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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Is the Metal Cap on Top of the Chimney Important?

“The little metal cap on the top of my chimney blew off in the wind. Is that a problem?” The staff of the Newton Falls Public Library understands not wanting to climb up on the roof of a house during this cold winter weather. Knowing nothing about the subject, we first looked at Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning Library by James E. Brumbaugh. The chimney cap (or capping) described in the volume was built of masonry [p.127], and was not what the patron needed. On p.136 there was a drawing of a stove with an exterior pipe and a ‘shanty cap’ on top. The staff continued the investigation using both terms. has instructions for How to Install Your Chimney Cap. As well as detailed installation directions for different styles of caps, the author of the article states “chimney cap
. . . keep the rain from damaging your chimney flue and to keep squirrels, raccoons, and bats from taking up residence.” included additional reasons for why your chimney needs a cap. Besides the previously mentioned critters, this site also lists “birds, small boys and other would-be thieves.” This website gives very detailed reasons for the importance of the cap, including: “rain coming down an open flue . . . causing unpleasant odors and deterioration of flue walls. It can run down . . . where it causes rust damage . . . Rain plus coal soot forms sulfuric acid, which is particularly destructive . . . An Ohio sweep removed a dozen dead birds from a blocked gas flue one cold winter's night. . . Hordes of bats flew down the chimney of one house, driving the family out. The homeowner and his neighbors killed 195 bats inside the house. . . The remains of a man missing for seven years were found when his house and chimney were torn down by a wrecking crew.” The site recommends having a professional do the installation.

The library’s patron felt that these were certainly valid reasons for having the cap replaced as soon as possible.

Friday, December 11, 2009

What Was That Movie's Name?

“I’m looking for a movie, but I can’t remember the name. It is about a knight or a duke and his servant who come to the future. The hero’s bride was lost, and they are looking for her.” The Newton Falls Public Library staff enjoys these challenges.

We first searched the online site for ‘knight lost bride time travel.’ The Internet Movie Database. No title came up to match. Next we tried and found Just Visiting, where in the 12th century, a count ‘finds his beautiful bride-to-be done in’ by magic. He and his servant come to the 21st century to bring her back. Our patron said this was the movie she wanted. One of the libraries in our shared TiPL [Trumbull Independent Public Libraries] catalog owned the DVD and our patron was able to request it to be sent to Newton Falls, for her to borrow.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Are Buckeyes Poisonous to Dogs?

“Hello. This is ___________, from Dr. __________’s veterinary office. He is out of the office today, and we have a client who is afraid her dog has eaten a buckeye. We need information about their toxicity. I phoned our usual resource, and they were unable to assist us and inquiries to the ASPCA’s Pet Poison Control cost $60.”

The staff of the Newton Falls Public Library checked the ASPCA’s website [], as it does list 17 common poisonous plants. Buckeyes were not one of them. Pet Medicine: health care and first aid for all household pets by Roger Caras ... [et al.] is a useful and easily understood book, but does not have a very long listing of poisonous plants. The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health does have an extensive list. Buckeyes, especially the shoots and seeds are considered to be toxic in the spring and summer to horses [p.1182].

As this is a question not to be dealt with casually, we did further research and found that buckeyes are also called horse chestnuts. The Ohio Extension Service’s [] and the Humane Society’s [] websites list them as a poisonous plant.

The caller also needed the symptoms of buckeye poisoning. [] has the buckeye under Gastrointestinal Toxins. [] says the ingestion of these nuts “may produce vomiting, abdominal pain and in some cases diarrhea.” Under the Top 10 Things Poisonous to Pets at the website, Vetinfo [] we found that the “Symptoms of ingestion include: dilated eyes, vomiting/diarrhea, irritation around mouth, swelling of the mouth and throat, excessive drooling, excessive thirst, irregular heartbeat/breathing, muscle tremors, seizures, coma, and death.”

Our caller had enough information for the client. She could now watch her dog for symptoms to determine if it had actually ingested one, before taking it to a veterinary office for care.