Tag Archives: Boise

Tim Andreae shakes his Recycled Soda Can Musical Coat

Recycling has a nice jingle when made into a coat.  Tim Andreae, Boise musician, shares this beautiful soundscape.

CLICH HERE to listen to Tim Andreae’s latest recordings.

CLICK HERE to learn about Green Works Idaho projects.

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Atlanta, Idaho Bicycle Tour (pedal power)

Amy and I along with Jay and Emily took a bicycle tour from Boise, Idaho to Atlanta, Idaho in the summer of 2008.  We followed the Boise River for 2 nights and 3 days.  In Atlanta we stayed in the Honey Moon Cabin.  We were given a tour of the town from Jack and Frank, met the famous historian/artist Keri, and had a garden fresh salad compliments of Greg.  From Atlanta to Boise we once again followed the Boise River.   My Dad camped with us on the way back into town.

Bicycle camping along Arrowrock Reservoir

Arrowrock Reservoir

Emily and Amy

Boise River

Plenty of water from campgrounds and pumping from the Boise River

Community hot spring shower

Boise River

Atlanta, Idaho

Special Thanks to Mr. Ireland and Ms. Chavez for the use of the Honeymoon Cabin

Cozy as a tent along the Boise River

Jay and Emily

Atlanta, Idaho mail contractor who will bring up supplies

Atlanta, Idaho

Atlanta, Idaho

Atlanta, Idaho

Atlanta, Idaho

Frank and Jack local historians and tour guides

Atlanta, Idaho

Dad and his 650 KLR Kawasaki motorcycle

Brandon on his Surly Long Haul Trucker

Special thanks to Frank, Jack, Keri, Greg, Allen, Ms. Chavez.  Photo credits:  Frank, Jack, Emily, Jay, Amy and Brandon

4 nights and 6 days totaling 168 miles of bicycle riding along the Boise River

Merritt’s Country Cafe located in Boise, Idaho

Merritt’s Country Cafe and Example of Progressive Change

Merritt’s Country Café, on any given day before the new Idaho smoking came into effect, was a den of smoke.  The attractiveness of Merritt’s were the hours.  A smoker could buy a bottomless cup of coffee and smoke for 24 hours, 7 days a week. You could always spot a first timer because they would come with a half pack of smokes.  The regulars might have a half pack of smokes on the table but definitely kept a carton in the car along with a bottle of zippo fluid. The only thing that could make the smoker slow down might be the apocalypse, oxygen tank switch, death bed or sadly when the smoking laws changed.

Now that smoking laws have come into effect, the rhythm of Merritt’s 2:30AM mating ritual – watery coffee, cheesy omelet, full-bodied drag, are you sober yet, your place or mine – has been replaced by teenagers and young adults who get off on loads of sugar packs and whip cream.  I have graciously accepted these changes because I’m ready to become a 24-hour fresh air breather. 

The one aspect that hasn’t changed at Merritt’s Country Café is the busy State Street four-lane road.  If a person walking or bicycling down State needs some fresh air, I recommend taking a break at Merritt’s. 

It’s criminal that a person has to step into a building with special air filters so that he or she may breathe fresh air, so recently the federal government has threatened to get in bed with the Treasure Valley’s air quality clean up program.  The solutions presented by our local elect, such as reduce driving and mow lawns in the evening, as reported in the Idaho Statesman reminds me of a smoker afraid that lung cancer might get involved in their daily life so the smoker makes an attempt to cut down their dangerous habit by switching from hand rolled Drum cigarettes to Marlboro Reds. 

When it comes down to it corporations and politicians love the money generated by the automobile and drivers love to drive and smokers love nicotine.  One way to dramatically decrease air pollutants would be to stop driving.  This sort of idea is as crazy as telling people to reduce lung cancer they must stop smoking.  I propose a compromise similar to the Idaho smoking laws that will help solve the air quality issue. The local elect must switch their air quality attitude from Marlboro Red cigarettes to Marlboro Ultra Lights.

Think of four lane roads as public buildings and restaurants.  The rule is a person can’t smoke in the restaurant but can smoke in designated outside areas.  An example would be Flying M Coffee House.  A person can’t smoke inside but can smoke on the patio.  Four-lane roads will have two lanes dedicated to cars, one lane dedicated to bicycles, and one lane dedicated to public transit.  

Think of two lane roads as public sidewalks.  Smokers and nonsmokers share the sidewalk.  Two lane roads will be shared by motorized and non-motorized vehicles.  The difference will be the hierarchy.  The bicycle/pedestrian rights will SOCIALLY and lawfully come first.

