32. Go to the Dogs
Dont let the dog days of summer slow you down.
- Take your dog to the Dog Park at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis. The one-acre dog park has two sections one for large dogs and one for older and smaller dogs where Fido can run free off leash and safe from traffic. Your dog will socialize with other canines while you talk with the other owners. There is also a dog beach. The dog park is located beyond the concert site. Park in Lot M (web.aacpl.lib.md.us/rp/parks/QuietWaters).
- Watch Frisbee dogs (www.skyhoundz.com) race down field and leap into the air to make the catch in the distance/accuracy competition. In the free-style competition, the routines are set to music. The dogs run up and leap off their handlers bodies, execute flips and catch several discs in a row. These canine athletes will be competing at Truxtun Heights Park in Annapolis at the 2002 Local K-9 Frisbee Tournament on Sat. June 29, from 6-9pm on the Griscom Ball Fields (near the pool). The winner will be eligible to participate in the regional and world finals. Children get to play, too.
- With only hand signals from their owners to guide them, agility-dogs jump hurdles, run through tunnels, and scamper up and down seesaws. You can catch their antics on June 22 and 23, from 8am-4pm at Hot Dog Productions, 470 Ski Ln., in Millersville.
33. Get Cool in the Pool
Summer gets hot so we can get cool swimming and splashing and diving. To get wet and cool without swimming with jellyfish, gather up the family and head to a public pool or water park for a game of Marco Polo or a spine-tingling ride down a slippery flume. There youll find good company for lawn-chair lounging and water-winged pals for your youngest swimmers.
If youre looking for options, Paradise Island Waterpark at Six Flags America in Largo has 13 ways to get wet from its Monsoon Lagoon that blasts four-foot-tall waves to the inner-tube flume (get in w/regular park admission, $54.99 season pass: 877/941-4fun; www.sixflags.com/america).
Chesapeake Beach Water Park, a local favorite, features two big water slides, water volleyball and a childrens activity pool (11am8pm daily; $8, $14 out-of-county w/discounts: 410/257-1404).
Annapolis has two public pools. Swim indoors at Arundel Olympic Swim Center on Riva Rd. (6am-10pm M-F, 88 Sa, 106 Su; $4 w/discounts: 410/2227933) or outdoors at Truxtun Park Swimming Pool (115 SaSu & holidays, 12:30-4:30pm MF, 5:30-7pm MWF; $1.75: 410/263-7928).
Severna Park Swim Association operates a pool at The Community Center at Woods 263 B-A Parkway (call for open swim times, $3.50, 410/315-7779 www.spyswimming.org).
If youre 16 or older, you can dip in Anne Arundel Community Colleges indoor Olson Memorial Pool into August: 410/777-2316.
Chill out in Calverts outdoor public pool at Kings Landing Park in Huntingtown (1-7:45pm daily; $3 w/discounts: 410/5353321).
34. Take up Horseback Riding
The outside of a horse is the best thing for the inside of a man [or woman], wrote the first century Greek soldier and author, Xenophon.
Horses can take you deep into the woods on trails no mountain bike or ATV could ever travel. Theyll canter around the ring and take you soaring over jumps. But those are just the distances youll travel or the heights youll clear. Maybe something more will happen. Its time to decide for yourself if Xenophon was right.
Heres three places to get you started: Equilibrium Horse Center in Gambrills: 410/721-0885; Rocky Hill Farm in Millersville: 410/647-2747; Oak Hill Farm in Port Republic: 410/586-3347.
35. NJFK: Take an Insect Safari
You can thank Bay waters for that mosquito that just landed on your arm and is getting ready to stick her nasty proboscis into your nearest vein. Many of the bugs you see flying around and landing on your skin for a quick bite grew up in the Bay and its surrounding wetlands.
The next time youre at the waters edge, go on an insect safari. Take a small dip net and a collecting jar. You might want to wear your galoshes. Turn over some rocks and look carefully at grass stems that stretch underwater. Chances are good youll find some teenage insects or insect homes.
The larvae or teenage stage of mayflies, dragonflies and damselflies, mosquitoes and caddisflies all cling to rocks or leaves underwater. Mayfly, dragonfly and damselfly larva have similar shapes, with head, thorax and abdomen; all but the dragonfly have feathery appendages coming out the back.
Mosquito larvae are about one-half inch in length and have feathery hairs coming off all sides. They have a breathing tube so are found near the surface. Caddisfly larvae make funky homes of sand grains, twigs or stone, which they carry with them.
When they become adults, these insects lay their eggs in any standing water, so be sure to empty buckets and put away anything around your home that collects water or youll have a mosquito-breeding ground.
What else can you find? Bugs with fascinating names like water strider, water boatman and diving beetles live in still waters. Catch some in your jar with some water, and watch them swim around for a while.
Be sure to return them to their homes. Many fish and birds call them dinner.
