The wind mills from Şeşkivţi village, Novosuliţa District, are large constructions which reveal the engineering skills of the inhabitants. Such mills were built at the entrance of the village, on hills – single or in groups. They served to ease the work of the peasants and were not at all unpleasant for the eye. Having a good wind, such a mill could grind up to a tone of flour a day.
In front of there, there is such a Bucovina wind mill, which is different from mills from other Ukrainian regions by the specific features of construction: the main room includes two floors: the upper floor is larger in surface and gives the impression of floating above the other one. This technique serves to enhance the area of the upper floor, where the working device of the mill is placed. The mills that you see are included in the mills on pillars. All the strength of the building is based on an oak pillar, deeply dug into the ground. This pillar not only secures the strength of the building, but it is also a joint around which the mill can be turned, depending on the wind, by means of a “rudder”, a special element called “goat” and another one called „ram”. The main room of the mill is coated with planks and is supported by an octagonal foundation, made of carved oak beams.
The ground floor of the mill hosts the larder where the grains and the tools are stored. The first floor is reached through an external staircase, with a suspended gallery under the roof. A pulley is fixed to the gallery in order to climb the sacks up and down.
The largest part of the second floor is occupied by the grinding mechanism. Under the mill roof, there is an oak spindle, which has a wooden jagged wheel attached to it. Six blades are fixed to the spindle. The wind rotates the blades and, at the same time, the movement is sent to the jagged wheel which, in turn, by means of a drive shaft, rotates the millstones – two big, carved stones. The lower part is fixed and the upper part is mobile; in the latter, a hole was carved and used to pour the grains – which then got to the stones and were ground. The distance between the millstones was adjustable – this way, the quality of the final product was determined (inferior quality – grits and superior quality – flour). The millstones were most commonly made of limestone, being periodically adjusted and mended.
Sometimes, this type of mills incorporated a second wheel on the back side of the work area. When the wind was weak, this wheel was rotating a smaller millstone. This wheel – by means of a transmission system – was actuating the straw cutter, which was placed on the ground floor and which shredded the food for the animals. In order to adjust the number of revolutions of the mill blades, according to wind, these blades incorporated a special mechanism called a “shield”. The mills usually belonged to the landholder, the wealthy peasants and sometimes, to the community. The miller, in most cases, did not hire staff; he and his family were working in the mill. For the grinding services, each beneficiary paid a fee. The payment for grinding was usually in kind and was, on average, the tenth part of the beneficiary’s grains. The cereals were weighted with wooden units: 2 KG, 16 KG and 25 KG.