Julie Robinson starts seed library to facilitate home gardens

Julie Robinson is the manager of the Ruiz branch of the Kansas City Public Library. Robinson is heading up a new seed library program that allows patrons to “check out” packets of flower, herb and vegetable seeds and, at the end of the growing season, “return” seeds collected from the plants they grew.

Prairie’s allure lights my fire

There aren’t many places in the world where cowboys on horseback hand 200 people matches and tell them to light them and throw them into tall, dry grass. We burned off one pasture in the daylight, ate a steak dinner and listened to live bluegrass music before setting fire to a much larger area after sundown.

Deadbeat dad doesn’t deserve son’s generosity

Q DEAR JEANNE AND LEONARD: My son’s biological father has started hitting up my son for money. “Mark” has always been your basic deadbeat dad, never making child-support payments and never playing a role in his son’s life. Moreover, he can never keep a job, is always in debt and has a history of substance abuse. But now that our 33-year-old son has a good job, Mark has suddenly re-appeared and has been asking for money on a regular basis.

Oldies but goodies: Kansas City’s history echoes through a collection of vintage microphones

From Harry Truman to Robert F. Kennedy, from Count Basie to the Beatles, microphones have set the tone for recording epic events. Microphones from Crown Recording, along with others from the now-closed Kansas City film studio Calvin Co. and a retired sound engineer in Texas form the core of Don Miller's collection, which captures the history of recorded sound in Kansas City and the nation.

Music makes my world go ’round

I use music like medicine, coffee or alcohol to induce good vibrations or calm the spinning wheel in my brain. I have always been sensitive to music’s mood-altering power. As a teen I sometimes left a party for no other reason than the music was interfering with my state of mind.

Photographer gives parents of premature infants a priceless gift: free photo sessions in the NICU

Over the last two years, Jessica Strom of Overland Park, who specializes in maternity and baby photos, has volunteered to take photos for about 30 families with babies in the neonatal intensive care units at Overland Park Regional Medical Center and Shawnee Mission Medical Center. The families get to keep precious images that document the beginning of their child’s life. What Strom gets in return is just as meaningful.

It’s ladies only at this ranch roundup

My girlfriends and I were part of an eight-woman crew that moved a herd of 70 cattle across a hilly pasture into a weathered red corral and separated out the calves so they could be immunized, branded and, in the case of the bull calves, castrated.

Joyce DiDonato’s climb to top of opera world was long and hard

Sitting on top of the opera world, sent there from suburban middle America and a constant regimen of hard work, Joyce DiDonato makes a case for balance. For several minutes on that stage, she delivers a motivational talk about learning from life, about overcoming adversity, about turning off the hypercritical voice that threatens to derail one’s focus and, mainly, about being true to oneself.

My new-old range is built to last

My new Westinghouse Super-Speed Corox electric range has all the latest technology: lighted work surface, high-speed burner, built-in outlets for my electric immersion blender or hand mixer, regular oven, warming oven with removable stainless steel inserts, built-in clock and timer. And one more thing: It was built in 1951.

A toast to Julia Child, queen of TV chefs

Fifty years ago this week, Julia Child’s “The French Chef” debuted on a public television station in Boston. The brainchild of California-born and French-trained culinarian Child, the show was audacious in its timing and revolutionized home cooking.

Love Story | Over time and distance, love took root

In fall of 1990, Teresa Freeman, 19, and Adrian Barnhill, 20, both went through training to become resident advisers at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. During their college years they were occasionally thrown together, and the two became friends.