Sunday, May 24, 2009

Spring Hospitality

Just down the road from us there is a little park and farm with a Hans Christian Anderson Paper Cut Monument and a field full of rapsoile. We haven't discovered why this monument is here, but we have learned that what we thought was mustard- are really rapsoile plants. This is a type of canola oil that is made from this beautiful carpet of yellow.
Here is Elder Wilberg standing cheerfully among the raps plants.

Last week we planned a small friendship family night for about four people. We invited Kim King- the king of hospitality in Odense, to come. He invited us to have the small family night at his house with a few more friends. I thought he meant his home, but instead he invited us to his garden home. This was a new experience for us. I began to read about these little summer garden homes that many people have all over Europe. Kim's garden was just a few blocks from our home. This is the road to his garden.

The summer garden homes are "allotment gardens born in Europe in the 19th century when monasteries, cities, and factories provided plots for urban workers to grow food for their families, keep pigs and hens and other small domestic animals. Today, there are about three million allotment gardeners all over needs to be alone at an allotment garden.
You can find friends in music, craft clubs, and the shared barbecue is a place to chat while grilling your sausages or playing a game of croquet."

We were amazed at the variety of gardens and people living here or sometimes just coming here every night to barbecue or garden. According to my research, "The initial investment in an allotment garden cottage is often small, because only the cottage changes owners. The gardener leases the plot from the allotment garden association, which in turn leases the land from the city."

We have seen these little cottages all over the outskirts of the city. Just a few miles from the homeowner's every day home.
It was a real treat to be invited to the neighborhood.

Back to the little "friendship family night." After we had decided to move our little family night to Kim's house we received another phone call. He had invited sixteen to twenty of his good friends and neighbors to our event. We were suppose to bring the meat and vegetables to the barbecue and he would provide the tables, chairs, drinks, etc.
I sent an SOS message to two of my favorite entertainers- Cindy and Jacque. Five minutes after I sent for help- Cindy and Dougie called us on SKYPE. They helped me to plan a very successful meal for a crowd. (barbecued chicken, par boiled, vegi tray with lots of dip, a lot of bread to fill them up, and I made baked beans from scratch). In the mean time Kim decided to buy some sausages, and pork that people could put on the grill by themselves.
Jacque responded the very next day with all kinds of help. Imagine turning to Siberia and the Phillipines for quick advice- these friends use to live right around the corner from us. The world is pretty small.. and our friends are still just around the corner, thanks to the internet.
Here is Kim's cottage. It was a great place for a barbecue. He rented two barbecues, tables, chairs, plates, and all the works.

There were twenty people- his neighbors, his sister with her child, members and non-members of the church. There were all ages. I had worked on a family night lesson, but the wind was blowing, the group was so varied in backgrounds and ages that I stood and thanked Kim for his generosity, and his hospitality. I then talked about the value of having a family night once a week- no matter what religion you are a part of. Teaching each other family values of honesty, kindness, service.. would benefit any family. It was a memorable event.

Thank you, Kim, for turning our "friendship family night" into a night of surprises and great food. We would like to take one of these little cottages home with us.


  1. That was quite an event. Kim sure has the skill of inviting new friends. The allotment garden is similiar to the dacha in Russia except the people own the land too, I'm told. I talked about this in my latest blog. Great to read your stuff and see your pictures. Love it.

  2. Thanks for the follow up. I like the idea of the allotment gardens. The pictures really make it all come alive. Wahoo for your sucess!!!!
    Love ya lots from your Siberian neighbors. Cindy