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Friday, September 2, 2016

Can you grow a plum tree from a pit?

We looked in The Backyard Orchardist by Stella Otto and How to Grow Food by Richard Gianfrancesco. Both contained information about growing plums, but only about growing trees from saplings or caring for trees that had already matured.

Fortunately, Amy Grant wrote an article for about growing plums from seed. The seed must be kept at temperatures around thirty to forty degrees Fahrenheit for ten to twelve weeks before it will germinate. (Sources vary on whether or not the seed needs to be removed from its protective casing, if the pit simply needs to be cracked, or if the whole pit can be planted as-is.) There are a few ways to accomplish this. Our patron could wrap the pit in a damp paper towel and put it in a plastic bag inside the refrigerator. After it sprouted, they would plant it two inches deep in an even mix of potting soil and vermiculite, keeping it cool and moist. Once there was no chance of frost, they could transplant it outside into the garden.

It’s also possible to simply plant the pit directly outside during the colder months. Grant suggests planting it three inches deep and marking the spot so that it can be found again.

Grant cautions that a plum tree grown from seed may or may not bear fruit, and the fruit may or may not taste the same as the original plum, as plum trees are generally propagated through grafting and not through seed. However, she assures that it is still a rewarding and worthwhile project.

Don’t Throw It, Grow It! by Deborah Peterson and Millicent Selsam, available at the Newton Falls Public Library, has more information on how to save kitchen scraps and grow them into plants, for anyone who is interested. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Do my dogs need special paperwork to travel?

“I’m going camping in Canada and I want to bring my dogs with me. Do they need any special paperwork?”

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which regulates the import of food, plants, and animals, has a section on their website for people who are considering bringing their pets to Canada. A healthy pet dog that is over eight months old and accompanied by its owner requires a rabies vaccination certificate, but no other paperwork that we can find. The certificate must state that the dog has been vaccinated. It needs to include the dog’s sex, breed, color, and weight (for identification purposes), the date of the vaccination, the vaccine’s serial number and trade name (also known as a brand name – for example, Tylenol is a trade name for acetaminophen), and it must indicate how long the vaccine will be effective. (If there is uncertainty, the vaccine will be considered effective for one year after it was administered.) This certificate must be issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian.

According to the Center for Disease Control website, dogs must also have a rabies certificate to cross the border back into the United States. They require a little more information, including the owner’s name and address and the veterinarian’s name, address, and license number. Otherwise, the requirements are about the same.

The website gives a few more tips. They recommend that, if our patron thinks their dog’s health might be called into question, it’s a good idea for them to get a health certificate from their vet as well, just to prove that their dog is not carrying anything contagious.

GoPetFriendly also calls attention to a law against pit bulls or “a dog that has an appearance and physical characteristics substantially similar to any of those dogs” in Ontario. The full law can be read on the Ministry of the Attorney General’s website and states that “It is against the law to bring pit bulls into Ontario, even for a short visit” and that no exceptions are made for tourists.

As our patron prepares for their trip, they can also bring up to around 44 pounds of pet food, so long as both the food and the pets it will feed are with them when they enter Canada, and so long as the food is of United States origin, and commercially packaged. (Sources vary as to whether or not the packaging can be opened.)

If our patron would like more information on camping and Canada specifically, they are welcome to check out the Lonely Planet Guide to Canada and Vin T. Sparano’s Complete Guide to Camping and Wilderness Survival, both of which are available here at the library.

Friday, August 19, 2016

How can I find the address for a house?

“Is there a way I can find out the address for a house? I don’t know who owns it, but I know the road it’s located on.”

This information is in the public record and can be found at the county auditor’s office. Often, it can also be found online using the property search function or plat map on the auditor’s website. We used the search function, since our patron knew the intersection where the property was located. (There are also options to search by the address, owner’s name, and parcel number, among others.)

First, we were prompted to choose the community from a drop-down menu. Since we didn’t know if the property was officially in Newton Falls or not, we selected “undefined/rural.” Then, we were given the option to select two roads from drop-down menus. Once we’d done this, a map came up showing parcels of land. Our patron selected one and we clicked through to see a picture of the house (which confirmed that we’d selected the correct parcel, because it was the house our patron had in mind), along with information including the names of the owners and their tax mailing address, the value of the land and annual tax, and the house’s address and school district.

We also have the 2010 Trumbull County Land Atlas and Plat Book available for checkout here at the library.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Can praying mantises change color?

“I saw a white praying mantis in my garden, and a few days later, I saw a praying mantis about the same size, but it was green. Was it the same one? Can they change color?”

