A Bit Of A Centenarian Celebration
Winter Reading, Turning 100 Movie Mondays & More at Fremont Library
The Fremont Area District Library is planning to host several fun and educational events in January for the whole family. These events are FREE, as always.
The Winter Reading Challenge for all ages is back this year beginning January 3rd, and runs through February 28th. Children can sign up in the Children’s Department and teens and adults can sign up at the Reference Desk. Each age group will get a reading log with a challenge to complete, and when finished, you can bring it in for a prize. Children and teens will also be entered into grand prize drawings.
Storytimes will begin again a run from January 19th-April 14th. Toddler Storytime, for babies and toddlers up to age 3, will be held on Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m., and Family Storytime for children up to age 5 will be held on Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. Saturday Storytime, for children up to age 5 will be on January 8th at 11:00 a.m in the Community Room. Masks are recommended at all Storytimes during this time. We’ll also be showing a family-friendly Afternoon Movie (title to be determined) on Thursday, January 20th at 3:30 p.m. Check with the library for movie details. Snacks will be served, and all are welcome.
Junk Journaling for ages 10 and up will take place on January 13th anytime between 3:00-5:00. This is a scrapbooking and journal hybrid. Use up what you have and supplement with found, recycled, repurposed and thrifted items. Materials provided.
We’ll be showing a couple movies at our Movie Mondays—this month to celebrate things turning 100 in 2022! Betty White turns 100 on January 17th, so we’ll be showing The Proposal which she guest stars in, in celebration of Betty. The movie will start at 2:00 p.m. on Jan. 17th. Also turning 100 in 2022 is the story of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. This movie will be showing in our Community Room on Monday, January 31st at 2:00 p.m.
The Wednesday Readers Book Group will meet on Monday, January 10th at 7:00 p.m. to discuss Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, and the Daytime Book Group will meet on Thursday, January 27th at 12:30 p.m. to discuss The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Anyone is welcome to join these book groups. Books for these groups are available at the library’s front desk ahead of the meeting if you’d like to check out a copy and join the group.
For more information about any of these events, please contact the library at 231-924-3480 or visit www.fremontlibrary.net.
Hands in the Dirt: Garden Gnomes
Photo and article by Donna Iverson
There are dozens of diminutive mythical characters, like fairies, elves, leprechauns, and trolls, but being a gardener, my favorite is the gnome.
Gnomes are earth dwellers and garden helpers. They live in old trees, or underground and can even travel underground, according to some folklorists. Approximately 2 feet tall, gnomes wear pointy hats, usually red, and have white beards on large heads with small bodies. By nature they are not malicious but are mischievous and like to play tricks on humans.
At night, gnomes come out to help in the garden or with livestock if you are a farmer. Barn rafters are a favorite place to spend the day.
Gnomes are one of the oldest and most popular mythical creatures. In the 1800s, the first garden gnome statue appeared in Germany. Christmas gnomes are the most recent incarnation and have become ever more popular. They are Santa helpers and deliver presents to gardeners and farmers especially those who love plants and animals. For some reason, Christmas elves' eyes are hidden under their hats.
Gnomes are long lived ….500 years on average. And they are vegetarians who prefer to drink mead, made with honey, raspberries and spicy gin.
Many famous books have gnomes in their tales, including Harry Potter where gnomes tend the wizard’s garden. In Tolkien, gnomes are Santa’s helpers. In recent years, gnomes are featured characters in online games like Warcraft, where players choose a gnome avatar. Author Terry Pritchett also writes about gnomes as did L Frank Baum in the Wizard of Oz.
Other interesting facts about gnomes:
There is a gnome park in Madison, Wisconsin, and gnome parades in Atlanta, Savannah, and Cleveland. And if you want to see a gnome mushroom house, Earl Young has built several in Charlevoix, Michigan. Check out: https://www.visitcharlevoix.com/Earl_Young_Mushroom_Houses
Reviewed by FADL Staff Member, Julie McGinn
Recently my husband and I went on a road trip and I downloaded "Nowhere Girl: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood" on our Hoopla app. The premise is really interesting--living around the world in India, New Zealand, Brazil, Virginia, and New York. Living life on the run from Interpol--aliases, shoplifting, forged documents. All as a child. Author Cheryl Diamond reveals the true nature of her past, the relationships with her parents, siblings, and maternal grandparents, and her deep desire to be normal.
