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The most wonderful time of the year starts now

What our Thanksgiving tradition meant for one immigrant

In Armenia, we say yerakhtapart

Babes Boys Tavern looks beyond freak accident that left one dead

100 years later, a father and son relive the days of the Great War

The Rufous Hummingbird makes another unseasonable appearance

Rufous hummingbirds travel great distances. The red-tinged birds’ migration takes them from their wintering grounds in Mexico and the southern United States to their breeding grounds in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, western Canada and southern Alaska.     They breed farther north than any other hummingbird.     To sustain their marathon journey, rufous hummingbirds depend on a variety of food sources. Nectar from flowering plants makes up the bulk of their...

Broadneck Peninsula Trail links Arnold

In New England where I grew up, everyone knew everyone else and you always got a friendly nod or a smile, especially if you were out walking the family pooch or trekking to school in inclement weather. I loved running down country roads, knowing I’d likely see someone I knew at some point along my route.     We’re lucky that way in Annapolis, too. An abundance of trails and sidewalks make Maryland’s capital city a walking- and running-friendly town.  ...

Sometimes, you shouldn’t go home again

The only thing that could bring together the Weston women is tragedy. When the family patriarch — poet ­Beverly (Sam Shepard: Out of the Furnace) — goes missing, the three sisters converge at their ancestral home, steeling themselves to deal with old hurts, family secrets and, worst of all, their mother.     Violet Weston (Meryl Streep: Hope Springs) has been terrorizing her family since anyone can remember. Rude, cruel and high most of the time, Violet loves...

Crappie are at the head of the class, followed by yellow perch

The winter solstice, officially the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year, is already two weeks behind us. This annual planetary event is in another way the beginning of the end of winter. From here on out, daylight hours are growing longer and springtime ever closer.     That also means the blooming of the new fishing season since the fish, their instincts triggered by this change in the amount of sunlight, begin moving out of their deep water holes to migrate...

Get out and dig to be ready for spring

If you did a good job of building your compost pile last fall, now is a good time to stimulate more microbial activity.     Just before Christmas, temperatures in my compost pile dropped below 100 degrees from a high of 130 degrees measured just three weeks earlier. This falling temperature is due partially to a drop in surrounding ambient air and partially to a lower rate of microbial activity.     Microbial activity in composting can fall because of low levels...

Our closest approach to the sun does make for the shortest season

Twilight Thursday and Friday evening reveals the new crescent moon low in the southwest with Venus blazing a few degrees away tight against the horizon. Venus sinks lower in the early evening sky over the next week, finally disappearing between the sun and earth on January 11. Then, after a few days absence, it reappears in pre-dawn skies, where it will blaze as the Morning Star until autumn.     Moonless skies provide a dark backdrop for this year’s Quadrantid meteor...

Beyond generosity to jobs

It seems like just yesterday that I last saw you here, but here it is a whole year later. 2013 — so recently new and now all used up — raced into history in record time. 2014 will go just as fast, so we’d best plan right now to make best use of it.     That was the resolution I drank to as midnight, December 31, turned 2013 into the thin stuff of memory. New Year, I said, I’m going to make something of you. Like the Broadneck Trail you’ll read about...

The Coen Brothers’ newest is a melancholy ­ballad to struggling artists

"If it’s not new, but it never gets old, it’s a folksong.” So Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac: Won’t Back Down) tells his audiences. The songs may never get old, but the lifestyle of a folk singer does.     A committed and uncompromising artist barely getting by, Davis is content to couch-surf around 1960s’ New York, depending on the kindness of his musician buddies and the two fans he has in the world. He’s got talent, he’s got drive,...

My year of reconnections

This wasn’t supposed to be my year of reconnections; it was supposed to be the year of nothing. 2011 had been the year of moving to Annapolis; 2012 the year of my retirement. I assumed I would look back and find the months of 2013 unexciting and unmemorable.     But fate intervened. A series of events turned 2013 into my year of reconnections. I connected with 22 people with whom I had lost contact for anywhere from five to 45 years. Old College Ties     ...

Organize the coming year with one of these Bay calendars

Want to know where you’re headed before the clock strikes midnight on December 31? Buy your calendar now, and you’ll kick off 2014 with map in hand for your new year.     To guide you in a decision that will hang over you for the next 12 months, we reviewed 11 calendars with ties to Maryland and Chesapeake Country, plus the Farmers Almanac calendar, indispensible for Bay gardeners of all skill levels. January Baltimore History See Baltimore in a new (or old)...