Day: August 1, 2023

Pets, Places, & Things, Urban Garden

Keeping It Cool in the Garden

By Garden Helpers Let’s keep those flowers and foliage looking good during the “Dog Days”! Here are a few August gardening tasks and projects that you can do to help keep your garden looking it’s best for the rest of this season. Watering Watering can be the biggest task this month particularity if the weather gets hot. Vegetable gardens, most flowering plants, and the lawn all need about one inch of water every week to keep them green and looking nice. Be sure to water thoroughly, and deeply each time you water. When possible, do your watering in the morning or early afternoon so the soil has a chance to warm up before the cooler evening hours set in. Deep watering will induce the plant’s roots to grow deeper, where they are less likely to dry out, as well as the added benefit of anchoring the plant into the ground better. Light, surface watering actually wastes water, because the water never actually reaches the root zone of the plant, and the moisture rapidly evaporates from the top inch of soil. The best way to tell if your plants are receiving enough water is to take a trowel or shovel and dig down a few inches. The soil should be moist at least 3 or 4 inches deep to insure that the water is reaching the root zone of the plants. Of course, if you planted drought resistant plants in your garden, you won’t have to water as often, but the principal of deep watering still applies. Be sure to check the hanging baskets and container grown plants every day during hot weather and about every second day on moderate summer days. Don’t just check the surface… Push your finger an inch or two into the soil to be sure there…

Continue Reading

From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, To the Blue Ridge


By Julie Reardon Not happy with your job and love dogs? It seems appropriate during the “Dog Days of Summer”, to check out the many opportunities available to make money from the pet industry, dogs in particular. Now more than ever, people love their dogs, consider them family and are willing to spend whatever it takes to keep them happy and healthy. It goes without saying that many costs associated with pet and particularly dog ownership, have gone up as people demand more goods and services; veterinary care has skyrocketed in the past 10 or 15 years. But lest you think veterinarians are getting rich at you and your dog’s expense, the increased cost is because big health care has taken note and small practices owned by vets are getting bought up by large corporate entities at an alarming rate. Unlike veterinarians who spent 7 or 8 years at vet school and doing residencies because they love animals, the corporations are all about the profit so not just the care and diagnostics, but the drugs your pet is prescribed have gone up accordingly. These increased veterinary costs have spawned a burgeoning pet health insurance business. Many companies, even those that primarily insure humans and their property, are getting into the pet insurance business. As with any insurance, it’s always wise to check the fine print of what is and is not covered and the limits of coverage. Most require upfront payment of veterinary services and reimburse you for them, some have annual or lifetime limits. It’s also wise to consider what kind of dog you have and what you might need the pet insurance for, to be sure those things are covered. For example, active working or competition dogs are at greater risk of cruciate ligament injuries which can run…

Continue Reading

Arts & Entertainment, Special Feature

The Dog Days of Summer Are Sizzling

By Wanda Lou Willis Early July begins the “dog days of summer” which lasts until early September. Depending on latitude and climate, the actual dates vary greatly from region to region. Nearly everyone has heard this expression and knows that it refers to the hottest, most sultry days of summer. Some of the popular beliefs or claims connected with this period are that it is an evil time, there’ll be droughts and plagues, wine will turn sour, and humans will suffer from heat hysterics or go mad. The Ancient Greeks believed that the “dog days” weakened men and women became aroused. The phrase took on an ominous meaning by the 19th century. It was believed that dogs would most likely contract rabies during this period. Today it’s a time to be laid back and carefree while sipping iced tea in sleepy contemplation. The term seems a natural expression since dogs pant and lie as flat on the ground as they can to avoid the heat; however, it has nothing to do with dogs. Where does the expression “dog days of summer” come from? What does it really mean? The “dog” in this saying refers to Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky which rises and sets with the Sun. The ancient Egyptians named the star Sirius after their God Osirus, whose head resembled that of a dog. Both ancient Egyptians and Romans believed that the combination of the brightest luminary of the day (the sun) and the brightest star of night (Sirius) was responsible for the extreme heat experienced during the middle of summer. In ancient Egypt, the New Year began with the return of Sirius. When it appeared they knew that the “Nile Days” were at hand. It was a warning to the people who lived along the…

