Sunday, 16 September 2007

September 16, 2007 Fall Cooking

Fall is my favourite season for so many reasons. The obvious one is the fantastic array of brilliant colours – the reds, oranges and yellows ablaze against a stark backdrop of brown, deep evergreen and clear blue Northwestern Ontario sky. Who can’t appreciate that? Another is that indefinable musky smell that permeates the air – kind of a combination of apple tang, wood smoke and falling leaves tinged with the crisp hint of winter. I love it. But what I love even more is the sense of optimistic expectancy and the hustle and bustle of activity that seems to infect everyone. Gone are the carefree, hazy, lazy days of summer. For many, autumn heralds spiritual, mental and physical revitalization. It signals the time to return to school or work, plunge into new projects, meet new people, even change eating habits because now the weather’s cool enough to actually turn on the stove and COOK! Which (although a more visceral one) is the principal reason for my ongoing love affair with this season. Appetites, mine included, return with the cool weather and there is something very satisfying about creating homemade muffins and breads, chilies, soups and stews – foods that, as my mother used to say, stick to the ribs. Hence, my following recommendations, all of which, incidentally, are available at the Thunder Bay Public Library.

Although this book offers year-round inspiration for seasonal cooking, its section devoted to fall contains some wonderful recipes. End a chilly day with cheesy asparagus chowder or acorn squash soup with Parmesan herb bread and a roasted vegetable stew or pork chop bake.Yummy! There are also some great harvest preserves ideas and Thanksgiving recipes which are sure to tempt event the most finicky of palates.

In our neck of the woods, Fall signals the beginning of hunting season. This book offers a full-range of delectable recipes using deer meat and also includes a chart that outlines the various big-game cuts that you can substitute for the most common deer cuts. Its comprehensive section on sausages and smoke-house specialties, with detailed instructions for special processes like stuffing sausages and smoking jerky, makes it the perfect, all-round cookery source for the avid hunter!

Spirit of the Harvest’s authentic recipes, detailed, full-colour photographs and informative text beautifully present the distinctive and delicious cooking of North American Indians from coast to coast. This carefully researched cookbook incorporates many indigenous ingredients hailed today for their healthfulness and flavour – wild rice, corn, beans, sunflower seeds, venison, buffalo, fowl and fish. Many recipes come from noted cooks who are members of the different tribes and all recipes can be easily prepared using modern kitchen techniques.

This is rapidly becoming one of my favourite cook books. It’s an old-fashioned celebration of the bountiful season of autumn containing over 100 scrumptious, traditional recipes (Effie’s Late Fall Deep Dish Pear Pie is mouth-watering!) along with poems, illustrations and anecdotes presented with all the heart-warming charm that readers have come to expect from the Pioneer Lady. Read, cook and enjoy!

PERFECT PRESERVES by Hilaire Walden. c2002
The title really says it all. Here is the perfect guide to the many methods for preserving all kinds of foods right in your own kitchen. Drying, curing, pickling, canning, crystalizing, freezing, smoking, potting, making chutney, relishes, jams, jellies, marmalades, fruit cheeses, curds and butters – it’s all included – and once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll also find delicious recipes for using your preserved foods. Don’t forget, few gifts are received with as much enthusiasm as homemade food and jars of preserves!

Memories that evoke the special spirit of autumn are often made while sharing harvest feasts with family and friends. These are the moments that are remembered and recounted from generation to generation around crackling fires, football games, pumpkin gathering, Thanksgiving celebrations and Hallowe’en parties. So, this fall, visit the library, check out some of the great seasonal cookery books and add to your family’s list of cherished reminiscences.

Jill Otto, Library Technician

Sunday, 9 September 2007

September 9th, 2007 Deer

This is an article on one of my favourite animals - the deer. There is a mystical feeling to look out your window on a cold winter night and see deer in your yard. At first you think you’re seeing shadows, and you look away, but as your eyes adjust to the darkness a beautiful scene unfolds before you. There is a herd of deer, young and old eating or just resting beneath the trees. In the silence of winter, under the light of the moon you feel like you are a part of something magical. Then you go back to your warm bed, as they move on searching for food and somewhere to rest and feel safe. Watching the deer helps me through the long dark winter. I think of them as a gift, a messenger in the night.

Stranger In The Woods A Photographic Fantasy by wildlife photographers Carl R. Sams and Jean Stoick is a story for young and old alike. I first saw this book in a Minnesota bookstore and was almost moved to tears by it. I quickly wrote up a suggestion card for the library to purchase it. The story begins after a winter snowfall when there is a newcomer in the woods. The stranger is a snowman, and we see how the birds and animals react to this new arrival. The photographs are beautiful, bright and colourful and show winter at it’s best. We also carry the movie on dvd.

If you are a baby boomer you probably grew up with the Disney movie
classic, Bambi. And so did your children. And so are their children. As a child my sister and brother in law took me to the theater, but I was too young to really remember it. Many years later I purchased the video for myself. It is a tale about friendship, adventure, growing up and the harsh realities of life, such as losing your mother. In the end it is really about the circle of life - life, death, and the new generation that follows. The library carries the movie on dvd and videorecording. Why not share the magic all over again, you'’re never too old.

