Those innocent-looking sippers are one of the Top 5 plastic ocean pollutants

The least you need to know about solar power

For more than 45 years, Bill Ticknor has kept the 326-year-old St. James’ Parish abreast of history

Plant milkweed to support this ­butterfly’s long migration

1,271 is this week’s magic number

­Put your hand where Nodosaurus tred

Artist John W. ‘Bud’ Taylor inspired an ethic of land preservation

     Mayo resident John W. ‘Bud’ Taylor told us (https://tinyurl.com/BW-Taylor-99) that for him, being outdoors wasn’t exactly a drive. “It’s more a refreshment, like recharging your batteries,” he said. It turns out that it was actually Bud, who passed away at the age of 86 on Oct. 28, who was recharging our collective drive all these years to treasure and protect the Bay landscapes.        Bud interrupted our 1999 visit to...

Take advantage of the quiet — and of migration — to go birding

     Winter is a wonderful time to study nature in Chesapeake Country. Yes, you read that correctly, the dreaded season of cold and snow. Before I am lambasted for being a warm-weather heretic, let me explain my reasoning.      First, winter in the natural world is mostly a quiet time for humans and nature alike. Similar to our many hardwood species, the crowds of summer now lie dormant, giving you plenty of space to enjoy the natural world.      ...
This time of year, rockfish crave minnows
      “Minnies,” was the only word spoken by my friend Frank Tuma over the phone early that morning.       A few years ago,  I disovered a great cold-weather bait for stripers on an unusually warm December day prospecting for deep-water perch.      Out with another friend, Mike Ebersberger, and his girlfriend Rachel, I remember the day well. Armed with bottom rigs baited with bull minnows, she began the day hauling in a 14.5-inch...

Buy fresh evergreens and treat them for longevity 

     Wreaths, roping and swags sold in box and grocery stores may have been made in far-away Oregon and Maine, starting back in September, then stored in large coolers under high humidity. If the greens were harvested before the plants were exposed to freezing temperatures, they may well drop their needles before Christmas.       Purchase local Christmas greens, on the other hand, and they are most likely freshly harvested and have acclimated under our growing...

This engrossing dramedy makes art from catastrophe

     Greg Sestero (Dave Franco: The Little Hours) is an actor seeking the courage to perform. A ball of nerves in his San Francisco acting classes, he finds inspiration in mysterious and fearless classmate Tommy Wiseau (James ­Franco: The Vault).      Wiseau is an odd role model. He has plenty of money, but he won’t discuss its source or his past. His writing, acting and directing are terrible. But his blind confidence and deafness to criticism inspire...

The Colonial Players’ fresh take on this classic offers laughs, emotion and good doses of nostalgia

       What’s Christmas season without nostalgia? What’s nostalgia except a look back at how things were? Or, for George Bailey of Bedford Falls, a look back at how things might have been?             You know the story from the initially panned but now classic 1946 movie starring James Stewart and Donna Reed. George Bailey sacrifices his dreams of getting out of his small town to keep the bank from the hands...
The Mystery of the Missing Birds, Continued      Yes, Mr Stewart, I am seeing this also. I too live on four-plus acres and have always had birds at my feeders. This year I filled the feeder first with a mixed bag of seed. No birds...thought seed rancid or ?? Dumped the mixed and then filled the feeder with black oil sunflower seeds. Still no birds. Next step? Clean the feeder completely and try another brand? Not sure. Open to suggestions! Please! –Ellen O’Brien,...
Turn on the lights. Bring in the tree. Rejoice in pageantry. 
     “There’s a big beautiful tree all lit up in the Smiths’ window.” That was the news my husband brought in with newspapers and coffee this morning. After seeing the neighbors’ tree in the late predawn, he was about to haul in ours, now soaking up water as the Bay Gardener directs in this week’s column.       “Don’t you think it’s a little early?” I asked. “It is still November.” ...
     With the coming weeks offering events and attractions promising to wow you, amaze you and fill your hearts with holiday wonder and glad tidings, how do you choose which of the season’s pageants makes it on to your calendar?      Here’s a bit of guidance that may help you to inspire a new tradition or rediscover a forgotten favorite.   What: Illuminated London Town   Cool Factor: Yes, a garden can be magical in December, thanks to festive...

We add another family favorite to our holiday list

      The ghosts of Christmas haunt the Twin Beaches this time of year. One is angelic, one is joyful and one is downright frightening. Yet their messages penetrate to the heart of the season.       The three spirits, characters in Charles Dickens’ classic tale A Christmas Carol, made quite an impression on my family last weekend, as we attended the opening of the final production in Twin Beach Players’ 20th season.       Part of a vast...