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

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Football or soccer

 We finally attended one of the games of the village football team, you'd probably call it soccer if you are from the US or Canada. The team started playing last year, and one of our guys, Kolya plays on it. Garry tried to get to a couple of games to watch him last year, but it never worked out.
Kolya waiting to go in for the second half
Sorry Garry is blurry, I used my cell phone
 We have donated a few things for the village team, the Steinbach team brought some nets for the goals for the school, but they did not work for the school, because they have smaller ones. However the village team was excited to get and care for the nets, which fit the goals on the big football field way behind the school. They also got some practice balls, and last week Kolya got a set of matching white t-shirts from the attic for back up jerseys (I think Jack brought them last year).
 The home team -Nikoliapolia- in the red jerseys (someone donated them because last year they didn't have matching shirts)- won 3-1. So far this year they have won several times and only lost once.
It seems like many people in the village were there cheering, kids running up and down the sidelines and some of the 8-12 year olds playing football behind both goals during the game- and on the field at halftime. Teenage girls dressed to see and be seen walking up and down the sidelines, and people cheering, drinking and watching the game. A fun time early Saturday evening.

2009- the boys made the goal and played all summer
Garry said he recognized a couple of the young men on the team as the boys he and our sons Seth and Jonah played with down the street in 2009, right in front of where our school and-apartments are today. That was how Garry and boys learned the Russian word for car, Ma-sheen-na! was yelled to get everyone off the road when a car was coming.

Today a couple of our students were kicking one of the balls in the same place, I even heard someone say "machina" to warn of an approaching car.


Friday, May 26, 2017

What I do all day

Garry tells people I crochet all day, but some days I don't get much done on play food and teddy bears for the grandchildren. Some days it seems all I do is answer the door and say that Garry is not here.

I always write about what Garry is doing, now that spring (and nearly summer) has arrived he is out in the fields or finding other things to keep busy. He keeps saying he has to quit teaching his English conversation classes in Dnepro (only three days left- today, tomorrow and next Friday afternoon) because he is missing hours of daylight that he could be farming or building or... doing something with the students.

Cucumbers had a little frost damage
Since Garry is so busy I have taken over the garden this year, spending an hour or two every morning hoeing and weeding. After having to hunt down the hoe and rake several times in the last couple weeks (the students carry them off to the barn) Garry suggested I save the 20 minutes looking for them, so now they are in the house instead of the shop/shed attached to the house. While I am still waiting for some stuff to come up, it's now looking less weedy out there anyway.

This morning while I was hoeing, I heard the sound of a calf breathing hard, which normally means pneumonia, so I walked over to the shed next to the garden to check it out. I then realized that the problem was the baler twine around the heifer's neck (no one took them off when they moved them from the barn last week) which had gotten so tight it was impeding her  ability to breathe. So I walked back to the house to get something to cut it off. I slipped through the bars of the gate of the pen and walked in circles following her until she put her head thorough the gate. I slid the knife under the plastic baler twine and cut it off. I may get Garry to give her some antibiotics just in case she does have pneumonia.

I got another calf to stand there long enough to cut hers, too, but then I tried to get a couple more and one jumped the fence... well half jumped it, her back legs were still in the pen, so I climbed back out and walked to the garden side of the fence, picked up her front legs and pushed her back in the pen. She isn't very big, so it was not difficult. She had jumped and gotten stuck where the top broken board was that I had been eyeing up while hoeing this week, so I was off to find a hammer, nails and a board.

Eventually I found a non-claw hammer in the shop/shed, a couple of nails Dima had left behind on the ground next to Bear's doghouse where his building project (see next  hopefully Monday's post for the finished project) has been ongoing this week. I hunted all over for a long board and eventually found a nice one by four-ish board under the shed where the baler and other machinery stay, and carried everything around to the heifer shed, and nailed it over top of the last board, so its a little higher and all the way across, so the next time someone is chasing them for something, no calf thinks she can make it over the fence there. Hopefully no heifer will be running in the garden eating corn this summer, too!

 I just have to get Garry to help me get the last three calves out of the potential killer baler twine necklaces later today.

  Leila and I did it Saturday afternoon, I got a little dirty, but she was determined to get them off when she came to the door at 4 o'clock, so I got the knife, after she showed me them. No one jumped over the fence, anyway!

