Christmas vacations are over. Unlike the majority of Russians, Pavel didn’t celebrate New Year, besides he begins to confuse the dates despite his homebrew calendar. His everyday life is still regular, it is devoted to ordinary things. Nevertheless, there is a good cause for holiday — the 111th day of the project. One can find something sacred here, but we’ve just decided to describe this day of Pavel’s life.
07:30 a.m. It’s pitch dark outside. «Alone in the past» is waking up. He lights a candle from smouldering coal and then a couple of splinters.
In the dim light the morning begins. Firstly Pavel has to dress himself. In fast habitual movements he winds puttees, so that he wouldn’t need to tighten them during the day.
Then he pulls on socks and shoes.
Obligatory morning ritual — making notches in both Pavel’s calendars. More about them you can learn here.
Now the day is «officially» started and Pavel proceeds to his business.
The next important task — to kindle the stove. Pavel uses twigs and birch bark, he kindles it very fast and puts two billets into the stove. Now it burns at full blast and all the space is filled with smoke.
Pavel takes a splinter and goes outside. One breath of frosty air, a couple of steps and here is the cattleshed. The hermit says «Good morning everybody!». And one more ritual — chicken checking. It became a must do after the «fox terrorism». Fortunately, all chickens are in their places.
Now Pavel needs to pay attention to the goat Glasha, she is waiting in the corner. Today’s milking takes less time than usual, and the milk yield is extremely scant, about 200 ml. It was swallowed in a single gulp.
08:10 a.m. Pavel lets animals go for a walk and starts chopping wood. Chips fly away.
Now it’s necessary to get water from the well and then Pavel can go back into the house.
It’s very smoky inside and it’s impossible to stand here. So Pavel chops chips for the stove in the sitting position.
The recluse sets up a pot of water on the burner and put there a handful of berries and a bit of honey — that’s the recipe of the compote. While the drink is being prepared, Pavel lies down on the plank bed and dreams a little.
Few minutes later the compote is ready and Pavel pours a cup. While the drink is cooling down, it’s time to sing a song, monotonous and inarticulate.
Day breaks at exactly 09.00 a.m. The hermit needs to hurry up, because there’s so much to do before dark. He’ll drink the compote outdoors.
Standing on the threshold, Pavel welcomes his pets: «Dear citizens, I congratulate you on the 111th day of the project, nobody has been killed or wounded this night». Hardly had he drunk compote when a crow cawed in the forest… Immediately Pavel grasps a javelin, runs to the edge of the forest and scans the undergrowth. Then he returns to the farm muttering: «It’s a bad sign… oh, it bodes ill…».
Despite the bad omen Pavel can’t postpone his labours. He closed the hayloft entrance and starts catching hens so that to examine them if they are to lay eggs. It’s quite simple: if a hen is going to lay egg, its belly is soft and sacrum bone is wide and movable.
Those who lay eggs efficiently, are dwelled in the hayloft, those who are not that good — in the barn. There are only two hens which don’t lay eggs at all.
Now Pavel has to choose of these two. He decides to keep the nicer hen alive, and the other hen is put into a bucket pending its fate. Pavel lets the rest walk in the yard.
While daylight is not over, Pavel has much to do. For example to make short pitchforks for working indoors.
Pave immediately uses this tool to clean the cattleshed. Firstly, he cleans the hay off from the shelves, then removes it from the floor. It’s necessary to clean up here about once a week, not more often, because rotting hay produces some heat, that is important in winter.
After everything is cleaned up, Pavel has to put fresh hay. He brings it out the hayloft and make some kind of hay nests. The hero came to the empirical conclusion that when the hay is piled up in this way, hens lay eggs more efficiently.
During tidying up Pavel discovers a couple of eggs in the hay. He puts them under the roof to save them.
10:40 a.m. Cleaning the barn is almost finished. Now Pavel carries out spruce deadwood. Immediately the goats begin to devour needles eagerly.
After cleaning Pavel goes to the forest with his axe and rope. There is a fallen spruce near the edge of the forest. The hermit wants to collect branches and carry them on the farm.
