Thursday, July 31, 2008

Future Park

This is a parcel of land donated to the City of Boise, with the stipulation that is has to be a public park. That may take a while, because while the land is free, the rest of the "parkness" is not - landscaping, parking lots, play structures, sprinkler systems, signage. Right now, the fence is locked and there are "no trespassing" signs up. Boise has an extensive park system. See some examples here and here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Boise Bus Art-In-Transit

This is a glimpse of Boise art-in-motion. It's part of the "wrap" on a Boise bus. It's not crystal-clear up close, and notice how the character's heads are on the bus windows. The art is based on clay-mation-type scenes set by Jason Sievers, you can see more of his characters (some are pretty twisted) here. And the full "set" for the bus art is here. The art buses were unveiled last year, and complaints are still rolling in. Many people found it "inappropriate" to decorate a bus, and then, the decorations didn't promote "Boise." I saw this one while up on the Boise Bench.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Bouquet - Downtown Bar Scene History

It's hard to see the sign through the fairly-new trees, but this is The Bouquet. I believe it started its history at a different location, focusing on blues music. And it has a connection to the old Overland Hotel/Eastman Building (where Boise's "pit" is located today). It has a very ornate bar, a good soundstage, and a dance floor. It's gone through some tough financial times over the past 30 years or so. When I was young enough to enjoy the bar scene, we called it "The Bucket" because we thought of it as a dive bar. Hard rock music was usually on stage back then. Read up on The Bouquet history here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

New Airport Tower - Svelte and Sleek

My husband took these pictures while flying out of Boise this past week. This is the new air traffic control tower under construction. It's an obvious landmark from the main highway, I-84. I don't know if that small plane in the picture was landing, or taking off. The new tower will be much taller than the old tower, which looks short and squat in comparison below.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Boise's Mountain View Disappears

The Boise mountains we usually see every day were gone from view Saturday. You can look close and maybe see an outline of the Boise Front. This is smoke from wildfires and pollution blocking the view. The state rates this as "moderate" air quality - even though you could see the haze at the street-level just a couple of blocks away. I took this picture from McMillan Road. You can compare the view from McMillan in April below. Our recent 100-degree weather has also turned the grasses to brown.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Costume Shop - Boise's Perfect Disguise

A salute to the Costume Shop today. Technically, it's in Garden City - which is surrounded by Boise, and people in Garden City have "Boise" for their mailing address. "Star" is the woman who opened, owned and ran the Costume Shop for as long as I can remember, even back when the shop was in the 8th Street Marketplace. She recently sold it to an employee. A great place for little kid dress-up gear, and loads of grown-up disguise and party supplies, although the sign and window right now don't look very kid-friendly.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Wagon Wheels Still Attached to the Wagon

My 'I spy' wagon wheel game continues....these wheels are still attached to a wagon, and it's possible the wagon could have been used for the business advertised. Most wagon wheels around here are singular and have become yard art. Peasley Transfer and Storage opened up shop in Boise in 1890. ***An update on the Hollywood Market in Boise's North End. The owner isn't sure the store can stay open. Details here.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Public Art without Explanation

This is the public art at the corner of The Mode Building. The building has artsy stores and eateries inside. It used to be home to The Mode department store, with a wonderful cafe on the mezzanine with chicken pot pies I just loved. I also bought a sweater there in the late 1980s that I still have and wear sometimes. I believe The Mode went out of business around 1990. I don't know when these totem-style pieces of art showed up, and there's nothing around to explain them - at least, nothing I've noticed.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

One More Boise School Ghost - West Jr. High

One more on my tour of recently closed schools in Boise. This one is the newest of those deemed "obsolete." This West Junior High is at the corner of Emerald and Curtis. They are building a new West Junior High a little ways from here.

I tried to peek in the grimy windows. It was hard to take a picture, but look - they leave the American flag in the abandoned building? And the message on the board? "NO GAMES OR PICTURES." So....I took a picture. Franklin Elementary and Cole School are the other schools recently closed for good.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Welcome to Coolwater

My husband's work had an employee party at "Coolwater," just a covered wagon ride southwest of Boise. It's a Wild West theme place - complete with shootouts....

And an undertaker....