Think of I-84 as the bar.  The nonsmoker who walks into 10th Street Station or Turners Bar will be taking their lungs into their own hands.  Just as smokers have total smoker freedom in the bar so may the vehicles on the freeway. 

How will the city pay for these changes? One way to help pay for the costs of re-marking the lanes would be to create permanent space for vendors such as produce stands, food carts, and bookmobiles.   The local government would then collect a tax or rent fee on the barricade space.  Another idea – create a special sales tax on bicycles.  Citizens who use a lane need to pay for bicycle related city services.

Because our economy is based on capitalism, the above ideas will not be deemed successful in terms of air quality and health but in terms of air quality and money.  From my simple observations of the Boise smoking scene, the industry stills generates a fare amount of money.  At first, times were difficult for the smoker with the new laws.  Restaurants complained about patrons not being able to take a drag between their poached salmon and crème brulee, but people made do with the changes.  People complained when cigarette prices cost the same as a gallon of fuel but made do by smoking cheaper brands like USA Golds.  I no longer hear the smoker grumble.  The pendulum has swung back into balance.  I would bet there are more tobacco stores, cigar rooms, and hookah bars in Boise since the smoking laws went into effect.  The above observations indicate good news for politicians, corporations, and drivers who are afraid these driving ideas will have negative economic impacts.  Times at first will be a bit of a challenge, like a smoker who had to learn how to put down the cigarette from his left hand and replace it with a sugar packet.

The point being if a Merritt’s Country Cafe smoker can make the Idaho smoking law transition so can a Treasure Valley vehicle addict. 


 

Boise, Idaho: Merritt’s Country Cafe (video)

Click here to watch.

Traveler Brandon Follett is delighted to find a greasy cure for homesickness at Merritt’s.

Boise, Idaho: Peaceful Belly Harvest Festival (video)

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Once a year Peaceful Belly opens their farm up to the public. In the fall they host a harvest festival to celebrate another year of vegetables and fruit.  Music by High Desert.

Boise, Idaho: Leku Ona Hotel (video)

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Leku Ona in Basque means “good place,” which is a perfect description of this affordable and centrally located downtown hotel.

Boise, Idaho: Budget Travel Fun with Local Plants (video)

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While traveling, half the fun is to experience the place through eating, watching, touching or smoking the native environment. In this short video I learn about Prickly Lettuce. Filmed in the foothills of Boise, Idaho.

Boise, Idaho: Flying M Coffee House (video)

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The Flying M Coffee House is located in downtown Boise, Idaho.  The coffee shop has more to offer then just its delicious coffee.  Watch the video to find why the Flying M is rated one of the best coffee houses in Boise.

The Valuable Life Lesson (pedal power)

Dearest Friends,

Summer is closing, ‘back-to-school’ is approaching and the Strawberry Girl has had quite a summer to remember. She and her trusty single-speed steed, Azzuri, suffered a crash (old Strawberry threw her back out and both she Azzuri needed a lot of R & R); they road and walked way too much around hot and dry Boise, Idaho; drank way too much coffee and fruity summer cocktails; bummed one too many cigarettes; over-stimulated themselves with music and art; found love; lost love…

In short, the summer of 2008 brought with it many adventures- too many to recount- but it mostly taught Strawberry one very valuable life lesson as she and Azzuri journeyed through the months. Together, they reevaluated and reaffirmed a valuable principle of life- that living as truly and honestly as possible is paramount to achieving as fulfilled a life as possible. It’s that simple. However, this is, at times, is the most hard for the Strawberry to achieve. “To thine own self be true,” a great playwright once wrote, and while commanding a bicycle, this message couldn’t resonate more closely to her.

The founders of this forum; which the Strawberry Girl is ever so grateful to write for, Brandon Follett and Amy Johnson, are prefect examples of healthy and thoughtful living and are a constant inspiration to the Strawberry Girl. Brandon and Amy don’t own cars, professional house sitters, travel extensively and are true citizens of the World. To be so conscientious and productive is not a natural gift to the Strawberry Girl, who was raised a material girl living in a material world, but Azzuri reminds her daily of what is the fundamental essence of being. To give really is to receive and, most importantly, the caliber of what one gives is usually close to the caliber of what one will receive, in turn. Of course, this is a painfully fundamental message already practiced and understood by most, but the Strawberry Girl is a painfully late bloomer when it comes to lessons of the heart and mind. Whether riding carelessly through the streets without direction or anxiously barreling late to work, she knows that she is free and independent and hopes to create as little harm to her surroundings as she can, while producing and contributing back as much as she can. With this knowledge, she has been able to change herself as a person and feels some miniscule pride that she, too, has contributed to the World.

