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Articles by Michelle Steel

AACo SPCA pet food bank helps give a poor dog a bone

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, Anne Arundel County pets — and their human companions in need of a little help — have a reason to give thanks.
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To elephants, pies and shoots

Thousands of pumpkins are carried away to homes all across the country to be part of harvest festivals, decorations and Halloween Jack-o-lanterns.
    What happens to the pumpkins that never find a home?
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In Sandy’s wake of wrath, our backyard birds need help.
    After days of sudden exposure to wet and cold, birds need to refuel with seed and suet to maintain body temperature and energy.
    “First and foremost, people need to get their feeders back up and fill them with fresh seed,” says Julie Curd, owner of Wild Bird Center of Annapolis.
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Yes, it’s scary. My nails prove it.

Twin Beach Players works Gothic magic recreating Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in North Beach Boys and Girls Club’s gymnasium. On opening night, the 14-year-old community company sent a full house back in time to 1816, into Dr. Frankenstein’s madness and Arctic ice.
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Skip Smith has been makeup man for presidents and celebrities. But ­monsters and ghouls are his passion, which he shares in Twin Beach ­Players’ ­production of Frankenstein

“This is all you get,” Skip Smith tells me, drawing the gauze-covered prosthetic from the Walmart bag. Dark and empty sockets stare at me for the second before Smith re-seals the bag. To see the mask Smith had created for Twin Beach Players’ Frankenstein (now playing in North Beach), I had to brave the little shop of horrors of his St. Leonard home.
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These bugs have legs 150 times stronger than ours

Clusters of long-legged creatures congregate around my screen door and atop my plants.
    Granddaddy or daddy long-legs, also called harvestmen, turn up just about everywhere inside and outside of my home. I find them on walls and plants, the clothesline and the stone patio.
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The votes have been counted and the results are in for American Farmland Trust Best Farmers Market. The vote brings good news for the North Beach Friday Night Farmers Market, which earned the ranking of number two in the state.
    “But it gets better,” said Stacey Wilkerson, town clerk who also runs the market. “We are ranked number seven across the whole United States.”
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With summer at an end, hummers prepare for their long journey south
Two hummingbirds have been warring in my backyard over nectar the color of cherry Kool-Aid.
    They hover, frozen in time, sipping at the feeder and my hibiscus plants. I sit frozen too, watching them.
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When ­disaster strikes, these dogs are ready for work

On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 earthquake hit the capital city of the poorest county in the Western Hemisphere, dumping 19 million cubic yards of rubble and debris on Port au Prince, Haiti, and its people.
    Two-year-old German shepherd Racker, of Eastport, rushed to the disaster, along with search-and-rescue dogs from France and Mexico.
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Good for the garden and for myth making

Masters of disguise, praying mantises camouflage themselves to capture beetles, bees, spiders, lizards and even frogs, then dine on the prey head-first.
    Mantises don’t hunt their prey. Instead, they wait unmoving and invisible on a leaf or twig, ready to seize any insect or amphibian unfortunate enough to cross paths.
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