Autumn Scenes
 Oblast of Chernivtsi  

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Featured are the autumn scenes of the selos of Verkhni Stanivtsi and Lashkivka, Kitsman Raion

October Autumn Scenes  - Kitsman Raion
Chernivets'ka Oblast
  Page 1

Autumn Photos Pg.2

Cousin John Lakusta picking the "good" apples off his trees. Says that he wishes that his trees would look the ones that he saw in Kelowna, British Columbia when on a trip here in 1995. The orchard in the village of Verkhni Stanivsti, (50 km. north-west of Chernivtsi, Kitsman region) was owned by the Soviet Regime. The villagers would steal the apples anyway. Later the orchard was divided into plots and parents who worked in the commune farms had first choice in buying sections of the orchard. My cousin had to borrow 300 USD for his section.

John has 100 apple trees and each tree earns him 10 USD. He has another variety. The branches are shaken and the apples fall to the ground. These apples are first shipped to a factory in Chernivsti owned by the Germans. The pulp is shipped to Germany. The final product returns to Chernivsti. Price is lower for these type of apples which are processed into apple juice. Unfortunately the villagers have not yet learned how to make apple sauce. I have showed them how but they are not used to the taste. The orchard is very over grown with all kinds of plants, herbs, shrubs but is it very green.

John's son Vasyl', 10 years old is holding some interesting leaves of a plant in the orchard. It is so peaceful and green. Smells of wild mint give off their scent when you walk over them. The orchard is so fresh and green. The people do not use any pesticides on their trees. But they do have a terrible problem with the Colorado beetles eating their potato plants. The folks hand pick the beetles off the plants and also use a type of a powder to destroy the beetles.

I asked Vasy'l to pose for me among the lushness and greenery in the orchard. The fragrance of the wild herbs was so welcomed. There are so many varieties of plants and flowers. The climate is humid and can be compared to the Okanogan region in British Columbia or the Niagara Falls region in south Ontario. The climate with the good soil is very conducive for growing a host of plants, trees, walnuts, fruit trees, grain and abundant gardens.

Phyllis Basaraba sitting in cousin John's Lada that is parked in the orchard. Am chatting with John and listening to Ukrainian songs on the stereo. What a lovely day!
There are many folk songs about nightingales and other birds and the orchard. The orchard is indeed a common setting for many events in folk songs.

I had many opportunities to take pictures of the vendors at the bazaar in Kosiv but chose to respect their privacy. They are always harassed by tax officials and others for rent. 

Phyllis with Anna who embroiders some of the blouses and shirts that I have for sale on this site. As you can see it is an open air bazaar. Crafts, food products, groceries, automobile parts and just about anything that you can think of is offered for sale. Even piglets, cattle and horses are brought to the bazaar.

Vasyl' Lakusta, my 10 year old godchild is making a fire in the pitch - an indoor oven with a tiled chimney. This is in an older house with wooden floors covered by a woven rug. You can cook on top of the stove, however all the cooking is done in another little house - which they call the "kitchen". 

Vasyl' - we call him Vasia - made the fire so that matka (godmother Phyllis would be warm, he decided to clean the room. He tidied the room and swept the floor. After school he drives a team of horses and hauls potatoes, apples, hay for the elderly people - "whatever is needed" Vasia says. They pay 2 - 3 USD which he says that he will save to buy winter boots or else give to his parents or to his sister who is now in college. 

In Ukraine the harvesting of the grain is usually completed by mid August, depending upon the weather. Then the farmers prepare the soil for planting winter wheat. When it is up a few inches the shepherds send the sheep to graze on the wheat for a few days. They say that this is to make the wheat grow thicker.

A picture of a farmer cultivating the soil. Land is most likely not his own and belongs to some cooperative.

Another scene of the same farmer. Here I wanted to show the type of soil in the oblast' of Chernivsti, near the town of Kitsman.

The corn was picked off the corn stalks and is now drying in the sun. The kernels are cooked as food for the chickens, pigs and cows. It is also ground up for cornmeal which they make a dish called kulasha  -  polenta. They eat it with brenza -  cheese made from goat milk. Rest of corn is saved for seed to be planted in the spring. 

Pumpkins are planted among the corn to make use of all the soil. There are many varieties all used for food for the animals. It would be unthinkable for the people to eat  pumpkin like we do in the West; same idea for corn. But perhaps they simply to not grow pumpkins for household use as land space is very precious. 

These are the same pile of pumpkins that are drying in my cousin Marusia Rudiak's yard in the village of Lashkivka, Kitsman region. Later they will be taken to the barn or to the root cellar. They have a special little building where they cook and prepare food for the few animals that they do have.

We brought a truck load of apples to a cousin in another village as their apples blossoms froze in the spring. John receives about 3 USD for 20 - 25 kilos of apples when he sells them commercially. These apples are firm now and ripen by Christmas time.

My 2 year godchild Ivanka is watching as her grandfather and mother are carefully taking the apples out of the truck of the car. They will be stored in the root cellar and ready to eat by Christmas.

As we were traveling down the country roads it was common to see many sheaves of corn drying. The little stacks of hay would be further away from the road or packed away safely in the barn loft. Sunday, Oct. 9, 2005.

Another view of sheaves of corn drying. Notice the tiny flowers still blooming in the foreground. The little stacks of hay are closer to the farmstead under watchful eyes so that people would not be tempted to steal the hay; which is common.

We were traveling back from one village to another on a Sunday. Everybody was relaxing, dressed in their finest clothes, walking on the roads to visit. Many neighbors just settled down on benches which are found near every house. We caught these people enjoying a leisurely sunny Sunday afternoon.

As you travel down the country roads people put their produce out for sale; different products at different times of the year. Later cabbage and potatoes will be put out for sale near their gates.

I always like to pass by this grove of buk trees, which are similar to beech wood. The bark is shiny and the buk is used for making wooden crafts.

The buk trees grow abundantly throughout South-West Ukraine and that is why the region of Bukovyna gets its name. South of Bukovyna is Galicia or Halychyna. There is a strict law that no one can cut down the trees for firewood or whatever purpose.

A group of friends all drying up for the animals with the small stack of hay tucked in behind the protection of the larger corn sheaves. The stocks of dried corn is ground up and mixed with other food for the animals - called sichka which means cut up.

This was October 9th, 2005 and I could not find any golden leaves as I had previously in the month of October. This was very unusual for me, to leave colored leaves behind and come to green leaves. I just had to snap this picture - the green foliage in front of the tall buk trees.

This is a panoramic view of a hillside and the larger hill thick with pine trees. Many houses are nestled in the trees. There are sheaves of corn stalks in the foreground and closer to the buildings are the small stacks of hay; all cut and stacked by hand.

There is a haystack on the ridge of the hill. Lower down are more sheaves of corn drying. Pumpkins growing among the corn has still not been picked up.

This is another cousin Ivan hauling sacks of apples to a neighbours. Everybody was busy, busy, very busy. All the labour is done by hand, not very convenient as the people lack modern equipment. but they are happy and do take time out to visit one another. They also help another to ensure that everybody has their fall work completed in time.

Do click on the photographs to view larger images.

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