Author: oldtowncrier

Pets, Places, & Things, Urban Garden

Preserving Your Summer Garden Produce for Delicious Winter Meals

By Melinda Myers All your hard work is paying off with a bountiful harvest. Fresh produce is filling your garden, countertops, and refrigerator while the garden keeps producing more. Preserve some of your harvest to enjoy throughout the winter with some tried-and-true or updated variation of food preservation techniques. Hanging bundles of herbs to dry is a long-time practice that works. Harvest herbs in the morning just after the dew has dried off the leaves. Rinse, allow them to dry, and remove any damaged or dried leaves. Gather the dry herbs into small bundles and secure with a rubber band. Use a spring-type clothespin to hang the bundles from a clothesline or hanger in a warm, dry, airy place out of direct sunlight. A modern twist on this tradition is the space-saving Stack!t Herb Drying Rack (gardeners.com) hung from the ceiling. You will be able to dry large quantities of herbs in any narrow, out-of-the-way space. Extend the life, flavor, and nutritional value of squash with proper harvesting and storage. Only store blemish- and damage-free fruits and vegetables to reduce the risk of mold and decay developing during storage. Harvest zucchini when the fruit is six to eight inches long and scalloped squash when three to six inches in diameter. Store these in a plastic bag inside the vegetable crisper drawer in your refrigerator for several days. Wait to harvest winter squash when the fruit is full-sized, and the rinds are firm and glossy. The portion touching the ground turns from cream to orange when the fruit is ripe. Use a pruner to harvest the fruit, leaving a one-inch stem on each fruit. Cure all winter squash, except for acorn, in a warm, humid location. Then move to a cool, dry, well-ventilated area to store for several months.  In the…

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Are you Drinking Enough? Water, that is!!

By Catherine Varchever Our bodies are made up of over 70% water and it is involved in almost every aspect of keeping our body’s biological processes running efficiently. Not counting perspiration, it is estimated that as adults we lose about 4% of our total body weight per day in water losses. This means, it is important to replace not only this water, but also the water we lose when participating in activities, especially in the summertime. How do you know how much water you should drink? Experts vary in their recommendations and the exact amount depends upon your body weight, where you live, how much exercise you do per day, and the type of environment in which you are living. But as a general rule, one quick way you can estimate how much you should be drinking is to take your body weight in pounds and divide that number by two. The result is the number of ounces that you should be drinking per day in terms of your water consumption. For example, if you are a lady and weigh 125 pounds/2 = 62.5, you should be aiming for at least 62.5 ounces of water per day. Plain water is generally the best for hydration. Avoid caffeine or alcohol as these can dehydrate you further. However, if you are working out in the heat and or perspiring extensively, then it is important to replenish the electrolytes that your body loses with either an electrolyte supplement or sports drink. Hydration and Heat You need to increase the amount of fluids you drink if you are out in the heat. Plan your water intake before you start working out. Because everyone is different it is difficult to state exact fluid requirements, but as a starting point here are some general guidelines you…

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Arts & Entertainment, High Notes

“Move It” by Chuck Berry

By Ron Powers For this month’s Flashback article I’d like to shine a light on an unrecognized gem by the inventor of rock and roll himself. In 1979 Chuck Berry released “Move It”, the first track off his nineteenth studio album (Rockit). In spite of no chart success, and little critical recognition, “Move It” has all the appeal of hits like “Maybellene” and “Johnny B. Good”. The song has a ruthlessly catchy melody and a backbeat that gets your head bobbing straight away. Yes, “Move It” holds up with the best of them and remains one of my favorites by the legendary rock and roll pioneer. The song begins with one of Berry’s signature guitar licks and then blasts off into the verse with a full band arrangement. We hear a scat rhythm from the guitar while the bass bops along with the drums and the piano sprinkles boogie woogie magic all over the mix. The lyrics of the first verse describe a fifty-five Ford broken down on the side of a highway with traffic piled up and a police officer upset about it. Like many of Berry’s songs, the lyrics used employ classic rock and roll imagery that combines with the music to create a flavor as classic as McDonald’s hamburgers. Rather than a fixed melody and lyrics for the chorus, Chuck relies on the groove to hold the listener’s attention. This is probably why we hardly notice that the chorus does not obey the songwriting convention of repeating melody patterns. Instead, Chuck delivers a different melody variation during each of the three chorus sections of “Move It”. Although the words “move it” are repeated, the melody and lead guitar parts change each time. You would expect this to cause attention to wane, but for this particular song, it’s…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

