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Tales of a Budding Bicyclist Part 2

by on August 18th, 2015

RAGBRAII rode the last day of RAGBRAI this year. The route was from Coralville to Davenport—68 miles—and I absolutely loved it! The best part was the people. The small towns celebrated our arrival. In Atalissa, a row of kids along the road gave riders hi-fives. People in several towns sat at the end of their driveways with hoses and offered to spray riders down to cool them off. About 10 miles away from Davenport, I had to rest, so I stopped and laid down in someone’s lawn. A little girl walked up and asked if I wanted a popsicle. All of this made me smile the biggest smile.

The people riding RAGBRAI were also great. Several times I saw bicyclists with flat tires Bike Repair & Maintenancepulled off to the side of the road. Other riders always stopped to offer assistance or would ask if they needed help. I took comfort in this because I have no idea how to fix a tire. If I had gotten a flat, I would’ve had to rely on the kindness of strangers to get back on the road. I had the thought that I should try to remedy that, and the Library has plenty of books to help teach you how to handle common repairs. One that I really liked was Bike Repair & Maintenance by Christopher Wiggins
. It has big pictures and simple instructions that even I could follow. We have a lot of other titles that you can check out here.

BicyclingI still feel like a bit of a casual rider. There’s a culture around biking that I don’t quite get yet. I’ve been reading two digital magazines that the Library offers through Zinio*– Bicycling and Bicycle Times – to help figure it out. Also, there are a lot of blogs around cycling that I’ve been checking out. One of them, Fat Cyclist, is really good. The author started his blog after he noticed that he had put on some weight and decided to shed the pounds by biking (sounds familiar, right?). He now posts stories about races and bike trips that he goes on. His writing is affable and humorous. He’s also really into mountain biking, and it’s hard not to get excited about it too. Maybe that will be the next thing I’ll try :)

I can’t wait for next year’s RAGBRAI. I need to train more, and I should get some common sense gear (like gloves!) to make the ride more manageable. I want to take more rides around the state. The Library has books about that too. You can find those here. I’ll see you on the trails!

 

*Magazines through Zinio are available to patrons who live in Iowa City, Hills, University Heights, Lone Tree, or rural Johnson County.

ICPL at ICCSD Elementary Schools Ice Cream Social Night

by on August 18th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library will be present at several Iowa City School District elementary school ice cream socials from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20.

Staff members will attend the back-to-school ice cream socials at Alexander, Hills, Hoover, Horn, Lemme, Lincoln, Longfellow, Lucas, Mann, Shimek, Twain, Weber, and Grant Wood elementary schools to help students and their families apply for a Library Card. Applicants can complete an application at the event and a Library Card will be mailed to their home address.library-card-300x199

“Our attendance at the elementary schools’ ice cream socials is to ensure that all students are prepared for the new school year with their own Library Card,” said Kara Logsden, ICPL’s Coordinator of Community and Access Services. “We understand that families are especially busy this time of year, so we are happy to do what we can to make the Library Card application process easier.”

People also can apply for a card online at www.icpl.org/cards or in person at the first floor Help Desk any time the Library is open.

For more information, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200.

Jalapenos @ the IC Farmer’s Market

by on August 18th, 2015

Jalapeno Poppers are a family favorite and the Iowa City Farmer’s Market is the best place to purchase fresh jalapenos this time of year. Often these morsels serve as a meal at our house. Baked Poppers can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple days (although they rarely last that long at our house) and are delicious cold as well as reheated.

Jalapeno Peppers from the Iowa City Farmer's Market

Jalapeno Peppers from the Iowa City Farmer’s Market

We have many variations of our Jalapeno Popper recipe and often the final product is contingent on what’s in the refrigerator. Crumbled crispy bacon, goat cheese, and artichoke dip can all be substituted into the basic recipe for delicious results.

One word of caution: Make sure you remove all the seeds from the jalapenos. In general, Jalapeno Poppers are only a bit “warm” – especially with the delicious cheese to cool down the palate. Forgotten seeds can surprise the person eating the popper, though, so caution is needed if consumers are wary of hot food.

Here’s our basic recipe:

Logsden Jalapeno Poppers

Select fresh, large Jalapenos.

Cut off the top and split in half lengthwise.

Remove all seeds.

Fill with cream cheese.

Wrap with Prosciutto (we prefer Iowa-made La Quercia)

Logsden Jalapeno Poppers

Logsden Jalapeno Poppers

Arrange on cooking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Check after 15.

If you are looking for summer recipe inspiration, browse our catalog or check out the many awesome books at the Library. 641 is the call number to get you started.

Let us know which delicious dishes you are creating from the fresh ingredients you find at the Iowa City Farmer’s Market.

See you at the Market!

 

Year 4 at the Ped Beds!

by on August 17th, 2015

Garden post 8-15The rains have been so timely this summer at the children’s Soup And Salad garden that I’ve only had to water a handful of times. Bumper crops of eggplant, cucumber, herbs have been rolling in for Table To Table. Carrots aren’t too far behind, as well as okra that got a bit of a late start. And, very soon, a new rotation of leeks will be going in.

