September first in Russia is the first day of school. This day is a HUGE celebration where ALL the kids, with their relatives, meet in front of their school dressed in their very best – the boys in their suits and the girls in their new dresses as well as big bows called ‘bantiks’ worn in their hair. The first graders are brought to the center of the crowd and introduced to the entire school. There are songs, poems, and words of encouragement given to the students by the principal.
|First graders presented to the school and community.|
|Laura and Natasha|
|Brother holding flowers...girls with their bows or 'bantiks'.|
During the middle of September, We decided the leaves were changing enough to warrant a ride northward...there's a couple of large lakes there and beautiful forests along the way! The ride was beautiful even though most of the trees were just shades of yellow, no oranges or reds here. (Apparently birch trees just turn shades of yellow.) It was a fun day, just the same, and the first time for Laura to see the lakes that everyone talks about!
|Water tanker filling up from the lake.|
|Road about 40 miles north of our village.|
|Hopefully, you can see the hay stacked above the fence line.|
On our return home, we passed a "place of worship" the Buddhists have along many of our roads. This particular place had a table for folks to sit and drink or eat at as well as the prayer cloths on poles. The statue behind the poles has a swan on the top, significant for this area, where people can lay money, cigarettes, or sprinkle vodka to appease the gods. In the distance on the side of the hill, is a small 'datsun' or temple with prayer wheels surrounding. We decided not to drive up the hill but took a picture of the barrel filled with empty vodka bottles near the table. There is a stronghold here that is growing each year as Buddhism is now recognized as a religion in Russia.
|Orthodox cross...not far from the Buddhist place of worship.|
|Preparing for communion.|
|This year's harvest!!|
|Everything is ready........|
|One of the younger boys prays for our meal...|
|Relaxing after the meal in song........|
|Some of our ladies enjoying time together..|
And now for the biggest vegetables grown competition....
|Our carrot weighed over 1 pound and was over 12 inches long!|
|One grandmother won the largest pumpkin, onions, tomato, & beet!|
Blessings Dear Friends,
Kevin & Laura