Monday, 25 June 2007

June 24, 2007 Vegetable Gardening

We have finally started to plant our vegetable garden. This is quite a chore, as some of you may know. Though we are not garden novices, this is only our second year at planting vegetables. Visions of pickled beets and bread and butter pickles dance through our dreams. We can almost taste the salad made with radish, green onions and other fresh picked greens. Last year though, we were raided. Since we live way out in the country on a hundred and thirty five acres of land, we know the raid was not done by humans, but by those with wings and fur and slime. Yes our raid was made by birds, slugs, rabbits and our dog Ike. Our wish for fresh Brussels sprouts were gone as a rabbit, possibly two, harvested them first. So how do we protect our garden this year from nature's raiders?

According to Please Don't Eat My Garden by Nancy McCord, if you plant Allium around your vegetables, they will repel mice, rabbits and moles. If you plant them around the outside of your garden, it will keep not only rabbits but raccoons, skunks, and woodchucks out. You will also find other remedies to safeguard your garden against those who would otherwise move in and harvest your garden before you can blink.

In the book Slug Bread and Beheaded Thistles by Ellen Sandbeck, you can enlist your
children to go slug hunting. Fill a spray bottle with half vinegar and half water. Take a flashlight and head out to the garden. As you flash your light on the ground let the children to spray the slugs.

What about those cute furry little chipmunks? We've all seen them raiding out feeders, but did you know one of the Chipmunks favorite thing to do is to go after your strawberries? In the book titled Squirrel Wars by George Harrison you should sprinkle cayenne pepper around the plants to keep the chipmunks away, but remember to repeat after it rains.

You have to remember though, that not all bugs and crawly creatures are bad. Earthworms and night crawlers are great for your garden. Check out Good Bugs for your Garden by Allison Mia Starcher. She writes not only about the benefits of earthworms but of other creatures such as spiders, mites and beetles.

Perhaps you have an insect that you can not identify. Do not try to destroy it as it may be an insect that is good for your garden. Take a look at Garden Insects of North America by Whitney Cranshaw. This book will help you identify not only outside garden insects but those who have decided that your indoor plants are tasty as well.

I recently have come across a book that seems perfect for me, perhaps you may also like to check it out. Vegetable Gardening for Dummies by Charlie Nardozzi. It has several areas that deal with pests. My favorite is when they talk about Handpicking. This works on the larger bugs. It seems that you grab bugs by the tail and body slam them to the ground and stomp on them. This would be another great family activity, maybe?

If you are internet smart try the following interesting sites. and These sites all
have interesting ideas to help keep the pests away from your garden.

I hope you have a happy gardening season with few garden raids. Now if I could only stop Ike the dog from digging up my plants and moving them to the driveway.

Nancy Randle is a Library Technician at the MJLB Library

Friday, 15 June 2007

June 17, 2007 BBQs

Summer is on its way! Get out your BBQs, picnic blankets, and warm up that appetite. The library is waiting to help you out.

The New Gas Grill Gourmet by A. Cort Sinnes is a completely revised and expanded version of the classic gas griller's bible, with 100 brand-new recipes. There are plenty of classic grilled options, such as Old-Fashioned Barbecued Chicken, Garlic-Studded London Broil, Rosemary Potato Wedges, and of course the Classic Burger. But if you're feeling a bit more adventurous, you've got lots of choices, like Fish Tacos, Lamb Kebabs, Spicy Hoisin Pork Brochettes, and Chicken Breasts with Chevre and Yellow Pepper Puree. Recipes include vegetarian, cooking for one, and off-the-grill side dishes.

BBQ Queens' Big Book of Barbecue by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig dishes up 350 recipes with clear explanations of basic techniques. They provide master recipes for basics like chicken wings and then offer loads of suggestions on how to use rubs, marinades, and sauces, as well as different cooking techniques. The BBQ Queens pull together a complete meal instead of only a perfectly seared steak (just like a man!). They offer ideas for your whole meal, with plenty of suggestions for sides and desserts. They show you how grilling extra food for leftovers can simplify meal preparation and leave you lots of free time.

Raichlen's Indoor! Grilling by Steven Raichlen has 270 recipes created especially for grilling machines, built-in grills, grill pans, stove-top smokers, rotisseries, and fireplaces. Raichlen, known as “the gladiator of grilling”, explains why he wrote an indoor grilling book. His editor lives in an apartment in Manhattan, and like millions of others, has municipal fire codes or a simple lack of space making grilling outdoors illegal or impossible. Arctic winter temperatures, snow, sleet, rain or hail, also deter many. If you're a diehard outdoor griller, be assured that most of the recipes in this book can be made outdoors. Try spit-roasted prime rib, chicken under a brick, curry-grilled lamb kebabs, potatoes roasted in the ashes, bayou wings, vanilla-grilled pineapple with dark rum glaze and hundreds more bold new ideas.

Taming the Flame : secrets for hot-and-quick grilling and low-and-flow BBQ by Elizabeth Karmel offers more than 350 recipes from down-home to uptown – from Bubba's barbecued baby back ribs to bacon-wrapped sea scallops. Kamels says her side dish, salad, dessert (including the best apple pie you've ever eaten), and pomegranate margarita recipes will liven up any cookout!

