by Jared Richards, Technology Supervisor
Carol singers and observant elves perched high on shelves are so last year. We’re now in the season of resolutions. I enjoy the process of resolving to do something, and then doing the research to make it a reality. Like many people, however, I’m not the best at following through. Lacking any immediate consequences for not succeeding in my resolve tends to have a significant impact on my motivation. Yarn piles, discarded devices, and dusty tools can attest to this.
One solution I have come up with this year to aid my motivation is library due dates. Unlike previous years, I’m going to take broader themes and break them into smaller goals, based on the due dates of my library books. Making things with wood and cooking more interesting meals are going to be my broad themes, but I’m going to break them into more easily attainable goals that I can accomplish within three weeks. At which point, I’ll have either accomplished my goal or I’ll return the book. Renewing will only be allowed if I complete my first goal. Regimentation is the key, but I also know myself, and know that concessions will be made. You get to make your own rules, though, that’s the best part.
More often than not, you’ll come across woodworking books and magazines at the library, both physical and digital, that are project-based. Easy-to-follow steps and copious images make these books a perfect solution for my three-week goals.
A classic first project is a birdhouse, and if that floats your boat, or flaps your wings, the library has got you covered. “Audubon Birdhouse Book” takes a deep dive and stresses the importance of building houses that are beneficial to the birds you’re trying to house, not just something that will look good in your yard. One stereotypical feature for birdhouses is a perch below the opening, like what you see on birdfeeders. It turns out the birds using the house don’t need that perch, but predators can use the perch to gain access to the birds inside. I also like this book for the detailed information they give about each bird, along with the appropriate house to build for each one. This book, along with many other birdhouse books, is not only available as a physical book, but can also be accessed digitally as an ebook through Hoopla, one of our online resources.
For the traditionalists, there’s “The Woodwright’s Shop” by Roy Underhill, which is only available on Hoopla. I grew up watching his show on PBS, and my fascination with his exclusive use of hand and non-powered tools has continued into adulthood. This particular book, first published in 1981, starts with finding the right trees for wood, moves on to building small projects, and ends with the timber-frame construction of his shop. That last one is a bit beyond my three-week scope.
Scaling back a bit, to the construction of individual meals, we have cookbooks. Like woodworking books, these are also project-based. I get easily overwhelmed by choice, and cookbooks are filled to the brim with choices. This year, however, rather than being moved to indecision by all the wonderful pictures, I’m going to flip through the book, find the first recipe that looks good, and make it.
The first time I had falafel, I was not a fan, but I recently had it twice and really enjoyed it. While flipping through “Molly on the Range” by Molly Yeh, I found a falafel recipe featuring coriander, and I’m looking forward to trying it. “Keepers” by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion, has a recipe for Asian-style slaw that photographs very well. In my head, it just might work with the falafel, and there’s only one way to find out.
The book that piqued my curiosity most recently is “Vegan Cheese” by Jules Aron. As you might have surmised from the title, it’s a book entirely devoted to non-dairy cheese. I haven’t ever really given it much thought, but now I’m intrigued. Especially by the dark chocolate brie recipe.
As you can tell by the date, the year is young, and who knows what it’ll hold, but my resolutions are helping me feel all right about it. And several months from now, when I have forgotten my resolutions and I am questioning all of my life choices, I’ll check out a library book, and be reminded by the due date that, way back in January, I had this great idea to stick to my goals.