 He went off to pick up the latest shipment of stuff for the irrigation system at Nova Posta in Zaporosia (think shipping company-called- New Post Office- they are immensely popular to send stuff around the country, there are dozens of outlets in the cities.) He had to get more stuff there Saturday morning before racing off to teach Saturday afternoon.

When I got back in the house I realized we were out of purified water for field drinking (Garry has been making sandwiches and hauling cold bottles of water for the students helping with the irrigation project the last couple days) so I spent some time balancing empty pop and water bottles under the tap (on top of a small can) to fill them, and put them in the fridge for later. Then I did a little crocheting and planned out what's for lunch (answer- something with fresh spinach).

 Later today Garry is teaching English and I will go along to do some serious shopping, somehow Garry thought that not many students from his school would pay for an excursion out the the village on a bus, with a Canadian style picnic, when it was suggested a month or  two ago, since they would charge 200 grivna- 80 for the transportation the school was coordinating and 120 person for the lunch. We'd BBQ hamburgers and hot dogs, I'd make potato salad, and there would be ice cream sundaes. He thought there might be a dozen people coming out this Sunday afternoon. but he was wrong there are four dozen coming, 48 people signed up.
 Turns out I forgot that we are supposed to be teaching a "master class" in making potato salad, so I have prepped stuff on Saturday, and we'll be chopping up ingredients and assembling the potato salad, coleslaw and mixing up brownies with the 46 people out in the cheese room (good thing the equipment isn't in there yet.) Hamburger patties are made and in the very full fridge for Sunday.

So tomorrow I'll be working on peeling potatoes We got everything but the potatoes yesterday, he bought those today, lovely new potatoes that I boiled with the skins on.and making brownies (not done yet) to go with the ice cream. I think coleslaw and macaroni tuna salad (I did make that)will be added to the menu to stretch out the potato salad, along with chips and pickles.

Well, better make lunch for Garry, and maybe some sandwiches for a half dozen students in the field. Easy. I may even get more crocheting done. I admit the grandkids are getting a pile of things when I do go home this summer.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Irrigation photos

The peonies are blooming in the yard
As promised, photos of the guys (and girls) working on the irrigation project this afternoon. They were working on it all day, but I caught a ride over to the field with Garry later in the afternoon and then walked back. Garry came in with a pile of bread and helped me put together sandwiches and cookies for the crew for lunch.
Artom filling the sprayer with water yesterday

If you remember all I told you yesterday about how they weren't going to put the water lines in the field, and maybe they would cultivate and replant the corn field they wanted to irrigate? Well forget that, because they aren't doing any of those things, instead they were putting the -plastic lines in the field today. It was decided that it will all be worthwhile anyway. The corn fields are all sprayed for weeds, including this one, and there are a few more corn plants coming up yet in the field.

Some of the guys were working on digging a trench for the big pipes, the filters will be in this area of pipes. They economized by buying four smaller filters for about 800 dollars (total) instead of  $7000 for one the size of the big pipe coming out of the meter and the big line.

Max is busy with welding pipes together for the system. They started on it yesterday.
the meter is in the locked brick box the pipes are coming out of

Artom was driving the tractor across the field, they borrowed the machine to put the plastic drip irrigation lines in the field  from the vegetable farmer.

Those big rolls of plastic are heavy. I helped Garry carry them from the van into the the cheese room after he picked them up at the shipping place of Friday morning. I have a bruise on my forearm from carrying them.

 There were two crews of students cutting and folding the plastic lines at either end of the field. they also had to hold them to start the new rows until the tractor had gone thirty or forty feet.

That's Nikolai standing of the back watching for problems

folding the ends

taking a break until the tractor is back on this side

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Weekend wrap-up

The weather is a definite topic of conversation in the village. We had another touch of frost on Thursday morning, it's been the coldest spring since we came here in 2009. We only lost a couple of tomato plants this time. The promised rain over the weekend did not amount to much precipitation, either.

I am still waiting on my beans to emerge in the garden, I found the first one poking through this morning. However, we had our first harvest of a handful of spinach today, and ate fresh spinach salad at lunchtime.

It is dry for this early in the spring, right now it looks like we are hooking up to the big irrigation pipe to set up irrigation for the corn field (tomorrow, so I'll try to get photos), but if it doesn't rain we'll save the small plastic lines for next year. Although Garry has declared if it does rain a significant amount they will cultivate the field up and replant it, they have leftover bags of corn seed anyway. Some of the later planted sunflower fields have not emerged or only some plants are up, too, it's just too dry.

