Expat Ukraine Forum

Expatriate Cafe => Leisure, nightlife and sport => Topic started by: kyivkpic on 16:22 10-May-2012

Title: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 16:22 10-May-2012
I decided to put this this thread in hobbies. I didn't know what would be the most appropriate.

There are more than a couple of us building homes and I thought it would be cool to share experiences and trade advice. Ukraine is known for being one of the most fertile places on earth and having a homestead here seems to me to be one of the truest forms of wealth to have with crazy global economic and environmental problems.

Unfortunately, Ukraine is also lacking in aesthetics so each new homestead increases wealth and value and beauty(or at least order depending on taste).




Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 16:59 10-May-2012
I grew up in a historically agrarian culture after living the 12 year of my adult life in high-tech, overstimulating consumerism I'm eager to return to living on the land and for my children to do the same. I want to be more of a producer than a consumer.

There is a part in Faust where the devil says that immortality can be achieved by growing your food in your own manure. I'm not sure about that but producing as much of our own food as possible is a priority for my family and our homestead is planned to be a green, environmentally friendly, ecological project.

We have 11 sotka. We've cleared the brush out and planted a garden already.

I dug up the sod, shook the soil loose from the roots and threw them into a pile which I going to use to compost. I will build a bin this weekend with some of the old lumber I piled up. We plan to have a chicken coup and collect their manure but for now the neighbors have 4 geese which s%&t on property which we can add for nitrogen and bacteria. We're also collecting our potato peels and other scraps to add as well. The soil is a bit sandy but seems rich enough. I didn't find many earthworms but I did find a colorado bug :( I burned a pile of brush and sticks and incorporated the ash into the soil before we planted.

We have 5 apple trees on the property but I am going to remove 4 of them. They're old and we don't need that many apples. We have a large patch of strawberries that the previous owner planted and some blackberry and raspberry bushes. We planted more of each as well as some flowers.

In the garden we put in onions, carrots, beets, green peas, sorrel, zucchini and radish. Later will dig more and put in cucumbers, tomatoes, pumpkins, beans, chili peppers, cauliflowers and brussel sprouts as well as some pestril, dill, rucola and basil. I'd also like to find some rhubarb to plant.

We have additional plot of land in the field behind the house but we will need a tractor to till. I can dig but I don't have enough time.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 17:19 10-May-2012
We picked the weeds from most of the property. It was full of stinging nettles. We plan to use a lot stone in the landscaping. I think cutting grass is a pain and not worthwhile.

A fence is a one of the first priorities. They're not common where I'm from but there homes are more spaced out. Robert Frost says that good fences make good neighbors. We do have neighbors on one side of the property. The other side is an wooded lot which we plan to buy if possible. Our neighbor seem rather poor. There are four children which look healthy and clean but their property is in shambles. They usually just stare at us. My wife is trying to make friends with them. We discussed perhaps having them do some chores like bringing water from the well and to pay them something to help them.

We have a nice root cellar. It's dry and large. I plan to put a new door on and cover the cement with moss.

There is a very old barn that eventually I will tear down. It has about a rik of chopped wood inside and after I cut down the apple trees I will stack in there. There is also a small workshop that will be good during construction of the house we are using for planting seedlings and keeping gardening tools.

The house is not much to look at. We will destroy it eventually but it is is good enough condition to house the men while constructing the house. We're going to build it behind the old house in the last picture.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 17:21 10-May-2012
the workshop.

Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Carlusha on 18:20 10-May-2012
God, I cannot think of a better way to end up with blisters all over your fingers than one of those Ukrainian spades/shovels!

(http://www.expatua.com/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=9843.0;attach=4905;image)

It will be easier on your hands if you obtain a proper spade! Failing that, screw a bit of wood (edges rounded off) on to the end of the staff!

Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 18:27 10-May-2012
It is a cheap tool but we don't have much cash left after buying the property. It worked well enough and no blisters. I bought good gloves. It has a round edge and cut easily enough through the sod. I'd then just lever it up with the shovel and pick up the square and shake the soil out.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Claus on 18:36 10-May-2012
Well, I do not know much about homesteading - but good luck with it!  :)
In principle I'm against chopping fruit-trees, but when you chop the apples, use it for firewood, the scent is adorable!
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Carlusha on 18:41 10-May-2012
It is a cheap tool but we don't have much cash left after buying the property. It worked well enough and no blisters. I bought good gloves. It has a round edge and cut easy enough through the sod. I'd then just lever it up with the shovel and pick up the square and shake the soil out.

That I illustrated is a top of the range Spear and Jackson from UK, retailing at less than $20. However, there are lots of round edged spades for less.

Those below are Korean - a country known for the finest steel products!  ??? ;) Anyway, wearing gloves was a good move. Silly me never thought of something so complicated as that!

Back to topic!
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Ted on 19:13 10-May-2012
Great series!
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 19:33 10-May-2012
We will invest in some better garden tools when our cash reserves are built back up. I"m renting a chainsaw next week. I think the next tool investment will be a good axe for chopping the pieces for firewood. I don't want an axe head to come off and fly at my head.  :D I don't really like to cut down apple trees either but they are very old and need to go sooner or later. We're going to keep one and plant new trees in more strategic places.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Claus on 19:45 10-May-2012
By all means do buy a good (safe) axe!  ;D
But - with respect to apple trees, are you aware how long time it takes to grow them? You do not just chop the grandparents and harvest the kids the next year. I'd say, make some new ones grow before you kill the old ones.
Well, I just have a thing with fruit-trees and whales  :)
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 20:03 10-May-2012
By all means do buy a good (safe) axe!  ;D
But - with respect to apple trees, are you aware how long time it takes to grow them? You do not just chop the grandparents and harvest the kids the next year. I'd say, make some new ones grow before you kill the old ones.
Well, I just have a thing with fruit-trees and whales  :)

Like I said, I don't enjoy cutting a good fruit tree but three are where we plan to build and one will make the fence impossible. I was wrong. There are 6 apple trees so two will stay. We will plant a pear tree and I would like to have an apricot tree if they can grow up. It seems they do better in Crimea, though. Maybe a cherry tree.

I'd also like to put in some grapes this year and have leaves for dolma. Babuschka also makes homemade wine.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Carlusha on 20:10 10-May-2012
Claus is quite correct. Why not simply cut the mature trees back, keeping the more reachable branches. That would help a better yield anyway. As Claus said it can take years depending upon the variety you plant. I would say on average at least 7 to 10 years. When the younger trees start to bear a decent amount of fruit, then you can decide whether to do away with the old trees.

My ex and I used to own a pub in UK that had a huge plot of land attached that was rented by a local farmer. We used to talk a lot about the various apple and pear trees on that plot over apple or pear home-made cider that he used to share with us. However, Ukrainian weather is possibly better for the apples than what the UK has to offer.


Modified by Carl : Sorry - I was warned someone had posted but went ahead anyway.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 20:44 10-May-2012
Well, the problem is that two of them are where we are going to put the foundation this year and two others are on the fence line. If you look at the pic of my work shop you can see them and there is one in the middle of the pic that is behind the workshop. It's young and it will stay. The large apple tree next to the barn will also stay. The wooded lot next to us that we want to buy has apple trees on it so we could collect them as well if we want unless the poor neighbor kids want them.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Ted on 21:35 10-May-2012
By all means do buy a good (safe) axe!  ;D
But - with respect to apple trees, are you aware how long time it takes to grow them? You do not just chop the grandparents and harvest the kids the next year. I'd say, make some new ones grow before you kill the old ones.
Well, I just have a thing with fruit-trees and whales  :)

I hate it when I see a bus load of wales getting off near my local market. Those bastards roll down to the orchards, Harvest for less than illegal Moldavians and drink all night at the bars, steal the local chicks, and leave an empty city like a plague of locusts.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Tnic on 06:17 11-May-2012
Well, I do not know much about homesteading - but good luck with it!  :)
In principle I'm against chopping fruit-trees, but when you chop the apples, use it for firewood, the scent is adorable!

Or better yet, save the apple wood for your smokehouse.  You'll love what it does for food.

Thanks for starting this thread!  I'll be following your progress closely, since we'll be on the hunt next Spring for our plot of land.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 09:28 11-May-2012
Well, I do not know much about homesteading - but good luck with it!  :)
In principle I'm against chopping fruit-trees, but when you chop the apples, use it for firewood, the scent is adorable!

Or better yet, save the apple wood for your smokehouse.  You'll love what it does for food.

Thanks for starting this thread!  I'll be following your progress closely, since we'll be on the hunt next Spring for our plot of land.

Thanks, Tnic  ;D I hadn't thought of a smoke house. After I split the logs I'll stack it in the barn to dry. How long does it need to season for smoking meat?

Good luck with your search, Tnic. We had to look at alot of plots to find the one we wanted. We're about 35km southwest of Kyiv. The area is nice and there are available plots. It takes patience to find the right one. I suggest you look in winter. The prices seem to be lower then.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Tnic on 12:44 11-May-2012
Any time my friend.  I'd let the wood cure over the winter.  The excess moisture will have evaporated and you won't have to worry about creosote then.

I've already decided that the smoke house will likely be the first structure to go up on our plot.  It can serve as secure storage while we build then get used for the good stuff later.

Our timing to begun the search will depend on how much $$ we blow on our Maine vacation in July/Aug.  I'd like to have 5-7K USD in the bank for that venture to go along with LOML's credit.  I hope to find 10-15 sotka as we plan to build a second attached home for dochka when we get settled a bit.  That way there will still be plenty of space for the grandboy's play area and a bit of a garden.

Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Carlusha on 14:46 11-May-2012
Lads, I am sure we will all be keeping up with your latest efforts and therefore your topic has been made "Sticky" (липкий)

Good luck to you both and your families.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 22:14 11-May-2012
Thanks, Carl ;)

My wife has found an architect with some designs we like. Some of her work is too kitschy for me but I like the rustic style and the energy efficiency.

http://www.ernst.kiev.ua/Pleseckoe_ru.html (http://www.ernst.kiev.ua/Pleseckoe_ru.html)

Quote
We provide the full range of architectural services for energy-efficient private and public buildings and buildings that conform to the Passive House standard. We also specialise in the architectural design of schools and child care facilities in line with the special psychosomatic requirements of younger children.

The practice is headed by Ukrainian architect Tetiana Ernst, who graduated from the State Academy of Fine Arts (Stuttgart, Germany) in 2003 and received her PhD from the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture (Kyiv, Ukraine) in 2007. Mrs. Ernst has over six years of hands-on experience in the design and building of energy-efficient buildings and ?passive? homes.

Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: clanholmes on 01:46 12-May-2012
Thanks, Carl ;)

My wife has found an architect with some designs we like. Some of her work is too kitschy for me but I like the rustic style and the energy efficiency.

http://www.ernst.kiev.ua/Pleseckoe_ru.html (http://www.ernst.kiev.ua/Pleseckoe_ru.html)

Quote
We provide the full range of architectural services for energy-efficient private and public buildings and buildings that conform to the Passive House standard. We also specialise in the architectural design of schools and child care facilities in line with the special psychosomatic requirements of younger children.

The practice is headed by Ukrainian architect Tetiana Ernst, who graduated from the State Academy of Fine Arts (Stuttgart, Germany) in 2003 and received her PhD from the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture (Kyiv, Ukraine) in 2007. Mrs. Ernst has over six years of hands-on experience in the design and building of energy-efficient buildings and ?passive? homes.

I would save some choice logs for a sauna.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 20:36 17-May-2012
Thanks, Carl ;)

My wife has found an architect with some designs we like. Some of her work is too kitschy for me but I like the rustic style and the energy efficiency.

http://www.ernst.kiev.ua/Pleseckoe_ru.html (http://www.ernst.kiev.ua/Pleseckoe_ru.html)

Quote
We provide the full range of architectural services for energy-efficient private and public buildings and buildings that conform to the Passive House standard. We also specialise in the architectural design of schools and child care facilities in line with the special psychosomatic requirements of younger children.

The practice is headed by Ukrainian architect Tetiana Ernst, who graduated from the State Academy of Fine Arts (Stuttgart, Germany) in 2003 and received her PhD from the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture (Kyiv, Ukraine) in 2007. Mrs. Ernst has over six years of hands-on experience in the design and building of energy-efficient buildings and ?passive? homes.

I would save some choice logs for a sauna.

That is already planned.

@Claus. We planted two chervonets apple saplings, . They should start producing within a couple of years. Also planted some kishmish grapes vines and petunias and irises.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 12:25 19-May-2012
So we've met our first dilemma. 

The lot to the west is wooded but to our east is the local charity case. Their property is in shambles with garbage everywhere and it appears they had a fire sometime in the recent past which didn't help. The mother doesn't seem to do much but smoke and yell at the four children. They are all under the age of 12 at the most. They look healthy and clean but are shy like rural children are. They just stare at us. My wife has tried to speak with but only briefly. I would like the 12 year old to do a few chores for us and we could help them with some cash, at the least so the kids can enjoy a few luxuries. I started to doing the same at about the same age (mowing grass, trimming bushes, etc.). It seems to be politically incorrect these days, however.

The problem is the father. He's a real piece of work. A couple of weeks ago I took my girls to lake in the afternoon. Babushka stayed at the house to work on some of her projects. We had eaten lunch and packed up most of our things because we we're going to head back to Kyiv after relaxing at the lake. We had left the stroller, though, and the guy next door thought we had left it and didn't know that Babushka was still there. Babushka reported that she heard him clearly yelling to the kids in the back of their yard to go and take our stroller. He was up near their house. One of the girls, about 10 y.o, came into our yard toward the stroller and Babushka came out from around the house and the girl ran off yelling that we were still there.

I wasn't told about until we got home. Last week when we went to the homestead I planned a sting but it didn't turn out. I did have the pleasure of seeing the neighbor come out in the cold and rain in his speedo, piss drunk, and yell at the kids.

I'm hoping that since the douchebag was caught in the act that he knows that we will know it is him if any of our stuff comes up missing. I talked to our other decent neighbors and they all said he is trouble. I saw him jump over the neighbors fence across the road. He was hollering to them and they were just ignoring him but I guess he needed to see them.

We're putting up a fence soon.

