Although nowhere near the Master Gardener level, I’m a somewhat seasoned gardener. In fact, I’ve sown many vegetable/flower/herb seeds after the danger of frost has passed in the mid-spring of early May, planted through the summer months, and also well into mid-fall, when I annually bed down garlic cloves to slowly grow into harvestable bulbs by the following June. Recently I decided to indulge my love of milkweed, the host plant for Monarch butterflies, and purchased eight of the possible hundreds of varieties of milkweed seed. Upon their receipt in February, I will scatter them on the winter ground, so they will get the freeze they need to germinate this spring. It’s truly satisfying to grow some of my own food, and help tend a happy habitat of eye-catching, perennial wildflowers for birds and insects of all sorts, all the while being intimately engaged with the natural cycles of the seasons here on Mother Earth. Continue reading “Cool Season Gardening”
Regardless of your political leanings, we all want to make the world a better place. Still, it’s so easy to feel powerless. From global issues to local issues, problems seem impossibly big and completely unchangeable. Where do you even start?
Luckily, people experienced in the field have offered advice. “Rules for Revolutionaries,” authored by the senior advisers of Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential campaign, provides 22 rules for “Big Organizing” to magnify a small grassroots movement into a large force for social change. In a similar vein, “Road Map for Revolutionaries” offers practical advice on attending protests, calling your representatives and leveraging social media for a cause. The book also gets into the grittier aspects of activism, such as what to do if you are arrested or tear-gassed. The layout features helpful charts and graphics, which make it easy to get the information you need with a quick glance. Continue reading “Social Activism: Boone, Callaway and Beyond!”
Some facets of American history are heavily romanticized, and some are unjustly forgotten. For example, mention of the Pony Express conjures images of daring men racing westward, braving the elements to deliver important messages and join the two coasts of America. In actuality, this male-driven, short-lived business venture lasted a mere 18 months and served only the wealthy. Infinitely cooler and yet barely remembered are the horseback librarians (know colloquially as “book women”) who braved long, treacherous mountain routes to deliver books to the poverty-stricken Appalachian community during the Great Depression. Continue reading “The Horseback Librarians of the Great Depression”
One of the reasons I love the New Year is because it feels like a fresh start. A chance to reflect on the past year, improve upon myself and set new goals. Setting a New Year’s resolution is a popular activity for many people. The beginning of a new year is a great time for transition and change. Maybe you want to write a book, run a marathon, lose weight or start a new career. It can be exciting to take advantage of a fresh, new year to motivate you to make a change in your life.
On the downside, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. While it is fun to envision a “brand new you” and set big goals, sometimes we set ourselves up to fail by choosing goals that are unrealistic. According to “Psychology Today“, there could be a number of reasons that your New Year’s resolutions fail. One of the most common issues with goal-setting is that goals are not clear. If goals are too general or vague it can be hard to determine the steps you need to reach your goal. Another possible reason for failing at your resolution is feeling overwhelmed or discouraged. It can be difficult to know where to start with your goal, or perhaps it is such a big change that you feel overwhelmed by the pressure. Sometimes we fail because we are just not ready for change. It is important to think about your motivation or reason for change and be ready to make a commitment. When we don’t truly want to change our habits or lifestyle we find excuses and have a hard time putting in the effort. Continue reading “Building New Habits for the New Year”
I have a chronic sweet tooth, so my favorite part of the holidays is baking and exchanging cookies, cakes, pies and other treats. Having some dietary restrictions, however, I sometimes get left out. Allergies, intolerances, ethics, religion — there are many reasons someone could have dietary restrictions. While most people want to accommodate everyone at the table, learning to bake in an entirely different way can be daunting. Luckily, these specialized cookbooks have you covered! They not only offer recipes for holiday sweets, but also walk you through how to substitute certain common ingredients. Using those tips, you could even tweak your own family recipes to make them suitable for everyone on your holiday gift list. Continue reading “Inclusive Holiday Baking”
I enjoy making gifts. I’ve made big things such as quilts and small things like ornaments. I’ve made things out of fabric and things that are edible. I’ve put together photo albums and scrapbooks. When I make a gift, I can personalize it and design it to reflect the interests of the recipient. This year I made book bags for my grandchildren and felt ornaments for several family members. I have plans to make cookie dough bon-bons for my daughter-in-law who loves chocolate chip cookie dough. It’s not too late for you to make something to give this season. Check out some of these books from the library for inspiration:
If you like to cook, try “Favorite Brand Name Gifts from the Christmas Kitchen” or “The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook.” The latter contains the recipe for cookie dough bon-bons. The original recipe covers the dough in melted chocolate. I roll mine in cocoa powder instead. It’s faster, easier, and they still taste great! Continue reading “Handmade Gifts for the Holidays”
The winter holiday season has arrived and many of us are thinking about gift-giving, which for folks who like to use their hands, means that the season of gift-making has begun. In my humble opinion, hand making gifts is, hands down, much more satisfying than shopping for gifts at the mall or online. If you’d like to give a handmade gift this season, there are two fun and interesting crafting options being offered by DBRL for you to try: basket weaving and needle felting with wool. Both are tactility and visually pleasing activities and if approached with a relaxed attitude (no hurrying yourself), then you might find the repetitive nature of this work to be a soothing agent to any holiday stress you’ve accumulated.
