6 Burn a Boat
Its a Viking burial, says Rick Meatyard, owner of Tall Timbers Marina in St. Marys County. Tall Timbers is the last port of call for hundreds of lucky antique vessels slated for restoration. But some old boats are in such disrepair that dignified destruction is the only solution. Tall Timbers makes it a celebration. Labor Day weekend, head down in your antique cruiser, new-fangled powerboat, sailboat, skiff or dinghy or your car if you must for a weekend-long celebration that peaks with the burning of one ancient craft. Its sad to see em go, says Meatyard, But its exciting, too. Tall Timbers Marina: 301/994-1508
7 Bury Bulbs
Remember your excitement late last winter when you first saw a snowdrop standing bravely in a patch of snow? Your satisfaction at the sight of daffodils bobbing their yellow heads in the early spring breeze?
Plant now, and these harbingers of renewal will greet you next year from your own yard. Its a small investment of time that will yield immense pleasure for years to come.
You can buy bulbs at your local nursery or home improvement center, but youll likely find the best variety in seed catalogs. Keep an eye on 8 Days a Week for other bulb-buying events.
Bulb planting is easy if you invest a few dollars in a tool made just for the job. It removes a plug of earth; you place the bulb in the hole (roots down) and replace the plug.
8 Buy or Browse A Boat
Yes, youve missed most of another beautiful summer on the Bay. Dont tell us you cant find the right boat. At the US Sail (Oct. 47) and Powerboat (Oct. 1114) Shows, youll find your dream boat. Cant afford it new? After youve window-shopped, make a study of used boats. Start with Bay Weekly classifieds for local opportunity. For depth, graduate to Soundings.
9 Catch a Dragons Tail
Or stow away on a landlocked ship. A stroll through Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis is more than just a nature walk. If you go soon, you might still catch artist D.H. Banker hard at work on her Spirit Dragon, a giant Chinese-inspired monster carved from a fallen tree just on the edge of the walking path near the South River Overlook. Bankers dragon was influenced by all sorts of animals: lion, camel, snake and eagle. If shes not around, stop and see what other kinds of animals and insects are making their home on and around this hospitable reptile Quiet Waters Park: 7amdusk except Tuesdays.
10 Carve a Jack oLantern
Get out the knife!
Come the last week in October, your pumpkin meets its maker: you.
To transform your innocent pumpkin into a scary jack olantern, youll need a butcher knife and a paring knife, a big spoon for scraping and a pot for scraps and innards. Maybe youll want a pattern. Draw your own on paper, or look up a book in the library ahead of time. But plain old triangle eyes and checkerboard mouth are just fine.
Scalp your pumpkin; then scrape him. Choose your carving side. Draw his face with markers. Then carve away, carefully.
If you plan a pumpkin-carving party, the fun multiplies.
11 Change Your Clock
For the young, summer ends with the return to school. For some, its the passing of the Labor Day weekend that marks summers end. Mother Nature closes the door on summer with the autumnal equinox September 22. But for many, the changing of the seasons doesnt come until we set our clocks back one hour to
Standard Time, October 28 at 2am.
Benjamin Franklin originally proposed Daylight Savings Time. Many farmers observed Daylight Savings Time on their own in order to maximize harvest time in the fields. The homefront effort of the Second World War required conserving every resource, including time, as a form of Daylight Savings Time was enacted to cut down on the hours needed for electric lighting. In 1967, the U.S. government instituted Daylight Savings Time nationally, designating the last Sunday in April as the start and the last Sunday in October as the end. States may, however, exempt themselves from the law, and currently Arizona, Hawaii and parts of Indiana do not observe DST.
12 Cheer Pigskinners
Want to go see the Skins or Ravens? Who do you know? How much are you willing to pay?
Instead, why not check out Navy, Terps and high school action? Its more spirited anyway. Two new coaches go head-to-head in Calvert County as Northerns Patriots battle state champ-rival Calvert Cavaliers. In Anne Arundel, grab a bleacher and see if four-year-in-a-row semi-finalists, Annapolis Highs Panthers will make it five in 2001. In Anne Arundel, get your sports info at the board of educations website: aacps.org. In Calvert, call the school.
Find Navy info at 800/us4-navy or navysports.com. Find Terps at umterps.fansonly.com.
13 Chunk a Punkin
Halloween is just behind you, Thanksgiving has yet to come and youre already getting tired of your decorative pumpkins, some of which have already turned into soggy rot on the front steps. Yesterdays gourds will soon end up on the compost heap, assuming youre among the roughly 90 percent of Americans who dont actually eat them. So, as long as youre tossing it out, you might as well take a cue from Millsboro, De., and do it maniacally.
