April 28, 2009

Poetry Spring

Today the Capitol honors Sojourner Truth.

Look at me!
Look at my arm!
I have ploughed,
and planted,
and gathered into barns,
and no man could head me!
And ar'n't I a woman?
Join us for our 11th Annual Favorite Poem Evening at the Library
Thursday April 30, 2009 7:30-9:00
And please volunteer to read. Contact the library director, Ellen Robbins, at 301.891.7259. Today is the deadline.

Senior Poetry Workshop sponsored by the Silver Foxes Seniors Club.
Saturdays May 2, 9 and 16, 3-5 PM, in the Community Center.
Free, but limited to twelve participants.
Please call Paula Lisowski to register: 301.891.7280

Posted by library at 02:31 PM

April 26, 2009

Local Warming

At this writing, the temperature is 91F here at the library. Such heat in April is presumably just a statistical anomaly. But apart from these weather fluctuations, which are expected from time to time, has our climate changed?

The traditional USDA zone map, last redrawn in 1990, was calculated using average annual minimum temperatures, based on the lowest temperatures recorded for each of the years 1974 to 1986. In 2003 the map went online with a bit of refinement, including the subdivision of many zones into two parts, one slightly colder and one slightly warmer. So zone 6, where we sat in 1990, was subsequently divided into 6a and 6b.

If you go here and put in the zip 20912, you will be told that you live in zone 6b. If you put in 20012, which is only 4 blocks from the library, you will get 7a. Clearly, according to the USDA map in current use, we are right on the USDA 6/7 border which would mean the average annual low temperature should be almost exactly zero F.

Confusing as that is, perhaps the map itself no longer describes our local climate.
- Try 20912 at most garden company sites and you will get zone USDA 6. example They have good reason to be conservative as they don't want their plants to fail.
- But here? 20912 gives zone 7.
- 20912 input here will give you 7/8. Eight? Don't get excited - their map puts us in the northern part of 7.

Why the variation? Because the Arbor Day Foundation proposes changes to the traditional map, arguing that some areas have warmed a whole zone. Look at their animation. First click play, then differences. Some web sites pull their data from the USDA zone map, others consider the Arbor Day calculations.

Sometime this year the USDA is expected to finally release a new map based on 30 year averages. This is likely to show a northward drift of the zones in many locations, as the Arbor Day maps currently do. (Some background on the Arbor Day map.) Additional explanations here and here.

And is average cold temperature, whatever it may be, even the most appropriate guide? You can also find your heat zone. And for 20912 it is .... 7.

Now 93F. Feels like zone 10.

Posted by library at 03:57 PM

April 24, 2009

April 27-May2

Monday, April 27
__ 1:40 – Piney Branch 4th Graders – presentation on mysteries
Tuesday, April 28
__ 10 a.m. – Circle Time
__ 11 a.m. – Circle Time
__ 1:40 – Piney Branch 5th Graders – presentation on researching topics
Wednesday, April 29
__ 11 a.m. – Wonderful Ones
__ 1:40 p.m. – Piney Branch 4th graders – presentation on poetry
__ 7 p.m. – Spring Into Poetry program (please register)
Thursday, April 30
__ 11 a.m. – Spanish Circle Time
__ 7:30 p.m. – Favorite Poem Night

Posted by at 10:22 AM

April 21, 2009

Homes and Gardens 2009

36th Annual House and Garden Tour
Sunday May 3rd, 1-5, rain or shine.
Start Point: Jequie Park

Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op, Now and Then or Mark’s Kitchen for $15. Online or at the start of the tour for $20.

This year the homes and gardens are located in North Takoma, the area around Montgomery College.

All but the newest issues of our magazines can be checked out for one week. Check out

  • Architectural Record
  • Better Homes and Gardens
  • Fine Homebuilding
  • Garden Gate
  • Garden Design
  • Historic Preservation
  • Horticulture
  • Mother Earth News
  • National Wildlife (the current issue has an article on creating a carbon-neutral landscape)
  • This Old House
  • Washington Gardener web site
Do you read Susan Harris' sustainable gardening blog? She is also Takoma Park's voice on garden rants, which had a great review in Garden Design (see above).

