Marcia Strykowski

Furry Friends & Prairie Life

I’ve been a bit too busy to blog lately, but I figured since a picture’s worth a thousand words, I’d put up a few of my recent photographs. I am so fortunate to work at a public library. Every day is a new adventure depending on which patrons (regulars or newbies) come through the door. Once in a while it’s pure magic when I can witness a new friendship happening right before my eyes, such as what took place the other day when two senior men got into a lengthy passionate discussion about the miniature war tanks we have on display, each visitor with their own history to share. The thing about libraries is we want to help, we want to make your life better by what you take away from each experience, whether it’s a new author you love, or an exciting program. And you can’t beat the price—it’s all free!
As part of our Spring Read this year everyone read Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. And then after also reading The Wilder Life, we skyped with Wendy McClure (she not only wrote this interesting book, but she is also the Editorial Manager at Albert Whitman & Company in Illinois).To wrap up the spring events, this past weekend we hosted a very successful Pioneer Day. Due to showery weather it was held indoors. Here are a few highlights.Children made cabins out of pretzels and peanut butter.And they churned butter! The kids enjoyed shaking their own personal jars filled with heavy cream. After it turned to butter, they spread it on snacks and gave it a taste.There was a wonderful spinning demonstration happening on the main floor. (One of the personable spinners was so disappointed she’d misplaced her authentic pioneer costume). Although they both have fancy spinning wheels and looms at home, these small wooden wheels were perfect for sharing with others. The children learned all about shearing wool, spinning it into yarn, and the beautiful garments that can be made from a wide variety of soft colors.While all this was going on, upstairs we had an awesome performance by a local violinist. She played “Oh, Susanna”, “Pop Goes the Weasel”, and other timely tunes. And then the kids got to try their own hand at fiddlin’ (just like Pa in the Little House books). She taught them how to carefully pick up their instruments and then find notes on the strings. There were several sessions and everyone got a turn.Much fun ensued when the little goat triplets arrived. Only three months old and they were the stars of the day.Speaking of animals, the director of my library is a volunteer at a local farm where they’ve rescued many of their residents from bad situations. On this beautiful farm they are nurtured and loved in their new forever home.Roger the donkey watches over everybody and is very territorial (although when he’s busy, the farm cat sneaks into the little barn buildings to check things out). As peaceful as the barnyard appears, they all seem to be waiting for something. Did you hear it? Maybe the swish of a pail or the creak of a wagon wheel?All ears perk up, YES!It’s time for second breakfast! Everybody run!Let’s take turns, plenty for all!

60 Comments

  1. LOVE the animals!!! And the fun activities in the library- making butter- and then enjoying it on snacks… YUM!!! Your blog is always a treat, Marcia.

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  2. Fabulous! I loved the library bits, obviously, but the animals were all so cute too.

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  3. So many great photos and details, Marcia, but I must admit the goats were my absolute favorites. Your smile is wide and beautiful as you hold that goat, so I’m guessing you’re partial to them, too.

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    • Actually, not only was the sun making me squint but I was having a fit laughing and was so worried I’d drop the wiggly goat! 🙂

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  4. What a great library program! And it’s wonderful to see the happy animals.

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  5. What a delightful post! I enjoyed seeing your library with all the hands-on activities, as well as the animals.

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  6. You came up with a great post. Your library has so much going on – that’s wonderful. And you’re right – free and fun for the whole community.

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    • There are many libraries doing wonderful things for their communities and it seems nowadays they need all the promotion they can get in hopes these offerings won’t be taken away. Thanks for your thoughts!

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  7. Michele

    Great post, Marcia! Enjoyed it all!

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  8. What a wonderful wonderful program Marcia!! We grew up on those Little House books– I was always handing them off to my 4th graders. And so many activities to round it all out!! Love libraries!! They offer so much (more than free books!). Thanks for the great post! How’s your week going?? What’s keeping you so busy these days?? hugs friend!

