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On Leg 4, the Volvo Ocean Racers leave China and head to New Zealand

When we last checked on The Volvo Ocean Race, 13 days from Abu Dhabi to China had ended with a tacking duel that pushed the exhausted crews to their limits. Leg 4 begins in Sanya Bay, homeport last-place boat, and ends in Auckland, New Zealand.

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Here’s how to get early indoor flowering

Can’t wait for spring?    
    Bring spring indoors, and you can enjoy early flowers.
    Pussy willow can be cut and brought indoors for forcing any time after the middle of January.
    Force forsythia into flowering next, starting as early as February.
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Venus and Jupiter are at their best, and the moon isn’t too shabby, either

As the sun dips toward the horizon, Venus and Jupiter appear high in the west. Venus, the brighter of the two, shines roughly five degrees below Jupiter at week’s end, but that gap is closing fast. They reach their nearest on Tuesday, shining side by side a mere three degrees apart. Visible for almost four hours after sunset, this is the best conjunction of Venus and Jupiter for years to come....

If you love Maryland wildlife, thank a hunter

I expected rancor, high emotion and fireworks. Who wouldn’t complain, years into a recession, at being targeted for a substantial hike in fees?
    What happened at last Saturday’s hunters’ roundtable was nothing of the kind.
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Our sister planets are at peak display this week

This is a week for watching the planets. Mercury is emerging from the glow of twilight in its best appearance of the year. Higher above, Venus and Jupiter are drawing together on their way to an incredible conjunction. Mars reaches opposition and is at its largest and brightest for the year. Saturn’s there, too, a golden sentinel visible from 10pm until dawn.
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This root is easy to grow, but ­processing it is tearful, hard work

If you’ve been smart enough to plant horseradish, your reward is at hand. Now that the tops of the horseradish plants have died back to the ground, it is time to dig up the roots and make horseradish with a kick. Add fresh homemade horseradish to cocktail sauce, horseradish sauce or your favorite baked beans, and you’ll feel that kick.
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Fortune favors the relentless

The fish were big and fat: two limits of golden-yellow perch that barely fit into a large bucket. What a haul! Beautiful, healthy fish, most over 12 inches and a few that exceeded 14. Unfortunately they weren’t ours.
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How many planets can you spot?

The waxing crescent moon and Mercury appear low in the west-southwest after sunset Thursday. While the moon is easy to spot, Mercury is 10 degrees lower, buried amid twilight’s glow. Your chance to catch the innermost planet hinges between its own setting, around 6:45, and the sun’s glare, which doesn’t give way to full darkness until 7pm. Scanning the horizon with a pair of binoculars will help....

From keeping to ordering to planting

Last year’s crop of onions was great. It was a bumper crop and should have supplied the family with fresh onions through March and into April as the previous year’s crop. However, due to the early sprouting and a disease called neck rot, we finished eating the last onion shortly after Thanksgiving. Having never experienced this problem before, I decided to investigate the cause.
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But proposed registration increases need tweaking

Fishing and boating on Chesapeake Bay are among Maryland’s great attractions. But you’ve got to pay to play.
    The list of what needs doing is long and constant:

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