Thursday, July 18, 2013

Stars In the Midnight Hour

My daughter has become friends with a girl at school who emigrated with her mother and brother to the USA from the country of Ukraine.

They have a delightful Ukranian/Russian accent yet speak English very well.  While my Dad was here, we had stopped by the local Burger Express to get an ice cream when my daughter's friend and her family were eating there also.  While we visited, we began to talk about gardens, and swimming, and such, and before long, they had extended an invitation to come and visit their home and for our children to spend the night with them.  So, we finished our ice cream, and headed over to their home.

They live in a beautiful home that borders the Upper Priest River.  After emigrating from the US and marrying a military man, together they made their home here in the Priest River area. 

I asked her if she had ever gardened before, and she told me no. She said it was so cold in the Ukraine, that she was never able to have a garden. 

I was astonished that she had never gardened before, because when I saw her gardens, I wanted to go crawl in a little worm hole and hide!  Her gardens were immaculate, weed free, and the plants were huge! 

Here... join me for the tour that I was graciously given through this precious lady's garden... remembering that she has just read everything she could, and watched Youtube videos and worked with her husband to create this beautiful garden with no previous gardening experience!

First of all, the garden was completely enclosed with a tall, about 8-foot fence to keep out any hungry animals at night!  I need one of those fences! 

Each of the different vegetables had their own box or raised bed in which to grow.  My pictures do not do justice to the amazing loving and tender care that all these plants had been receiving!

These tomato plants are planted inside their own stand alone plant boxes with plastic placed over the top of the soil to keep weeds out, and a trellis for them to grow up...

These are cucumber plants being trained to grow up a trellis as well.  I loved this idea... my cucumbers would love a good climb like this!

When I saw her corn, that is really when I wanted to go crawl under the nearest rock and hide.  I couldn't believe how huge her corn stalks were!  She told me she had started them inside back in March.  I had just planted the corn right in the ground around the end of May.  So her corn has a huge jump on mine, and in fact, her corn is already putting on tassels!  My corn is still knee high, while some of her corn is about as tall as me! I also noticed how they had individual mounds of soil around each corn stalk, along with a ditch to collect the water... lots of work, but probably exactly what the corn needs in this climate to survive and thrive!

Some more tomato and pepper plants in their own hand made box. Notice NO WEEDS! I like this concept!

A closer picture of the squash...

Again, the peas had their very own trellis and growing box.  After dealing with my peas climbing everywhere in my greenhouse... I can tell you that this idea is really appealing to me as well!

Several tomato plants planted all together in a barrel....

A picture of all the plants that they had started in buckets and barrels along the back wall of their garden... just growing away and as happily content as they could be in their containers...

More plants inside the greenhouse... now a word about the greenhouse... again, this was a professionally built greenhouse with windows that opened and closed, and it was a beautiful piece of handiwork.. one can only dream! It was smack dab in the middle of their amazing garden.  I wish I had thought to get a better view of the greenhouse so you could see how nice it was, both inside and out.

 A step back from the corn just so you can see how wonderful they look. 

Her raspberry bushes were simply amazing too!  They had been planted with chicken wire strung between them, and when all those raspberries begin to turn red, they are going to have a great harvest!!!! 

After we had been given a tour of the garden, my new friend wanted to show me the river.  They live on a bluff that overlooks the Priest River.  So we hopped onto their Gator, and headed to the bluff overlooking the Priest River that their property borders.  It was close to dusk by now, so the pictures show the setting sun off in the distance.

It was an incredible view of the river.  Since Dad was so intent on seeing a moose, we scanned the horizon for any signs of one, but there were none around.  She told  us that they had moose quite often around their place, as well as deer and elk.  She had never seen a bear around their property, although I wouldn't be surprised if they were close by too.  I told her about the bear my husband and I had seen running across the road one time not too far from their property. 

We drove in the Gator down the steep trail that took us to the water's edge.  The trail down to the river had washed out a bit, and my Dad and I had to get off the Gator at one point because the Gator had slid into a washed out mud hole.  Those Gators are pretty tough vehicles, because it was able to pull itself out of the hole, and we hopped back on for the rest of the ride.

Down at the river's edge, all was still and quiet.  The only thing breaking the silence were all the fish jumping in the water.  The sun was setting, and darkness was creeping in on us, and our tour, but we enjoyed the last few rays of light to the very end.

The kids were planning a midnight bonfire, and swim, and followed us back up the hill to the house to get all the supplies they needed for their midnight fun.  Dad and I weren't up to waiting for the midnight hour to have a swim and a BBQ, so we headed for the house. I left my camera with them, and they took some pictures for me of their fun.

First, they enjoyed several games of volleyball in the dark.

Then, once all the stars had come out, they took a midnight swim, laying on their backs in the water looking at the stars.

A picture of our new friends around their bonfire after the midnight swim.

The next day, the kids slept in, and then headed back down to the river for more swimming. 

When it was time to come home, the kids had lots of stories to tell about their adventures down at the river, the bonfire, and the midnight volleyball game.  They also brought me a gift from their garden!  Freshly dug up raspberry bushes!  I was so excited, and planted them immediately.  I will try to make their life here at my home as happy as I can.  These raspberry bushes were beautiful, and I warned Ms. Annie to stay away from them... one can only hope she understood and will listen!

I planted the raspberry bushes, and put wire baskets around them to protect them, and so far now, about a week later... the raspberry bushes still stand... one can only hope Ms. Annie has learned her lesson not to munch on raspberry plants!

Anyway, we look forward to spending more time with this delightful family.  I was thinking of how much this little family has offered to our country with their hard work and ingenuity.  I didn't mention how she also is a fashion and design artist, and is currently enrolled in a class learning design techniques.  She loves to design clothing, and there is no doubt that she is one very talented woman!  She showed us some of her artwork while we were there, and she is an amazing artist too.  How she finds time to do it all, I do not know!  She has endless energy, and never stops moving and doing.

I also realized that she and I need to hang out more, because for once in my life... I have a friend who is shorter than me! She is probably about 4' 10" or so, but, don't let her height fool ya... good things come in small packages!  Yes, it is obvious she can do just about anything she sets her mind to.  The United States would do well to consider inviting more emigrants like my new found friend and her family to this country... what a difference it would make to bring people in to this country who have something to offer our country, instead of coming here to see what they can get for free. 

I for one, am so glad they are here, and glad that my children have such wonderful friends.  They are even learning some Russian as well.  We look forward to many more fun times together! 

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