Around and About -- Early May in NorCal 2016

Recently, our local newspaper, the Nevada Union, ran an article on the 100th birthday celebration of Grass Valley's Carnegie Library.  It opened on August 4, 1916.  The Grass Valley Library is one of 1,689 public libraries in the US built between 1883 and 1929 and partly funded by Andrew Carnegie -- he donated $15,000 to the city to build this one.  (The last Chinese laundry in Grass Valley was evicted from the site in order for the library to be built.)  A primitive intercom system was installed that works to this day; if someone speaks into the small brass fixture attached to one of the upstairs pillars, it can be heard by someone standing next to an identical brass fixture on the lower level.  The building still has its dumbwaiter, which is used to raise and lower books from top level to bottom level, of course.

Jimmy (on steps) and I stopped in not long ago (bought a used book, too), and we saw the intercom and the dumbwaiter.  Recent renovations kept much of the library's original plan, tho some walls were removed to open up the space, and the original wood was polished and resealed, plus a new circulation desk was purchased.  It's such a special and unique building -- nobody in town wanted it to be made more "modern-looking."  A 100-year birthday party is planned for later in the year, on Aug 4th, I believe.  Hope they serve cake!  Or cookies!  Or both!

The first Saturday in May, Jimmy and I visited Nevada City's Carnegie Library (bought used books), now called the Doris Foley Library for Historical Research.  For at least thirty years, Friends of the Library have held monthly book sales on the lower level of the building, and we try to go every month if we're in town.  This Carnegie Library building was completed in 1907, in a "Romanesque Revival" architectural style. Both libraries are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We've seen quite a few Carnegie libraries -- they're easy to recognize because of their distinctive appearance, and they're fun to explore inside.  Say what you will about Andrew Carnegie ... robber baron, industrialist, philanthropist ... he managed to give back.

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In our neck of the woods, the sweet song of the Black-headed Grosbeak caroling down from the treetops sounds like a giddy robin welcoming spring. The flashy black, white, and orange males and the less flamboyant females sing from branches in our tall trees.  I was happy to see them when they returned two weeks ago.   At the feeder, they effortlessly shuck sunflower seeds with their heavy bills -- above, he's fixin' to drop the husk. These showy guys put in equal time on the domestic front as both sexes sit on the eggs, feed the young, and vigorously defend their nesting territory.  Cool beans.

We finally unchained the bikes from their long winter's nap, or rather, took them out of the shed.  After cleaning and washing and airing up, we picked a clear, warm day for a ten-mile ride on the canal trail.  We didn't want to go any further the first time out this year, so we wouldn't hurt the next day.  We have to carry our bikes across the large pipe in the pic above, tho to be more accurate, Jimmy (above) has to maneuver both of them across, 'cause I can't do it. 

We spotted a couple of these native White Lilac or deer brush (Ceanothus integerrimus) shrubs while on the trail.  The blossoms are covered in flying insects.  Like it's purple cousin, it smells heavenly.

Walk, jog, run, stroll, pedal, whatever ... it's so fine to be Out and About on such a beautiful trail.

Saw our little Mallard friend today, but not his "wife."

I didn't think I'd get any Iris blooms this year ... I waited and waited while other yards boasted lots o' color.  I guess the flower in my front yard (above) is a "late bloomer!"  It hasn't quite opened all the way, but I couldn't wait to take it's pic (Monday, 5/9).  Looks like I'll have several; well worth the wait.

False Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum racemosum) is already up and flowering just off the trail.

In preparation for our upcoming trip starting next week, I made a batch of Kelly Place granola -- seven bags, two cups per bag. Nutritious and delicious, it holds us in good stead while out on trails, or it's delicious on yogurt at home!  Meanwhile, Jimmy is giving Tergel her usual pre-trip overhaul, and I've begun stockpiling food for the freezer and pantry.

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I had a really lovely Mother's Day, never mind a dreary, gray sky.  Matt and Jen (with Sophie and Maggie) drove up from Sacramento for the afternoon, bearing flowers and goodies to eat.  Matt made us a delicious brunch, which we devoured.  Jimmy was on the clean-up detail.

The chef and my beautiful daughter-in-law ❤ (Maggie in the red sweater is on Jen's lap).

Here's a pic of Matt 'n me, and Maggie in her red sweater curled up on the sofa back.  As usual, I forgot to take many pics and none of the four of us, darn it.  But it was such a fun day, a very special day!  After eating and visiting, we spent an hour or two in downtown Nevada City, mostly to walk around (and work off brunch) and be lookee-loos in some of the shops. 

Guess that's about it from me.  We'll be on the road in less than a week.  See you then!


  1. I love those Carnegie libraries. Fun post. Where you headed?

    1. East, towards the Boston area, but we're not in a hurry!

  2. We've enjoyed the Carnegie libraries also, they are everywhere! Can't wait to park our camper beside yours!

  3. I can see it is time to break out my bike:)

  4. That granola looks good ... I need to remind Mui that we're just about out of granola at home.

  5. Let me know if you are passing through Wisconsin and I will come meet you! Love those Carnegie Library.


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