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

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 , 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!

Fall Kitty

Think of everything you love about fall….the crisp air, the golden glow everything has, the smell of burning leaves, the skitterish sound of leaves blowing around your feet….and then add your favorite kitty……and a wonderful guy who is willing to hold the slightly skittish kitty as you drive to the park….that was my perfect fall Saturday!

Things to look forward to: Rolling around in the grass

rolling in the grass!

Most people talk about the fresh green grass and how it smells or excites the eyes after a long gray winter.  Personally, however, I believe the best thing about grass is feeling it underneath you, and maybe it’s not just the grass.  Walking on the earth or lying down, it feels so alive.  Try it sometime!  Walk on some hard, cold, man-made pavement, and then step off to the side and feel the living, changing, responding soil and grass.  And if you are really brave, when no one is looking….lie down and just roll around, then end up on your back and watch the clouds roll by!

Team PrISUm ISU solar car

Looking back over my 2010 photos, I ran into this and it gave me hope for spring, and the future.  Do you think we’ll ever be driving cars that look like this?  Around Earth Day last year,  Iowa State University groups showcased their earth friendly initiatives on our beautiful campus.  Check out Team PrISUm’s web site for more great photos!

Solar Car at Iowa State University

Brown Pelicans/One Footed Wonderful

Since I got a Twitter  shout out from the author of Zoomoods: A volunteer’s eye view of the Minnesota zoo, I decided I better get blogging!  My passion for green really translates into a passion for nature more than an interest in green technology and such.  Being around plants or animals transports me away from the worries of human life to a world not made with words.  I like words, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes, the verbal part of my brain needs a rest.  What IS the world of green and fur?  Is it pure mathematics?  Physics?   Chemistry?  What form do tiger thoughts take if they aren’t made out of words?  The natural world is a playground I never tire of!

The following pelican encounter in Florida this summer took me wonderfully by surprise.  I’ve always loved to watch units of pelicans skim across the gulf waters in perfect formation, so when I drifted out of the St. Petersburg Pier building and caught a  glimpse of some pelicans coming in to land on a post, I cautiously approached for a close up view.  I gradually got closer….and closer…..and even closer, much to my delight!  Wow, these guys were friendly!

Upon closest encounter, however, I noticed something was missing.  This guy/gal had only one foot.

And then I wished there had been a common language between us, some words to explain the adventure or tragedy of the missing foot.  Perhaps this one had been nursed by humans, hence the friendliness to this woman with a camera.  But maybe with no words, there was no strong memory of whatever mishap had befallen.  This one just seemed happy to be alive, to preen some feathers, hang out with a pal, and smile for some pictures.