a visit to Idaho

Kath & John’s house in Orofino

Our drive to Orofino ID was a forced march. As usual, we got a late start and finally arrived in the dead of night. Next day dawned bright and clear and I headed out with my camera to take a look around.

veggie garden with deer fence

This is a place where the deer must be taken seriously. Hence the elevated vegetable garden surrounded by a sturdy fence.

closer look

squash blossoms

The neighbor up the hill has horses…which accounts for the vitality of the veggies-on-steroids.


beans and squash

Vegetarian Nirvana, and the start of some mighty fine meals for the rest of us, too.

barn plantings

Outside the fence, plant selection must take the deer into account. Barberries, opium poppies and iris are pretty successful. Bishop’s weed covered this area along the side of the barn for years, until some of the herd developed a taste for the stuff and wiped it out in one short season. Maybe they could rent them out?

Clearwater River from front yard

The beautiful Clearwater River rushes by the front of the house.

Allen pond

Plus, there is a small pond on the property.

chickory and thistle among grasses

Nature does a swell job of landscaping on most of the land. Here, chickory and thistle punctuate tall grasses with splashes of blue.

our apartment

We were visiting R’s sister Kathryn and her husband John. Here is the entry to the lower level of the house, where we had our own apartment. They should be careful about making guests so very comfortable.

main entry

This rather grand entry was part of the latest remodel. They bought a little, nondescript house on a blank piece of land when they were first married and have been remodeling, in stages, ever since. With this last round, the house almost lives up to its “location, location, location!” Now they’re starting on the barn.

falling down barn

On the return trip, we got an early start so that we could dawdle along. The hay inside looks to be the only thing holding up this falling-down barn. When we pulled up, a couple of horses were nibbling through the openings.

old fashioned windmill

Up the hill from the barn (one of many old barns that are sinking back into the landscape) sits an old fashioned windmill…

new-fangled windmills

while looking down the road, you can see the new-fangled versions marching across the hillsides. I love these things. I know many people consider them a blot on the landscape, but they are so slim, so aerodynamic, so space-agey. To my eye, they take very little away from the scenery. If you squint, you can barely see that they are there.


I don’t know what this guy was doing here amid the cows, horses, sheep and buffalo, but he definitely got our attention.

ghost town?

Ghost town? Movie set? What do you think?

lavender fields forever

Just on the outskirts of the charming little town of Waitsberg we spotted a lavender farm. I would have called it Lavender Fields Forever, but they went for Lavenders R Us, and yep, that R was backwards on the sign.


But a cheesy sign could not detract from undulating seas of lavender, interplanted with a few xeric companions like Echinops & Achillea



Oh, to be a bee.


unknown cedar

Can anyone identify this shrub we found as we bid the lavender fields goodbye?

cedar close-up

A Close-up provides a little more to go on.

Walla Walla

When I was in France, many years ago, everyone knew about Walla Walla WA because of the Pogo cartoons. Remember “Walla Walla wash and Kalamazoo”? Now it has a new claim to fame as the center of a rapidly growing wine center. In a town full of old brick buildings, this one faced with glazed tiles stood out.

roadside stand

And then we were back in Oregon. Time to stop at a roadside stand to pick up some Hermiston melons and Walla Walla Sweet onions. The last leg of our journey took us through the Columbia River Gorge, where my puny photographic skills had no chance of capturing the majesty of the scenery. Great trip! Good to be home!

8 thoughts on “a visit to Idaho

  1. Janet~Seems like you have the perfect climate for lavender. Hmmm…and I thought I had an aversion to Arborvitae. Just goes to show that bigotry works no better in the garden than elsewhere. Thanks for the ID.

    Loree~Well, I’m never going to get rich off my writing, so maybe…now if I can just train those darn deer.

  2. Great post Ricki! WE visited northern Idaho this summer too so some of the photos reminded me of the areas we visited. Kathryn and John’s place looks amazing – you can tell lots of time and planning went into a well planned garden that works with the landscape too. Love the cute lavender farm too and your line of ‘to be a bee.’ 🙂

    I’m thinking the shrub is some type of juniper because of the berries but I don’t know what type. Thanks for this fun tour!

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