Part way through listening to the audiobook my husband asked, "Is this a true story?" and it is, although sometimes so far-fetched it seems like a work of fiction. Cheryl describes her childhood in great detail. As the book goes on and she becomes older the story does seem to be longer than necessary, and the details more vague. This is a new release and I highly recommend it as a book club selection when it is old enough to circulate within libraries.
You can read or listen to this book instantly on the free Hoopla Digital app, or go to hoopladigital.com. Go straight to the book here: https://bit.ly/3DxS1ku
Also, if you're a Fremont library card holder, you have extra Hoopla borrows available this month! As a holiday gift to you, we are giving our cardholders 10 borrows on Hoopla this month, so it's a great time to explore the music, movies, tv shows, ebooks, audiobooks, and comics available in Hoopla!
By Terry Grabill
This is the seventh in a series chronicling the efforts by Terry Grabill to follow a dream kindled by a love for birding and the inspiration drawn from the book and movie The Big Year.
Previous stories in the series can be accessed by entering Michigan Big Year at Search Near North Now on our home page: https://www.nearnorthnow.com/
With only one week before Spring Break, I could feel the tension building and I knew that the rush to cover all the migrating birds was getting close. I lived the daily frustration of being employed full-time and having the handicap of a strong work ethic engrained from an early age. This "handicap" made it difficult, if not impossible, for me to fake a sick day when rarities showed on ebird. Fortunately, the spring rush hadn't hit yet so my anxiety was more-or-less under control. As April 1 approached, I made plans for our week-long break, during which I planned to really make some big jumps in numbers. There was, however, a week of school left before my big push. Some early migrants had been showing up on facebook groups and ebird checklists that I should be able to get pretty easily. One was a strange little sandpiper that prefers upland habitat where it probes the soft soil for worms. Typically, I would have heard this bird performing its sky dance, twittering with a sound made as air passes its specialized primary flight feathers. I hadn't seen or heard or seen one yet (it was still a little early). I figured Walkinshaw Wetlands would be a likely spot to look. Sure enough, the male's ground call, given between flights, carried across the marsh from the forest's edge gave it away! Peent!
#134 American Woodcock
March 29. Rare bird alert!! The message popped up at lunch. It's pretty hard for a teacher to duck out at noon. Some professions, I suppose, could accommodate such a contingency. Teaching isn't one of those, especially in the time of substitute shortage during COVID19. As soon as 3:15 arrived, however, I headed south to Allegan County where a black vulture was showing. The reports all described the street address and particular tree where this bird was. This one should be easy. The location was about 90 minutes from school so I arrived with plenty of light, especially for a sure-fire easy sighting. As I approached the location, I saw I was not alone. Amy Lyyski was there to see the vulture as well. She had positioned her car a short distance from the tree and was awaiting the return of the bird. No problem, I had plenty of light left. As we waited, Tim Cornish stopped as well. We waited. We scanned the horizon in all directions. We re-checked the report to verify our stake-out. And we waited. Exchanging contact numbers, we decided to search the surrounding area and send a group text when one of us located the bird. I drove west, Tim went south and Amy turned east. We occasionally waved as we passed one another at an intersection. We all eventually figured we had covered the area thoroughly for five or so miles in all directions. Tim had to get to work. Amy lived relatively close and had to get home soon. I decided to stake out the tree and eat a granola bar and wait it out a little longer. This was supposed to be a sure thing! Man, how many times have I said that since New Year's Day? The granola wore off. I am not good with being hungry. I was getting irritated and impatient. The last bathroom stop was some time ago. I was debating whether to go home, find some food, maybe find a restroom, or stick it out. After another hour, the restroom and food concerns were winning the debate. One more scan. Wait...oh, never mind... Two turkey vultures teetered on the wind with their wings set in the diagnostic dihedral. TUVU is one of Andrea's favorite birds to watch. She loves seeing the flying V teetering on the thermals. Oh....that third one...shorter tail, flatter wing position, white "hand" waving good-bye as it banked behind the tree line.
