Tag Archives: Art

Little Free Library Tour

27 Flower 1

27 Flower 2

27 Flower 3

27 Flower 4

Summertime is for a lot of things…even reading, right? Whether it’s because you live in steamy hot Phoenix where reading is one of the few things you can do or you enjoy reading on a nice sandy beach or poolside, it’s a fun pastime. So I went on a self-guided tour of 5 Little Free Libraries the other day. None of these are in my immediate neighborhood but they are in my general area, central Phoenix. This was my favorite; it was gorgeous with mosaic tile on it. The whole yard was full of beautiful artistic touches…I wish I knew the owners and could be friends with them!

27 Flower Totem

27 Flower Bird

And it looks like they like birds!

27 Flower Cat

And cats! We need to be friends!!!

Georgia 1

This one was also very pretty, matching their house. It’s such a nice thing to do, I think, to promote literacy and build community by maintaining one of these libraries. It’s a great way to get to know your neighbors.

Georgia 2

LFL

Pinchot 1

This library also matched the vivid blue trim on their house. This particular one seemed to be mostly full of children’s books.

Pinchot 2

I like how there is a little bench by the next one so you can peruse before you choose your book. Very welcoming.

Sheridan 1

Sheridan 2

Sheridan 3

Do you have any in your neighborhood? Would you like one? I definitely want one but we have sprinklers in our yard that would damage it fairly soon, I think, so I’m trying to figure out how we could get around that. This is the one I would like from the Little Free Library website: the Urban Reader. It’s also one of the cheaper ones they have and it’s made of stucco so I’m thinking it might be more durable. Then you fill it with some books and become the “steward” of your library. You can register it on their website so that it shows up on the map and you’re in business! (You don’t have to use their libraries if you prefer to build or make one yourself. I’m considering making a portable one out of a wooden crate with wheels so I can bring it in at night.)

getonthemap

Here’s the 5th library I saw but this one seems a little weather-beaten and it apparently is not a registered Little Free Library. It still had some good books in it and serves the same purpose.

Flynn

No little free libraries around you? Everyone but me probably knew this already but most public libraries now have e-books you can download to your various e-readers for FREE! All these years I’ve been helping Amazon grow when I could have gotten a lot of them for nothing. The only drawback is you (at least in the case of the Phoenix Public Library) only have 2 weeks before the book disappears from your device but sometimes you can renew. If the book is really good, 2 weeks is more than enough time to finish it.

Kindle_edited-1

The book above (that I paid for) is one of my 2 favorite books I’ve read so far this summer. The other is this one, by a local Phoenix journalist and author (that I also paid for, in hardback):

41KTktOsMJL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_

Check ’em out!

Edit: Phoenix New Times used some of the photos from this blog post on their blog!

 

Tempe

Snowy Fishing

SnowySnowy Egret

Last week I went to Tempe Town Lake which is a reservoir that occupies a portion of the dry riverbed of the Salt River (Río Salado). It’s 2 miles long and covers 224 acres. There are many beaches and parks along its length.

Cliff Swallow 1Cliff Swallow

River Sign

This is one of 603 10-inch-by-10-inch granite tablets placed at 24-foot intervals in the wall along the lake, written by Alberto Ríos, Arizona’s first Poet Laureate, telling the story of the Rio Salado.

Rios 2

OspreyOsprey

Back in February and March, the lake was drained to install a new dam on the west end. The City of Tempe replaced the inflatable rubber dam system with a new hydraulically-operated steel gate dam which is the country’s largest hydraulically-operated steel gate dam system. I was at the same little beach park back in March when the lake was almost empty (searching for a particular bird that I never found).

Lake Drained

GullsFranklin’s Gulls

However, in the almost empty lake, I did see about 10 of these gulls which, apparently, were quite rare to the area and, after I posted the above poor photo to my Facebook birding group, several other people went in search of those gulls over the next few days.

But the lake is full again now with nice clean water. When I was there the other day I also stopped by a little place close by on Arizona State University’s (my alma mater) main Tempe campus.

ASU DAP

It’s a small park, only 2.5 acres, used for research.

DAP Bio Sign

I have a feeling that, at the right time of the year, this little park is pretty birdy given its close proximity to the lake as well as having some reedy ponds and streams of its own but it wasn’t real active when I was there.

Finch CactusHouse Finch

FlycatcherAsh-throated Flycatcher

VerdinVerdin

But the best part of that little park was this beautiful metal gate at the entrance.

ASU Gate

ASU Gate 2

Fabricated from recycled steel piping, the botanic-themed gate Urban Forestry welcomes visitors and was donated to ASU by sculptors Joe Tyler and Scott Cisson. Here’s a photo of the gate closed from Joe Tyler’s website:

ASU-Desert-Arboretum-Park-Gates

He’s got some beautiful pieces displayed on his website if you enjoy metal work.

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Sonoran Light

Spiral 1_edited-1

Eden Green

Eden Blue

Eden Light Red

Eden Purple

These pieces are part of Bruce Munro’s Sonoran Light exhibit at the Desert Botanical Garden comprised of hundreds of miles of glowing fiber optics and many light-based installations.

Buttes

30,000 individual spheres of light are on the butte and surrounding area. The work involved in assembling this installation is remarkable in itself (click to enlarge for more detail).

Cactus Thing

Dome

This dome is made of recycled plastic water bottles as is another exhibit called Water Towers (my photos weren’t good as these are all handheld but you can see a photo of it here).

Dome Close

We went on a Saturday night, not the best night as it was jam-packed with people. It was interesting to see but, honestly, I prefer the garden in its natural beauty and wasn’t that thrilled. I was glad members get in for free.

Blue

To me, this is much prettier (also from the Desert Botanical Garden):

Cactus Flower and Bees

Yellow Cactus Flower

DSC_2271

DSC_0094

Santa Catalina Barrel Cactus

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Lavender Flower at DBG

It did provide me with a bird-free post, though, which I like to throw in every now and then.

Rainy Day Pastimes

Hummer Spilled Ink_edited-1Oops

Thanks to El Niño, we had 5 days of solid gloom and rain. Instead of using the time to do all the things I need to do, I played around with some photos…and the minutes turned into hours and the hours into days. They each can tell a little story, I think.

window lake cupShattered

Nikon Camera HawkShootin’ Film

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Window Cat_edited-1Looking Out/Looking In

Hawk Easel Feather BlueArt Imitates Life

I had seen this 5 minute award-winning animated film short the night before and that’s what “inspired” me to make these…not the message of the film (which is kind of sappy although true) but the visual beauty of it. I love all the layers upon layers in it…not that I can do anything very complex but it was fun trying.

 

 

Fountain Hills

Fountain

Ftn Lake

Fountain Hills, AZ, is home to a world-famous fountain that operates daily and shoots water 562 feet high. I was there on December 15th and today, New Year’s Day, Tony and I went back. Fountain Park is a beautiful place with a 29 acre lake and the park is filled with sculptures and recreation areas. It has changed a lot since the last time I was there years ago. This is my favorite sculpture there:

Heron Sculp FH

But…the reason I initially went was because I wanted to see these guys, and I did…fun-loving Hooded Mergansers, a lifer. Both drakes and hens were there.

Hoodie Boy 4

Hoodies M and F

Hoodie Up

Hoodie Group

Hoodie Girl 2

Hoodie Couple 2

Hoodie Boy

2 Hoodies

The second lifer I saw there was this female Common Goldeneye:

Goldeneye 2

And the third lifer I saw, today, to start out 2016, was this Eared Grebe.

Eared Grebe 1

Love those red eyes. And I also saw these guys:

Ruddy BoyRuddy Duck, male

Ruddy GirlRuddy Duck, female

Pied-Billed GrebePied-billed Grebe

Shovelers ChurningNorthern Shovelers, churning up their food

Spotted Sandpiper FH

Spotted SandpiperSpotted Sandpiper

The first day I was there, which was cold and windy, I also saw these birds:

GrackleGreat-tailed Grackle, female

RWBB 2

RWBBRed-winged Blackbird, male

Say's Phoebe 2

Say's PhoebeSay’s Phoebe

SparrowHouse Sparrow, female

I hope the new year has started out fortuitously for you, too.

Happy 2016!

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