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    • Hi Rhonda! The Little House books have certainly held onto their popularity, glad they brought back happy memories for you. As for what’s keeping me busy, it’s not always something I can put my finger on, but between my writing job and my library job, sometimes I feel like they’re both full-time jobs instead of part-time. Of course even if I had extra time and took up baking, for example, my results would never come out as wonderful as all your perfect-looking feasts for the eyes! 🙂

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      • Oh gosh Marcia– I get that. I imagine being a writer is sort of like being a student in that there is always always work calling to you. And that’s pretty full time! And– one more Little House memory that you made me think of– When I read them back in the 50’s, I asked our city librarian if she could give me Laura Ingalls Wilder’s address so I could send her a letter and she told me that the author had died not to awfully long ago. I felt like I just missed her! ha ha ha. But it would have been lovely to known her… OK, that’s all. Keep up all the good writing work– waiting to read your next book!! xox

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        • That would have been nice to write to Laura. There are a lot of interesting biographies (with pictures!) about her. Fascinating to learn of all the places they lived and how her book series came to be. Thanks for sharing, Rhonda!

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          • thanks Marcia– I’ve seen some kids bios on her– I’ll go look for a real adult version. thanks!! hugs friend!

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  9. Wow! Your library is sure the happening place. All in the week of a life, eh? You’re amazing!

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  10. Dear Marcia, I so wish I could visit your library – I would start out as a newbie but very quickly turn into a regular. I would even volunteer to clean the windows or make the tea just so I could visit every day! Your photographs are beautiful (I love the goats), and it looks as if everyone had a wonderful time.

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    • Wouldn’t that be wonderful to have you become one of our regulars, dropping by with your teapot. But for now I always look forward to your virtual visits from England! 🙂

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  11. I want to hang out at your library!

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    • You’re welcome anytime, if only Australia weren’t so darn far away!

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  12. I loved this post, Marcia. Had to go back and read it twice. My chapter reading every year includes Little House in the Big Woods (and Prairie). We just finished the book yesterday! I absolutely LOVE all the activities your library does. So wonderful for children and for promoting a great book. My grandmother is Laura’s daughter’s age AND also named Rose, and had a similar childhood.

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    • Wow, that’s interesting about the similarities between your grandmother and the Wilders. And how coincidental that your class finished reading the book yesterday. I’ll bet they enjoyed learning about all the chores and handmade products, so different from today’s world. When I recently reread Little House in the Big Woods, the first chapter was rather shocking with all that butchering, who knew the excitement of a roasted pig tail?!

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      • I know exactly what you mean. The butchering is my least favorite part when I read aloud, yet Pa’s stories are my favorite. When we finished yesterday, I told the children how I like Pa, as he plays the fiddle and tells stories while I play the autoharp and tell stories. They understood! They do love the chores, too. Today we begin Little House on the Prairie. Hope I get as far as Jack crossing the creek and Pa with the wolves. I might have to reblog the Jack post. And yes, the similarities between families are fascinating.

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  13. Bette Norton

    I can see why you love to go to work! I love all the children’s activities that your library offers!. Watching the children so earnestly making their crafts and learning new things! They are having so much fun. It makes me miss my preschool teaching days! The animals are adorable! I love the story you told to go with each picture. They were all so cute running together to get their second breakfast. Libraries offer so much to the community. May we never lose sight of that in today’s technical world. A great way to begin my day reading this delightful post! Thank you! 🙂

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    • I’m happy you enjoyed the post and thanks for letting me know! 🙂

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  14. You have such wonderful activities at your library! Everyone loves baby goats!! I would have loved all of this when I was a child. Still do!

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    • Baby goats do seem to be very popular lately. There are even yoga classes incorporating them (if this is new to anyone, search on YouTube to see baby goats climbing all over people in yoga poses 🙂 ). Thanks, Darlene!

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  15. mirkabreen

    On my recent stay in Manhattan I discovered that the library is a public resource for many things besides books, and it was a sort of home-away-from home.

    Love the little farm animals^.

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    • I love to check out libraries wherever I travel, fun to see what’s new and different at each one. Good to hear you made use of the library in Manhattan.

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  16. What fun activities/events going on at your library! Thanks for sharing all the great photos. Love all those animals — they seem very happy at that farm. 🙂

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    • I was very impressed with how well the farm is run. All of the animals seem to get along and are given good care there.

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  17. Louise Pryor

    I so enjoyed these pictures, especially the goats. I grew up with goats; they’re the sweetest, gentlest, cuddly-est animals there are—much like puppies!

    Louise

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    • Ah, you grew up with goats, I’m going to have to hear about that story. They are very sweet. Thanks, Louise!