Summertime in the Swamp…

By F. Lennox Campello …is often not a pleasant time for many, but for art lovers it is a perfect opportunity to go visit some local art galleries and support your area artists. If you also want to stroll around the very pleasant areas of Kensington, I want to give a plug to the Montgomery Art Association (MAA) 2022 Paint the Town (PTT) Art Show on Labor Day weekend. I will be jurying this very popular exhibition — attended by over 3,000 visitors each year — MAA is a nonprofit, volunteer-run organization that serves artists in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. The event is co-hosted by the City of Kensington, MD, and takes place in the Kensington Armory. PTT features about 500 non-juried works in eight judged categories, plus a separate plein air competition with about 50 pieces. Judging of the main show takes place from 1 p.m. to approximately 4 p.m. on Friday, September 2. On Saturday, September 3, judging of the plein air show begins at 3 p.m. The Paint the Town Labor Day Show is one of the region’s largest and longest-running art shows composed of all local artists. The show will be open to the public Saturday-Monday, September 3-5 PM. I will be on site on Friday, September 2 for closed-door judging and Saturday, September 3 to judge the plein air competition and present awards. An easy way to spend most of a summer rainy afternoon is a visit to the Torpedo Factory, host to many art studios and some key galleries. While you’re there, go check out the current Open Exhibit, juried by artist Jessie Boyland. According to the Art League’s press release, Boyland “is a painter and has a BFA from VCU School of the Art, Painting and Printmaking. Jessie plans and curates all…

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Arts & Entertainment, Special Feature

Who Knew…

By Lani Gering Well….stupid covid (can’t bring myself to capitalize the word) put a couple of cogs in the Old Town Crier wheel this month. Just as we were finalizing the Personality Profile interview, our interviewee was hit hard by the virus and we had to reschedule for next month. In the scramble to get all of the parts to our designer – who, by the way, also got hit with it the weekend before our deadline – we had to come up something entertaining for this space. And what is more entertaining than knowing that there are really important things in August that many of us have never celebrated. I consulted calendar.com/united-states and who knew that there are 97 said celebrations I had never heard of. Obviously there are several things to celebrate on the same days. I picked the following since one is pretty self-serving and the other for the good of the order: National Lazy Day – August 10th If you have been very busy with work or school lately, and you just need a day to relax and do nothing, then August 10th is the perfect day for you as it is Lazy Day! A day to do no work, no house chores, and to just sit down and enjoy your favorite TV show, read your favorite book, or anything you want, just as long as it is a lazy activity. The best part is that you don’t have to feel guilty about it because this day is a celebration of laziness! Like many unofficial holidays, the origins of National Lazy Day are unknown. However, it sure seems to have become a popular day with people, probably because who doesn’t like a day that allows them to be a couch potato. Why Being Lazy Can Be Good. Even…

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Beauty & Health, First Blush

Primer, Powder, Papers & Eye Shadow that Pops!

By Genevieve LeFranc All year long I yearn for summer’s arrival. It’s the perfect season for so many things—backyard barbeques, eating al fresco and festive fireworks. Everyone has an extra spring in their pedicured step from the sunshine and long days. However, once we round the corner into the oft-blistering August heat, each of us looks forward to cooler weather, and no longer having to deal with our makeup literally melting off our faces. As a makeup junkie, I often find myself struggling in the summer months when it comes to my cosmetic routine. I want to look as polished as usual, but often find my typical regime to be too much in the muggy humidity and temperamental climate. Now is the time to ditch heavy layers of makeup. August can be one of the most brutal months of all, so you’ll want to keep your makeup nice and light. The last thing you want is a muddled, caked-on look that’s sliding by noon; and the more makeup you put on, the more is at risk of melting off. While most of us know how to treat our skin during the far more forgiving climate of autumn, keeping your makeup in place during the scorching heat of summer seems impossible. But follow my tips for the stay-in-place essentials you’ll need to give your makeup a fighting chance withstanding soaring temperatures, and you’ll be sure to beat the heat. Wear Primer I started using primer on a regular basis for a more polished finish to my makeup, and summer is when primer is most certainly not an option. Primer is the key to long-lasting foundation and color, and all you need is a pea-size dot of a lightweight, oil-free formula to help blot away oil and prevent sweating. Try MAC Prep…

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Financial Focus, Pets, Places, & Things

Paying down debt vs. investing

By Carl Trevison and Stephen Bearce Paying down debt is often difficult, especially in a challenging economic environment. You may be wondering which to tackle first — pay down your debt or invest for the future. Balance is best A balanced approach to wealth management serves both today’s needs and tomorrow’s goals. For some that may mean paying off some debt today while simultaneously investing for the future. Your own needs and circumstances will be unique. The following guidelines can help you evaluate alternatives and find an approach that fits your situation and goals. Don’t forget your emergency fund In addition to paying down debt and settling on an investment strategy, make it a priority to set up an emergency reserve. Traditional “rules of thumb” suggest setting aside three to six months or more of living expenses in traditional savings or very short-term, highly liquid, low-volatility investments. While ideal, that goal may not be realistic for everyone. Start by building up a reserve of a month’s expenses and make it a goal to increase your emergency fund over time as resources permit. Your future first When making decisions about debt and investing, be a long-term thinker. Consider “what position do I want to be in 10 or 20 years from now?” Then evaluate what actions today should be most effective in helping you achieve your long-term financial goals. For example, if you have high-interest debt that is compounding, this could eventually become a serious impediment to reaching your long-term goals. In contrast, you might not be in a hurry to retire low-interest debt if the potential return on long-term investing would be greater. When making decisions about debt reduction vs. investing, keep in mind that the need to eventually pay off principal is certain but investment returns are not. Investment…