Continue Reading

Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

Heading North(ish) to North Ocean City, Maryland

By Bob Tagert Beach days are the best days. We’re talking about those relaxing dog days of summer spent by the water when the world seems to fall away. Just the act of spreading out your towel and laying in the sun! Or that refreshing, cold bite of the water as you dip in for the first time! Throw some beach snacks and summer books in your bags (July OTC “Last Word”) and you’re ready to go. With this thought in mind we decided to return to Ocean City, Maryland this month. With the air temps reaching record highs, the cool Atlantic Ocean seemed like a reasonable destination. Having grown up in this area, I am very familiar with Ocean City trips. Back in the 60’s and 70’s it was fast becoming a popular destination to escape from the city. However, back in those days there was only one Bay Bridge and the traffic backups were legendary. On occasion the backups would stretch for miles. Impromptu parties enroute would pop up with frustrated beach goers. In 1969 the construction of the new parallel span began and was completed on June 28, 1973. How is that for good timing at the beginning of summer? With the new bridge and the widening of Route 50, the backups were soon a distant memory and the way to the Atlantic and her sandy beaches were wide open. Back in those days the beach destinations consisted of Ocean City in Maryland and Rehoboth, Dewey, Bethany and Fenwick Island in Delaware. Back then there were miles and miles of dunes, grasses and empty beaches. In fact, back then, the commercial district of Ocean City ended at 60th street. North of that was dunes, blue sky, no life guards and surfers looking for “the” wave. That is…

Continue Reading

Notes from the Publisher

Publishers Notes August 2023

By Bob Tagert As I write the August Publishers Notes the heat index this week is forecast to be around 105 or more degrees. Scientists say that the first two weeks of July were the hottest on record. The averages temperatures for August range between 69 to 89 degrees. Hopefully August will be a little kinder to us. There is a silver lining to the heat and the rain – see the photo of me standing in front of our friends hydrangeas. I am about 5’11”. These are amazing. Also amazing, are the sunflowers on the cover that will be in full bloom this month. Will be worth the drive to see them. (See About the Cover) One sure way to escape the heat is to head to the beach. This past month we took a Road Trip to Ocean City – Maryland not Jersey. The cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean were exactly where I left them years ago. There is always something calming about the ocean…there can be hundreds of folks around, but it is just you and the surf rolling in. Was good to spend time with a longtime friend and meet some new ones along the way. As summer is winding down, tourist season is in its last throes. Families are fitting in the family vacation before school starts and trying to jam in everything as Labor Day is fast approaching. This means lots of foot traffic on lower King Street here in Old Town. While I am all for the ‘pedestrian mall’ in the 0 and 100 blocks, the amount of people crossing Union Street on a weekend is unreal. Alexandria might want to consider getting a “crossing guard” so vehicles can pass through the intersection without worrying about hitting someone – especially those who…

Continue Reading

Pets of the Month, Pets, Places, & Things

It isn’t always about cats and dogs, is it?

By Erin Shackleford In addition to our purring and barking fur pals, the AWLA has some cute little critters available for adoption that include small mammals like hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits! Here is a little info on these breeds.   The Hamster: Hamsters, by nature, are active pets, so they need access to equipment like an exercise wheel and ball. Did you know they can run the equivalent of 20 miles a day? Hamsters are nocturnal, so you might hear them hitting the gym later at night. Hamsters have a lifespan of approximately 2.5 to 3 years, with slight variations among species. These intelligent little hamsters make friendly companions! The young, 2-month old hamsters we currently have for adoption have been socialized with people since birth. (Pictured are Izzy, DeeDee and Dusty)   The Guinea Pig: Guinea pigs have lots of appealing qualities! They’re small, gentle and personable. They need daily time out of their enclosures for interaction and affection. These hardy little animals enjoy hay, specific veggies, and crunchy timothy biscuits. Most guinea pigs enjoy petting and playing. They are social and often like the companionship of another guinea pig. Depending on the species, they can require daily brushing if they have longer hair. Guinea pigs live an average of 5 to 7 years. We have multiple guinea pigs available for adoption! (Pictured are Amori, Tamira and Tia)   The Rabbit: Rabbits can make excellent companions as they’re highly social. They do need larger enclosures than hamsters and guinea pigs. A “rabbit-proofed” room is also a necessity, so they have room to hop around, stretch their legs, and explore. Rabbits can also benefit from secure outdoor enrichment spaces. Rabbits enjoy munching on hay, fruits and veggies, and timothy biscuits. Rabbits have longer lifespans at 10 plus years, so they are certainly a bigger commitment. We have a…

Continue Reading

Pets, Places, & Things, Single Space

The Long Goodbye

By Lori Welch Brown I refuse to say goodbye to summer in August.  I know—vacations are over, school is starting, but still—summer doesn’t officially end until September. And, those first couple of weeks in September are glorious! I get it though—August is the beginning of the end. By mid-August, maybe I am a little teensy, weensy bit ready to part ways when the mere act of walking out to the end of my driveway feels marathon-esque. My hair has taken on epic proportions thanks to the same humidity that snaps the life force from my body and has me shopping online for fainting couches. And, just like that, I’m fantasizing about the black leather boots lying dormant in my closet and all those adorable fur-lined jackets calling my name. Even in endings rest assured there is something to look forward to. Saying goodbye is never easy, but it is made less hard when there is something new to step into—like a pair of beloved boots or perhaps even a new line up of classes. As a kid, while I was devastated by the notion of summer break closing in on me, I was simultaneously excited by the prospect of a new pack of No. 2 pencils, some colorful notebooks, and a new lunch box. It’s the yin and yang of life. Goodbye summer, hello Scooby Doo lunch pail. In adult world that may translate to goodbye bathing suit, hello boots. Or goodbye outdoor running, hello gym. Goodbye lazy days on the beach, hello rhythm and routine. It’s at this time of year, however, that I am grateful to live in a place where one can actually experience a change of season—and not just by the flipping of a calendar page. I get giddy at the thought of driving through Virginia…

