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Your gift makes room in the inn, warmth in the stable

The Christmas story tells us that animals made the only warmth in the stable where baby Jesus was born. If animals have also warmed your home and your heart, making a gift to the animals may be the right way for you to give back this season.
    Especially because so many animals nowadays lose their warm homes because their owners no longer have the means to afford their pets.
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As temperatures and food supplies drop, mammals hunker down to hibernate

Seen enough of the groundhog, which experts, admirers and detractors alike agree was the Mystery Creature who so fascinated Bay Weekly readers?
    Good thing. Because whatever you call him, her and them — groundhogs, woodchucks or whistle pigs — these omnipresent neighbors are ending their season above ground.
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Duck would never again be as fun as the tough, skinny, buckshot-riddled birds Mom and I cooked

“Mrs. Safer, Do you like ducks?” my adorable third-grade student asked as class was dismissed on a November Friday in 1962.
    “Oh, yes,” I replied, recalling my many hours spent feeding the ducks and geese and riding the swan boats in Boston Common where I had grown up.
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The Kniskerns’ yard is a sustainable smorgasbord

The fifth of an acre where James and Mary Kniskern live in Arnold was about what you’d expect for a suburban dwelling: grass, azaleas, daffodils in the spring, pachysandras year-round. As you’d expect, it required the drone of a mower and sweat non-equity to keep it in shape.
    “I didn’t like to mow,” says James.
    But what was the alternative?
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Road by road, broadband Internet is snaking your way

What are they doing on the side of the road?    
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The saga continues, but the jury is still out

You never know.    
    We never know, either, what’s going to catch your eye, invade your thoughts and, best of all, goad you to action.
    This week it’s the mystery critter.
    Which, you told us, may not be so mysterious after all.
    We have been chuckling at your responses all week.

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Library patrons line up to check out Kindles and Nooks

Packing your books for your vacation adds pounds to your baggage and with airline fees, stress on your budget.
    What would you say if you could pack more than 1,000 books in a container smaller than even today’s phone books?
    Wannabe eReaders in Anne Arundel County said Yes, Please!
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Neither nutria nor porcupine, it’s a stumper

Bill and Martha Sykora have a regular visitor to their yard on Broad Creek in Annapolis, but who it is they don’t know. New to the neighborhood — they moved in May — they aren’t familiar with local wildlife. Martha had never seen anything like this visitor, so she grabbed her camera.
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Value a watch not for what it tells you but for what it says about you

What’s the value of time?    
    Told time, that is — not the priceless sort that keeps slipping into the past, flinging you into the future.
    When every cell phone tells the time and more, who needs a watch, let alone a fine watch that costs thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars?
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If you’ve got five acres, you’ve got a ready market and help starting out

Southern Maryland takes a step closer to becoming the California — at least the Virginia — of the Atlantic Coast, this fall, with a new grant encouraging farmers to plant vineyards.
    While Maryland wineries have burgeoned, Maryland grapes have lagged behind.
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