Little Free Library Tour

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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!

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And it looks like they like birds!

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And cats! We need to be friends!!!

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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.

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

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

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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):

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Check ’em out!

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

 

Transition/Transformation

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Queen Butterfly

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Today, July 31, was going to be a very special day for me…the day of my retirement after (literally) decades of working for a large, local healthcare organization. However, due to a request to stay for awhile until something in particular occurs there, I agreed to remain there part time for another couple of months, maybe 3-4, but not more than that. I was both excited and apprehensive to retire and I am both disappointed and slightly relieved to be staying a little longer. It’s been hard to make a decision.

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Fiery Skipper

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So, while today is not the occasion I had planned, and the celebration is not yet commencing, I will now only work 3 days a week and have a 4 day weekend EVERY WEEK! And the end is in sight…

Butterfly Symbolism

What is the meaning of the butterfly? This animal totem is primarily associated with symbolism of change and transformation.

Powerful transformation, metamorphosis in your life, personality
Moving through different life cycles
Renewal, rebirth
Lightness of being, playfulness
Elevation from earthly matters, tuning into emotional or spiritual
The world of the soul, the psyche

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Saddlebags

Roseate Skimmer

Roseate Skimmer

Dragonfly Meaning

The dragonfly is generally associated with the symbolic meaning of transformation. Common meanings for this animal totem:

Change and transformation
Adaptability
Joy, lightness of being
Symbol of the realm of emotions, invitation to dive deeper into your feeling
Being on the lookout for illusions and deceits, whether external or personal
Connection with nature’s spirits, fairies’ realms

(From Spirit Animals & Animal Totems)

That’s what I’m looking for: change, transformation, joy, lightness of being. I want to take more photos, see more birds, learn more, have more fun, do something meaningful and fulfilling to me…I’m hoping that the best times are yet to come…

Bees, Birds, Butterflies, & More

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These photos were all taken at the Franciscan Renewal Center’s (The Casa) Healing Garden. It’s on my route to work and I sometimes stop on my way home and usually get a few good shots. It’s a magical, peaceful place.

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Kale. They have many vegetables and herbs growing in the garden.

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Mountain

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Ladder-Backed Woodpecker

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Gila Woodpecker

Grackle

Great-Tailed Grackle, female

Starling

European Starling

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Their slogan: “Paz y Bien/Peace and Good.”

More than Honey

If you’re interested in how bees affect our ultimate survival, check out this fascinating film, More than Honey (on Amazon, iTunes, Netflix, etc.) One of the featured beekeepers is Fred Terry, one of Tony’s good friends for many years, the “Singing Beekeeper” of Oracle, AZ. We’ve seen Fred’s hives in Oracle before. The film was the 2013 winner for Best Documentary at the Santa Barbara Film Fest 2013, German Film Award 2013, and Swiss Film Award 2013. It’s compelling, troubling, informative, beautifully photographed…and Fred looks great (he’s been stung 100-250 thousand times!!!!!!).

Who?

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Burrowing Owls, that’s who. Burrowing owls are small (9 inch tall), day-active birds that live in the abandoned burrows of ground squirrels and other mammals. They are highly social and eat primarily insects and mice. Once common in the Phoenix valley, these birds are disappearing rapidly due to development. Oftentimes, developers are not even aware that there are burrows and they excavate over them. Fortunately, the birds can be trapped and successfully relocated to safe sites; however, these sites are becoming increasingly rare (Downtown Owls).

The City of Phoenix, along with Wild at Heart and Audubon Arizona (funded by Toyota TogetherGreen) have been relocating these displaced owls for the last couple of years in the Rio Salado Restoration Habitat Area. Volunteers build burrows out of PVC pipes and 5 gallon buckets for them, and they are gradually re-introduced into their new burrows.

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We went to see the owls this weekend with our friend, Lawrence Polk, Parks Special Operations Supervisor, for the City of Phoenix, and we got a guided tour of the burrows, which are on a bluff overlooking the Salt River. Each burrow is covered over with rocks to protect it and has a perching post outside.

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The birds are not very shy but you are not supposed to get within 15 feet of them. The burrowing owl is federally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Burrowing Owls are listed as Endangered in Canada and Threatened in Mexico. In Arizona, they are considered a Species of Concern.

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Turkey Vulture

They are always on the lookout for any possible danger. I thought maybe the hawk, above, was scoping out the owls but, later, when I looked at my photos, I realized it was a Turkey Vulture, looking for carrion, so the owls weren’t in danger from him.

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We saw several of the owls and I took about 150 photos but they all kind of look about the same, I noticed, so I won’t show you all of them.

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There are a few other locations in the area where new habitats for the owls are being built, including Zanjero Park in Gilbert.