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Simpatico to Offer Mini-Winefest in St. Michaels

Stop by to help celebrate at Simpatico’s wine, cheese and food celebration in a tent next to our shop on Railroad Ave. Highlights include:

– Wine Tastings of over 24 Italian wines – the best from Winefest and our Columbus Celebrations! And of course our Limoncellos too! Filippo from Enovations Importers and Nicola from Harvest Importing will be with us to pour
over 24 of their fabulous wines.

– Italian Cheese Tastings: We also will be tasting 7 amazing fresh Italian cheeses that will complement the wines.

– Our Favorite Italian Foods Tastings from Simpatico – selected from our every day array of the finest foods from Italy.

– $5 per person, must be 21 years of age. Salute!

Simpatico’s 12th Birthday Wine/Cheese/Food Celebration over Memorial Day weekend St. Michaels, MD – Saturday and Sunday noon to 5 PM; shop open from 10 AM to 7 PM. 12% off everything – all wines, foods and ceramics – all day both days.

Talbot Humane Joins the Million Cat Challenge

Saving lives is what it is all about at Talbot Humane. In effort to save the lives of more felines in our community, Talbot Humane has joined the Million Cat Challenge.  This program sponsored by Maddie’s Fund, is a shelter-based campaign to save the lives of 1 million cats in North America over the next five years. The core strategy of the campaign will be five key initiatives that will offer every shelter, in every community, practical choices to reduce euthanasia and increase live outcomes for shelter cats.

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 8.02.55 AM“Our first step in finding more homes for the cats and kittens in our care at Talbot Humane is to waive adoption fees for all felines,” shares Executive Director Patty Quimby.  “We are excited to be a part of this life saving program.  Ultimately we would love to be in the position where we are able to assist other shelters with their cat population, just as we currently do with dogs.”

Quimby says the process is simple. Visit their adoption center at 7894 Ocean Gateway, or PetSmart in Easton MD, meet the cats and kittens available for adoption, and fall in love.  “We hope to see other groups across the state and Delmarva join us in this life saving challenge.”

For more information on pets for adoption, the adoption process, or other services and programs available at Talbot Humane, please visit

Open Gardens in St. Michaels

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 8.13.45 AMResidents of St. Michaels are opening their gardens for visitors!  Everyone loves a behind-the-scenes peek at what is not open to the public, and some beautiful gardens will be strutting their stuff.  The Open Garden program is being launched by Grace Street resident Ann Hymes to enable residents and visitors to share in exploring some unique gardens in town.  Each month and each season offer varying blossoms, fragrance, and interest — and many gardens highlight native plants.

Look for the yellow signs!  When visitors are welcome, the resident will post a sign at the street.  There is no schedule and no way to predict openings.  “If you see an Open Garden sign, go in!” says Hymes.  “The opportunity may be over when you return.  It’s totally up to the owner.  I think that people who love their gardens love to share them, and St. Michaels attracts visitors who want to walk and explore the town.”  Her garden is both Bay Wise certified and a Certified Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation.

Hymes created and maintains the native plant garden for the town at the corner of Talbot and Mill Streets.  Anyone interested in joining the Open Garden program should contact her at 410 745-3979 or

Introducing the Mid-Shore Pet Pantries Coalition

In late 2011 Pet Pantries of Talbot, Dorchester and Caroline Counties opened their organization in order to help fill local shelters public pantry shelves. Mary Kramer and Barbara Mulready joined forces in an effort to ensure pets in need had full bellies across the Mid-shore.

For the past 5 years the support offered by Pet Pantries has been an important part of outreach programs to residents in need in Talbot, Caroline and Dorchester Counties. Providing thousands of pounds of dry dog and cat food to the shelters annually they have helped these shelters feed more pets in need.

Earlier this year, the team at Pet Pantries decided to close the organization. They generously provided their last funds to their beneficiaries- Talbot Humane, Caroline County Humane Society and Baywater Animal Rescue. These organizations are continuing the spirit and teamwork of Pet Pantries going forward.

