By Новая Кама
We already wrote about village of Cherenga in Yakovlevsky settlement, and how it was brought back to life thanks to family homesteads. Today, we will tell you about the Family Homestead and its founders in the Elabuga district.
Baria and Yury Mustaev decided to change the city life to rural one ten years ago, despite the fact that they had a garden in the city. They founded in this village a settlement of family homesteads – they bought 118 hectares of farmland, surveyed it. Now there are 77 one hectare plots. Nine families moved in for permanent residence. Many are building, engaged in gardening, laying gardens.
Baria Mavlyutovna, why did you choose Cherenga?
We searched for land not only in Yelabuga district and not only in Tatarstan. We simply needed a small village like this, where the land is not cultivated all around it. We found and practically revived the dying village. Long ago, it used to be big. But in 1980 there was a great fire. Then some residents wanted to move to other villages. But many refused to give up their native place. When we arrived in Chereng, there were no roads, nothing. There were six dwelling houses, and another non-residential building. In 2010, there was another fire. The grass caught fire. We went to our homestead, we looked – the grass was burning. We called the firefighters, and if they had not reacted in time, the village would have been burnt to ashes. As it happened, the uninhabited houses were burnt, but the rest managed to be saved. Many plantings were burned. I myself come from the village of Morty. But there you can not organize a settlement, because the village is big and all the agricultural lands are being used. And, as they say, don’t climb with your charter into a foreign monastery!
Were there any conditions?
About who will create them? The land is poor, not fertile, we’re restoring it, our Mother, whoever can do it.
What do you grow on your plots, and how does this summer affect the harvest? Where do you get water for watering and drinking?
There was no water in the village at all. In the ravine there was a well, from where the locals once drew water. Over time, the water stagnated and went bad, as the terrain is marshy. When the settlement was built, we drilled a well. Each homestead now has its own. The earth is getting better every year. We grow tomatoes, cabbage, cucumbers, peppers, potatoes, carrots, peas, beans, even watermelons. However, with the weather this year we had no luck. Despite the fact that this time last year we ate tomatoes, this hasn’t come yet. The cucumbers only just began to grow.
Do the residents of the settlement have their own traditions and customs?
While there are no such traditions, it’s just that we have a completely different life. For example, our people do not drink, do not smoke. We have our own unconventional holidays. For example, Whole Earth Day, Summer and Winter Solstice Day, Days of Autumn and Spring Equinox. These holidays have long lost their importance, and we are trying to revive them. By the way, we will celebrate Earth Day on July 23rd. We have meetings held by our chairman – Nikolai Ivanov – young, energetic, and active. At first I was the chairman.
Are there many children in the settlement?
There are young families with children. In one – one child, in another – three. One boy is already attending the Lekarev school, this year he will go into second class.
But still, what is the point of Family Homesteads?
We came to Chereng for the first time in 2007. We have been living here for 5 years. The family homestead, above all, should be a small homeland, a space of love for you and your children. In this small homeland there is a cozy house, an orchard, a pond, a garden that provides your whole family with tasty and healthy food, a forest, a gazebo for family evenings and meetings with friends. The space of the family homestead is decorated with flower beds, ornamental plants and alleys of trees which are pleasing to the eye. In the family homestead, one must strive to create a single renewable ecosystem, in which everything will be harmoniously combined. In the process of creating settlements of family homesteads, air and water are purified, soil fertility rises, springs are restored. Residents of such settlements grow organic food. Finally, in family homesteads, spiritually and physically healthy children are born and brought up.
First published in Russian on 23 July 2017
and 14 November 2017