Month: July 2019

Throwing a party may be intimidating, but blueprint is simple

Summer parties are meant to be carefree with loud laughter, cool drinks, and more than likely, a few people with drips of condiments on their shirts. While throwing one seems less intimidating than say, Thanksgiving for 20 in your dining room, there are a few tips to throwing a summer gathering that keeps the vibe easy going. Menu The menu for a summer party is all about the grill. Whether it’s a simple burgers and hot dog fete or the perfect opportunity to pull out your bleu cheese beef tenderloin recipe for a smaller party, your oven deserves a...

Read More

In search of the perfect, champion tomato

Whether you are trying to take a long, ruffly blue ribbon or simply trying to have an out-of-this-world BLT, there are tomatoes … and then there are champion tomatoes. Champion Tomatoes are the ones that are perfectly red, perfectly round, with the taste you think about all winter long. Whether it’s a friendly race between neighbors or a judged show, getting that first ripe tomato as soon as possible is many a gardener’s goal. Competitive tomato growing dates back to when word of mouth had to spread the word of whose garden tomatoes were the juiciest around and the prize was simply a smug knowingness. If you were to have an off year in your garden, you could bet there would be whispers, as if you had run off to join the circus. These days, county and state fairs and festivals fuel the competition to an extent that several seed companies have taken notice started marketing toward the crowd with varieties alluding to earlier ripeness like “Fourth of July” or “Early Girl” as well as championship tendencies such as ”Early Blue Ribbon” or, simply put “Wins All.” These varieties have shorter growing periods that hint at a taste of victory. That said, experienced tomato contestants likely wouldn’t ditch their tried and true varieties, not only because of the risk but also because “their” variety has likely been their family...

Read More

Native Habitats for Humanity and the Bay

Habitat for Humanity homeowner Nora Skiver has resided on a quiet downtown Cambridge street for the past five years. Now retired following 40 plus years in nursing, Skiver began volunteering in 2009 with Habitat Choptank, which serves Talbot and Dorchester Counties, eventually becoming Volunteer Coordinator. When she heard that the group would partner with Pickering Creek Audubon Center to help homeowners create gardens to enhance their property’s curb appeal and attract pollinators to shore up the Shore’s fragile ecosystem, she “jumped at the chance” to take part, she recalled. She’d been ecstatic about the Habitat home she helped build and has lived in since 2014. But the grass which had covered the property’s front yard was utilitarian at best, and not especially attractive, she remembered. Seeing a way to address and alleviate the eyesore, Skiver signed on, joining five other Mid-Shore participants agreeing to contribute “sweat equity,” i.e. labor and instruction which is applied towards a home down-payment. Each homeowner was provided with native plants, mulch, soil, and other fundamental needs, gardening basics workshops, and one on one consultations with Pickering Creek outreach educators, courtesy of a Chesapeake Bay Trust Outreach and Restoration Grant and Audubon. One of those educators is Samantha Pitts, who for almost 10 years, has brought her passion for nature education to schools throughout the Shore, and welcomed visitors of all ages to Pickering Creek...

Read More

Shining a new light on home décor

Spring is traditionally a season to showcase nature and the outdoors. It also happens to be the time when the latest in-home décor is on display at several global events, such as the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York City and the Best of Euroluce, the international lighting exposition held every two years, in Milan, Italy. With artful symmetry, this year’s exhibits featured lighting designs increasingly derived from forms found in the natural world. Outstanding among these is the award-winning Pebble light collection, created by designer Lukas Peet for Andlight of Vancouver, British Columbia. Inspired by river rocks and celebrating the way their seemingly simple shape has been uniquely “sculpted” by nature over centuries, the Pebble series is crafted with blown glass. “Glass blowing was an interesting process to utilize for this idea, as the process enables for manipulation and malleability of the material. I wanted to allow these primordial shapes to glow — adding to their profoundness, and giving them a soul,” Peet revealed. The resulting pendant style fixtures consist of two glass shapes conjoined to one another with a machined aluminum LED holder and heat sink, designed to “elegantly house” the electrical connections and suspension system. Each side of the pendant is lit proportionally for consistent light output from the combined large and small forms, appearing to “endlessly evolve” in shape when viewed from different angles,...

Read More

Gardeners best to be reactive, not proactive, during droughts

As we all know by now, Maryland weather keeps us on our toes. Last year it seemed to rain on days that end in “y,” but there is no guarantee we will have the same wet weather this year. Mother Nature could shake things up and give us a drought. But doesn’t mean our gardens can’t still be bountiful! Gardeners in areas where they expect droughts frequently stay a few steps ahead of the weather by planting drought resistant plants, typically deep rooted tomatoes, melons and asparagus and the like, or plants with a shorter growing period. The University of California even has a list of varieties for their disgruntled gardeners. They also might plant a bit earlier than usual to avoid the high heat months and they may even put a full sun plant in slight shade. However, in our area with weather going either way, Maryland gardeners are probably best served with a reactive than a proactive approach. For active gardeners it goes without saying, but if plants start to droop or wilt or begin to brown around the edges, they are in need of water. Later in the season, a failure to flower or start fruit is also a serious sign of water need. It’s important to help curb the problem as perennials can be affected for years to come as in their weakened state they...

Read More

Upcoming Events

  1. Summer
 Day
 Camps 
at
 Chesapeake
 Bay 
Environmental
 Center

    July 1 @ 9:00 am - July 31 @ 3:30 pm
  2. Thunder 
on 
the 
Choptank

    July 27 - July 28
  3. Wood 
Fired 
Weekend
-
Farm 
to
 Table
 Dinner

    July 27 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
  4. Denton 
Ghost
 Walk

    July 27 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
  5. Waterman’s
 Day

    July 30 @ 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm