Tag Archives: spring

Spring?

Spring officially starts today at 12:57PM.

SPRING.

Lousy Smarch is almost over. It’s been a long winter.

Pittsburgh

Ten (Mostly Pittsburgh) Things I’m Going to Do Before It’s Cold Again

Kennywood!

Every single year I say I’m going. I think this is the year!

DSCN3677

The Wilds

Two words: Zipline safari!

Gallery Crawl

Carnegie Science Center 21+ Night

Carnegie Science Center

Carnegie Science Center

Swimming World Tour

There is a city of Pittsburgh swimming pool right behind my library, CLP- South Side! I’m also a fan of the county wave pools, the Dormont Pool, and Sandcastle. Plus, there is a secret river spot I take a dip in a few times a year.

Dormont Pool

Dormont Pool

Churchview Farms Dinner

Did you know there is a farm in Baldwin? Did you know that it’s run by a librarian? I have no idea how that could be more awesome. Oh wait! Add a farm tour and multi-course dinner prepared by a local chef. Awesome-er.

Panhandle Bike Trail

Not that I don’t love riding to places like Connellsville and Boston on the Great Allegheny Passage, but it’s time to mix it up. Starting in Carnegie, this trail travels almost 30 miles to Weirton, West Virginia. Impress your friends, tell them you rode your bike to another state.

Tybee Island, Georgia

The Surf Puppy

The Surf Puppy, Tybee Island, Georgia

2014 Pedal Pale Ale Keg Ride

Commonwealth Press Beer Barge

Bands, craft beer, boats. Sold.

Some other plans include going to the movies on Flagstaff Hill, exploring Frick and Schenley Parks on my bike and going kayaking on the Allegheny River.  We’re going to need a longer summer.

What special Pittsburgh (or non-Pittsburgh) activity is a “must” for you? Because I’m game for anything!

Happy Spring!
suzy

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Starting Small

Pay attention to what you’re doing, and don’t get in over your head.” – Barbara Pleasant

startergardenMarch is coming, and with that in mind, I am already starting to think about what to plant in my garden this year. Last year I planted my first real vegetable garden, but even with friends and co-workers giving me tips and encouragement along the way, it was a daunting activity in the beginning. There are so many different gardening books/videos/classes out there, and it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Unfortunately the library is as much help as hindrance in that department–browsing the shelves in our home & garden area can be a mind-melting experience.

As a beginner, I needed a book that was simple and fail-safe. As luck would have it, I happed upon Starter Vegetable Gardens: 24 No-Fail Plans for Small Organic Gardens by Barbara Pleasant. This is an excellent book for the novice, as it provides easy to follow garden plans with detailed instructions for what to buy, when and where to plant your vegetables, and (of course) how to care for those vegetables lovingly. It’s almost like gardening-by-numbers, which is not a bad way to start learning how to grow your own. As Ms. Pleasant points out in the opening pages of the book, “one worry free way to start your first vegetable garden is by following a “recipe” provided by an experienced gardener, and that’s just what this book provides … these gardens are practically foolproof!”

In addition to detailed garden plans, there are also special sections on everything from starting plants from seed, to the magic of mulch (I love you mulch,

Proof (from the poster)  that some books yield excellent results.

Proof (from the poster) that some books yield excellent results.

it is because of you that I no longer have to mow my lawn!) All of these sections are accompanied by simple and clear illustrations, and in some cases, helpful color photographs.

Of course, the library also offers more detailed lists of resources, on everything from vegetable gardens to composting to local organizations that can help you get started. For those particularly interested in gardening from seed, you will want to save the date for our excellent seed swap and seed saving workshop on Saturday, March 2nd.

So how ’bout you? Do you have any large (or small) gardening plans this year? Do you have any favorite go-to gardening books or resources? Share your thoughts below!

Now lettuce rest, I’m feeling beet,

Tara

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Spring Fever!

crocusYesterday The New York Times published a lovely editorial praising the robin as the harbinger of spring. The editors wrote:

Somehow the robin stands for all the birds migrating now, the great V’s of geese heading north, the catbirds that will show up surreptitiously in a month. It also stands for the surprise of spring itself, which we had begun to fear would not arrive. We have all been keeping watch, as though one morning it might come sailing over the horizon. And now it’s here — the air a bit softer, snowdrops and winter aconites blooming, the bees doing their cleaning and the robins building their nests again.

As Denise mentioned yesterday, Sunday’s equinox marked the official beginning of spring, and in celebration I’m engaging in all sorts of seasonal activities. From watching the peregrine falcons at the Cathedral of Learning guard their newly laid eggs to checking up on what the fashion world‘s elite have in mind for post-sweater weather, all things spring have caught my attention. My reading taste has spring fever, too, and I’m checking out lots of books related to nature and the outdoors.

John Fowles The TreeThe other day I stumbled across John Fowles’  The Tree, a naturalist classic whose website describes it as a “moving meditation on the connection between the natural world and human creativity, and a powerful argument against taming the wild.” The newest edition boasts an introduction by Barry Lopez, whose own nature-oriented meditations I’ve recently enjoyed in magazines like Tricycle.

The Tree is light enough to bring it with me on walks, another favorite warm weather Wanderlust : a history of walking / Rebecca Solnit.activity of mine. In the fall, I moved into a new house, so I’m looking forward  to discovering the changes warmer seasons bring to my new neighborhood.  As I read Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust: A History of Walking,  my mind can wonder about walking as I wander around.

The spell of the sensuous : perception and language in a more-than-human world / David Abram.One book that’s inspired many a musing since I read it is deep ecologist David Abram’s The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World, a philosophical reflection on the ways nature may have shaped humans’ linguistic and perceptual evolution. In lyrical, moving prose, Abrams imagines our place in nature as participatory and reciprocal–both seeing and seen, feeling and felt–by the network of animals and landscapes we’re part of.

Springtime inspires my political activity as well. The more time I spend in our beautiful habitat, the more I appreciate and want to protect it. Locally, concerns about the environmental effects of natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale and uncertainly about how our state’s elected legislature will handle it motivate me to stay informed about the subject and tell my state representatives how I feel.

In terms of my personal habitat, I’m preoccupied with all of the possibilities for a raised bed garden I’m planning. To prepare, I’m consulting every gardening resource I see (including my wise coworkers), and tomorrow I’m attending Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy’s free lunchtime lecture about rain barrels and rain gardens.

Reading, walking, gardening, and generally growing give me plenty to do as the days lengthen. I hope spring fever also brings you lots of ways to spend your ever-increasing hours of sunlight!

–Renée

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Momentum Shift

According to Wikipedia, the March Equinox occurred last night at 7:26 PM local time.   We can finally stop thinking about the groundhog; spring is officially here.  All I want to do is go outside and play.

Even though the nights are getting shorter, they’re warming up enough to do some serious stargazing.  The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh has published their 2011 schedule of Star Parties at Wagman Observatory and Mingo Creek Park Observatory.  I personally recommend visiting the Wagman site and using the telescope that was commissioned by Andrew Carnegie and built by John Brashear.  But if you can’t make it to a party, or if you just can’t get enough of that night sky, you can always come to the library and grab a guide.


Viewing the Constellations With Binoculars: 250+ Wonderful Sky Objects to See and Explore by Bojan Kambic





Another exciting part of spring is the local Peregrine Falcon nesting season.  Pittsburgh’s National Aviary hosts live Falcon Cams at the Gulf Tower downtown, and Cathedral of Learning in Oakland.  If you want to know more about what you’re watching, Kate St. John of WQED has put together an incredible Peregrine FAQ, as part of her blog Outside My Window: A Bird-Watcher’s View of the World.  She also covers general bird anatomy and behavior, and describes happenings in the local environment down to the appearance and function of the weeds in the winter.   If you find yourself wanting to get a closer look at Kate St. John’s world, we’ve got books that can help you make your little piece of habitat more inviting.

The Backyard Bird Lover’s Ultimate How-To Guide: More Than 200 Easy Ideas and Projects for Attracting and Feeding Your Favorite Birds by Sally Roth





I’m also looking forward to hitting the local trails.  I’ve always been a hiker, but this year I may actually get myself a bike and explore some of the nearby rail trails.  Of course, when starting any new fitness routine, your doctor should be your first stop.  But after you’ve been declared healthy, we can help you figure out what to do next.  Here’s the book I’ve had my eye on –

Knack Cycling For Everyone: A Guide to Road, Mountain, and Commuter Biking by Leah Garcia and Jilayne Lovejoy.





Are you getting ready for any fun outdoor activities?


-Denise

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“What light through yonder window breaks?”

You’ll pardon our tardiness with today’s post, I’m sure.  Today the Carnegie library gang was puzzled–and more than a little distracted–by the appearance of a large, yellow orb in the sky, one that’s giving off warmth and light.  We’ve taken off our cardigan sweaters and opened up the windows to celebrate; mind you, we’re not 100% certain, but we think it might be…

the sun!  Hurray!

