nation. It follows that we also have more horse manure. Some of that horse manure occupies precious landfill space or is dumped near streams, thus contributing to Bay pollution.     Anne Arundel County landfills also have too much of another organic waste, nitrogen-rich food waste produced by an abundance of restaurants. Like yard debris, neither of these organic wastes should be occupying landfill space. Landfills...

We hope (with compliments to Yogi Berra) it’s better than déjà vu

The Maryland General Assembly isn’t the only big thing beginning anew this month.     (Does beginning anew agree with you? Strictly speaking, anew is a tautology in the phrase as beginning is beginning. Still, in the spiral of life, renewal is a great force, giving us second, third and more chances, if we’re lucky. There! I’ve reasoned myself into beginning anew. How about you?)     I’ve tried not to bore you in writing about the General...