Monday, June 30, 2008

Our Other Mountains Still Have Snow

Boise set a new record high temperature Sunday, 105 degrees....and there is still snow in our other mountains. These are the Owyhees, to the south. The mountain range we see most easily see is to the north. The mountains look blue because of the haze. The scrubby land stretching out before the mountains is one edge of the Snake River Birds of Prey area. And why are these mountains called the Owyhees? The story I'm familiar with says those doing the naming wanted to call them the Hawaiis, for some reason, but the name morphed into Owyhees - which sounds a lot like Hawaiis (oh-WHY-hees).

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Interesting Fence - Recycling

A license plate collection display covering up a chain-link fence. Mostly Idaho, but some California, Montana, Colorado and Utah plates are there, too. The small red, white and blue Idaho plates are motorcycle plates. The bench behind the fence is also decorated with bottle caps, as is the "frame" around the "picture" on the cedar fence.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cows of Boise - #3 in the Series

What a nice green pasture and mountain view for this cow - photographed in southwest Boise. Other bucolic Boise bovines can be seen here and here.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Duct Tape Fixes Everything

This poor willow was victim of not enough water last year, and then a windstorm this year - so the owners tell me in explaining why they pieced it back together with duct tape. It is working, the tree is still alive, the broken-but-taped-back-on branches are still green and healthy.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thou Shalt Not....Yard Art

We used to see these signs in yards all around town when Boise had a Ten Commandments controversy a few years back. Now, the signs aren't common - they weren't constructed to endure long-term outdoor exposure. I don't even remember all the details of the "controversy," except that I was in the news reporting world back then, and I encountered many rude people on both sides, or three sides, or four sides, of the issue. And when I did a "man on the street" segment, the average Joe wasn't aware of the controversy...when I tried to explain it, they didn't really care.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The High Bridge at Lucky Peak Reservoir

Drive a few minutes north of Boise and you arrive at Lucky Peak Reservoir. Our Greenbelt path ends at the state park right below the dam, I've ridden my bike from downtown to the dam...and then, of course, back....slowly...because I was plum tired. This is called simply, the High Bridge. Every once in a while, people think jumping off it would be a good idea, many have not survived because they hit the water so hard it knocks them out. Notice how there aren't any road guards on either side of the bridge, so people have driven their cars right over the edge. It was even done on purpose for a movie once, too, Bill Cosby's "Ghost Dad." The producers of the movie didn't make good on their agreement to remove the cars from the water. And when water levels dropped later in the year, there were plenty of 9-1-1 calls from people who thought there had been an accident. Thank you to my dear friend and neighbor Faith for providing today's photo.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Boise's Golden Wheel Restaurant

Another "wagon wheel" - the Golden Wheel drive-in and restaurant. The wheel obviously is not golden colored, maybe it was in a previous version. This is one of those relic drive-ins that I hope stays around, but is quickly being swallowed up by modern strip malls and new housing. My husband says the orange soda floats are the thing to get there, they taste like a dream bar. Look at the rest of my wagon wheel collection through links on the right - scroll down to Wagon Wheel Chic.

Monday, June 23, 2008

How Many Are In This Picture?

A wagon wheel jackpot. I've been on the lookout for wagon wheel yard art for a couple of weeks now, and this is the most I've seen in one location. Count 'em up - one is in partial view. I wonder where people buy them? I'll have to check out some antiques-type stores to see if that's the source, and I wonder how much they cost. It's an investigation on my "to-do" list. More of my virtual wagon wheel collection here, here, here and here.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Car Collector

My husband took this picture, he just can't believe the state of this car in a driveway he drives by often. I'm not sure what's piled up in the engine compartment....not an engine, for sure! It reminds me of one year when I participated in a public service event called "Rake Up Boise" - where volunteers do fall yard work for those in their golden years not getting around so much anymore, and people with disabilities. I saw a car in a similar state in a woman's backyard in the North End of town. The strange thing was, it had current license plates and stickers. I guess she just mailed in her payments and put the stickers on the car every year. I doubt the car had moved in at least 20 years. Anyone know what this car is/was? (Abraham Lincoln, author of Brookville Daily Photo was first to call it - a '58 Chevy. Snapper at Gabriola Daily Photo ID'd, too, and so did M.Benaut at Adelaide Daily Photo, and Benjamin Madison at Victoria Daily Photo)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Home for Elves and Fairies

This is such a cute little "house" in front of a house. The rosebush is a bit overgrown, behind it is another one of Boise's "lighthouses." See another one here. My daughter thinks this is a house for elves or fairies. Maybe it's covering up something in the yard that needed to be covered up. I know fairy gardens were popular for a while, but the rocks around aren't to scale for a fairy front door. And no special fairy landscaping.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Boise Tourists

