Settle in for this time-honored musical, about a boy, a girl, and their scheming fathers after an exclusive Mixolo members-only brunch in the theater’s Parlor room. If bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys aren’t enough, a visit with special guests from the production should prep you for the show.
This column, That Nature Show, is about the nature right under your nose: in our backyards, playgrounds and parks! Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you.
My son, 9, is what teachers call “not academically motivated.” Bless them. What they mean is that he’d rather be fishing. Or collecting worms. Not sitting doing subtraction. In class he’s a pain in the neck, in other words.
My father had a wooden sailing skiff named Seahawk that he kept tied at the dock at my grandparents’ farm in McDaniel on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. In late March we’d start seeing the return of the birds the boat was named after, the only diving and live-fish-eating hawk in North America: the seahawk, a.k.a the osprey. “They have grippy pads on their feet to keep the fish from slipping!” said my aunt.
Last week and the week before were really, really cold. Cold enough to freeze Lake Roland’s shallow waters to more than a 5” thickness: perfect conditions for ice skating! Which is just what some area residents did – groups of kids took to the ice with hockey sticks and rosy cheeks, and some adults put edge to ice, as well. It was a joy to behold. Good, clean fun on a freezing winter day when it was otherwise hard to appreciate the single-digit weather.
Sadly, the skaters were interrupted by admonitions from the police to get off the ice – someone had called 911. The reason? They were told that Baltimore County Recreation and Parks prohibits skating on its park waters.
The park rules are posted on signs at the main entrances:
Park Open Sunrise to Sunset
Alcoholic Beverages Prohibited without Written Permit
Park Permits Required for Groups
Dogs Must Be Leashed
Unauthorized Motor Vehicles and Horses Prohibited
Open Fires and Weapons Prohibited
Violators Will Be Prosecuted. Help Keep Your Park Clean.
(Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks.)
On the sign, there is no prohibition nor permission to ice skate, but concerned citizens — including my neighbors and me — who gathered with the Baltimore County Director of Recreation and Parks this week were told that it is, in fact, a county policy.
This is the fourth in our new weekly column, That Nature Show, about the nature right under your nose: in our backyards, playgrounds and parks! Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you.
We were in Easton for New Year’s with the family and at 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve a.k.a Puritian Midnight and Midnight For Those With Young Children, there was a much anticipated crab drop. My son, 8, a motormouth who asks a thousand questions per diem that I can’t answer because they are brilliant and incisive asked, “Will they drop crabs on my head? Who will do the dropping? How long to crabs in the wild live? Where are they in the winter?” I responded like the parenting books tell you you should with an encouraging: “Hmmm?”
“Mom!” he said, “You sound like a robot. You used to go crabbing when you were my age, why don’t you know these things?”
This is for him.
Baltimore’s Blue Crab — mascot on everything from t-shirts to beer mugs to New Year’s crab drops — is callinectes sapidus, from the Latin, Beautiful Swimmer That Tastes Good. They range the Western Atlantic from Nova Scotia all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, but the fishery has historically centered on the Chesapeake Bay.
But, my friends, if you’re eating crab in the winter, you are not eating Maryland crab. Our season is from April 1 to December 15. You’re eating Louisiana crab or crab imported from as far away as Indonesia. You can’t sing Maryland, My Maryland with a pitcher of Natty Boh eating those, can you?
This is the second in our new weekly column, That Nature Show, about the nature right under your nose: in our backyards, playgrounds and parks! Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you.
Who goes hiking at 8 o’clock in the dark on the coldest night in early December while the rest of you snuggle watching Netflix and drinking rum-laced eggnog? Us. We do.
We’re that family who sees a flyer at Giant for Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area’s monthly Owl Prowl and, even though the in-laws are visiting, we say, Yippee kai yay, Grandma, get off the couch, grab yer mittens, girl, we’re going to see us some owls.
We were the only family there, so we got to see the rehabilitated owls “ooper duper schmooper” close, said my daughter, 6. A screech (pictured above), a saw-whet (palm sized, adorable), a barn (white, spooky, with a face like a satellite dish and the call of a terrified child and perhaps the origin of the legend of the banshee, our ranger told us), and a barred (which makes the classic “Who cooks for you?” hoot sound and handily won the starting contest with my son, 8).
Then we went out owling with the ranger. We are not very good at being quiet, and everyone was cold so there was lots of stomping and zippering and scarf tossing and swearing that this was a crumb-bum idea, Mom.
National Park Week feels a little like a secret, perhaps because those of us who know about it kind of want to keep it a secret; if everyone knew that admission to the nation’s 401 national parks/battlefields/sites was free this week, why they’d be overrun! But we’re not too worried about that, because most of them are pretty big — also, the free admission only lasts through Friday — so we’ve come up with a list of a few local and regional picks for you to enjoy this week, at no cost to you. So go on, take a day off work and explore.