As for me and my house we will serve the Lord....

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Thanksgiving dinner

For the last few years we have a Hope for Each Thanksgiving dinner with students and staff in October, close to Canadian Thanksgiving. This year, we had one delay after another, so we were much closer to American Thanksgiving on November 18th.

Our group is smaller this year, less students and staff and two of the Sashas had gone away for the weekend, the newest one to get his belongings and the other to visit his sister. May or may not be his actual sister, could be cousin or friend from the orphanage we have discovered over the years. However we leave in two and half weeks and the first Saturday in September we are hosting a wedding in the same room, so really could not delay longer.

our bride and groom are playing "tennis" pingpong
I made my mother's special chicken, with a few substitutions- no canned mushroom soup for sale here! stuffing, mashed potatoes and pies. Nelly (our translator) made a salad and curd filled blini -pancakes for dessert) and Vova (group home parent) made two kind of cabbage rolls and his popular baked onion and potato dish, and Victor brought some salad and mandarin oranges and candy. The grads - I think Kolya and the girls- made a giant salad.

 It took an hour to get everything and everyone ready to eat, I should have gotten better plates, as they were bending under the weight as they went down the line. I dished out the meat so everyone got one piece.

We even had two visiting grads here, Valentina and Andrey were both visiting from Dnepro. Karina had to work.

We had a guest speaker, Andrey Spak, who spoke to the students between dinner and dessert (and enjoyed dinner too). He often spoke at student church and does a church youth program in the village.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Strong Arm of the Law

Monday morning I had my second extended cooking class with the students because Garry had to go to Salonie again. It actually works well to have a class all morning, the first time we did it in October we made yeast bread and soup.

This week we made dinner for everyone ( there were 12 of us this week) for 100 grivna, with pork stew over pasta noodles and apple crisp. We had talked about how economical we could be. In next week's class we are menu planning for one person for a week on 100 grivna (about 4 dollars) to see if it can be done.

PS We now have 3 Sasha's 2 out of 4 new guys for this year, plus the returned Sasha and our grad Sasha. Four  Sashas! This week we are finding it confusing!

Garry taught all morning Wednesday, they are learning the parts of a cow and starting to do the cattle judging part of the curriculum. I walked down to the classroom with some printouts of cows for Garry, since he bought a new printer on Monday. Garry usually drives down the street to class, he took the students out to look at fields as he often does, so he was parked in front of the school.

 As Garry was driving home after class for lunch with Nelly and Alona (Nelly eats with us on our class days since she translates for us and Alona is our only female first year student and is living with us) he noticed that the police were two houses up the street where the gypsies live.

Then as he got out of the car, the police were down by our gate, so he went to talk to them. They told him that they wanted to see his passport. He came into the house and asked me where they were- he has a Canadian one plus we have Ukrainian visitor documents that look like a passport that are renewed every year.  We just got our new stamp in ours just before we flew to Ontario for the funeral.

I was busy trying to get dinner on the table and told him when it wasn't where he puts it away at that it must still be in his briefcase from the trip, since I did not think I had it. I had made a really nice dinner, complete with sweet potatoes I had brought back from New Jersey from my dad's garden. Garry went outside with his Ukrainian one and showed it to the four policemen. Literally, because he did not let go of it. He's a little leery of losing it with us going back to Canada in three weeks (from Thursday- less now).

They insisted on copying his name down off the document, but he did not let go of it. Then he tried to shut the gate to the driveway and they stopped him so he said dosvidonya and came in to eat my big dinner that was now on the table waiting for him to come in.

We were all enjoying dinner when the phone rang. The police had stopped one of the students driving the bobcat (skidsteer) from the new farm over to here to get grain and had asked for the documents. Garry finished the last bites of his dinner and went to talk to them. He drove the van down the street, hopped on the bobcat and drove it home and shut the gate. He uses it to make feed for the cows every morning. Once it's on your property with the gate shut. its not their concern. The student took advantage of the distracted policemen to run home. Garry had to go back for the van, so they asked him where the documents were for the tractor. he said it wasn't a tractor but a motorblok (rototiller).

