Home & Garden
The arts of food preservation go back to civilization's beginnings. In ancient Mesopotamia, families saved their produce for lean times. They dried dates, apples and figs. Their meat might be smoked, dried, or salted meat. Softer fruits could be preserved in honey. Now we have cane sugar, pressure cookers, refrigeration, packaged pectin, and so much more to make the process easier. Preserves and pickles have gone gourmet and exotic with exciting flavor combinations to enjoy and share with others.
Tiny houses are all the rage, and now you can see why for yourself. A model tiny home will be set up at the Salem Church Branch on Monday, May 16, from 4:00-7:00 for you to tour, courtesy of Tiny House Building Company. Staff will be on site to answer questions. Explore how living with less can be comfortable, rewarding, and economical. Complete your visit by checking out some of our books on tiny houses!
Sometimes, there is more in the garden or orchard than you can use up at the dinner table. The same might hold true if you tend to go a little wild at farmers’ markets or on your co-op order. What to do with the oceans of apples, bunches of mint, or the bushels of berries? Sure, there are pies, preserves, and other delightful things that might be made from the bounty, but another possibility is to take at least some of your harvest and bottle it.
A life-threatening health condition led Dee Williams, author of The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir, to make some unorthodox life decisions. In seeking the traditional American dream of being a homeowner, she buys a house—one with great potential, but in need of extensive TLC. Dee, a farm girl, is not intimidated by hard work, and gradually she transforms her fixer-upper into charming digs, complete with a lavish garden. Between maintaining her abode and traveling for her job as a state hazardous waste inspector, she has no time to simply luxuriate in little day-to-day pleasures. It’s not until she is diagnosed with heart failure in her early forties that she realizes how vital it is to change her priorities. She is no longer content to be a slave to house and yard work.
It’s something people don’t want to think about—until they must. When friends or family members have debilitating conditions, so much so that they must have help on a daily or even hourly basis—it is time to sit down and figure out what can be done. The Comfort of Home: A Complete Guide for Caregivers is a plainly written manual for those who wish to keep their loved ones at home.
Anybody interested in DIY projects or maker culture or just getting back to basics should take a gander at the Foxfire series of books. Beginning in the late 60s and continuing on through today, a class at a rural Georgia high school decided to take a different tack at English class and create a magazine.
They had no money so the venture needed to pay for itself. As there was little market for poetry or short stories found in ordinary high school magazines, they decided to print folklore and folk ways gathered from people in their own community. It was the beginning of something amazing.
Beautiful in its design and content, Ashley English’s Handmade Gatherings offers splendid ideas for entertaining year-round and to intrigue all ages. She includes not only delicious recipes for earthy yet traditional foods, but she also finds crafty ways to feature the glories of each season.
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.
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.