Tuesday, February 26, 2013

In my village, Chuhrai...

Many years ago, when I first settled in an abandoned forest ranger station in Bryansk Forest I bought a horse, Gazik. At that time he was my only transport in a land of swamps and forests. I was riding it almost every day throughout the year, on sleigh in winter.
After I moved to my current house on the other side of the Nerussa River in a small village Chuhrai, the accessibility to my home did not improve a whole lot. You could only get there on a tractor or a military type off-road vehicle, and not the all year around, just when it was dry. So the horses were still the most reliable transport. 
These are my current horses on the photo above. On the right is my favorite horse, Aza. When she was young, she was grey with dark spots, but now she appears to be all white. Aza is 26 years old, amazing horse. She feels responsibility for a rider. This is my only horse that I have never fallen from and she has never fallen under me either. All my children has learned to ride with Aza, and the youngest ones has ridden on it before they could walk. Aza and I has caught a lot of poachers in Bryans Forest Nature Reserve in the past, even those on motorized vehicles.
The black horses to the right are my wife’s horses. The one in the middle is Orlik; he grew up in a half-wild herd, and after I bought him, he would frequently run away, back to his brothers and sisters. Later on, Orlik and Aza had a daughter, Zorka. She is to the right on this picture, all black with a white spot on her forehead. A very stubborn horse… But after she was born, Orlik realized that this is his home and never escaped again.
Now the life is very different. Almost any car can drive though a forest road that leads to my village. Therefore the horses are not being used so often. Moreover I got “infected” with Kamchatka “virus” and I am often far from my home on lengthy expeditions. It is a pity that I cannot take my horses with me to Kamchatka, they would be so much more useful there… Instead, they are just living as in retirement over here, in my village. And I am thinking, as I am preparing for my new expedition, how to organize their safe and comfort life when I am away…
And this a view from my window, I just took this picture. Wild boar is chasing my beloved dog. She first tried to chase him away from the property, but he is stronger. The boar is interested in grains that I leave on the ground for birds; at first he was only coming at night, but today he showed up in the middle of the day. Maybe I should organize photo-safary tours to photograph this abundant wildlife in my backyard?
And this is Nika, my best present in 2012. My wife and I took her from animal shelter last year and she immediately became a best game buddy to my children and best friend to all other members of the family, including the goat and roster that I told you about in this post: http://wildlife-photo-russia.blogspot.com/2012/12/here-in-bryansk-forest.html

We do not know who was Nika's previous owner, but her behavior indicates that she could have been a rescue dog. She is obviously guarding my children when they swim and tries to pull them to the shore whenever they start splashing or diving on the water.

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