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Articles by Michelle Steel

Fireflies’ luminescence is 100% efficient

Tiny golden-yellow lights flicker on, off, on, off.
    Watching them brings memories of childhood.
    Back in the days when I’d play outside from summer sun-up to after sundown, fireflies kept me company at night.
    Reading kept me company, too.
    P.D. Eastman’s Sam and the Firefly was a favorite.
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Imagination, creation take bloom and flourish

Imagination makes Annmarie Garden grow. This month, the Garden grew a bit more, adding a new space to inspire children and honoring a founding visionary.
    Giant wooden scissors snipped a multicolored ribbon at the dedication of the Garden’s new John Dennis Murray Arts Building,
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Goodbye cicadas

Back on May 19, I spotted a few cicada shells — golden brown empty casings — scattered in my Huntingtown yard.
    On May 21, I saw my first teneral adult, emerging milky white from a matching cotton-like casing.
    Then, I saw a few adults — black in their new exoskeleton with eerie red, beady eyes — crawling around the patio.
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There’s no better way to know the Chesapeake

Bay beaches are tucked away in coves throughout Chesapeake Country. With tides and waves, soft sand, salty air and cooling breezes, they’re a nature lover’s paradise.
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With a wingspan up to four inches, Luna moths are one of the largest in North America

Like springtime, Luna moths represent rebirth and renewal.
    I usually see one or two early each spring, hanging around hubby’s bug zapper. Perhaps they’re drawn to the light’s blue glow. The zapper poses no threat to the Luna moths, which are too large to fit through the miniature cage.
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In my Calvert country neighborhood, my ­kitties help me meet the neighbors

I grew up climbing trees and playing with Matchbox cars.
    Scary spiders and slithery snakes? I didn’t bat an eye. Daddy’s girl was tough.
    So when the kitty brothers Stripey and Babey bring home squirmy rewards, I’m the one among my family of hubby and two almost-grown boys to take care of it. Two ring-necked snakes have made it inside with kitties’ help.
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It’s worth the work to attract these birds to your backyard

The goldfinches in my back yard are a real treat this year, borrowing their brilliant yellow from the Maryland flag our Preakness winner will wear.
    I’ve tried luring them with plastic, tube feeders in past years to no avail.
    This year, I hung two white, mesh feeders, or socks, filled with nyjer seed, and watched the bright birds flock to them.
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Which woodpecker is Woody?

I share my backyard with woodpeckers — lots of them. I’ve got downy, hairy and red-bellied woodpeckers perpetually pecking at my peanut suet. And every morning and evening, a pair of northern flickers drill away at the suet feeders in sync.
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New lane markings, rumble strips and signs help us get across

I’m claustrophobic and scared of heights, so unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations send my anxiety into a full-blown panic attack. Also, I’m easily distracted. Driving over a bridge, with traffic coming toward me, isn’t my idea of fun, even if I am heading to Ocean City for a getaway.
    So I was happy to hear of this week’s Bay Bridge safety enhancements.
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Toys help patients having a rough day at Children’s Hospital

It’s a big job making sure Dr. Bear’s closet at Children’s Hospital National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., is never bare.  
    For the children, it’s a closet as crucial as the closets that hold bandages and medicine.
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