Posted by library at 03:32 PM

April 16, 2009

April 20-25

Monday, April 20
__ 1:45 p.m. – Piney Branch Elementary School 4th graders – presentation on poetry
__ 7:30 p.m. – Banned Books Club
Tuesday, April 21
__ 10 a.m. – Circle Time
__ 11 a.m. – Circle Time
Wednesday, April 22
__ 11 a.m. – Wonderful Ones (Note: program is full)
__ 1:45 p.m. – Piney Branch Elementary Scool 4th graders – presentation on mysteries
__ 7 p.m. – Tween Writing Club (Note: program is full)
Thursday, April 23
__ 11 a.m. – Spanish Circle Time
Friday, April 24
__ 10:30 – Takoma Park Child Development Center Circle Time
Saturday, April 25
__ 10:30 a.m. – French Circle Time

Posted by at 11:57 AM

April 14, 2009


Planning to put in some onions and peas? Tomatoes and squash? Need advice? We have lots of books. The Dewey number is 635 and the subject tracing is vegetable gardening. (Our catalog.) You can read them while waiting for the frosts to end.

Don't forget the wonderful Cooperative Extension Service, the assistance provided by state land-grant universities. These programs have helped generations with their gardening questions. You can still call them - or you can ask your questions online. No need to mail in the bug in a bag. They now accept digital photos.

Do you remember victory gardens? Go to the J room and find the delightful picture book Don't you know there's a war on? by James Stevenson. He also collected tin foil.

BTW why do some states, including Maryland, have two land-grant universities? This is characteristic of the south, the old slave states. If the state agricultural college was segregated, a late nineteenth century federal law, the second Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1890, required the school to either integrate or open a second segregated institution for African Americans.

And did you know that both Cornell and MIT, though private, are land-grant institutions?

Posted by library at 03:58 PM

April 13, 2009

A Moveable Feast

Sunday April 19 is Paskha (Easter) for many of our patrons and some of our staff. Both Western and Othodox churches use a March 21st baseline date for calculations, but the former uses the Gregorian calender and the latter the Julian.

Note that in 2010 and 2011 both Western and Orthodox Easters will fall on the same date.
April 4th for 2010 and April 24th for 2011.

The term Paskha should sound familiar as it comes from Hebrew Pesach (passover). The dates for the first evening of passover in 2010 (5770) and 2011 (5771) are March 29 and April 18. (The lunar month adjustment comes in.)

Like online calculators? See: Calculating ecclesiastical dates.

Posted by library at 11:33 AM

April 11, 2009

Haitian History

This afternoon in the Council chambers at 2 PM
Local author Rodrique Vital will discuss:
The Years of Haiti in the Shade of the American Empire.

Posted by library at 01:32 PM

Trees and Votes

Because of the rain, the arbor day celebration is going to be held under the overhang next to the computer area rather than outside the library. This area faces Maple and overlooks the police parking lot. You can walk around the corner of the library to get to it.

Meanwhile refreshments will be served at the mock voting experiment - inside the community center.

And at the library? As usual - checking out books, checking in books, helping people find information.

Posted by library at 09:28 AM

April 09, 2009

April 13-18

Monday, April 13
__ 7 p.m. Bedtime Stories
Tuesday, April 14
__ 10 a.m. Circle Time
__ 11 a.m. – Circle Time
Wednesday, April 15
__ 11 a.m. – Wonderful Ones (Note: program is full)
__ 1:45 p.m. – Piney Branch 4th graders – presentation on mysteries
Thursday, April 16
__ 11 a.m. – Spanish Circle Time
Friday, April 17
__ 4 p.m. – Comics Jam
Saturday, April 18
__ 10:30 a.m.-Noon – “Dia” celebration with Spanish Circle Time and crafts

Posted by at 03:57 PM
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Local Warming
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Homes and Gardens 2009
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