Then they told him they wanted to see his real passport (Canadian one). He asked them to give him a letter explaining why before he'd show them. By the time I walked down to see what was going on, they had tried to drag him away when he tried to go home and he'd ended up sitting under someone's tree along the street.

A number of our non-student employees were there, one was videoing  the interaction on the his phone, a number of neighbors and passerby were stopping to see what was going on. Several people, including some old ladies told (or yelled at) the police that Garry was a good guy that helped everyone, why were they bothering him?

The mayor (whom Garry has a troubled relationship with) tried to get Garry to show him his passport, but Garry asked why he'd show him, he should stay out of it. He was still a little worried they might try to take it.
I have not told you about his driver's licence, which is why he was  worried about the passport. While I was in NJ he was given a ticket for entering the roadway improperly (like you can with the construction closing lanes) when some guy passed on the right whom Garry never saw because he passed the truck Garry did see and that guy went right to go around the van onto the side of the road and rolled his car in a field. The other guy got a ticket for passing because you aren't supposed to on the two way two lane sections- like no one does...right.
That's why I got to drive the rental car in Ontario, the police took his Canadian driver's licence and gave him a piece of paper to replace it and said he'd get it back after court. He's been to court twice now, (thus my extra long cooking classes) because  the judge decided he needed an official translator and they still aren't sure how to get one, he goes back on the the 27th. 

When I showed up Garry was sitting under a tree, while everyone was talking. He told me to take over videoing since I had brought the camera... thinking it could be an interesting blogpost, and at that point he said thought they would try to grab him again. I do have video, but it's mostly people talking in Russian.

 At these point they were claiming they were immigration and that's why they could ask to see his passport. Interestingly, they also told Garry when he said he didn't understand something they said that he was pretending not to understand, he has lived here so long that he must understand Russian. He does talk to people in Russian, and can argue with the police, so it must make sense to them.

Honestly, he is not that good at the language,  and I've been here just as long and can only get the bare essentials. Mostly I think "I know a few of those words, but have no idea what the topic of the conversation is!" Garry often says thinks he knows something but guesses wrong on some parts, too. Sometimes it seems he knows a couple ways to says something but there are dozens of ways to say the same thing, and he does not try using understand using the verb tenses with endings that change nouns.
 A babushka biking past stopped and yelled at the police for letting Garry sit on the cold ground, because he would get sick. She hung around until the end of the drama, along with a few neighbors.

Max Rudei drove up, and talked to Garry and the policemen, who were all big guys. Victor and Garry talked on the phone and Garry sent me to the house to copy the first page of his passport and the last entry stamp from two weeks ago when we came back from Ontario. I did it in color with that brand new printer, and walked back.
The guy in the black jacket was with the cops
 The cops looked at it and said it was good enough and left. Garry had offered a copy earlier that he carries in his wallet. He now has the beautiful color one there, just in case. Good thing he finally replaced the dud printer we bought last spring we could find cartridges for, or he might still be sitting there.

Late in the afternoon, we drove in Zaporosia to pick up Alona's bead kit she'd ordered (it's actually that DaVinci Jesus that sold for 450 million) and on the way home there were some police at an accident near the construction. As we drove past I pointed out they were the same police that had been in the village.

The second photo I took on the way there may explain the accident, we are all driving on the two lanes on one side of the divided highway and they block off part of one lane so you'll be careful where the bulldozer is working beside the road. When we went past it on the way home that sign with the arrow was smashed to smithereens.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Shopping trip

Friday morning we set out in the van for Zaporosia with Max Rudei, Nelly, Kolya and Oksana. We stopped along main street to pick up a salesman that was going to Vasilevka with Garry and Max to look at sprayers. We are finally able to sell the sunflowers and that is what the guys are going to buy with the profits this year, along with seed and fertilizer for spring planting.  The sprayer they have now is not up to the job, they had to rent one this year for a lot of the spraying.

