Home & Garden

Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson

Eating on the Wild Side
Recently I heard Jo Robinson on NPR discussing her latest work, Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health, and was riveted. So, move over Barbara Kingsolver. Sadly you’ve been replaced as my nutrition guru. I SOOOO loved Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life.

Fix it Yourself @ the Library

Fix it Yourself @ the Library

It always seems to happen at the most inopportune time. You need to fix your car or small engine, but you don’t have a repair manual. What’s more, the library is closed.  Don’t worry!  Instead of waiting for the library to open and driving all the way there, you can get the same information at home using two of our online databases. Best of all, they are available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Auto Repair Reference Center has information on cars including repairs, wiring diagrams, bulletins, and more. Small Engine Repair has information on all types of small engines, including outdoor equipment, motorcycles, tractors, and more.

Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon’s Army and Other Diabolical Insects by Amy Stewart

Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon’s Army and Other Diabolical Insec
The amateur naturalist in me was piqued when this book came up in my Goodreads list. I was certainly not disappointed. Wicked Bugs is a fascinating presentation of the darker side of our relationship with bugs. Amy Stewart presents a small sampling the most dangerous, painful, destructive and horrible ones that humans have encountered. 
 
Bugs have indeed changed the course of history from the louse that wiped out Napoleon’s army during the French Invasion of Russia to the locust that wiped out crops in the Great Plains. You cannot read this book without developing a deeper respect for nature or learning something new. 

Porter Branch Vegetable Garden

Porter Branch Vegetable Garden

While discussing the idea of the series of library programs under the umbrella of Cultivating Community, it suddenly hit me that we could have a vegetable garden on the grounds of the Porter Branch! The next thought was...we could give the bounty of fresh vegetables to the Stafford County food pantry, otherwise known as S.E.R.V.E. The idea was to help the community, teach young people about fresh food and where it comes from, and allow those families who use the food pantry to obtain some fresh produce, locally grown.

Cultivating Community: Web Resources

Cultivating Community: Web Resources

"Cultivating Community" is a community-wide program designed to share information in the Fredericksburg region about farm-to-table and sustainable food communities. These web sites support those goals by exploring how you can assess the sustainability of your community and your home, finding locally grown foods or growing your own, cooking, and sustainable gardening.

Community Sustainability Assessment: gen.ecovillage.org/activities/csa/English
A comprehensive checklist that anyone can complete to get a basic idea of how sustainable their community is. While it requires good knowledge of the life-styles, practices and features of the community, it does not require research, calculation and detailed quantification. This assessment takes about three hours for an individual to complete, or a series of sessions if done as a group experience by community members.

EBSCOhost: Gardening and Cookbooks the eBook Way

Cover to Herbs in Bloom

With the gardening season starting in full force, there are many moments when we plan a project, even get started and then get stuck. Further guidance and reading is required. The Central Rappahannock Regional Library certainly has a large collection of paper copies of gardening books. But what happens if the perfect book is checked out and has holds on it? Or, perhaps you can't get in to see us at the library. Time is running out, and you need to start now.

I was aware of the fact that EBSCOhost has a collection of electronic gardening books but did not know how extensive the collection is. By typing in "gardening," as the search term, I came up with over four pages of results.

To utilize the results of your gardening, there are also many different cookbooks also available as eBooks.

Dreaming of a Vegetable Garden? Keep Reading.

There is nothing as satisfying as seeing a successful vegetable garden. Like anything else, a little planning and some work is required. There are many resources to check when you are starting a project, but I am going to make it a little simpler for you so you can save yourself the time of sifting through the million hits that you will get when you start an online search.

The Family Dinner by Laurie David

In The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time, Laurie David offers some startling statistics about the importance – and scarcity – of the family dinner. Only “half of modern families eat together more than three to five times a week” and that time is usually spent in front of the television. The six o’clock family dinner of healthy, homecooked food enjoyed together over leisurely conversation seems to be a swiftly vanishing occurrence…and yet statistics have proven that the family dinner is a vital tool for improving grades and helping to fight obesity and drug abuse. Luckily, this book offers you a roadmap to family-dinner bliss, providing all the recipes and conversation topics you need to get started or enhance your current routine.

Recipes, authored by Kirstin Uhrenholdt, are grouped into “Fast Recipes,” “Cook it Together at the Table,” “Souper Dinners,” “Take it Slow,” “Meatless Mondays,” and “Kids in the Kitchen.” There are recipes here to appeal to all palates. I can’t wait to try “Soy Good Maple-Glazed Salmon with Edamame Succotash” and “Savory Sausage and White Bean Stew.” I can imagine the kids gobbling up the homemade “Mac n’ Cheese Please” or the “Thai Chicken Wraps.” Helpful recipes for vinaigrettes to dress your salad will have you eschewing bottled sauce forever. And don't forget to try one of the simple sweets in "Play with Your Dessert."

The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food and Love by Kristin Kimball

The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food and Love by Kristin Kimball

I don’t know about you, but I’m always drawn to accounts of people who forgo traditional lives to pursue the unknown. Some make the move to remote locations; others choose to follow unusual career paths. In The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food and Love, author Kristin Kimball leaves behind what many might label an enviable existence as a freelance writer in New York City to stake a claim on a 500-acre, ramshackle farm.

Kristin’s been assigned to write an article about Mark, who’s making a name for himself in the ever-changing world of farming. Rather than being able to interview her subject—who remains on a constant treadmill of chores—she finds herself hoeing broccoli and slaughtering pigs…all in her urban finest. The next day brings her no closer to Mark as she’s assigned to work the tomato fields. With time running out and only a few scribbles recorded, Kristin implores Mark to answer her questions. Their brief encounter will lead to a major life change for them both.

Why Not Start Canning?

Canning book

With the arrival of summer, there is an abundance of produce all around us.  Some of us may be garden-savvy and are already receiving the fruits of our labor from our backyards.  All around us the farms and the Farmer's Markets are bursting with great, fresh produce that is locally grown.  Why not buy some extra and try canning and preserving some of this goodness?  Not only will you be helping out the local farmers, but you will also get the satisfaction of something that you have preserved, and you know exactly what you put into it.

Like any new venture, you do want to read about it and have the proper equipment.  The good news is that the equipment is relatively cheap and is abundantly available at local retailers or stores online.  Plus your library carries many books on this topic.