We’re book ending the season with pre-school storytimes. Our first was in June, and we’ll be having another in September. A carrot theme kicked us off, and a seed-saving focus will bring us into fall harvest. Every teaching garden I’ve ever grown has a component of seed-saving in it. This year you’ll notice that, so far, we can save dill, cilantro, buckwheat and cherry tomatoes.  (One of the funnest parts of spring is finding little tomato seedlings sprouting on their own after the snow melts, as seed from the prior autumn dried on the vine and dropped to the soil!)

The light purple cabbage is the color of summer. And its companion, celery, isn’t far behind.  A resident chipmunk stands guard, alternating between both beds in her secret tunnels. Maybe I can get her to help us harvest the potatoes as we get closer to frost (can’t believe I just used that word).

Once again, I’m just blown away by the respect this space is given by people from all walks of life. The daily connections I have with folks truly embody the meaning of community. Usually we talk about veggies, which is always a good thing.  As the post in the east bed says in many different languages, “May Peace Prevail On Earth.”

-Scott Koepke,   New Pi Soilmates garden education service for children

Essential Oil Resources at ICPL

by on August 17th, 2015

Essential oils have many uses to promote health, lift your mood, and act as helpful additives to household cleaners, body care products, cosmetics, and more. I’ve noticed some newer books about their uses here at the library, and have also noticed growing curiosity about them in my personal circles and in the world around me. Here, I highlight a few of my favorite resources from the stacks at ICPL. (To browse our large selection of books on essential oils and herbal medicine, go to the nonfiction section at 615.321).

Essential Oils for Health is a brand new book at a short length for the curious beginner who wants some basic info and easy recipes. The book is organized by health, emotional well-being, and beauty ailments. If you have a particular problem you would like to address with essential oils, you can easily find a quick and simple recipe in this book. (Dandruff? Cellulite? Bad mood? Low energy? Flatulence? Tobacco withdrawal? To name a few.)

Complete aromatherapy

The Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils also came out within the last year. It is organized well for the beginner, but acts as a quick and easy reference book for the seasoned essential oil user. Also, unlike many resources, this book contains an entire section on essential oils for the home. One of my first uses for essential oils was to scent cleaning vinegar after I jumped on the environmentally-safe cleaners bandwagon. My solution to vinegar stink has always been to add at least 20 drops of lavender oil to the bottle – as a bonus, lavender is naturally antibacterial and antiseptic. (Tea tree oil is great for showers and damp places since it is anti-fungal.)

Aromatherapy - Kathi Keville

While not the most recent in a spate of books about essential oils, Kathi Keville and Mindy Green’s Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art is my favorite. This book has a distinctly scientific approach. The newer edition came out in 2009 and is a simply fantastic resource – whether you are a complete novice or a seasoned essential oil enthusiast. The best thing about Keville and Green’s resource? Charts!!! There are some great charts that cover which oils are best for your skin type, for example.

Most important is the “suggested dilution” chart on page 44, because essential oils MUST be diluted before applied to the body. If you’ve ever gotten peppermint oil on your fingers and then accidentally touched your eyes later, you know what I’m talking about. If not, take it from me – essential oils can wreck havoc on the skin and mucus membranes if you don’t apply a little know-how to your applications, so be careful! 

National Geo

In closing, I would like to share National Geographic’s Guide to Medicinal Herbs. I love all things botanical, and enjoyed NatGeo’s wonderful full color photographs. While this book is not specifically about essential oils, most essential oils are made from medicinal herbs. Each herb in this book is introduced within a section that groups together herbs with similar uses (heart & circulation, digestive system, etc.) Aside from the great pictures, my favorite part about this book was the way it incorporated tidbits about each plant’s historical uses.

If you already enjoy using essential oils, feel free to leave a comment telling us your favorite book on the topic or favorite use for an essential oil or herb! 

 

Badlands by C.J. Box

by on August 12th, 2015
Badlands by C.J. Box Cover Image

OK … I’m ready to forgive C.J. Box. I thoroughly enjoy his Joe Pickett series and enjoyed Back of Beyond, the beginning of a new series featuring who I thought was a recurring character, Sheriff Detective Cody Hoyt. In Box’s next Cody Hoyt book, The Highway, (awesome book, set in Yellowstone, scared the bejeebers out of me) Hoyt is conquering his demons and mentoring a new Sheriff’s Detective, Cassie Dewell. But something goes wrong and suddenly readers are left hanging.