So the question is, what approach would be best towards the children? If their father does steal from my family I can have him dealt with, and harshly, but I'd rather not. I would like for us to be able to foster a relationship with the children and help them and not alienate them or their parents. I'm weary of giving gifts, other than food, because it won't teach them anything. My wife hasn't told me it is taboo to have children do chores for pocket money and I think this the best option. She also tells me that she doesn't think they will understand. Earning something through work doesn't seem to be a value in their family, nor cleaning up one's own home, etc.

Like I said, they are shy.  They've started to respond to "hello" and my wife has has had a few words with them. I suppose that is about all we can do, yeah? I'm not naive enough to imagine any organizations would be able to help them and they do look clean and healthy and aren't in any immediate danger so... we'll just do what we can but any other insights would be appreciated.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Carlusha on 14:13 19-May-2012
I can only suggest if you do succeed in actually getting the children to do the odd job, always be aware of how little the Ukrainian minimum wage is. I say this because it is so easy to exceed that even though you do not feel particularly generous.

Word will get around and you may attract attention if you are overly generous.



Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 15:40 19-May-2012
I can only suggest if you do succeed in actually getting the children to do the odd job, always be aware of how little the Ukrainian minimum wage is. I say this because it is so easy to exceed that even though you do not feel particularly generous.

Word will get around and you may attract attention if you are overly generous.

Thank, Carl. It's a good point. I'll keep it mind.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Tnic on 06:30 20-May-2012
Sounds like Papa is a prime candidate for a "blanket party" if you and the other neighbors could set one up.  The US Marines call it a code red. 

A blanket over the head and a bar of soap in a sock does wonders for one's uncivil attitude.  He won't likely consider the PCness of it all.

A high wall works too, but its more work and less entertaining.   :D
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Ted on 06:43 20-May-2012
BYOS   (Bring Your Own Soap)  is what we used to say in the Army.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 16:01 21-May-2012
Sounds like Papa is a prime candidate for a "blanket party" if you and the other neighbors could set one up.  The US Marines call it a code red. 

A blanket over the head and a bar of soap in a sock does wonders for one's uncivil attitude.  He won't likely consider the PCness of it all.

A high wall works too, but its more work and less entertaining.   :D

Well, the fence is going up as soon as possible.

A "blanket party" would be entertaining. I remember "code red" from Full Metal Jacket and Private Pyle.  ;D

The problem is that he is an alcoholic, apparently, and due to the brain damage they often can't learn. After Babushka told me what  happened I quickly considered having him dealt with by the same gentlemen that dealt with the idiot who broke into my car a few months ago and had the audacity to try to sell my stolen property back to me. A report from Babushka is not enough evidence, however, and I quickly realized that it wouldn't be productive and it might result in blowback.

Yesterday, my wife talked with the kids some and learned their names. I had Babushka ask the oldest to clean up some of their garbage which has made its way into our yard. I offered 10 UAH and he said "ne nada"

So I raked it up and deposited it back on their property.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Tnic on 16:07 21-May-2012
I forget the movie now, but I was thinking of the one with Cruise and Nickolson.  "You can't HANDLE the truth!!"   :D  Jack was a CO at Gitmo in that one and Tom was a JAG officer.

The kids "ne nada" money or work?  This could be interesting to say the least.

Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 16:19 21-May-2012
A Few Good Men.  Great movie, and Demi Moore too.

I don't know about the "ne nada." I think it meant there was no need to clean up the garbage.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Carlusha on 16:29 21-May-2012
Weird, according to SWWTT until I mentioned it was in response to a request to clear up the garbage for UAH 10. She then said it means "Don't want it!"

I do hope you do not end up with the neighbours from hell.

Consider using salo instead of soap for the forthcoming party!

Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: DarrenF on 17:18 21-May-2012
I'm not sure if you'll ever need homesteading advice. Here's a possible resource. It's America centric. Just ignore the political dustups, Folks chime in from other countries. Some Canadians post regularly. You may be able to find info to rehabilitate the apple trees you keep. The site is an information gold mine.

Sorry about the neighbor. Around here the solution is direct, quick and usually involves a firearm to reach an understanding. Of course that probably isn't possible in Ukraine.

www.homesteadingtoday.com (http://www.homesteadingtoday.com)

Be aware that many on the site think the end of the world, in a manner of speaking, is just around the corner. Try not to aggravate the natives no matter how silly some of the stuff appears.  ::) Many of them have useful knowledge to share.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 19:18 21-May-2012
Weird, according to SWWTT until I mentioned it was in response to a request to clear up the garbage for UAH 10. She then said it means "Don't want it!"

I do hope you do not end up with the neighbours from hell.

Consider using salo instead of soap for the forthcoming party!

