Sunday, 25 September 2011


Vasyl's simple wooden house was about 30 years old and made from timber taken from the surrounding forest. Here he is with his son Taras.

The building was built in around a week with his friends and as with the earlier dairy farm, this family also led a transhumant life living in the high pastures from May until late Sept. Vasyl was accompanied by his son Taras who was in his early 20's and his beautiful girlfriend Lyubyn. Together they kept around 33 cows with absolutely no mechanisation, just a generator for electric light

On this occasion the horses were kept tethered while our foal, who accompanied us along the journey, kept close to her mother. A very wild and energetic stallion was kept at bay in case he upset the mares.

The view from the cottage was staggering. In the nearby valley below, Vasyl's blind father lived all the year round. At 86 he must have been a tough man, we heard that the Russians had insisted he leave his farm but he refused. This act defiance cost him 11 years in Siberia.

After a sumptuous supper Melissa took this shot. The grinning faces are typical of such an after supper picture. What is incongruous is the buxom blond posing on the poster in the background but again I'm not from Hutsulshchyna I'm sure there is a deeper significance, well I hope so. Cheers guys.

The house was built to be practical with a chainsaw sitting alongside the cooking pots. We all slept together in one room, which made for a very cozy night and proved to Melissa I’m not the only man who snores a great deal after a drinking vodka.

Lyubyn was a little angle and Taras (her boyfriend) is a lucky man. I wonder if she realises how important her role is. The next generation of Transhumant dairy farmers I got the feeling she has the strength and commitment to make it happen.

Once the cheese has been made some of it goes up into the loft to be smoked, which we were lucky enough to be given a vast slab for our return journey. The beams blackened by years of smoke had a perfume of their own.

Come morning no one wanted to get up to do the milking. I always thought dairymen were diligent and got up at the crack of dawn but our dairymen preferred their bed. I can only imagine it was my how brew 'Au de Vie' which gave us all a goodnights sleep.

The family dog was kept on a leash most of the time but was let off once a day for a quick sniff and parade around the house. His job was to act as the alarm should a bear get too near to the cattle.

If you find this entry and want to visit Vasyl and his family let me know and I will try to put you in touch. They like visitors especially the paying type , they need every help to keep the farm going. God bless you guys.

If you want to hear the magic of milking time try this quick clip.It's like a symphony of bells and for captures the magic of Hutsulshchyna.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I'd be interested in getting in touch with them. Please drop me a line with the contact. Thanks a lot.