When there's a chill in the air and the leaves are starting to turn, that's the time that people think about apple harvests. Virginia is known for its apples, and there are orchards throughout the state that have the delicious fruit in many varieties. There are apple festivals, too, where you can sometimes pick your own apples and even watch people making spicy, dark apple butter. But whenever people talk about how apple trees were spread across America in the early 1800s, there's always one name that comes up. Johnny Appleseed.
In 1821, Mexico finally won its independence from Spain after a long war. It was a lot like the American Revolution against Britain; heroic generals led an army of poor, brave farmers against the Spanish army and by sheer guts wore the Spanish down. The constitution was written in 1824 even called the new nation the United States of Mexico. It was larger than the United States, covering all of modern Mexico plus the western third of the modern United States.
Looking for something to do on a summer day? Grab a piece of chalk, some bottle caps, and maybe even a bag of marbles. Have friends over. Eat, laugh, play in the sun, drink something icy, and chalk out your own game board. It's summer, after all. As in sun. As in fun. When you're done chalking circles, squares and secret messages on the sidewalk, head over to a field or a playground and try your luck with Amoeba Tag or Ghost in the Graveyard. Outside. It's the place to play. After all, whoever tried the Water Balloon Toss in the den and lived to tell the tale?
You can find rules to great games both online and in the library.
The long hot days of summer are fast upon us, and with them there will be time for sports, time for camp, time to dream, and time to do. Time to start a diary or journal?
A journal can be written for only yourself, to write down the things that are important to you: lists of favorites (music, t.v., and movies), pictures of friends and family, and, of course, your innermost thoughts. Fun times deserve to be remembered, and sometimes writing about a bad situation can help you deal with it better as you think it through on paper. That kind of journal is personal, and you may not wish to share it with anyone.
CRRL's newest MakerLab opened at Salem Church Branch beginning in April. This STEM exploration space includes hands-on activities and demonstrations for all ages, including a 3D printer, Ozobots, Snap Circuits, robot arms, Legos, and so much more. Regular hours for the Salem Church lab are every Friday, from 3:00-5:00.
One morning, the old wooden dam on the Rappahannock River went up in clouds of smoke. It was a huge thing—ancient and strong, built in layers to tame the river so that the power of the water pushing against it could provide electricity for the town. But it had been years since anyone tapped that power. Now, the dam was falling apart, and it was decided that it had become dangerous. So the Army Corps of Engineers blew it up one morning, and the river was flowing freely again—just as it had in previous centuries. By getting rid of the dam, the river had a chance to go back to being more like it once was. There would be more fish, which would mean more birds, and, really more of everything.
How much fun is it to make a building? Just a building, maybe not so much fun. But how about a superhero headquarters, a garage, a space station, a cottage, a stable, or a fashion doll house? By using recycled materials from around the house, and a few craft supplies, you can design your own toys exactly the way you want them.
Have you ever been in a place where there were lots of buildings but no trees? New housing developments or parts of a city that have been neglected for a long time may not have the shady spots and fresh air that trees give. As trees breathe, they let out oxygen that humans and animals need to survive. Their roots hold the ground together, making sure the soil doesn't blow away in the wind. When a tree dies naturally in the forest, its wood becomes a home for insects and a cafeteria for the hungry birds who eat those insects. Trees provide so many good things for the Earth.
An aquarium is a watery world in miniature. It can be as complicated as you want or just a simple and safe place to keep a beautiful and patient pet. If you're new to fish keeping, you should start with the basics, but even beginners can have a terrific aquarium. Both beta fish (also known as Siamese fighting fish or bettas) and goldfish are good for first-timers. They're attractive and not so demanding of a special environment in order to thrive.
When winter skies turn gray, and the air thickens with a chill, life becomes harder for the feathered ones. Food is scarcer, and handouts from us humans can make a difference to them. Take just a few minutes to create a place for the birds to hang out on a frosty day. Once you've got your feeder hung, check out a bird identification book from the library to learn the names of your grateful guests.