Also, I neglected to add that we have a wren or two who warble their happy melodies, always a welcome sound. Now that we have the thistle seed up, we have our regular, bright yellow finches back. Of course, without us they have plenty of wild thistle to eat from but it is like the birds “fast food haven” to go to our feeder. The other night as I went out to see how the wild raspberries were doing that some birds “planted” out west under the western shelterbelt trees, I saw some raspberries were already ripe. Our domesticated ones are not that far along yet but it won’t be long that we will enjoy raspberries on our breakfast cereal. What got me really excited to not only watch the remnants of a spectacular sundown but also to HEAR the howls of the coyotes out west. I tried to call Ken out to hear but he had already retired to the house.
We have some pocket gophers that are playing havoc with our raspberry patch. These varmits dig up beautiful rich, black soil but when they start getting into the lawn, we must put a stop to that kind of ambition. I don’t know if flooding them out will help or what to do. I remember my grandpa would sit out on the front porch and use a BB gun to get the little rascals that were creating mounds in our front yard. Not sure what animal rights people would say about that but once you let a gopher family in, the rest of the colony will arrive post haste.
Ken has been watering with a hose our Braeburn apple trees as well as our grapes, hopefully we will have some grapes to harvest this year from the oldest vine. I’m not sure how much we can harvest and make into jelly of the apples and raspberries since we have to be back in Kazakhstan by mid-August. I have rhubarb I could make into sauce today. Last night we enjoyed some store bought blueberries on our ice cream thanks to our good friend Ron Vossler. We three enjoyed a picnic outside by grilling chicken shashlik and catching up.
It has been about a year since we saw Ron and he had just returned from a Ukrainian Holodomor/genocide conference in Dickinson, ND. He told us stories of his recent trip to Ukraine where his relatives were from. He has been to Ukraine about seven or eight times before. He is a prolific writer concerning what he has unearthed about his own people (Germans from Russia) who left the Odessa, Ukraine area to settle as pioneer farmers in North Dakota. His own relatives of two generations ago were starved out by the communist regime in 1932-33 when the Holodomor (Terror Famine) had labeled industrious farmers as “Kulaks.”
On my early morning walks along the gravel roads I look around the perfect beet fields and impeccable grain fields that surround our little hobby farm, no weeds!!! I ponder what our German farmer neighbors would do if they were forced to join the collective. What if these prosperous farmers were told they had to hand in all their equipment to the government because they were NOT supposed to own their own property or work for their own profit? That is precisely what happened 75 years ago in Ukraine and also in Kazakhstan to the nomads who happened to be good shepherds and owned large stock. The Kazakhs did not fare as well with collectivization due to their lack of experience. However, Russian and Ukrainian farmers, who were sent down to Kazakhstan to take over the open spaces fared much better with their collective farms.
Our God-given freedom is a very precious thing, our freedom to earn money by hard work is rare. That is why I am enjoying my moments in Minnesota especially since it is mosquito free. Wonders never cease.