Famine was an ever-present danger in these circumstances, and in 1961 it snowed in June. The hard frost killed everything growing in their garden, and by spring the family had been reduced to eating shoes and bark. Akulina chose to see her children fed, and that year she died of starvation. The rest of the family were saved by what they regarded as a miracle: a single grain of rye sprouted in their pea patch. The Lykovs put up a fence around the shoot and guarded it zealously night and day to keep off mice and squirrels. At harvest time, the solitary spike yielded 18 grains, and from this they painstakingly rebuilt their rye crop.Once contact was regained with the family, they had to cope with modern innovations. Cellophane was amazing. However they had seen satellites whizzing across the sky. Their explanation:
"People have thought something up and are sending out fires that are very like stars."
One of the daughters is still out there, alone.