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They’re Mother Nature’s mulch

In the fall, I hate to see black plastic bags full of leaves lining streets. Next spring, I’m likely to see empty bags of mulch, peat moss and fertilizer waiting to be collected by the solid waste municipal workers. Of all the 42 years that I have owned a home in Maryland, I have never discarded leaves. Nor have I ever purchased a bag of mulch.

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Dear Bay Weekly:

EPA is requiring Maryland to create a Watershed Implementation Plan as a road map for cleaning up our waters.

Maryland’s first draft was a good start. But there are key elements missing — namely how the state is going to achieve full implementation of the programs detailed in the plan.

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Dear Bay Weekly:

My husband and I were fishing out on the Bay near the Eastern Shore on Sunday Nov. 14. We started noticing little spiders all over the boat. Then we saw spider webs on the rods and on the radio antenna. Then when the sun was just right, we saw hundreds of long spider webs floating in the air with the current. Some were up to 30 feet long. It was fascinating. Some of the spiders just fell right out of the sky. One landed on my husband’s head.

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The brightest stars of two seasons outshine the full moon’s glare

Sunday’s full moon shines amid the stars of Taurus the bull. Ten degrees east of the moon you’ll find the red-giant Aldebaran. Half that distance to the moon’s west look for a small, fuzzy patch of light. So close to the moon’s glare, you may need binoculars to discern the stars of the Pleiades cluster.

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There’s a lot to like in the midshipmen’s roots journey to Oklahoma

Green Grow the Lilacs is a love story set in a community on the brink of change: farmers crowding cowboys, Indians assimilating with settlers and Oklahomans pondering the controversial question of the territory’s statehood. In 1931, Lynn Riggs, part Cherokee himself, wrote about people whitewashed by Rogers and Hammerstein for 1940s’ audiences in their musical adaptation, Oklahoma!, which eclipsed the original.

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A veteran engineer and novice conductor race to subdue a rampaging locomotive in this fun chase.

Frank (Denzel Washington: The Book of Eli) is a veteran railroad engineer trying to train up a distracted rookie, Will (Chris Pine: Star Trek). They’ve just hit the main line when they find out a fully loaded runaway train with tankers full of highly explosive cargo — “a missile the size of the Chrysler Building” — is roaring through southern Pennsylvania towns at speeds over 70 miles per hour toward a dangerous S-curve....

For pheasant, there’s no better place than South Dakota

The South Dakota countryside exudes a kind of magic this time of year. It’s generated by a particularly celebrated game bird, the ringneck pheasant.

Fish Are Biting

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Finding an Indian arrowhead is Daniel Kraus’ best history lesson

Long, long ago before there were packaged turkeys waiting to be cooked for Thanksgiving — or the Thanksgiving holiday at all — Native Americans hunted their food. Mayo Elementary School first-grader Daniel Kraus learned that lesson firsthand when he laid hands on an ancient Native American arrowhead.

A day of family bonding turned up a discovery that linked Daniel, and the Kraus family, with an ancient past.

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Season’s Bounty, this week’s special supplement, will keep you busy into 2011

Your key to unlock the season of good will, good times and good eating is in your hand. Or upon your lap. Or waiting for you, like a present to be opened, in that special place you keep Bay Weekly.

The key is Season’s Bounty, stuffed inside this week’s paper. This annual special is our gift to you, delivered early to guide you through the long winter holiday season. 

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Sign up for Bird School and you’ll think like a bird

As cold weather sets in and you fill your bird feeders, you’ll find hours of entertainment — and bafflement — in their behavior. What are they up to with all the strutting, head-bobbing, feather-fluffing and wing flapping?

Get the answers from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, now enrolling backyard birders in the online bird-behavior course Investigating Behavior: Courtship and Rivalry in Birds.

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