Monday, May 31, 2010

Jaime’s KCLS Jaunt #21: Kingsgate

Go North! I finally squeezed in a weekday visit to a library!  Trip number 12 brought me to Kingsgate on a late Friday afternoon.  Kirkland has two library branches, Kirkland (Jaunt #7) and Kingsgate. To wrap up my Kirkland branch visits, I took advantage of the free wireless at Kingsgate to accomplish a couple hours of work. I'm sure riding isn't really allowed on the Kingsgate Library sign. . .

I definitely wasn’t the only person with my own laptop taking advantage of the quiet area and typing furiously! And though it’s always my intent to be very observant during these jaunts, the two hours flew by as I lost myself in my work and listened to the rain come down on the nearby window.

Unidentified Flying Creatures! As late afternoon turned into early evening, I did notice that the library began to quiet down.  There were a few open computers, because like all branches I’ve visited so far, the computers were completely taken when I arrived. The librarian told me that it was definitely quiet, perhaps due to the upcoming holiday weekend. I happened to glance up during our talk and noticed the “flying” art above our heads! Another unique art exhibit at Kingsgate is the rotating monthly quilt – the librarian has been watching it rotate for all of her 14 years at Kingsgate!

Wooden Benches As I left the library, I made a quick visit to the outdoor programs area to admire the benches crafted for an Eagle Scout project.  Surrounded by ferns and trees, what a great place for a story time on a more weather-friendly day!





Library Map

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

English Boom Historical Park: A Camano Island Gem

English Boom Historical Park is a hidden gem of public land on the north shore of Camano Island. English Boom Trail signThis six-acre park overlooks the mud flats of Skagit Bay, and has 900 feet of waterfront. The park contains a scenic trail that wind through a salt marsh. The habitat is perfect for supporting diverse bird life, including eagles, herons, and falcons. Not surprisingly, this is a favorite place for birdwatching groups.

Looking north and west on a clear day, you can see Mount Baker and Mount Pilchuck. Weathered pilings remain from the old log booms.

English Boom Historical Park: looking north towards Mt. Baker

If you're lucky you might come across shorebirds such as the killdeer. The most noticeable characteristic about the killdeer is its high, plaintive shrill cry, which you can listen to here.

English Boom Historical Park: a killdeer

Getting There 
To get to English Boom Historical Park take Hwy 532 onto Camano Island, and turn north on Good Rd, which becomes Utsalady Rd. Turn right on Moore Rd (at Camano Island Airfield) and follow the road to the end.

View Larger Map

At the park entrance, there's a picnic shelter and parking for about a dozen vehicles.

English Boom Historical Park: picnic shelter

History of English Boom
The tidelands and shoreline at English Boom are part of what were once large log storage yards called log booms.

English Boom Historical Park: loggers at a log boom

In the 1920s and 30s the English Lumber Company logged the upland forests east of Stanwood and Mt. Vernon, transporting the timber by rail to the Tom Moore Slough at Milltown. There the Tom Moore Boom Company sorted, graded, and rafted the logs so that tugboats could haul them to sawmills all over Puget Sound.

English Boom Historical Park: sorting log at a log boom

For a time, the Tom Moore Boom Company employed up to 20 men and stored as many as 15 million board feet of logs in booms. The log boom was closed in 1945 when the English Lumber Company was sold to the Puget Sound Pulp & Timber Company.

English Boom Historical Park: log boom workers

Purchase of the land for the English Boom Historical Park was made possible through the efforts and sponsorship of Friends of Camano Island Parks. The property was acquired in 1997 and was the first public park property on Camano Island purchased with Island County Conservation Futures Funds.

Other Day Trips
Here’s a list of other Redmond Library blog postings on days trips in the Seattle area:
The Long and Windy Road: A Visit to the Wild Horse Wind Farm
Experience Washington: Your Staycation Travel Guide
Washington's Lighthouses: Point No Point
Padilla Bay Shore Trail: A Path to Nature
Historic Murals: A Walk Along Bothell's Past

Redmond Library Board

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mud, Sweat, and Gears: An Evening with Joe “Metal Cowboy” Kurmaskie

On Thursday, May 27th, 7:00 pm the Redmond Library will present Mud, Sweat, and Gears: A Rowdy Family Adventure Across Canada on Seven Wheels.Mud, Sweat, and Tears Join us for an evening of humor and humanity with award-winning author and entertainer Joe “Metal Cowboy” Kurmaskie. Joe never just reads from his books-instead, the Metal Cowboy takes over a room with a multimedia performance that’s by turns stand-up comedy, stunning digital slideshow, social commentary, audience interaction, Irish Bard style storytelling, bicycle advocacy and something the whole family will be talking about.

There will be prizes, raffles, a book signing and more. For more info, see Mud, Sweat, and Gears.

About Joe Kurmaskie 
Joe Kurmaskie, dubbed the “Metal Cowboy” by a blind rancher he encountered one icy morning in Idaho, has been addicted to the intoxicating freedom and power of the bicycle ever since he "borrowed" his big sister's banana-seat bike at the age of five.Joe Kurmaskie As he careened down the neighborhood hill, much to his parents' dismay, Joe set in motion what has become a lifelong love affair with the road and the wheel. In his first book, Metal Cowboy, Joe offers up an infectious and big-hearted collection of true adventures and misadventures, chronicling his time touring America on his bicycle.

Other Blog Postings on Biking & Trails
Here’s a list of other Redmond Library blog postings on biking and regional trails:
The Interurban Trail: A Ride Along the Rails
The Tolt Pipeline Trail
Snohomish County Bike Trails: Centennial Trail
King County Bike Trails: Sammamish River Trail
King County Bike Trail Maps

Redmond Library Board

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Jaime’s KCLS Jaunt #19 and #20: Bothell and Woodinville

Go North!

Another Sunday jaunt required libraries a little bit closer to home again!  The bonus to these jaunts is that they don’t start until a little bit later as many libraries, if they are open on Sundays, sleepily wake up between Noon and 2 p.m. 

However, Lorin and I were out the door a little bit earlier to fill our late morning with our community adventure. . .involving food, of course! We had reservations at Preservation Kitchen – a delightful restaurant in the renovated 1916 Kaysner Estate in Bothell.  The ambience and breakfast foods were wonderful!  The service was also delightfully friendly – I’d love to go back to their Happy Hour!

Reading Patio Wonderfully full of eggs, potatoes, and toast, we traversed just a couple of miles to the Bothell Library.  I’m not sure if the cleverly titled entrance sculpture, the Bothell Bears, or the “aviary” patio was my favorite spot in the library!  As usual, the library’s computers were jam packed. Bothell Bears

The librarian nice enough to humor us and answer our questions, Patty, noted that  people are often waiting outside for the computers and within minutes they are all booked!  The patio makes a great place to step out for people needing to make a call or children that need a little room to roam more noisily.

Woodinville + Wheelie A quick trip across SR-522 brought us to our final stop for the day at the Woodinville Library. Evoking a Northwest lodge with its dramatic entrance, this library is located on a very spacious, wooded lot.  Before we entered, we wandered along the library’s nature path that circles the building! 
Wheelie in front of one of my favorite collections!

We wondered to the librarian we met inside, Darcy, if educational programs ever took place outside in their environs! She also mentioned one of the things that makes Woodinville unique - patrons – you get 2, 2 hour sessions on the computer instead of 1, 2 hour session like at other branches!

Caterpillar at Woodinville One of the sections we always look at in the libraries is the children’s areas.  I could devote much of my blog to all of the imagination inspiring art that decorates the shelves and walls.  Plus, the kid-sized furniture is absolutely adorable!

In the next few weeks, incredibly, I should log enough libraries to be half-way through my jaunts.  I can’t believe it’s already practically half-over!


Library Map

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Long and Windy Road: A Visit to the Wild Horse Wind Farm

They’re huge! That’s the first thing you notice as you drive up to the Wild Horse Wind Farm visitor center. In the photo below, the pickup truck is dwarfed by a forest of 221-foot tall wind turbine towers.

Wild Horse Wind Farm: wind turbines (click for larger image) 
The Wild Horse Wind Farm is a 273-megawatt wind farm built by Puget Sound Energy that consists of 149 turbines on a 8,600-acre site 15 miles east of Ellensburg, Washington. Click here for directions.

Wild Horse Wind Farm: total rotor diameter The turbines are placed on the high open ridge tops of Whiskey Dick Mountain, which was chosen for its reliable wind conditions, remote location, and access to nearby power transmission lines. The towers are 221 feet tall. Each rotor blade is 129 feet long, with a total rotor diameter of 264 feet — larger than the wingspan of a Boeing 747.

The turbines can produce electricity with wind speeds as low as 9 mph and reach full production at 31 mph. They shut down at sustained wind speeds of 56 mph.

Wild Horse Wind Farm: turbine blade (129 feet long)

During my visit, the rotor blades took five seconds to complete a full rotation. There was a dramatic swooshing sound as the blades carved through the air.

Visitor Center
The visitor center, called the Renewable Energy Center, sits on a ridge above the Kittitas Valley. From this 3,500 foot elevation you can see the entire Wild Horse Wind Farm, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood, and the Columbia River Basin looking toward Moses Lake.

Wild Horse Wind Farm: visitor center (click for larger image)

Weather permitting, the visitor center is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. seven days a week from April through November. For more info on visiting the Wild Horse Wind Farm, see Renewable Energy Center.
Inside a Wind Turbine
Ever wondered what it's like inside a wind turbine? Join PSE's maintenance team for a climb 200' up a wind turbine.

The wind turbines at Wild Horse Wind Farm are Vestas V80 models. A high-voltage transformer is built directly into the turbine housing assembly pictured below.

Vestas V80 wind turbine (click for fact sheet)

Wild Horse Wind Farm Expansion
Wind power has proven to be a cost-effective and reliable power source. Dozens more wind turbines are under construction at the southern end of the wind farm, near I-90.

Wild Horse Wind Farm: wind turbine construction (click for larger image)

The next time you're driving on I-90 near Ellensburg, consider the long and windy road.

Redmond Library Board

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Jaime’s KCLS Jaunt #18: Mercer Island

A long time ago I worked on Mercer Island. Sadly, before the offices moved to Bellevue, I never went farther south on the island than those offices - which were right off the freeway!  I certainly didn’t know what I was missing.  And truth be told, I wouldn’t have seen as much of Mercer Island on trip number 10 if I hadn’t gotten “lost”. (Though, it’s a 5 mile by 2 mile island, so one really can’t get that lost!) 

Go West!

After a leisurely drive around much of the island due to a missed turn, streets that don’t go through, and only a vague Mercer Island Library Signidea of the geography of the place, I found myself pulling into the Mercer Island Library parking lot.  One of the things I love about the KCLS libraries is how many melt into the backgrounds of the community.  This library building was completed in the early nineties, before Mercer Island joined the King County Library System.  It’s surrounded by schools and houses and with lush landscaping, it’s barely noticeable from the street. Fortunately, the bright red brick sign pictured above is prominently placed on the corner!

"Between Two Worlds," a bronze sculpture by Northwest artist Georgia Gerber It was a beautifully sunny, warm Mother’s Day, and as it was early afternoon, I wasn’t sure what to expect of the crowd. Didn’t matter, it was still busy!  Most of the computers were taken and there was more than one person enjoying the seating areas near the windows as they flipped through the newspaper. 

As I was on my own, I had planned to find a comfy chair to read my book club book that I would need to discuss later Quiet Reading Areathat afternoon (Miriam Toews, The Flying Troutmans). But, before I sat down, I made a big personal step and managed to introduce myself to the librarian at the desk, Vicki.  We had an engaging chat about my jaunts so far and we talked a little about Redmond Ridge, as she hasn’t yet visited it.  I’m so thankful that she was the perfect embodiment of the welcoming atmosphere at the King County Libraries as I’m painfully shy about introducing myself to strangers!

My original plan for visiting the library also included a picnic lunch in the park across the street, but since I took a bit of extra time driving around the island and then subsequently lost myself in my book, I ran out of time!  My idyllic sunny day picnic turned into a frantic freeway feeding as I headed back to Redmond for my book club meeting.  No matter, I know I’ll soon find myself back on Mercer Island, this time with husband and dog in tow, to take advantage of a few of their trails!


Library Map

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Mesa Public Library: A Southwest Fusion of Freestyling, Views, and Architecture

On a recent trip to New Mexico, I stopped by the Mesa Public Library in Los Alamos. The first thing you notice is that there’s a skateboard park right in front of the library!

Skateboard park at the Mesa Public LibraryOnce inside the library building, it’s hard not to be distracted by the spectacular views of the Jemez Mountains to the west. A wall of windows frames the mountains.

View of the Jemez Mountains

The Mesa Public Library Building
AIA Gold Medal Award winning architect Antoine Predock designed the 48,000 square foot Mesa Public Library building which opened to the public on October 5, 1994. Visitors and students of architecture from all over the world are intrigued by the unusual angles and curves of the building.

Mesa Public Library architecture: windows within walls

The kiva-inspired reading rooms add a touch of the Southwest to the library experience.

Mesa Public Library architecture: kiva-inspired reading room

History of Los Alamos
Los Alamos was founded as a secret planned community to provide housing for the employees of the Manhattan Project during World War II. Although locals were aware of its existence, all information about the town was highly classified until the bombing of Hiroshima, and any outbound correspondence by those working and living in Los Alamos was censored by military officials. At the time, it was referred to as "The Hill" by many in Santa Fe, and as "Site Y" by military personnel.

As you travel around Washington state and beyond, stop by the local public library to savor a true community experience.

Redmond Library Board

Friday, May 7, 2010

Backyard Chickens: Eggs-press Your Inner Farmer

On Thursday, May 20th, 7:00-9:00 pm the Redmond Library will present Backyard Poultrykeeping in a Nutshell. Raising happy chickens that produce eggs is easier than you might think! For people who are considering the idea of keeping chickens in their backyard, this free presentation provides an overview of the pros and cons. Presenter Paul Farley teaches classes for Seattle Tilth.

For more info, see Backyard Poutrykeeping in a Nutshell.

Eglu: The New Look in Coops
My sister-in-law, Jeanne, has two wonderful egg-laying hens, Mildred and Gertrude. These hens live in a modern, cool looking chicken coop, called an Eglu.

Eglu: the new look in hen houses Amazingly, a chicken can lay an egg a day at the peak of her production. Brown eggsIn general, female chickens, called pullets, start laying eggs at about six months of age. You’ll want to collect the eggs daily to minimize spoilage and breakage. What a great way to get wholesome food!

Redmond Library Board

Monday, May 3, 2010

Folklife Festival 2010: Revel Without a Cause

Northwest Folklife Festival 2010 info The start of the month of May means the Northwest Folklife Festival is just around the corner. This year, Folklife runs from Friday, May 28th thru Monday, May 31st at Seattle Center. The Northwest Folklife Festival is an annual festival of ethnic, folk, and traditional art, crafts, and music that takes place over the Memorial Day weekend in Seattle. It brings together an estimated 250,000 visitors, 1,800 volunteers, and more than 6,000 musicians, dancers, and other performers. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.

The Folklife Performers
The music that Folklife musicians play span an incredible selection of genres. But folk music is everywhere, and you’ll find plenty of musicians playing fiddles, banjos, washtub basses, mandolins, and accordions:

Folklife 2008: folk group

Here’s a video from the group, Madame Flodd, from the 2007 Folklife Festival:

You’ll find interesting groupings of instruments, such as this saxophone trio:

Folklife 2009: saxophone trio

You’ll also find specialty musicians, such as this one playing a musical saw with a violin bow (not sure why he was wearing a fake rabbit nose and teeth):

Folklife 2007: musical saw player

There’s also plenty of great food to eat, especially ethnic food from around the world:

Folklife 2009: food vendor

And finally, there are people with diverse interests at Folklife, such as this woman who was passing out meeting invitations to hear testimonials from people who had re-grown their teeth. The meeting, interestingly, was being held at a neighborhood library.

Folklife 2009: meeting organizer

Redmond Library Board