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



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Weekend update- plus!

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Saturday Garry managed to take time off from students and farming to come with me to Dnepro for the annual SEI picnic. Most years it is very hot at the picnic on the island, but this year it was cool and overcast in the morning. However by two o'clock the sun had come out, and I had not brought my hat so I was getting a little hot.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing, sky, cloud, ocean, mountain, child, outdoor and natureSunday afternoon we went south of Zaporosia for our friend Jessica's groundbreaking for her organization House of Compassion. It will be foster homes for young orphan children, they hope to start building with the foundation of the first of four planned houses this year, although they will have to wait for the electricity until sometime next year.

There was singing, blessing, prayer and of course a shovel in the dirt. The farmer had not gotten the wheat harvested off the 4 hectares that was purchased last year overlooking the Dniper river, so we mashed a little down for the ceremonial afternoon.





 For more about Jessica's organization you can check out the website:  http://houseofcompassion.org/ 
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On Saturday the combine arrived and started the wheat, so Garry had to check on it as soon as we got home from Dnepro. Garry is very pleased with the yield. In spite of the dry spring the crop is running twice as much per acre as last year (about 70 bushels I think he said). Of course last year’s crop was very disappointing, but it is good to know we will have grain to sell to pay the bills for a while besides having some to feed the cows and some to give away for shares. We still have more people who take the goods rather than cash for the rent on their pie or share (5-6 hectare piece of land).


Besides getting a couple tons of grain and some straw bales, and some sunflower seed, they get a 50 pound bag of sugar, so on Saturday after the SEI picnic Garry and I picked up 12 bags to deliver to people's houses. Right now everyone is making jam- there are some apricots ripe now that survived the frost this spring- so they are all happy to get their sugar now.

Interestingly, the lady at one house we brought sugar to on one of the other streets in the village on Saturday told Garry that she follows us on facebook.

Garry and Max delivered the rest of the bags on Sunday, but we need to get more this week to take care of everyone. Max made sure everyone got one, but some people have more than one pie, so they get more than one bag.



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Garry has been busy with baling straw, trying to get all the work done as quickly as possible. On Monday  he helped stack it on wagons and then stack it under the new shed, so he was pretty tired by evening.

This has been his day this week, make feed for the cows in the TMR around the time I leave for Dnepro- he kindly backs the van out for me onto the road first- and then helps with baling, and stacking the bales along with feeding the guys working with the straw (and the combine driver when he was here) lunch, and fixing things that break




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This was the straw shed Sunday evening,
by Wednesday morning it was looking pretty full
(but I didn't get a photo)





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This is one of the regular cornfields near the "new barn"




Here is one of our sunflower fields I pass everyday as I drive.
They are looking good.

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Many fields are bright yellow now

Sunday night when we got home, Garry had to go to a village to breed a cow for the lady who had phoned around noon before we went to the groundbreaking.   I went along and got a couple photos of Garry breeding the cow inside their barn.
Of course the phone conversation was in Russian (and them asking him to check on another cow that was not bred yet this year. ) Garry even admired their nice calf, and asked if it was female.
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They had  a nice looking heifer calf and a couple of cute piglets too.
Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing, shoes and indoorThis week I have been busy driving to Dnepro everyday for English teaching, and twice one of the girls has ridden along with me so Victor could take her to visit the dentist, she is having a root canal done.

 Today we had our annual SEI celebration of Canada Day. Of course since I am not Canadian I have to try harder than everyone else. Here I am with my big bow on my head with the other teachers at assembly. Esther and I planned the assembly = all Ron (the director) asked was for something different than last year, so I had some active games for some students, shooting chocolate pucks with mini- sticks and assembling Canada puzzles and she made an informative powerpoint about Canada and had adult Canada 150 coloring pages for everyone.
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Saturday, July 15, 2017

That's how dry it is...was?

Image may contain: plant, outdoor and natureGarry took this photo of corn that has just come up 3 months after planting. That's how dry it was this spring, it sat there until last week's rainstorm!

Its overcast today, but no rain in the forecast. Garry is hoping to finish putting the roof on the hay (straw) shed this morning, before we go to the SEI picnic in Dnepro. I am making pickles... back to work. I'll try to get some photos of the shed later.

This week- English, visitors, driving the van and lots of bales

So before I tell you about my week teaching English in Dnepro at SEI (Summer English Institute- the 25th for the EFCCM), let me give you some highlights of Garry's week. Many people at classes have asked me why Garry is not teaching this year, as he has for the last several years, and I tell them he does not have enough time to get everything done in the village when he teaches for three weeks.
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If you are wondering, this is pea straw -what's left of the plant after combining 
Image may contain: cloud, sky, tree, outdoor and natureThis week he has been particularly busy, since they have baled alfalfa in squares which are up the getting pretty full haymow, and pea straw in both round (hired a guy) and small square bales. They hope to start combining the wheat (tomorrow) Saturday. We actually had a bit of rain Thursday night, although it really was not much moisture, since baling still happened today.

