I continue to ride my bikes often. Sometimes I ride my road bike to work, sometimes I ride my off-road bike to Sovietskaya. I plan on playing with the soccer players on occasion. This is good.
The weather has been a tremendous adventure. It was hot, then it rained, and it was still hot, and it rained again, and it rained again, and it rained again, and . . . now it is cool. Almost cold! Only 11'!
Emily, the boss translator, and I rode to Sovietskoye this evening to talk to Nadia. Nadia, if you will remember, is the neighbor lady whom I have volunteered to do work for. It rather mystifies Nadia that I will work for her, I think, and I think she is a bit uncomfortable with me working for her for free. She tells us she is not an "exploiter" to use my labor as a slave. I was so glad I finally got Emily to go to Sovietskoye with me. We talked with Nadia for a nearly two hours, and we had a marvelous time. There were many, many conversations we had had that we reviewed and updated, now that we had a way to know the other understood. We completed so many conversations, and opened new ones where we were curious. This is the first chance we have had to share the more complicated communication we are used to, and we all enjoy this.
Nadia jokes that she talks to me in German. I tell Emily of when Nadia was talking to me in Tartar, French, and Armenian. Nadia laughs, and says yes, she counted from 1 to 3 in Tartar for me. We talk of her farming. She tells us she tried to put raw manure on her gooseberries the first year and they died. I replied that yes, raw manure would burn them. I told Emily how Nadia had told me she now lets the manure and straw ripen for a year or three. And Nadia illuminates us on some details of how she now does this, but it turns out I had understood her correctly.
She is industrious and hard-working, and loves to farm a bit, I think. She actually bought the house and land she is in on purpose. She was living in Chelyabinsk, I think, and she wanted something for her old age. She is exceptionally strong, and almost never ceases to work as far as I can see. Oh, she takes many breaks, but soon enough she is being productive again.
On her little plot of land she has squash, pumpkins, onions, garlic, gooseberries, rasberries, strawberries, blackberries and more. Flowers for instance. She had wonderful tulips, and soon she will have other flowers. She has given me and my friends most of her tulip crop, and that made me a lot of points with the ladies at work! Later in the year I know I will be taking as much of her berry crop as she will spare.
Nadia says at one point that if I leave in August, she will not have time to make me the mittens and socks she has promised. Later she tells me that when I leave she wants to buy my bicycle. I tell her of course I will sell it to her.