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Grow your own nutrition

Did you know that there are many really easy to grow veggies that are super-nutritious? Some of them are even extremely tasty, like the sweet peas (from my garden) pictured here. You may find yourself eating them right off the vine! Check out this Top Ten list and start planning your garden for this summer.

Homegrown vegetables, fruits, and herbs: a bountiful, healthful garden for lean times by Jim Wilson; photography by Walter Chandoha

Saving and Sharing Seeds

Seed libraries are a way for people to share the seeds from the plants they grow, as well as to gain access to other heirloom varieties with which their neighbors may have had good luck. The Bay Area Seed Interchange Library is one such organization, which appears to be working well. Have you swapped seeds with others? Do you keep your own library of seeds from year to year? Would you be interested in participating in a seed swap in Canton? For more info on saving seeds, check out this article:

ACT Test Prep Guides

Canton residents can register for the ACT Prep Class with Sylvan Learning Center on February 15th with a valid Canton Public Library card. Seats are still available so don't wait to sign up!

ACT: premier

Cracking the ACT by Geoff Martz, Kim Magloire, and Theodore Silver

ACT: strategies, practice, and review

What year is 2011 in Chinese?

The Year of 2011 is the Year of the Golden Rabbit, which begins on February 3, 2011 and ends on January 22, 2012. The Rabbit is the 4th sign in the Chinese zodiac which consists of 12 animals signs. To find your sign, click on China Today web. The Rabbit is a lucky sign. People born in the Year of the Rabbit are reasonably friendly individuals who enjoy the company of a group of good friends. For more information on Chinese horoscopes, see these sources in our library. For information on how Chinese New Year is celebrated, including legends, food, and taboos, see this China Facts page.

Shamrock

Many folks ask, "Why is the Shamrock the National Flower of Ireland?" The reason is that St. Patrick used it to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagans. Saint Patrick is believed to have been born in the late fourth century, and is often confused with Palladius, a bishop who was sent by Pope Celestine in 431 to be the first bishop to the Irish believers in Christ.

Find out more about St. Patrick and Irish History.

Food Reading

Even when I don't feel like cooking I gravitate toward the cookery section of the library. I'm always interested in food and there are so many wonderful books on that subject that rarely list a recipe. The result? Hours spent comtemplating my favorite subject without the guilt of untried recipes haunting me. Just a few of my favorites are:

The man who ate everything : and other gastronomic feats, disputes, and pleasurable pursuits by Jeffrey Steingarten — Vogue food columnist Steingarten writes hilariously about his obessions with food.

You can compost

No, really, you can! Even if you live in an dwelling without a yard, you can still turn your food waste into rich, useful compost. Michigan garden expert Colleen Vanderlinden shows you how over at Planet Green. You can also check out some of our many resources on composting:

The compost specialist : the essential guide to creating and using garden compost, and using potting and seed composts by David Squire

May We Suggest (On Facebook)?

If you're on facebook and like books, DVDs, and all the other great things Canton Public Library provides, you'll probably be interested in our May We Suggest facebook page. We post recommendations from our expert staff: romance books, comedy DVDs, nonfiction and advice titles, and more. Along with that, we'd like to know what you're reading and whether you recommend other people to read it too. Join us on facebook for great recommendations.

Starting Your Veggie Garden From Seed

Now is the time when many gardeners in our area begin to start seeds indoors, so they'll have lovely seedlings to transplant into the garden when the weather warms up. You can even reuse many items from around the house, to save both money and time. We also have a number of books that will help you with starting from seed:

Gardening with heirloom seeds: tried-and-true flowers, fruits, and vegetables for a new generation by Lynn Coulter

Resources for the Transgender Community

She's Not There, by Jennifer Finney Boylan, was recommended to me by a transgender friend who described it as "the book she could relate to the most" regarding her experience. The book helped her in her decision to transition and me to understand her struggle with her sexual identity and what to expect from the transitioning process. CPL has other helpful gender identity resources including a Living Book who is the co-president of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) who can discuss the topic of transgender with you.

Remember the [blank]

A call to remember notable events, especially surprise attacks and disasters, is a well-known trope in the cultural memory. As George Santayana quipped, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." So, in case you have forgotten, here are some resources for remembrance of things past:

Remember the Alamo

The Alamo: a cultural history by Frank Thompson

Sleuthing the Alamo: Davy Crockett's last stand and other mysteries of the Texas Revolution by James E. Crisp

The Alamo [videodisc] by The History Channel

Remember the Maine

How the battleship Maine was destoyed by H.g. Rickover

Michigan Family Farms

Many people know that Canton, before it was developed, was largely farmland. But did you know that there are still functioning family farms in the area? Check out Michigan Family Farms.com to find information about local farms and lots more information about finding local food and events. You can also look forward to fresh, local food from some of these farms at the upcoming Winter Markets at the Canton Farmers Market.

The Good Night, Sleep Tight Workbook

Does your baby, toddler, or preschooler need help sleeping peacefully through the night? Kim West, also known as The Sleep Lady, has the guide for you. West's book, The Good Night, Sleep Tight Workbook will teach you techniques for giving your child a good night's rest. Covering the newborn stage up to age five, this book offers many solutions for the tired household. Check it out from the Parenting section in the Children's Department.

To-may-to, To-mah-to

Don't those tomatoes look delicious? This winter weather may have us stuck inside, but we can at least prepare for the glorious gardening days to come, right? There are many types of tomato cages you can use to support your plants, several of which are highlighted in this post over at Mother Earth News. Personally, I've never used anything as architectural as these folding wooden tomato cages, but I think I might try building some.

How do you Save Money in Your Garden?

Gardening has many rewards, but as we all have to scrimp and pull our belts a bit tighter, it can seem like it's expensive to get started. There are many things we can do to be more thrifty in the garden, though! Over at The Home Gardener, Dave Townsend offers three really great tips: start from seed, propagate your own plants, and participate in plant swaps.

Are there other ways that you've found to save money in the garden? I like to reuse household objects to make garden items, and I recycle my friends' and neighbors' decorative straw bales as mulch each fall. What tips do you suggest?

Super Bowl 45 Coming Soon!

Well football fans, we are getting down to the nitty-gritty here in the 2010 to 2011 football season. There are only 23 days left until Super Bowl 45 in Arlington, Texas. Are you gearing up for the big event? Have you bought all your cheesy snacks and carbonated beverages yet? Is your favorite team going to be the one to raise the trophy at the end of the night? For all the latest and greatest information concerning this year's Super Bowl event, check out the official website here. I'm on pins and needles… are you?