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Fiction, nonfiction, children’s books make reviewer’s list of best books for 2013

Reading. Pfft. Who has time? Who can take hours and hours to actually read a book, especially if it’s not all that good? Why waste that kind of time? You wonder that often, which is where I come in. It’s my job to find the good stuff for you and, for this calendar year, these are the books I loved best that you shouldn’t miss.

Citrus in the desert is hit or miss

Question: Do oranges grow in Las Vegas? Also, when is the best time to plant a new tree?

Local drugstores offer Christmas goodies for outdoorsmen

Well, if you did it again — waited until the last minute to buy Christmas presents for your favorite hiker or camper — you’re not in so much trouble as you may think. Some of the most practical and appreciated gifts for outdoorsmen can be purchased at a CVS, Walgreens or hardware store through Christmas Eve. Furthermore, they’re inexpensive, so you can buy several items, making it certain the recipient will truly love at least one. Buy a low-cost stocking, fill it to the brim, and it will even look like you planned ahead.

Queen palms require much to survive here

Question: During the excessive hot spell in July, our irrigation failed while we were out of town. As a result, one of our queen palms lost all of its branches. In spite of subsequent life support, it does not appear to be coming back. Is that too much to hope for? Is there anything we can do to help it recover, or should we just mourn its passing?

Decomposing matter best way to acidify soil

Question: Have you ever heard of adding vinegar or citric acid when fertilizing plants in our area?

Mojave preserve offers views and plenty of Joshua trees

Beckoning seductively to city dwellers who long for elbow room, the 1.6 million-acre Mojave National Preserve lies in Southern California, barely an hour’s drive south of Las Vegas.

Book review: Bilingual story shares spirit of the holiday

Every year, Arturo and his abuela decorate their Christmas tree with special ornaments, but in the new book“Arturo and the Navidad Birds” by Anne Broyles, illustrated by KE Lewis, there was one year when the tradition was nearly shattered.

Winter-tender trees best planted early fall, spring

Question: I have seven fruit trees, including some citrus, that I planted in half whiskey barrels about three years ago. They all have had fruit the past two years. I want to transplant them into the ground in order to get more fruit. Is it best to transplant them in the fall or early spring?

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