Life on the windowsill
By Jelle

A loud noise breaks the deafening silence in the village of Berdyshykha located in the northwest of russia. Three times a week a bus stops here on the road from Kotlas to Syktyvkar. For the rest there is little traffic, apart from the odd truck with wood on its way to the paper factory, one of Europe's biggest. 

The noise comes from a Belarus brand tractor, who clears the road from snow. For the first time in two days Gennady Tugushin can drive his car to work. Inside, his wife Antonina is preparing a meal for his return. On the north side of the house the snow is piling up. More than half the window is blocked; in the end of winter it will completely have covered the window. 

Sun pours through the southern facing windows, covered by frost that looks like flowers. And on the windowsill a couple of potted plants who have only just sprouted. Antonina tends to the plants as though they are her children. She takes care the plants survive in the dry heat from the gigantic wood stove that heats the house. By the end of may, when most of the snow has gone, the carefully tended plants will be transferred to the greenhouse, and grow quickly in the summer when the sun doesn’t set. Most of the harvest will be pickled and dried and stored in the cellar for the next long winter.