A bicycle can change lives, if allowed. A cool, tricked-out, highly-accessorized bike is NOT the only way this can be achieved. In fact, the bike or bicyclist is completely irrelevant. The return to self-sufficiency is what matters and that makes the biggest impact. Before Azzuri quietly entered her life two years ago (for $50 at a neighbor’s yard sale), the Strawberry Girl went through; one car, countless bus and train rides and a variety of other fad sport/transportation flukes (Rollerblades, anyone?). She’s always been a bit sporty, but it was Azzuri that really did change the Strawberry Girl in to the environmental enthusiast she is today. The Strawberry Girl forgot what it meant to care for people and places in her life because she was so consumed in what she didn’t own that she was hardly grateful for what little resources she did have- as menial as they may be. A bike isn’t much, but it’s a start.

Commentary provided by the Strawberry Girl

Red Feather Lounge located in Boise, Idaho

Chirp, Chirp!!!!!!!


Thomas Paul at the Red Feather Lounge.

With the outbreaks of salmonella and e-coli, some eaters are starting to question the quality of veggies and meat sold in restaurants.  People are curious to know if the beef stuck between their teeth was fed too much corn and had to be dragged into the slaughterhouse by a chain wrapped around an ankle or did the cow finish its last meal of green grass, then skip with a smile to its death like in a Disney cartoon.

At Red Feather Lounge, the menu boasts fresh ingredients backed up by a list of farms at the bottom of the menu where the restaurant purchased the vegetables and eggs to make my delicious Huevos Rancheros. While digesting the Morning Owl Farm duck eggs, I start to ponder the question – which came first, the chicken or the cage?

Most birds that I have been introduced to have names like Chipper the parakeet, or Henrietta and Karl the lovebirds.  These birds live in cages, and after the newness wears off, seem to annoy their owners who have to selflessly feed and clean their cages with only the thanks of a helpless little bird in a cage to gawk upon.

I don’t quite understand the fascination with the caged bird.  I can understand the corporate farmers with their beakless small caged birds because money can make any crime bearable for the majority.  As I consider the question of non-capitalist bird owners, my thoughts float away to the zoo.  I envision a couple on a date:

A man looks at the zoo birds.  “I wish I could have one of those bald eagles in a really small cage on my night stand, do you?”

The woman replies, “Yes.”

The man grabs her hand and says, “How do you feel about going back to my love nest?  You can meet my lovebirds.  I named them Joy and Happiness.  Even though they are lovebirds, I keep Joy and Happiness in separate cages across the room because I like surround sound.  For dinner I’ll prepare foie gras.  We’ll stuff ourselves ‘til our stomachs become as bloated as a goose’s liver.  Afterwards, I’ll put on my yellow Big Bird outfit.  You can tie me up and ruffle my feathers.  I want to be your lovebird.  Chirp, CHIRP!!!”

The woman, “Okay.”

Not realizing his date likes to pretend she’s an insane cat named Sylvester who kills birds for pleasure, the next morning the man makes omelets more slowly than usual. He hobbles over to the refrigerator and takes out a white styrofoam container of eggs.  With pride he opens up the container containing the aryan eggs.  He looks at her with excited eyes, “I figured you would spend the night so I bought an 18 pack.”  As he cracks the eggs, he recites his poem.

“Millions of hens raised for their eggs
spending their lives in battery cages
stacked tier upon tier in huge warehouses
no blue ribbons for these laying hens

seven or eight birds to a cage
not enough room to turn or spread a wing
stacked tier upon tier in huge warehouses
beakless and stressed is a look that never wins

no thoughts of blue ribbons for these laying hens
stacked tier upon tier in huge warehouses
beakless and stressed is a look that never wins
tier upon tier in hu-u-ge warehouses

I love the machine that provides the means
to force chickens to produce cheap eggs
stacked tier upon tier in huge warehouses
not enough room to turn or spread a wing”

The woman starts to purr and rub herself against the counter.  The man stops singing.

She is now on all fours crawling toward him, meowing.  He turns off the stove.

Flapping his arms like a chicken, he runs to the bedroom to put on his yellow Big Bird outfit, yelling, “CHIRP! CHIRP!!!”

Morning Owl Farm ducks

Morning Owl Farm ducks