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!

 

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Major Learning Curve

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Ugh, I’m frustrated with my new camera (the Nikon D7100)~not really it but, rather, my slow learning curve with it. I just finally fired off a bunch of shots this afternoon but I have a lot of settings I need to change because I’m not happy with these shots.

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I sort of prefer manual focus but these were all done auto focus to take advantage of the 51 points of focus that is touted in the reviews. But now I know I have some things not set optimally and have to change them.

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I also shot in the 1.3x crop mode but I still further cropped in post processing so I don’t like the look of these.

Oh, well, this little guy is cute and was trying to be a good model for me. If the sun had caught his head right, you could see all the red but it didn’t. He’s a male Anna’s hummingbird, I believe. You can catch a glimpse of red in the 3rd photo and a little bit on the top of his head below.

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So, it’s back to reading more and messing with the bazillion settings again. I need a one-on-one coaching session.

The Interloper

A short story, told mostly in pictures…

A cheery little hummer enjoys some sweet nectar and happily flits around.

Until…

The bossy hummer is happy again.

This is what I love about blogging~that I feel compelled to take more photos than I normally would, pay more attention to my surroundings than I normally would, and then research what I’ve found. I now know a lot more about various butterflies, birds, flowers, animals, places, artists than I would have ever discovered if I wasn’t trying to capture them all digitally and record them here.

This previously-unknown-to-me little yellow bird is a verdin (aka yellow-headed bushtit). They are found in only 5 of the US states, all desert southwestern states: Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas. They’re inquisitive yet shy, only 4 inches long at the most, and one of the smallest perching songbirds in North America. They build unique, basket-like, enclosed nests (which I have yet to see). They love nectar but are not pollinators. Verdins will also visit hummingbird feeders, sometimes using the feeding holes, but more often probing small cracks or openings around the feeders to collect dried sugar water. They also like pomegranate trees and we have one. Read more about these pretty creatures here.

Encroaching

This is the last growing season at the Valley of the Sunflowers.

The bulldozers and cranes are encroaching and soon this former dirt field that became gloriously yellow will be a construction site for the future Phoenix Biomedical Campus and the Arizona Cancer Center, already in progress the next lot over. Fortunately, for those of us who loved seeing the sunflowers, there are plenty more vacant lots in downtown Phoenix and the sunflowers have been such a hit that they will probably be back a few blocks away.

The sunflowers have been an A.R.T.S. (Adaptive Reuse of Temporary Space) project sponsored by the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation in collaboration with Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Intel, Bioscience High School, and others.

Harvest Time

Well, I was a week too late to see all the sunflowers in bloom at Valley of the Sunflowers (which I have blogged about 1, 2, 3 other times since September) because they had started to harvest them 2 weeks ago. Today the rest will be harvested to be made into biodiesel fuel and soon the field will be back to brown and they will start the cycle all over again…one more time, in February. After those flowers are harvested, building is scheduled to begin in the formerly empty field. But you will still be able to see, from these photos, how quickly the sunflowers grew and how beautiful the field was…briefly.

And, yeah, their signs got tagged 😦

There have been a lot of articles in the local media in the past couple of weeks. You can also keep up with this truly awesome project in real time on their Facebook page.

They’re gorgeous!

Some bees are going to be very unhappy when the flowers are all harvested.

Bye, sunflowers…