Monday, August 31, 2009

Our Village - Selifonovo

We’re building our new house in Selifonovo.  

It is located on the Smolensk “loop,” about 10 minutes outside of town.  There is a large cemetery that sits on a hill overlooking the village.  We have a bus stop and in summer there are 3-4 buses that run - in winter, less, but I’m not sure exactly.  

Right now there are about 30 houses in the village.  It is typical for this part of Russia, so I thought I would show you a few pics of our neighbor’s houses and the surrounding area.  Ready for a tour?

At the crossroad - the house on the left seems to be fairly new.  

Notice the row of fruit trees in the front?  Every house in Russian has fruit trees - it is such a great way to use the land.  Why don’t we have more fruit trees in our yards in the States?

The view behind that house and on down to Smolensk.

There is no store in our village - but every week a “traveling store” van comes and sells bread and other staples.  We were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of this process.  
See the Babushkas there lining up to the right of the van’s open doors?  

Hey, maybe this would be a good business for us to start . . . a little store.  Hmmm?

Another house not far from ours.  I love the light blue!

And another - this one is a mixture of the old wooden style and the new favorite - brick.  
Do you see that little room at the front of the house - looks like an add-on?  It is the “mud room” - where you take off your boots and shoes, leave your coats.  In the village it is usually not heated . . . 

This one is a bright blue - with yellow trim around the windows.  Love it!

An example of a very traditional Russian wooden village house - green with some painted wooden carvings around the windows.  And, look at the charming wooden fence!

I see these all the time in villages here.  Our neighbor, who is around 70 yrs old, and his wife ride to town on the motorcycle - he drives and she rides in the side car!  
It’s a great way to get around!  

The other new house going up in Selifonovna.  The guy building this house is about our age - he is a retired “tax police” officer, a really hard worker, and a very helpful neighbor. His name is Sergei and he has laid every brick (of an all brick) of his house himself.  He has given us lots of advice as we deal with the land administration.  
Really thankful to God for him!  
I hope we can be friends!

This picture was taken one day after the rain - 
God gave us a rainbow right over the cemetery! 

We have a cow who lives nextdoor!

And a couple of ducks on the pond just behind our lot.

Roosters and chickens run the roads.  
Sophi chased this rooster, yelling, 
“Animals are afraid of people, Mom!”  
I don’t know, I’ve heard stories of mean roosters who aren’t afraid and who chase people!  
I guess she’ll learn . . . 

And we have hay for feeding the animals . . . 

All of this, and Smolensk is not far away!
I am thankful for our village.  
The people here have been nice and very helpful.
I so want to make friends with everyone and be a servant in this place.  

Will you join me in praying for the people God has given us to serve here?  
Ask Him to give us good relationships with our neighbors.

Ask God to Love Selifonovo through us!
Thank you!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Oh, that Russian MUD!

Between the time we dug the foundation and the time the cement trucks arrived - 

Not just a little sprinkle but a huge summer thunderstorm downpour . . . all night!   

The next day Anton and Igor, our builder, checked the damage.

And decided to let the concrete pour!  

And it did!  

The first truck was no problem . . . but, then, the second truck


It was really interesting to watch all those men discuss how to get a fully loaded cement truck out of the Russian mud!  

First they tried using the backhoe to pull the cement truck out . . . 

That didn’t work.

Then they got the idea to use the scoop on the backhoe . . . pour the concrete from the truck to the scoop, let the backhoe fill in the foundation 

until the truck was empty and could make it out of that MUD!

And, that, my friends/druzya, worked!

And everyone kept smiling!

Let the Building Begin!

We did it!

We have officially started a major building project . . . 

We are building a house in a Russian village!  
(good night, just read that sentence . . . are we CRAZY!?)

So far:
trucks have gotten stuck
supplies have arrived late, 
money is flowing, 
tempers are flaring, 
exhaustion has set in 
. . . and it’s only been 2 weeks!  

Here is my dear husband: 
in over his head, 
floating in a sea of new information, 
struggling to keep it all in balance, 
checking the markings for our foundation.

Here are Andrey and Igor, our son and father building team, 
with Anton - anticipating that first “dig.”

I just had to take a picture of this wonderful machine.  
It was the "king of the field" that day and the driver, in my opinion, has one fun job!  
He just swings that seat around to whatever gadget he needs at the time: 
- need to dig? 
- need to push something?  
No problem! 


I asked Anton if we could get one for our land - 
he looked at me 
. . . let’s just say it’s best not to joke around with a 
stressed-out guy on a tight budget!

Here is the pic I took of our building team’s car. 
Well, ok, really of the license plate.  
I felt a little guilty doing it - Igor was a pastor and a missionary. .  . I am of little faith!

Here are the trenches - I know nothing about foundations - but these holes looked so flimsy to me, like anyone or any thing (like RAIN) could crash them in  . . . I was right!  
Stay tuned for the rest of that story . . . 

Sophi always has a blast at The Land.  

This is what we need to keep in mind as we build - 
our Sweet Sophia and the brothers and sisters God will give her . . . 
              country life will be so much fun for them!  

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