Life in Ukraine is comparable to the 1800s on US farms. Our relative writes on 12/16/03:
Work not have. All our work is on farming. The goats don't go to pasture by end of October, kept in for the winter. They are milked two times a day -- in the morning and at night. They were already bred so in the spring we will have little ones.
Snow here we don't have yet, but it's a bit cold and windy. At night 35-36º F (frosty) and in day it warms to 40-43º F. We heat a bit with wood. In the kitchen we cook food on gas stove. The kitchen is small so it keeps warm and our wood will last until next year. In next room we burn with wood. Room is small. Little wood goes on. Soon warms up the room and keeps warm til morning.
We butchered the pig; it didn't weigh much. She was a bit puny and didn't improve, so we butchered her. We ate a little and put up jars in the cellar. We got a bucket of lard, ten liters, from her. By spring we will have a bit for oil. We canned eight jars, made meat cured seven jars of salted pork and made blood sausage from buckwheat. We're already relieved that we don't have to go to the market for this. Prices already expensive. On spring says that will be higher yet. And pension gave on five hryvnias higher. Had 110 hryvnia and now 115 hrynias. Bought a sack of flour (110 lb.) for $110 hryvnia. Nothing left of pension. Meat is expensive; fifteen hryvnia for two lbs. Lard is eight -ten hryvnia a piece; six-seven hrynia for ribs. This is expensive for us. Wheat too is very expensive 180 increased to one hrynia 50 kopek. When our pension is raised, so too the prices will rise again.
In the spring we will try to make repairs. Need to whitewash the walls, floor and window sills. Need a bit of money on repairs, about $20-30 to buy paints, plaster, cotton and brushes. We'd like to have it white by Easter. Ceiling already is darkened. It's been four years since we last did it. Also replaced a lock for the doors, since ours is broken.
Please send seeds for beets, carrots, cabbage for spring. Garlic too if you have. We lost ours. Send coffee, conserves, fish, ham and oil, towels, sheets, socks, dark pants, long sleeve shirts, rain jackets, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, rain boots, aspirin, eye drops, razors, blades and cream for shaving, oven pans, big spoons, knife needles with big eyes, rubber glue for rubber soles, thread that is strong that can be used to sew shoes.
Stay well and all the best of holidays to your and your family.