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One man is the difference between life and death for creatures great and small

Oh, the creatures we’ve seen

Learn from plantsman Bill Cullina and ­benefit Unity Gardens

Can our Free Will Astrologer break the late-winter blues?

There’s work overhead on the ISS

Put your down time to work

January $20-campaign makes ­forward thinking a bargain

The beginning of a new year is time for thinking ahead. The unfettered fertility of male animals is a direct cause of the some 45,000 cats and dogs euthanized each year in Maryland at a cost of millions of dollars.     So if your pet is part of the problem, the time is right to get the problem fixed. This month, Rude Ranch’s Spay Spa & Neuter Nook, in Davidsonville, is offering 150 Happy Neuter Year sterilizations at the affordable price of $20.     ...

Knowledge makes power

The horticultural green industries — nursery, landscaping and greenhouse crops — are the second largest agricultural industry, second to poultry in Maryland and third in the nation. With home gardening the number one hobby, it is no wonder that the demand for trained horticulturists is so high.       Gardening is therapeutic, and those who partake in it realize great satisfaction from watching plants grow as well as enjoying the flowers, fruits or vegetables...

A different rockin’ new year

We are going to have a good year in 2015. That’s what I’m predicting, despite continuing reports of rockfish population problems.     I must disclose, however, that when it comes to predicting what Tidewater anglers can expect in the year to come, the last few seasons I’ve built up close to a 100 percent accuracy rating — 100 percent wrong.     My prediction for 2013 was for a disappointing year for rockfish. That season turned out to be...

Loneliness and tragedy fuel the genius that saves the world

Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch: The Hobbit) is an odd duck. Brilliant at arithmetic but horrible at social interactions, Turing is mercilessly mocked at boarding school. His only friend introduces him to cryptography, where he discovers a world he can understand.     The grown-up Professor Turing would have been another in a long line of oddball academics but for World War II. Instead he joins an elite circle of cryptographers tasked with cracking the German Enigma. A coding...

And the Winners Are ...

We’ve saved the best for last.     That’s Best of the Bay, Bay Weekly’s 17th annual report on what, and who, gives you the most satisfaction in Chesapeake Country.     I love this issue because of its scope.     First, Bay Weekly’s Best of the Bay encompasses more than 200 ­categories ranging from Best Crab Soup, Best Overall Restaurant, Best Gift Shop, Best View and many more.     Second, it compiles a...

One man proves the human spirit is immeasurable in this war drama

Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell: 300: Rise of an Empire) lived enough for three men in his first 30 years. As a teen, the son of Italian immigrants was a petty thief. His brother suggests that instead of running from the police, Louis should put his speed to work. Throwing his energy into training, he earns a slot on the Olympic track team.     After an impressive performance at the games, World War II interrupts his plans, and Louis becomes a bombardier in the Pacific...

This time of year, even Congress takes a worldwide view

With Capitol Hill intractably divided, juggling the fallout of the midterm elections, the CIA Torture Report and local law enforcement controversy across the country, it seems an unlikely time to turn our attention abroad toward foreign aid.     Yet that’s what Congress did.     On December 15, the Senate joined the House in unanimously passing the Water for the World Act. According to the Senate Foreign Relations committee, 750 million people lack access...

Our family visits make us ­reconcile good and evil
 

Once more this year, my family and I spent part of the Christmas season in Germany. The tradition began because of my husband Jonathan’s good memories of the year his family lived in Munich, when he was 10. Street vendors sell wurst in ­the Christkindlmärkte in Nuremberg.     We go because Christmas in Germany is magical. Outdoor markets — die Christkindlmärkte — enliven every city’s square, many since the Middle Ages, with brightly lit wooden...

Fresh from the woods, we dug up more than we bargained for

The family agreed. This shapely 10-foot Norway spruce with beautifully spaced branches was our perfect Christmas tree. After Christmas, the living tree would find a new home in a corner of our half-acre lot.     But this was an out-of-the-way farm, and the tree digger was unavailable. So we would have to wait a few days before we could take The Tree home.     No problem. Christmas was four weeks away.     The next week it rained. “When are...

After nearly 50 Christmases in the department store’s windows, he’s now part of my family’s tradition

A life-size Santa Claus — donned in authentic red velvet suit, black belt and patent leather boots with a full angel-hair-spun beard — stands by my living room window all year round.     He’s too fragile a chapter of history to stuff away in a corner of my two-car garage.     I met Santa at a yard sale in a Calvert County barn. His $250 price tag was a bit steep for my budget. But I was fascinated with him and kept going back to touch his silky...