Poland glossary















Section 1
Can you introduce yourself in a few words, please?
My name is Tadeusz Kostus. I was born in July, 1956, in Bystrzyca Klodzka. At present, I live from farming and apiculture. However, beekeeping is my primary occupation these days for economical reasons. Agriculture is rather unprofitable these days. Besides, I feel much better at apiculture now.

What number of bees do you own now?
Today, I have got 100 bee families plus 8 hectares of land and a some cattle.

Can you tell me something about bee keeping?
Bee keeping is something more to me than breeding bees; itís my life passion. One may be either a beekeeper for a lifetime, or not be one, at all. You have to sacrifice yourself totally, to be able to understand their habits and not disturb their own life and customs.

What is their life like?
Their life is determined by nature. Their behaviour depends on seasons mainly. The period of their rest begins in September and lasts till March, sometimes April. It depends on the temperature. Then, in April, they gradually begin to wake up to life. In June they reach their full maturity. In that time bees are most numerous. In our weather conditions, even up to 100 specimen in a family.

How does the landscape shape influence the beekeeping?
I must admit that, in comparison with the other parts of Poland, beekeeping is quite profitable in this region. If an apiary is well kept, it can guarantee a good amount of honey comparatively to the other European countries with similar environment.

Do you deal with anything else apart from beekeeping?
Yes, of course: with farming and agriculture. Besides, I have time for my hobby: sport and pop music.

Do you observe nature?
Because of my job, I am very close to the nature, and, of course, I watch it very carefully.

Have you noticed any changes in nature over the last few years?
Everything around has changed a little. Maybe the changes are not so visible, but we can observe more extraordinary events in nature these days than it used to be a few years ago. The rainfalls are much heavier, they often result in floods. On the other hand there are droughts and extremely high temperatures. The contrasts are something new in our climate: either cold and rainy or hot and dry. I donít remember such changing weather in my childhood.
Section 2
What was the climate like, in your childhood?
There were four different seasons. These days, the difference between them seems to disappear. I would distinguish two: itís either hot or cold. Sometimes, anyway, we have winter in summer or summer in winter. The transitional periods, like formerly spring or autumn, have disappeared.

Why, do you think, it happens so?
It is caused mainly by manís activity: economic development influences the changes in nature.

Can it be prevented somehow?
There is no way out, we have to. It might be difficult, but men must take the consequences of the economic development. Harmful substances mustnít be emitted in such a big amount, if human race wants to survive.

Can you see any changes in the mountain landscape?
I think, yes. The forests became thinner and their character has changed. Formerly, coniferous forests made up the majority. Nowadays, there are less and less of them. Now we have more deciduous or mixed forests.

What are the consequences of those changes?
This is the natural sequence of events in nature. Man hasnít got a bigger impact on it. Coniferous forests are more delicate and more sensitive for pollution. Nowadays man has no alternative, we have to act according to the natureís will. Deciduous or mixed forests are stronger, and they will survive more natural disasters.

Was there more game in the past?
Lately, the number of foxes and wild boars has grown, which can be detected visually: Wild boars devastate potato fields, while foxes hunt fowls. I donít think any animals extinguish, When I was a child, there seemed to be less game than today.

Did the tourism flourish here, formerly?
I donít remember those times myself. However, as Iíve learned from the old chronicles, this area was very attractive for tourists at the time when it was inhabited by the Germans. Tourism has never flourished here since these regions belong to Poland, and it still doesnít nowadays.

Is it good or not?
Of course, not. Especially nowadays, living from tourism might be very profitable for the local inhabitants. We hear a lot about the decline in agriculture and industry, so the development of tourism could be good alternative to prevent unemployment here.

