I have celebration day (Christmas) leave tokens, two of one-day passes.  Only two from my unit got to celebrate at home.  Yes, I have to say it was a very nice holiday.

ukraine-sunflower-field

In the Ukraine, farms grow sunflowers.  Field upon field of beautiful, tall, bright sunflowers.  Traditionally, the seeds are crushed to produce sunflower oil for cooking.  After processing, there is a heavy porridge of husk left behind.  A husk residue is used as winter-feed for farm animals.  We call it cattle cake.

Over the summer months, much of Latvia’s lush farmland has been torn apart by fighting or else been neglected due to a lack of experienced farmhands.  Any crops that do manage to survive are quickly scooped up by either German or Russian troops long before any local residents get a chance to harvest.  As a result, food has become so scarce that cattle cake is sold in Riga for human consumption.  Butter can be exchanged for twice its weight in cattle cake and so those ground husks are now a large part of many citizens diet.  People have to do what they can to feed their family.  It does not taste very nice but at least it is filling.  With so many people reduced to eating animal feed, I do wonder what farmers are giving to their animals.