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Category Archives: Howard County

Field Day Part One W3AO

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Set up time. At least the weather cooperated and it didn’t rain at all on us Friday as we put together another yearly effort in emergency management communications. The two local amateur radio clubs here in Howard County pair up. A first class public service and emergency support club, and an elite group of “contesters”, i.e. radio operators who try to make the most contacts in a fixed amount of time.

The two skill sets can be important when we encounter real life emergencies that require additional communication support.

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These are our real unsung “heroes”. They come out in all sorts of weather to erect portable communications towers and antennas, unroll miles (two to be exact) of coaxial cables, install computers, three generators, sleeping, eating and operating tents, and so much more.

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I think this sums it up quite well. If we didn’t have awesome volunteers to do this work on their own time, we couldn’t operate a successful “Field Day”.

We always know we are ready to go when the flags go up. Which they did Saturday morning just before the deluge.

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I will be writing a second part about how this talented, quick thinking group of “hams” managed to continue operating in what could be considered emergency conditions. Like three inches of rain in a few hours.

Until then, after I go help make the grilled burgers and dogs, and we tear down our support tents while the volunteers take down the towers, here’s my interim “Thank You” again from all of us who appreciate the help.

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Thirty four people from Columbia Amateur Radio Club and Potomac Valley Radio Club worked on Friday to make this weekend happen.

The operation ends at 2 PM today. We hope the weather stays nice while we disassemble all this stuff and put it away again until next year, or until we need some of it, and the skilled operators, to support the county Office of Emergency Management, the fire department, and various bike races, foot races and other community activities.

Cherry Picking

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Out at Larriland.

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I got there Friday morning to pick sweet cherries. It certainly was busy.

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The parking area was full. Most people, though, were picking strawberries so the cherry trees were relatively quiet. I know it was the last day of school around here, but there were quite a few families out there.

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Cherries were $3.99 a pound. I picked four pounds. Knowing I was going to make jam, I wasn’t that careful about keeping the stems on the cherries.

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I came home, cleaned and pitted them. Prepared my canning stuff. Found a recipe I liked. And made five jars of cherry “jam”, which is actually more like a syrup.

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The recipe was a low sugar, no pectin, three ingredient one. Cherries. Sugar. Lemon juice. Not too hard to do.

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We are so lucky to have a pick your own farm right up the road. Larriland is a treasure in our county.

An Evening at Secolari

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One of the few places I frequent in Columbia Mall these days. Family owned. Right there on “Main Street”.

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I like this somewhat new addition to the Mall. Secolari was one of the first stores that opened there.

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Mary and Bart de Rosa, who live in Clarksville, opened this second store near the end of the year 2013 into early 2014. My husband discovered it in January, bringing home some of the wonderful Pappardelle’s pasta that they sell.

I loved it and blogged about it.

I will always be buying pasta from them. There is no real description that I can make that shows you just how silky and flavorful this pasta is. Last night, at our blogger event, I had to stock up.

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I am trying a new one this time. A pasta luce, or “pasta light”. No durum. Less carbs and more protein. They also carry a gluten free assortment.

This visit though, I found a new item to try.

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Actually two of them. I love the flavored vinegars and wanted to try the peach in some vinaigrettes. But, it’s that olive oil.


You heard it. This oil is absolutely awesome. Go there and just smell it. I can guarantee you will go home with it. They served it over popcorn. With their black truffle sea salt. Adult popcorn. Perfect for date night.

It is supposedly great for baking. I am currently searching for some recipes to try with it.

Thanks to the hocoblogger community for coming out to support Bart and Mary in this successful store. Bart tells me they are opening two more stores in Maryland. One in Towson. The other? I just had a senior moment and forgot where. I’ll have to check about that one.

I love this place for buying gift packs.

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If you need a housewarming gift, or a thank you, or just want to treat yourself, buying a set of oil and vinegar, or some honey, or sea salts, or pastas, or jams and jellies, this is the place to do it.

And no, they don’t pay me to say this. They do have blogger parties, with food to show off their products. I wouldn’t keep going back if they didn’t have a great product. Besides, they are the sweetest people who just love what they do.

Beer In The Barn

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Last year’s new addition to Wine in the Garden. Jailbreak Brewery is doing the beer this year.