They're not quite neighbors from hell and once the fence and security system goes up there won't be any problems. After Babushka caught Papa giving criminal orders their haven't been any other problems and we've left things just to see if they'd be taken. I caught his eye a couple of times while I was working on the trees with a hand saw and I'm 200 lbs and lean. I gave a him a cold stare and he averted his eyes. Gorilla tactics, I know, but I think he knows that I know who he is and if he crosses me, well.... he'll find out who I am but let's hope it doesn't come to that.

We always take our video camera. I've seen no reason to think that they're being abused but I wouldn't be surprised by it and if he does something stupid and I catch him on video, some acquaintances of mine will pay him a visit and inform him why he needs to do better for his children.

I do feel for the children. My wife is wonderful with children and they are interested our little girl. They ask her questions and she shows them some kindness which they don't get much of at home. Our daughter will likely grow up around them so I hope in the future will be able to help them some. Perhaps some anonymous gifts left for them might brighten their world. Running around bare foot with Papa's broken beer bottles and other assorted trash around the yard seems a bit dark. We'll see what happens.

Anyways,

thanks for the link, DarrenF. Good stuff. I'm doing quite a bit of research on some projects I want to build: smokehouse, chicken coup, greenhouse, composting system/heating system for the greenhouse, beehive. I want maximize production. I can sympathize with the end-is-nigh crowd. I think Noam Chomsky says it best. The human species is headed for a cliff. Most people view themselves as separate from the environment in which they live and it's disastrous. Look around.

I also think corporate globalization is a catastrophe and it's best to get the hell out of the path of destruction. Local, sustainable communities and economies is the key to my children's future.

Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Glyn Thomas. on 09:50 22-May-2012

Well, the fence is going up as soon as possible.

I have just got a very good quote for fencing at trade prices...PM me if you need details.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 10:19 23-May-2012

Well, the fence is going up as soon as possible.

I have just got a very good quote for fencing at trade prices...PM me if you need details.

Thanks, Ace. PM forthcoming.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Glyn Thomas. on 12:08 23-May-2012
Try not to aggravate the natives no matter how silly some of the stuff appears.  ::) Many of them have useful knowledge to share.

Sounds like here...

BTW - PM sent back
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 19:45 28-May-2012
Anyone have any experience with surveyors? Recommendations, costs? I figure it's prudent to have one come and find the precise lines for the fence. There are markers for our plot of agricultural land in the field but I haven't been able to find any around the house. There is an old fence that I removed on the side next to the wooded lot. The fence that used to separate our plot on the side of the neighbor is mostly gone and rotten.

Not much news about the homestead. We got the rest of the garden finished. Two rows of tomato plants yesterday. It's not enormous, 30ft x 25 feet. I used the old fence posts that weren't too rotten to put up a chicken wire fence to protect it until we can get the perimeter fence up.

We're having a tree cutting party this coming weekend. Shashliek, swimming in the lakes, and stacking up logs. I hope the weather is accommodating.

@Tnic, if you'd like some apple wood for your smoker let me know :)

Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Tnic on 04:30 29-May-2012
I know in the US the boundaries are marked with steel pins in the ground.  Dunno if its the same here or not, maybe a metal detector would find them?

Hold on to that wood mate.  I just may take you up on it in the next year or so.   ;)
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 21:56 06-Jun-2012
Found the markers and solved the problem with the neighbor, I hope :-\.

I drove to the house last Tuesday sans the women folk. I was near the front corner of our property adjacent to his looking for the steel pins which I finally found. The old fence is gone there and the children were out playing. Papa come over and introduced himself as Igor. I reciprocated and told him that I will be building a fence. I asked him if there would be any problems with tearing down the rest of the old fence. He said no and then asked if he could do some work for me. I thought for a second and told him to come with me. I figured I'd give him the benefit of the doubt since he didn't take the bait after getting caught the first time.

I told him the old toilet and the strange makeshift closet next to it that was filled with an old tv and trash needed to be torn down and removed. I also wanted him to tear down the rest of the old fence and to organize the wood in the barn into two stacks; usable and for burning. In addition, I wanted every last piece of garbage removed from my property and for all of the remaining grass and weeds to be cut. I offered a generous wage and told him that I wanted it finished in 4 days. He agreed.

The children had followed us onto my property while I was showing the jobs and I asked him if we could have a private conversation. He sent them back to the house and I told him what Babushka had told me she saw and heard regarding our baby stroller. He looked down and fidgeted. I told him that I don't want any problems and that if I have any problems with him that I have much more money( a bluff but he didn't know) and more resources than he and that I could make serious problems for him. He understood. He wanted to do more but I told him that if he did as I asked than I would have more work for him. I told him that I don't need his friends and he volunteered, "ne vodka" . sure, ok.

I decided to go two days later to check on the progress. He had finished nearly everything to my absolute $$%^ing surprise.

