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Expert tips for the new year and beyond

That’s our hope for you in 2017

Your pot must runneth over

A triumph of hope over experience

We’ve saved the best for last


My favorite stories of 2016

Hunting these game birds is only half the fun

The pheasant erupted through the standing corn like a Poseidon missile. This rocket was sheathed in psychedelic feathers of blue, green, red, white and ochre. Announcing itself with a raucous, crowing scream, it forced itself up on thundering wings through the seven-foot-tall stalks and into a clear blue South Dakota sky.     Even suspecting the bird is there after countless explosive flushes, a hunter is never quite prepared when the real thing happens, so it can be unnerving....

A spy thriller without the thrills

The chances that World War II soldier Max Vatan (Brad Pitt: The Big Short) will survive his next mission are slim. He’ll be assassinating the German ambassador in Casablanca in a very public attack. Working with him is Marianne Beauséjour (Marion Cotillard: It’s Only the End of the World), a French resis­tance fighter.     The heat, the adrenaline and their own attractiveness bring Max and Marianne together. After a steamy affair and a successful mission, Max...

He has many faces; here you’ll see some

What do children love most about Christmas? I’m betting it’s Santa Claus, the portly guy in the red suit who builds toys in the North Pole each year, then delivers them to well-behaved children on Christmas Eve.     To the delight of Chesapeake Country children, Santa tends to show up early. You’ll soon see a Santa or two about town — at the mall, skating around the Bowie Ice Rink, or emerging from a helicopter near the College Park Aviation Museum....

Where will he be on Christmas Eve?

Santa Claus is amazing. As you’ll read in this week’s paper, he can wear many faces and be in many places, all at the same time. So you’ll have plenty of opportunity to meet with him from now to Christmas Eve. Then Santa gets down to business, and where he’ll be when is of intense interest to every girl and boy.     It’s up to the North American Aerospace Defense Command to track his progress.     The usual business of the North...

Santa down the chimney, pests at the door

To give Santa a friendly welcome, have your chimney swept before he slides down on Christmas Eve.     Other seasonal visitors to your home are likely to evoke less hospitable greetings. For as the chill comes on, creatures come in. Mice, for example. And the creatures that like to eat mice.     There’s not much you can do to keep out a determined mouse. Mice can squeeze through the smallest of openings, gaps you never imagined and will likely never find....

Spoiler alert: Don’t let the kids read this

Santa Claus is coming to town. Love him or hate him, he’s a fact.     You’ll see him everywhere in the weeks ahead. If you shop at Westfield Annapolis Mall, you’ve been seeing him since the day after Veteran’s Day. With this issue, we acknowledge his inevitability. And we take a closer look at the man behind the snowy white beard.     Santa is a man of many faces, writer Diana Dinsick tells us in this week’s feature story. Over many...

Venison is benison to area food banks

If you’re a hunter, Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving can’t hold a candle to the next day, Buck Fever Saturday.     As hunters prepare for their favorite time of year, one Maryland organization takes advantage of the frenzy to put food on the table of hungry families. Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry helps hunters donate their harvested deer to area food banks.     “The No. 1 need of all food banks is high quality meat, and we...

Give a little, get a lot

The vegetable gardening season does not end with the first killing frost. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, sweet corn, snap beans and lettuce may have been killed by the first frost. But if you are an avid gardener, kale, collards, peas, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and Brussels sprouts should still be growing.     If you planted Brussels sprouts in late July or early August, you should be cutting off the tops of the plants now to force the sprouts along the stems to...

See this charming film about a girl who dares

Moana (voiced by Auli’i Cravalho in her screen debut) was born to greatness. Beloved by all, she will be her people’s next chief. She returns their affection and promised to become an excellent leader.     Still, she has a secret love: the ocean.     More than anything, she wants to take a boat and explore the vast expanses of water that surround her island.     But the ocean is forbidden. Not even fishermen are allowed beyond the...

I couldn’t cure anyone, but I hoped my hair would give hope

I have a lot of hair. Never as long Rapunzel’s, but my hair has grown to my bellybutton. As a newborn baby, I had a head full of thick hair. This fact is recorded in family photos. Growing up, I loved having long flowing hair. It was pretty, easy to make into a fake beard to stroke as I pondered life’s difficult questions (Why wasn’t I given Gushers in my lunch? Could I get Shaffer to share his Gushers? Do I really need to know how to multiply to leave elementary school?)....