Dog Eared Books, Ames Iowa

It’s finally HERE! Spring break! YES, but also the opening of Ames’ new locally owned book store. Making my first visit there was on the top of my spring break TO DO list.

These first days of break have been gray and cloudy and just begged for a book store visit. The store’s windows had been covered with paper since the end of 2020, and several times I drove downtown just to try to get a look inside. I must have gotten one peak early on in their remodel and didn’t really see that much that looked exciting. But boy, was I in for a surprise!

Just inside the door of Dog Eared Books

It kind of took my breath away actually. Oh yah……THIS is a book store! I had planned on a quick sample of their coffee and a browse of expensive, newly released books, because the main reason I was going there was the dog, but wow (that’s the only word I can come up with).

Yes, there is coffee, but it is nothing fancy….because….the owners did not want to be competing with other coffee shops like Cafe Diem which we all know and love. Isn’t that an amazing attitude?!

Once I got inside I said to myself, “Forget the coffee, and even the dog for the time being.” I just let myself get drawn in and started to drool. The wood! I love wood. The book cases, the bar, and other wooden touches throughout the store made me feel like I was inside You’ve Got Mail in NYC. I saw interesting books I wanted to browse, but needed to keep going for the overall first inspection. (By the way, they have The Queen’s Gambit!)

Just a small part of the children’s book section at Dog Eared Books.

I don’t look at children’s books much these days, but this and other sections were bubbling with young readers, doing their own inspection. There was a nice background hum of small voices and exclamations. And then there was this.

There is a nice little bench in there off to the left that could accomadate two small humans…and maybe the dog?

I really wanted to slip in there and sit for a moment, just to pretend I was a kid again, but some girls were waiting behind me to get in, so I moved on.

Before I went downtown, I checked the store’s website https://dogearedbooksames.com/

There was some mention of a loft and the possibility of renting it after hours, and maybe even having a wedding there. At the back of the store there was a little area with restrooms, some interesting decor, and the stairs to the loft.

Stairs to the loft of Dog Eared Book Store in Ames, Iowa
Two sofas, several easy chairs and as promised on the website, a cozy electric fire place!

There was more beautiful wood upstairs, the fireplace AND some wonderful old books for browsing (not for sale). You have got to check them out if you are a lover of old classic books. The loft is open to all below. If you are a parent, you could comfortably get your coffee, take your book upstairs to read and still keep an eye on avid little readers downstairs.

All over the store there were bouquets of flowers. It was beautiful visual evidence of the love and support of the Ames community. I stopped to see that one bouquet was from Everts https://evertsflowers.com/ , our downtown flower shop where you can also sometimes visit with the cat there who roams among the eucalyptus, and probably back among the roses where the flower arrangements are being made.

Lovie, the therapy dog at Dog Eared Books.

I walked slowly back down the stairs from the loft, still breathing in the bookiness of it all and then oh, oh, oh…the DOG! Can you believe I almost forgot about Lovie? As I first walked in she(?) was lying quietly on the floor so the kids could pet her. I had given her one scratch behind the ears but had been drawn on into bookstore heaven. Finally now I had wandered to my heart’s content and snapped a lot of pictures and decided I really needed to sit for a little while to get the complete bookstore experience. I went straight to the book that had called my name when I first got inside, James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small, because, you know, when you get a great bookstore like this in a small city, you should buy a book, right?! (It was a beautiful book reasonably priced.) I ordered a cup of drip coffee and chatted with co-owner Amanda Lepper as I checked out, then curled up in a chair and spent some time reading and petting the sweet dog next to me.

My first of probably many purchases at Dog Eared Books in Ames, Iowa. Go there! You’ll love it!

Lilacs

Lilac close up
Lilacs sing to you with their fragrance.

 

I came home from work, pulled into the carport and intended to go straight indoors to crash.  As I got out of the car though, I thought “Maybe I’ll just peak at the garden first”.  There are three steps that lead down into the back yard.  The ground felt soft from the recent rains, and then it hit me, an intoxicating fragrance, but what?  I have a small backcyard garden with mostly dadelions and violets right now, and we have no flowering trees.  What could it be, some flowering vine or strange tree flowers up above me?  I closed my eyes to focus on the scent and then I knew.  It had to be lilac!  Over the fence, in the neighbor’s front yard, there was an old motherly lilac bush, reaching out to touch my mind.  Do flowers ever do that to you too?

Backyard Gardens

backyard garden

When I was a child, I spent a lot of time sitting behind our garage, because just over the back fence was Frank Atwell’s most amazing garden.  It filled his whole back yard and inspired garden lust in me the rest of my life.  Fast forward to 2013, and I now have my own back yard garden.  Yes, I live in a rental, but the landlord said as long as we take the fence down when I leave, I could have free reign over the lawn!  The summer of 2012, I participated in a community garden on Maple Street.  There, I was introduced to John Jeavons’ Grow biointensive gardening and I wanted to continue to experiment with this.  Over the next few days, I’ll show you how I turned a 20 X 20 foot piece of lawn into a little piece of paradise with just my spade, some newspaper and straw.

Just One, Only One

just one Sometimes, when you have a passion for something, you are tempted to want more and more of it.  A passion for flowers can lead to….well….too much money spent at the gardening center…for one thing!  In this past summer’s garden, I tried to exercise some restraint.  I planted only a couple different kinds of flowers and I didn’t bring large bouquets into the house.  In fact, sometimes….I only brought in one.  This is one of my pink zinnias, floated in a little Chinese sauce dish.  One is nice, don’t you think?  I can learn to be happy with one.  🙂

Brick and Board Shelves II

brick and board shelf

In cleaning out some of my old posts, I realized I deleted this rather popular photo of my brick and board shelves at the old apartment.  My brother and sister made versions of these in their first apartments back in the 60’s.  I decided to replace some of the bricks with storage.  The bottom plastic boxes obviously don’t get opened very often since you have to remove the upper shelves to get to them, but the middle plastic drawers worked nicely.  My rattan boxes were slightly shorter so could be slid off the shelves when needed.  The red “bricks” were concrete blocks that came from the lumber yard which I painted with two coats of red.  Since making the transition to apartment life in 2001, my motto has been “keep it small, easy to move and light enough for me to carry myself”!

Growing in the Garden: Bunnies!

Soon after the gardening season got under way in the spring, I was watering the potatoes when I heard a very loud, hysterical squeal!  What the………..I had my guesses… so I got a long stick and started poking around in the straw.  Sure enough…bunny nest!  Well, I worried over the bunnies for several days, kept poking open the nest and half hoping it would cause the mother to move them away to a safer place.  I lay awake at night thinking of this year’s garden philosophy, working WITH nature, not against it.  And then I would dream about what wonderful compost bunnies might turn into…circle of life and all that!  Finally I decided to  just deal with it and let them alone.  I had visions of the whole family setting up their dining room in our garden, but one day I picked a couple of the little guys up and held them, and they jumped out of my hand and ran away.  The others followed, and I didn’t see them again!  Now the deer…..umm, that’s another story!