Friday, January 16, 2015

Ukrainians and their gardens

Yulia and I like to write about our own garden here on our blog, but in doing so we realize that we may take the focus off other Ukrainians who are just as passionate about their gardens. So here are some pictures of people's gardens we've seen around Ukraine.

This is a view from Yulia's parents' kitchen window. Their neighbors have a very diverse garden, and it creates a beautiful view for us!

Here is another view of the same garden. A small paradise in the midst of the big city. The neighbor is quite the morning person. We often hear splashing water at 6 am. It is the neighbor who starts every day by pouring a bucket of cold water over his head!

When I first arrived at Yulia's grandparents' house, I was greeted by a bush of luscious red berries by the front gate. I found out they are called red currants, something I rarely, if ever, saw in America. I liked that I could grab a handful for myself whenever I walked past them--such easy access to food!

Here is a garden path by their house. There is a grape growing on the trellis on the left and a cherry plum tree on the right. I had never tried cherry plums before moving to Ukraine. They are delicious! 

I went on a walk on my second day in Ukraine and was amazed by a landscape totally different than that of the United States. People had gardens all around their houses. In the photo above, you can see potatoes, beans, and corn.  "If Americans lived like this," I thought," they would be considered hippies, back-to-the-landers, or homesteaders." 

The outskirts of many villages are made up of private garden plots. Yulia's grandfather grows hay for his cow on his. In July Yulia and I helped him make haystacks.

And even father away from the village farmers grow crops on a large scale. 
If you look over the crest of the hill in the last photo, you can see the tops of high rise apartment buildings. When he was middle aged, Yulia's grandfather had the opportunity to move into one of those apartments for free because of his job in town. Many people in Ukraine do not see much value in a village lifestyle. They jump at such opportunities to be closer to "civilization." 

This was not the case with Yulia's grandfather. "I'm not moving there just so I can stand in line for bread everyday," he argued. He is the kind of person that you cannot separate from his land.While I do not want to paint an overly rosy picture of gardening or village life, it does not mean that they are a misery for everybody either. There are people like Yulia's grandfather and grandmother who would not trade their garden and their animals for anything.

And that kind of love shows.

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