I love libraries. I love the quiet, the wandering among the stacks, the treasures and discoveries on the shelves. I learned to love books early in life. My dad is a great believer in the ability to learn anything from a book. I haven't proved him wrong yet! Libraries are the repositories of human thoughts and dreams. Wonderful!
There is a large library only minutes from my workplace. I discovered last year that my town's library card also works in this library. So I've decided to go each Wednesday at lunch--it's a chance to leave my office and its bustle for just a little bit and enter another world.
This week, I went to the library with birds and gardening in mind. Birds have finally discovered the feeders in my backyard, so I want to learn more about these little visitors. And I have a real desire to have one of those messy cottage gardens (or elements thereof) in my front and back yards.
The book Illinois Bird Watching by Bill Thompson III has lots of great pictures of common Illinois birds and their habits. One of the nice things about this book is that each page features only one bird, and in a "quick reference box" on each page you can learn where and in what season the bird will appear, if it sings, if it likes bird baths, its silhouette against the sky, and its nesting habits. Real handy info if you want to tempt it into your yard!
Audubon: Writings & Drawings by John James Audubon is a hefty tome that contains Audubon's journal writings, as well as many colored plates of his birds. While in the library, I read his essay on the passenger pigeon, which is now extinct, but in Audubon's day fairly ruled the sky. I loved his reflections on the birds flights and flocking habits, and his thoughts about the bird's place in creation (he calls God "The Author of Nature"--lovely!). Of course, Audubon had no idea that man's hunting habits would drive this bird to extinction--he would be shocked, I think. In fact, in his essay he says that he imagines that the bird will be around forever, as it is so plentful. I loved his writing. I think I would like to add this book to my library!
Front Yard Gardens by Liz Primeau is an excellent beginner's book for anyone who wants to take the "blah" away from their front yard. And my yard is certainly a plain jane. The pictures in this book can give you a wonderful sense of what you can do in your front yard. The author reflects that a beautiful, flowery front yard can be a blessing and a gift to your neighbors. This appeals to me!
I also checked out Sunset's Cottage Gardens, which will give me some ideas for creating that messy look I want. I'm going to focus on planting perennials so I don't have to replant (or spend money) every year.
Finally, I found a nature journal book called Bird, Egg, Feather and Nest by MaryJo Koch. It is full of watercolor drawings of birds and their elements. Picture books are not just for children. This is one that I as a grown up am thoroughly enjoying!
I encourage you to visit and support your library. It's a great place to dream and to find out how to make dreams come true!