The 16th Annual Punkin Chunkin World Championship (November 2-4; www.punkinchunkin.com) is a contest to see how far teams can hurl a pumpkin using machines of their own creation, primarily gigantic air cannons and trebuchets. Last years winner launched a pumpkin 4,085 feet.
14 Cook a Garden Meal
Reap the benefits of your summers labors in the vegetable garden by cooking a garden meal.
Start with a fresh salad. Your lettuce, green onions and radishes may be long gone, but youll find plenty of cucumbers, tomatoes and swelling onions. Toss with vinegar, oil and garden herbs.
For your main course, your garden offers eggplant; you make it Parmesan by layering the eggplant (browned or not) slices in a garden tomato sauce with onions, garlic, maybe green pepper, parsley, basil and oregano. Top each layer with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese for a scrumptious blend. Dont like eggplant? Substitute zucchini or yellow squash.
15 Enjoy Fall Colors
Out at Marylands western fringe, Oaklands 34th Annual Autumn Glory Festival shows off this mountain town at its prettiest. Foliage is complemented by two parades, state banjo and fiddle championships and troves of crafts (Oct. 11-14: 301/387-4386).
In the opposite direction youll find the Eastern Shores scenic small waterfront towns. Try St. Michaels by way of the Wye Oak. Back on our side of the Bay, walk a stretch of the C&O towpath along the Potomac where it meets Great Falls. On one side you have the wild river, on the other a placid canal reflecting all the autumn colors.
Even homebodies will find their own woods ablaze.
16 Explore Fall Skies
With the change in seasons comes a new cast of characters in our darkened skies. Lingering through September, still high overhead, are the stars of the Summer Triangle, Deneb of Cygnus the Swan, Vega of Lyra the harp and Altair of Aquila the eagle. In contrast, the stars of autumn are a dim lot Aquarius, Pegasus, Pisces and Cetus rising in the east and stretching above the southern horizon.
Mars, a brilliant red glow all summer, fades to the brightness of a strong star in southern skies. In the east, Saturn pulls back into evening skies, Jupiter and Venus following.
A waxing moon provides for good viewing of this years Orionids meteor shower October 21. Look toward the constellation Orion after midnight the 20th through the 23rd. A new moon provides even better conditions for this years Leonids early the morning of November 18th. Some astronomers are even predicting a meteor storm, with thousands of shooting stars passing overhead each hour.
17 Fare Well at Your County Fair
Ride the Ferris wheel. Pet a goat. Sip lemonade. See the countys biggest cabbage. Admire a quilt. Call a hog. Call your husband. Eat a pie. Enter your home-brew or your famous orange marmalade cake.
- Anne Arundel County Fair, Sept. 12-16: Generals Highway, Rt. 178, Crownsville.
- Calvert County Fair, Sept. 26-30: Rt. 231, Barstow.
18 Foster a Fellow Creature
Got the end-of-summer, empty-nest blues?
The SPCA of Anne Arundel County needs people with spare time and love. Volunteers in Not-4-Gotten shelter homeless animals until theyre ready for adoption. Most in need of short-term foster care are puppies and kittens.
(Learn more in here.)
19 Fry a Fish with Friends
The Chesapeake and its rivers and creeks offer some of the best eatin fish in the world. So why not cap off your summer with a fish fry?
Invite some friends. Ask them to bring their catch or a covered dish, a lawn chair and their favorite beverage.
A couple of outdoor grills with skillets can handle the fish cooking. Olive oil, corn meal and lots of spices give the flavor. Anglers take the chefs spot, completing with special marinades, sauces and fish stories.
20 Gather a Fall Bouquet
Thats tall Joe Pye weed along the roadside making huge dandelion-like heads of purple flowers. Keeping him company is black-eyed Susan, Marylands state flower. Mix them in your bouquet with golden rod, wild aster, thistle, wild sumac and brilliant purple clumps of pokeberry. All for free.
21 Get Back to School
In Annapolis, Johnnies have returned to the hallowed halls of St. Johns College. With them arrive weekly lectures, free to all, offering a peek at just what the students are studying. Grab a seat at 8:15pm Friday evenings in Francis Scott Key Auditorium.
If youre willing to pay, Anne Arundel Community College offers continuing education classes in subjects ranging from cooking to yoga. Local Coast Guard auxiliaries teach seamanship classes all year round. Calverts Red Cross teaches regular CPR classes. Jug Bay, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the Calvert park system host lectures and outings to educate you in ecology. Senior center classes are not all variations on estate planning; Calvert and Anne Arundel centers host many classes, often with an open invitation to bring younger family.
