Did You Know? (Knitting Edition)

kitchenerThe Kitchener stitch used in seamless knitting was designed by Lord Kitchener, a British military hero of the Boer War and WWI, to keep the toes of socks from irritating his soldier’s feet. I found this information on page 91 in the book The Knitter’s Companion by Vicki Square.

Ghosts of the Empire: Britain’s Legacies in the Modern World by Kwasi Kwarteng has a chapter that talks about Lord Kitchener. It begins: “Perhaps no figure represented the British Empire at its late Victorian zenith better than Lord Kitchener. Even today, his image is familiar because of the most famous poster campaigns of all time, in which the caption reads ‘Your Country Needs You’….” Although I learned a lot about his military career, it did not talk about him knitting, or having socks made for the soldiers.

sockstoknitThe Kitchener stitch is mostly used in knitting socks and underarms of sweaters. Sometimes in patterns they use the term “graft” instead of “Kitchener stitch”, this is the case in the book Socks to Knit for Those You Love by Edie Eckman. Knitters who make socks know about the dreaded ‘second sock syndrome’ (where you just can’t make yourself start the second sock) and as a solution to this problem, there is now a big trend in making socks two at a time so matching is no longer an issue, as in 2-at-a-Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. Making them from the toe up eliminates the need for the graft at the toe, as Knitting More Circles Around Socks by Antje Gillingham teaches you to do.

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If you think that you can’t knit, and would just end up with a tangle, perhaps you should take a look at Why Knot? by Philippe Petit and just learn to tie knots instead. He shows how to tie more than 60 different knots, with easy directions and practical uses for each one.

Good foot care is very important, especially if you are diabetic. 21 Things You Need to Know about Diabetes and your Feet by Neil M Scheffler, DPM, FACFAS tells us that there are now socks with a copper or silver weave that helps prevent bacteria and fungus from growing (example: athletes foot). Also your socks should not be too tight. The best design has no seams, so the socks will not cause an ulcer in the skin where they rub.

Socks are educational too! There are sorting and counting songs, such as “Sorting Socks” a song on the MathJam. K Music CD by Judy & David to play for your little ones.

Astronomy Day

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Have you ever wanted to look through a telescope? Then come and help us celebrate Astronomy Day! We will be hosting the Everett Astronomy Club on Saturday May 10, 2014 in the Main Library Children’s Activity Room. The Everett Astronomy Club will have telescopes set up that you can look through, as well as video and computer displays and amateur astronomers to answer your questions.

At the event, you can learn about light pollution, observing techniques, stars, galaxies, planets and meteorites. Weather permitting, they are going to try to set up a telescope outside for solar observing. We have lots of books about astronomy if you are interested in learning more either before or after the program!

astronomy books

The group will also have their telescopes set up at Harborview Park on Friday May 9th and Saturday May 10th from 6:00 PM until midnight (weather permitting) and you can gaze at the stars there as well.

 

Did You Know? (Golf Edition)

The word golf actually comes from the Dutch word “kolf” meaning club?

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I had always thought that the name GOLF was derived from an acronym for “Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden”, but in researching this I found out that the idea is actually an urban legend. The word “golf” was first mentioned in 1457 in a Scottish edict banning certain games, as they probably distracted people from archery practice. There are several theories as to where the term came from, but no one ever suggested the acronym theory until the 20th century.

All of this information came from the book The Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins. I found several things in this book that are interesting – -“nephew” can also mean grandson, “dude” is from the German word for fool and “tent” actually comes from the Latin tendere which means “ to stretch”,  since tents were made from stretched animal skins. Take a look at this book and see which words surprise you!

arnie&jackYou can use your “kolf” (clubs) and work on improving your game with some of the books published by Golf Magazine about improving your swing, drive or putt. There are many other instructional books and DVDs in our catalog as well.