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      • Louise Pryor

        Yes, we had goats on the farm where I lived as a child. We’d tie them to stakes on the lawn, then after they’d “mowed” a big circle around the stake, we’d move them to another spot to mow there. For years we didn’t own a lawnmower that didn’t have four legs! We never had to fertilize the lawn either. Our goats were all named and came when they were called, and were so lovable. I grew up on goat’s milk, not cow’s milk, and was told that was why I’m not susceptible to poison ivy. Don’t know if that’s really the reason, but it’s true I don’t get poison ivy. By the way, it’s not true that goats eat ANYTHING. But they do enjoy nibbling at clothes hanging from a line….

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        • That’s so interesting, Louise. Sounds like a wonderful childhood (I didn’t know you had so much in common with Heidi of storybook fame!). Interesting about the poison ivy theory, too. Thanks for sharing!

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  18. This is a lovely post. I like hearing about your day.

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  19. Jenni Enzor

    This sounds so fun! I would’ve loved this as a kid. (I used to use our wood stove as part of my pretend-to-be-Laura play.) I’d love it now as an adult. What a great way for kids to experience these books!

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    • Many adults seem to have memories of pretend-to-be-Laura times and I enjoyed hearing about your woodstove play. There was an old-fashioned woodstove in my grandfather’s woodshed; I can still remember it clearly. Hopefully the latest generation of children will carry their ‘Little House’ memories on through to the next, and the next, and so on.

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  20. What a great event! I love my local library, although I think they need to get some goats, too. 🙂

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    • Sounds like a good new trend, goats at every library, maybe even for one week check-outs. 🙂

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  21. The Spring Read looks wonderful. And, I always enjoy pictures of animals. I especially liked the photo of the sheep (or maybe it’s a goat) with a very shaggy coat.

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    • I believe the one you mention is a cashmere goat. It would be a massive undertaking to clean out the fur so there won’t be any sweaters from this one’s wool. 🙂

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  22. Ashley

    The animals are all so sweet!! Love the pigs!! Pioneer day looks fun great post

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  23. These are great photos. What a wonderful experience for the students. My mother was education curator for a Heritage Museum in Florida. They had summer camps where they had similar activities. I think it is so important for children to know our heritage. That book about Laura Ingalls. I just finished her Pioneer Girl. This would be an interesting other source. Thanks for a great post.

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    • Interesting to hear about your mother’s museum experience. Sounds like a wonderful place to learn about the past. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sharon!

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  24. Such a fun and wonder post, Marcia! I didn’t know you were a cherished librarian! I love goats, so thank you for posting the photos…of all the animals really. I’m so glad to hear of another rescue farm for farm animals. (The movie, “Babe,” tugged at my heart enough so many years ago that I no longer eat mammals.) I’d love to visit your library sometime. 🙂

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    • Thanks so much, Lynn. It is heartwarming to know these animals have a second chance for a happy life and interesting how a movie’s message dramatically changed your way of thinking. 🙂

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  25. Libraries are where we store our greatest weapons and treasure.

    And you, dear Marcia, get to work and play there, mingling with visitors and making friends with people who love stories and Learning. I love how your team also includes music, food-making, and animals in your activities. That’s how lively truly great libraries are! In fact, your library made me think of Winn-Dixie’s town, don’t know why. It’s that warm a place, I suppose, with so many interesting characters to meet. (I don’t understand how people stereotype libraries as dull and severe. I know most of my childhood friends do. And my goodness, how much would I have missed out/be missing out if I’d fallen along to their assumptions!)

    The animals look so happy and healthy. 🙂

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    • Hi Claudine, great to hear from you. Sounds like you have a wonderful appreciation of libraries and I’m so glad you enjoy the ones you visit. Hope all is going well for you and thanks for stopping by!

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  26. Very interesting post, Marcia! And, you’re lucky cause you’ve got a great library – looks so fun and many interesting events. I love the activities you had, I love the lovely animals and of course all the beautiful photos. Thanks again, Marcia! xoxo

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    • We are lucky to have a good library, so much depends on the amount of support a town or city can give. Federal funding (which I hope won’t suffer any cuts) makes up for a large chunk of what a library can offer, as well. Thanks for your comments, Lilly! xo

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