Sunday morning our two girls were happy little "dacha-goers," that is, they were excited to go out to the countryside where our landlady lives in a country house. "Dacha" used to mean any kind of building city-dwellers could escape to in the summer, oftentimes conjuring up images of shack... Nowadays a dacha can very well be a multi-million dollar extravagant home.
This is our landlady's dacha, a home that has been in her family since her father was was young. The actual house is divided in two, and she shares it with another family.
This is the house across the street.
They completely renovated it three years ago and now it has many modern conveniences inside. She's quite a scrappy lady; she oversaw the hairy process of organizing (designing, finding builders, buying all needed materials, fixtures, etc., knocking down and rebuilding the interior) on her own. The various builders were such swindlers and the whole ordeal was so traumatic that she's convinced the stress lead to her cancer.
Nonetheless, she is very proud of the home she basically built that will be enjoyed her children and grandchildren. Our kids loved it! Even the mailbox out front is charming.
I love the covered picnic table that has stood for generations.
This a view of the back of the house.
It's too bad that her husband only got to spend a year in the house before becoming so ill and staying so often at the hospital. You can tell how empty the home is without him and how much she misses him.
After a tour of the home and a viewing of her extensive owl memorabilia collection (over 214 pieces, Katya counted, enthralled), we had a simple and delicious meal of salmon, cheese, cabbage pie, tea and chocolates. I brought her a big lasagna (not skimping a bit -- there's good ricotta in that baby...) to cook when she gets back from the hospital and the tea; gourmet English tea is so darn good... My kids prefer tea to soft drinks (well, some of the time). Both kids love tea time at school.