Over the weekend we had a gathering of our friends. He cut down 6 trees with his chain saw and over the next two weeks he is going to be cutting the apple wood into 30 cm logs and stacking it against the barn. I had him cut a stump for splitting the logs and I'll be doing that at my leisure. He's also repairing the door on the barn, putting up a new outhouse out of sight behind the house and breaking all the dead wood into small pieces for cooking fires.

My wife fed him and he talked with her and Babushka. It turns out the children are actually his grandchildren. Their father (Igor's wife's son) is in prison. The oldest is going to a summer camp and my wife tells me their situation is not as bad as it looks. I'm not sure what she meant.

He assures me that he is "dobre mushina"
He, his wife and the children are all quite respectful of us now. Let's hope it lasts. I had another private conversation with him on Monday and he agreed to clean the garbage on his property as well. I told him that I know the wage I gave him is quite generous and that it was because of the children. I think he understood.

He is working at another property and building a fence he told us. I'm going to check out his work and may have him help put up the fence if my wife can ever decide on what she wants.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 22:10 16-Jun-2012
quick update.

We went this week to submit the documents to Zhek and some other office. My job is to drive there with babushka and wait as we put the property in her name for various reasons. The whole documentation process is described in P-N's thread about buying property. The process can be expedited for a price but we need to save cash.

5 apple trees and one dead walnut tree have been cut. We decided to leave 2 for the time being for shade. Our back lot is going to be an orchard and we've already planted 2 new apple trees, a pear, apricot and we have 3 cherry trees.

Igor fixed up the barn door and stacked up the wood. I'll split it and stack it up in the barn myself. He also built the toilet which the men will need while building. He's completed everything else we agreed to.

We'll be starting the fence soon and we already have some large radishes that added to our salad today. We're taking a tent next weekend to see the place in the evening and to go fishing at the lake nearby.

The water in the well which is about 25 meters down the road from our gate is at 6 meters down. We need to dig a well and it looks like it won't be very difficult. At the well today some ladies came up to my wife and gave us some candies. A lady put them in my hand and I smiled real big and said "spaciba boshor.' My wife told me that her mother had just died....f%&K :-[
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Tnic on 05:21 17-Jun-2012
Sounds like you're in the process of cementing a solid relationship with your neighbor.  Excellent work and Igor seems to be willing to work.  I've always heard it said that FSUers respect strength and it sounds like you've hit on the right approach.  Hoping it will hold up over time KP.

Enjoy your camping trip in a trash free zone.  Will there be some okroshka with those radishes?
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 18:25 18-Jun-2012
Will there be some okroshka with those radishes?

We made some a few week ago. It's not my favorite to be honest.

We have a tripod with a pot and yesterday we made stew with meat, potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, peas, onion and carrot
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: clanholmes on 05:33 06-Jul-2012
http://homesteadsurvival.blogspot.ca/ (http://homesteadsurvival.blogspot.ca/)

They have a cool facebook page also
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Tnic on 05:50 06-Jul-2012
Nice link!  Thanks Clan.  They have a great p-butter recipe too.  hmmm
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 13:27 26-Jul-2012
The back lot is cleared and ready for the foundation and the garden is producing nicely.

Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 13:28 26-Jul-2012
We've also got plenty of raspberries, apples and wild nuts.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 13:31 26-Jul-2012
@ Carl - I went cheap on the shovels and rakes but don't worry I shelled out for a quality hatchet.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Carlusha on 13:38 26-Jul-2012
@ Carl - I went cheap on the shovels and rakes but don't worry I shelled out for a quality hatchet.

Quite! The quality hatchet will come in very handy when you fancy a chicken dinner! Gulp!  ???
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Glyn Thomas. on 14:03 26-Jul-2012
Huh!

Call that a hatchet????

Where's your sense of adventure? Why not go local and get a wooden-handled one where the wedges holding in in ... don't.

Livens up any barbeque.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Tnic on 14:26 26-Jul-2012
Huh!

Call that a hatchet????

Where's your sense of adventure? Why not go local and get a wooden-handled one where the wedges holding in in ... don't.

Livens up any barbeque.

Then we'd hear some stories about flying off the handle!

Nice looking garden produce mate.  Getting really jealous here and hoping to find a plot next Spring.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 10:40 27-Jul-2012


Nice looking garden produce mate.  Getting really jealous here and hoping to find a plot next Spring.

Thanks, buddy! If I were you I would start looking in the late autumn. Prices go down over the winter.

 It took us over a year to find our place. We looked at least 30-40 places. There is lot of over-priced poop on the market. Also, talk to friends and family. That is where the best deals are to be had.

We're waiting for our tomatoes to ripen. My wife doesn't believe me when I tell her about fried green tomatoes. If I have any large enough this weekend they are on the menu. :)

Our cucumbers are not too shabby. We're going to start pickling them next week. I planted 20 jalapeno plants as well and each is giving 4-5 peppers. I'm going to make some chili/vinegar sauce with them.

