Tag Archives: challenge

Container Gardening in the 635’s

Finally, a book review! ¬†Just for those of you who are new and were beginning to believe I don’t actually do those ūüėõ ¬†In fact, today I have several short book reviews for you, as I spent last week slowly absorbing information from a variety of books on container gardening.

The book I started with was¬†Container Gardening for the Midwest, one of many books at my library which has caused me to be pleasantly surprised by the ability of even a small library to collect lots of region specific books. ¬†This book followed a layout typical of the books I read, starting with general information about container gardening. ¬†This included the benefits of different pot materials, different design elements (color pairing, shape, etc), how to plant your garden, and how to care for your garden. ¬†Following the general care section was a section on specific plants. ¬†Unfortunately, for gardening I think location north/south matters at least as much as what region of the US you’re in, so there was still some generality to this section. ¬†I don’t think it’s fair to blame the book for that though when the only way to improve that would be an even more specific focus. ¬†In fact, the plant specific section in this book was one of my favorites, because it had great pictures for every plant and I prefer to pick plants by appearance before determining whether or not I can really grow them. ¬†I think it was a good book to start with, since it didn’t provide overwhelming details, and the long, picture-filled plant section made it the book I used most to make a to-be-shortened list of plants I might like to include in my own balcony garden. Continue reading


Filed under Nature, non-fiction

Iowa Bird Watching

As I mentioned in my Monday Musings, I’ve already started to have birds show up on my balcony! ¬†In hopes of attracting more I’ve decided to prioritize getting a feeder up, although I don’t know if it will get much use until I have some plants out there to provide shelter for more cautious birds. ¬†This week’s book,¬†Iowa Bird Watching, was a great introductory resource for a beginning Iowa bird-watcher or for someone like me who is mostly hoping to watch birds from home. ¬†The book includes lists of the best places to go birding and of the top ten must-see birds in Iowa. ¬†In addition, there are beautiful pictures provided for the 100 most common birds in Iowa. ¬†The sections I found most helpful were the bits on what to feed different birds and a list of bird-friendly plants. Continue reading


Filed under Nature, non-fiction

Monday Musings and More Contests

Hello all! ¬†It’s time for this weeks Monday musing, and this week the question posed by Should Be Reading is:¬†What is your favorite romantic book ‚Äďor book that includes a love story?

My first thought when I read the question was “Romances? ¬†I don’t read romances!” but that thought was quickly followed by the realization that there are definitely books I’ve ended up loving for the romance. ¬†I haven’t read a book where the romance really jumped out at me in a while, but mentally browsing books I’ve read in the past one book really stood out to me. ¬†It’s been a while, so I wish I had this book on hand to remind myself why it left such an impression on me, but I vividly remember loving The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause. ¬†I think I might even have cried. ¬†Although I don’t remember all the details, I do remember this being a very moving book and might have to re-read it now.

In addition to answering the Monday Musing question, I’d also like to announce a few more challenges I found for 2012 (I’m a little slow, I know!) which fit particularly well with the reading I’ve been enjoying this year. ¬†Reading through the Dewey Decimal system has made me really want to expand the sorts of books I read. ¬†At first, I’d just wander through the non-fiction section and want to read everything, but now it’s gotten to where I wander the whole library feeling that way! ¬†So, to indulge my desire to sample new genres, I will be participating in the Around the Stack in How Many Ways Challenge¬†at the¬†Palin-esque level, which means I’ll be trying to read books from 20+ genres. ¬†For this to be possible, you’ll notice that the host Dog Ear Discus has defined genres pretty narrowly. I will also be completing the similar Eclectic Reader Challenge hosted by Book’d Out.

And last but not least, I will be starting the Book To Movie Challenge hosted by Para Junkee, because I enjoyed reading and than watching Percy Jackson so much.  I think it will be  a lot of fun to see how well (or not) different books are made into movies.  Feel free to join me!


Filed under Monday Musings

A Spring Without Bees

This weekend, I finally finished A Spring Without Bees. ¬†This was definitely not a book which took a while because I wasn’t into it, but because I was busy. ¬†Plus I had to restrain myself from stopping every few sentences to write down interesting facts about bees! ¬†Did you know, bees travel approximately 7 million miles per gallon of honey they produce? ¬†All I can say is that if people did that much work for a gallon of honey, it would probably be worth its weight in gold. Continue reading


Filed under non-fiction, Science

The Cheese Experiment

First, a few brief blog updates. ¬†For subscribes who haven’t stopped by the blog in a while, there is now a description of my rating system and a blog roll available in the side bar. ¬†I’ve also started using Twitter for the first time after reading a post by Kelly at Call Me Bookish about why she finds tweeting worthwhile, so you can now find me there as well. ¬†And finally, I also received a Pintrest invite from Gretchen at The Happiness Project¬†and I would be happy to pass on the favor, so if you’d like an invitation just e-mail me at kxw116 [at] gmail.com. ¬†Alright now… on to the cheese! Continue reading


Filed under Uncategorized

A Preview

This morning, I finished the last book from the Percy Jackson series, and I must say, I loved the ending! ¬†Although I expected a twist, I wasn’t able to anticipate what actually happened, which was nice. ¬† As Jen at The Introverted Reader pointed out, character development was a strong point of these books and it was a lot of fun to see where everyone ended up. ¬†So, having finished the series, I would still highly recommend them ūüôā

Looking forward, I’ve gotten my next few books for reading through the Dewey Decimal system from the library and I’m pretty excited about them! ¬†I’ve also decided to participate in my first meme, Musing Mondays, where book bloggers ponder thoughtful questions from¬†Should Be Reading, the meme’s host. ¬†Today’s question is: How far along are you in your current read before you start thinking about what you‚Äôll read next? ¬†As you can see from this post, I usually know what I’m reading pretty far in advance, just because I can’t help picking up large stacks of books every time I go to the library. ¬†Fortunately, I don’t usually bring a tote bag, so I’m limited by the number I can carry! ¬†But I typically still pick out my next fiction series and a chunk of non-fiction on the same or similar topics to read next. ¬†So, without further ado, the next few books in my Dewey Decimal Challenge:

638¬†– A Spring Without Bees¬†– According to wikipedia, a section on “insect culture”, which at my library meant a section on bees. ¬†Since I don’t think I’m up to the challenge of raising my own bees, I chose this environmental novel¬†over a how-to book. ¬†It seems a little over-dramatic but also gives an interesting view of the ways our food industry depends on bees.

639¬† – This section was something of a hodge-podge, with books on owning a variety of non-mammalian pets to books on conservation and home gardening. ¬†I was tempted to get one of the books on pets, since I’ve always liked animals, but I’m pretty sure if I did I’d be tempted to get a fish, turtle, or bearded dragon – for science. ¬†So to avoid the temptation, I instead picked up two books about environmental activists:¬†Nature’s Second Chance: Restoring the Ecology of Stone Prairie Farm¬†and The Eye of the Elephant: An Epic Adventure in the African Wilderness. ¬†The subtitles summarize them pretty well ūüôā ¬†And finally, I picked up a book called Welcoming Wildlife To the Garden: Creating Backyard and Balcony Habitats for Wildlife. ¬†Although I don’t have a backyard, the section on tips for attracting wildlife to a balcony sold me on this one. ¬†I’m sure my cat and I would both love to watch birds and butterflies if I can make a suitable habitat on my balcony.

So here’s to a week of good reading! ¬†Feel free to post your own thoughts on the Monday Musings question in the comments or on your own blog.

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Filed under Monday Musings