The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining by Cheryl and Bill Jamison boasts 850 recipes and hundreds of tips for grilling, barbecuing, smoking, rotisserie roasting, planking, big-pot frying, and boiling. Cheryl and Bill travelled the globe sampling regional outdoor favourites, from barbecued Kansas City ribs to Texas brisket, rotisserie chicken from France, banana-leaf wrapped dishes from Mexico's Yucatan, crab cakes from Chesapeake Bay. Then they came home and cooked and cooked until they had it right.

A Man, a Can, a Grill : 50 no-sweat meals you can fire up fast by David Joachim boasts great tasting meals ready in minutes. This is where the can comes in – sloppy joe sauce for chicken, canned soda for a tenderizing marinade, canned ham, tuna, spam, and don't forget the beer-can chicken. Joachim insists you'll get rave reviews when you take a perfectly roasted whole chicken off the grill with an open beer can stuck up

Picnics : easy recipes for the best alfresco foods by Robin Vitetta-Miller offers something for everyone who wants to get outside and enjoy some simple, delicious food and refreshing drinks. You'll find everything you need to put together a beautiful outdoor meal, tips on what and how to pack it, and themed menus for special feasts. Picnic ideas include: smoked salmon, crab cakes, wraps and sandwiches, red potato salad with bacon and herbs, sesame-glazed shrimp salad with sugar snap peas, roasted red pepper dip, plus all the breads that go with them – parmesan cheese twists, garlic rosemary focaccia, and cheddar corn bread with green chiles. Bad weather? Throw a blanket on the floor and dine under the light of your family room.

The library offers the following magazines that can be signed out, Chatelaine, Canadian Living, and Martha Stewart Living. Try the spring and summer issues for great BBQ recipes and picnic and party planning.

Try Martha's Summer Favourites DVD. Follow along as Martha prepares some of her most delicious warm-weather dishes and drinks. There are great suggestions for the backyard barbeque and helpful tips for making picnics and trips easy and enjoyable. Segments also include projects for kids, projects for picnics and the beach, and outdoor decorating.

Bon appetit!

Jo-Anne Agostino, Public Services Assistant

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

June 10, 2007 Improve your Golf Game at Your Library

Can The Library Help Your Slice?

There is nothing more annoying when out on the golf course than consistently hitting the ball anywhere but the fairways and greens. Instead of enjoying a beautiful day with friends or family on one of Thunder Bay’s various golf courses, the casual golfer can be driven to the point of insanity when there is more time spent trekking through the bushes looking for an errant ball than actually playing golf. I’m afraid I have to admit that I fall into this category as do numerous other golfers in our fair city. However, there is hope for us fellow duffers, toppers, slicers and hackers: The Thunder Bay Public Library.

Paying for private or group lessons, ordering instructional videos or the many other self help accessories from The Golf Channel can hamper one’s pocketbook, so why not try out the Thunder Bay Public Library and utilize our many resources to help you get your golf swing into shape. The TBPL features numerous, up-to-date books that provide instructional tips and guides to help the user in bettering his/her swing. I would strongly recommend The 7 Laws of the Golf Swing by Nick Bradley. This book provides tremendous insight into the principals of a sound golf swing with easy to understand explanations and instructions which are accompanied by beautiful, intelligent photographs and illustrations. I would also recommend the title Golf Annika’s Way written by LPGA pro Annika Sorenstam. This book is a great learning tool that is written from a woman's perspective; one who just happens to be the greatest golfer in the history of the LPGA.

Conditioning is also extremely important in furthering one’s skill level at the game of golf. Pete Draovitch’s book Complete Conditioning for Golf (also available as an e-book) delves into specific exercises that target muscle groups associated with golf. Draovitch offers 105 simple exercises and drills designed to heighten one’s golf game by improving areas in the body to help create more power, flexibility and coordination. The TBPL Virtual Collection also contains many electronic resources related to golf fitness and conditioning. By accessing the TBPL website, either from home or the library, one can login to our extensive electronic database which features articles and E-books related to enhancing your golf conditioning.

Now, I can honestly say that I don’t exactly know all the rules that apply when one’s out golfing, nor do I abide by them (especially when they don’t result in my favour). I wouldn’t say I cheat, but that I am gleefully ignorant of the exact protocol when certain situations arise in the course of a round. For those of you out there wishing to further your knowledge concerning the rules of golf, the library can certainly assist you in pointing out to your golf mates just how much they do not know. The latest edition of Golf Rules Explained by Peter Dobereiner provides easily understandable explanations and examples that can come in quite handy, provided that the people you play with don’t get fed up and “forget” to contact you for future rounds of golf.

One of my favourite books at the TBPL related to the game of golf has nothing at all to do with correcting my swing or improving my conditioning (but lord knows I need it); it is a book containing 101 short stories that strive to inspire the casual and professional golfer alike. Chicken Soup for the Golfer's Soul (and the sequel, subtitled, The Second Round) are collected stories written by golfers and caddies that focus on lessons for life both on and off the fairway. On occasion, I truly believe that reading these stories will somehow turn me into a great golfer, but after the first swing, reality comes flooding back to me as I go trekking in the bushes for my errant golf ball.

