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History & Lore

When oyster stew required a very big pot

     There’s much to learn from studying oysters from long ago, according to newly published research from two William & Mary professors.          Rowan Lockwood, who chairs the Geology Department, and Roger Mann, a professor in the Department of Fisheries Science, report their findings in a fascinating new paper based on examining oyster reefs from the Pleistocene epoch — which stretched until about 12,000 years ago.

Mary Kilbourne: 1936-2019

     Ask Mary Kilbourne’s friends and former students what they remember about her, you’ll hear about banding birds, seining a pond to find water scorpions, the latest Envirothon or leading Cub Scouts on a trek through the woods — and underlying it all her passion for wildlife, nature and the earth. She was a naturalist and an enthusiastic protector of local rivers and natural spaces, testifying against development of dwindling wooded spaces.

USPS is big-footing our place names into oblivion

     Bristol is a town barely in Anne Arundel County. It’s also barely clinging to an identity as a town, if the U.S. Postal Service has its way.     The name Bristol is recognized as authoritative in the county’s southwestern corner by most maps, by the U.S. and Maryland Geological Surveys, by the Maryland Department of Planning, by countless county databases and by the Maryland State Highway Administration’s maps and big green highway signs.

Is massive sea creature a Chessie ancestor?

       Researchers in Poland recently announced discovery of what’s left of a pliosaur, a fierce predator that patrolled the oceans 150 million years ago, in the Jurassic period.          Paleontologists working a cornfield in the Holly Cross Mountains in central Poland also found bones from a second ocean creature, this one with a long neck, as well as bones of ancient turtles and fossilized teeth three inches wide. They described their findings in the Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association.
A Bay Weekly conversation with Allison Tracy of Smithsonian ­Environmental Research Center
     Oysters are a victim in the climate crisis, by most accounts, and ours in Chesapeake Bay waters are feeling it like their bivalve brethren elsewhere.      West Coast oysters are hurting from changing ocean chemistry. In New Orleans’ French Quarter, eateries are scrambling to live up to their reputations as Gulf of Mexico oysters die, smothered by the billions of gallons of Midwestern freshwater rolling down the Mississippi River.
Tour the county from Hole in the Barn Door to Mariner's Compass
     Calvert County’s mysterious new trail is not hidden, but you need a map or a guide to find and follow its course. Along the trail in plain sight are 17 wooden-framed images each with a design painted in an array of color combinations. Each has its own designation, like, Mariner’s Compass, Sawtooth Star or Farmer’s Daughter. The designs are so different that, despite being mostly fashioned on 8-by-8 or 4-by-4-foot frames, they don’t seem to have a central theme. 

If the food is good, most anything else can be forgiven

     The holiday commemorating the first communal meal with native Americans and the early colonists now brings families together to enjoy a feast. I strive to gather our Thanksgiving meal from our garden and to include free-range poultry. I also like to use ingredients and recipes that our foremothers and fathers would have used.      On this holiday for memories, many rise from the creation of the annual feast. Catastrophes in their time are now family legend.

At 99 years, he’s made more history than he can remember

      It’s another gathering of the family to whom Emil Saroch has devoted his life since the death of his wife Patricia on Christmas Day 2004.       They seem to get larger every year. It started with him and his wife. Then the four kids came, then their spouses, then eight grandkids and two great-grandkids over the years. Many midshipmen, as well, have found the Sarochs’ home a welcome port and respite during breaks from the rigorous regimen at school at the Naval Academy.

Bayside History Museum keeps up the tradition

      Tom Crockett’s toy train display at Tan’s Cycles was a holiday hit for 17 years. From Christmas trains running every December, he expanded to include Halloween trains in October and November. Crowds of children with their parents and grandparents poured into his shop to watch the trains speed past mountains, towns and itty-bitty people.

A true story

    I don’t need psychics to convince me that ghosts are real.     My own ghost supplies all the proof I need.