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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mice in a Trailer

“Last year, mice got into our trailer over the winter. How can we keep them out when we store it this year?” This is a question that the Newton Falls Public Library staff knows can be considered from different points of view; looked at as an RV, housekeeping, or pest problem.

We began our search with RV Repair & Maintenance Manual by Bob Livingston and Woodall's RV Owner's Handbook by Gary Bunzer. Both had information on winterizing a recreational vehicle. The Woodall's book reminds the owner to inspect the undercarriage for small holes, and to “use Eternabond or aluminum plates to eliminate such openings [p.306].” Our patron wanted to know if there was something he could put inside the trailer in the event some holes are missed.

Heloise From A to Z and All-New Hints From Heloise did not have the pest control information we needed. The Complete Household Handbook: the best ways to clean, maintain & organize your home by Good Housekeeping simply said to “set traps [p. 336].”
The Friendly Trapper: book 2 by Harold E. Bailey has an entire chapter, Mice and Rats, on the topic. While it has many unusual suggestions for catching the pests, there are none for deterring them from entering a space in the first place.

This appears to be a common problem as many online discussion boards address the matter. The most common suggestions were to make sure the trailer is completely clear of food and crumbs, that all holes are filled as mice can enter a space as small as ¼ inch, and to try using inexpensive dryer sheets or moth balls as a deterrent. A contributor to [pjanits from Schaumburg, Ill] suggests that you “get a strong light and lay on the ground under the trailer and think like a mouse. Really, follow along the axle and see what’s there or where the frame is exposed enough for little feet to grab on.” At the same site another member suggested taking out all the cushions, checking for holes, filling them with coarse steel wool, and then putting out plates of moth balls, both inside and underneath the trailer. There is a caution on the website warning people of the danger of using mothballs which are toxic to people and pets. Another interesting suggestion, if storing your trailer in a building on your property, is to adopt a spayed or neutered cat.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Picnic Table Plans

“I need instructions for building a picnic table; the kind with unattached benches. The ones I see at the stores all have attached seats.” The Newton Falls Public Library staff understands the difficulty of climbing over attached benches and the desire for the flexibility of removing the benches from a table.

The first item that came up in a search of the online catalog was Build It Better Yourself by the editors of Organic Gardening and Farming. The picnic table in the chapter Outdoor Furniture was one with attached benches. This same chapter also has plans for a small table with the traditional crossed or slanted legs seen in larger picnic tables. If our patron were very handy he might be able to use the instructions for both these pieces of furniture to design his own, but he preferred to have a set of plans from which to work.

Weekend Woodworking for the Garden by Cindy Burda with Thomas Stender has an unusual picnic table and bench combination made from various lengths of 2 X 4s, stacked and threaded together by steel rods. Individuals who wish to use a variety of materials in their building will find Better Homes and Gardens Outdoor Projects You Can Build filled with interesting ideas. There are benches made from wood along with your choice of flue tiles, a window well, or clay tile reducers. These benches could be used with the book’s Contemporary Picnic Table which has the crossed legs. Building Outdoor Furniture by Ed & Stevie Baldwin has instructions for a round table with separate benches and the requisite hole for an umbrella. Better Homes and Gardens The Best of Wood Book 3 has a very pretty table and bench set on its cover with hearts cut into the leg panels. Also included are the instructions for a matching Comfy Country Chair which is similar to an Adirondack chair.

Our Internet search revealed more types of picnic tables and benches than we imagined. There was one which could be broken down for easy portability, one with a roof, a set of curved picnic benches to put with your choice of table, and another table that splits into two bench seats with backs. Finally at the Popular Mechanics site [ ] we found the plans for the classic cross legged table and benches desired by our patron.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What are the Differences in the Versions of Donovan's Catch the Wind?

“I plan to buy a copy of Donovan’s Catch the Wind but I see that he recorded three different versions of it. What are the differences?” Some of the Newton Falls Public Library staff fondly remembers the 1960s singer Donovan.

The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll states that Donovan (Leitch) first recorded Catch the Wind in 1965 as his debut single. “The song was almost entirely acoustic [p.276].” The Rock Who’s Who by Brock Helander lists the song as being recorded on albums by the same name by both Hickory and Garland Records in 1965. The song was recorded on the Greatest Hits album by Epic in 1969 and again by Sandstone in 1992 [p. 176]. Neither of these sources explained the differences in the versions. The only information The Encyclopedia of Popular Music gives about the song is to note that it was the song that launched Donovan’s career. The Encyclopedia . . . describes his “finest work, however, was as an ambassador of flower power” (vol. 2. P. 1590) and gave his first eleven albums three and four star ratings.

While the Newton Falls Public Library does not own a Donovan CD, patrons can enjoy seeing him perform on the library’s DVD, Bob Dylan Don't Look Back along with Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Alan Price. The song can be heard on Donovan's Greatest Hits by Donovan and on the Flicka: motion picture soundtrack, both which may be borrowed through the library’s shared TiPL [Trumbull Independent Public Libraries] catalog.

Looking online at in the Donovan section, we found the song on many of his albums. In Concert: The Complete 1967 Anaheim Show [Import] [Live] has Catch the Wind pt. 1. The Essential Donovan, Try for the Sun: The Journey. . ., and Mellow have the mono single version. Summer Day Reflection Songs has a version with strings but does not specify if it is the single version. The Best of Donovan: Sunshine Superman has the LP album version, and we would guess that it was this version on the first album. Summer Day Reflection Songs has the original single version with strings and the original album cut without them. The Rising Again version was recorded with Danny Thompson. At this site, our patron is able to listen to different clips of the song, in order to determine which he prefers., the Free Online Encyclopedia has an explanation of the differences but the site does not include references or citations for verification. The site states the first release was produced on a single and featured Donovan’s vocals with echo and a string section. The second release of the song was on his first album What’s Bin Did and What’s Bin Hid. This version was recorded without the vocal echo and strings. Still yet another version of Catch the Wind was released by Epic Records on their album Donovan’s Greatest Hits. Wikipedia states that Epic Records “were either unable or unwilling to secure the rights to the original recordings of Catch the Wind and
Colours . Donovan rerecorded both songs with a full backing band, and these were included on the greatest hits album with session musicians Big Jim Sullivan and John Paul Jones.”

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Do I Need Headlights Turned On When My Daytime Running Lights are On?

“I have a question about the new law that requires turning on your vehicle lights when your windshield wipers are on. Are my daytime running lights sufficient or do I need to actually turn on my car’s headlights?” While the Newton Falls Public Library staff is unable to give legal advice, we can find out what the law states. The article, Driving in the rain? Turn on your lights in the Vindicator on July 28, 2009 [p.B2], says that the new state law went in to effect on July 1, 2009. It is a secondary enforcement matter; you can be issued a citation for not turning on your lights when you are pulled over for another infraction. The article said nothing about daytime running lights.

The library staff went online to look at the Digest of Ohio Motor Vehicle Laws []. In the section on Driving in Special Conditions it says “Lights must be displayed between sunset and sunrise and during any periods of rain, snow, fog or other unfavorable atmospheric conditions regardless of the time of day. Lights also need to be used at any time when natural light conditions do not make it possible to clearly see objects 1,000 feet ahead [p. 62 & 64].” That still didn’t exactly answer the patron’s question.

We next contacted the Newton Falls Police Department. They informed us that the daytime running lights are not sufficient, and drivers MUST turn on their headlights. If the vehicle has headlights that come on automatically when natural light dims, it sounds as if drivers should err on the side of caution and make sure that their headlights have turned on.