Of course the day it did rain was Friday, the day they were going to bale up some hay. We went out to the field to get some photos but the baler needed a few repairs before they could start, and we had to leave for Garry's English class in Dnepro. Shortly after getting on the highway it started to rain, the guys only got two loads done before the rain came.

However, the bales they made will keep them from having to go out to the field to greenchop the alfalfa to feed the cows everyday, so it will save them a couple hours. They are still waiting to bale the rest, the baler is getting more repairs. One guy is busy spraying the early cornfields for weeds this week, because we only got a little rain on Friday and some drizzle Monday.
They were really nice looking green bales

 We drove into Dnepro Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week, and we have amazing news, because they are chipping off the asphalt at both ends of the Dnepropetroesk region of the H-08, so we think they are going to repave the whole thing. We have never seen this happen, except in the cities, so we'll keep you updated, since we figure it may take all summer. Garry tells me they had repaved a small section near Dnepro  when he drove the students to evening school yesterday.

He tells me that they have put the traffic all on one side of the highway at this end and are paving at this end today. Today he took one of the boys, Vasili along to the city because he had a toothache, they ended up getting back later than normal and Vasili got a temp root canal and some painkillers before they came back. There are a few more weeks of class, they go Monday and Tuesday afternoons, Vika tells me they have to take three exams next month, history (I think), Ukrainian language and mathematics.

The canola has been blooming for a couple weeks now, the ones that bloomed early are looking less yellow now, the others are still really yellow. In Ukraine canola is planted in the early fall and overwinters so it blooms in May. There are a few fields we pass as we drive into Dnepro.

Sunday we went to church in Dnepro, its nice to see everyone once a month. Afterwards we went over to visit with Lena's English school. I had noticed on facebook memories that it had been five years since we had made paper rockets with them. The younger kids really enjoyed it, some of the older ones had done it when they were little. One rocket was shot off, chased down and relaunched eight times.

Garry's brother John brought the equipment then from Michigan and it's always fun to shoot them off. Since we didn't have a bicycle pump like before we used the tire pump that plugs in the cigarette lighter, so we had to do it next to the van.

The chestnut trees are still blooming, there are so many of the them lining the streets in Dnepro. Some years it is so hot that they bloom for about a week, this year they have been blooming for three weeks because it is so cool.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

And it's done... well almost

Sasha looking down yesterday
This morning Garry, Kolya and Nikolai made the cement cap for the septic system, after pulling the blue table out. Apparently they also tossed out the half full bottle of Black energy drink that Sasha had accidentally dropped in yesterday. However, Kolya drank it while they were working, so when Sasha showed up looking for it, he told him that it was still in the bottom of the hole under the cement top.

It is almost a joke with the students because Sasha spends so much of his money on his Black. He doesn't smoke, he's just addicted to drinking Black (it's way cheaper than Red Bull).

 They made a framework of 2 x 4's on edge, covered it with some old pieces of sheifer (that asbestos roofing stuff) and then  put on rebar and cement.

Now Garry just needs to get the rest of the equipment ready to make cheese. Victor is getting quotes on the machinery and installation for the refrigeration room and hopefully Max is able to get the rest of the vat welded together, now that planting is done and the wheat has been sprayed.

Last month when Max started welding the stainless vat

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Garry spent most of the day working on bricking the septic system for the cheesemaking building.

He tells me that he laid about 800 bricks, so he's got some aches and pains tonight.

The bees were busy  making honey.

There was a car this morning with a loudspeaker driving slowly through the village, either buying or selling live chickens in cages stacked under a tarp in the trailer they were pulling.

Kolya and his girlfriend Oxana, who was working at the barn

 Garry did not get hit by any bricks dropped down to him, even when I did some while Kolya was making more cement.

For a while after lunch Sasha was down in the bottom handing bricks to Garry so he did not have to lean over as much, he has a young back, he said, not old like Garry.

Add caption
Garry is standing on a table by mid-afternoon. It's a pretty deep hole.
more bricks

Tomorrow they will make a cement cap to go over the hole. This is were the wash water will go, there is no toilet in the cheese house, by the way.