Pets, Places, & Things

Pets, Places, & Things, Single Space

May Days

By Lori Welch Brown May is for moms, and I sure am missing mine.  My inbox is being bombarded with Mother’s Day gift ideas, and my heart feels heavy wishing Mom was here so I could buy her a bouquet of brightly colored peonies, gerbera daisies, and sunflowers. Moms aside, for me, May needs to be about movement which I sorely need.  Someone else already writes the fitness column so don’t worry, I won’t be doling out exercise advice.  But, I will tell you that since COVID arrived back in 2020, my food sensibilities departed along with my gym card. It’s also going to be about making memories as we are headed out for a long overdue trip with friends.  I can’t wait to get on a plane and embark on a new adventure.  Keeping my fingers crossed that circumstances don’t change in a way that prevents us from traveling.  I’m fine with wearing a mask and/or taking a COVID test as long as I can land in a foreign land and immerse myself in a different culture.  Buon giorno.  Come sta? Molto bene! But enough about me. What about you?  How will you be kicking off your summer?  Road trips are always great, and if you’re an ardent reader of the Old Town Crier, you probably have taken this mag along as your guide to some awesome Delmarva destinations.  Day tripping is one of my fave things to do, riding along with the windows rolled down, and the radio cranked up.  Wine country, anyone? Perhaps for some of you, marriage is in the plans this month.  COVID put a halt to many a bride’s plans so now hopefully they are back on the books.  I know I’ve seen a lot of bachelor/bachelorette events over on social media.  So fun…

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Go Fish, Pets, Places, & Things

Fishing on Empty

By Steve Chaconas “Gas prices are so high, a guy tried to siphon gas out of a Tesla, NASCAR cut laps to semi-circles, and hitchhikers are giving lessons.” High gas prices are no joke to bass fishermen. The sudden gas price jump might sink their tournament season. Bass fishing tournaments draw regional anglers competing for bragging rights to a few thousand dollars. The top local tournament trail, Potomac River Battle Series, hosts 10 events annually. There’s been chatter about some not fishing due to expensive gas.  Tournament Director Ed Dustin says his trail, is mostly a working man’s league comprised of self-employed or small business owners. He says they have the flexibility to schedule fishing, but also can raise rates to account for rising gas prices. Anglers working for someone else, like government employees, are taking a hit.  He thinks participants are cutting practice days. Overall, if gas keeps going up, he expects a lot of boats up for sale. Traveling pro angler, Frank Arthur is on the road a lot. Sponsored by Comprehensive Nursing Services Inc., he began his season shortly before the big spike in fuel prices. His first stop, the TBF Nationals on Lake Conroe Texas, cost $500 to drive from Maryland. Leaving his truck in Texas, he caught a flight home for a few days. Returning to Texas he fished his event and drove home at an increased cost of $650. Fuel sticker shock has Frank contemplating fuel savings, like driving his boat slower during practice days and the truck slower on the highway. He looks for the cheapest gas and fills the truck and boat. He’s aware many are putting off tournament fishing for a while as added costs broke already thin budgets. Some boaters are ready to take a seat as a back of the boat angler due…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

Fairies, Gnomes, Otters and Rays: It’s Family Day In Solomons

By Lani Gering This month our Road Trip to Solomons is taking a little bit of a turn. Instead of highlighting the cool bars and restaurants and the fun shops and waters sport activities we normally do when writing about this little Oasis, we focused on two amazing family oriented destinations in Southern Maryland – Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center and the Calvert Marine Museum. We thought this would be fitting since we celebrate Mom this month and Mom means Family. Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center Annmarie is most certainly a magical place even when the Fairy House and Gnome Home exhibits are gone. Fortunately for you, however, they will be on display during the month of May throughout the ¼ mile walking path that meanders through the woods on this 30 acre property. There are both adult and children’s creations set up in various sections.  In addition to these whimsical exhibits, there are some very impressive sculptures in several mediums. Some of the sculptures are permanent while others are on loan from the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art. Currently there are 30 pieces on loan featuring the works of Antonio Tobias Mendez, Barbara Hepworth, Cesar, Robert Engman, Jean Arp, Kenneth Snelson and Francisco Zuniga. The Arts Building is virtually a rotating exhibit space with an Art Lab for children to create in and a very eclectic gift shop and a sunny patio. Classes for all ages and abilities are offered in the Studio School. Everything from pottery to dance is taught by professional artists and educators. Be sure to check their website for the many events and classes that are offered. This is also where you check in and pick up your map for the walk. I was fortunate to be able to visit…

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Pets of the Month, Pets, Places, & Things

This Month’s Pets Are Going to the Dogs!