22 Go Camping
Theres just something about eating canned food and sleeping on the ground. Whether its in your backyard or in the woods, camping appeals to nature lovers of all ages. So pack up your tent, some cookware and bug spray and find a place to take a break from the routine of modern life. (Leave the laptop behind!) For a map and listing of Maryland campgrounds, many of which host RVs, check out www.gocampingamerica.com/maryland before you go.
23 Go Irish Early
No need to wait till March 17 to feel Irish. Six months early, on Saturday, Sept. 15, Celtic storytellers, dancers, musicians including bands and harpists re-enactors and cooks transform Charles Carroll House into a wee piece of the Old Sod.
At noon, the Annapolis Irish Rowing Club hosts the 19th Annual St. Brendans Cup Regatta, with 16 mid-Atlantic rowing clubs racing Curragh boats, traditional Irish working row boats. The fleet assembles at 12:15pm on Spa Creek for a blessing, then travels to the entrance of the harbor to race to the mouth of the Severn. (Spectator boats available.)
The Celts rule this precinct of Annapolis from 11am to 6pm, returning at 8pm for a Celtic Concert Under the Stars on waterfront terraces . $10 w/discounts: 410/269-1737.
24 Greet the Great Pumpkin
If youve planted a pumpkin seed, youll know where to look. By now, some of the big sun-yellow flowers on that trailing green vine will be turning into a pumpkin, which will brighten into glowing orange as it swells.
The next best place is a farm field. Many farms invite you into the field to pick your pumpkin for a fair price. At farm markets, you dont have to walk so far, but you still get plenty of choices. Will this years pumpkin be tall or squat, big or little, regular or lopsided?
25 Hurry Up for Halloween
What will you be for Halloween?
A fairy, a princess or Dorothy from Kansas?
Will you be frightful: a goblin or a skeleton?
Be something cute, like a bumblebee, Miss Spider or a walrus. Whatever you do, dont opt for the ready-made costume from the local discount store. Make it yourself from scratch. Make it original and make it fun.
Dont forget, youll have to walk in it and see out of it in the dark. Make it safe.
26 Indulge in Autumns Best
The Germans have a word for it: Oktoberfest. Weve good reason to follow their lead, for October is often Chesapeake Countrys sweetest month: Blue skies, brilliant leaves, warm day, crisp nights and blessed low humidity. They say toasting is the proper way to greet such. So lift a glass of beer, wine or apple cider. Learn the rest of the ritual at Chesapeake Countrys little piece of Germany in Mayo, The Old Stein. Best of all, learn it in their biergarten.
27 Jump Into a Leaf Pile
Theres no point in raking the leaves if you dont ruin a mammoth pile every so often. Really, fall does not begin until youve gotten dried leaves in your underwear.
So what if youre an adult? Team up with neighbors if need be to gather every available leaf into one big stockpile. Even if adult dimensions no longer allow reckless leaps, you can at least fall backward into a tall pile. Make like a kid and kick through the stack on a windy day while tossing them over your head to create an enveloping flurry of foliage. You may look a madman, but a happy one.
28 Keep on Boating
Perhaps the most mystifying behavior on the part of new Baysiders is the pulling of their boats after Labor Day. The seasons over, their brain tells them, as if theyre still back in Muncie, Ind.
But as the wisest in Chesapeake Country will attest, the best boating begins in September. For sailors, thats when the breezes re-freshen. For fishing folks, September and October is heaven as the fish school up and fatten themselves for the winter months. For everyone, the air is cool and clear again, perfect to witness the brilliant hues of the fall foliage.
29 Learn the Woods by Smell
If you walk in the woods around the year, you know that each season brings a characteristic aroma. In fall, the aroma is rotten. Everything under your feet is in process of decay. Leaves and grasses and a thousand kinds of insect and animal carcasses from their summer heyday, aided by those magnificent decomposers, the fungi, are all working to make next springs good soil. Youre in natures compost bin. So take a deep breath and enjoy.
30 Light a Campfire
Take advantage of cool, crisp fall nights and build a campfire.
Invite friends. Tell stories. Sing even if you cant carry a tune in a water bucket. Roast wieners. Make smores.
Watch the flames change from yellow to orange to blue as they dance against the night sky.
When the fire wanes, enjoy the quiet sounds of the night: the chirping crickets, the hooting owl, the calling loon, the shooting star.