The happening annual event out at Mt. Pleasant Howard County Conservancy. A private nonprofit that holds one major fund raiser to raise money for all the educational events for local residents. My favorite place to hang out in Howard County.

Tomorrow? You will probably find me hanging out in front of these fine caterers.

Hunt Valley is bringing “Blood Orange Vodka Chili Meatballs”. They should go great with Jailbreak Brewery’s beers.

Highland Inn is doing “Shrimp and Grits”.

The Spice Rack is making “Carrot Coconut Chilled Soup” and “Bourbon Shrimp Skewers”.

Elkridge Furnace Inn – Cous Cous Salad with house cured lamb and house made harissa sauce.

As for the fund raising, that silent auction always has great items. I’m not going to reveal my favorite suppliers. Let’s just say I go home with a number of great treasures. Well used and the company support is appreciated by me, and by all the other staff, board members and volunteers who give to this amazing place.

Twenty five years old this year. A treasure in Howard County. Come raise a wine glass or beer mug with hundreds of other people who enjoy what HCC does.

Besides, the gardens are lovely this time of year. You can pay at the door.

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Last Child in the Meadow

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I think not. To take a page from the famous Richard Louv book, Last Child in the Woods, helping children connect with nature brings immense satisfaction.

Like this week. Bioblitz Belmont. Four days with seventh graders from Ellicott Mills and Thomas Viaduct middle schools. You know, those middle schoolers who aren’t impressed with things adults do or like. WRONG!!!

What a fun time we had.

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Today wasn’t as nice out as yesterday, but we still had a great, albeit wet time, wading through meadows in deep grass looking for insects, plants, animal tracks, trees and grasses. We use iNaturalist to catalogue what we found. Yes, it rained today but who cared.

We also had visits with our local nature center residents like our owl.

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And, Maize, our corn snake. I didn’t get a pic of Maize, but the students loved being able to see and touch him.

It doesn’t get much better than this.

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Uploading and editing their citizen scientist observations. Any resident nature experts are welcome to set up an account, log into the Belmont Bioblitz project and help them identify what they observed.

Weekend Event Overload

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The third weekend in May. Here in Maryland you can drown in events this weekend.

Some of my personal favorites this weekend. I’m not doing any of the traditional ones like the Preakness or Wine in the Woods or the Hot Air Balloon Festival, but I certainly don’t lack for places to go.

For me, a highlight I am doing. Sunday. In Ellicott City.

Rocks, Rivers and Railroads

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Led by my good friend Ned Tillman, author of Saving the Places We Love.

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Tomorrow I am torn between heading over to Belmont to see what the surveyors found under the ground on the site, at the regularly scheduled third Saturday at Belmont free event, 10 am. Howard County Conservancy web site has details. While you are on the web site, you can take advantage of the last weekend for discounted tickets to Wine in the Garden/Beer in the Barn, the annual fundraiser for the Conservancy. We’ll be there too, but that event is a few weeks away.

The other thing I want to do tomorrow? Check out the newly improved Glenwood Community Farmers Market. I missed opening day last weekend while I was working a Conservancy event, but I really want to get the herbs and flowers for my garden from Greenway Farms.

I also intend to head over to Mt. Ida for the Howard County Historical Society’s “Deja Vu and Nearly New” Sale. This is held Saturday and Sunday.

A new event, out by me. Over at the Living Farm Heritage Museum, across from the Fairgrounds. They have a Car Show Sunday.

The Howard County Tourism site has a good calendar, and so does TotallyHoCo. You can always find something to do using these two resources. Have a great weekend.

Tea ‘N Scones

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For Mother’s Day. This Saturday. A trip through the gardens surrounding the Conservancy Farm, with all the gardeners to show off their handiwork.

It may not be a proper cuppa, but still. This event, in its third year, keeps getting bigger.

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The flowers are in full bloom all over the gardens. Master gardeners will be there, helping you with your questions and selling some plants. The community gardeners will be there, talking about what we grow, and how.

Those clubs that maintain all the other lovely gardens surrounding the historic farm will also be there.

Come with mom. With friends. With your friend’s mom.

Here’s all the sites that are open.

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You can preregister online here.

I am baking scones. Two kinds. I am also hosting up at the community gardens. Talking mostly about our food bank plots.

The event starts at 10 am. If you are lucky you can watch the baby killdeer chase after momma and poppa.

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They hatched Tuesday and are now running all over the place.

See you maybe?


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