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

Today’s oysterman is likely to be a woman — and a farmer rather than a hunter-gatherer

Local artist Greg Harlin puts his stamp on the Battle of Baltimore

Species at risk in Maryland are a roll call of birds we know and love

No walk in the park in Chesapeake Country

Mountain laurel, blueberries and other acid-lovers, too

You never know what’s going to happen on the Chesapeake

Doug Sisk can’t bear to see anything go to waste

  Doug Sisk can’t stand to see stuff — good, solid, reusable stuff — go into the landfill. He knows firsthand that just about anything can be made into something useful. It just takes creative thinking and handiwork. Like the 40-year-old deck on the circa-1960 ranch house the Sisk family had begun to remodel. “There was nothing wrong with the deck,” says Sisk. “The wood was clean. It wasn’t warped. It wasn’t full of insects. And the builder...

After 21 seasons, native-plant propagator Mary-Stuart Sierra prepares for one final harvest

  Mary-Stuart Sierra walks in peace among rows of potted plants. Shades of green envelop her, as if the plants are watching her watching them. She stops at a lead-root wildflower, an early spring bloomer, and pulls back the petals. She’s looking for the seed pouch, inspecting it for ripeness. “There is only a five-day span that these seeds are collectable,” she says. “Day one they are perfect and ready to be plucked, but by day five they’ve fallen and you have...

Southern Maryland gardens want native yellow river birch

  Arbor Day has just passed, and it’s the season of tree planting. At a recent lecture, one of the planters asked why she was having so much trouble growing white birch trees in her yard. She lamented that she had replaced three in 10 years. Where she came from, she said, white birch trees grew like weeds. I concluded that she came from either New England or from northern New York or Pennsylvania. White birch trees originate in regions of long, cold winters and moderate summers. In...

My unofficial readers’ poll takes you to the sunny side of the street

  What’s worrying you? Thirteen minutes ago, the biggest problem on my mind was on my tail, in the form of a dump truck a lot less than four truck-lengths behind my little car across the Rt. 2 bridge over the South River. Now at my desk, my worry has changed. My chest throbs with the weekly high-anxiety, high-adrenalin pressure of getting Bay Weekly to you. For the next 12 hours, I’ll be outrunning that worry. If it weren’t for sweating the small stuff, I’d be...

Sometimes it’s all ephemeral

  Sometimes, it seems, everything happens at once, and one is overwhelmed. Last week in Nashville there was too much rain, right now there is way too much oil in the Gulf and there is too much debt in Greece. A few months ago, right here in Maryland, we had too much snow and, more recently the pollen count was off the charts. If there is one thing that I want too much of it is springtime because it never lasts very long. Still, each year I hope for a slowly unfolding, drawn-out spring and...
  Their names are Kirby and Cecil, and they don’t have tusks — yet. The newest arrivals to the Maryland Zoo, two male warthog piglets, made their first public debut at seven weeks. Though they were part of the same litter, the warthog twins are easy to tell apart: Kirby is big brother, with a slightly larger build and red hair, while Cecil remains petite and brunette. The twins, with mother Kumari leading the way, explored their new home in the warthog yard. Mother made sure...

Volunteers hoof it across the country, picking up litter and lecturing on waste

  Jeff Chen doesn’t like trashy people. He’s willing to take steps to remedy his dislike. As one of the founders of Picking Up America, Chen is committed to riding our roadways of litter and pointing out American’s wasteful tendencies.  “It was an idea I had in 2006 when I was an intern in Yosemite Park,” Chen recalls. “I did a pretty epic hike to the top of Half Dome and on the way noticed some trash. On the way down, [my friend and I] picked up...

Scooping up suspended plant matter and algae, a typical menhaden filters seven gallons of water a minute, dwarfing even the oyster

  Also called pogy, mossbunker, fatback, bugmouth and about 25 other names, they are all the same creature, menhaden, and the most important fish that swims in our Chesapeake. The fish with many names is also an essential resident along the Atlantic seaboard because it is a main ecological building block for our entire marine food web.  A schooling, silvery fish about 15 inches long with an enormous mouth and weighing a pound or so, it is bony, smelly and poor tasting. But everything...

Look low in the west after sunset for your own UFO

  The great astronomer-novelist Arthur C. Clark once said, “If you’ve never seen a UFO, you’re not very observant. And if you’ve seen as many as I have, you won’t believe in them.” A few hours after sunset, you may very well spot your own unidentified flying object hovering above the horizon or perhaps zipping through a stand of trees.  While it may be breathtaking, fans of the X Files and Area 51 conspiracy theorists will likely be disappointed....

How the Bay Blues Festival helped me ditch the blues

  Some girls view a first date with excitement. I view first dates with dread. What if he’s a poor conversationalist? What if I have nothing to say? What if he collects the skulls of all the women he’s dated? Admittedly, I need to stop watching Silence of the Lambs.  I drove to the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium parking lot to meet Jack for our first date, 2009’s Bay Blues Festival, my stomach was churning and I was considering exit strategies. In a blind panic, I called...