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Gardening: Mower can be integral in seasonal leaf removal

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Today we will celebrate with family and friends around a table with more calories than we deserve. So how do we burn those off before they become permanently attached to our bodies? For those of you who haven’t gotten around to raking leaves yet, here is an easy way to get the job done with a minimum of effort and help your garden beds in the process.

We went for the colorful leaves, but found so much more on our trip to Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – I had been looking forward to this for a long time – a road trip in Rhode Island with two friends to see New England fall foliage at its best. The only problem was that while my friends and I were there, the foliage was a no-show. October is generally peak time to catch fall’s annual display of botanical pyrotechnics, but this year – due to the region’s unusually long, hot summer – trees were still emerald green, with not even so much as a wayward gold or orange leaf peeping through. So much for witnessing the blazing tapestry of colors.

Where are we with female equality? Things parents can do to keep daughters happy, healthy

Since the 1960s, more U.S. women have made successful gains in education, athletics and careers, including science and technology. But debate continues on if we’ve really reached gender equality. That’s just one part of the equation, says Spokane family counselor and author Michael Gurian. He calls for understanding science-backed differences in how boys and girls learn and emote.

Ask Dr. Universe: What makes a pepper hot?

Peppers come in colors like orange, green, yellow, and red, and have different amounts of spiciness. They can be dried into flakes, ground into powder, or made into a fiery hot sauce.

Gardening: Keep your houseplants alive this winter

Winter’s gentle teaser last week is a good reminder that our gardening has moved indoors for the next few months. Here are some tips to keep plants alive and happy. As we get into the holidays, poinsettias are going to find their way home with us and they don’t like the cold; they will drop their leaves if they get too much of it. Try to pick them up as your last stop before going home and don’t leave them sitting in your car. Once home keep them in bright indirect light and away from heat vents and cold drafts. Water them when the soil surface is dry to the touch but don’t let them stand in water afterward. The colored bracts will last well into late winter and beyond. They make a good houseplant year-round but are notoriously difficult to get to rebloom. Check out the Spokane Community College Greenhouse Program’s annual poinsettia sale going on today and tomorrow. See the side bar for details.

At the Vet’s: Treat with love

Veterinary medicine is expensive, and the doctors must be able to lay out options for clients, give them choices and prices. Dr. Greg Benoit is a small business owner, and he’s got to keep things running and make sure everyone understands that even if something can be done medically, it’s always the owner’s call whether to go ahead. Shaming will not work and is in no one’s best interest.