31 Lose Yourself In a Maize
Will you be one of the lucky ones to reach the Victory Bridge, and get an aerial view, or will you be stuck in rows of corn, waving a surrender flag for help? Visit Horizon Organic Dairy Farms maize maze, shaped like Happy the Cow, the farms mascot, to find out. The maze is open weekends through October 28 on Rt. 175 in Gambrills. 410/923-7600 for directions, hours, fees and special events.
32 Mark Tobaccos Last Stand
Those broad-leafed green plants big as bushes and topped by flower stalks are tobacco. Take a good look. Marylands historic crop was planted on fewer acres this year than in any year for three centuries. It will be fewer still next year, with nearly two thirds of Marylands tobacco farmers, who are concentrated in Southern Maryland, accepting the states offer to buy them out of business.
With the end of August, the tobacco harvest begins. Plants are cut by hand, dried a few hours in the sun, speared on tobacco sticks, then hauled into open-slat barns to dry. Thats the way its always been done. Now a tradition is dying.
33 Measure a Praying Mantis
If you can find a ruler big enough. Theyve grown huge. The ant-sized, delicate green creatures of spring have eaten themselves four to six inches long. Theyre likely to have turned brown along the way. Look on your plants, on screens and under lights. Theyre not easily spooked, so you can get a good look and a fair measure.
34 Observe the Equinox
Like a road that must be crossed, summer must come to an end. This years crossroads of summer and fall comes at 7:05pm Sunday, September 22, with the autumnal equinox. On this day, and the vernal equinox six months away, our hours are evenly divided between sunlight and darkness. Rumor has it that this alignment of the earth and sun allows the curious to balance an egg on end. Truth be told, however, whether you can balance an egg or not depends on you and the egg.
35 Organize your Indoor Garden
Salvage some of that summer flora by bringing it indoors. Plants must be prepared gradually for indoor living.
First repot the plants in larger containers using new dirt. Water thoroughly and leave them outside.
After a week or so, feed the plants with an indoor fertilizer. Dont over-water.
Once theyve settled into their new pots, move them inside. Take care to place them where theyll receive plenty of light. Keep away from direct air conditioning or heat sources.
Water when the soil feels dry. Fertilize monthly. Break off lanky sprouts on heavy bloomers such as impatiens.
Enjoy the plants from your favorite easy chair when winter winds howl outside, then again in spring when they adorn your deck and garden for another season.
36 Pick Apples, Eat Apples
After the summer fruits have come and gone, its time for some fall apples fresh from the tree. Pass out the bushel baskets and let everyone fill it up with a different kind of apple. Think of the possibilities: apple pie, applesauce, apple butter, or just eat em. Your local library should have a pamphlet called, 2001 Maryland Direct Farm Market & Pick Your Own Directory. If you cant find it, call your Cooperative Extension office. Or hit the open road and let apples attract you.
37 Plant a Tree
Raking leaves might make you momentarily wish for fewer trees, but if you want to contribute to future generations health and enjoyment, now is the perfect time for planting. Trees are all-around good guys: keeping the Bay healthy by slowing runoff; shading and cooling our homes; cleaning our water and air by absorbing harmful pollutants; protecting soil by holding it in place and adding nutrients; providing habitat for too many animals to count. And whats more valuable than a good tree for climbing or sitting under on a sunny day? For all those blessings and colorful 21st century autumns, plant now.
Learn how to plant a tree at www.americanforests.org.
38 Play Football
Football is the great American spectator sport, but you eventually will have to get off your duff and do something to work off the chips and pretzels and dip and ham sandwiches and soda and
. So keep with the theme, find a suitable gridiron and proceed to flatten friends and family.
Flags and two-hand-touch do well enough, though hardy types might want to get back to footballs no-pads rugby roots. Either way, the best games are played on a freshly muddy flat with just enough tufts of grass to qualify as a field. Mud is macho, not to mention softer to get tackled into. In these games, success is measured as much by the permanent stains and tears on your clothes as by the points.
39 Press a Leaf
Preserve falls colorful foliage by pressing leaves. Collect an assortment of nicely shaped and colored leaves. Then try one of these pressing techniques.
Fast and easy: Place leaf between sheets of wax paper. Cover top sheet of wax paper with a towel. Press with a hot iron to seal. Trim wax paper close to leaf edges.
Slow and easy: Place leaf flat between several layers of newspaper. Insert into the pages of a heavy book. Leave undisturbed for at least two weeks until leaf is dry and stands up straight when you hold it by the stem.