As for the chickens, they are actually the neighbors. I don't understand why they don't pen them up. Their manure is great for composting. They do lay eggs in our barn, though. Next spring I am going to get our own chickens and make a pen on the side of the barn and cut a small door on the barn and put their coup in there.

Last weekend I invited my friend Andre and his girlfriend, Elisa. They both just finished their PhD's in botany and work at the botanical gardens in Kyiv doing research. We sat all night around a fire and talked about permaculture and some other techniques I've been researching. We may set up some experiments with his university in Ternopil.

I'm working on putting together a blog about the homestead. We are there everywhere weekend and we've formed a good relationship with the children next door. My wife spends alot of time talking with the girls and Sasha, the 5 year old boy, follows me around alot. We give them some spending money for doing some chores for us and it feels good to make a positive difference in their life(hopefully). Their favorite thing is to ride around in our car (with their Mama's permission of course) We've been helping them learn some English and I talked yesterday with my superiors at my school and they are interested in my idea of offering some courses (English, art, music) in the village to the under-privileged children there.

Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: timinua on 13:44 27-Jul-2012
I'm working on putting together a blog about the homestead. We are there everywhere weekend and we've formed a good relationship with the children next door. My wife spends alot of time talking with the girls and Sasha, the 5 year old boy, follows me around alot. We give them some spending money for doing some chores for us and it feels good to make a positive difference in their life(hopefully). Their favorite thing is to ride around in car (with their Mama's permission of course) We've been helping them learn some English and I talked yesterday with my superiors at my school and they are interested in my idea of offering some courses (English, art, music) in the village to the under-privileged children there.

Now that's a fellow countryman that Americans can be proud of...
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Ted on 15:27 27-Jul-2012
I'm working on putting together a blog about the homestead. We are there everywhere weekend and we've formed a good relationship with the children next door. My wife spends alot of time talking with the girls and Sasha, the 5 year old boy, follows me around alot. We give them some spending money for doing some chores for us and it feels good to make a positive difference in their life(hopefully). Their favorite thing is to ride around in car (with their Mama's permission of course) We've been helping them learn some English and I talked yesterday with my superiors at my school and they are interested in my idea of offering some courses (English, art, music) in the village to the under-privileged children there.

Now that's a fellow countryman that Americans can be proud of...

Oh crap, here I thought I was being productive making 20 liters of Samigon today, but nooooo you gotta go all "respectable and stuff"....   ;)

Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Tnic on 17:57 28-Jul-2012
I'm working on putting together a blog about the homestead. We are there everywhere weekend and we've formed a good relationship with the children next door. My wife spends alot of time talking with the girls and Sasha, the 5 year old boy, follows me around alot. We give them some spending money for doing some chores for us and it feels good to make a positive difference in their life(hopefully). Their favorite thing is to ride around in car (with their Mama's permission of course) We've been helping them learn some English and I talked yesterday with my superiors at my school and they are interested in my idea of offering some courses (English, art, music) in the village to the under-privileged children there.

Now that's a fellow countryman that Americans can be proud of...

Oh crap, here I thought I was being productive making 20 liters of Samigon today, but nooooo you gotta go all "respectable and stuff"....   ;)

Well, if you're willing to share maybe we can let you off the hook John.

Kudos to KP for making a difference.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Ted on 19:38 28-Jul-2012
I'm working on putting together a blog about the homestead. We are there everywhere weekend and we've formed a good relationship with the children next door. My wife spends alot of time talking with the girls and Sasha, the 5 year old boy, follows me around alot. We give them some spending money for doing some chores for us and it feels good to make a positive difference in their life(hopefully). Their favorite thing is to ride around in car (with their Mama's permission of course) We've been helping them learn some English and I talked yesterday with my superiors at my school and they are interested in my idea of offering some courses (English, art, music) in the village to the under-privileged children there.

Now that's a fellow countryman that Americans can be proud of...

Oh crap, here I thought I was being productive making 20 liters of Samigon today, but nooooo you gotta go all "respectable and stuff"....   ;)

Well, if you're willing to share maybe we can let you off the hook John.

Kudos to KP for making a difference.

Yes KP excellent!

Ok, I will give a bottle to my alcoholic neighbors, that's what a good American should do right?  ::)
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 12:09 31-Jul-2012
Thanks, guys.

I wanted to bring something uplifting to the forum, perhaps some inspiration, instead of the usual bitching and moaning and not to just to get a pat on the back but it is nice and I appreciate it.  :) I believe that you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. My altruism is not independent of my self-interest, though. I am building a home in a village and I'd rather have good relationships with my neighbors than just wall off everyone and try to ignore them. My daughter is going to be raised there and I want her grow in a community of people that support each other.

