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Litchfield MN 55355

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Thinking Spring

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
5/19/11

Spring is starting so slowly this year that we’re all getting impatient to get in the garden, in the fields, or just outside in the yard. While you’re waiting for the weather to cooperate, check out some books from our library that can help you plan for the warm weather ahead.

Homegrown Harvest: A Season-by-Season Guide to a Sustainable Kitchen Garden is a new book from the American Horticultural Society. Like the title says, it gives the gardener tips and to-do lists for each season, from early spring to late winter. It’s a beautifully-photographed and practical gardening book.

River Cottage Every Day will motivate you to get creative with farmers’ market offerings and your garden produce when it becomes available. This book is written by British farmer/cook/cookbook author Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, with a focus on using fresh, local, seasonal foods to cook family meals.

If spring means construction to you, the new book Framing a House may be useful. Former Fine Homebuilding editor and builder Roe Osborn created this comprehensive book that’s full of detailed photographs. It covers everything from the planning process and framing the first-floor deck to framing interior walls and installing exterior trim.

The New Backyard Idea Book is full of up-to-date ideas for porches, patios, outdoor rooms, sheds, and pools. If you’re dreaming of a new outdoor space, perhaps a well-organized potting shed or a cozy furnished porch, you’ll be inspired by this book.

If you’d like to do something new with your yard but you want to be frugal or environmentally-conscious, check out The Revolutionary Yardscape: Ideas for Repurposing Local Materials to Create Containers, Pathways, Lighting, and More. You’ll get ideas for turning your old junk into garden décor or junkyard or thrift store finds into pathways, garden lights, or arbors. The reader is encouraged to think outside the box and find creative uses for found objects.

Another do-it-yourself book for improving your outdoor spaces is Landscaping with Stone: A Sunset Outdoor Design & Build Guide. This book gives step-by-step instructions and hundreds of photo examples for using stone to create paths, walls, patios, and other yard and garden enhancements. It also covers plants that complement stonework.

If you’re a real do-it-yourselfer and you enjoy fishing, take a look at Making Wooden Fishing Lures: Carving and Painting Techniques That Really Catch Fish! This book provides patterns and step-by-step instructions for creating over 20 lures, covering surface, floating, diving, and sinking types.

If you’re planning summer travel and you’re over 50, you may find Discounts, Deals, and Steals: For Those Over 50 Who Don’t Want to Pay to Play useful for keeping expenses down. This guide from Readers’ Digest includes tips on getting low rates at hotels, rental car companies, museums, theme parks, and many other venues, travel-related or not.

Finally, if you’re coaching a kids’ baseball team this spring and summer, check out Survival Guide for Coaching Youth Baseball. This new book covers drills for developing fielding, outfield, throwing, pitching, and hitting skills, as well as basics on organizing your team and understanding your role on game days.

Whatever spring and summer activities are occupying your mind, I hope you’ll be able to find something useful about it at the library.