By Gina Hardter Mars 3-year-old Mars is ready for his close-up.  This handsome terrier mix epitomizes the term “puppy dog eyes,” and he has no compunctions about using them.  Mars’ favorite activities are fetch, tug-of-war, and, of course, snuggling.  He’s currently spending his time in the care of one of the AWLA’s amazing foster caregivers, so to schedule time to meet him, email Adopt@AlexandriaAnimals.org or call 703.746.4774. Kip Handsome Kip is definitely a catch.  With his engaging smile and floppity ears, he’s as good-looking as he is good-natured, and sweet Kip is always ready for a good time.  Kip would prefer to be the only pup in his future palace (he prefers not to share laps), but he’s interested in all kinds of families, big or small, so if you think you might be his special match, schedule time to meet him by calling 703.746.4774 or emailing Adopt@AlexandriaAnimals.org. Jane & Josie Best buds Jane and Josie are looking to expand their circle of friendship.  These 10-year-old boxer mixes have been together their whole lives, and they can’t wait to continue their adventure together to their new home.  These chilled-out ladies love the life of leisure, from mornings sleeping in to evening cuddle sessions on the couch.  Add to their Best Friends Club by scheduling time to meet them at Adopt@AlexandriaAnimals.org or by calling 703.746.4774.

Pets, Places, & Things, Points on Pets

Happy Bird Day to You!

By Jane Koska It’s World Migratory Bird Day! Created in 1993 by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and now observed on the second Saturday in May, World Migratory Bird Day is a celebration of the billions of birds that migrate worldwide. WMBD 2022 will be observed on May 14. The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology defines migration as an annual, large-scale movement of birds between where they breed in summer and their nonbreeding (winter) grounds. In the Northern Hemisphere, spring brings a northward migration as species return from their winter homes in the tropics to northern regions where they raise their young. Several factors contribute to triggering migration, including changing day length, temperatures, and food supplies. While scientists still don’t fully understand how birds navigate, it seems to be a combination of using the sun and stars as a compass, sensing the earth’s magnetic field, and even using landmarks. Many of us associate migration with V-shaped flocks of geese flying south in the fall, but geese are just one example of migratory birds. (But note that as lawns, parks, and golf courses have proliferated, some Canada geese have become non-migratory, breeding and overwintering in the same area.) Of the more than 650 species of North American breeding birds, more than half are migratory. Long-distance migrants range in size from the tiny ruby-throated hummingbird, weighing less than half an ounce, to the elegant tundra swan with its more than five-foot wingspan. Songbirds like the Baltimore oriole and birds of prey like the osprey all migrate south in the fall and north in the spring. Migration is a truly amazing natural phenomenon. That tiny hummingbird visiting a backyard feeder in summer may have flown non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico during its migration. Tundra swans winter on the Chesapeake Bay and raise their…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Urban Garden

Designing a Beautiful Garden for You and the Pollinators

By Melinda Myer You don’t need a prairie or large lot to attract and support pollinators. A meadow or informal, formal and even container gardens can bring in bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to help pollinate plants. It’s just a matter of selecting the right plants, adjusting your maintenance practices, and skipping the pesticides. Create your garden by converting a few square feet of lawn, garden bed or front yard into a pollinator-friendly garden. You may want to start by switching out part of an existing garden or container to more pollinator-friendly flowers. Expand your planting options by converting a portion of your lawn into a pollinator garden. Outline the bed with a hose or rope. Remove the sod, add compost as needed to improve drainage and you’ll be ready to plant. Simplify and dress up your efforts by using an easy-to-assemble raised garden kit like the Pollinator Garden Bed (gardeners.com). Its long-lasting cedar planks slide into aluminum corners to create a hexagonal bed. Get creative while increasing the garden’s size by adding additional sections to create a honeycomb or other interesting design. Mark the outline of the raised bed you select. Cut the grass short and cover with newspaper. Set your raised bed in place and fill with a quality planting mix. Mulch four to six inches surrounding the raised bed for ease of mowing and to eliminate the need to hand trim. Once your planting bed is prepared, you’re ready to plant. Include single daisy-like black-eyed Susans, coneflowers, and asters that allow visiting insects to rest and warm when sipping on nectar or dining on pollen.  Add a few tubular flowers for butterflies and hummingbirds. They both like bright colors and can be seen visiting salvias, penstemon and nasturtiums.  And don’t forget the bees that are attracted to bright…

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Financial Focus, Pets, Places, & Things

How Much Cash Should I Have on Hand?

