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There was an unmistakable chorus of ooohs and aaahs when visitors to Historic Ellicott City's 18th annual Decorator Show House entered the English Cottage Playroom and Children's Music Room at Cloverdale. Thanks to the imaginative whimsy of the local decorating team at the Porch Swing and Comare Wall Designs, these fanciful rooms have created a stir.

Cloverdale, on Old Frederick Road in Poplar Springs, will remain open for visitors through Oct. 20. Show house hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. For information on tickets or directions to Cloverdale, call 410-461-6908, visit the Web page at www.ecbo.org or stop by and chat with Susan or Christine at the Porch Swing, 10455 Frederick Road in Ellicott City.

The seventh annual Howard County Farm Heritage Days will be held Sept. 28 and 29, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Mt. Pleasant Farm, 10520 Old Frederick Road in Woodstock.

Vintage farm equipment demonstrations, old-time working blacksmith shop, antique car and truck displays, wagon rides and an arts and crafts show and flea market round out the roster of activities. Bluegrass band Southwest Bluegrass will perform on Saturday and Lone Mountain will perform during a live bluegrass gospel church service at 10 a.m. on Sunday.

The event is sponsored by the Howard County Antique Farm Machinery Club. Questions? Call Virginia or John Frank at 410-531- 2569.

The Howard County Celestial Searchers, an astronomy club for Howard County students in grades K-12, held its first meeting of the school year on Sept. 23. Meetings will be held on the fourth Monday of each month, 7 p.m, in the art room at Bushy Park Elementary. Meetings last one hour and are generally followed by outside stargazing, weather permitting.

Most meetings consist of a speaker or a project and astro storytelling. The mission of the astronomy club is to have fun and enjoy the wonders of the universe, according to founder Joel Goodman (Stardoc).

Consider joining this group and exploring the cosmos. For information, contact Goodman at 410-531-6600 or e-mail him at Doctorjoel@Goodteeth.com.

Wondering how to keep the little ones fit as the days grow colder? Rick Kain at Triumph Fitness and Tennis Center has just the ticket.

Kids ages 3 to 5 are invited to sign up for Fitastik, a session of non-competitive activities aimed at improving coordination, strength and stretching abilities.

Props such as hoops, balls, obstacle course items and even a parachute enliven the activities. Call the fitness center at 410-489-2901 for information on these classes which will meet on Mondays and Fridays at 10:40 a.m.

Not that we don't all love those little "Bambis" in our front yards. The Glenwood Branch Library will discuss homeowners options for learning to live in relative peace with the increasingly common visitors during the Deer Management program on Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. Fencing, repellants and plant selection are a few of the topics to be covered. Register in person or call 410- 313-5577.

Mouse in the House? It's Family Web Surfing and Homework Helpers at the Glenwood library on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. The program, geared towards kids ages 7 and up, with an adult, will explore the basics of surfing the Net and the discovery of kid-friendly sites that are great homework helpers.

Register in person or call 410-313-5579.

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