There were some drops on the windshield when I left for Dnepro this morning, and a few puddles in the holes in the street. It was disappointing compared to last weekend, which got things growing a bit. They even stopped watering the irrigated field for a couple days early this week.
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The sunflowers are starting to bloom in Garry's fields along the highway. He says that the field in Maroshinna  looks really good, he thinks they got more rain in that nearby village than here, he says the field was muddy when he looked at it tonight.

This week while I was in the city Garry had some expected and unexpected visitors. First the mayor of the village stopped in with some regional ag officials, who wanted to know how they could help our project. Garry may have upset the mayor when he told them that he promised to help many times but doesn't and put the new town dump next to our barn three years ago (Garry has avoided him since). Garry mentioned getting title to the land under the barns would help, so we'll see what happens. So far the mayor phoned Victor and wants (threatened?) to register our male students for the army draft, so not sure anything will change.

Then Thursday morning Garry spent a couple hours with a group that had phoned him, and just this evening he talked in Russian with 40 German Mennonites on a bus tour! (no one spoke English on the bus). He said before getting back on the bus they sang him a hymn in Russian.

Of course he says he is enjoying the experience of being a group home parent. Me less, since I can't understand them, and they still ask me for things anyway...they cook food at 9 every night, let in lots of flies when they don't shut the outside door while talking to people in the doorway and the bathroom is like a sauna after they take four very hot showers, and that is the one door they close tight! Garry has been trying to get them in their room at ten pm and up for 6 am milking.
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Meanwhile I leave the house at 6:45 to drive the  van to Dnepro. On Tuesday I had one of the girls with me for the dentist, on the way home I brought a new tire back for the baler. Since then I have been going by myself (although next week she goes back to the dentist). The only time I have to be more careful than driving the other van is in the city changing lanes with the longer van requires more space, at least in my mind.

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However. the part of the four lane highway where the construction is can be a bit unnerving at times, since both directions are on one side and it does not really slow down the passing much. Remember in Ukraine you must be alert for the expensive usually black car with the right to pass you at at high speed at all times and in all places... and you can imagine what happens now. Somehow the passing traffic squeezes in with a few feet or inches to spare or everyone creates a center lane for the passer if necessary to avoid collisions.

Thursday morning I was proceeding along this section (on the shiny new pavement part), when the small bus ahead of me pulled one of these maneuvers, passed an old Lada Universal (station wagon) and a slow moving truck. Apparently this inspired the driver of the Lada and he decided to try to pass the truck after a few more cars had zoomed past us with success. I have an "only where the road is wider and the truck is very slow passing policy", patience is a good thing. I watched as he would swerve out a bit to see what the ongoing traffic was like, then get back in line. The thing that amazed me was after the first time he did it, I watched him pull out his seat-belt and put it on and then after much arm waving, his female passenger in the front seat did the same. In Ukraine only front seat passengers on the highway (not in the city) are required to wear them, but it is not something that everyone does. Obviously they felt they were taking their lives in their hands, but they never did find a good place to pass before we were back on the regular highway.
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Anyway week one is done, all is well, and the annual SEI picnic is tomorrow. I could use more sleep, but I am finally over jet lag, after about half of this week.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, closeupGarry was going to drive Kolya to Solone for his soccer game Wednesday evening along with some of the girls who wanted to watch and ended up with fourteen passengers since eight of the village team needed a ride there.



I found out the 5 dollar used Nike soccer shoes I bought in the thrift store in Steinbach did fit Kolya and he's wearing them for games. He had bought a new pair to start he season that had fallen apart after a couple games.

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Some of the players ended up getting home another way, Garry, Kolya and girls got in the van and left. Kolya says next time they will know that when Garry says  ce chas (now) he means it. They did win big, scoring five goals.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Sunday, Monday

Monday night and I survived driving into Dnepro in the new van (and the three guys students who wanted a ride to the city, too) teaching my classes as I had planned- in spite of dropping a breaking my power converter for my computer and breaking it as I was starting my first class!

Sunday morning we had a bit of a change with the four girls at the girls house moving in here at our house until we find new group home parents. Our new translator was unsure if she wanted to be a group home parent and after almost a week with the new girls she was unable to cope anymore with girls who never slept.
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3 out of 4 are staying here now
So there is a 1000 piece puzzle all over the living room floor, way more flies in the house, and Garry has banned junk food and set a 10 pm curfew for the girls- and got them up for 6 am milking this morning before I drove away. One of them goes with me to to the city in order to see the dentist in the morning, Garry says she needs a lot of work done, so Victor will take her there.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

7/7/17- a big day

Image may contain: 1 person, sleeping, baby and closeupYesterday was a very eventful day. While we were busy in Ukraine with registration day for Summer English Institute, our newest grandson  was arriving in Winnipeg. Meet Eli Gerrit Verhoog, who was born a short time after they arrived at the hospital, a little earlier than expected, but weighing seven pounds three ounces.
















