Early signs of Winter

Lots of things let us know that Winter is on its way….leaves falling, children in school, no fresh veggies left in the garden, etc.  But in Georgia there is one clear sign: the cutting, chopping and storing of wood for the petchi stove.  In the villages, central heat is not available.  Most homes rely on a small wood burning stove which they bring into the house in early October.  it is vented to the outside of the home and generally heats only one room.  This room becomes the center for all family activity for the next ??? months.  Even some of the cooking is done on/in this stove.  It may also be that even when it is on, everyone will be wearing several layers of clothing to stay warm.  So the issue of having lots of wood is critical.

For several weeks now we have been observing huge logs being dumped onto the roadways of the villages.  Some may have access to getting their own but most families buy it and it is delivered as logs.  Then the saws appear and cutting begins.  After that chopping is done and the wood is stacked for drying before being put into some kind of storage shed or covered porch area.  You will notice from our pictures the incredible amount of wood that is needed for a winter season. In our family both Dad and son have been chopping for weeks, a little at a time.  They stack it to dry for a few days and then store it.  the man power and hours are very long.  We’ll let you know come May how warm we were able to stay.  Hopefully, it will not be like last winter which was the worst anyone could remember for coldness.

These past weeks have given us some time to relax, do a bit of planning, and get to know Gonio and Batumi.  We’ve walked miles, been in lots of different shops, bought produce at the big bazaar on Saturday, and enjoyed our first American coffee (thanks to a box from family)!  We had to search out a French press and are happy with the results .Tom is settling in nicely at his office and will start an “English club” with his co-workers this coming week.  Suzanne had limited success with a summer camp as the participation was small but enthusiastic.  School starts on Sept. 17th and there will be lots of planning and conversations with my counterparts before then.  The schools have a lot of new books this year so we will be learning them together which should be a plus for me.

We have located the only Catholic church within hundreds of km and luckily it is in Batumi.  It holds about 300 people and is usually full.  It’s all in Georgian, of course, but the presider comes out before Mass and if he sees strangers he chats with them.  He gives us a page with the English translation of the readings and his homily.  There is very good participation and lay involvement as readers, musicians, cantors, etc. They sing some things in Latin (Kyrie and Our Father) and the Gospel is read in Georgian and Russian.

Some of you met our new Aurora friends, Jeri and Greg, who were also accepted to the Peace Corps.  They are on their way to Rwanda in two days.  We wish them well in their journey which will be much like ours yet totally different.

Finally, thanks to all of you who take an extra minute to write a comment on the blog.  It helps us to know that you are with us in Spirit and that is an important encouragement for us.  We could not be here without the many ways in which you each have helped to form us and we are very grateful for that.


Now a couple of small videos

Categories: Uncategorized | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on “Early signs of Winter

  1. Helen Marie

    Huge logs! What a job. Sort of reminds me of American politics right now. Chop. Chop. Chop. I wonder what kind of wood those trees are? Keep warm. I love your georgiegirlandboy emails. And I enjoyed seeing the church architecture. God bless.

  2. Marcella M Missar

    Tis no wonder that your Georgian families are rather healthy…they do so much hard physical work. I love hearing from you. The church seems to be recently built; the height is stately.Your description of liturgy is fabulous: particpation shows some love for ritual by the assembly,no?
    May your beginning on the 17th be exciting and beneficial for you and those you teach, Sue. Who will be in your English group, Tom???Georgians or just English speaking folk?

  3. Dan and Jill.

    Thank you so much for sharing the news and the photos. Funny, yesterday Jill said that she hoped to hear news from you soon and suddenly it appears! Praying for you and love you.

  4. Jari & Greg

    Thanks for the wonderful details and photos. I could almost smell the wood! The church is lovely. I also love the simplicity in its design. Thanks for your happy send-off and well wishes for us! Our hugs to you both!

  5. Gina

    I don’t think I’ll complain this winter when my house feels cold as I will think of you and your Georgian family. I will also feel blessed for the good fortunes that we have in our country.

  6. Cass and John

    Tom, are you helping with the log splitting? I can’t imagine you not being in the thick of things! The church looks very new — how nice that there are folks in the pews. Gina has a good point — I will try not to whine about it being a bit “crisp” inside the EarthLinks’ offices this year — we truly are fortunate. Keeping you both in our thoughts and prayers. Cass and John

  7. Wanda

    The wood chopping sounds a lot like our werstern states at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th. In fact I remember one house my grandparents lived in that was heated by a wood burning stove when I was about 2 or 3 and that was almost mid century. Hopefully, this winter will be a bit more mild for you. I do like your church and glad it is close to you. If Tom is chopping I hope he doesn’t over due in the beginning. Stay well and God bless. Wanda

  8. Carr Mary

    Hi Suz and Tom,

    Yes it appears to be a lot of wood for the winter. I am sorry we have been laxed in communication. No excuse just tired at night. Really missed you at Drew and Jennifer’s wedding, it was beautiful.

  9. Hazel Kutac

    Sue and Tom, Ken and I have enjoyed reading of your adventures there and can’t believe you are doing this. That is incredible. That stove in the one room reminds me of growing up in Texas in the 40s. We just had a little wood stove in one room, too, and that is where we ate and lived and even bathed in the corner in a tub behind a curtain. The church is beautiful. Thanks for sharing all of this with us.

  10. Margie

    Good to hear from you -Sounds like you are doing great – What a wimp I am! I turned the heat up when I got home from Bible Study today and so glad that I didn’t have to go out back and chop some wood before I could get warm. God bless, Margie

  11. Mary

    It makes me mindful of the ease of my life, and grateful that I have friends who share their wonderful stories and adventures.

  12. Dan Montoya

    Wow! That is a lot of wood. Hope there winters are like ours where the sun comes out and drys and warms things up. We miss you guys bunches. We are so proud and some what envious you are fulfilling a dream.

    You are in our prayers,
    Dan M.

  13. Sue

    That is a great deal of wood! Can’t wait to hear all about the first days of school.

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