40 Put on Some Clothes
If the thought of putting away those tank tops and shorts is one you arent ready to accept yet, just add on a few layers when the weather gets cooler. Buy a new sweater: Some of this falls trends include patterns, prints (think animal) and metallic tones. Rugby-style shirts are making a comeback. If you are more interested in comfort, pull out your favorite comfy sweatshirt. Or frequent your local Goodwill or consignment shop; sometimes you can find great vintage prizes.
41 See Cal One Last Time
By now, everyone knows: the Iron Man is leaving the Yard. For 20 years, Cal has made his mark on baseball and its fans, as heartfelt tributes in ballparks all over the country testify. Dont miss seeing him play for the last season. Tickets are still available, but be forewarned: The Streak is over, and Cal sits out more than a few games these days. So dont promise the kids until you see the starting lineup. The Orioles play their last homegame on Sept. 23; if you havent seen Cal by then, youll have to take to the road: http://orioles.mlb.com.
42 Slip Back in Time
Banish your modern cares and escape to a time when the maidens were fair and the knights wore good-looking armor at the Maryland Renaissance Festival in Crownsville.
Take in a few of the dozens of irreverent stage shows and enjoy the many roving performers. Then gnaw on a turkey leg and browse the off-beat wares of a multitude of craftspeople.
Weekends through October 21. 10:30am-7pm: 410/266-7304 or 800/296-7304. www.rennfest.com/mrf/.
43 Study the Color Chemistry of Leaves
With the turning of seasons comes crimsons, goldens and oranges. The array of hues pleases the eye, but do you know what you are looking at and why it has turned to its current shade? Learn to identify leaves by their fall color. The change has to do with already present pigments becoming visible through the withdrawal of chlorophyll. Do some research before you go a-leaf-watching or bring along a guide, such as Fall Color Finder: A Pocket Guide to Autumn Leaves. Buy it or read excerpts at http://ncnatural.com/wildflwr/fall/idguide.html
44 Take a Day Trip
Bid farewell to another Bay summer with a road trip. Here are some tips for a pleasant day:
- Plan to avoid weekday rush hours.
- Never rely solely on the word of others for directions. Keep handy a map with your route marked.
- Call in advance if your trip includes a museum, park or restaurant you must visit.
- Dont clutter your trip with trivial stops or it will seem like any other day full of chores.
- Buy film, snacks, drinks and other necessities ahead of time.
Where? Follow any two-lane road youve never traveled before.
45 Tend to Your Mums
Mums mums mums. At roadside stands and church bazaars and pick-your-own fields. Purple mums, red mums, white mums, yellow mums
if you cant find a color to go with your landscaping, you either havent looked hard enough or have a really weird lawn. Bold, bright colors make a perfect complement to fall foliage, and theyre low enough in maintenance that they wont distract you from your spring planting. So make a little space among the future tulips in your garden plan to enjoy an added splash of fall colors for the now.
46 Unleash Your Inner Artist
Is your inner artist chained up? Let er loose and learn the liberation of using the right side of your brain. Dont know where to get started? Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts and St. Johns College specialize in classes in the arts: music, art and dance. Put your artist on a shorter unleash with day classes youll find in our 8 Days a Week.
47 Visit the Autumn Beach
Oh, the joys of the fall beach. The kids and the bikini-clad sun worshipers have gone home to their landlocked lives. The heat and humidity are a vague memory. The sand is cool, the air smells clear and the only noise off the water is the lapping and crashing of waves and the melancholy calls of birds flying south. Theres no better time to be there. The water that cooled the body so delightfully in summer grows colder. The sounds of the mighty Bay ring softly across chilled sand. Sunlight dances upon whitecaps rolling inland.
48 Watch the Geese Fly
Honk! Honk! Honk! There go those geese again in their nearly perfect V, the classic snowbirds, raucously heralding the end of summer. How birds migrate remains one of the most baffling mysteries of nature. While some travel only short distances, the majority fly thousands of miles, often over open ocean, using some combination of natural landmarks, sun and star positions to guide their journey. So marvel at the geese; they know something we dont.
49 Watch Out for Spider Webs
Caught again. Its that time of year when you cant walk between two objects without twining yourself in some ambitious spiders web. The silk is thick and sticky; worse, autumn spiders have grown big enough to mind being disturbed. So watch where youre going. While youre at it, watch the spider; both artist and artistry and rich with beauty.
50 Write Your Own, and Tell Us All
Send them to Bay Weekly, P.O. Box 358, Deale, Md 20751. Fax 410/867-0307. E-mail [email protected].
Story and photos by Martha Blume, Mark Burns, Kim Cammarata, Connie Darago, J. Alex Knoll, Bill Lambrecht, Amanda Lofton, Sandra Martin, Rachel Presa.