I will be busy driving into Dnepro every weekday for the next three weeks in the new very long van.
Garry came in with me on Friday for team meeting and to help move stuff from storage to the radio college building where it has been held since I started teaching in 2008. I just hope to find a great parking place everyday I drive so I don't have to back that van up!

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Our two new teachers from SK with Lena, who is the office assistant this year
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 Garry will mostly be in the village this year instead of teaching English. However, he may be called on to substitute if any of the teachers are sick. He is hoping that he will be able to keep everything going here in the village with the farm and students and staff, it is very busy. They are still sorting out the new students. It looks like one of the new girls will go back, she is quite the handful for Nellya, the other two are quieter.

Just got back to writing this, (it's now Saturday night) Garry is staying at the girls house tonight to give Nellya a break, she has not slept in two nights, so she is sleeping here now. She arrived here at the house at the same time as the four guys who were on the baler (just before 10 pm), Garry had told them there would be pizza when they were done (since I was making it at 6:30 when he saw them last). They told me there was less than a wagon left to do, they had problems with the tire going flat on the baler today- they had to fix it more than once. Garry is going to be looking for a new tire I think.

 Rain in the forecast for Sunday, we'll see. the corn is tasseling now, so its a good time to get some rain, it may amount to something yet. At least some silage, maybe next this? month if its dry again.
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I am going to wash the kitchen floor before I go to bed, it got dirty and maybe sticky after I picked cucumbers this morning in the garden and made 10 jars of pickles.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Hay and rain

Garry was out early this morning raking hay, while I was still sleeping in until 8 am, after finally getting eight hours of sleep in a night! Hopefully the end of jet lag, for this time. They got three loads of alfalfa, I think I heard Max say, but they were also baling pea straw. They got another field to bale from the big farmer in the area.
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Garry took this photo while out raking hay early this morning
The rain arrived just before 6 pm, Garry was still hoping for more rain when we got back from English Bible study in Zaporozhye. There were some puddles when Garry and I were running around chasing some heifers in the dark that had escaped from the barn after arriving home. One of the new boys helped us, turned out he'd come around to see us because he was hungry, so I cooked him a couple of eggs with side of bread, kolbassa and cucumbers before sending him home and going to bed.
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A stork flying over the field
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Mowing more hay this afternoon

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There were two storks in the field
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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Visitors and birthdays



Esther, who has been teaching at SEI in Dnepro every July since 2009, has been staying with us for a few days. She came in a week early on Friday. Of course we weren't here since we were in Kiev, partying and waiting for the van. However Victor picked her up at the airport and drove her out to the village. She got to choose between our empty house or staying with our new translator (Nellya) at the girls house. She picked the company and even was not in the village when we arrived Saturday night, having gone on the outing to Zaporosia with Nellya and the students!

(for more on where they went check out the new post on the trade school blog- click on the bird photo at right)

Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting, people eating, drink, table and foodSunday morning Garry picked up Esther and her stuff before church, and that afternoon Garry found out it would be Nellie's (English version of her name) birthday on Monday so we went out to dinner with her and Esther at the restaurant in the nearest village to us on the highway. It has a lovely outdoor patio.

We really enjoyed sitting outside, chatting and eating salads and entrees (half of us had pork and half chicken with mushrooms, and then we topped it off with dessert. Esther and I split an order of cherry verenicki, while the others had sundaes.
It was novel to have a translator to figure out what to order, we have gotten better at reading a Ukrainian menu than when we first came in 2009, when we could only read Koka-kola, got our drinks and after a while had to order two of what the waitress was carrying past us! Pork cutlet and french fries. It was tasty, back then, too.

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My favorite Ukrainian food
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Happy birthday Nellya (Nelly)

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On the way home we stopped in to see how  (grad) Kolya Mazhara (#16 in photo) was doing- he plays on the village soccer team, Unfortunately they lost this time, 2-1. They are in second place in the local team league. You can see one of the donated nets that the Steinbach team brought from Canada in the background. This year they have home games.







Oh well, it's after midnight, you can thank jet lag for all the blog posts lately, next week I'll be busy teaching English with Esther and all the gang in Dnepro. Not sure about driving that big van to the city myself, we'll see how it goes.

It rained today, not a lot but enough to cool it off and make the crops happy for a day or two. Garry is looking into getting some round bales of pea straw done, he can get it for free (only paying for the baling) on the fields that were combined recently in the area. We may need extra feed next winter, the heifers may be very happy with it in their food mix.