What is industry like here?
It is, unfortunately, disappearing. All the industry focuses around large urban agglomerations. The suburban areas donít tend to be industrially developed, which results in the high unemployment rate. A lot of young people cannot find job for themselves.
Section 3
What are the conditions for farming here?
Here, in Bystrzyca Klodzka district, the farming conditions are very varied. Here and there, one can find a surface of a fertile soil, but in the other parts, the conditions are so hard that at the present state of agriculture I cannot see any perspectives for the future of agriculture. Whatís more, animal breeding is not very profitable, either.

How was it before?
When I was a child, a lot of farmers dealt with animal breeding. Once I worked with registration of farm possessions, and I remember, in the village Topolice, there were 60 cattle. Today there may be 10 cows.

What sort of plants used to be cultivated in the past, and what is cultivated now?
The structure of agriculture was much more varied a few years ago than it is now, because of the better development of animal breeding. Root-crops and Papilionaceae were cultivated, now they disappear, which very negatively influences soil and further crops. The most popular today are rape and corn-growing.

Is water in the rivers clean these days?
It is not polluted, but it used to be cleaner. In my childhood, I used to bathe or even drink water straight from the stream. I doubt if I could do it today. I remember also, there were much more fish in the rivers. I was able to pick trout without any problem, today it is not so easy.

Can you tell me something about peopleís daily routines?
People felt more attached to their farms, so their lives were more dependent on the nature. Today, fewer and fewer people deal with agriculture and farming, so the rhythm of the nature is not so closely connected with peopleís life and work.

How was it in the past?
There was much less equipment or agricultural machines. Most of the work had to be done manually. Every activity took more time, more people had to work in the field at the same time. There were also much more farms but because of the lack of equipment, the particular farms were smaller. There was more co-operation between people. I remember the times when all the inhabitants of the village, or even a few villages, met in a field. Today, when I work in the field, sometimes I donít meet a single person for the whole day.

Why have you taken up beekeeping and not anything else?
It is not connected with my formal occupation. I graduated from Technical Mechanical School. However, nature has always been my hobby. I began beekeeping not by accident: my father used to be a bee-keeper. When he died, I willy-nilly had to take it over. Then, I got engaged so much that now I cannot imagine the rest of my life without it. Iím. going to deal with beekeeping as long as my health and strength will let me.

Have you tried to do any other job in your life?
Not really. I used to work for a very short time after school. Then I was taken to the army, and, after being released from the army, Iíve been farming and beekeeping only.
Section 4
If you lived in a different place, do you think, you would do something else?
I donít think so. Whenever I consider living in a different place, I see myself as a bee-keeper, e.g. I estimate how profitable it would be, or what the results of my work would be like, etc. I cannot imagine myself doing anything else whatsoever.

Have you ever changed your place of living?
No, I havenít. Only temporarily, as a tourist. Iíve been living here for all my life, and It is really difficult for me to consider if there is a better place in the world. I like what I have, I must do.

If, by any chance, you should move away from here, what would you miss most?
I think, I would miss the silence, and the nature of Topolice. I realise, there are some places like this, but there are fewer and fewer of them. I got used to all I have here, and, I think, I would miss it wherever I was.

Do you live in an Ďagreementí with nature?
Yes, of course, itís obvious. I am a farmer and a bee-keeper so my life must go according to the natureís rhythm.

Do you feel emotionally connected with the mountains?
Can we call them Ďmountainsí, actually? Iíd rather say: hills. What do I feel? Well, plain landscape has never been alluring to me. I definitely prefer mountains or hills to any other kind of landscape.

Have you noticed any changes in the life of bees over the years?
Bees are generally well-adaptive creatures. However, the changes that have taken place over the last years, were not big enough to influence the life of bees. The only change I have observed is the fact that in the time of my childhood, there were much more weeds, which created good feeding environment for the bees. These days we have larger plantations of buckwheat or rape, those plantations are cultivated on bigger scale. There are more trees and bushes. ĎFortunatelyí, because of the recession in agriculture there are a little more wasteland which is covered with weeds. This is a big advantage, as far as bees are concerned.

