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Cuddle Up and Dream of Spring

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Did you just put your garden to bed a few weeks ago, cutting back brown vegetation, removing dead annuals, and pruning dead branches?  Now is the perfect time to “work” on your garden, without any of the backbreaking labor. With few outdoor chores to tackle, late fall into winter is the perfect time for reviewing what went right and wrong in your garden while the past growing season is still fresh in your mind.  You can also start planning what you want to do in the spring.  Many gardeners keep a notebook of where they planted things, how long different seeds took to germinate, what new varieties they tried that they want to grow again, and which seeds just didn’t perform up to expectations. Working with your own garden journal also allows time for reflection on whether moving plants would help them perform better.  Maybe those beautiful roses you put in a few years ago are hogging up all the sunshine and are too tall for the sun-loving, but lower-

Chess

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When I was a little girl, my father would sit my brother and me down at the table and teach us how to play chess effectively. It was an important family tradition that would come to shape my entire life.  But what exactly is chess and why is it important to learn it in this day and age?  Before we talk about that, let’s cover the origins of chess. No one really knows just how old chess is. What we do know is that a variation of the game was played in India about 1,500 years ago. Back then, the game was called Chaturanga . This translates to the four sections of an army - elephants, horses, chariots, and foot soldiers. This core element of the game makes it a unique and timeless classic. But why is this relevant? Today’s modern version of chess can teach you very valuable skills, such as: How to problem solve The value of patience and focus Unlocking your ability to think creatively  Greater self confidence While chess adapted over time

Latching on to a Great Book Series

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How many people remember the very first book they read as a child? I’m sure when I was very young I read other books or had books read to me, but the first book I remember reading in earnest was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. I remember Charlie and the golden ticket and getting to meet Willy Wonka and the Oompa-Loompas. It was one of my favorites as a child. As I got a little older, I would read a lot of books about baseball. The Summer Game by Roger Angell, as well as No Cheering in the Press Box by Jerome Holtzman were two of my favorites as a teenager.  There were also so many great authors I remember from when I was younger that I couldn’t wait for their next book to be published, such as Judy Blume and Daniel Pinkwater. I also enjoyed reading series like the Hardy Boys, where there was always that anticipation of the next book in the series waiting to be read once the current one was finished. One of the great things about working at the circulation desk is wat

“Revisiting” Mercer County

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This past year has been a year of revisiting places I frequented as a child, as well as redoing activities I have not done in many moons. Below are a few of my experiences.  Howell Living History Farm In February 2021, I visited Howell Living History Farm in Hopewell, New Jersey. In elementary school, we often visited Howell Living History Farm for various events. In hopes of finding a new outdoor place to visit, I browsed their events page. We wanted to attend their Maple Sugaring event because who does not love maple syrup? It was a windy and bitterly cold day with lots of snow everywhere from a storm that hit us at some point that month. However, the snow and cold did not stop us!  The walk through the ice and snow was well worth the trek as the farm is quite picturesque. While most of the attendees were children, I found myself equally, if not more, astounded to see how sap is collected from maple trees to make maple syrup. We were able to catch a peek of the syrup-making process a