First up: basket weaving (or basket making, if you prefer). Everyone knows what a basket is, right? It’s a vessel or container, created by weaving pliable materials together. Probably every single one of us has at least one basket in our house, but most likely several or many of various shapes and sizes, used for storing something like dinner napkins, or for serving bread at the dining table. Baskets are a form of functional art and have lent beauty to the rituals of daily living for thousands of years. This ancient craft, dating back to at least as early as 12,000 years ago, can be done utilizing traditional materials (i.e. vines, grasses, pine needles, reeds, etc.) or using less conventional materials, like paper strips or wire. I’m intrigued by the idea of upcycling materials, such as worn out clothing, to fashion a basket, thereby making functional art from something that would otherwise end up in the landfill. If you’d like to weave a basket, come by Southern Boone County Public Library on Saturday, December 8, from 1-3 p.m. Materials will be provided. Continue reading “Winter Holiday Season Handcrafting Opportunities!”
As a barrage of sneezes echos through the stacks, I have to accept that temperatures are falling. At home, I plow through my cold weather drawer only to find one lonely, taunting glove.
“You lost my twin!” it whines.
“You’re not so special,” I think.
This happens every year. I suppose it’s time to cast on a new pair. Rather than feel annoyed at myself, I see this as an opportunity to create, to flex my purling muscles, to track down some alpaca wool in my mom’s massive yarn stash. Truly, there are few things more satisfying than donning your own handiwork, though the knitting process itself can also reap many rewards. These can range from mindfulness practice and stress management to loosening arthritic joints and other boosts to your mental and physical health. Knitting circles, which are ubiquitous among the many nooks and crannies of the library, not only encourage members along in their projects but also foster camaraderie, creativity and accountability. Continue reading “Winter Warm-Up: Knits”
As part of the library’s mission to connect people to ideas and be at the heart of our community, we are always happy when we have an opportunity to support local creative endeavors. Obviously, providing access to books and encouraging literacy are also in the library wheelhouse, so we try to support local authors whenever we can. One way we do this is by adding their books to our collection in the hope that they will be discovered by their fellow community members. We provide resources for aspiring writers to help hone their craft, or guide them in their quest to get published. We also host some programs for those ambitious people who are spending this month participating in National Novel Writing Month. And we are now about to embark on the third year of our Local Authors Open House, this Saturday, November 17 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
During that time we will have tables set up for 50 local authors on the first floor of the Columbia Public Library. That provides an opportunity for the authors to meet each other and the general public, as well as to promote and sell their books. The writing that will be on display spans an impressive range of genres and styles. There will be books of poetry, young adult fantasy novels, mysteries, historical fiction, memoirs, picture books, books of local interest and books about national politics. That’s just a small sample, so please come to the library this Saturday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to meet some local authors and peruse their work.
At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the fighting ceased. The Great War (as it was then called) had been raging for more than four years and had cost millions of lives. November 11, 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Armistice of Compiègne, the peace agreement that silenced the guns of World War I.
A lot of powerful poetry came out of the war, much of it written by soldiers in the field. Some of these authors became identified as the Trench Poets. Their verse was known for its gritty detail and lack of romantic illusions. “Above the Dreamless Dead” is a collection of 20 World War I poems illustrated by contemporary comics artists. The styles are as varied as the poems, but all help to capture the realities of combat. Continue reading “Armistice Day — 100th Anniversary”