Tonawanda News

Features

June 9, 2014

CRITTER COMPANIONS: Summer reads -- first batch

Tonawanda News — It’s basically summer. What that really means is that I have to wait several months to find out why there was a three-year time jump in Leslie Knope’s life in “Parks and Rec” and how Mitch and Cam are doing in “Modern Family.”  I am also eagerly waiting to find out how Nick Burkhardt is going to deal with another Grimm in his town.

As we all take a little time away from the tube this summer, check out a few of my summer read picks. In the weeks to come, I may supplement my list. If you have any classic pet/animal go-to-books or a recent release that you would like to share, please visit our Facebook page.

Reading a few books, interacting with real people and setting aside extra bonding time with your pets sounds like a recipe for a great summer.

Here are two suggestions for this summer:

“The Soul Of All Living Creatures” by veternarian Vint Virga examines a question known to many pet owners: How can we enrich our lives by perceiving the world as our animals do? Animals, as many pet owners already know, nurture our animal/person relationships, reorder our values, improve our communication and deepen our sense of being. This book shows us what animals can teach us about being human.

The book travels with readers first to the village of Vallon-Pont-d’Arc in the southern region of France, where there are 30,000-year-old cave drawings of hundreds of animals. These paintings are not warnings to other humanoids that are traveling through the cave about the dangers that wait outside, but rather celebrate their attributes. The cave drawings highlight each of the species’ vitality. Around the world, the book says, different cultures, histories and traditions all mingle the lives of animals and humans. Humans are connected to animals, including the small one-third of Americans who do not have pets.

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    More than 90 private gardens throughout Western New York, and a number of public ones, are open to the public for select hours Thursdays and/or Fridays during July as part of the National Garden Festival’s Open Gardens program, now in its fifth year. The program is separate and distinct from local garden walks, and the gardens range from Gasport to Holland. They’re organized into districts of about five to eight gardens each, including Northtowns West (which includes gardens in Kenmore and the Town of Tonawanda) and Niagara Trail (which includes gardens in Lockport, Gasport and Lewiston).

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  • SUN LIFE terrariums 1 072014.jpg For the love of nature

    Sara Johnson lives surrounded by green and growing things. Showing a visitor around her apartment in North Buffalo, she pointed out the plants in every room, the balcony and even in two small greenhouses — houseplants, flowers, vegetables, even carnivorous plants.

    "I try to keep as much growing in the house as I can," she said.

    Another goal of hers is to show others how to do the same — and to that end, Johnson is offering a series of workshops this summer in connection with her business, Sylvatica Terrariums, and Project 308 Gallery in North Tonawanda, teaching people how to bring a piece of the outdoors into their homes in the form of a terrarium or other greenery.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE fresh air 1 072014.JPG Getting some fresh air

    As an effort to get children out of the big city and give them a chance to spend part of their summer playing outside, the Fresh Air Fund brings New York City kids to stay with host families for a 10-day trip to a place which is vastly different from their usually surroundings.

    “They will be running outside and playing in the grass and going swimming,” said Cheryl Flick, a fund representative of the Northern Erie and Niagara Counties chapter of the Fresh Air Fund at a picnic for the host families and kids. “They won’t be cooped up inside, they’ll be outside, getting fresh air and being active.”

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - SUN LIFE double trouble 2014.jpg Still waiting for that letter from Hogwarts

    I think it’s true of many parents, that amidst the many challenges and hard work of parenting, we anticipate the day our children grow up just enough ... to like the same things we like, whether it’s as an ongoing phenomenon or a fond childhood memory.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - critter companions RGB Calling all the basic locavores!

    Did you know that the suffix “vore” comes from the Latin word “voro,” which means to devour? I probably knew that once, but I should have paid better attention in my Latin class. “Vore” is used to form nouns indicating what kind of a diet an animal has, such as omnivore, carnivore and herbivore.

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  • SUN LIFE NT tours 071314.jpg A closer look at NT

    When Explore Buffalo Tours got started about eight months ago, the business concentrated on specialized tours designed to showcase specific aspects of the City of Buffalo’s history, architecture and culture.

    Now the organization is looking to the future and trying out ways to highlight the other unique aspects of the Western New York region. The tours change out each month, but the more popular ones will circulate back in, according to Explore Buffalo Executive Director Brad Hahn. This month it’s test-driving its “North Tonawanda: Lumber City” tour, one of only a few to take place outside the City of Buffalo. (Although a Lockport tour is in the works.)

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     Following a trend of public, outdoor exercise programs, a number of local venues are offering their own free events aiming to get residents outside and active during the summer.

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  • SUN LIFE muscoreils 1 071314.jpg Beyond the bakery

    For years, Muscoreil’s Fine Desserts & Gourmet Cakes has been a go-to location for desserts and wedding and occasion cakes in Western New York.

    This summer, even as the bakery deals with the rush of wedding season, changes at its associated bistro aim to create a revitalized focus on that side of the business, as well.

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    The options when you escort your child to a birthday party are endless, really. Everywhere you turn, there’s another thrill to uncover.

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  • sig - critter companions RGB The tail of two books

    As promised, here are some more new summer reads that are all about our critter companions. Both books were released mid-June, and although they are quite different from one another, both would be valuable assets for your in-house library.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo