Friday, October 31, 2014

Book availability and signings

My new book is available online through Menasha Ridge Press which is the most immediate way to get it, other than getting it straight from me. I have plenty in my car trunk. Call or stop by. Little Professor in Homewood should have it in stock by Sunday, Nov. 9.  You can also order from other online retailers like Amazon and Books-A-Million.

A limited number of books are currently in stock at Vulcan Park.
Supplies should be arriving at other bookstores and outfitters soon.

Copies will be available November 1 & 2 - Moss Rock Festival
I plan to be at Moss Rock Festival Sunday afternoon from 1 to 3:30 at the Fresh Air Family Tent. The Festival is held at The Preserve, near the Boulder Fields trailhead of Moss Rock Preserve. Several hikes at Moss Rock Preserve are in the book, and it should be a great weekend for exploring one of the regions best and most convenient hiking destinations.

Sunday, November 9 - Little Professor book signing - 12-2 p.m.
Come out for Sunday brunch and pick up a copy

Thursday, November 13 - Sip and Sign at Neighborhood Hops and Vine, you friendly neighborhood wine and beer shop, located in the Crestline Park neighborhood, 1109 Dunston Avenue, Birmingham, AL 35213. 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, November 16 - Red Mountain Park
Friends of Red Mountain Park hike - 2 p.m. Will be helping lead a hike featuring Scot Duncan, Birmingham-Southern biology professor. Duncan will lead an expedition seeking out the remnant stands of longleaf pines in the park. Scot was extremely helpful in helping me with the book. He is the primary author of the TrekBirmingham website and of the fabulous book, Southern Wonder: Alabama's Surprising Biodoversity.

November 19 - Church Street Coffee and Books 
Book signing and conversation - 7 p.m.

Reviving A Southern Industry, From Cotton Field To Clothing Rack : NPR

From NPR: A story about cool Alabama Farm to Closet clothing experiment.

Reviving A Southern Industry, From Cotton Field To Clothing Rack : NPR: Keeping Cotton Local

Hanback is one of about 30 people who work at The Factory, home to Alabama Chanin, the fashion and lifestyle company founded by Natalie Chanin. The site includes a cafe, workshop and the company's flagship store.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

My first book

It's Here!

Five-Star Trails Birmingham

by Thomas Spencer

Five-Star Trails Birmingham
by Thomas Spencer
Menasha Ridge Press

Connect with
Menasha Ridge Press:

Hi, friends:

Over the last year, I've been working with Menasha Ridge Press to author my first book, Five-Star Trails Birminghama guide to the best hiking trails in the city and surrounding region. I'm excited to say I just got word from the publisher that the guidebook has shipped from the printer and is on its way to bookshops and outfitters.
The hikes described in Five-Star Trails: Birmingham cover the major hiking venues in the central city and suburbs as well as exploring diverse offerings from Appalachian mountain climbs to strolls on the banks of the Cahaba River as it broadens to snake through the Coastal Plain. You can visit old growth forest in the Sipsey Wilderness or hike down into the “Grand Canyon of the East” at Little River Canyon. And that's only the start. Across this landscape, you’ll find a level of diversity of plant and animal species, some rare and endangered, that rivals anywhere in the North America.

- Thomas Spencer

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

36-year-old Alabama Red Hills salamander discovered at the Cincinnati Zoo |

Ben Raines story on Red Hills Salamander at the Cincinati Zoo: 36-year-old Alabama Red Hills salamander discovered at the Cincinnati Zoo | Captive salamanders tend to live longer than their wild counterparts, with reports of a number of 25-year-old specimens of various species. But a 36-year-old salamander? That's got the amphibian experts excited.

"That is awesome that salamander is still alive," said J.J. Apodaca, one of a small handful of scientists specializing in the endangered Red Hills salamander, Phaeognathus hubrichti, which is one of the rarest creatures in Alabama, and the nation.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A First Visit to Remy's Dog Park at Red Mountain Park

I didn't get the dog park thing.
Now, I do.
When I was growing up, dogs roamed.
As parents, my wife and I resisted the idea of a dog, despite the begging of the children. I couldn't abide the modern suburban existence of a dog: only getting out to walk on the leash under the hand of the master, the master reduced to picking up poop and fretting whenever the dog escaped confinement.
 But we finally broke down and got a wonderful affectionate, older dog. The drawbacks are there but are outweighed by unmitigated affection Pa-Ching brings to the family.
Still, I find the leash walking thing unsatisfying. I want him to be free. And I don't want my arm jerked out of socket.
So, on a recent Saturday we packed up to make our first visit to Remy's Dog Park at Red Mountain Park, a large, fenced, off-leash park which offers both open sunny space and shady woods. No leash, no worries, full-stride running, and unmediated dog socialization.
It was liberating. For me, my son, and our dog.
I now get the dog park thing.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Rolling on the Chief Ladiga Trail

My son James and I recently biked and camp on the Chief Ladiga Trail from Piedmont to Cedartown, Ga. It's one of the prettiest sectoins of the the paved rail-trail (also known as the Silver Comet) which runs 100 miles from Anniston to the outskirts of Atlanta. It was a beautiful ride and the scenery only going to get better as the leaves change in the coming weeks. It's a gentle grade, generally uphill to the state line and downhill to Cedartown. But no matter how gentle the grade, 50 miles is a tough ride for the uninitiated. But James pumped the whole way, without complaint. To find out more, check out Chief Ladiga Trail information here and Georgia's trail website for the Silver Comet.

Tuxedo Junctions and other famous places -

Read this Wayne Flynt piece on the contributions of Alabamians to the jazz and the blues music Tuxedo Junctions and other famous places - ...