And when the party was over, everyone rode off into the sunset.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Franklin School - Another One Closed for Good

Here's another school closed for good. This one was an elementary at the corner of Franklin and Orchard.
The building is over 100 years old. You can see that most of the big windows were covered up, and just like Cole School - it's archaeological value has been deemed "zero."
Someone told me this bell used to be on top of the school. The clapper is gone. The plaque says: The School Bell
A Sentinel for the Franklin Community
1885 - 1947
I'm surprised this stone is still in the landscape island in front of the school. The bricks around the landscaping are gone - sold? Stolen?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My Mom Told Me NOT to Eat Yellow Snow

Shaved ice shacks can be found in parking lots throughout town during the summer. Some are true shaved ice - which is the best! Some are ice pellets, which aren't my favorite.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Goldy's - Voted "Best Boise Breakfast" Many Times

Indeed, I know people who would like to eat breakfast at Goldy's everyday. It's a little place downtown, so be prepared to stand in line on the small sidewalk along the street. I've eaten there on a weekday morning and didn't have to wait. I had stuffed french toast. I put syrup on it and then wished I hadn't because it smothered all the delicious filling of pecans and fruit. They have breakfast basics and creative dishes - like salmon hash, and lots of Hollandaise sauce dishes.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wagon Wheels For Sale

I have this fascination about people who use wagon wheels as yard art, they're quite common around here. I wonder where they get them. Well, here's some I found for sale in the weedy yard at an "antiques" store. No price on them, and no one in the store that I could find, so I have no idea what they cost. It's great that something that can no longer be used for its original purpose has value as art or a decoration. See my wagon wheel "I spy" posts on the right hand side of the page.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Black Cliffs

This is the western edge of the Black Cliffs above the Boise River - some call this area the Lucky Peak Canyon, as it leads to Lucky Peak Reservoir. The north side (left side in this picture) is popular with rock climbers. Once, in what seems like a previous life, a friend took me climbing in full gear. We did a couple of easy ascents that felt extra challenging because the temperature against those rocks was like an oven blast. I'm sure it's like that right now. I only saw a couple of climbers this week when I was in this area of town. Some areas of the cliffs have posted buffer zones because birds of prey call the cliffs "home," and I think most climbing is prohibited in the spring during nesting season - and when the temperatures are probably the nicest. The Oregon Trail runs very near the spot where I was standing when I took the picture.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Community Gardening

This plant tower is at the Silver Sage Community Garden - hosted by the Silver Sage Girl Scout Council. Lots of corn, cabbage, beans, tomatoes and squash growing here. Each family has a plaque by their plot.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cole School - School's Out Forever

I wanted to get in a few pictures of Cole School before.....before it disappears. Elementary students left the school for the last time last month. Students will be moved to other area schools, and the property is for sale. The school opened 120 years ago and I believe it was originally brick, the stucco was added at some point. You can see that the windows were altered. The cupola at the top was restored not that many years ago. The bell is not original, it was put there about 20 years ago. I read one report that the building was going to be torn down. Local historical experts say there's no value because the building has been changed so much, it's not "original." I did not go to school here, but I've been in the building many times as a guest reader on Dr. Seuss's birthday.

This is the gymnasium, a "newer" section of the school built in 1940. There is a tunnel connecting the school to the gym. Interesting how they decided windows were "bad" and painted them over. There's a plaque on this building with an interesting historical note.

A relic of a Roosevelt "New Deal" program designed to put unemployed people to work.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sagebrush - Do Not Eat

Here's what you see dotting the landscape in areas around my town that are still natural. Meet sagebrush. This is not the sage used for seasoning, in fact, don't eat this plant, it can be toxic to the liver. Don't even touch it too much, it has natural oils that cause an allergic reaction in most people....and, it stinks! It, maybe, smells, just slightly, like the sage we use for seasoning. When the plant gets wet, it becomes more "fragrant." Most animals steer clear because it's toxic, except one - pronghorn. They love sagebrush and it's healthy for them. By the way, I did touch this plant because when I was taking its picture, I was curious. The "leaves" - which are more like evergreen needles - are actually soft. I did run home and wash my hands, though. I remember reading that Native Americans used the plant as a medicinal herb in small amounts. Although it's toxic, it's not usually deadly in small amounts, and the toxicity only lasts for a couple of days.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A River On a Building

This is a river sculpture on the side of the Grove Hotel. It's supposed to be the Boise River. Sometimes, water really flows down the sculpture, although if you look closely, you can see that it damaged the surrounding stone because our water here is very hard. And in the winter, there was an ice problem on the sidewalk below. At night, there is neon back-lighting. I like this sculpture. I wish they would clean up the water damage and find a way to keep it flowing all the time.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Chair with a View

I was invited to tea at a friend's house in the Boise Foothills this week. This chair is sitting on the small hill near her house. The tallest building in the view is the U.S. Bank Plaza.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Zebra Cake

Love that zebra cake! The window at this bakery, Pastry Perfection, always features the latest wedding cake styles. So maybe animal prints are a popular wedding theme/color/ pattern?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Drum Corps Practice - Phantom Regiment

