Under The Storks’ Nest: One Day in the Life of an American Woman Living in a Russian Village

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A quite interesting blog post I’ve stumbled upon recently. It’s written in English language by an American woman who lives in Russian village for over 20 years. Here is her perception of living in Russia.

Hello, my name is Laura. Few members of this community blog write about life in the village, and particularly from the point of view of an American. I have lived in Russia for over 20 years, most of which I have spent in a tiny village (population 10) in the Bryansk Forest. My husband is a Russian wildlife photographer and a well-known bloggerk. Right now, he is in the North on a photo expedition. I am also involved in nature conservation. And I am a writer, which allows me to work from home and be near our two boys, now ages 9 and 12. I write articles, books, and recently started a blog llorax in LJ in Russian and English. Welcome to my world: the village of Chukhrai in the Bryansk Region. This is a post about one spring day, March 13.

The only ones going to «work» on weekdays are the kids – to third and sixth grades. The village school is 15 km from here along a forest road, so we need to head out about 8:30 am. I get up at 7:30 am.

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I feed a pack of hungry pets (there are more outside): the tomcat Gosha, the cat Ryska, and the dog Nika.

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From 7:45 to 8 am I get the kids up. I have to go into their room several times to wake them. I also fire up the woodstove.

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I feed the kids breakfast, usually eggs or pancakes. If my husband is home, then sometimes I feed him, but mostly I have «trained» him to make his own breakfast.

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I send the kids off to school, one after the other (the other already left). Usually my husband takes the kids, but since he is not here, I take them. The black cat, by the way, belongs to the neighbors, but we are already used to him constantly crossing our path.

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Nika accompanies us to school every morning.

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Our third grader is the only student in his class today. His classmate is sick.

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Now I have the house to myself! I drink tea, toss the laundry in the washing machine, and check my email and messages in the blog. I also need to finish an article I am writing on wild tulips in Kalmykia for an American magazine. The writer’s chair beckons!

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I do a little work, but the weather is beautiful! The sun shines brightly, and the warm air calls me out. Outside, I check on the tawny owl, which was brought to us on New Year’s. It was hit by a train, but somehow survived. It had a broken wing, so it is living with us for now. I check to see if it ate the chicken stomachs I left last night. It did.

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The owl peeks out of its hollow, but will only come out at night.

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Nika is waiting for me to take her for a walk. Ok girl, let’s go!

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The soil is already warm. I decide to thin the old strawberries and replant them to a new plot.

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I removed the winter covering of straw from the garden beds we made last year.

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Under the straw, I find that garlic sprouts have awakened from their winter slumber.

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The horses have come in from the forest. They always roam free, except in summer, when we close them in the pasture so they don’t trample the little old ladies’ gardens. When they come home, I always give them oats. A portrait of me and Zorka.

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I give kitchen scraps to the chickens, but the neighbor’s cat tries to steal them.

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I collect the eggs in the henhouse and take them inside.

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I finish the yardwork by noon. I toss more wood in the woodstove.

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Soon the kids will be home from school. I fix lunch. When my husband is gone, I spoil them with typical American dishes like homemade pizza or tacos (they are quick and tasty). My husband won’t eat those things. When he is here, I made borsh, meat and potatoes, chicken, salads.

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Ryska asks to be let in. She only enters through the window. To her, I am just the doorman.

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The kids are home, so I feed them lunch. To them, I am just the cook.

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I admire the view while washing the dishes. We built this house ourselves, but it took us 10 years.

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While the kids are riding bikes, I decide to take Orlik for a ride in the forest.

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Orlik and I with the village in the background.

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En route, I encounter our neighbor, strangely sober today.

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The village gardens wait for the little old ladies to emerge from hibernation.

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Pine grove from the back of a horse.

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I admire the tops of the trees in the forest.

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The border of the Bryansk Forest Nature Reserve means the end of the road. Orlik and I turn around and go back.

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I hang a jar in the yard to collect the juice of a maple tree. Yummy!

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I like to collect local «antiques».

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I need to repot the plant I got as a gift on March 8.

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And water the seedlings – flowers, broccoli, tomatoes.

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The kids sometimes watch TV after school, but the living room is empty today. Everyone is outside.

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I begin to write a new post for the blog.

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Me in my home office, under the storks’ nest.

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In the evening, I make dinner while the kids (and the cat) do their homework.

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Sunset in the village.

Forsaken cabin

We go to bed between 10:30 and 11 pm. Tomorrow we will start all over again.

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Laura’s blog and e-book The Storks’ Nest: Life and Love in the Russian Countryside.

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