Yikes: sorry for the lack of blogging! Catching up now...
Forgotten from the fair day: When we were walking around we came across a huge (maybe three feet high) ant hill that had clearly been made by humans, and Zane's sister picked up a long pieces of grass and put it on the hill so that it was converged on by a couple of dozen ants. From there, she flicked off the ants (who had apparently peed on the grass by now) and then sucked on the grass before passing it to Zane to suck on. They claim this is some type of traditional medicine, but when we pressed them on what it was medicine for, her sister was like 'I don't know. Google it.' Haha.
Monday I got up and did a little bit of work before getting Cecilia up so we could be ready for Zane to turn up for 'dirt moving.' We had a bit of a trauma in the morning when I made iced coffees for us with the last bag of milk they'd left in the fridge, only to discover that instead of milk it was some kind of pourable sour cream stuff. Yuck. By this point we were out of milk, bread, butter, and toilet paper, so it was getting a bit desperate (and hard to make breakfast). Luckily when I mentioned this to Zane later, she did go to the store for us so breakfast this mornign should be better than the oatmeal and salt we made yesterday.
Anyway, by mid-morning we finally started to work on the dirt moving. Basically they have a canal down one side of the property line, and beside it, a shoulder about 5 feet wide. Right now it's all uneven dirt and sand and roots, and we're taking out as many of the rocks as possible and spreading the dirt out as much as we can so that it can get tilled and then seeded for grass soon. Its hot, dusty work, especially since it has been 30+, so we did a couple of hours of work and then passed out in the shade for half an hour, and then did another 45 minutes of work before lunch, and had a break, and then did the last hour once it had gotten very slightly cooler.
Lunch was another adventure--cold soup again, this time with ham and I think some potatoes, which would have been good if not for the reappearance of that horrible sour milk I'd tried to use for my coffee. Cold fermented milk soup isn't our cup of tea!
I was working with Zane for more of the day while C worked on a slightly different area, and I had a chance to ask her some questions about Soviet Times, which was really really interesting to hear about. It's weird to be here and see something that at home we would semi joke about 'wow, is that gas can from the Soviets or something? Look at that Soviet apartment building' ha.ha.ha. Except these buildings and tractors and gas cans and paranoias really are from them. I say paranoias because, for example, we're in the middle of the country in a low crime country, where our only close neighbours are Zane's sister's family, yet the sister's family alarms their house every night (the alarm is shared with us), and when we all go out, this place gets alarmed too. And bikes are hidden in a locked garage around the corner, and just little things that are hard to explain, but interesting. Funnily, though, Mix got left in his stroller outside of one of the historical buildings at the fair for several minutes and no one thought anything of that, and the 5-8 year old kids bike all over the place without helmets or telling anyone where they are going, so it's all a bit of a wash, I guess.
Anyway, at about 3 we got released from the dirt pile due to impending sunstroke on everyone's part, and after a quick shower, walked over to the sisters to sit in her pool for a bit. It's one of those full size blow up ones, and was really quite lovely. Her husband came home and we chatted for a bit about various random things, and then came back over to see if we were meant to be doing anything.
We weren't, but Zane asked us if we wanted to go to a 'home zoo' with her, where she was dropping off some papers. It was pretty interesting--a large dog rescue, including an awesome Rhodesian Ridgeback named Jordon who was always getting into things he wasn't meant to. They also had a three week old orphaned deer (cutest thing EVER!), pigs, goats, foxes (their babies were adorable), ferrets (one looked like Bandit!), a gorgeous wolf, some funny things that looked like marmots, some other funny things that looked like a raccoon and a weasel got jiggy with it, and two black bears, one of whom did a hilarious bum wiggle/jump when dinner was being prepared. It was a funny place and since it basically seemed like it was in her backyard, I'm going to say not one we would be allowed to have at home!
After that, we stopped for some kind of Russian 'junk food' -- Pelmini. After the soups, we were a little worried, but these were amazing--dumplings that were sort of a cross between pierogies and Chinese dumplings, boiled in a yummy broth.
While they were being cooked, Andis (the dad) and I played squash. It was really fun and he taught me the gist of how squash is different from tennis. Just enough to screw properly with my mind, but not enough that reverting to tennis (strokes/ready position, etc) seems to actually be too much of a problem.
They didn't get out of here until 10:30, so we just watched Friends and went to bed after that...