We have many books about golfers. One is Arnie & Jack: Palmer, Nicklaus and golf’s greatest rivalry featuring (obviously) the famous Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. We also have biographies about Tiger Woods, Michelle Wie, Bagger Vance and Sam Snead among others.

goodwalkspoiledJohn Feinstein used the phrase A Good Walk Spoiled as the title for his tell-all book about being on the pro golf tour in 1993-94. Mark Twain is mistakenly given the credit for defining golf that way, but it is not clear where it originated. Even if he didn’t say it, maybe he would have if he’d been given the chance! Read about some of the witty things he did say and wrote in his 2 part autobiography.

spidersinthehairdoWe have many books about urban legends full of “absolutely true stories that happened to a friend of a friend of a friend.” While I didn’t find G.O.L.F. in any of the ones we have, I sure had fun reading some of the other stories! Urban Legends by Thomas Craughwell, Spiders in the Hairdo by David Holt & Bill Mooney and Encyclopedia of Urban Legends by Jan Harold Brunvand are all good choices.

Did You Know? (Fungus Edition)

The biggest living thing in the world is the Honey mushroom?

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You can’t see it because it lives mostly underground, but it measures 24.6 miles from side to side, and is at least 2400 years old!

I found this information on page 7 in the book The Fungus Kingdom by Rebecca Stefoff. Scientists call it an Armillaria ostoyae and it was discovered in the year 2000 in the Blue Mountains of Oregon. There are others in the United States as well. This book is filled with information and pictures concerning the six different types of fungi.

fieldguidetomushroomsSince there are so many toxic varieties of mushrooms that look very similar to edible ones, you should NEVER eat mushrooms you find unless you are 100% sure of what you have. Even with an identification guide like Field Guide to Mushrooms of Western North America by R. Michael Davis, you must be very careful.  I like mushrooms, but I must admit I am afraid of eating ones that don’t come from a grocery store! The book 100 Edible Mushrooms by Michael Kuo gives excellent tips on identification and tells whether a certain mushroom may have poisonous look-alikes. There is also a small section of recipes.

mushroomcultivatorTo make it easier to know exactly what type of mushroom you have, you can grow your own mushrooms. The Mushroom Cultivator by Paul Stamets can help you get started growing your own mushrooms at home. It can be as easy as starting with pre-inoculated mediums or as technical as designing a sterile room and cultivating your own agar culture. I was surprised how many details are involved in growing mushrooms, but this book is extremely informational.

gorgeousworldofmushroomsThen, once you have bought, found or grown your mushrooms, Northwest Essentials by Greg Atkinson has a section of recipes with some yummy looking choices including mushroom bisque and marinated chanterelles. If you need more, A Cook’s Initiation into the Gorgeous World of Mushrooms by Philippe Emanuelli has many recipes with directions and photos of mushroom dishes that you could make.

buzzedSome people deliberately eat or drink mushrooms “recreationally” because of their toxicity!.Buzzed: The Straight Facts about the most Used and Abused Drugs by Cynthia Kuhn, PhD, Scott Swartzwelder, PhD and Wilkie Wilson, PhD tells about the psilocybin mushrooms and their hallucinogenic effects on people.

darkemperorPeople even write fictional stories about mushrooms. There is a short story in the book The Stories of Ray Bradbury called “Boys! Raise Giant Mushrooms in Your Cellar!”. It is dark in the cellar….. and we all know mushrooms love that! But, if your kids are afraid of the dark, then Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman may be a better choice of book that shows them a magical side of nighttime. It has pretty pictures and a nice little poem about mushrooms growing in a forest, with other poems featuring a spider, a cricket, a bat and more. Another story for kids is Mushroom in the Rain a book about animals taking cover in a rainstorm. It shows children the importance of sharing and is written by Mirra Ginsburg.

trashorigamiAnd finally, for those of you who just can’t get enough mushrooms, you can make your own origami mushrooms! Trash Origami by Michael G LaFosse and Richard L Alexander is full of fun ideas for using recycled candy wrappers, old calendar pages and those left-over bits of wrapping paper.

Did You Know? (Rabies Edition)

You almost certainly can’t get rabies from a squirrel?

squirrelsanswerguideSquirrels can get rabies but there has never been a documented case of squirrel to human transmission.

