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The dogs toil along in obscurity, leading their low-key lives of kibble and naps, but then, out of the blue, some new behavior will flash on their radar, generally leading to new heights of complete worthlessness.

Such was the case when Zeke, the french fry hound, discovered how to poach the bread from the back of the counter, requiring a breadbox and eternal vigilance (the price of liberty to be sure, but also of keeping household pets out of the victuals) to cure, or the time when Rhys, the remaining rescued corgi, discovered that the new items on the compost pile were only covered by a thin layer of soil and were otherwise ripe (in two senses of the word) for small dogs with few food taboos to scarf down with relish, and later barf up with similar relish at a time of the early morning when primates’ fortitude is at a low ebb.

But occasionally the tide of worthlessness recedes just a little bit, as when Zeke figured out where the groundhogs live and how to dispose of them with no fuss (a brisk shake, then preservation in a hot, dark place to maximize the decay process), or as now, when Cooper, the newest addition, 40 pounds of insanely hyperactive border collie, has discovered that he will eat anything.

Now, dogs are not known for particularly discriminating palates. And Cooper has carried this lack of discrimination to new heights, propelled by the Dog Law that states: If a human eats it, it is good. (Other dog laws: Sniff everything. If someone pees there, you must pee there. Dirt is our friend.)

I do the bulk of the cooking in my house (my beautiful wife is an outstanding baker, but allows me to wrangle the pre-dessert comestibles) and I am not the neatest chef ever. Over the years (actually about five seconds after the first time) the dogs have learned that when Daddy is chopping stuff, some of that stuff will hit the floor. In the old days, if what hit the floor was made of meat or cheese, or had been in contact with butter or bacon grease, no matter how small the amount, a dog was on hand to police it up.

This was neater than the alternative of no canine tidying, but still not perfect, as the fat- and protein-laden items would disappear, leaving a thin layer of onions, green pepper pieces and other vegetables for the primate cleaning crew to take care of. (This is why God invented children.)

Cooper, though, will eat absolutely anything. Onions? Barely a hesitation. Broccoli? Scarfs it down like beef jerky. Mushrooms? Just like steak Tartare to Cooper.

And his broad taste in kitchen debris also has had an influence on the other dogs. No longer do they sniff at errant items from the counter, since to sniff for even a nanosecond guarantees that Cooper will end up eating the scrap.

Instead they eat first and ask questions later, which also has led to a good deal of harmless amusement for me, contemplating their expressions when, say, a hunk of lemon or dill pickle gets inhaled. The next time such an item hits the ground, they look a bit resigned, but down the hatch it goes.

So Chez Davis is a little bit tidier, and maybe I can make the time to go see a worthwhile movie, like the one mentioned (this segue should be gobbled up by ravenous housepets) in the item below.

Norman Rockwell movie to be shown

Mattawoman Creek Art Center will present a Sunday afternoon movie and dessert featuring “Norman Rockwell Painting America” at 2 p.m. April 15.

The film examines “The Artist of the People” using footage and visual images form the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass.

The film features informative interviews with historians, critics, family, friends and admirers and gives an in-depth look at the artist, his art and the Americana he created with his brushstrokes.

No charge, but donations are appreciated. Go to

Hazardous waste collection begins

The first household hazardous waste collection of the year will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 7.

The collection site is now in the parking lot of the Charles County Department of Public Works building at 10430 Audie Lane, off of Radio Station Road in La Plata.

Items accepted free of charge include pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer, gasoline, oil-based paint, cleaning supplies, pool chemicals, batteries, expired prescription drugs, fluorescent lights, mercury thermometers and other poisons found in the home. Mark any container that does not have a readable, original label.

Unacceptable materials include biomedical waste (sharps, needles, anything with bodily fluids) and ammunition. Used motor oil, antifreeze, propane tanks and batteries are accepted on a regular basis at various collection sites.

Call 301-932-3599 or 301-870-2778, or the landfill and recycling information line at 301-932-5656.

Curbside collection of yard waste resumes

Charles County announced that curbside collection of yard waste will resume in April.

Yard waste includes grass, leaves, garden clippings, and brush. Place the material in trash cans with handles. Affix a yard waste sticker or mark a large “X” on the receptacle, and face it toward the street. Brown paper yard waste bags also are acceptable. They do not require yard waste stickers. The containers’ weight may not exceed 50 pounds. Loose branches and brush, plastic bags, dirt, rocks, sod, and trash will not be accepted. Plastic bags are not acceptable. Branches must be in bundles that are a maximum of 4 feet long, with no individual branch more than 6 inches in diameter.

Green yard waste stickers are available free in Waldorf at American Hardware, Bannister Neighborhood Center, Benjamin Stoddert Community Center, Charles County Sanitary Landfill, Charles Crossing Neighborhood Center, Dorchester Neighborhood Center, Hampshire Neighborhood Center, Home Depot, John Hanson Community Center, Kingsview Neighborhood Center, Lancaster Neighborhood Center, Longwood Nursery, Lowes, Mattawoman Community Center, Wakefield Neighborhood Center and William Wade Community Center.