Community, not Communism

The children are nice too. The oldest girl is responsible and has her head on straight. She likes mathematics and is saving her money for a computer. The younger girl is pretty and not too wild but she has unfortunate birthmark on her shoulder and upper arm that she is quite self-conscious of. Sasha, the five year old boy actually told my wife that he wishes he I were his Papa while we were all sitting around a fire on Saturday night. I told him that I wish I had a son like him. His father is prison for growing marijuana, that scourge of society like alcohol and opium(poppies), which are both legal. I don't know about their father but their mother is a self-respecting and decent woman. She works and they have nice clothes and they went to zoo this week. I like them because they grow up in an agrarian environment like I did. They are never bored while there are plants and bugs and animals around.

We try just to be good role models. Unfortunately, their grandparents are more akin to animals. Igor and his wife live in poop and don't care. The grandmother tries to act more civilized when we are around and does most of the actual farm work on their 20 cotok. Igor is an alcoholic lout that doesn't fix up or clean up his family's home but he fears me and respects us so at least he isn't a problem.

I do know that kids are amazingly resilient and poor environments can be overcome. We'll do what we can.



Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Tnic on 13:02 31-Jul-2012
Well it sounds like the kids need a positive male role model in their lives and you've stepped up to the plate, never a bad thing.

Totally agree on knowing your neighbors and getting on with them.  It wasn't so long ago that that was simply how it was done.  After a year in Simferopol I barely know what the occupants of the other 3 flats on our floor look like, let alone get on with them.  Maybe we should invite em over for some BBQ pizza some evening.  er, one flat at a time that is.

Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Ted on 13:12 31-Jul-2012
Well it sounds like the kids need a positive male role model in their lives and you've stepped up to the plate, never a bad thing.

Totally agree on knowing your neighbors and getting on with them.  It wasn't so long ago that that was simply how it was done.  After a year in Simferopol I barely know what the occupants of the other 3 flats on our floor look like, let alone get on with them.  Maybe we should invite em over for some BBQ pizza some evening.  er, one flat at a time that is.

ya know, that is something that is totally different from where I lived in CA and Oregon. I mean, I really didn't know my neighbors at all (except the Indian Grandma a few doors down who would make killer curry dishes in Salida CA.)  But here, I know all of my neighbors from all of the surrounding area. I like that, it reminds me of when I was a kid and it was ok to be friends with everyone. Ok, it probably WASN'T ok, because there were some "strange confirmed bachelors" down the next road that my parents told be to stay away from. But in retrospect they were great cooks and bakers and were always the hit of the parties.

Anyway, when people ask me why I like Ukraine, one of the reasons is that it actually feels like home to me. Hard to explain I guess.

Not meaning to hijack the topic, but being friends with your neighbors enriches our life here.
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 13:23 31-Jul-2012
I think with 20 liters of samogon you'd be quite popular with the neighbors, John.  ;D
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: Ted on 17:34 31-Jul-2012
I think with 20 liters of samogon you'd be quite popular with the neighbors, John.  ;D

Well, I figure 5 liters are already downed, we had a party. Gee, it goes kinda fast ...
Title: Re: Homesteading in Ukraine
Post by: kyivkpic on 21:21 20-Sep-2014
We are putting our place up for sale. We aren't leaving Ukraine but we'd rather just buy a finished home to live in at this point.

The property is 16 sotki with an old house that's dry with a fireplace and new electrical wiring. There is also a good barn full of cured and seasoned apple wood, a workshop, and a root cellar. We dug a well and put up a cement fence(creek stone facade) at 2.5 M and the back end of the lot is open fields all the way to the forest, and one side is adjacent to a wooded lot. It is at the far end of the village a couple of hundred meters from a clean and very large forest (5km by 10 km). 

Our property is about a 45 minute drive by car west of Kyiv, by M06 from Zhytomyrksa metro station. There are also regular buses. It is usually not more than an hour and half by bus. It's a safe and quiet village. It's also quite clean with good roads and a respectful looking school with a bus for the children. There are many new homes being built, with a few mansions at the beautiful lakes a couple of kilometers away. The property is on a sand and gravel road, with no traffic.  The locals speak mostly Ukrainian and I doubt the ruskies are likely to make it west of the Dneiper.  :D The drive from Kyiv is pleasant and scenic. If driving from M06(one of the best roads in Ukraine) you don't cross the railroads and possibly wait but you do if going by Odessa road, M05.

The place is ready for construction. I've cleared the lot, and wore out my chainsaw on over a dozen trees. We tilled nearly every square inch with hand tools. Hand grenades from WWII were actually a concern in the village. We didn't find any, thankfully, and there is not one piece of glass or metal left in the soil. The 5 sotki in the field that go with the main lot must still by checked by the army before it is tilled by a tractor, though. The house is more than good enough for a crew of laborers to live in. It's close to end near the gate and in the back end of the lot a new home can be built facing the open fields and forest.

We're asking for 40K USD (negotiable). We looked at over 50 properties before we bought this one a couple of years ago. It's a good property and we've put a lot into it. If interested please send a PM