The most striking piece of bad news is the collapse of the railroad bridge near the City of Kola on or around June 3, thus cutting the railroad connection to Murmansk. This was caused by high level of water in the Kola River. The governor apparently declared it will be restored within five days which, of course, is totally unrealistic.
Finally made it to the right (lower) side of the Kolvitsa river yesterday and saw what was left of the famous hydroelectric power station that was built in 1949 and supplied energy to Kolvitsa and a few neighbouring villages until the mid-1960s. Five or six boulder-filled log cages are still there. Was impressed.
One of the few truly poisonous inhabitants of the local woods, Spurge laurel (Daphne mezereum) was recently found in bloom – in spite of there being lots of snow and temperatures still hovering around freezing – by the stream crossing the Monastery Cape trail. By the end of the summer these flowers will turn into nice-looking red berries. They say one can kill a man although it cannot be considered a preferred method to dispatch oneself to the better world as, apparently, it kills by causing the swelling of the throat, thus death by suffocation, which is one of the ugliest ways to go.
Large cubes of ice were delivered to the square in front of the City Administration Offices yesterday, and now artists are working on them. Their creations should be ready by March 1, which is tomorrow…
One every few days we hear a report of a bus full of Chinese travelers stuck on this road. Not surprising. Conditions here, in the south of the Kola Peninsula, are much milder. Bare ice everywhere is the biggest of our road problems.. A recent photo by Alexander Popov
This summer was exceptionally cold. As a result, there are practically no berries in the woods. That leads to a lot of hungry bears roaming the forests and occasionally exploring garbage dumpsters in a desperate attempt to put on some fat before the winter sets in. Lots of bear excrements in the woods between Malinovoye, where our dacha is, and Luvenga. The locals who are in the habit of taking early morning walks say there are four of them in the five-kilometer long and narrow strip of trees between the seacoast and the road. As of recent, they have been containing a lot of rowanberries, which is not at all typical bear food.
A pile of bear crap with undigested rowanberries for your aesthetic enjoyment
A story from Chernaya Rechka (“Black River”) in Karelia reached me yesterday. A black bear occupied a cranberry field and refused to leave even when the local women shouted at it – not a typical behaviour for this beast. Now these women are said to go cranberry picking accompanied by men with shotguns.
Lighthouse Foundation, a German organization that effectively promotes sustainable development of the coastal areas around the world, has listed the collection of funds for the printing of my mate Alexandra’s book on the relationship between Eider ducks and Man throughout history among its projects.
Here is the beginning of their page on Alexandra’s Eider book:
This is the world’s first popular science publication dedicated to the world-wide history of the relation of Man (Homo sapiens) and the Common eider (Somateria mollissima): from the eiders in the excavations of ancient human settlements to the eiders in art; from myths and legends to the latest scientific research; from the eiders as hunting trophies to them in the museum collections.