It’s necessary to make up a stock of firewood.
The stock is refilled. Now it’s time to kindle fire in the furnace while the coals are still live. Pavel needs to boil water.
In a few minutes water in the pot begins to boil. At this time Pavel lies down on the bench — to have a rest and get warm. This is very important so as not to catch cold.
13:30 p.m. It’s time to cook a meal. Pavel takes the basket of food into the courtyard, and all the animals gather around. They hope to regale themselves with something.
Basket of food.
While Pavel is peeling the onion, goats try to swallow the peel quickly. Pavel has to be very careful so that not to hurt them.
Today, the main dish is lentil soup. Ingredients: lentils, onions, dried mushrooms, a couple of eggs, salt.
The stove is now working intensively: the water is boiling on the heater, and beside the fire the dinner is warming up.
In half an hour the dinner is ready.
The soup is very fragrant and nutritious, but time is short and the day is coming to the end. So Pavel goes outdoors, takes the hen from the bucket and breaks its neck without changing countenance. It may seem that it’s habitual for him, but it’s not. This is the first hen which he slaughtered himself. However, there’s no time to grieve, Pavel has to scald the dead hen and remove feathers. That’s why he needs boiling water.
After removing the feathers Pavel realizes that chickens on his farmstead are very different from those one can find in a store. The only thing that can be eaten are drumsticks, but they are more like modern hen wings than hips. There is no meat on the breast at all. Modern chickens and chickens of the 10th century are different animals, in principle. But when you consider that our hero hasn’t eaten any meat for two and a half months, it’s going to be a royal dinner. The chicken is butchered: legs will be eaten at dinner, and the rest is stored for another soup.
Pavel decides to postpone cooking drumsticks. Armed with a knife the hermit goes to the house to identify gaps in the walls, that are the cause of draughts.
Pavel takes away snow from over the place where he has made a moss stock.
He puts the moss in a basket and goes to caulk the house.
It takes much time and four baskets of moss to plug all the cracks. Pavel checks his work inside with a candle.
17:00 p.m. The sun is setting, so Pavel decides to milk the goat. The evening milk yield is poorer than in the morning — about 100 ml.
Our hero has gathered all the cattle in the barn, and locks it with the rope. Then he goes to the well to get water.
It’s time to treat himself with chicken. Pavel puts the drumsticks on a small skewer and fries them on the living coals.
The chicken is ready. By modern standards, it is negligible, but for our hermit it’s a royal dinner.
An improvised table, neatly arranged pottery and delicious dinner — that’s a real medieval still-life.
The stones that have been laying by the stove all day long are now very hot. It’s time to start a wash cycle. Pavel gently takes the stones with blacksmith tongs…
… and puts them into the water. He does this several times and puts all the hot stones.
Dipping hands in hot water Pavel enjoys the warmth. It seems that the hermit misses a hot bath. After he washed his face and neck, he begins loundering.
Pavel tries to clean only the dirtiest spots: the collar and sleeves.
Several times he rinses out.
After rinsing Pavel hangs his shirt outdoors to dry. He says with a sigh: «It is a pity that there is no frost», and starts a sad song, looking at the stars.
Still singing the hermit returns to the house, takes off his shoes, puttees and socks. Then he lays them on the stove to dry.
Then he rolls up the puttees.
The water is still warm and Pavel can steam his legs. As they say, prevention is the best treatment.
Suddenly, it became silent in the cattleshed. Pavel calls goats, and doesn’t stop until the goats show signs of life.
He opens the door to the cattleshed and receives evidence that the goats are all right. At the same time he lets hot air go to the animals, because it’s too hot inside the house. And it’s stupid to let the heat go outdoors.
Pavel packs up his puttees, spreads his sleeping fur and sits upon the shelf.
He closes his eyes and begins to dream. Then he opens eyes, goes to the door saying: «So, the 111th day of the project is over» and wishes goats goodnight.
He wrappes himself in the sleeping bag made of animal skins, blows splinter torch. The day came to the end.