Talbot Humane, Caroline County Humane Society, Animal Welfare League of Queen Anne’s County, Humane Society of Kent County and Baywater Animal Rescue have created the Mid-Shore Pet Pantries Coalition in order to continue the mission of helping the pets and pet owners of our communities. “I think I speak for all of the organizations when I say this is an exciting partnership which will benefit the pets and pet owners on mid-shore,” shares Patty Quimby, Executive Director of Talbot Humane.

Each organization will be collecting food in their respective counties for their pantry with the help of local businesses and volunteers. Each organization is looking for businesses willing to be a drop off location as well as volunteers to monitor and transport food. For more information on how you can get involved contact Patty Quimby at 410-822-0107 or

For assistance with feeding your pets the contact information is as follows:

Talbot County: 410-822-0107
Caroline County: 410-820-1600
Dorchester County: 410-228-3090
QA County: 410-827-7178
Kent County: 410-778-3648

Controlling Garden Pests Topic at Herb Society May 12

Controlling garden pests and other garden problems will be the subject of the May 12 meeting of the Chesapeake Bay Herb Society. Mikaela Boley, Master Gardener Coordinator and horticulturist for the University of Maryland Extension Office in Talbot County, will discuss how herbs can deter pests and encourage pollinators, as well as cover general garden problems.

Boley grew up in Wisconsin and received a degree in Environmental Horticulture from the University of Minnesota. Currently she is working on a Master’s degree in Applied Entomology from the University of Maryland. When she isn’t outside hiking and looking at bugs, Boley is getting ready to swim across the Chesapeake Bay.
he society usually meets the second Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 7215 Ocean Gateway, Easton. Meetings include an herbal potluck dinner, a business meeting and a presentation on an herb-related topic. The theme for the May dinner is foods of the Aztec, Mayan and Incan Empires.

CBHS was formed in 2002 to share knowledge of herbs with the local community. The group maintains the herb garden at Pickering Creek Audubon Center.

For more information, call (410) 827-5434 or visit

Lure of LED Lighting by Pamela Heyne

A few years ago I gave a friend a beautifully wrapped Christmas present. In the box was an LED light bulb. The friend was a strong environmentalist, yet kept her old incandescent bulbs throughout her house because she liked the amber color, even though her bulbs were actually little heaters that only produced 10% light. I was showing my friend that she had a different option.

For a while there it looked like those cold looking compact fluorescents were the main way to light our homes responsibly. But, coming on sScreen Shot 2016-05-05 at 2.04.43 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 2.04.36 PMrong has been a whole array of exciting LED (light emitting diode) bulbs. Want exposed filament? I have decorative LED’s that look like they came out of Edison’s workroom. I also have LED spotlights, “candles”, soffit lights that can shift color, and table lamps.

For clients I have specified glamorous closet rod LED’s, and LED’s that change color and flicker in time to music.

Admittedly, buying LEDs can get complicated. Want a warmer hued light? Go for 2,700 to 3,000 kelvin. If you want the equivalent of a 60 watt bulb, chose an LED A19 bulb that is only 9 watts (yes, nine watts!). Most are dimmable now, but you should check because some are not. Some will work with standard incandescent dimmers, but LED dimmers are the best fit to make sure there is no annoying flicker. As for recessed lights, while you can just screw in a bulb, it is recommended that simple screw in retrofits (bulb and rim combined) be used instead for better heat management.

Prices keep coming down…While $3.00 and more per bulb is more than the old incandescents, the LED saves money in the long run. The standard incandescent costs $4.80 per year to use while the LED costs about $1.00. The LED also can last for twenty five years, does not burn fingers, has no toxic components, can be dropped with little harm done, and reduces A.C. loads.

