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But brilliant Sirius isn’t to blame

For kids heading back to school, summer has truly gone to the dogs. But neither that nor your canine companion panting on the cold basement floor is why the hottest days of the year are referred to as the Dog Days of summer. The answer shines in the heavens in the form of a star more than 81⁄2 light years away.
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Head to a new place, and the fishing gets better

It was in the middle of the week and we had our Norfolk spot for live lining caught by 7am. Jumping up on plane, we headed toward the Bay Bridge. It was already too late. The concrete supports where we had had such great luck a day earlier had two skiffs anchored at each, and our third and fourth choices were being eyeballed by a couple of approaching charter boats.
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Acid-loving plants need iron but rusting metal won’t help

A Bay Weekly reader told me he throws a handful of nails in the bottom of each planting hole whenever he plants trees or shrubs. The tradition has been handed down from grandpa to grandson. The purpose, he says, is “to provide an adequate supply of iron to the roots, of course.”
    He could not tell me if nail size, such as ten-penny, finish nails or shoe tacks, made any difference. He had no preference for rusty nails or new nails.

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Full moon is like a celestial movie screen

As the sun sets, Venus beckons above the west horizon until it sets around 9pm. This evening star is losing ground, setting a little earlier each night.
    Saturn is in the southwest at dusk and sets around midnight. Don’t confuse its steady golden glow with twinkling Spica a dozen degrees to its east.
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How to grow a garden to suit many tastes

Quite a few plants love acid soils. Andromeda, azaleas, blueberries, leucothoe, mountain laurel and rhododendrons, bald and pond cypress, deciduous hollies, false heather, heather, Japanese hollies, mountain silverbell, oaks, partridge berry and sour gum love acid soils.
    Such plants demand soil with a pH between 4.5 and 5.5.

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With up to 100 meteors an hour, don’t miss the Perseids

This year’s Perseid meteor shower peaks late Sunday and Monday nights. And with the moon just a few days past new phase and setting in the early evening, the Perseids are worth staying up late or waking before the sun.
    The Perseids are one of the great meteor showers of the year, and this year the International Meteor Organization predicts up to 100 an hour at the peak.
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Perhaps the most exciting and demanding of the angler’s art

It was minutes short of sundown. The shadows were getting long, blending into a solid blackness along the nearby shoreline that hinted of the night about to fall. My casts were tempting the fates as they landed just off the edge of the riprap where I hoped a striper was lurking. Another foot or so and I would foul the top-water plug among the rocks. In water this skinny, I would have to break it off.

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Time to transplant azaleas and other acid-loving plants

Mid-August to early October is the time to transplant azaleas, rhododendrons, mountain laurel, andromeda, leucothoe and blueberries.
    What do blueberries have to do with azaleas and these other landscaping plants?
    By Aug­ust, all have stopped producing top growth and are now making root growth. Transplanting them at this time of year enables the plants to become well established before the ground freezes.

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Its beauty aside, Venus is no place like home

As the suns sets and the sky darkens, Venus beckons in the west at the feet of Leo and less than 10 degrees from the lion’s heart, Regulus.
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Cracking crabs speaks volumes

The water was 90 degrees, murky with algae and the skies overcast. We all peered intently at the barely visible trotline gliding through the water next to our skiff. One chicken neck bait after another appeared, slid over the roller and went back down. But there was no mistaking the first blue crab to appear. That jimmie was seven inches across.
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