Friday, March 11, 2011

A Start

Hello Blogland,

My name is Alea and I am daughter to the most hard-working, creative, selfless person I know. My mom came up with the idea for this blog as a journal for our work and creative projects. The past few summers have been dedicated to work on River Road Ranch and we are excited to share our adventures with you!

My mom, Mary, grew up on the Ranch. She has stories about life in a small Idaho town, neat old cars that you were never sure if the breaks would make it to the bottom of the canyon grade, wild horse rides, apricot picking, and the best summers spent with cousins. My dad, Reyn, was born and raised in Alberta, Canada. He has crazy stories too about prize-winning bulls, growing up with 8 siblings, water-skiing in the irrigation canals and driving a pickup into the same canal (but you didn’t hear that from me!) My mom’s parents, Jim and June, still own River Road Ranch today.

My mom grew up in the little house on the Ranch (not to be confused with Laura Ingalls Wilder) back when the house was cute and looked-after, and it possessed a sort of rustic charm. Now after years of neglect and abuse, we have been trying to restore it to its rustic charm once again. A huge credit goes to my oldest brother Josh and his wife Donielle. Two summers ago they put their blood, sweat & tears into cleaning, fixing and beautifying the little house to be lived in, but now they have moved to Utah for work and school. My parents are taking over the cottage in the summers while they live and work in town the rest of the year. My dad, whom I’m convinced can build or fix anything, was and is our “general contractor” for the project. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING had to be renovated. From floor to ceiling, front door to back door, there were a billion things that needed a little (or A LOT) of TLC. The plumbing, the electrical, the wood stove, the kitchen cabinets, the walls, the flooring (including the sub-floor), the doors, the countertops, the sinks, the tub, the toilet, and the windows all had to be replaced or fixed. This past year we really tackled the outdoor projects: Pulling weeds, leveling the yard, pulling weeds, laying sod, cleaning the ditches, pulling weeds, fixing fence, planting a garden, and (you guessed it) pulling more weeds!

Now enough with all the talk. You can look at the "before" pictures for yourself!


Lovely green carpet in the living room. I also think that everyone needs some fly paper to hang from their ceilings. On a positive note, I love the archway inbetween the rooms. There's potential!

Crumbling drywall, three different UGLY colors of carpet, half-painted hardware on the doors...

Fake wood paneling! Yummy!

Now this is rustic. Ironing board lawn ornaments. Classy.

The exterior walls need some love too... and the roofing... and windows... and trim...
These previous pictures were from two years ago. It was the beginning of the beginning. The following  pictures are from the beginning of summer 2010:
My dad had fixed the loose planks on the deck and replaced the windows by this point. My mom was in the middle of staining the trim and deck. Isn't it looking SO much better?

We (I use this term rather loosely, I spent most of the summer indoors taking care of a newborn) laid sod in the front and side yard, but not until after the land was level. Why did my dad insist on the land being level? That explanation will come in a later post. We'll just say that it was a LOT of work, but it turned out fantastically well!
Now you've seen where we started. Looking at these pictures I seriously think my brother and sister-in-law were LOCO for even considering starting this project! But I'm very glad they did because they've shown me that there is potential for good in even the most unlikely things.

Stay tuned for the "after" pictures!


Nestled in a valley along the scenic byway in South Central Idaho, River Road hugs the curves of the mighty Snake River. This area is home to raft loving rapids, bald eagle nests, and the little summer studio of River Road Rustics. The sight and sound of rushing life-giving water lends an inspirational backdrop to creativity, a motivation to flow with nature and be inspired by its simplicities. We welcome you to the good life at River Road Ranch and invite you to experience its serenity through our stories, images and rustics product line.

The Snake River, as seen from River Road Ranch