Sunday, August 12, 2012

Blog 4, 2012

In rural Ukraine one of the features that has not changed significantly since Soviet times is the layout of the yard. Most homes still have the imposing, often concrete, fence with the squeaky metal gate that alerts anyone at home of a visitor or intruder. If the high squeal of the gate doesn’t do the job, the sharp barks of the tethered dog will. People feel secure behind the fence. As soon as the foundation of the new church in Molochansk was poured, a secure fence was installed. It is interesting to note that private enterprises such as grocery stores, markets, etc., are not behind walls and in fact will often have open doors. People feel less secure in their homes.

There are no lawns or big trees in the front or back yards. Trees are beside the road and border the thinly paved, lumpy sidewalks.

 If the trees fail to get you to walk on the road, the electrical poles or other obstacles will surely force you off the sidewalk.

On Saturday we decided to try to stick to the sidewalk and were rewarded by seeing a beautiful front yard behind a fence.
Here was a garden of the regular vegetables, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, etc., but it also had an amazing display of flowers, raspberries, and grapes. This was the garden that we recall our parents had - a mixed garden of food and flowers.  Certainly roses are a common sight, but even saw marigolds. In the past years we have seen more and more varieties of grapes, and as we have been reminded by friends, there is a new variety called "Victoria" grapes. Probably not named after our home city.  

The fruit here certainly seems to be more tasty. The watermelons are big, sweet, juicy, and cheap. The heavily-laden pear trees provides delicious fruit. Last week we had the best nectarines ever.

For many, gardens provide food security. A good garden takes you through the winter and a goat can produce up to 6 litres per milking. The day hospital in Voladovka (Waldheim) continues to have a garden even though they no longer have a kitchen. They sell their produce at the market to help pay for the hospital’s operating costs.

As we are writing this blog we are experiencing a thunderstorm with rain. Finally after 8 weeks of no rain and virtually no days below 30 degrees you can smell sweet moisture. Cool air finally comes in through the windows. We went for a walk after the rain and met a neighbour collecting water from a large puddle so he could have extra for his garden. He was so happy for the rain and for our brief visit. The rain should help the sunflower crop, but alas it is too late for the corn.

You will notice that “we” are writing this blog - Linda arrived this week. Linda and the rain have brought a spring to Ben’s steps.

Ben and Linda Stobbe


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