The recent years were rather rainy. How have the bees behaved?
Well, actually, it wasnít raining constantly. There were short and heavy rains. I canít say they badly influenced the life of bees. Even the floods which took place two years running didnít affect bees or crops. Bees live their own life.

Did the flood spare you?
Not exactly. The place where I live is touched by water almost every year. Farm buildings get soaked minimally, but over the years, I got used to it, so I try to be prepared for such an event. I donít treat it as a cataclysm. Anyway, I have never suffered such a disaster as the others, and I hope I never will.
Section 5
Why, do you think, floods happen so often these days?
Floods are considered to be the consequence of the loss of natural balance in environment , and they are noticed all over the globe. The excess of water accumulates instead of being distributed steadily in the form of rain. As for this region, the cause of the floods might be the fact that the forests in the upper parts of the mountains became rarer, and are incapable of stopping the water but let it go down to the rivers.

Can the flood be prevented?
It is rather impossible. These are so strong natural elements, that men can do very little to prevent them totally. We can diminish the consequences of natural disasters, or, somehow try to protect ourselves, but to stop them seems impossible to me.

Have you noticed the lack of any plants over the last years?
Yes, I have. Some species have disappeared. I remember, when I was a child, there were a lot of flowers, rather rare in other regions, called Ďthe rose of Klodzkoí. They havenít extinguished completely, but now, it is extremely difficult to find them. There also used to be more lilies of the valley at the time of my childhood.

What do you feel when you observe how the nature is changing?
I feel pity. The future generations might never see some of the species. This feature can be observed all over the world .Unfortunately, some of the species, both in the world of animals and plants, extinguish completely. People try to prevent it by creating genetic banks, but this will not stop the power of nature.

Do you have your favourite piece of landscape here?
No, there is nothing I like most. Every piece of land is unique, and itís a matter of individual taste whether one likes it or not.

Will nature go on changing?
It is slowly but constantly changing. The population is growing, the industry develops, and it all leads to changes in nature. Itís unavoidable.

What can these changes result in?
Man leads himself to extermination. How long will manhood survive depends only on the choice of the right strategy. I mean, we must be able to neutralise the consequences of industrial development.

Is man part of nature?
Certainly. We have no alternative. We inhabit the Earth like all the other living creatures. Maybe with one little difference: we do much more harm to the world than the other creatures do. However, we are part of nature, and we always will.

Why does man, despite the fact of being its integral part, do so much harm to nature?
Probably because of the fact that man can think. The development of plants and animals base on instinct. They only care about self-preservation. Manís needs are much bigger. Those needs and desires push him to destroy nature, this way or another.
Section 6
Do you intend to deal with the nature for the rest of your life?
To the best of my ability, I will always deal with farming and beekeeping.

Is it profitable?
Itís the only source of my maintenance. I donít earn a fortune, and I donít think I ever will. I hope itís enough to live on.

How do you treat your bees?
As I said before, I treat it both as an occupation and a hobby. On the one hand, I must care about my own living: to ensure myself a pretty good living standard, on the other Ė I try not to intrude too much into my beesí life. I donít want to abuse them for the sake of my own benefits. I always try to reconcile their life with mine.

Bees are said to recognise their owner. Is it true?
Not as such. They, certainly, tolerate their owner because he knows how to cope with them. Bees donít tolerate some sorts of behaviour or some smells. People who are unaware of it, might get attacked by bees. Bee-keepers know the beesí habits so they havenít got such problems.

Which smells or behaviour donít they like?
Bees dislike strong scents, like for example perfume. They donít tolerate natural smells, like the one of a horse or the human sweat. Some people perspire once they get frightened. Bees can smell it at once. A bee-keeper, who has to do with the bees constantly, stops being afraid of them, so the bees tolerate him. Bees detest black colour, fluffy fabrics, and all kinds of chemicals. Itís easy to observe it on one example: if you hang your laundry after washing, after a while it is attacked and stung by bees.