This is one two tour businesses in Boise - and every time I see the trolley, or the red tour train-trolley, they're always full. I've never been in the tour - I know it focuses on the historic districts, I'm sure I could learn something. This particular trolley always makes me smile because years ago (close to 20), I came up with an idea for a promotion at my work place, a pub crawl for St. Patrick's Day - and since this trolley is green, it was the one we used. We had a fabulous time, following the bagpipers around to a long list of pubs. Popping in and chatting with people for a few minutes, then off to the next party. I also tasted my first martini, a co-worker bought it for me. It was incredibly disgusting and I remember pouring it down the sink in the bathroom. When I was in England recently, I had a grapefruit martini that tasted really good - the one I had all those years ago was just a standard one, and I'm not even sure what was in it!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wagon Wheel Fence

My wagon wheel "I spy" game continues in Boise. This is a creative use of an old wheel as part of a fence. Notice the peek at the Boise foothills over the fence. Usually, wagon wheels are installed as yard and lawn decorations. More wagon wheels here, here, and here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Garage Sale Season

We call this a "garage sale" in Boise, even though, it's not really in the garage. I do like to go to these jumble-type sales, mainly out of curiosity - although I did once buy a high chair (which we sold at our garage sale when we no longer needed it), and a nice office desk (that met the same re-garage sale-d fate when I upgraded). I like the sale in this picture because you could set up a household nicely with the things offered. Three-car garages are pretty standard in Boise. It's amazing how fast you can fill one up even if you only have two cars.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Exploding Soda

This is part of the summer reading program at the public library closest to our house - really! Science stuff every Monday afternoon. I'll bet many of you recognize this. It's the old "Mentos in a two-liter bottle of soda" trick. The Diet A&W Root Beer exploded tallest, that's what this photo shows. It was very funny that the girl on the right was trying to measure the height of the explosion with that puny yardstick. This was the result of adding 10 Mentos. The kids all wanted to add 100 after they saw the results. The librarian asked the kids if they knew where Mentos were made. My daughter raised her hand and said, "China." Probably because we joke a lot that "everything" is made in China.

Monday, June 16, 2008

It's a Bird, It's a Plane...It's a Scottish Terrier?

My husband took this interesting cloud photo when we had storm after storm rolling through Boise. I think it resembles a Scottish Terrier. The storms have finally cleared out and we've had sun for a couple of days now, which is what we're supposed to have this time of year in Boise - and for the next three months.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

(Copa) Cabana Inn

A downtown dive hotel - and I mean that in the most polite way possible. We call it the "Copa Cabana" because we unabashedly like Barry Manilow! This sign may be old, but it still looks good at night, especially when all the dingle ball bulbs are working. Funny how they've not updated the sign that I can ever remember, even leaving the "COLOR TV" sign on the post. The sign also always says "vacancy." My husband says he actually stayed in this hotel once when he was visiting Boise - back when he was scoping out new towns to call "home." I grew up around here, so it's never crossed my mind to stay here!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Smith Block - Home to Pigeons

Look up while walking along Main Street in downtown Boise. While the store fronts look modern, a lot of the upper floors show the buildings' true age. The Smith Block was built in 1905, according to state historical records, and that's the only thing that's noted - that it was built in that year. It's hard to see if there really is anything on the upper floors - the windows are so dingy and warped, I would think the rooms were storage, or empty. The only activity I saw on my visit to the area were pigeons popping in and out of the holes near the top.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Wagon Wheels Invade Boise!

They're everywhere! I started thinking I would snap photos of wagon wheels as yard art whenever I just happened to see them, and now I'm noticing how prevalent they are. Are they common in your town? This one is positioned near an old cart of some sort. I was wondering aloud where people got them, and why they decided to put them in their yards - and my kindergarten daughter said, "Maybe they keep weeds away." Hmm - maybe! More wagon wheels here, and here. Boise is along the Oregon Trail, that could be part of the inspiration.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wagon Wheel Chic

Yesterday's post has inspired a new series, yup, wagon wheels as yard art. I always assume they're antique, but they may not be - they may just be decorations. I like to see them. They're the leftovers from Boise's Wild West days...or leftovers from the 50s and 60s when that wagon wheel furniture was all the rage.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Boise's Lighthouse - and a Wagon Wheel

I love this front yard that I often see while running errands. It has everything, except grass, which is probably nice maintenance-wise. Notice the old wagon wheel, those are very common around here and I'm going to start documenting them on this site. While this yard is mostly nautically-themed, there are little surprises all over the place, and they also have a wrought iron fenced off small area with what looks like a grave marker. I have no idea if it's just for fun, or for real.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Children's Tile Art at Boise City Hall