I found this information on page 130 in the book Squirrels: The Animal Answer Guide. I also never realized that prairie dogs are squirrels or that there are so many varieties of squirrels. You can see many of the varieties pictured in this book, or take a look at Squirrels of the West by Tamara Hartson. For younger kids, Squirrels: Welcome to the World of Animals by Diane Swanson will give them an inside the nest view of the daily lives of these cute little critters!

Rodents such as squirrels, rats, mice and prairie dogs have a genetic abnormality that  generally keeps them from getting rabies. In addition, squirrels usually aren’t around the other types of animals that carry rabies so their risk of exposure is very low.

genesanddnaAs scientists learn more and more about genetics and disease, they are understanding more about the role certain specific genes play in our health and familial hereditary. There are now many diseases that they can detect in your DNA. Genes & DNA by Richard Walker is a children’s book that is very well written and explains the basics of DNA, RNA, the double helix, and genes. It also gives examples that easily explain twins, disease, cloning and more.

rabidIt seems odd to think of a disease as deadly as rabies as being fascinating, but Rabid by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy (which gives the history of rabies and the attempts by different societies to treat and prevent this catastrophic illness through the ages) was very enlightening. The factual accounts make it that much more interesting.

There are several famous fictional stories of rabies as well. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neile Hurston and Old Yeller by Fred Gipson will touch your heartstrings, while Cujo by Stephen King is suspenseful and will keep you on the edge of your seat!

vaccineFortunately rabies is very preventable now because of the vaccines that our pets can be given, and the advanced treatments that someone can be given if suspected of being infected. Vaccine: the Controversial Story of Medicine’s Greatest Lifesaver by Arthur Allen is informative; it talks about the creation and uses of different vaccines throughout history, while telling us about the controversies and politics of immunizations at the same time .

 

Did You Know? Honey Edition

Honey made from rhododendron flowers is toxic?

rhododendronRhododendrons, azaleas and their cousin the mountain laurel are all deadly poisonous narcotics so, consequently, the honey made from their flowers is toxic as well! I found this information on page 221 in the book The Encyclopedia of Poisons and Antidotes by Carol Turkington and Deborah Mitchell.

There are hundreds of varieties of rhododendrons. The Illustrated Rhododendron by Pat Halliday is full of beautifully colored drawings of different species and varieties, along with a list of rhododendron species.

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Honey has been around for thousands of years. In the book The Life and Times of the Honeybee by Charles Micucci there is a piicture of a rock painting that shows a woman gathering honey. It was found near Valencia, Spain and dates to around 6000 B.C. I loved the color pencil artwork and the way the information was laid out in this book, with detailed drawings of the honey making process, a worker bee, and the ‘Tail-Wagging Dance’. Another thing that it has is a menu of different kinds of honey: Clover, Tupelo, Orange Blossom and several others.

honeyprescriptionHoney has also been used medicinally and in cooking for centuries. Nathania Altman’s book The Honey Prescription tells the history, preparations and the illnesses you can treat using honey. We also have several cookbooks featuring the use of honey: Honey I’m Homemade by May Berenbaum and Healthy Honey Cookbook by Larry Lonik are just a couple of them.

keepinghoneybeesMany people keep their own bee hives. Storey’s Guide to Keeping Honey Bees by Malcolm T. Sanford and Richard E. Bonney is an excellent reference book that has drawings and simplified explanations to help you every step of the way, while Natural Beekeeping by Ross Conrad shows you how to keep your honey organic.

akeelahandthebeeBut, bees aren’t only famous for making honey and pollinating things. You really can’t talk about bees without mentioning spelling bees. The story of Akeela and the Bee by James Whitfield Ellison is an inspirational story of a young girl headed for trouble, who turns herself around on her journey to the Scripp’s National Spelling Bee. We have it available in book or movie format. If you need help with your spelling, for a spelling bee or just everyday writing, How to Spell Like a Champ by Barrie Trinkle, Carolyn Andrews and Paige Kimble has tips to help you learn to become a master speller. You may never need spell check again!

Did You Know? (Migration Edition)

That Anna’s hummingbirds don’t migrate?