The materials covered throughout this article are only a small fraction of the TBPL’s holdings related to the subject of golf. So, why not come down to one of our four locations throughout Thunder Bay and find out for yourself? You never know, maybe one day you can be as good as yours truly (just kidding, you are almost certainly better).

Derek Gradner, Library Assistant

Monday, 4 June 2007

June 3, 2007 Canadian Forces Day

Happy Canadian Forces Day!

We are all familiar with and most of us celebrate in some form or another Canada Day July 1, but how many people are celebrating Canadian Forces Day today?

Created by the government in 2002, Canadian Forces Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in June. It's a fabulous opportunity for all of us to show our gratitude to the courageous men and women of the Canadian Forces who selflessly and bravely serve all Canadians at home and abroad.

A statistic taken from the Canadian National Defence website states that our Canadian Forces consist of 62,000 regular force (full-time) members, 24,500 members in the primary reserves and approximately 4,000 Canadian Rangers. Since that fateful day of Sept.11, 2001, more than 16,000 Canadian force members; sailors, soldiers and air personnel have actively participated in the ongoing campaign against terrorism.

While the top priority of our Forces is to protect Canadians and our national interests, they also act in a variety of capacities both here in Canada and throughout the world. Such duties could include performing search & rescue operations, providing assistance during natural disasters or promoting freedom, democracy and the rule of law and human rights such as in Afghanistan. Approximately 2,500 Canadian Forces members are currently deployed in Afghanistan. These CF members are serving as members of a multi-national brigade and reconstruction team in Kandahar and also a strategic advisory team supporting the government in Kabul. Everyday these members must bravely fulfill their assigned duties often in the face of grave adversity and in potentially life threatening situations. This is not a job for the faint of heart and should be
acknowledged, supported and respected.

Every single day, thousands of CF members are preparing to leave behind family and friends. The immense stress for CF members and their families must be unbelievable. Can you imagine saying goodbye to your loved ones with the acute knowledge that it could be your last goodbye or your last chance to hold them? Unless you're a police officer or firefighter or have some other type of hazardous job, not many people face that kind of emotion when they leave for work in the morning. Not to mention all the family events they miss; the births, deaths, anniversaries, first steps, first words and graduations, etc., that they will now have to experience often from a world away, through email, or phone calls. Thousands of CF members are currently deployed and thousands more are preparing to return home. The homecomings can be heartwarming or potentially heartbreaking. Once again, not a job for the faint of heart.

Although the Canadian presence in Afghanistan is the most high profile of the CF's missions, the Forces also have many members deployed as part of the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in Sri Lanka, as well as the Sinai Region and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The variety and scope of the missions the Forces perform is impressive. Since 1947, Canadian Forces have participated in 72 international missions.

So how can we as Canadians show our immense gratitude and appreciation to these incredible men and women who have dedicated their lives to serving our country? Here are a few simple ideas on how everyone can celebrate Canadian Forces Day.

1) Post a message to the Troops

How many of us think nothing of spending hours each day on e-mails or chatting on MSN? We think nothing of jotting a quick e-mail to friends and family to say hello or share news. Want to send an email that will make a difference to someone who's making a difference in our lives? Why not take a moment out of your day to post a message to the troops? We all know how good it feels to be personally acknowledge for a job well done and what a job they're doing! Let them know how grateful we are for their bravely and sacrifices. The website is and after selecting either English or French there is an icon to write to the troops.

2) Wear RED on Fridays

Such a simple gesture but one that means the world to so many. Many of us already participate in work sponsored dress-down days on Fridays. For a small fee (which is often donated to a specific charity) staff get to relax the dress code a bit and support a great cause at the same time. Why not make it a point to wear red on Fridays and also support our CF members? Imagine how heartwarming this simple gesture would appear not only to our local CF members but also to those whose loved one is away dutifully serving our country? Locally, official Support our Troops t-shirts can be obtained at the Thunder Bay Military Family Resource Centre for the very affordable price of $15. They come in a variety of sizes and the proceeds go toward programs that support the families of our troops. Car magnets, yellow ribbons and small yellow lapel pins are also available. The Thunder Bay Military Family Resource Centre is located at 125 N.Algoma Street inside the HMCS Griffon building and is on the third floor. Hours are 9:00-3:00 Mon-Fri and more info can be obtained by calling 345-5116.

3) Organize a community BBQ, picnic or street party

Want a good reason to have a good time? Organize a special event in honour of our troops. There are many local families whose loved ones are away serving our country, why not plan a party in honour of their service? The sacrifices make be CF members are also acutely felt by the families left behind. Show them your support and gratitude for their loved one?s dedication to our country by having an event for them.

These are just a few ideas of how we can all celebrate Canadian Forces Day. If you're interested in recruitment information or other ways to support our troops try logging on to the National Defence and Canadian Forces website at .

So, have a wonderful Canadian Forces Day and remember to wear your red shirt proudly on Fridays - I know I will be.

Noreen Dafoe, Library Assistant