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

Monday, June 28, 2010

Progress inside the barn

While we were gone last week Maxim worked on welding the stalls. Since we were unable to find a source for the metal loops that separate the cows, Garry found a design on the internet, and Maxim made a gig to weld places of pipe together to make the stalls, since we don't have a way to bend the pipe. The tiestalls have shorter loops than freestalls like we have at home so the cows can turn easily to leave the barn when they are untied from their stall. As you can see this is finished. Garry has been working on the outside of the milkhouse this week, Jonah gave him a hand a few times as he was nearly finished with school work. The boys did finish up on Saturday with both getting 90% on their last biology test, and the last of the math.

The photo with EFCCM is here is to remind me of a story. Garry hopes to build relationships as the Christian guy who helps out his neighbours. Garry has been giving away a piece of rebar here, a little wood to the people in the village who come over and ask- mostly the guys who worked on one of the cement projects. One of the men who worked when the Steinbach team was here is married to the village school's English teacher. He came over with a note she wrote "May I use your big scissors for one day?" He was asking to borrow the big bolt cutters Garry bought to cut rebar, they had not used them before and thought they were great, so he used them while we were gone and here they are back in the barn.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

the trip home to the village

After church with everyone at conference and celebrating Marina’s birthday at lunch, we headed back across Ukraine around 1 pm. First driving through the mountain region, which looks rather Swiss-like in my mind, with the houses, haystacks, and more dual purpose cattle and then heading onto flatter ground. As we approached Liev we saw lots of Holsteins, this continued into the Kiev region. As we travelled through western Ukraine we kept looking for the stork nests we saw on the way to Uzgorod, and I finally got a photo.
We ate dinner just after midnight as we found a Mc Donald’s driving through Kiev. Of course the hotels seemed to disappear after Kiev, but we finally got a room at 2 am. Garry and I were awake at 7 am so we got the boys up, and even found breakfast at Mc Donald’s around 9 (if you want American-style breakfast it’s the place to go- we had mc muffins and big breakfasts)
We arrived back in Dnepro around noon Monday, picked up groceries and headed home to the village. The kittens were disappointed as we forgot to buy a new case of UHT milk, but we got the rest of the necessities. It was sad driving up to the house as our puppy Jordan got sick and died while we were gone. When we get a new puppy it will get a trip to the vet for vaccinations, as the vet said it would have kept her well. We miss her bouncing around under our feet. The kittens may not miss her as much- she thought they were like chew toys to carry around the yard, since they started roaming from the shed a couple weeks ago.
We found piles of ripe sour cherries to pick, along with zucchini and a few green beans in the garden. I made pie, jam and cake. There was no rain while we were gone, but we finally got some Tuesday night (the storms moved around us all day) and a good amount on Wednesday, with only a short power outage.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


The reason we drove all the way to the western part of Ukraine was to attend the Europe are Conference for EFFCM missionaries. It has been great fun reconnecting with friends and meeting new ones here. We will be driving home today after church and lunch (the GPS says 1300 Km. so we may/will not make it back to Mnickilipolia today) We visited a castle yesterday with a trans-carpathian festival going on, so here are a few photos of what we have been doing the last couple days. In the evenings we have been playing games - Garry is not playing poker but a homemade Sequence game somebody brought. We have also learned about other people's mission work, and had interesting speakers to listen to and get is motivated to do better.Many of the missionaries came by train or plane, Garry went to the train station with some to exchange a ticket.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Here are some of the photos of our trip- the big balls in the trees is mistletoe which being a parasite kills the trees. We saw miles of trees some live, some dead, but lots of trees are being affected by an invasion of mistletoe.
We saw lots of horses and wagons in western Ukraine. The wheat fields are getting ripe as you can see in the photo, the purple strip is wild flowers. Many fields closer to home have poppies growing on the edges as in the photo Garry took, or some fields with less weed spray have a lot of them. You can see the trusty Lada on the side of the road waiting for us to return to driving across Ukraine. The semi is one of many Garry passed.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Driving to Uzgorod