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I found this information on page 12 of the book Hummingbirds: A Celebration of Nature’s Most Dazzling Creatures by Ben Sonder, where he writes about them being permanent residents of the Pacific Coast and southern Arizona. The Costa’s hummingbird of southern California and Arizona stay year round in their habitats as well. This book has a couple of great pictures of baby hummingbirds in the nest as well. I didn’t realize that they have such little beaks when they hatch, and are almost full size at about 3 weeks!

howtoattracthummingbirdsSo, since they are here year round, you are going to want to leave your hummingbird feeders out during the winter time. I have two sets that I can swap out as they freeze. The best recipe for homemade syrup is 1 cup sugar to 4 cups water. You don’t want to add more sugar than that as it makes them thirsty, and could possibly lead to liver damage. How to Attract Hummingbirds and Butterflies by John V. Dennis tells all about designing and maintaining a butterfly/hummingbird garden, with an extensive list of beneficial plants to use, as well as a gallery of hummingbirds and butterflies for easy recognition.

animalmigrationMany birds travel thousands of miles during their migrations. Boy, would my wings be tired! They tend to remember and stop at the same places year after year to feed and rest. Some birds travel hundreds of miles over water during their migrations, which they must do non-stop as there is nowhere for them to rest along the way. Atlas of Bird Migration edited by Jonathan Elphick and Animal Migration: Remarkable Journeys in the Wild by Ben Hoare show the migration routes and distances of many species of birds and other animals.

thejourneyMany mammals migrate too, but none so far as the gray whale. They travel 6,000 miles from the Arctic sea, before they become ice filled, to the warmer waters of California and Mexico where they give birth. They generally won’t eat much for 8 months, until they return to the Arctic. Cynthia Rylant’s The Journey: Stories of Migration is a very informative children’s book with nice artwork explaining the why’s and where’s of the migration of whales, butterflies, caribou, locusts, terns and silver eels.

destinationamericaWhen people “migrate” from colder areas to warmer areas during the winter we call them  snow birds, but when they come from one country to another, we call it immigration instead of migration. Destination America by Chuck Wills talks about people from all corners of the globe, and tells us why they immigrated to the United States, how they did it, and what they did once they were in America. I found this book fascinating and enjoyed looking at all the old photographs in it.

Did You Know? (Bear Edition)

When bears hibernate, they can awaken quickly and are able to react efficiently when they do? 

GrizzlybearsI found this information on page 49 in the book Grizzly Bears by Jack Ballard. A hibernating bear’s metabolic rate drops significantly. The heart rate lowers from its normal 45 beats a minute to about 15 beats a minute, while breathing goes from 7 breaths a minute to one breath every 45 seconds. A bear will also not eat, drink, defecate or urinate during the hibernation period.

At Grouse Mountain in Canada, there is a wildlife refuge where they study two bears they rescued: Grinder and Coola. The bears wake up and move around about 20 minutes or so almost every day during hibernation according to the rangers. You can go to their website to see pictures and a blog of the bears and other animals there.

Before hibernating, they eat as much as they can to build up a thick fat supply. The bears eat berries and salmon among other things. This is crucial to the female’s ability to become pregnant with the stored “blastocyst”, as it will not implant and bearsayearinthelifedevelop if there isn’t enough body fat. The mother bears give birth during the hibernation period. The babies are the smallest in relation to their mother’s size. On average, newborn black bear cubs weigh 10.5 ounces. If a newborn human were that small in comparison, it would weigh between 3.6 and 6 ounces! It won’t be until the bear’s 2nd summer before they are big enough to go off on their own. Read more in the book Bears: A Year in the Life by Matthias Breiter. You will see many outstanding photos of black, grizzly and polar bears.

inbearcountryThere are 8 kinds of bears in the world, and Bears by Charles Fergus is very informative about them and tells some of the similarities and differences between the species.

