Volume 13, Issue 13 ~ March 31 - April 6, 2005
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Spring Renewal Remedies For Chesapeake Country

So much is new in spring, with flowers blooming, ducks courting and babies popping forth. (Here’s a toast to Ada Olivia Knoll — 7.11 pounds; March 23, 2005 — and to mom and pop, Liz and Nathaniel.)

With new life all around, we get a better sense of possibility now than we do, say, in mid-winter.

After all, New Year’s Day used to be April 1, before some bossy pope long ago decided to change the calendar. So with the feeling that anything is possible, we take a second run at prescriptions to renew ourselves and the world around us.

Get Down in the Dirt: You say you’ve burned your socks, but you’re still feeling those dull brown February blahs?

Remedy: Get your fingers in the earth, where the chemistry is magic. See what’s hiding beneath winters leaves. Folk calendars say you’re a tad late already planting peas and potatoes, but we’ll let you slide if you get that lettuce in before Tax Day. By the way, we know you don’t need all that fertilizer, so stay tuned to Bay Weekly in weeks ahead to see how and what we know. By fertilizing less, you’ll be growing for yourself and the Chesapeake.

Clean Up Our Act: With greens shooting up all around, even through the old bottles and cans decaying along our roadways, Mother Nature must be aghast at what a mess we’ve made now that we’ve pushed her out of the way and said we can manage the earth ourselves.

Remedy: Don’t wait for inmates or ingrates to pick up that litter. Grab a handful of draw-string trash bags and hit the road.

Think Beauty: It’s more than winter that has painted Chesapeake Country with an ugly brush. We’ve done it ourselves by obsessing with the bottom line. Our homes and our neighborhoods may shine, but our public spaces are a sorry sight with strip malls, windowless commercial shacks and cheap-as-you-can-throw-it-up architecture.

Remedy: After you’ve made your own home and garden gifts to your community, tell planners and developers that ugly doesn’t cut it in your world. We want smart, sustainable design that follows spring’s way — which seems to be to consider beauty part of every job.

Go With the Flow. Does it seem like all the news about Bay waters is bad news? Maybe one reason is that we’re so disconnected. As development pushes us away, we have lost kinship with our waterways.

Remedy: Hike to the riverfront; hop in a canoe; sign up for charterboat fishing in the Trophy Rockfish Season that opens April 16. And while you’re lecturing county planners, tell them to give us pathways to walk along our waterfronts. Chesapeake Beach and North Beach are showing us the way, first with boardwalks and now with pioneering trails into surrounding wetlands. What point is Annapolis missing?

Back to the Farm. With tobacco gone and mansionettes blotting out the earth, Chesapeake Country is losing its rural identity.

Remedy: Help sprout the idea of an agrarian future with farmers and landowners planting crops that satisfy the needs of today’s citizens — from flowers, to grapes to winter greens — with buffer zones and nutrient management plans that we help pay for. We add more value on every front by planting agriculture that promotes tourism, not just soybeans. Look at what California has done with vines and olives, and we, too, can get smart.

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