All day, I kept hearing a drum line, and then a marching band at the high school near my home. No offense to the high school marching band, but I knew it wasn't them. My husband, a Santa Clara Vanguard alumni, went to check it out and discovered it was the Phantom Regiment. They were rehearsing for a competition in nearby Nampa - held last night. My husband says they're doing the Spartacus show, which he says is one that he saw done in the 80s. My husband was in the drum line, so I've included a partial shot of the Phantom Regiment line.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cloverdale Nursery

We purchased a river birch and a red oak from this nursery three years ago - and both trees are doing fabulous! This sign is carved from giant logs. Every once in a while, a piece falls apart and they put it back together. I notice that the bottom part of the "C" is missing right now. This is a nursery that does grow a lot of its own trees. They have quite the acreage with shrubs and trees. It is surrounded by subdivisions, so, it's another one of those places that we wonder how much longer it will stay there.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Kids Sharing Watermelon in the Park

Mmm...summery, sweet watermelon. I saw a baby about 10 months old get her first taste of watermelon the other day and she loved it! That's interesting because I used to have a friend who told me babies never like watermelon at the first taste. Our own family has devoured a large watermelon over the past few days.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Cows of Boise - #4 in the Series, "Cow Crossing"

I had to go to the edge of town for this one. Cows have long had the rule of the land in Idaho. They're not kept in by fences in many areas - and if you hit one, you have to reimburse the rancher for the cost of the cow. Even if the crash kills you. And if you come across a cow walking down the road, you'll quickly find out that honking only makes it move a little faster down the road. It doesn't work to move the cow off the road. See the other "Cows of Boise" in the series through the links on the right side of the page.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

"Your Tax Dollars P*&% At Work"

The Ustick Road widening project in Boise is the most unpopular road project I can remember. The "addition" to this sign is the more polite than I would have expected. Ustick used to be a two-lane road with lots of historical homes and interests, and it's being turned into a five-lane mini-highway so people can get to their new homes in adjacent towns more quickly. The "casualties" include homes that now have a major road just a few feet from their windows, several houses have been abandoned. And some businesses haven't survived - see the entry on Delsa's.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fourth of July Neighborhood Feast

Pancakes, sausages and watermelon. That was the Fourth of July feast in our neighborhood park. The day starts with a pancake breakst in several Boise parks. The Boy Scouts did a flag presentation in our park, and then one of our neighbors talked about some early American history. The men did all the cooking.

There were a couple of area big fireworks shows, and then there were five people not far from our house doing their own "professional" shows that we enjoyed. I think the ones families on our street do are the most fun! And the kids seem to like them best, too.

Travelers Motel - Still Open

Another dive hotel still alive in Boise. This sign for the Travelers Motel looks a lot like the sign for the Olympic Hotel downtown, except the Travelers Motel is still open. I believe it's more of an apartment-type motel now. It's one of a string of old hotels tucked back along Fairview Avenue. Fairview used to be the "main drag" into town, but with growth and road revisions, the stretch close to town is looking a bit abandoned.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Workin' on the Railroad

Imagine it's 100 degrees, there's no shade, and you have to wield a blow torch. That's the job for these guys repairing railroad tracks on the outskirts of town. They replaced the rails in this section, and they had been doing that down the tracks for quite a stretch, just discarding the old tracks along the side. I wonder if they recycle them? Metal prices are quite lucrative right now.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fireworks Season is Open in Boise

It's the patriotic thing to do in Boise this time of year, light stuff on fire. Fireworks stands on every corner. The ones for sale within city limits are the "safe and sane" ones, but Idaho has interesting laws on fireworks. Drive just a few miles and you can buy just about anything. Professional canisters, firecrackers, bottle rockets. It's legal to BUY them, but illegal to LIGHT them. Hmmmm. We sit out in front of our house along with all the neighbors and watch the sky every July 4th. "Illegal" fireworks everywhere and quite a show! In fact, the shows are already going on every night. Boise Police always say they are going to "crack down," but they've written less than a dozen tickets over the past three years. It's kinda hard to figure out where they come from, I guess.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"No Trespassing" at the Boise City Poop Farm

July's Theme Day at City Daily Photo is "No...." signs. This sign is at what's commonly called Boise's "Poop Farm," although the sign points out more elegantly that it's the Boise City Sewer Treatment Facility Biosolids Recycling Site. It's 4,000 acres south of town where sewage sludge is spread on crops as fertilizer. No people food crops are grown, just forage and other animal feed. An update: I found another reason to stay far, far away from this "farm," read about it here.