For some interesting stories about bears, you should read In Bear Country by Jake MacDonald. He saw his first bear in a zoo as a young boy, and saw his first wild bear a few years later on a fishing trip. That trip sparked his lifelong curiosity about bears and motivated him to study bears and write this collection of stories.

theodorerooseveltThe “teddy bear” got its name when President Theodore Roosevelt, who was an avid big game hunter, refused to shoot a small bear. Stuffed bears were just making their way to toy stores when this incident happened and the name stuck. Of course, you can’t bring up teddy bears without reading the book, and singing the song, Teddy Bear’s Picnic by Jimmy Kennedy!

And finally, if you want to be like a bear and fish for salmon, Fly Fishing for Pacific Salmon II by Les Johnson & Bruce Ferguson will give you tips and pointers…. Just watch out for bears while you are out there!

Did You Know? (Tree Edition)

trees&forestsThat “fog-drip” can account for ten or more inches of precipitation a year and up to 35% of a forest’s annual water supply in the northwest. I found this fact on page 67 in the book Trees & Forests of America by Tim Palmer. A tree’s needles absorb the moisture-laden air, which liquefies on the surfaces of the needles, accumulates and eventually drips to the ground, nourishing the tree.

treesofnorthamericaThere are many books on tree identification. You can get them specific to the West Coast, the Olympics, the Pacific Northwest, or we even have one for Trees of Seattle. I personally like the National Geographic Field Guide to the Trees of North America. It has color pictures and descriptions of tree “parts” to make identification easy.

When a tree dies, it is really a new beginning. Insects, birds and small animals take up residence and moss and lichens grow on their new “home”. Sometimes dead trees are hollow or have roots exposed leaving room for larger animals. Dead Log Alive by Jo S Kittinger has informative facts and shows great pictures of all kinds of activity around and on a dead snag.

deadlogaliveThe Western Hemlock is the Washington State tree. Didn’t know we had a state tree? All states do! The book State Trees: Including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico by Sue R Brandt tells you about all of them and includes pictures of these majestic beauties.

There are many, many poems and stories written about trees: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, Christmas Trees and Birches by Robert Frost, A Tree is  Nice by Janice May Udry, mysideofthemountainThe Family Tree by David McPhail, The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. One of my favorites is My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, where Sam Gribley lives off the land in a hollow tree after learning everything he needs to know to survive at the library!

While you are thinking about trees, don’t forget about your “family tree”! There is a genealogy database at the library called Ancestry Library Edition that you can use at the library, or check out the book Secrets of Tracing your Ancestors by W. Daniel Quillen to get you started.

Did You Know? (Egg Edition)

Eggs contain almost all vitamins except C and are a wealth of minerals including iodine, phosphorous, sulphur, zinc, iron, selenium and potassium?

eggsI found this information on page 9 in the book How to Boil an Egg by Rose Carrarini. The author shows how versatile eggs can be. You can eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner and they are also used in snacks and desserts. The book gives tips for cooking this humble ingredient as well as some yummy looking recipes. For more egg recipes look at Eggs by Michel Roux. There are all kinds of ideas and recipes in this book, from crepes to custards & quiches.

joyofchickensDigestive Wellness by Elizabeth Lipski Ph.D. tells us that it is best to eat eggs that have not been oxidized (exposed to oxygen) to keep your cholesterol level down. Examples of eggs cooked this way are hard-boiled, soft-boiled or poached. It is also best to eat organic eggs, whether you buy them or raise your own.

The Joy of Keeping Chickens by Jennifer Megyesi and Raising Chickens for Dummies by Kimberly Willis are dinosaureggs“must have” references if you are going to raise your own eggs by keeping chickens. Everything you want to know about keeping poultry and more are in these two books.

And, keep in mind that chickens aren’t the only ones to lay eggs! Eggs, Nests, and Baby Dinosaurs by Kenneth Carpenter is a fascinating book about dinosaurs and how they reproduced. It shows fossilized decoratingeggsdinosaur eggs and excavations sites of nests. Eggs by Marilyn Singer, also shows us many other different kinds of eggs. Bird, snake, frog and insect eggs are all pictured. She also shows some bird nests and the way eggs hatch.

Finally, once you have used all those eggs, take a look at Decorating Eggs: Exquisite Designs with Wax & Dye by Jane Pollak for some lovely ways to decorate eggs either for yourself or as gifts.

Linda