Continue Reading

Business Profile

Specs New York

By Lani Gering Who doesn’t love a very cool pair of shades? No one that I know of. I’ve always thought that you can tell a lot about a person by the style of glasses they choose. Brainy people tend to lean toward the Harry Potter look while the sporty peeps – pun intended – lean toward frames that are more function than form. The creatives in my circle like whatever designer is the most outrageous. Maybe not quite Elton John outrageous but you know what I mean. Eyewear is an extension of your personality as far as I’m concerned and it doesn’t end with your prescription lenses. In fact, I’m thinking that I lean toward the conservative – think Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s – while many of my friends lean toward what’s new NOW. All this being said, Specs of New York covers all of the bases. Many of you might remember that Old Town had a Specs location in the 200 block of King Street a few years ago. Unfortunately, the location didn’t really pan out and the store was closed. However, their location in The District (the shopping district) in the MGM Grand in National Harbor has proven to be a successful endeavor. It has been nominated by Community Votes Alexandria 2023 as a candidate in the retail store category. When I asked the proprietor, Oren Goldberg, how the nomination came about since they are no longer in the city, he said he had no idea but is very flattered. Winners were announced on July 30th. In any case, the MGM location is very inviting and the inventory is very impressive. They are very proud to handle the latest upscale Dita line. This brand is in good company with Prada, Cartier, Gucci, Tom Ford and…

Continue Reading

Caribbean Connection, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

Come Sail Away, Come Sail Away, Come Sail Away With Me….

By Bob Curley Sailing through the British Virgin Islands on a chartered catamaran is every bit the fantasy journey it sounds like, but here’s one surprise I got during my time cruising around Tortola, Virgin Gorda, and Jost Van Dyke on a Moorings charter yacht: the trip can actually be pretty affordable as well as remarkably customizable. Design your own vacation — in advance, or on the fly During my most recent BVI trip with Moorings in February 2022, I had a fairly rigid plan to make stops at all the major islands, along with two resorts, Saba Rock and the Bitter End Yacht Club — both beautifully restored and reopened after being heavily damaged by hurricanes in 2017. On past trips, however, we were more or less able to plot each day’s itinerary the night before based on weather, distance, and mood. A stop for snorkeling at The Indians, perhaps, or drinks aboard the legendary party boat Willy T? A nice meal at Pirates Bight, or sampling from the rum bar at Cooper Island? And when do we make the obligatory stop for our Painkillers at the Soggy Dollar on Jost Van Dyke? Every day can be an adventure of choices — (almost) all of them fun. “The beauty of a yacht charter vacation, and especially a charter vacation in the British Virgin Islands, is the flexibility,” says Ian Pedersen, senior marketing manager at the Moorings. “The number of islands in the region and the wide variety of picturesque stops to explore allow visitors to craft their own unique schedule and itinerary, and being aboard your very own yacht means you can go anywhere you like, whenever you like.” If you’re a first-timer, the range of options can be intimidating. That’s why Moorings provides sample itineraries on its website, and employs a staff of vacation planners who can help you iron…

Continue Reading

Dining Out, Wining & Dining

Dining Out with Fido and Fluffy

By The Gastronomes Anyone who has walked the streets of Old Town knows how Alexandrian’s love their canine kids and that they like to take them everywhere – including dining out. Much has been written about the many establishments in the area that welcome our furry pals in other local publications – all you have to do is Google “dog friendly” restaurants in Alexandria, VA. After experiencing a couple of “incidents” ourselves while dining out, we thought we would take this opportunity to put out a bit of a refresher course on what a dog owner should take into consideration before heading out to eat with your pooch in tow. We consulted Sharon Gadol, who penned a piece for AARP, and she provided us with the information below. The bulk of it is pure common sense but you know how that eludes some people. Make sure your dog is well-behaved.​ Experts say the number one priority is to make sure your dog is well-trained and well-behaved. That means no barking, growling or jumping on neighboring diners. Gadol followed the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen program to train her dogs, including passing a 10-skills test for politeness in public. ​You can train your dog yourself, but Tiffany Tupler, a veterinarian at pet site Chewy, recommends dog trainers certified by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. “Learn to connect with your dog when you’re going out,” says Tupler, who has three dogs at home. “Practice, practice, practice. Slowly add in other distractors and keep training when your dog is at home. Go to a patio seating on a Tuesday when there aren’t a lot of people.”​ Know your dog​. Experts say it’s important to understand your dog’s body language and know the triggers that make them skittish or…

Continue Reading

View More