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All the world’s a school for service dogs in training 

The cats in my life keep upping the ante

Where to frolic with your four-legged friends

Where to turn for help and to help

Is it domestication that brings us together, or mutual adaptation?

Promising Playwright’s work addresses the terror about being unemployed and losing one’s place in this world

It’s rare that a new playwright gets to workshop a play with a director, actors and an audience.     Andrea Fleck Clardy of Jamaica Plain, Mass., got that chance last summer when her play, Job Loss Figures, won The Colonial Players’ Promising Playwright contest. Now, Clardy gets to see her play on stage starting July 12.     She says she is “deeply grateful” for Colonial Players’ investment of time, talent, care and money. “It...

Your growing plants get hungry, too, as they start to produce
 

Tomatoes and peppers need your immediate attention if you hope to harvest a bumper crop.     By now your tomato, eggplant and pepper plants have clusters of fruit clinging at the lower branches with flowers initiating new younger fruit in the middle branches. Now is the time to provide them with additional nutrition and prevent blossom-end rot.     If you are an organic gardener, apply one cup of gypsum and a cup of blood meal in a ring about two feet in diameter...

It has left our lives filled with holes
 

My newspaper is full of holes.        No, Bay Weekly hasn’t forgotten a story here or an ad there. I’m using my in the larger sense that each of us newspaper readers invokes each day: My paper, as in the newspaper I depend on to tell me the daily story of our times, up to date and delivered to my door.     My newspaper each morning is The Capital. The holes — burned as if acid had dropped onto the paper — are the missing...

Join the party at Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center

Volunteers will be helping this year’s 100 or so Palooza paddlers circle Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center’s horsehead peninsula, passing through the waters of Cabin Creek, Kent Narrows and Marshy Creek before landing at the Lakeside Pavilion for food, fun and music.     “We have full support with more than 40 volunteers from start-up to celebration,” said the center’s Karen Bogue. “Safety boats and kayakers are stationed around the course....

Volunteer to have fun and make a difference
 

Squish … squish … squish …         That is the sound our water-filled mucking boots, hip waders and various other water-resistant footwear made as we marched back to our cars after a successful oyster-planting day at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center in Grasonville.     A dozen volunteers had waded into the shallow, low-tide waters of the cove off Cabin Creek to form a human chain to move from truck to pallet 120 to 150...

Summer breakfast and lunch ­programs keep stomachs full
 

More than 100,000 summer breakfasts have filled the stomachs of the children of Southern Anne Arudel County over the last decade, thanks to the Cedar Grove United Methodist Breakfast Club.     The Breakfast Club began because third-grader Nathaniel ­Quimby wanted to ensure that all his friends got breakfast during the months school was out. Ingrid ­Quimby-High, Nathaniel’s mother, brought the idea to her church. Thus began the club’s carryout breakfasts....

The red fox lives by cunning, guile and cover of night
 

Vulpes volpes, the subject of fairy tales and folklore, are in real life blamed for raiding chicken coops, killing pets and keeping people up at night with their cries. Red foxes have about three octaves of vocalization, and many of their sounds are unpleasant, even scary.       They are hunted with dogs and horses, poisoned and trapped for their skins. Yet still they remain very common.     Foxes live by cunning and guile and avoid humans by being...

Over 900 sightings this past year
 

The first time I fished in saltwater was a memorable experience. I had waded out from the shoreline with a spinning rod in one hand and a bag of squid in the other. Catching a small flounder within the first few minutes made me bolder until at last I was far from shore and chest-deep in the water.     Then I saw the big, dark, triangular fin angling toward me through the water. My blood froze as I tried to backpedal toward a now impossibly distant beach.     Then...

Plants have different feeding needs

Landscaping is an odd agricultural industry in that many different species of plants grow as near neighbors. To achieve desired effects, you might plant azaleas near junipers or yews and rhododendrons in close proximity to viburnums or tulips or lilies.     In both of these examples, species with very different soil requirements are expected to survive and thrive. Junipers, boxwoods and viburnums prefer a soil with a pH above 6.0. Azaleas and rhododendrons perform best at a pH...

A timely reminder of the power of kindness.

Fred Rogers was an unlikely television sensation. Sets were cheap, puppets shabby and the host refused to wear silly costumes or pander to young children. Yet Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood became a beloved staple of PBS programming. Feeling his genuine interest in them, children connected with Rogers. Parents appreciated that the show dealt with real topics, like assassination and divorce. People flocked to his neighborhood.     An ordained minister and a lifelong registered...