I was mad at C.J. Box after that book. I loved Cody Hoyt and I didn’t like how the book ended. For me, C.J. Box has redeemed himself in his new book, The Badlands. Cassie Dewell emerges as a strong protagonist who can hold her own. I guess maybe Box had to give her a chance and needed a couple good novels to write his way there. Time for me to move on …

In The Badlands, Detective Cassie Dewell takes a new job in Grimstad, the petroleum capitol of North Dakota. Life is tough there. The economy is booming but crime follows money and Cassie is tasked by the Sheriff to do some internal investigating. She is also haunted by her past and the criminal who got away and is still lurking “out there.” She’s also drawn to a young boy who may be invisible, but knows a lot more than the world is willing to acknowledge. The book is fast paced, the characters are great, and readers are left wanting more from this new protagonist. I think we have a lot to look forward to from C.J. Box and his Joe Pickett and Cassie Dewell series!

Stortime Recap: Farm to Fair

by on August 12th, 2015

Welcome back to  Preschool Storytime! Summer is a fun but busy time, so it is was nice to get back to our regular schedule. We jumped right in with our welcome song “Clap Everybody and Say Hello.” The consistent use of a welcome song provides structure and behavior cues to children who attend regularly. Today I began by asking if anyone had been to the Johnson County Fair a couple of weeks ago. Then I asked if anyone would be headed to the Iowa State Fair this weekend. We shared what animals we saw at the fair. I told everyone that we would start off by finding out what all of those animals eat in our first book, The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson. While the idea of a cow eating cookies gets plenty of laughs, I like sharing this book for its rhyming text and building narrative.

Next I brought out felt animals to provide a visual aid for the song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” with some fair flair at the end.

Old MacDonald had a farm
E-I-E-I-O
And on his farm he had a cow
E-I-E-I-O
With a moo moo here
And a moo moo there
Here a moo, there a moo
Everywhere a moo moo
Old MacDonald had a farm
E-I-E-I-O

Repeat with pig, duck, and sheep.
Last verse

Old MacDonald went to the fair
E-I-E-I-O
He took his cow, he took his pig, he took his duck, he took his sheep
E-I-E-I-O
With a moo moo here (point to cow)
And an oink oink there (point to pig)
Here a quack, there a quack (point to duck)
Everywhere a baa baa (point to sheep)
Old MacDonald went to the fair
E-I-E-I-O

After being such good singers, I told everyone we would read Dooby Dooby Moo by Doreen Cronin. This is a funny story about farm animals who want to sing at the county fair.

At the end of the story, the pigs have almost ruin the show by falling asleep. So we followed sleeping piggies up with hungry piggies, and did a quick fingerplay rhyme.

Three little piggies and one piggy more (hold up 3 then 4 fingers)
Knocked upon the kitchen door (make knocking motion)
The farmer came out (hold hands flat together then open them)
And gave them their lunch (make bowl with hands and move hands forward)
They ate it all
With a munch, munch, munch. (bring thumb and fingers together and motion towards mouth)

I finished up with our last story, I Know a Wee Piggy by Kim Norman, which follows the colorful misadventures of an escaped pig at the fair.

Our after storytime movie was an animation of the book Bink and Gollie : Two for One by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee. The story follows two best friends who spend a day at the fair playing carnival games, entering contests and getting their fortunes read. At last, everyone received a goodbye hand stamp of a cow.

Have fun at the fair!

ICPL meeting rooms closed intermittently Aug. 24 through Sept. 14

by on August 12th, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library’s meeting rooms A, B and C will be closed intermittently to the public August 24 through September 14 due to an equipment upgrade. Please check the Library’s calendar at calendar.icpl.org for availability.

Wireless capability will be added to the Library’s biggest meeting room, Meeting Room A, and a Blu-Ray option, providing those who book the room with more viewing options. Patrons will also have the ability to connect their Smartphones, tablets and other technology to the Library’s equipment.

“The goal is to improve the user experience for our patrons,” says Brent Palmer, the Library’s information technology coordinator. “Unfortunately, to do this, the meeting rooms will be out of commission temporarily.”

A list of alternative meeting room locations is available at: http://www.icpl.org/meeting-rooms/alternative-rooms/

For more information, call the Library (319) 356-5200.

A Few of my Favorite Things

by on August 11th, 2015

Let’s just start by saying that I love the Farmer’s Market–everything I need for a week of healthy and colorful eating I can find there and it’s a great way to support the community. Pairing this with the wonderful cooking resources at ICPL means that the ideas of new and fun things to try are endless.

My favorite thing that I can find at the market would have to be the myriad types of tomatoes.  These special little fruitables are by far one of the most versatile pieces of summer fare around. From little yellow cherries to not quite ripe greens and the large beefmasters, local farmers carry as many types of tomatoes as there are ways to use them.  From red and green salsas, to caprese salads and slow roasted cherries there are so many easy, healthy and delicious ways to use this summer bounty.  For more great ideas check out some of these books:

Summer Food: New Summer Classics, by Paul Lowe

 

Tomato: a fresh from the vine cook book, by Lawrence Davis-Hollander

 

 

The Heirloom Tomato: from garden to table, by Amy Goldman

Video Staff Picks: a biography of ee cummings for children

by on August 11th, 2015

Katherine shares the book “enormous smallness” a story of the poet ee cummings.





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