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Expect more reasons to go back to the farm, in areas near you

      Agritourism has been in full swing with apple buying, pumpkin picking, hay-wagon riding, corn-maze wandering and vineyard and microbrewery touring.      By next fall, Anne Arundel may have caught up with neighboring Calvert, Prince George’s, Charles and St. Mary’s counties in offering day-trippers a full range of ways to get into nature and onto the farm.        Last month, County Executive Steve Schuh declared Anne Arundel...

Construction underway for 2018 grand opening

     Thirteen shovels dug into the ochre clay to break ground for Calvert County’s first animal shelter. Rising at 5055 Hallowing Point Road in Prince Frederick is a main shelter building of 12,910 square feet to house up to 200 animals plus a 1,380 square-foot barn to shelter livestock.      The shelter’s namesake, former county commissioner Linda Kelley, would like that, as her fellowship with animals extended to potbellied pigs, which she kept as...

No matter your gear, you’ve got to be over the fish if you’re going to catch

     After five consecutive skunks over the last 10 days, I shared my grief with friend and neighbor Frank Tuma, a charter boat captain.      “Yeah, I’ve heard that the middle Bay is empty of rockfish,” he said. “But I’ve found a nice bunch that I’ve been working over the last few trips. Going to take a couple of friends out tomorrow. Want to come?”       I swallowed my pride and accepted. It was not a...

Hurry! Frost is expected Friday night

     Some houseplants have to be repotted every six months, while others can stay put for two or three years. Frequency of repotting also depends on container size, quality of care, productivity of the rooting medium and frequency of nutrient applications.       Annuals — such as grape ivy, begonias and marigolds — have very vigorous habits of growth and should be repotted at least twice yearly. Foliage plants such as ficus, schefflera and crotons...

Three women try to take the stress out of the holidays in this raunchy comedy

     It’s the most wonderful time of the year — unless you’re a mother.      Amy (Mila Kunis: Bad Moms) used to love Christmas, but becoming a mom has spoiled the season. Instead of celebrating the spirit of Christmas with family, she feels forced into shopping for people she barely knows, decorating the house so the neighbors won’t judge her and devolving into a heap of stress from worrying that she won’t make the perfect Christmas...

from John Shields’  Chesapeake Bay Cooking

     “I traveled around the world in search of fine cuisine only to learn that some of the finest eating to be found was in my Chesapeake homeland,” writes John Shields. As author of Chesapeake Bay Cooking, host of the PBS show Coastal Cooking with John Shields and proprietor of Gertrude’s Restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Shields has introduced the world to his native cuisine.       To those who ask what exactly is Chesapeake Bay...

Add this year’s National Champions to your menu

     How do you like your oysters? Fresh, raw on the half shell? Steamed over coals in the shell and eaten buttered? Patted in cornmeal and fried?      For most of us, simplicity and tradition equal perfection.      But we humans are innovators, so each year’s blessing of oyster bounty brings this tantalizing question.      How do you improve on God’s gift to Chesapeake Country, Crassostrea virginica?     ...
Recycle Your Pumpkins
by Timothy Johnson
     After Halloween, what’s next for your pumpkins?       Please, not the landfill. Pumpkins are 90 percent water and add tons of water to the landfills, contributing to the problem of groundwater contamination. As pumpkins break down, they create methane (CH4), a greenhouse gas more powerful than carbon dioxide (CO2).      There are better alternatives.   1. Compost the pumpkins Pumpkins are filled with nutrients. The water that is...

Think as well of the people as of the turkey

     Like the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving is America’s own holiday. Joining together in annual celebration, we renew their meaning and recommit ourselves to the values those high holidays represent.      Thanksgiving hosts take very seriously their turn at continuing that honored responsibility. Time-honored as the elements of the feast are, we must each perfect them for our table. Perhaps each year there will be one thing new.      The...

Thanksgiving novels now in season

     In novels, everything happens for a reason. Thus the coexistence of Thanksgiving and National Novel Writing Month in November can be no coincidence.      Our national holiday is a cornucopia of potential plots.      Food, for example. Since Like Water for Chocolate, novels linking food and life stories have seized the popular imagination and risen to the top of the charts, spilling over into movie adaptations. Imitate Laura Esquivel and write a...