This is the wall of tile art in the entryway of Boise City Hall, done by children. It looks a little jumbled until you get up really close - it's all about character. It's an interesting piece that I'm sure most people just breeze by without a second look. I think that's mainly because the entryway to City Hall is very dark, even in the day - it's like a brick tunnel.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Jim's Coffee Shop Rooster

This is the rooster on top of Jim's Coffee Shop in Boise's North End. An old-fashioned kind of place smack dab in the middle of what I always think of as Boise's health-conscious zone - across the street from the Boise Co-op. And it's the antithesis of healthy - serving up old-fashioned coffee shop chow. In fact, as I recall, the "diet" offerings are pretty funny - like a cup of steam from the kitchen and toast crumbs scraped off the tables. The rooster has been a tempting target over the years, with pranksters kidnapping the fowl a few times.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Wedding in Kathryn Albertson Park

We attended the wedding of one of my daughter's teacher's in Katheryn Albertson Park - what a pretty setting. The park is about 40 acres, and it's a nature preserve-type park. We saw a deer grazing in the background, a lot of "wild" areas - very beautiful. When major construction was done on the I184 loop into town, they had to tear out tons of landscaping, and they moved most of it to this park. The land was donated by the Albertson family of "Albertsons" store fame. It's right across the street from Ann Morrison Park.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Capitol Request

Well, it's not very picturesque right now, but this is our State Capitol - a photo by request. It's hard to get a good view of it because of a big construction project. They're adding underground "wings" to the building. The beautiful trees around the building, many planted by famous people through history, either died in the process or were taken down. The building is made of sandstone quarried from Table Rock, right above town. The front doors look golden in this picture, but that's really just plywood - and I think some other renovations are going on inside. I know many of the marble stairs had become really worn by people's footsteps and not very safe. I believe some of those are being replaced as part of the project.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Boise Pit

This is "the pit" in downtown Boise. It's right in the middle of downtown at 8th and Main Streets. It's a famous hole in the ground with at least two developers saying they were going to build the "tallest building in Idaho" here, with expensive condos and shops. Well, lawsuit after lawsuit, and another one closed yesterday - with a judge saying "no" to a bankrupt developer. So, the pit has been there for over 20 years. What used to stand in its place was the Eastman Building - which was the Overland Hotel (I think) before that. I remember the old building, it had a grand, sweeping staircase you could see through the cloudy, old front windows. When I saw it, it was vacant and crumbling, and when developers eyed tearing it down, there was a "suspicious" fire and it was gone. I wish it could just become a nice plaza, or small green space park.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Visiting Boise? Leave Skateboards at Home

This is a common theme downtown - no skateboarding, or skating, or rollerblading. I guess for safety reasons? I really don't know the reason. I do know some people in Boise have bumper stickers that say "Skateboarding is not a crime." I know skateboarding has caused some controversy in the past, but I thought that was all over with. I didn't know skating was controversial, too. I guess strollers are still O-K. And wheeled suitcases.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hollywood Market - "Happiness is Spoken Here"

The Hollywood Market in Boise's North End. It's a funky little place that sells produce, meat, beer, cigarettes, household products and used stuff. It's just crammed full, and just like the sign says, the people are friendly. It's a true neighborhood market, and we don't have many of those in Boise.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Frank Steunenberg - Idaho's Wild West History

This statue of Frank Steunenberg is right across from the Capitol. He was the fourth governor of Idaho - but what most people remember is he was the one who was murdered. He was killed by a one-time union member. I don't know the specific controversy, but there was a lot of labor unrest at the time. Steunenberg was killed by a bomb rigged to the front gate of his home in Caldwell. At the time he was murdered, he was not Governor - he served just one term. The trial for those accused of killing him was a national headline grabber. One man was convicted and spent his life in prison.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Thirsty Spider Goes for a Ride

This fuzzy black spider was riding our backyard water fountain the other day. The little piece he's on dips into the stream of water every couple of seconds, and he was dipping his leg into the stream. I never realized before that spiders probably need a drink now and then. I figured they got most of their water from dew drops, or a source more convenient than climbing to the top of a three-foot water feature.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Happy Birthday - Hannifin's is 100 years old

This year is the 100th birthday for Hannifin's Cigar Store. Worn wooden floors and a permanent fresh tobacco smell permeate the small space. Besides tobacco products, this store used to be famous for its extensive offering of magazines, even the "dirty" ones, but I hear the magazine offerings have been removed. The store has changed hands a lot recently, and now is focusing on being more of a corner store for people who live downtown, offering home goods and food, along with tobacco products and beer.