Stickers also are available at Milton Somers Community Center, Matthew Henson Community Center, and Bryans Road Hardware.

Residents may take their yard waste to the composting facility at the landfill or the recycling centers in Pisgah, Dentsville at Gilbert Run Park, and on Cobb Island at Breeze Farm.

Weekly curbside collection of yard waste is only available to those who currently receive every-other week blue bin curbside recycling services.

Call 301-932-3599 or 301-870-2778, or the landfill and recycling information line at 301-932-5656.

Aquaculture event planned for April 11

The University of Maryland Extension and the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission will host a workshop for anyone engaged in or interested in aquaculture from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. April 11 at the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative auditorium at 15035 Burtn Store Road in Hughesville.

Topics for the workshop include lease availability, ground management, harvest regulations and information on the remote setting training program, along with results from 2011 plans, plus rules and scheduling for 2012 finance programs. The workshop fee of $10 includes lunch.

Register by sending email to Cia Morey at or calling 301-274-1922, ext. 1.

Scholarship applications due April 15

The Southern Maryland Volunteer Firemen’s Association Ladies Auxiliary is accepting applications for scholarships.

Scholarships in the amount of $300 will be awarded to members of any fire department or rescue squad who are pursuing their education at any Maryland university, college or community college, in a curriculum leading to a degree in firefighting or emergency medical services-related fields.

Applicants must be a resident of Calvert, Charles, or St. Mary’s counties, be a member of a fire department or rescue squad and be younger than 21.

Applications are due April 15. In addition to the application, a letter of recommendation from the applicant’s squad or department is required.

Contact Becky Wathen at 301-872-5671 or

Discover archaeology

Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum’s first event of the season is Discovering Archaeology Day 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 14. The event is free and all ages are welcome. JPPM is home to more than 70 identified archaeological sites and is the site of the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory, according to a JPPM news release.

The day will consist of tours of the MAC Lab at 1 and 3 p.m., visits to the current excavations of a 18th century plantation and both JPPM’s FAQ Archaeology and War of 1812 exhibits available throughout the day. Also enjoy displays, games and activities presented by professional archaeologists from throughout Maryland. Ask questions, participate in hands on activities and learn about this exciting field!

Scouts will have the opportunity to complete requirements towards archaeology badges, and the Indian Village will be offering demonstrations and activities.

Have a historical item you know little about? Bring it to the Artifact ID table, where a professional will take a look at it. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

Call 410-586-8501 or go to

Don’t call them ‘brats’

In celebration of the Month of the Military Child in April, the Charles County Public Library and University of Maryland Extension Operation Military Kids invite everyone to a special Saturday story time with stories, songs, crafts, snacks and giveaways.

The event will be 10 to 11 a.m. April 14 at the Waldorf branch at 50 Village St.

All children are invited, but kids in prekindergarten through first grade with military connections are strongly encourage to attend.

Call 301-645-2864.Cotes de Patuxent wines featured

Sample Patuxent Wine Trail wines with a $15 souvenir tasting glass at the fifth annual Calvert Wine and Arts Fest from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 12 at All Saints’ Episcopal Church at 100 Lower Marlboro Road in Sunderland.

The event will feature a raffle, crafts, shopping and tours of the church and labyrinth.

Reserve a wine glass at

Cycle into county heritage

Charles County government will sponsor the annual heritage bike ride 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 19 at the Nanjemoy Community Center at 4375 Port Tobacco Road in Nanjemoy. Check in until 9:30 a.m.; the last sag-wagon run is at 3 p.m.

The event is open to participants 16 and older

Register online at or print out a PDF of the form at

Start the day at the end of the road in scenic Nanjemoy, and enjoy a ride with stops at local points of interest. The western section of Charles County is beguiling, with a sense of serenity and history. Each route for the bike ride begins and ends at the community center.

There will be three routes to choose from, 100 , 50, or 25 kilometers.

The cost is, for county residents, $25 and nonresidents, $27. On the day of the vent, add $5.

T-shirts, refreshments, sag wagons and rest stops are included. Souvenir T-shirts are guaranteed for all who register by May 7. For those registering after that date, T-shirts will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Helmets are required for all riders.

In the release, the county thanked event sponsors Panera Bread, Starbucks, Star Vending, Waste Management and Wawa.

For registration information or directions, call the Nanjemoy Community Center at 301-246-9612.

Poker run for Calvert Hospice revs up

The seventh annual Calvert Hospice Poker Run will be June 9.

Registration at CJ’s Backroom at 12020 Rousby Hall Road in Lusby will be from 10:30 a.m. to noon and first draw will be at the American Legion in Hughesville at the intersection of routes 231 and 381. The run will then travel to Seabreeze, Fitzies, Toots Bar, Calypso Bay and then back to CJ’s. The afterparty will have food, music, raffles, a dunk tank, door prizes and a live auction.

Cost is $20 for drivers, $10 for passengers or to attend.

Call Chris Bowen at 443-532-8343 or Heather Scott at 410-610-8363 or email