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Let's Get Crafty, Wining & Dining

For Your Summer Drinking Pleasure…The Shandy

By Timothy Long It gets hot in the DC area in August, real hot. It can be unbearable. This is the time of year that reminds us that large parts of our area are reclaimed swamp. If the humidity doesn’t remind you of it, the mosquitos certainly will. For many, it is a time for cooler, lighter drinks. The stouts and ales become less popular. And the Shandy takes center stage. That’s right, the Shandy. Or its German cousin, the Radler. No matter which of the names you choose, it’s a beer with either fruit soda or fruit juice in it. As my readers know, I am not usually a fan of any kind of flavored beer. My sister once tried to hand me a Bud Light Lime when I asked her if she had any beer. My first impulse was to disown her. I didn’t. But when we are together, I now tell people that she is a distant cousin from a foreign land called Cleveland. Yes, I am a purist when it comes to beer. And now I’m recommending a beer with fruit juice in it.  Yes, I am once again being a hypocrite. But summers are hot, and adjustments can be made. These traditional summer delights are refreshing and quite enjoyable. The trick is to make them correctly. More to come on that point. People argue over beer all the time. Fisticuffs have ensued over which beers are the greatest. Belgian and German beers are often at the center of these arguments. The answer is, of course, German. The German purity laws, the Reinheitsgebot, are second to none. The German’s approach to beer is as pure as a bee’s approach to honey. And both the bee and the German bring us perfection. Do not take me wrong,…

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Let's Eat, Wining & Dining

Hot Eats and Cool Treats That Won’t Ruin Your Diet

By Nicole Flannigan / Photo by Busra Yaman The hazy hot and humid days of summer are here. Regardless of the heat, my favorite part of summer is cooking out on the grill and relaxing with friends and family. The wonderful part of summer is all the fresh produce that is available at your local farmers market. Fresh fruit or garden salads make a great addition to any meats cooked on the grill, and it’s all healthy! This month I have made a list of some of my favorite summer recipes. These healthy and flavorful dinners and drinks will be a great way to compliment a nice summer day. Perfect Burgers 1 slightly beaten egg white 2 tablespoons water 1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs 1/4 cup finely shredded carrot 1/4 cup finely chopped onion 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet pepper 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese 1 pound lean ground beef 6 whole-grain buns Shredded carrot, sprouts, mixed greens, tomato slices, and/or red onion slices (optional) Combine egg white, water, bread crumbs, carrot, onion, sweet pepper, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add Parmesan cheese and ground beef; mix well. Shape mixture into six 1/2-inch-thick patties. Grill burgers on an oiled grill rack for 7 minutes. Turn and grill 8 to 11 minutes more or till no pink remains. Serve burgers on buns with vegetables, as desired. 6 servings – Calories 232, Fat 9g, Saturated Fat 3g, Sodium 334mg, Carbohydrate 19g, Fiber 3g, Protein 18g Chicken With Black Bean Sauce 3 tablespoons diced yellow onion ½ tsp minced garlic 1 14oz can of black beans rinsed and drained 2 tsp ground chipotle chile 1 cup chicken stock ¼ cup diced tomatoes ½ tsp minced fresh cilantro 1 tsp sea salt 1 tbsp of…

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History, History Column

Women’s Equality Day, 2022? Yeah, right.

by ©2022 Sarah Becker “Abortion presents a profound moral issue on which Americans hold sharply conflicting views,” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wrote in February 2022. “For the first 185 years after the adoption of the Constitution, each State was permitted to address the issue in accordance with the views of its citizens. Then, in 1973, this Court decided Roe v. Wade 410 U.S. 113.” Moral, as defined by the American Heritage dictionary: “Of or concerned with the judgment or instruction of goodness or badness of character and behavior.  Morals: “Rules or habits of conduct, esp. of sexual conduct.” In America such rules are grounded in religion, a political mix of religions and Sir William Blackstone’s 1765 Commentaries of the Laws of England—the Law of Coverture. Today’s politicians mostly favor the moral opinions of those affiliated with the Christian right: Evangelical Protestants, Conservative Catholics, Mormons, Orthodox Jews, and the Eastern Orthodox Church. Also: The Federalist Society [est. 1982], Evangelical Protestant Pat Robertson’s American Center for Law & Justice [est. 1990], and Rachel MacNair’s Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America 501(c)4 & PAC [est. 1992]. Pat Robertson, a Virginia Republican is Southern Baptist. In 2016 Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network professed “Christianity is where the power is. There is no separation of church and state.” Amendment 1 of the Constitution’s 1791 Bill of Rights is called the Establishment Clause. It “build[s] a wall of separation between Church & State, adhering to…the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience,” President Thomas Jefferson [DR-VA] told the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802. In 1776 Abigail Adams asked husband John to Remember the Laidies [sic] when making the colonies “new code of laws.” She did not want “unlimited power put into the hands of the Husbands.” “Men of…

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