On the way past the market they dropped the rest of us off, we were on  mission to buy a wedding dress. Kolya needed to get a new set of passport photos taken so he could register in this region and get married. If all goes well the wedding will be on December 2nd and they will move into their own apartment (we have two empty ones right now). He went get the photos done when we found the first bridal shop. Good thing I wore my sneakers as we walked uphill a long way!
Oksana tried on three dresses. One was very beautiful, but I did not have that much cash in my pocket. Not even for the rental, that's right you can rent instead of buy! The price was about half to 2/3 the price of buying.
the expensive dress

We walked some more up the hill and to the left and found another shop. Nelly kept stopping people to ask for directions. Kolya found us, again, so in this shop he got to drink coffee in the front of the shop while the ladies tried three more dresses on Oksana.
Finally I got them to try on the one on sale, which also made her look like a princess, so we bought that one. It was less than half of the others, so I had enough to even get a fur jacket to wear with it.  Kolya carried the bag down the hill for us. You'll have to wait for the photos of the real dress in December.

We waited for the guys to get back. They had to hurry as Garry was teaching in Dnepro at four, and it was after two when they picked us up. They were successful in that they decided that they should buy the more expensive yellow model as the green was was not well built. The metal was much more heavy duty they tell me, so it should last for years.

He took photos with my phone, since I had the camera and we accidentally sent his smart phone home to Manitoba in his suit after the funeral. After a week he has his number back on one of our old phones to use until we get home.
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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Crop report or plowing report

I guess that's ploughing for Canadians. In Ukraine a plow is a ploug- you know p-low-oo-Gah. Anyway the guys have been plowing 24 hours the last couple days with some corn ground to go yet. They have been spreading fertilizer before plowing so it is in the ground waiting for spring when the sunflowers (and corn on the irrigated fields) will be planted there.

It was drizzling when we went looking for the tractor plowing, there it is at the far end of the field we irrigated this summer. Actually its a lot bigger piece now, they did some field swapping with other farmers to get the piece next to it for next year.

Sometime in the next couple weeks we should find out how complicated it will be  (or how much it will cost) to get water to a different field to plant corn in next spring. The plans say there is a metal pipe in the irrigation line that runs under the field  and if they can find it to connect to we won't have to pay to replace a cement section.

If you are wondering how they plow for 24 hours, Artom plows most of the day, with young Vlad doing some evening plowing after school and Max does the overnight plowing. They hope to cultivate the plowed fields before the snow comes. First they have to finish plowing....

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Back in the swing of things

What an exciting last leg of our trip back to Ukraine! As we took off the pilot announced that it was foggy in Dnepro and there was a good chance we'd return to Vienna if it had not improved when we got there. Luckily it was less foggy, though we landed with quite a big bump, but we happy we were down.  It was still pretty foggy when Max drove us back to the village at 2 am, it took twice as long as normal, we got to bed at three.

We woke up around nine am according to my watch (still on Vienna time), so Garry thought he'd check on how the guys were making out putting the starter on the skidsteer but then he saw that the clock in the kitchen said eleven (it had not been turned back with no one in the house) but then we realized it was actually ten so we raced off to get to Dnepro for Garry's English class at eleven. I did some shopping while he taught, and then we went for a late lunch.
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Sunday we attended church in the village, where the pastor expressed his condolences to Garry on the loss of his mother. Then  Garry tried to stay awake until eight pm when we watched the Eagles game. Garry almost made it to the end of the game around eleven pm.

We have settled back into our daily routine after the weekend. Garry and I taught our classes on Monday (somehow we are now teaching Monday and Wednesday) although Garry did not sleep well that night and I, as usual, am not sleeping much since our return.