It is still February in Pittsburgh though, so this solar good fortune probably won’t last.   Take advantage of the serendipitous break in the gloom and do something outdoors.  And if your travels happen to bring you near the library, pop in to pick up a warm-weather read.

Leigh Anne
who hopes nobody will shush her if she starts singing

Leave a comment on today’s post for a chance at today’s prize in the 29 Gifts giveaway.  Daily winners will be contacted by e-mail.

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Pittsburghers Sing to Spring Pt. 3 — Maxine Sullivan spotlight

In my last post, I guided you through some springtime jazz made by Pittsburghers. Now I’m going to stop and park right in front of one of my favorite spring time songs: Maxine Sullivan’s version of “It Was a Lover and His Lass.”

Maxine Sullivan (1911-1987) was born in Homestead, PA and performed in the jazz clubs of Pittsburgh, but her career really took off when she left for New York. In 1937, she and bandleader Claude Thornhill (1909-1965) scored a hit with their version of the Scottish song “Loch Lomond.”

Then, in 1938, Thornhill and Sullivan created another wonderful jazz arrangement from Anglo-European sources, “It Was a Lover and His Lass.” The song appears in Shakespeare’s As You Like It, but was composed by Thomas Morley (and scholars debate whether the song was commissioned for the play or whether Shakespeare simply decided to use Morley’s song — see Ross W. Duffin’s Shakespeare’s Songbook for the story and the sheet music).

“Loch Lomond,” “Annie Laurie,” “It Was a Lover and His Lass,” and even Stephen Foster’s “I Dream of Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair” demonstrated that Sullivan’s graceful, sophisticated singing was a fine fit with old-fashioned songs. With its refrain of

in spring time, in spring time, the only pretty ring time, when birds do sing, hey ding a ding a ding, hey ding a ding a ding, sweet lovers love the spring

it’s a perfect ditty for the season. And a perfect introduction to an underrated Pittsburgh jazz musician.

— Tim

P.S. While reading the CD liner notes, you can use this website to see that another Pittsburgher, saxophonist Babe Russin (1911-1984), played in Sullivan and Thornhill’s group when they recorded “It Was a Lover and His Lass.”

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Pittsburghers Sing to Spring, Pt. 2 — Jazz

Last year, I posted about the springtime sounds made by Pittsburgh classical musicians.  Now I’d like to guide you through this season with music by many talented jazz musicians from Pittsburgh.

Almost Spring

Start with “Almost Spring,” written by a Pittsburgh bass player named Mickey Bass and performed by pianist John Hicks.  Although he was born in Atlanta, Hicks played in Pittsburgher Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and is accompanied here by Pittsburghers Dwayne Dolphin on bass and Cecil Brooks III on drums.  The track appears on a tribute to Pittsburgher piano pioneer Earl “Fatha” Hines, one of Hicks’ many albums dedicated to Pittsburgh pianists: Sonny Clark, Erroll Garner, Billy Strayhorn, and Mary Lou Williams.  I hereby proclaim John Hicks as an honorary Pittsburgher.

Up Jumped Spring

Jump up and get Pittsburgh vibist Steve Nelson’s delightful recording of Freddie Hubbard’s “Up Jumped Spring.”

Spring is Here

Two of the most influential jazz pianists ever, Pittsburghers Ahmad Jamal and Erroll Garner,  recorded the Rodgers & Hart standard “Spring is Here.”  Check out Garner playing it solo and then listen to Jamal’s duet with bassist Israel Crosby to hear two different and equally masterful interpretations.

Memories of a Pure Spring

Garner and Jamal’s wistful playing could be followed by the somber “Memories of a Pure Spring” by trumpeter Dave Douglas.  He is accompanied by well-versed Pittsburgh accordionist Guy Klucevsek.

It Is Always Spring

Somber memories now give way to joy as Leon Thomas yodels and Pittsburgher Mary Lou Williams plays piano on “It Is Always Spring,” from Smithsonian Folkways Mary Lou’s Mass album.

But no matter the season, it is always the time to explore great Pittsburgh jazz.

— Tim

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Pittsburghers sing to spring!

While it often seems that Pittsburgh goes directly from winter to hot, humid summer, this year we are enjoying a real spring with lots of days requiring a light jacket or an umbrella.  To keep you in the mood, here are four recordings of classical music with spring themes recorded by Pittsburgh musicians, young and old:

–Tim

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