#135 Black Vulture
March 30. Tuesday, Spring Break is coming soon! I was anxious and excited to return to the UP to find some birds before they returned to Canada for breeding. I left my classroom and as I unlocked the truck, I looked south to see ...
April 1. April Fool's Day. School's out for Spring Break. I figured I could get home fast, pack a bag and get to St Ignace, just over the Mackinac Bridge by dusk, get some good sleep, and finally put the sharp tailed grouse in the books. I messaged my friend, Elliot Nelson, from Pickford for some advice. I'd spent a ridiculous amount of time chasing ebird checklists to no avail and I wanted to pick his brain for a "sure-thing" (sound familiar?) "I'll do you one better" he said, "I'll drop a pin on Google maps for you, they'll be there." Okay, we'll see. I figured I needed to be there at first light so I tore out of the parking lot as the sun was peeking over the eastern horizon. Maybe I should have left 30 minutes earlier. Driving through eastern UP isn't what most would consider the northern wilderness associated with images of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It's flat and agricultural. Straight gravel roads run north-south and east-west separating hay fields. I contemplated this dichotomy of UP wilderness vs the Eastern UP reality as my GPS navigation brought me close to my destination. Scanning the fields and shrubs, what were those blobs in that tree? My first experience with sharp-tailed grouse was years ago when my Michigan Audubon guide described them as bowling balls on a branch. Sure enough, three grouse in the tree! Now, even if Elliot's advice didn't pan out, sharp-tailed were on the list! My phone broke the peace with "your destination is on the left". I opened the drivers window and there were a dozen grouse dancing and cooing on their lek. Perched nearby were several others, probably female, seemingly uninterested.
#137. Sharp-tailed grouse.
I could have stayed entertained by the lek dance of the grouse all day, or as long as they performed but I was a long way from home and I'd listed most of the birds this part of the UP had to offer in early March. I turned my focus on the path to Hulbert bog and a long-shot attempt as some boreal species. Andrea and I had ventured into the bog earlier in the year without finding any of my targets of boreal chickadee, Canada jay, or spruce grouse. Ebird didn't give me much hope either, with none of these being reported in quite a while. I remember, however, that a Michigan Audubon guide had led my mother and I through Hulbert and he had been surprised to not find spruce grouse. The bog was on my way (kind of) to Whitefish Point so I thought it might be worth my while. I must confess, I don't have a lot of experience with these three species so I played their songs and calls as I drove west. I turned left onto the road that passes through the bog and stopped about a quarter-of-a-mile in. Shutting down the engine, I stood in the silent road. In just a few seconds, a repetitive, nasal call came from behind me just off the road. It was answered by a nasal purring across the road followed by a dark, chicken-like form moving back into the dense spruce jungle.
#137 Spruce grouse
Well, if spruce grouse was that easy, the other two should be a breeze! That was not how it worked out. Though I was still basking in the bliss of a spruce grouse sighting, I was a little grounded by the lack of much else in the eerily quiet bog. As I exited the bog and set my sights north toward Whitefish Point, I saw another chicken-like bird standing next to the highway. Right on the gravel shoulder stood
#138 Ruffed grouse
I whipped the car around, had to wait for a semi tractor-trailer to pass while I focused my lens on the bird. As the truck passed, the bird launched itself into its path in an effort to fly across in front of the speeding mountain. I feared I would miss my shot and have to watch the bird get obliterated in front of me. As the trailer sailed past, I saw this little grouse barely pass in front of the truck and just miss being clipped by its mirror. All three Michigan grouse species before 10am. It was a long drive from home for what was seemingly a relatively small victory. I was beginning to see that these small prizes were going to have to sustain me if I was to not lose focus and hope for my Big Year venture.
I didn't have a particular target bird to chase at the point, but Whitefish Point was too close to ignore so I turned north and finished the race. The feeders there were full of common redpolls and the most clearly white hoary redpoll I've ever seen. Eventually, from under the shrubs to the left, out fluttered a larger bird, resembling a house sparrow.
#139 Eurasian tree sparrow
My life Eurasian tree sparrow had been in this very spot 2 years earlier! I later met Briana Fisher on the bench by the feeders and we talked, waited, counted redpolls, and waited some more, but the tree sparrow did not show again.