Sunday, September 2, 2012

Harvest Time

When we moved here, my youngest son thought we were moving to a farm.  So he was pretty upset when we landed in a tiny rental house with a tiny backyard and no space or opportunity to plant anything.  Our ultimate goal is to buy a farm so we can grow our own fruits and vegetables and "live off the fat of the land."  I am constantly amazed by the wonderful gardens that people plant here!  I love to see and taste the fresh produce and can't wait until we find our spot here in Idaho so we can start planting and harvesting ourselves! 

While we don't have a garden at our current residence, the owner of the home did plant some grapevines.  Last year when we moved in they were just an overgrown mess and because we didn't know what to do with them, when fall came we just trimmed them back and cleaned up the mess.  In fact, I was pretty worried that my husband trimmed them back too far!  Some of them looked like nothing but dead stumps and I was pretty sure he had killed them off. 

But, come spring, the shoots appeared and the grapevines went CAH_RAY_ZEE!! I was thrilled to see how quickly they grew and climbed the trellises.  It was even more exciting to see the grapes appear.

About the beginning of August, we realized that the vines were so out of control and thick that we needed to trim them back some, so we did what any novice grape grower would do...we Googled grape growing and figured out how to trim back the vines correctly so we would get the best fruit. 

Here are the results of our efforts:


We only had a few of the green and champagne colored grapes, the Concords are producing profusely and we should have quite a few more if we can keep the birds away from them!  The Hubs is gonna juice this batch and I think I'll make some Concord Grape jelly from the next batch!  I'll share the pics when we make the jelly, it should make for a good story, since cooking is not my strength and I have never made jelly before!

I absolutely LOVE how easy it is to get things to grow here in Idaho.  Just another reason to home in {Boise}.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Reclaimed Lumber Products {Buy Local}

Reclaimed Lumber Products is a locally owned and operated millwork shop run by Titus and Wendi Gilliam.  Titus is a general contractor and native Idahoan who specializes in salvaging lumber from old industrial or manufacturing sites, barns, fences, and outbuildings that would otherwise be destined for demolition or landfills.   The old boards and beams are remilled to bring out the natural beauty of the aged wood and then used to create stunning doors, flooring and furniture.

Titus' work can be seen in some of the custom homes he's built over the last 10 years around Boise and he was recently asked to provide a pair of sliding doors for one of ABC's Extreme Makeover homes. 

As an Idaho transplant, my kids and I find things like old barns and farms fascinating.  There aren't a lot of barns in the Arizona desert.  I love the rich textures of the wood created by years of weathering.   The boys love poking around and dodging spiders while looking for an old horseshoe or some other little trinket to pocket.  I enjoy trying to imagine what life was like for the farmer/rancher who built the barn.  Did he love working the land or raising livestock?  Did he hope to pass on his skills to his children?  What what his favorite crop to grow?  If he was a dairy farmer, was he lactose intolerant?  That would kind of suck.  Did he ever think there would be a time when he would make more money selling his land than he could make by producing food for his community?  Does he look at his old barn and feel sad that it's seen better days or is he so ready to finally get some rest and get out of the industy that he's glad to see the barn go? 

I always feel a sense of loss when I run across the old, delapidated buildings and barns.  It's like a part of history is dying and it makes me kind of sad to see these things disappear, so it's nice to know there are people like Titus and Wendi who run businesses like Reclaimed Lumber Products.  They make sure that those wonderful parts of history don't die by giving them new life in homes and businesses all across America. 

I love that they take the time to try to get the background story about each building they reclaim to share with their clients and blog readers.  To quote Titus, "The history of the wood sometimes is what makes it stand apart from any other wood source. Pieces crafted from antique boards so often have more meaning to the artisan making the piece, or the customer, if they know a little bit of trivia on the source of the material." 

We live in a time where cheaply made goods have become the norm and quality has taken a back seat to price.  Reclaimed Lumber Products is an environmentally friendly, local business that repurposes pieces of our past to create beautiful wood products of superior quality. If you are remodeling your home or looking for custom pieces to enhance your living space, support your local millworking shop and buy local from Reclaimed Lumber Products.

3424 North Can Ada Road
Nampa, Idaho 83687
Phone: (208) 412-7823
Fax: (208) 898-4083

Reclaimed Lumber Products is the newest sponsor of at home in {Boise}. Would you like to be an at home in {Boise} sponsor? Email us at

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Picnic at Boise Depot

The weather here in Boise has been amazing the last few weeks!  And by amazing, I mean that "Chamber of Commerce"  kind of beautiful that the brochures always capture.  Lots of green trees with warm days and cool evenings that lend themselves to occasional bouts of daydreaming.  As I watch the weather reports from my previous home in Too Dang Hot, Arizona - also known as Phoenix, I can't help but feel gleeful that we chose to relocate to a cooler, greener version of "desert."

