Sometimes I have to go a little far afield to find an item with a Delaware connection. One such item turned up this past Sunday on the front page of The Sunday Star, a newspaper published in Easton, Md., on the Eastern Shore.


Sometimes I have to go a little far afield to find an item with a Delaware connection. One such item turned up this past Sunday on the front page of The Sunday Star, a newspaper published in Easton, Md., on the Eastern Shore.

The story is about the purchase by Robert Pascal of the 950-acre waterfront estate in Talbot County which was once a hunting preserve for the duPont family. Jean Ellen duPont Mason had donated it to the National Audubon Society 13 years ago to be used as a nature preserve.

Pascal is quoted in the story as planning to raise organic cattle and hay on the property. He also has plans to raise chickens for organic eggs, to explore an oyster aquaculture operation and to reestablish the property’s quail population.

And if that isn’t enough, he intends to renovate some houses on the property, including the former main house, to provide a place where wounded veterans could come and stay.

This is in addition to cooperating with the Audubon Society about continuing programs for children which the society had conducted.

But what I remember about the property — I worked for The [Baltimore] Sun back in the 1950s and had an office in Easton — is that it had been originally bought by “Willie” duPont to use for hunting foxes.

The shape of the property was an attraction to duPont because it is a peninsula. What the Delaware sportsman did was erect a fence where the peninsula began. He even had fencing put underground so that an animal could not easily dig under the fence to get away.

And then he let foxes loose on the enclosed peninsula, figuring that he could go fox hunting and be assured of having plenty of foxes to chase.

I did not learn how long this arrangement was carried out, but it happened that there was one major flaw to the scheme. It was the weather, the cold weather, to be specific.

It took a very cold winter to illustrate the flaw.

The low temperatures made the water around the peninsula freeze. And when that happened all the foxes were able to scamper to freedom.

I say all the foxes although a few may have stayed put. But if you wanted plenty of foxes for your quarry it wasn’t quite the same.

This all happened some time ago, as you might imagine, and I cannot verify all the details about it. But since it makes such an interesting story, why do too much hunting for the details?

A photo accompanying the story, by the way, shows a fox “running playfully” through a field on the sanctuary three years ago.

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One of the ways which members of Congress stay in office is by securing as much “pork” as possible for their state or district. And the ways of Washington usually allow the senator or representative involved to make the announcement of what has been gained, an announcement which has definite political benefit.

Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who died recently, was someone known for the pork he procured for his home state. He was so successful at the practice that there are 30 public projects that bear his name.

One failure during his record-setting time in the Senate, however, was his inability to have the FBI headquarters moved to West Virginia, something he tried very hard to do.

What brings up the matter, other than the increasing emphasis on politics in this state and elsewhere, is a Harvard study that found that “pork actually pushes private investment out of state.” It does this by temporarily increasing demand for workers and real estate, thus “jacking up prices.”

This may be true, but Harvard study or not, don’t expect politicians with an opportunity to take credit for something turning the other way.

Incumbency is obviously a huge advantage.

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I didn’t see it myself, but an eye witness mentioned that she got a kick out of watching a seagull in Delaware’s surf fishing area make a meal out of a watermelon that had apparently washed up on the beach, along with other watermelons.

The melon was broken approximately in half so that the gull’s head was mostly out of sight when it bobbed up and down while scooping up the seeds. A seagull wouldn’t eat the melon itself, would it?

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One glaring indication that indeed “the times they are achanging” is captured in a headline Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal: “China Tops U.S. in Energy.”

The story goes on to explain that this is because of China’s “decades-long burst of economic growth and its rapidly expanding clout as an industrial giant.”

Something like this was expected to happen in time but certainly not this soon.

We now live in a different age.

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There are a lot of varieties of this joke:

A golfer was sitting in the clubhouse after playing a round. He looked upset, so a friend walked over to him and asked what was the matter.

The golfer said: “It was terrible. On the 17th hole, I sliced a ball out onto the freeway and it hit the windshield of a bus. Went right through it. The bus crashed. There were people hurt and hanging out of windows. It was awful.”

The friend asked, “Wow! That really was terrible. What did you do?”

“Well, I closed up my stance and shortened my backstroke a little.”