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Our best family night at the theater — ever

Not all Christmas trees are equal

He has many faces; here you’ll see some

Where will he be on Christmas Eve?

Spoiler alert: Don’t let the kids read this

Venison is benison to area food banks

Which woodpecker is Woody?

I share my backyard with woodpeckers — lots of them. I’ve got downy, hairy and red-bellied woodpeckers perpetually pecking at my peanut suet. And every morning and evening, a pair of northern flickers drill away at the suet feeders in sync.     Hubby got within 50 feet and shared a few rare moments with a pileated woodpecker drumming on a rotting tree in our front yard. He said it looked just like Woody Woodpecker with his big, bright-red plumage sticking out...

Out of anguish, a seed grows to produce beauty

In times of trial, the brave step forward.     Unrest caught hold at Calvert High School a year ago. It divided students into Us and Them.     Into this turmoil stepped a handful of the brave.     At a June assembly to bring the students together, senior E.J. LaGoy spoke up. “Words hurt,” she said. “Stop it! Just stop it!”     Freshman Andrea Kelson read her poem about bullying. A Revolution ended with this...

Hard Bargain Farm going light years ahead of just green

A living building sounds like something out of a futuristic, sci-fi movie, but it’s closer than you think — 2015 to be exact. The Alice Ferguson Foundation just broke ground for a living building at Hard Bargain Farm in Accokeek.     The Foundation is the first in the region to build a living building and will be fourth in the world to earn the title.     What does it take to create a living building?     Fifteen million dollars, a...

Follow the smoke to the Naptown barBAYq

This weekend brings the third annual Naptown barBAYq Contest and Music Festival to the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds. This two-day fundraising event is organized by the Parole Rotary Club and has expanded to include two days of music as well as a large field of barbeque competitors with names like Que and a Half Men and Aporkalypse Now. Last year’s event raised $30,000 for local charities.     The grills start rolling into the Crownsville fairgrounds on Friday, nearly 60...

And a forest is halfway to heaven

Spring is in the air, and our hands are in the earth.         I’ve seen you greenscaping block-end gardens in Annapolis for Earth Day. I’ve seen you planting and mulching at St. Martin’s Lutheran School. I’ve seen you loading up at Greenstreet and Homestead Gardens and at London Town, Calvert and Four Rivers garden clubs’ plant sales. I’ve seen you digging in your garden, and I’ve seen the irrepressible flowering following...

Shad, perch and rockfish — why choose when you can fish them all?

It was opening day of trophy rockfish on the Chesapeake, but Moe and I were going shad fishing. Crossing the Bay Bridge to the Eastern Shore, we could see that our decision was sound: The surface of the Bay was churned milky white from the breaking waves driven by near 40-knot winds.     An hour later, however, casting over a rain-swollen and tannin-stained Choptank, we wondered if we had made the right choice after all. But within a few minutes a hickory shad, mimicking a...

 From low places to high

Governor Martin and First Lady Katie O’Malley may not be aware that in 1985 I tried to convince the gardeners in charge of the state properties in Annapolis to apply compost to the turf. The idea was met with great resistance because the gardeners thought it would take too much time, and they did not believe it would improve the turf.     We’d already been turned down in higher places.     During the Carter administration, those of us doing research...

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower returns

The moon wanes through morning skies this week, reaching last quarter Thursday, May 2, when it shines between the faint constellations Capricornus and Aquarius and is high in the south by dawn.     The sun sets this week around 8pm, revealing Jupiter high in the west, brighter than any star. However, if you have a clear view of the west-northwest horizon just after sunset, you may find the only brighter star-like object to the lower right of Jupiter: Venus, which is slowly...

I saw this movie, so you don’t have to

The Big Wedding is a special romantic comedy. It is a movie so vapid, so devoid of genuine emotion and so mind-numbingly dull that it is, in actuality, an achievement in bad filmmaking. After a few minutes of this dreck, you begin to wonder whether or not this movie is in fact some elaborate prank. It must be acknowledged that writer/director Justin Zackham (Going Greek) has accomplished the impossible: he’s found a way to fracture time, making this 90-minute film feel like it stretches...

A brilliant staging of Arthur Miller’s moving tribute to bonds that bind

Sometimes you want a simple beach novel to bide away the time, and sometimes you want to be in the presence of a master who can control language, inflection and develop great profound meanings. If you are in the latter mood, Bay Theatre’s production of Arthur Miller’s The Price is the show to see.  In The Price, Miller revisits the family dynamics he explored in Death of a Salesman. This work has some prescient lines for today, some of the most realistic (and often, painful) family dialogues...