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Your guide to Chesaeake Country's freshest produce and more!

Still time to escape in a good book

Here’s to one more summer of reading

Sweet fish swim in sweetwater

The everyday banalities of saving the world

Lesson 3: Jumpstart your garden with compost tea

When not getting his hands dirty in the soil, the Bay Gardener keeps busy restoring old boats and making new ones

Wife Clara claims that my desire to build and restore boats can be traced to Viking genes in my blood. I remind her I am of French Canadian descent with Algonquin heritage. Her rebuttal is that Vikings invaded northern Europe where my French ancestors lived.   In the 20 years we’ve lived on Rockhold Creek in Deale, I have built two boats, with a third under way, and restored two more — plus a 1949 John Deere B tractor and, now, a 1939 Allis Chalmers B tractor. Clara is still...

Avoiding water-logged bulbs

Anyone who has launched a boat via a trailer soon realizes that the lights on the trailer function correctly right up to the first submersion. After that, it’s anyone’s guess. The left turn signal will function, but not the left brake light; only the brake lights work, but not the signals; signals work at random and the running lights have disappeared.   Each spring brings a trip to the auto store to buy new trailer lights. The hermetically sealed package clearly states that...

From here to Venezuela

Where have our osprey gone after abandoning Chesapeake Country over the last six weeks? In general, we know that Chesapeake osprey fly from between 2,000 and 4,000 miles. Their journey takes 15 to 50 days, depending on the individual’s flight plans. Transmitter-tagged birds can tell us much more. So we turn to 40-plus-year osprey researcher Rob Bierregaard of the University of North Carolina. He’s been banding birds since 2000 on Martha’s Vineyard and in New York, Rhode Island...

Test and treat your plants before bringing them in

A friend told me the leaves of her Ficus benjamina are covered with black soot. I suspected that the plant had been infected with a soft-scale insect that exudes a honeydew substance that breeds sooty mold. However, upon examining the plant, I saw it was severely infested with spider mites. If you moved your houseplants outside for summer, there is a good possibility that they are infested with spider mites. Spider mites are tiny insects about the size of dust particles. On houseplants, look...

Maryland’s horses, ponies, mules, donkeys and burros are being counted in their very own census.

  The Maryland Horse Industry Board has enlisted the United States Department of Agriculture to count Maryland’s equine population. More than 21,000 census forms were mailed in April to equine owners and stable operators across the state. This is only the second count of Maryland’s horses. The first census was taken in 2002. “The first equine census gave us an important baseline for measuring the size of our equine industry,” said Maryland Agriculture Secretary...

Time runs out when the money’s gone-

Maryland’s appliance rebate program, begun on April 22, will last only until the $5.4 million runs out. Better act fast. The state-administered rebates are going quick. In Illinois, energy- and money-wise customers went through their state’s $6.2 million in one day. As part of last year’s federal stimulus bill, the U.S. Department of Energy distributed $300 million among the 50 states for energy-efficient appliance rebates. When and how the funds were distributed was left to...

There’s a lot of weird stuff in 117.65 tons of waste

  Over 7,055 volunteers waded into the murky depths of the Potomac River and its tributaries at the 22nd annual Potomac River Watershed Clean-Up. They emerged with over 117.65 tons of waste and litter. Those numbers are still climbing: The cleanup continues thru May 1. After all these years, there’s still plenty to clean up, according to Potomac River Watershed Cleanup Coordinator Becky Horner of the Alice Ferguson Foundation. The environmental education non-profit, based in Accokeek...

Here’s how

  This year will be the best season in over a decade for Chesapeake Bay crabbers. The Department of Natural Resources estimates that the blue crab population is up 60 percent, the highest number since 1997. If you want to get a share of this delicious Chesapeake bounty, now is the time to start preparations and acquire the necessary gear. Assuming that you have even the most modest of boats (even a canoe or kayak will do), the best method to employ, especially if you’re just starting...

In the case of brightness, less is more

  The sun winks from view at 8:05 Friday, setting almost a minute later each following night. As the sun sets, the first light you’re likely to see emerging from the darkness is the evening star Venus high in the west. Blazing near magnitude –4, there’s no mistaking Venus for either first-magnitude Aldebaran, the red eye of Taurus the bull below and to the right of the planet, or golden Capella of Auriga the charioteer, shining at zero magnitude above and to the left of...

And she’s still my champion

  My mother was a reuser well before it became one of the fashionable three Rs every schoolchild knows today. At 93, she still lives by herself in the house where I grew up in southeastern Massachusetts. My twin sister Patty and I always knew if we needed a box, any size or shape, Mom would have it. Her packrat nature extended to coffee cans, rags, glass jars and plastic containers. Remember Skinny Minny ice milk from the 1960s? She has a collection of tubs in her basement if you need one...