Ames Free Library

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mguo's blog

Digging Deeper: Something Fishy

 Last weekend I cleaned my goldfish pool which really needed to be refreshed. Although I felt very guilty for its neglect, the task required a chunk of time, something that has eluded me lately. The container, a converted planter, holds about 20 gallons of water, a potted pickerel weed, and three fish. A solar-powered fountain keeps the mosquito larvae in check, and a snail sometimes visits. Here it is on my patio in midsummer.

A Glimpse of Nature - Conspicuous in Fall

On Monday, September 19, some enthusiastic and knowledgeable folks savored the wildflowers of the Ames Free Library campus. If you weren’t there, you missed a good time of shared curiosity, experience, discovery, and laughter. You also might have missed the peak of this season’s blossoms. After a very hot and dry summer, the rains and cool weather have finally arrived. The forecast now includes daytime highs below 60℉ and nighttime lows near 40℉. Happy fall! Of course, our glorious native asters will continue to put on a show, but more on that another day.

This Week at the Library: Porcelain Berry


This week, the lovely but highly invasive porcelain berry takes center stage at the Ames Free Library. Look for its grape-like leaves and vines and its attractive multi-colored fruit. The speckled berries change color as they ripen, passing through shades of green, pink, purple, and blue. This species won’t be difficult to locate as it has spread extensively throughout the unmowed sections of the library’s campus.  

A Glimpse of Nature -- On the Edges

Beyond Queset Garden, past the reflecting pool and hedgerows, is a “neglected” area that provides safe haven for plants and animals. This densely-vegetated thicket offers shelter to the cottontail rabbits, the woodchuck, and the garter snake. Bird songs emanate from this spot, dragonflies cruise over it, and bees and wasps visit its many blossoms.  

In late July, I noticed an exquisite flower beginning to bloom there.

A Glimpse of Nature -- Progress Report

Here’s the latest news.

Part 1:  The Robin.

If you recall, last Friday a dramatic thunderstorm passed through our region. It began to sprinkle as I headed to my car; soon there was a deluge. As I readied myself for the commute, I looked towards the robin’s nest and wondered how it would fare through heatwave and storm. That’s when an adult bird zipped around the library at breakneck speed.  It needed to protect the nest.

A Glimpse of Nature -- What is It!

I’ve always enjoyed wrestling with a project – asking questions, making observations, doing research, testing ideas – digging deeper. This temperament and habit informs my natural history study, my writing . . . my lesson plans, garden, home repairs, meals, and just about every creative undertaking that’s come my way.  As an approach to life, this is deeply satisfying to me, beneficial to others, and VERY time consuming.


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