36. See the Light at Maryland Lighthouses
The seas guiding lights are more than lonely floating bulbs that have led the way for sailors since the 1800s. Theyre part of history. This summer, tour some of the Chesapeakes lighthouses and learn the inside story.
Start with Sandy Point Shoal Light, described as one of the prettiest caisson lighthouses built on the Bay by Lighting the Bay author Pat Vojtech. It sits near the Bay Bridge, 3,000 feet from the easternmost point of the Broadneck peninsula.
Head south to the mouth of the South River to find Thomas Point Light. In 1995, this old screwpile lighthouse was designated a National Historic Landmark, one of six such lighthouses in the country.
The coffee-pot-shaped, cast-iron caisson Bloody Point Light stands on Bloody Point Bar off the southern tip of Kent Island. Thats where it started to lean shortly after it was lit in 1882. It tipped five degrees, but workers pushed it back up and dumped 760 tons of rock around its base to keep it in place. It still leans slightly.
Hooper Strait Lighthouse, a restored three-story cottage-style house, has lived at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels since 1966. It descends from an 1867 original constructed on the north side of the entrance to Tangier Sound. It marked the shipping channel for 10 years before it succumbed to moving ice (Open daily 10am-5pm: 410/745-2916).
Sharps Island Light, sitting at a 15-degree angle and appearing to be Bloody Point Lights twin, once marked one of the biggest islands in the Chesapeake Bay. That island washed away, but Sharps Island Light, located off Black Walnut Point near the entrance of the Choptank River at the end of Tilghman Island, is still standing as Marylands Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Cove Point Lighthouse, a 173-year-old conical tower, is the only working lighthouse left on the Bay and is in excellent condition thanks to constant maintenance. Calvert Marine Museum now owns the lighthouse, which you can visit on daily tours (11am and 1 & 3:30pm, except Monday; $3 by shuttle bus from the museum, at Solomons: 410/326-2042.
Also at Calvert Marine Museum is the screwpile cottage-style Drum Point Lighthouse built in 1883 to mark the entrance to the Patuxent River. Museum admission gains you full access to this entirely restored treasure.
Point Lookout Lighthouse, known for its ghostly visitors (see Way 94), stands at the end of St. Marys county where the Potomac River meets the Bay. It once marked the north entrance of the Potomac River. The diminutive white house with red roof and black lantern is closed to the public but can be viewed through a high chain link fence.
See history unfold before your eyes at Piney Point Lighthouse, a squat conical tower built in 1836. During World War II, the Navy tested torpedoes in nearby waters and brought a captured German Black Panther submarine to the point for study, then sunk it. An on-site museum fills in the details. Piney Point also served as the summer White House for presidents James Monroe, Franklin Pierce and Teddy Roosevelt.
Located 14 miles up the Potomac River, this lighthouse marks a sandbar on the northern bank known as Piney Point. To get there, drive south on Rt. 5 to the sleepy little town of Calloway. Make a right at the towns only traffic light, and before long the lighthouse appears through the cedars. The museum is open FSaS from noon-5pm; the park and museum grounds are open daily from sunrise to sunset: 301/769-2222.
To learn more read Lighting the Bay: Tales of Chesapeake Lighthouses by Pat Vojtech; Bay Beacons: Lighthouses of the Chesapeake Bay by Linda Turbyville; Lighthouses of the Chesapeake by Robert de Gast; or visit www.cheslights.org.
37. Meet a Horseshoe Crab
Before its too late, meet one of those slow-moving pith helmets on a Chesapeake beach (see Way 4), where this time of year theyre returning, as they have every year since time immemorial, to mate and lay their eggs.
Theres another reason to hurry. They make their spawning drives early in the season. So look for them during June and July, under the light of the full and nearly full moon. If you cant stay up late, look in the morning. Many will still be there, upended. Turn them over gently, by picking them up by the shell (hands on both sides) or flipping them with a stick.
Despite its otherworldly look, its harmless even that long, hard spike of a tail. Think about how its survived, looking exactly the same, for 30 million years. Then consider that in our times its closer to extinction than ever before, threatened by harvesting for bait and biotech drug-making.
In Way Downstream many weeks, you can find what the various states are doing to save horseshoe crabs.
38. Pick Your Own
Long before we became farmers, we were hunter-gatherers. Which explains the enormous satisfaction that comes from finding your own food. It doesnt have to be a fish or a goose or a deer. A found blackberry can give you the same satisfaction.
Speaking of blackberries, theyre ripening for free right now along many Bay Country roads and fields. Later in the summer, be on the lookout for figs neglected in neighbors yards. One tree is as good as a gold mine, considering what you pay for plastic pints of California figs when you can get them. Dont overlook unwanted apples or the sweet plums that grow on many ornamental trees.
