Old Idaho Penitentiary

According to the Idaho State Historical Society, “The Old Idaho Penitentiary opened its doors in 1872 to some of the West’s most desperate criminals.”  It might seem like a strange place to go for Valentine’s Day, but that’s what we did for the Romancing the Pen event!  With over 100 years of prison history, it was a fascinating self-guided tour through the cell blocks, the yard, the laundry, solitary confinement, the showers, the gallows, the women’s prison, and more.  Check out our pictures below!

Zoo Boise

On February 7, Zoo Boise had a special Wild at Heart event for Valentine’s Day where zoo admission was free.  To celebrate our first week in Boise, we took advantage of the free admission.  For Wild at Heart, the animals were given special enrichment throughout the day to celebrate!  Zoo Boise is a small zoo and we felt that some of the enclosures could be better for the animals, but we do have some nice pictures to share of the fabulous animals we encountered.

Settling in to Boise

Now at the start of our second week in Boise, we have already gotten involved in our new community!  We have both joined meetup groups where we can meet people interested in some of our interests.  Dan is becoming involved with a recumbent bike meetup, and Carolyn has joined the Boise Laid Back Lively Ladies (a women’s social group), and the Boise Small Dog meetup.  In addition, Carolyn was accepted this morning as a Roster member of the Idaho Writers Guild and is looking into doing volunteer work with Idaho Tiny House, an organization that builds tiny houses for the homeless.  Then for some new fun last night, we tried Brazilian food for the first time at Tucanos.  What an experience!

Boise Art Museum

Boise has a First Thursday event on which the first Thursday of each month there are free cultural events and inexpensive deals at businesses downtown.  We took advantage of our first Thursday in Boise to enjoy the Boise Art Museum.  It is a large gallery of art, sculpture, and other mediums.  The special exhibit on display while we were there was the art of Chinese artist Liu Bolin who combines performance art, photography, and protest in his works.  The artist paints himself into the background of busy scenes, in which you have to look closely to see where he is.  It was a fascinating display and we enjoyed all the art the museum had to offer.  You can check out the Boise Art Museum website here.

California Condors

Last night we went out to the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Nampa, ID to hear a lecture called “Wild About Life: California Condors.”  The California condor is the largest flying land bird in North America, but in the 1980’s it was extinct in the wild.  Though there has been efforts to create wild populations of condors, it is still one of the most endangered species.  The Peregrine Fund in Boise, ID is one of the organizations working to save the California condor.

Historically, the condor was found across America, but now its range is primarily California, Arizona, and Utah.  However, there is an organization in Oregon trying to reestablish the birds there as well.  What scientists have learned by tracking condors released into the wild is that the primary threat to their population is lead.  Condors primarily eat carcasses, and those left behind by hunters have lead shot in them that fragments into the carcass.  There is an educational campaign afoot to get hunters to switch to copper ammunition, which is not toxic to the critically endangered birds.  It is also important to note that there is no acceptable level of lead for humans, so using lead shot can potentially harm humans consuming the meat from animals killed this way.

For more information, you can check out the Peregrine Fund online here.

Carolyn’s Birthday Tea

For Carolyn’s 41st birthday, we went to tea at The English Rose in downtown Pleasanton, CA!  We ordered “The Queen’s Sumptuous Afternoon Tea” before which the hostess brought us hot towels to cleanse our hands.  The tea menu was plentiful, but we chose to taste just three teas total: Snickerdoodle, English Toffee, and Pina Colada.  There was also a three-tiered serving tray overflowing with delicious tea sandwiches, fruit and savories, scones and some sweet treats.  The afternoon concluded with a birthday cake petit four.  It was very fun and pampering!  Check out our pictures from the afternoon below!

2015 Bay Area Pet Expo

Yesterday we attended the 2015 Bay Area Pet Expo!  Compared to last year, the event was smaller but still very fun and informative.  Aside from the usual rescue groups and vendors, we met the stars of the Animal Planet’s show Tanked.  Those fellows build fish tanks for celebrities.

We also watched a presentation called “Unusual Animal Assisted Therapy” by Lyon Ranch.  The volunteers at the ranch take unusual animals such as a Fennec Fox and a camel to homes where people with dementia and Alzheimer’s live.  They told us how the residents really respond to these animals, including a story in which a man with Alzheimer’s had not recognized his son in over three years.  However, the day he met the camel, he also knew his son and had an hour long conversation with him.  The son said it was an hour with his father that he might never otherwise have had.

We also got to take home many wonderful samples and freebies for our dogs, and loved seeing all the dogs that came to the event – everything from St. Bernards and Bulldogs to Shih Tzus and Chihauhuas.

We have a few pictures from the day below!

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