It could have been! One of our circulation clerks happens to raise mantis nymphs as a hobby, and she told us that, depending on the species, mantids can change color as they molt. Like caterpillars and many other bugs, their exoskeletons do not grow with their bodies, and must be shed in order for the mantids to grow. Once they are adults, they will no longer need to do this. An adult mantis can be distinguished from a young one by the wings, which only adults have.

Mantids may turn pale for a while immediately after shedding their skin, which may have been what our patron saw. Molting is a delicate time for them and they should not be disturbed. However, if our patron saw the same mantis later, it seems to have survived the process.

Friday, July 22, 2016

How can you tell if a book is a first edition?

When collecting books, first editions are often more valuable than later editions, so it’s helpful to know how to identify them, but the answer is more complicated than we expected.

According to the page “Identifying and Collecting First Editions” on, in the publishing industry, “first edition” covers all copies of a book printed from the first setting of type. If revisions are made, the revised book is the second edition, and so on and so forth. The first set of books printed is called the first printing, or first impression. If these all sell out and the publisher decides to make more copies, the second set is the second printing, or the second impression. So something marked a “first edition” may not have necessarily been part of the initial print run – it could be from a later printing, but before any revisions were made. Collectors are generally most interested in the earliest copies published – so, the first printing of the first edition – and that’s often what they use “first edition” to mean.

Official Price Guide to Collecting Books: Sixth Edition, written by Marie Tedford and Pat Goudey, and First Editions: A Guide to Identification: Second Edition, edited by Edward N. Zempel and Linda A. Verkler, both give tips on identifying first editions. Some publishing companies will include information on the copyright page such as “First edition, First printing,” or “First published 2007,” which makes it easy, but some give no indication. Sometimes it’s only possible to tell that something is an early edition because the collector knows what to look for, such as a certain error that was later revised. For example, Tedford and Goudey use one of Laurie R. King’s books as an example. She wrote her dedication in Hebrew and in the first edition, it was printed backwards.  

Friday, July 15, 2016

Why have I been seeing healthy trees with patches of dead leaves?

This is called flagging! It can be caused by a variety of things, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation website, from weather-damage to insects to fungus and other diseases. At this time of year in this area, the flagging was probably caused by the periodical cicadas.

We checked and In Ohio’s Backyard: Periodical Cicadas by Gene Kritsky for more information. They explained that cicadas don’t eat that leaves, and, while they use their mouthparts to suck sap from the trees, that isn’t what’s causing the flagging. The female cicadas use a pointed appendage called an ovipositor to deposit their eggs in the new growth on the ends of tree branches, preferably deciduous trees along the edge of a forest or otherwise in full sunlight. Sometimes this causes the branches to break and droop down, causing flagging. Small or young trees are at the most risk of permanent damage, but most trees will bounce back once the dead branches drop off. It’s in the best interest of the cicada not to cause permanent harm to the tree, because their young will feed on the juices from its roots for seventeen years as they develop. (The young cicadas do not remain in the tree branches. The eggs hatch after six to eight weeks and tiny nymphs fall to the ground, eventually tunneling a foot or more into the earth.) If you see small lengthwise slits on the branches, these are oviposition scars, a good sign that the flagging was caused by cicadas. Again, it’s likely that the tree will soon be back to normal. Protect it from further stress by making sure it has adequate water and pruning it only very lightly until it’s dormant again in the winter.

For other tree troubles, The Tree Doctor: A Guide to Tree Care and Maintenance by Daniel and Erin Prendergast is available for borrowing at the library.

Friday, July 8, 2016

When was Arlington Elementary built?

A patron interested in Newton Falls history had some pictures of Arlington Elementary School but couldn’t remember exactly when it had been built.

We checked some of the local history books in our reference section. History of Newton Falls, written by Ella Woodward and revised in 1977, mentioned the then-current principal, Sam Cappelino, but didn’t go any farther back. Lima Lyman’s Lyman’s Histories and Stories of Newton Falls named the 1970 principal (Wesley Jonah) and mentioned a school built in 1920, but didn’t say which school or give more information about Arlington that we could find.

The answer was in front of us all along. The Newton Falls Public Library webpage has a History of Newton Falls section, including a paragraph about the history of education in the town. Arlington Elementary was built in 1929. The school built in 1920 was a high school, but it was damaged in the 1985 tornado and a new one was built in 1987. A new middle school was built near the high school in 2006. The old middle school, which had been built in 1971, was remodeled. In 2007, the old middle school became the new elementary school, and Arlington was demolished the following year.