Tag Archives: maryland

Winter Landscapes from the air….

 Last week I posted on Appreciating the beauty of winter landscapes – now and in the future, with regards to the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.  Yesterday as we flew back across the country to our home in Utah, I once again was in awe of the landscape below me from 35,000 feet in the air.  Blanketed with snow were the fields of the midwest and peaks of the Rockies.   As we approached the Salt Lake City Airport, Tom took several photos, posted below.  We even saw our house (photo with arrow in it)!

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Appreciating the beauty of winter landscapes….now and in the future

Today Tom and I flew across the country from Utah to Maryland to spend a few days with my parents and see my siblings and their families. I was happy that it was a clear day in Baltimore and that we were arriving in the late afternoon while it was still light. One of my favorite views from the plan is the Chesapeake Bay. Today I saw tributaries of the bay that were partially iced over in and around land formations. Glimmers of sunlight danced on the ice and the water, creating a playful and beautiful scene.  I wanted to take photos but the window was too scratched to take a photo that would do the scene justice.

Most of my memories of the Bay and the Ocean are from summertime vacations with my family in my childhood and youth.  Seeing it in the winter time brings a new experience for me, even for just brief moments.  During my descent into the Baltimore area, as I gazed at the Bay, I wondered what the Chesapeake Blue Crabs’ behaviors are like in the winter time and if they hibernate in cold weather.  I love the Blue Crab and have so many memories of  watching and observing blue crabs, catching a few with the best crabber of all time (my grandmother), and even being pinched by them!

So I did some research when I was at my computer and found information on how blue crabs behave in the winter:

When air temperatures drop below 50°F (10°C), adult crabs leave shallow, inshore waters and seek deeper areas where they bury themselves and remain in a state of torpor throughout the winter. Blue crab growth is regulated by water temperature. Growth occurs when water temperatures are above 59°F (15°C). Water temperature above 91°F (33°C) is lethal. Blue crabs are susceptible to sudden drops in temperature.

When the water temperature starts to fall and the days start getting shorter, the blue crab retreats to deep water and burrows into the muddy or sandy bottom to spend the winter. A crab buries itself by forcing its abdomen backwards into the bottom with quick snapping motions. While doing this, the crab will also pick and claw at the bottom with its hind walking legs and flip it away with the paddles of its swimming legs. Within a few minutes the crab is resting at a 45° angle in the bottom, with only antennae, the tips of its eye stalks, and small breathing channels visible in the mud. Crabs do not hibernate, rather they lie dormant for the long winter (usually from November through May.)

I learned a little more about the wildlife in my home state today by researching what sparked my curiosity. Sadly, I know the Bay has been in peril due to pollution which has dramatically decreased the blue crab population.  Still, for today, I reveled in the beauty of the water from above, the reflection of habitat within the water, and the desire to hope for continued views of scenes like this in the future.

Reflecting on my Dad’s 80th Birthday

 Here is an article I wrote and published last summer (2009)  on my Dad’s 80th birthday.  It was published in the local papers in his area (Middletown [Maryland] Valley Citizen and Brunswick Citizen)
Frederick County Baseball Enthusiast Celebrates 80th Birthday with The Frederick Keys
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"Play ball!" That’s just what one Frederick County resident did to commemorate his 80th birthday at a Frederick Keys game June 28, 2009 .

Donald "Don" T. Taylor, lifelong resident of Frederick County, born and raised in Brunswick and residing in Middletown for the past 43 years, officially became 80 on May 19, 2009. His children presented him with the gift of a sky box at the game, the thrill of throwing out the opening pitch, and an announcement on the electronic board on the field.

"We had been planning this for nearly a year," states Donna Gaver, Don’s youngest daughter, of Middletown. Deanna Taylor, Don’s oldest daughter, of West Jordan, Utah, adds, "Baseball is Dad’s passion and we thought a night at the stadium would be the perfect gift."
Indeed it was.

The entire family, consisting of Don’s wife, his four children and their spouses, 9 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren (one who was born on Don’s birthday this year!), plus a few friends, gathered at the stadium to celebrate Don’s big event with him.

"It was a very exciting game. The Keys were leading right up until near the end," says Frank Taylor of Keedysville, oldest son of Don. David Taylor, Don’s youngest son of Middletown, adds, "Dad had a great time regardless, though. I held some practice pitching sessions with him in preparation for throwing the opening pitch."

A fabulous fireworks display ended the evening of fun. "He was thrilled, of course," says Nadia, Don’s wife of 51 years. "We all had a wonderful time!"

Don said that being on the Keys playing field was "challenging, fun, and really thrilling to have had the opportunity to do something like that."

Don has had many baseball highlights in the past 80 years. "A personal highlight was pitching for Towson State Teachers college (now Towson University) in the late 1940’s. The highlight in professional baseball was seeing the Baltimore Orioles win three world series – that was quite a thrill."

Don has seen many changes in 80 years in Frederick County. Generally, the biggest changes have been its population growth and urbanization. "Frederick County was a rural farming county. There are still many farms but over the years that number has been
reduced due to the growth."

Don dabbled in politics in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s with his bids for House of Delegates. Although he did not obtain the seat for his district, he was glad for the experience of running a political campaign. "The whole family was involved in helping run the campaigns. I met many great people. Each campaign we ran involved a lot of exciting work."

Don points out an ironic bit of trivia about The Citizen Printing/Office facility which is in Brunswick on Main Street. "That building is the exact same building that my brother, Jerry Taylor, and I ran a service station out of around 1960."

About how it feels to be 80, Don states, "Glad to be here. I am the luckiest man on earth….I have such a great family."

Paraphrasing the words of Oliver Wendall Holmes when someone asked him how it felt to be 90, Don says, "Oh to be 70 again!"