Cantaloupe is such a yummy fruit, and I enjoy eating mine plain and with cottage cheese. The other day, while reading an article on the fruit, I was struck by a couple of facts that I didn't know. The melon we eat here in the United States is actually a musk melon, also known as a netted melon. It is not a true cantaloupe. Cantaloupes are grown only in Europe, and are native to Persia, which is now Iran. The name cantaloupe actually comes from the Italian village of Cantalup and it was first cultivated there around 1700.
Cantaloupe and musk melons are part of the Cucumis melo family, which also includes honeydew melons and Crenshaws. Interestingly enough watermelons are not part of this genus. All of these fruits belong to a larger family that also includes cucumbers, squash and pumpkins. The next time you enjoy one of these fruits, you'll have a little bit of background on their history.
If you like to do your own home repairs, you'll want to take a look at these two titles. "Stanley Complete Plumbing" shows you how to do repairs and replacements, and upgrade the plumbing both inside and outside your home. Step-by-step instructions are included along with a DVD which contains tips and techniques. Detailed steps are shown in color photographs and illustrations making this a very helpful manual. "Insulate and Weatherize" by Bruce Harley shows how to make your home more comfortable in all seasons. By reading this book you'll learn how to find and seal air leakage sources, prevent moisture damage, maintain heating and cooling systems, cure foundation problems, and much more. Photos and illustrations are also included to help illustrate the instructions.
Learn about the secret mission to kill Osama bin Laden in "SEAL Target Geronimo" by Chuck Pfarrer. This is the true story of how the terrorist was hunted. The author interviewed members of the SEAL team in writing this book, and also shares never-before-told details of the raid the men had planned. Readers will get the inside story and know just what it looked and sounded like in that raid in Pakistan.
Patricia Cohen's "In Our Prime" looks at the concept of middle age, when it came about, and how we currently define it. The author looks at the biological, psychological and social definitions as they have changed from one generation to the next. From the early 20th century to now, definitions have changed and current experiments are helping scientists and society learn more about the middle-aged brain and body. A fascinating look at our inner selves no matter what our age.
"Step by Step" by Alberta Hutchinson takes place in upstate New York over a course of seven days. It explores the lives of several families and how their lives interact. The author is from Gilbertsville and wrote this novel after returning from a trip to India with her guru. It changed the way she thought, and the book says goodbye to her younger life and all the emotions that accompanied that time.
Valentine's Day is not too far away and children will enjoy hearing the stories in these three new books.
"Snowy Valentine" by David Peterson finds Jasper the bunny in the forest looking for a special Valentine for his love. Nothing seems to fit, nothing is quite right. When Cardinal points out that he has a very nice gift for Lilly, both Jasper and the reader will be delighted to see just what it is.
"10 Valentine Friends" by Janet Schulman finds 10 little neighbors making Valentines for their friends. Children will get a kick out of counting all the Valentines for the big party in this counting book. They'll also like to find all of the heart shapes and Valentines in the illustrations.
Benn Sutton's first book is "Hedgehug: A Sharp Lesson in Love." Hedgehog is very prickly and nobody really wants to hug him. He's made a Valentine, and he knows he'll find the right person to love on the big day. But everyone he touches tells them to go away. Will he find someone that can be his love?
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Marie Bruni is director of Huntington Memorial Library in Oneonta. Her column appears in the community section of The Daily Star every Thursday. Her columns can be found online at www.thedailystar.com/librarycorner.