Now I personally would never refer to Boise as desert, but the locals continue to inform me that Boise is indeed considered desert and that the temps will reach the triple digits for a week or two each summer.  I just nod politely when they talk about the hot local climate.  I'm not a native, so I won't pretend to know anything just yet about how the weather plays out here.  But I can tell you this...there is no way that this place will ever get as hot as Phoenix does.  Even when it is hot here, there is a crisp, cool breeze coming off the mountains that makes the heat bearable.  So call this place a desert if you like, but from one desert dweller to another, if this "City of Trees" is truly desert?  Then it's the OASIS part of the desert.  I'm just sayin'.

So...our little tribe took advantage of the gorgeous days we've been having here in Boise and took a trip to the Boise Depot a few weeks ago.  Unfortunately, we did not time our visit well, as the museum part of the Depot was closed!  Awwww.  I should've checked the hours before we headed out, but it was kind of an impromptu stop, so we just enjoyed the park and the quiet surroundings. 

The depot building itself was first opened in 1925.  It has a Spanish Mission type influence, with lots of red tile on the roof. The white stucco tower and rust colored roof tiles contrasted beautifully against the blue Idaho sky the day we were there.  I can't wait to see the inside of the Depot! 

In front of the old Depot is an expansive garden and koi pond, called Platt Gardens.  The 7 acre park was designed by Spanish landscape architect Ricardo Espino and provides the perfect backdrop for a relaxing family outing or an outdoor photoshoot. 

We loved walking across the lush, green lawn, shaded by giant trees. It provided a soft carpet for frolicking children and busy squirrels alike.  A few picnic tables are scattered around the garden, allowing for spur of the moment meals and offering seating to those of us who don't want to bend over so far to sit down on the ground.

There is a walkway that winds around the koi ponds and a lava rock monument that gives meandering guests a chance to walk off lunch while enjoying the flower-filled gardens.  I spent my time on the walkway following my youngest son through every nook and cranny of the path trying to get some good pictures of him doing what he does best - exploring. 

He was too busy looking at the koi fish and climbing on the rocks to notice the fragrant flowers that lined the trail and surrounded the koi ponds.  I tried to take some good pictures and really enjoyed the panoramic view of the city that one gets as they look out from the Depot.   

The boys and my husband enjoyed looking at "Big Mike", a Mikado-type steam locomotive, that was built in 1920 by the American Locomotive Co.  The engine got it's nickname from railroad men.  Boise's Big Mike was used as an all-purpose freight engine along Union Pacific’s main line from North Platte., Neb., to Fruitland, Idaho.

You can find out more about "Big Mike" here.   I have to be honest, I left the train stuff to the guys and took more pics of the building and the gardens.  I think I spent more time imagining the depot in it's heyday, bustling with people dressed in traveling suits, maybe some local farmers shipping produce and livestock and possibly even a family or two, sitting on the grass having lunch and gazing down at the little town below while waiting for the big steam engine to take them to another place. For me, it evoked thoughts of a time I've only seen in movies. I'm so glad the Depot has been restored and maintained.  It is a wonderful reminder of Boise's past.

If you're new to Boise (or even if you are a native Boisean and haven't been by the Depot for a while) I would definitely recommend you stop by while the weather is lovely and the flowers are in full bloom.  Take a picnic lunch, tour the museum, then stroll through Platt Gardens and check out Big Mike.  It will be a day well spent! 

Free Public Hours: May - September Sundays, 10a.m.-6p.m. Mondays, 1p.m.-8p.m. October -April Sundays, Noon-4p.m. Mondays, 2p.m.-6p.m.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Welcome! Make Yourself at Home!

Welcome to at home in {Boise}.  I'm really excited to start writing about the people and places that make this city a great place to live. 

If you are a merchant looking for a place to advertise your business, please feel free to contact me.  I have lots of ideas and options to help you get the word out about your product or services.

If you are a Boise resident, leave me a comment and let me know about places and people you would like to see featured on this site.  I will do my best to accomodate your requests! 

The site is still being developed.  While I work out the last few bugs, feel free to click the "About" tab to find out more about me and the reason I started this project.  Then you can come back here and look at this beautiful photo taken by Brian D. Evancic.  I absolutely adore this photo.  The fall colors really give the downtown area a vibrant feel, don't they?  Brian is a local graphic artist/photographer and he will be one of my first features here on at home in {Boise}. 

I hope to have some great new feature posts in the next few weeks, so come back when you get the chance to see where we are going and who we are meeting around the Treasure Valley as my family works to feel at home in {Boise}.