He started making feed for the cows again on Monday and informed me that the cows were giving less milk after the week he was not making it so it was done correctly. I pointed out he did not have time to train someone to do it correctly before we left, so he should start now since we leave for Manitoba in a month. He also has been busy finishing up the improvements to the heifer barn at the new farm. He was hoping to get some lights working in the that barn, but something shorted out when they tried turning them on as it was getting dark tonight.

It is dark much earlier, I think I heard the village herd coming home at 3:30 this afternoon. They will continue to go out until it snows. For the last six weeks or so, there has been much more for them to eat with the wet weather turning the grass green again. Time changed here on the Saturday we left, a week before North America. It is light earlier so Garry can start making feed before seven in the morning, but dark by five.

Amazingly, Box decided to come in the door Sunday night when I let Needles out around 10:30. He seems to want out to prowl at night regardless of the weather. She is still in the house and is settling down to her old routine, and is curled up next to me while I crochet. Both cats have caught some mice since we got home, so we are happy they have decided to stay in the house more with the changing weather. It is barely sweater weather for us Canadians, although everyone is wearing coats and hats outside now. It feels colder when you are walking and it is rather wet out at times.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Heading back to Ukraine

We are enroute to Ukraine as I write this. We have a 12 hour layover this morning -Friday until 10 tonight.  Garry decided to get a hotel room instead of touring Vienna.  He was a little under the weather from the overnight flight from Toronto and hurrying to make our connection in Frankfurt.  We land in Dnepro in the wee hours tonight.

We had a blessed family time as we were able to join Garry's father, siblings and many of the younger members of the family for the funeral of his mother. There were daily hymn singing, prayer and sharing about her before meals together.
Three of our kids made it in from Manitoba; with Matt driving with his whole family.  He and Josh were two of the grandsons serving as pallbearers on a cold damp Tuesday.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Busy, busy

With everything going on for us personally... which meant checking the email constantly this week, we still had other things to do. The shed was finished Tuesday and on Wednesday morning a heifer had given birth to the the first calf under it.

Wednesday morning Garry was busy, and we had switched classes with someone again so I taught the students how to make biscuits and chicken soup in the morning, and he took them off for the last half hour to the barn.

Garry needed more frozen semen to breed cows. He started putting the calcium (limestone) into the cows' feed a couple weeks ago, and then all the open cows started cycling and they were in heat. Garry had thought that people were just doing a bad job of watching for cows in heat, but it was a mineral deficiency.

He used up all 35 doses he got while I was gone (he wanted 50 but they only had 35 of a Canadian bull). Lots of our cows to breed and he has bred some for other people since I came back two weeks ago. Two nearby villages don't have bulls so they need artificial insemination to get the cows pregnant, and call Garry. Often we stop on the way home from somewhere if the tank full of liquid nitrogen is in the car for him to breed a cow in the dark. The price has gone up for the semen so Garry has to charge 250 griven but he is still breeding a lot of cows. Someone told him in some villages a couple hours away it costs 400, so I guess it is still a bargain, and on par with what people charge to use a village bull.

It takes a couple hours to drive to Molochansk where the guy sells imported Canadian frozen semen so we went Wednesday afternoon. 
Garry and the director taking the semen tank to fill
The road is bumpier the closer you get to the place, too. However, its always a good time to talk driving by ourselves.

On the way we stopped into Jessica's project where Garry did the cement work last week, and I took some photos.

Wednesday night I made a cake for one of the guys, after we took a couple hours to talk to Julia about leaving with Dima (talking did not help, they left Friday). 

Losha's birthday was Thursday so we celebrated between English class and the rest of the morning, our new tradition. He had requested not a chocolate cake (which everyone's has been so far) so it was apple.

Then we had some Americans stop by who are working about four hours away in Ukraine, and invited them in for lunch. 

Late in the afternoon we went to our small group with Nelly. Afterwards we tried the new Texas Tacos stand, but don't worry they weren't tacos, more like sharma with orange sauce. Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and indoor