By Carl Trevison and Stephen Bearce “How much cash should I have now?” It seems like a simple question, but the answer can be complicated – especially in times of market volatility. Apart from an emergency fund, the amount of cash or liquid assets you need depends on many factors, including the current state of the market and major life events. “There isn’t really a general rule in terms of a number,” says Michael Taylor, CFA, Vice President – Investment Strategy Analyst at Wells Fargo Investment Institute. “We do say it shouldn’t be more than maybe 10% of your overall portfolio or maybe three to six months’ worth of living expenses.” Taylor notes that the number could change depending on what’s going on in the economy and markets. As a result of the pandemic, some investors preferred to keep up to 12 months of expenses in cash or cash alternatives. “You should make sure your emergency fund and cash reserves can meet your current needs,” he says. Taylor shares five events that should prompt a conversation with your financial advisor about how much cash to have on hand.  When the market is in flux The state of the market can have an impact on how much cash you should have on hand, how long you decide to hold an asset as cash, or when to convert assets to cash. This can be especially true when you foresee a large discretionary purchase such as a vacation home or a luxury vehicle. “Plan for those purchases or defer them so you don’t have to liquidate assets at a loss during market uncertainty,” Taylor says. When your job status may change If you’re contemplating a career move such as starting a business, retiring soon, or facing a possible layoff, consider meeting with your…

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On the Road, Pets, Places, & Things

On the Road

Pictured here with a “death grip” on the Old Town Crier, is longtime OTC fan Lou Ann Kroenlein-Ruller in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado with Long’s Peak in the background. She wanted us to let you know that the wind was clocked at 80 mph on this day and it was all she could do to stand up let alone keep the issue in hand – note the blowing snow on the peak behind her. The park was accessible up to 8 miles in since the snow is still covering the majority of the mountain. We appreciate the lengths our readers will go to for us! If you would like to see your photo in this space, please send high resolution images accompanied by information for the caption to office@oldtowncrier.com.

Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

Rehoboth Beach and the Boardwalk Plaza – It’s Good to be Back!

By Bob Tagert In an uncertain world where everything seems to change daily, we decided to take a road trip to a true constant…Rehoboth Beach and the ever constant Atlantic Ocean. I can remember the years of going to Ocean City, Maryland and then Rehoboth Beach to enjoy the sunshine and the beach activities. Today I have grown into more of a spectator than participant but the consistency of the ocean rushing onto the beach and then receding has not changed while the world around us seems to be falling apart at times. The sun and the moon still rise every 24 hours over the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. That magic and romance we felt back then is still there today although a bit more jaded. In time measured it is clear that we change much quicker than the world around us and that is why a return trip to mother ocean is necessary. Our weather window of March 16-18 looked to cover all the bases. 70 degrees and sunny on the 16th, 50 degrees and rainy on St. Patrick’s Day and another 70+ degree day for the return drive on the 18th. After a late morning start we took a pleasant window-down drive from Old Town and arrived at our destination just in time to check into the beautiful Boardwalk Plaza Hotel. This was not our first trip to the Plaza as we have visited before and there seems to be no reason to look for any other accommodations. The Plaza Hotel is perfectly located on the boardwalk and only two blocks from Rehoboth Avenue…the main drag. With the aforementioned spectator mentality, we find mid-March to the end of April to be a perfect time to go. Prices are reduced, accommodations are plentiful and street parking is free. Another bonus…

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On the Road, Pets, Places, & Things

On the Road

Always so much fun to see good friends taking the Old Town Crier on their adventures. Kathy and Bob Condon do a lot of traveling and have been very faithful about having the OTC in their luggage. This photo was taken on one of their treks ‘from the beach to the mountains’ in North Carolina. What started in Hilton Head ended up near Sparta. Not ones to pass up an opportunity to stop at a good winery, they chose Jones von Drehle Vineyards and Winery located on the rising slope of the Blue Ridge just northwest of Elkin.  Pictured here from left to right are Kathy, their good friends Malinda and Keith Sink and Bob. If you would like to see you photo in this space, just take a hard copy with you on your next adventure and snap a few pics with the OTC in hand. Send them to office@oldtowncrier.com with some good information for the caption. Your photo will appear both in print and online.

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