The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, won her a Pulitzer Prize in
1939. I haven't read the book, but last year I came across the movie on TVOntario. I was taken in by this classic tale of a young boy who takes in an orphaned fawn. It is the story of a boy who's heart's desire was to have a pet of his own. The fawn becomes his best friend and helps him to grow up. Living in the backwoods of Florida in the late 1800's his family faced many challenges, such as bears, wolves and elements of nature. But as the fawn grew it became a problem, when it started eating the family's crops. What happens next reminded me of the movie Old Yeller. It is a heartwarming tale. The library carries The Yearling on dvd , as a cassette book and in book format.

Another children'’s book with beautiful photos is Whitetails: Whitetail
Magic For Kids by Tom Wolpert. It is a book about the habits of deer and depicts the first year of a fawn’s life. It is filled with interesting facts. If you’'ve ever wondered how they stay warm in the winter, it is because of the hollow hairs on their coat. It keeps them dry and warm. In the depths of winter they will eat tree bark, certain tree needles and twigs. And I've found they seem to really enjoy pumpkins. This year they appear to have actually planted some for me, from the seeds.

If you don'’t like deer as much as I do, the library carries Deer
Proofing Your Yard & Garden by Rhonda Massingham Hart. It offers advice for your flower garden as to what deer do or don't like to eat. You should avoid favourite plants such as hostas and daylilies and use deer resistant plants such as zinnias and delphiniums. There are also deer repelling plants such as lavender and thyme. If you are raising fruit or vegetables, it says they don'’t like to eat garlic, rhubarb and pumpkins. I guess this is an indication of how hungry they get in the winter, because they sure enjoy eating the frozen pumpkins I leave out for them after Halloween. They also don'’t like certain smells. You can try tactics such as hanging fabric softener sheets or bars of soap from your fruit trees.

If you're looking for articles about deer visit the Virtual Collection
on our website and try one of the indexes such as Ebsco Animals. The virtual collection is available 24 hours a day.

Still on the theme of deer, this is a bit of a stretch, but what'’s
yellow and green and runs like a deer? Why it’s a John Deere tractor of course. For information on John Deere collector clubs visit You can find information on shows and museums and even shop online. The library carries a few John Deere repair manuals and some of the history of the tractors.
I hope you've enjoyed this article and perhaps you too look forward to seeing the deer this winter. I never tire of these beautiful, graceful animals. If you're on the highway this fall, keep your eyes open for them and drive carefully.

Karen Craib, Library Technician

Sunday, 2 September 2007

September 2nd, 2007 BTS Syndrome

I refuse to let go of summer; after all it isn’t officially over yet! In our home the BTS syndrome begins during the second or third week of August, BTS standing for Back to School. Having worked as a Registered Nurse for a number of years, I feel compelled to analyze things! I believe this is a universal experience for human kind, so I never feel alone in my somewhat melancholy sentiment. Although I must admit that routine is healthy for people, another few weeks at our newly purchased summer cottage on One Island Lake would ease the pain just a little bit. Like a chore that eventually needs tending, so we face the reality that the dog days of summer must come to a close!

Insulating my husband, who teaches High School at St. Patrick’s, from the inevitable return to his loved yet taxing career, I’ve learned to make Back to School shopping for our child, solely a mother-son bonding affair. Being a consummate optimist, I work diligently at reframing what feels negative and reframing the situation in to something constructive. Of course this doesn’t always happen in haste; I malinger in the brooding momentarily and then get on with the task at hand!

Persons of all ages deal with this predictable task. Being a parent sending your youngster off to school for the first time, can prove to be an exciting yet emotional time for both parent and child. Moving away to attend post-secondary school can result in a similar response. Experiencing a return to school as a mature student can present its own set of trials and tribulations. Having first hand experience in all of the aforementioned situations, I can relate to the experience on many different levels. As the tasks are many in order to feel organized and confident, we may find ourselves reaching for assistance to feel informed about back to school resources.

I don’t think I’m alone in the question that comes to mind, where exactly do I start?

Starting at your local branch of the Thunder Bay Public Library is a fabulous place to begin. The library will be providing a Do It Yourself Homework Help program in the Waverley Auditorium Tuesday October 9, 2007 at 6:30 p.m. This will be presented by the children’s librarian, and is geared to parents and their elementary school aged children. The focus of the session will be to learn about the tools that the Thunder Bay Public Library purchases for students in this age group to help with school work. Check out your Fall Library Newsletter for more information and Registration dates!

Your library provides you not only with the most updated computer databases available for research, but the reference staff to help you find what you’re looking for. Whether it’s maps, illustrations, facts, biographies, books, magazine articles or encyclopedias our knowledgeable and professional staff is always there to assist you in discovering what you are looking for. Knowing what it’s like to be on a student budget, you don’t have to worry about fees for student cards. All student memberships are now available at no cost, so we encourage those moving to Thunder Bay from different communities to make full use of this service.

For the mature student, services abound for you within our branches. For those that need assistance updating computer internet skills, ask about our free classes provided in an awesome training lab with excellent instructors. To complement your newly learned skills, we also provide free internet access for up to one hour per day for all patrons. Making choices as a mature student can seem overwhelming at times, and holding a good book in your hands can help you make some great choices. Check out some of our print material such as the ADULT BACK TO SCHOOL PLANNER to help you look at getting the support you need with money matters, taking care of the kids, and effective study habits.

As the school summer vacation comes to a close, take comfort in knowing you are only a question away from finding what you need. Let us help you get prepared, be organized and look forward to expanding your horizons, knowledge and insight. Education is a gift, and the Thunder Bay Public Library is proud to support our local educators and students in providing and seeking such a great service to our community.

Raegan Rocco

Library Assistant