By simply installing LED’s in your home, it is possible to reduce your carbon footprint by 6 tons of carbon a year….plus you can have fun doing it!

Pamela Heyne is a Saint Michaels architect and writer. She was lighting consultant for Hearthstone Health and Fitness in Easton.

Mark the Date: Environmental Concern Native Plant Sale May 6

Environmental Concern Inc., a non-profit, wholesale native nursery located in St. Michaels, MD, opens its campus to the public two times a year for a Native Plant Sale. Join us on May 6 and 7 for our spring community sale. Featured will be a variety of native plants for pollinators and butterflies including milkweed for the Monarchs as well as garden accents.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 7.40.29 AM“Native Plants for Pollinators” will be held on Friday, May 6 from 10-11 a.m. at Environmental Concern Inc. in St. Michaels, MD. Learn what plants to use for native gardening that will help the birds, bees and butterflies. Visit our annual plant sale after the talk to fill your garden with locally propagated native plants. Pre-registration is required as space is limited. $10 donation will benefit our educational outreach programs. for more information. EC is a 501(c)3 not for profit corporation. 410-745-9620

“Milkweed for Monarchs” will be held on Saturday, May 7th from 10-11 a.m. at “Environmental Concern Inc. in St. Michaels, MD. Learn all about the Monarch Butterfly in this comprehensive talk that covers the appropriate habitats and food for this ‘near threatened’ butterfly. Visit our annual plant sale after the talk to fill your garden with locally propagated native plants including a variety of milkweed and pollinator plants.

Pre-registration is required as space is limited. $10 donation will benefit our educational outreach programs. Visit for more information. EC is a 501(c)3 not for profit corporation. 410-745-9620


Food Friday: Artichokes for Streaking

How are you getting ready for May Day? Are you practicing your May pole dance? Have you shaken out the dust and the bells on your Morris dancing costume? Are you looking for love? Are you going to participate in the much-loved rite of spring: streaking? If you answer “Yes!” to any of those questions then you might want to buy some artichokes in preparation.

Long considered an aphrodisiac, the artichoke is technically a flower bud that has not yet bloomed. Such a potent symbol: prickly on the outside, soft and yielding on the inside. In 1576, Dr. Bartolomeo Boldo wrote that the artichoke “has the virtue of … provoking Venus for both men and women; for women making them more desirable, and helping the men who are in these matters rather tardy.” Stock up on equal opportunity artichokes, they are good for everyone!

Greek mythology gives Zeus the credit for creating of the artichoke. After he had been spurned by a beautiful woman, Zeus turned his love object into a thorny thistle, the artichoke. The ancient Greeks and Romans thought the artichoke was a rare and delicious delicacy. What better time than the beginning of May to celebrate the artichoke, particularly when it is at the peak of its season? And Sunday is May Day, so you should get off on the right foot.

After the Greeks and the Romans the artichoke spread to Spain. Catherine de Medici was supposed to have brought the artichoke to France when she arrived to marry the future Henry II. Catherine was known for her voracious appetites for both food and romance, and she scandalized the French court by eating lots of artichokes, and enjoying the sexy reputation that resulted. Shortly thereafter the artichoke crossed the Channel, where Henry VIII, he of many wives, was thought to be quite fond of them.

The French brought the artichoke to America. George Washington grew them at Mount Vernon. Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery contains a 17th-century recipe “To Make Hartichoak Pie.” At one point in Hamilton, the current Broadway show, it is remarked that Alexander Hamilton was a serial philanderer, and “Martha Washington named her feral tomcat after him.” One wonders if she ever served Alexander Hamilton Harty Choak Pie, too.

From Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery:

To Make an Harty Choak Pie:
Take 12 harty choak bottoms yt are good & large, after you have boyled them, take them cleere from ye leaves & cores, season them with a little pepper & salt & lay them on a coffin of paste, with a pound of butter & ye marrow of 2 bones in bigg pieces, then close it up to set in ye oven, then put halfe a pound of sugar to halfe a pinte of verges [a sauce made with green herbs] & some powder of cinnamon and ginger – boyle these together & when ye pie is halfe baked put the liquor in & set it in ye oven againe till it be quite bak’d.

