Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Heavy Equipment is a treat for anyone any age. The book has huge elegant pictures of a wide variety of trucks and heavy equipment, including construction, mining, transporting, tunneling, harvesting, recycling, and more. You can find it in the Oversize section of the library. The authors give brief history and explanations of the various kinds of giant trucks and machines. They pack a lot of information into very little text so there is plenty of room for the marvelous selection of photos.
In Montgomery County and the DC area we generally see big trucks and heavy equipment in road construction or building construction, we also often see those eternal favorites, fire engines. To see more heavy equipment up close, and to get a chance to talk to the operators, you can usually find a county's best at the county fair. Keep your eye out for announcements of county fairs in July and August. Look for the Montgomery County Fair here.
Here are a few of the book's fabulous photos starting from the chapter heading for mobile wheeled cranes. Below that are pictures of mining shovels and the Komatsu 930E Giant Dump Truck, and last, the giant Krupp Bucket Wheel Excavator. Click on a picture once or twice to see it larger.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
My own little plot of earth looks like a miniature prairie. Only the fittest and the strongest survive! I forage for wild arugula, dandelion leaves, Chinese leeks, bamboo shoots, gobo, fuki and...where is that tasty green we had last year? My child once asked, “Mommy, is this really safe to eat?” “But of course, dear, we use no pesticide or fertilizer.” I suppose I could add rabbit meat and venison on our dinner table, too, for the nourishment they seem to get from my prairie, but that will be another topic for this column.
Most of us won’t or can’t be organic farmers. But thanks to the library, at least we can read, listen and watch about others who took the leap.
In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Barbara Kingsolver described her own year-long experiment to grow what her family ate after moving from suburban Arizona to rural Appalachia. She wrote, "Our highest shopping goal was to get our food from so close to home, we'd know the person who grew it. Often that turned out to be ourselves as we learned to produce what we needed, starting with dirt, seeds, and enough knowledge to muddle through."
Before Kingsolver, there was The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals and other books and documentary DVDs by Michael Pollan . If you are interested in reading more on the subject, Library Thing lists other titles under the subject locavore.
Or, we could just watch a documentary on a not-so-easy life of John Petersen on DVD, The Real Dirt on Farmer John. Here's a glimpse of the farmer on YouTube. Rotten Tomatoes gives 4 tomatoes (7.4 points out of 10)
EXTRA!! The University of Maryland Extension has information on local farms and their CSAs -- Community Supported Agriculture.
You might also want to check out organic gardening information for your own little plot (or pot?) of earth.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Streams of Consciousness are my strong point...so I think I'll indulge.
Savor a taste of something from the list below:
- When was the last time you updated your resume? Whether you need to fine-tune an existing document or develop one from scratch, the libraries have a great online resource for tips on polishing your entrance into your next big move.
- Feel like getting into shape for Summer? Who doesn't? Whether you're into low-impact exercise, intense sweat sessions or anything in between, the libraries have books and DVDs to meet your needs! Check out the following folks using the Catalog (type the name in the Search box, and select "author" from the dropdown):
-- Leslie Sansone (Walk at Home programs)
-- Jackie Warner (Circuit training, weights/strength)
-- Jillian Michaels (Circuit training, weights/strength)
-- Shiva Rea (Yoga)
-- Kelly Coffey-Meyer (Pilates, body sculpting)
...you can also browse the shelf at your local branch looking for call number 613.7
- Home foreclosures. Identity theft. Wills, estate, and probate. Lemon laws. These are real legal issues facing everyday people. Where can you get information to start off dealing with these? MCPL has a Law section under its "Research a Topic" link on the homepage. Here you'll find educational resources, referrals, and generic legal forms to put you "in control" of understanding and working within the law. This site offers legal information. MCPL makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information provided, but it must be evaluated critically by the user. MCPL does not provide legal advice, applying law to individual circumstances. For legal advice, an attorney should be consulted.
- Running late on that Spring cleaning project? Well, it's never too late! And MCPL can help you locate the proper place to donate your stuff! Check out the Donations page on the website. There are links to places accepting book donations, computers, electronics, and divers-n-sundry other miscellany. Give it a browse! It just may inspire you to start digging around the attic!
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
I recently found myself temporarily transplanted to the farm fields of western Montgomery County. While this causes me to grumble about the more frequent emptying of my gas tank (and my wallet), I found that there are many good things to be had out here. Of course, the best part just might be a visit to one of your up-county library branches, like Poolesville
. So what else should lure you out to the country?
In season, there are always farm-fresh fruits and veggies to be had. From summer corn and tomatoes to fall apples and pumpkins, there’s sure to be something for everyone. In just a few weeks, the area’s strawberry patches will be teeming with families and picking (and eating!) their juicy goodness. Why not make a batch of strawberry preserves, just like grandma used to? (catalog link?)
- Wide Open Spaces, Fresh Air, and Grand Views:
You’ll find an abundance of natural surroundings here. My
- Historical Sites Galore
The past is alive out here, whether you’re walking in its footsteps along the C & O Canal Trail
or driving through one the many historic towns here. Civil War
buffs will note that both Union and Confederate troops moved through and camped out in the area. Take a ride on the historic White’s Ferry
, in operation since 1786, and now the last of its kind on the Potomac. Many of the farming families here have been long established in their communities as well and many have connections to these earlier times.
- Life In the Slow Lane
Life is lived at a much slower pace (and we’re not just talking
about speed limits). Things are more easy-going and laidback here. It makes for a nice respite from the breakneck speed of life in the more urban areas of the county. Since everything is more spread out here, there’s no sense in rushing to get anywhere. You’ll arrive soon enough. (And if you try to hurry anyway, you’ll probably pay the price. There are no less than three speed cameras
spaced throughout my route to work.)
Hope to see you soon!
Montgomery County Public Libraries