Saturday Surprise — Babushka of Baikal

In bed


Hey … go ‘way … leave me alone … zzz … zzz … stop … go … it’s Saturday … I get to sleep in!  What?  Oh … well, yeah, I did sleep in yesterday.  Yes, and the day before, too … so what?  Oh … you want a Saturday Surprise, huh?  Sigh.  {Yawn} … okay, fine … somebody make me a cuppa java and I’ll be down in just a minute …

Okay … teeth brushed and I’m ready for action … where’s the coffee?  Thanks … um, Hugh … did you lace this with a dash of Famous Grouse?  I thought so.  Thanks  😉.  All day yesterday I had a song going through my head.  Even though I haven’t been much in a singing mood lately, I still have music running through my head almost constantly.  Keith keeps my head filled with the occasional earworm, and sometimes I cannot stop Fool on the Hill from looping for hours in my head.  But yesterday, for some reason completely unknown to me, I found myself humming a song about a bloomin’ cockroach!!!  Why?  Who knows?  But … being the generous, giving soul that I am, I thought I’d share it with you so that you, too, can have La Cucaracha running wild through your head!

There is a lady in Siberia who puts me to shame … heck, she puts us all to shame.  Her name is Lyubov Morekhodova, she is 76 years old, and lives alone in the frozen tundra that is Siberia since her husband died in 2011.  She is known as the Babushka of Baikal, Babushka being the Russian word for ‘grandmother’, and Baikal because she lives on Lake Baikal.

Lyubov arises every morning at 5:30 … she doesn’t even get to sleep in on Saturday … for the cows must be fed.  Now, Lake Baikal is frozen for five full months out of every year, and when it is frozen, the cows sometimes wander off, walking right across the lake, and then Lyubov must go find them.  How does she cross the lake to find the cows?  Why, on skates, of course.  But not just any ol’ skates!  Lyubov still wears the skates that her father made for her back in 1943!

And then off she goes to find the wandering bovine and bring them safely home.

“I’ve always been going long distances on skates. I started skating when I was seven. My Dad made the skates by cutting a metal saw and inserting it into pieces of wood which I then tied to valenki (traditional felt boots). I don’t like modern skates, they wobble around my ankle and feet get cold. Valenki are always warm. I was even competing in these skates with my fellow factory workers.”

Lyubov worked for 42 years as a technology engineer at Kuibyshev factory in Irkutsk, and retired here – to her old family home – with her husband. He died in 2011, and since then she has been alone, resisting calls from her family to move back to the city.  Lyubov’s first name means ‘love’, and her surname means ‘the one who walks on sea’.  What could be more fitting, eh?

“I sit alone in the kitchen. I sit and look at this. It gives me happiness, a good mood, and then I always think, if anybody sat next to me, they’d say: ‘What a beauty, what incredible beauty’”.

Lyubov has four dogs, a cat, two hens, two roosters, two calves, five cows and two bulls.  Her sons, grandchildren and nephews visit during the summer, but during the long winter months, she is mostly alone … except, of course, for the menagerie!  She chops her own firewood, melts snow for water, mows, rakes hay, and takes care of the animals.  She is very talented in embroidery, she loves macrame, crocheting and weaving from beads. Some of her works, whenever she dared to take them to Irkutsk, won prizes at local competitions.

“I don’t even watch TV, perhaps only some days in the evening. I am not scared at all here, I don’t even know what I should be scared of. The only unpleasant thing here is drunk tourists on ATVs who forever manage to break something. They killed two dogs and turned my boat upside down. But I realise there is little I can do about them…. In the summer, when there are lots of people, I tell them: ‘Pick up your litter, tidy up after yourselves. Don’t leave litter, it all ends up in Baikal.’ We live a happy life here, me and my animals. In summer I get to see all my relatives, and in winters I am way too busy to get bored.”

Remember, folks, this lady is 76!!!  Ten years older than moi, but with at least ten times as much drive and energy!  My hat is definitely off to her!

And now, my dear friends, don’t you have something to do with your weekend besides hang out here?  Go enjoy the sunshine, get outside and breathe the fresh air, teach a kid how to wrap toilet paper on the neighbor’s trees!  And thanks for dropping by and sharing part of your weekend with me!  Love ‘n hugs!!!toon-1.jpg

15 thoughts on “Saturday Surprise — Babushka of Baikal

  1. Lyubov is a Russian Babushka
    A heroine now worshipped afar
    She is young at heart
    (Not an old Fart)
    For the rest of us, she raises the bar!

    I like her life and attitude… Oh to be that fit and able at 76 years old… I hope!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Don’t you love to read about people like this? And the hatred of the “drunk tourists” who invade her peace and quiet grows and festers. She is not bored because her life, like her mind, is full. Terrific stuff! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lyubov is beautiful! I can’t imagine living the way she does…. what I see as cold and alone… but, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. I would be afraid to stay there by myself….but I don’t have her strength and fortitude! I call it “ My Mojo”. She’s amazing!!!!!! An interesting read! Thanks for sharing! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • She is, indeed, a beautiful lady and so full of life! I don’t think I would be afraid, but I just don’t think I have the physical stamina to live as she does. PLUS … I do not like the cold!!! Glad you liked the story … thanks!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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