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Each species has a different trick

Crows, morning doves, pigeons and black birds love to pluck sprouting seeds of corn, snap beans and lima beans in the garden. Robins love to eat strawberries, while mocking birds and brown thrush love to eat blueberries as they ripen. Birds can also do a great deal of damage to maturing sweet corn. They will rip away the husks and silk and peck out the kernels from the tops of the ears.
    How to deter them?
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You’ll have to rise early and stay up late to see all five naked-eye planets

The nascent crescent moon emerges from the glow of sunset low in the west-northwest Thursday evening. Above the moon is Mercury with the Gemini twins Pollux and Castor higher still. Sunset Friday finds the waxing crescent a little higher in the west with Mercury, Pollux, and Castor farther to its right.
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Here’s how to make it work

Making compost in a drum composter is very different from making compost in a bin on the surface of the ground. When you’re composting in a bin on the ground, any excess water drains from the compost into the ground. Any moisture released in the air surrounding the pile is quickly disbursed by wind and air currents.
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Good fishing, good eating and good news

Casting up tight to the riprapped shoreline, I flipped the bail closed on the small spin reel and started my retrieve. I wanted to keep the Rooster Tail lure up and off the submerged rock below. My retrieve slowed as the lure came away from the stony structure and I let it settle, slow rolling it down, close to the bottom where I hoped some big blackbacks were holding.
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Look for the moon’s shadowy face on these shortest nights

The waning crescent moon heralds the coming sun in pre-dawn eastern skies through week’s end. So close to the sun’s glow, there’s more to this moon than meets the eye. While the crescent appears clearly aglow, the supposedly missing face appears as a dark notch. This is a result of earthshine, sunlight reflected off our planet that casts a shadowy glow over the rest of the moon’s visible face....

It takes two species for fruit trees to blossom

A Bay Weekly reader complains that her apple trees have not produced any fruit during the five years that she has had them in her garden. All five, she told me, are of the same variety: golden delicious trees. She was told that for the trees to produce fruit, she needed to plant more than one tree. Since her preference was for Golden Delicious, that is what she purchased and planted.

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New regional recommendations help ensure legal harvests

It’s good news for the Chesapeake Bay, which provides 75 percent of striped bass stocks that reside in the Atlantic. New recommendations by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission tackle the very real threat that commercial poaching poses to the fish’s sustainability.

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The season’s brightest star shines overhead

Look for Mars high above the southwest horizon at the feet of Leo the lion, with blue-white Regulus well to the west. Saturn is high in the south, with equally bright Spica five degrees below. Mars and Saturn both shine at first magnitude, as bright as a typical star, but Mars fades noticeably over the month....

Your plants can’t tell you what they need; a soil test can

I recently received photographs of dead and dying plants along with soil test results sent by a Bay Weekly reader. The reader had sent numerous plant samples to a university for analysis only to be told that the injury was due to a fungus. As I studied the photographs, I could not identify a fungus that would cause such symptoms, so I requested a complete soil analysis.
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The Paralyzed Veterans of America annual event is a must in my family

The first target out of the trap house for me was just the slightest angle off of dead-straight-away, always a dangerous target and easy to misjudge. I swung up my 12-gauge single-barrel trap gun, just touched the bottom of the departing clay with my front bead, and slapped the trigger. The bird sailed on untouched as the scorer behind me called out, lost.
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