Chesapeake Outdoors columnist C.D Dollar and Earth Journal writer Gary Pendleton remind us that the best of Chesapeake Country is outdoors, waiting for us.
The Uses of Open Land ~ C.D. Dollar No. 2, Jan. 10
Marylands Rural Legacy Program and the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program help farmers and landowners resist the pressure to sell their land for development.
Sadly, most of our rural landscape has already been divvied up for housing, golf courses and strip malls. Idyllic settings are not just good for the environment but our spirit and quality of life. I for one am willing to pay my fair share for that.
Signs of Spring ~ C.D. Dollar No. 12, March 21
Some folks will tell you that the surest sign of spring is the return of ospreys from their winter digs in Central and South America, around St. Patricks Day. There are other signs that winters grip is loosening.
Tundra swans returning north and songbirds migrating through are other natural happenings this time of year. Fishing rods sticking out of vehicles is just as reliable a sign.
In Season: Strawberries in the Patch ~ Gary Pendleton No. 20, May 16
When we moved into our house in North Beach on Memorial Day weekend in 1997, one of the things we left behind was our strawberry patch, which we sorely missed that time of year.
A couple of years before the move, I had planted some Tristar strawberry plants, ever-bearers that produce a crop from late May to September. There is no comparison, none at all, between the flavor of a typical store-bought strawberry and a homegrown or locally grown strawberry.
Moon over Pocomoke ~ C.D. Dollar No. 27, July 3
It just hung there, like a copper globe weightless in that vast expanse Shelley called heavens ebon vault. Three days removed from Summer Solstice, the full moon mesmerized us, and the marsh, drunk with light, had it secrets tucked away quietly for the night.
Open salt sea air has become my religion of sorts: healing, cathartic and nonjudgmental. Will Smiley and I fished steadily and talked infrequently, and then only in mellow tones appropriate for the luminary cathedral in which we cast lures to creatures unseen.
In Season: Terrapene carolina carolina ~ Gary Pendleton No. 33, Aug. 15
It is not hard to see why box turtles are kept as pets. They are gentle, comely creatures. Unlike other forms of wildlife, they wont run or fly away. To even apply the term wildlife seems questionable, given their serene nature. They dont bite like a snapper, or stink like a stink pot or slide away like a slider, and they dont swim in the Bay like diamondback terrapins. There are no basketball teams, that I know of, named for them either.
The Taoism of Pooh the Lab ~ C.D. Dollar No. 46, Nov. 14
Sure, I know its a stretch, but Taoism (or Daoism, The Way or Path) teaches that healthy human life can flourish only in accordance with natures simplicity that in part requires a free-and-easy approach to life. Why cant that mantra be applied to the canine world? Pooh the Lab answering her ancestral biding, enthusiastically bringing back her first bird, clearly suits this philosophy.
In Season: The Kestrel ~ Gary Pendleton No. 47, Aug. 21
Three species of falcon inhabit Maryland: the peregrine falcon, the merlin and the American kestrel. To me, their dramatic-sounding names suggest ancient origins and mythical connections.
Solitary kestrels frequently perch on telephone wires, near (but not too near) other birds such as the slightly larger mourning doves. The kestrel is the one with the squared-off tail and thick neck and head.