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WEDNESDAY

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On weekends, I always peek out the windows before leaving the house. Why? My yard-working neighbors. It’s one of the burdens of being a renter on a block overwhelmingly occupied by homeowners. “Oh, I like your yard,” one neighbor diplomatically told me as she tinkered with her impatiens. “It’s got that overgrown, lush Louisiana look to it.” Lately, though, I’ve found out that other neighborhood dwellers consider my house a pox on theirs. “You know you’re growing poison oak?” the guy next door said as I rushed out a week ago. He told me that the noxious weed has grown so thick from my yard into his that his family can barely walk out the door without getting a rash. Talk about a guilt trip. Maybe it’s time for me to attend Earth Connection School of Wilderness Survival and Ancient Skills instructor Tim MacWelch’s lecture on dangerous plant and animal identification. Who knows what else might be lurking underneath? MacWelch speaks at 7:30 p.m. at REI, 3509 Carlin Springs Road, Baileys Crossroads. Free. (703) 379-9400. (Elissa Silverman)