Segment Synopsis: They would go to a lake not too far away there there was lots of grass. They would cut it and rake it. He would help as a water boy. Helped with the garden. Picked mushrooms and berries. The whole family participated. His father was actually trained as a cabinet maker and then he worked for the CPR and then on the farm he was the Jack of all trades. He was the plow man, rock gatherer, grower, mower, etc. In the end when they went into beekeeping, they grew clover, he tended the bees. It's a full time job. They used the Langstroth system in apiculture. Langstroth made it clear beekeeping was more than just getting bees and selling honey. A small colony of bees is unproductive. The nature of a hive of bees is that the queen is constantly laying eggs, worker bees are nurturing the eggs. Eventually the queen will lay a queen egg, takes half of the hive with her and establishes another hive. When they do this there is no honey production. To stop this you need to stop the queen cells from producing eggs. Continues to describe the method. It is a very labour intensive method.
Keywords: Langstroth method (apiculture)
Subjects: apiaries; bees (insects); honey
Segment Synopsis: On the farm there was never a shortage of work. The chickens were his mother's job, ducks, geese, the garden, and the kitchen. She made the three meals of the day. Mother always had the table ready. His parents worked together as a team. She did laundry as well. Did it by hand, hung it on the clothes line. Mending socks, knitting gloves and sweaters. Never an end of work available on the farm.
Subjects: farm chores; house chores
Segment Synopsis: The house was built with logs and was plastered. The inside was painted with white wash. Later they used calcimine. The outside of the house was done the same way. Siding and lumber were rarities. Until the late 1930s and 1940s he didn't see boards for the first time. Then they had shingling. New houses in the 40s were made of wood. They had shingles, but the neighbours across the road had a sod roof. That was okay unless it rained. It would rain in the house for a week. In the house, his house was painted with white wash or calcimine. On the east wall there was religious icons or rushnyky or a small lithograph. The calendar was an important part of life. There would be pictures if available, quite often religious. Photographs of the family and friends. Particularly in places with a fireplace or a piano. They didn't have either so they were hung on the walls. Things were not as luxurious. Most houses had one or two rooms. The living room or sitting room would be a kids bedroom at night. He thinks they had a kitchen and two rooms.
Subjects: houses; icons; interior design; religious art
Segment Synopsis: His oldest sister Mona was a seamstress. That was her great talent. His brother Mike was a great guy for building or fixing anything. Built model airplanes or windmills. Mike in his older years did some painting. He was elected secretary of the local school board and came home with a small painting as a gift. It set Nick on fire. He used house paint, barn paint, and he painted all his life. Talks about his brother's paintings. His mother did embroidery/cross-stitch by coal oil lamp in the winters. His sisters also did that. They crocheted. They had a Ukrainian dancing teacher. He was too young but his siblings did that.
Subjects: crafts; crocheting; embroidery; paintings
Segment Synopsis: The pioneers, all of them brought a religious intention with them, but when you move into the north woods of Northern Alberta, there is just no such thing as attending church, because there is no church. He was baptized at Redwater, where there was a church. But then they moved to Boyle and there was no church. His dad was a cantor in the Russian Greek Orthodox Church, he could read Church Slavonic. His dad talked to the neighbours about starting a church and there were some that were Orthodox, so they built a church on a segment of a quarter section south of their farm, donated by the farmer that lived there. The congregation was formed and they raised money by carolling. They got enough money to start building. His dad spent a lot of time building. Mother would prepare lunch and he would walk it down to the church. They ran out of money but a local merchant donated shingles and another donated nails. After the war in the 50s or 60s he went out and helped paint it.
Subjects: Russian Orthodox Church; building; churches; community life
Segment Synopsis: Christmas was a family time and the important part of Christmas Eve was the dinner. Traditionally it is 12 lenten dishes. Family would all come and as his sisters got married they would bring everyone. After dinner they would sing carols, sit around and visit, play cards. They were humble so that's how it was. A lot of the things in the meal were produced at home. They had Christmas trees years later in about 1938-9 or maybe a little before that. They always celebrated in January. In December, the school would have their school concert. The teacher would be judged based on the Christmas concert they produced. There was no school for the Christmas break. At Ukrainian Christmas they needed to go back to school. He went to the school called Monticello. There were no nationalities in the school other than Ukrainian. There was a lot of harmony and pride in the school.
Easter wasn't as significant until the church was built. It was founded in 1935, but probably built in 1936 or 1937. Then Easter took on a real meaning because they would have a midnight vigil. They needed to import a priest from Edmonton. When the congregation was being formed and organized a priest would come from Edmonton and hold a service in their school. Easter meant a midnight vigil and a sunrise service. To a young fellow who had never seen this before, it was a very memorable and special occasion. He must have been about 9 or 10 when they had the service. He remembers times when there wouldn't be a priest, but they would still have a service without the priest.
Birthdays weren't important in their family back then.No gifts or cakes. Even at Christmas the presents were practical, knit at home, a pencil or whatever. Dominion Day was a big event with the town. There was always a picnic and ball games and races. Could win money prizes. Neighbours would visit. There was a big dance with a local orchestra. It was the social highlight of the year. School was out for the year and there was a reason to celebrate.
Subjects: Christmas carols; Christmas pageants; Easter; church services; community life; picnics; ritual meals