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We’re speeding past our closest point to the sun

It’s counter-intuitive during these long, cold nights of winter, but early January brings the earth its closest to the sun in its annual orbit. Wednesday the second marked the actual point of perihelion, when we were two percent closer to the sun than usual....

You don’t have to wait until summer for the fun to start

The coming year will be filled with many outdoor opportunities on the Tidewater, particularly if you’re an angler. The best part is your adventures could start very soon, mid-January, in fact.
    Yellow perch continue their remarkable comeback around the Chesapeake. The bite traditionally begins this month on the Susquehanna Flats at a large staging area near the mouth of the Elk River.
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If you’ve grown horseradish, it’s time to harvest and prepare it

Did you remember to plant horseradish? If so, you’re in for a treat.
    Horseradish is a hardy herbaceous perennial plant that produces fleshy roots. Now that the tops of horseradish plants have died back to the ground, it is time to dig up the roots and make next year’s supply of ground horseradish.
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If the world doesn’t end, winter begins

With any luck, Friday, December 21 will not mark the end of the world, but rather the usual beginning of winter for the Northern Hemisphere. The Mayans and their vanished civilization are a true mystery, made all the more poignant by their accomplishments, building great pyramids and devising an elaborate calendar. That calendar, like those of other civilizations throughout history and around the globe, recognizes December 21 as the end of the year — and the beginning of the new....

Christmas, like most holidays, has a lot to do with eating. We have our traditions, family recipes and occasional experiments. For as long as I can remember, my mother’s Christmas morning menu included a delicious egg casserole, sticky buns and fruit salad. The mimosas were reserved for the adults.
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Menhaden gain recognition and protection

Friday, December 14, 2012, is a day that makes a difference. On that day, menhaden — a fish virtually inedible to humans and once numerous but now endangered — gained recognition and protection as a vital component of our complex marine ecosystem.
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This bright flowering holly was first found in a nearby bog

Winterberry shows at its best this season, inviting you to cut it for Christmas decorating. The native deciduous forms of holly grow as shrubs six to eight feet tall. At this time of year, the ends of the branches are filled with clusters of bright red berries.
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An asteroid spawns the Geminids

Thursday’s new moon provides dark cover for this year’s Geminid meteor shower, which peaks that night and into the wee hours Friday. The Geminids are perhaps the best of the annual meteor showers, but because of December’s chill, many people haven’t truly appreciated them.
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The Bay offers good action nearly year-round

Yesterday a cold rain fell for hours. Wind followed. Today came with heavy fog and a chill that banished any thoughts of getting out on the Bay for one last fling at the rockfish. As Jim Morrison phrased it, “This is the end, my friend.”
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These tropical plants demand warmth and sun

A tropical plant that originated in Mexico, the poinsettia is very susceptible to chilling temperatures. If you purchase your plant on a cold day, wrap it completely before moving it from the store to your car. Place it in a sleeve stapled at the top to prevent rapid heat loss and to keep cold air from blowing onto the plant. As soon as you start the car, turn on the heat to a comfortable temperature.
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