Most artichokes sold in the United States today are grown in Castroville, California. In keeping with the artichoke’s somewhat sensual reputation, it should be noted that in 1947 Marilyn Monroe, then Norma Jean, was crowned Castroville’s first Artichoke Queen.

If you are going to get up to corporeal mischief this weekend, here are some helpful pointers:
This is a useful video of Jacques Pepin prepping an artichoke:

I have a fantasy life where on the weekends we are visited by our sophisticated and witty friends, who are stealing time away from their fascinating and glamorous careers in the arts. The only breakfast I could dream of serving them would be this:

It never hurts to have elegant imaginary friends.But if I expect a little romance myself this weekend, I had best up our breakfast game. I am going to give this a whirl: Sadly, the Saturday morning reality is just Mr. Friday and me sitting blearily at the kitchen table, reading the papers, and considering our list of weekend chores while shoveling sticks and twigs into our gawping mouths. On Sundays we add bacon. This weekend I will throw a some inspiring artichokes into the mix and trust to fate!

“Tra la! It’s May!
The lusty month of May!
That lovely month when ev’ryone goes
Blissfully astray.”
-Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, Camelot

Here is a nice Maryland variation on the artichoke theme that Food52 suggests we try:

Smiles in Saint Michaels by Pamela Heyne

On a Sunday walk on the Saint Michaels Nature trail I passed a favorite house, with a brilliant chartreuse fence.  Growing out of the fence was a dollhouse sized structure sporting a paper that said “I Brio am pleased to announce the dedication and grand opening of Brio’s little Free Library. 3pm…”  Wine and bread were offered in exchange for a book. As a further inducement I noticed a sign on the outside of the library that said “There are no strangers here, only friends you have not met yet.”

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 6.01.17 PMHappily I cut my walk short, obtained said book,  and opened the purple gate which was flanked with purple Dutch clogs.  I did not know who Brio was, but was met by the owners,  an old friend, Peter  Hartjens and his stylish wife Constance Morris Hope (a leadership coach). We sat at a sunny outdoor table, painted purple and sporting a dragon centerpiece. We sipped wine and chatted with  Interesting neighbors who soon dropped by. Brio the dog slept under the table.  

Peter previously owned a unique home emporium on Saint Michaels road, Tidedancers. His fans, I included, asked him if he would ever consider reopening.  No, he said.  He is now a “certifiable smilemaker.”  He recently published a book A Million Smiles: 101 True (well, mostly true) smilemaking stories.  The house, with its exuberant doses of whimsy, also makes one smile.

Pamela Heyne is a Saint Michaels architect and writer,

Celebrate National Public Gardens Day with Free Admission to Adkins Arboretum

Adkins Arboretum will celebrate the American Public Gardens Association’s (APGA) eighth annual National Public Gardens Day by waiving admission fees on Fri., May 6.

Slated to coincide with Mother’s Day weekend, the unofficial start of spring, National Public Gardens Day affords public gardens an opportunity to showcase their gardens and highlight the valuable contributions they make to their communities.

On National Public Gardens Day, Arboretum visitors can shop from the region’s largest selection of ornamental native plants at the Native Plant Nursery; view an exhibition by artist Marilyn Banner; take a self-guided tour or an audio tour; explore the forest, wetland, meadows and native gardens; and learn about the link between native plants, land conservation and a healthy Chesapeake Bay. Visitors who become members will receive free admission year-round, in addition to a host of other benefits.

Arboretum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Nursery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, beginning May 6.

Founded in 1940, Delaware-based APGA is devoted to strengthening public gardens throughout North America. Its membership includes more than 500 public gardens in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and seven other countries.