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Articles by Michelle Steel

Even fur coats can’t keep pets warm

Baby, it’s cold outside. These record low temperatures are hard on all of us, people and pets. Puppies, kittens and shorthaired animals are especially vulnerable in cold weather.
    Keep your pets inside except for quick bathroom breaks. Both dogs and cats can get frostbite. Ears, tails and footpads are most susceptible.
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The Rufous Hummingbird makes another unseasonable appearance

Rufous hummingbirds travel great distances. The red-tinged birds’ migration takes them from their wintering grounds in Mexico and the southern United States to their breeding grounds in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, western Canada and southern Alaska.
    They breed farther north than any other hummingbird.
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Reindeer are perfectly suited to pull Santa’s sleigh

On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer and Vixen, on Comet and Cupid, on Donner and Blixen.
    Why are reindeer the right choice for Santa to lead his sleigh on his annual voyage?
    Maneuvering through the middle of the night with a load of precious cargo for millions of girls and boys leaves no margin for error.
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Snowy Owls popping up all over

Is it a bird? A plane? A creature flown out of Harry Potter? Or a white paper bag frozen in a field?
    This year, it may be a snowy owl.
    The white bird with bright, yellow eyes, huge talons and a five-foot wingspan is usually a rare sight in Chesapeake Country. So rare that the first-ever snowy owl sighting and photo was recorded in Calvert County this week.
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Courthouse Square now looks a lot like Christmas

On December 3, the Parish Hall At Christ’s Church in Port Republic bustles with four dozen Calvert Garden Clubbers preparing to decorate the county courthouse with evergreens harvested a day earlier at four local farms.
    “We call it the Greening,” says cochair Mary Berkley.
    Wearing monogrammed aprons, they work likes elves trimming magnolia, grapevine and boxwood for wreaths, fragrant sprays and evergreen ropes.
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Thanksgiving’s main course, from free to $6.75 a pound

The bird of the season is a turkey.    
        We Americans devour over 45 million turkeys and over 675 million pounds of turkey each Thanksgiving. That’s the big day, but not the only day, we eat the big bird. If you’re an average American, you eat 17.5 pounds of turkey every year. That’s more than even Uncle Max could eat in one day.
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With fewer tree nuts than in recent years, squirrels are going crazy

I’m under attack. Everywhere I look, squirrels are scampering up trees, toting nuts in their mouths, scurrying across my yard and darting in front of my car.
    The word squirrel was borrowed by the Romans from the Greek word skiouros, which means shadow-tailed. Ancient Greek naturalists found their bushy tails remarkable.
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Halloween sweetens the bait in this timely production

Agatha Christie catches you in her Mousetrap — the longest running show in the world — baited by Twin Beach Players with Halloween lure.
    Enter the cozy North Beach Boys and Girls Club and you step into the spell. Cobwebs drape the gate of Christie’s barely illuminated Monkswell Manor, now a guesthouse.
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Repurposed pages become art for the highest bidder

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle take on new meaning in Repurposed Books as Art, an auction-exhibit by artist Carolyn McHugh to benefit Calvert Library.
    McHugh has created 21 new ways of looking at a book: a clock, a wreath, a matchbook, a framed page, a music box, a planter, a candy dish, a tissue box, bookmarks, a birdhouse, a charging station, a jewelry box, a kitchen-utensil holder, a vase with flowers, purses with pins and Hattie the Hedgehog.
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Then throw your Rock Thoughts into cyberspace

Remember Pet Rocks?    
        The 1970s fad has returned with new legs to Annmarie Garden as a child’s game of hide and seek linked to a global art and collaborative storytelling project called Rock Thoughts.
    Closer to home, Sunderland art teacher Maria Lendacky invited her fourth-graders to add their Rock Thoughts to the 1,500 rocks created worldwide.
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