Dandelions may be a dreaded lawn weed, but they make a great salad, especially when young. For a more ambitious field salad, toss in clover, cattails, sorrel and wild onion. Remember, young is the key. If you get them young, you can even enjoy wild bamboo shoots and fiddleheads, which are upstart ferns. For color, turn to the flower garden. Add rose petals and nasturtium.
Because many plants look alike and some are poisonous use a field guide to be sure of what youre eating. Take a look at Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants by Bradford Angier or Edible Wild Plants by Lee Allen Peterson.
Dont pick any mushrooms unless youve been trained by an expert, and dont eat food grown in an area subject to heavy chemical wash (such as right next to a highway).
If youre harvesting on private land, always ask permission. Or pay to pick from the many pick-your-own farms springing up to support new farming generations. Be on the lookout as you drive country roads or at your local library. What you want to pick up at the latter is a pamphlet of the 2002 Maryland Direct Farm Market & Pick Your Own Directory, a pamphlet.
Check and wash all you gather to get rid of both chemicals and bugs. Many insects are edible, too, but thats another story.
39. Savor Summer Specialties: Dill Beans
When the garden produces veggies out the wazoo, its time to can, pickle and freeze. Dilly beans are the favorite of John Kehne and wife Judy Suiciak, who turn project into extravaganza every summer by inviting friends in to help and share in the eating. With scientific precision, they quantify and qualify over steaming pots. They experiment with flavors, adding a jalapeno here, basil there, to concoct the best flavors they can. Twenty pounds of green beans is a good amount to start with; 50 pounds, says Kehne, almost did them in.
|4 pounds fresh, straight whole green beans
|13/4 teaspoons crushed dried hot red pepper
|Sliced jalapenos for a good kick (optional)
|31/2 teaspoons dried dill seed, OR 7 fresh dill heads
7 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled
|5 cups vinegar
|5 cups water
|1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon pickling (non-iodized) salt
|7 pint canning jars with lids and bands
buy a jar lifter to avoid burned hands
Wash beans and remove stems, cutting them to fit upright in pint canning jars. Wash and sterilize jars, lids and bands. Put the jars mouth down in a pan of warm water. Add bands and lids. Bring to a boil before packing them with beans. Use a jar lifter to handle hot jars.
Place 1 dill head or 1/2 teaspoon dill seed, 1 garlic clove and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red hot pepper in each jar. If you use cayenne pepper instead of crushed hot red pepper, use only 1/8 teaspoon cayenne per jar. Add beans, packing them upright and leaving 1 inch to the top.
Mix water, vinegar and salt and bring to a boil; pour mixture over the beans, filling each jar to 1/2 inch from the top. Run a plastic knife down and around to remove trapped air. Dip a paper towel in boiling water and wipe carefully around the rim to remove particles on the lip of the jar. If there are any, the jar wont form a vacuum seal when it cools.
Put on the lid and band, making it snug but not tight to allow air to escape during the hot water bath. Immerse jars in hot water. Bring to a boil and hold at 185 degrees F for 10 minutes.
Sometimes particles get on the lip during the bath and prevent sealing. If this happens, clean the lip, repeat the hot water bath and hope it works the second (or third) time around. If not, stick them in the fridge and eat them in a couple of weeks.
Remove jars, resealing if necessary.
After two weeks, the beans will start to develop their flavor.
The longer you wait, the more the flavor!
40. NJFK: Build Sand Sculptures
Like sand sculptures, lifes greatest pleasures dont have to last. And knowing that the wind and water will wash them away is part of what makes sand sculptures such fun.
Start with a community beach, a playground sandbox or the sandbox in your own back yard. Take pails and shovels with you and a bucket of water. Cups and molds for cake or candles work great, and food coloring can make your sand sculptures even more fun.
Find that damp place on the beach where waves have recently receded, leaving the sand still wet but firm. If youre in a sandbox, pour a bucket or two of water on the sand until you have a wet pile.
Then let your imagination run wild. Form the long, curving arc of a dolphins body, or build a sand castle with moat and bridge. Sand cars, sand trucks and sand dinosaurs are all fair game along with anything else that youre inspired to build.
Form the basic shape by patting heavy, damp sand into place. Then as the top layer of sand dries, start smoothing the surfaces and carving details like the dinosaurs eyes into place. For extra fun, fill a pail with sand and add enough water to make a runny mud. Scoop out handfuls of the sand-sludge and dribble it onto your sculpture to make the wavy lines of a mermaids hair or a castle whose turrets look like the buttresses on Barcelonas Sagrada Familia. Fill the bucket with sand again, and stir food coloring into the water this time. Use the green sand for a palm trees leaves, or red sand for the eyes and mouth of a shark. Or cast all sculpting to the wind and simply swirl a rainbow in the sand.
If youre at the beach, sit by the water long enough to watch your sculptures erode and know that, with each tide, life gives you the opportunity to sculpt again.