We safely arrived in Uzgorod for the mission conference, at 12:30 on Wednesday, just a little late for lunch. We had arrived at Marina’s friend’s home around 5:30 on Tuesday after 13 hours of driving, and were treated to a delicious supper. We took a walk to see a castle ruin and after a shower we were ready for bed. With a good night’s sleep and a little breakfast we set out at 7 am to drive the rest of the way here with Marina. Today Garry drove along the river, through the mountains, and mostly in town after village, so it was slower driving than yesterday (we did about 900 km yesterday and 315 today) The GPS worked well, we found where we were going, and only had to turn around a couple times when she would announce she was “recalculating route” (Garry has chosen a very British sounding lady voice to tell him where to go) as sometimes “turning right” or “bearing left” is actually straight. It also says “prepare to turn left in 800 meters- 300 meters” before the turn. We were puzzled when it said to “prepare to go straight in 800 meters” until we spotted the stop sign well to the side of the road just as we got to the intersection. Fortunately he stopped in time and now we know what “prepare to go straight” means! The only other problems were finding places to pass slow moving trucks and a delay at the bridge under construction in one town. There was only one lane but no North American style traffic signal for taking turns so Garry had to back up as something was coming from the other way--- and then wait until traffic cleared- about a dozen cars and a couple big trucks came across before we could go!
It was very interesting to check out the crops as we came across to western Ukraine- we saw combines heading south, the crops here are not as mature as those closer to Zaporosia, where the winter wheat is golden. We saw many different people making hay, mostly cutting by hand (like the photo of Mike cutting grass when the Steinbach team was here) and carrying home forked into a truck, or wagon (many pulled by a horse or two) or motorcycle (they stuff it in bags). I saw a couple older men heading out on bicycles with scythes in hand. It was only 20 C on Tuesday as we drove so those guys were wearing jackets. We were thankful for the cooler weather as we headed west, since we are unable to get air-conditioning for the Lada. It even clouded up so Garry did not have to squint. Luckily it did not rain much as the windshield wiper malfunctioned on the driver’s side and decided to curl around the side window. We may need some parts.
I will put photos up from our drive in a later post. One thing I missed getting a picture of was the cranes nesting on top of the light poles in the villages as we drove through western Ukraine, we even saw a one or two standing along the road.

Monday, June 14, 2010

It's hot!

The temperature has soared to 38 C this week (around a 100F) and we are hot! Garry and the boys have been swimming in the pond (I even went in on Saturday) Garry and Maxim worked on putting the steel on the shed (attached to the house) roof last Monday. They had hoped to do the milkhouse roof, but had the wrong trim for it. So today (Monday the 14th) they got it on- they nearly finished around 10 am this morning (see photo) but ran out of screws. Victor brought more when he came this afternoon and they finished just as the rain came down (thankfully the thunderstorms came as promised- the corn was starting to curl in the fields.) Maxim has been busy welding freestalls last week (and will be this coming week too.)
The garden is growing (we have done a little watering this last week) as you can see-the zuchinni and the green beans are blooming, the sweet corn is tassling, and we have been picking a bowl of sugar snap peas everyday. I had to pull up my spinach and freeze it this week (Moosha is checking out the pile I was sorting outside today)as we are heading out to western Ukraine for a EFCCM-Europe conference in Uzgurod. When we get back we'll be eating beans and zuchinni, I hope. Seth was tired of spinach- spinach soup, stirfry, risotto and even spinach cake!
Sunday afternoon we drove into Zaporosia for a farewell picnic for the trek team that we met here in the village, four young people with the Evangelical Mennonite Church, who are flying out through Vienna today on the way to Canada. Hopefully they are enjoying their evening of sightseeing, it is a beautiful city. They had been in Ukraine for 7 months and even got to experience summer weather with the temperature hitting July norms this last week.
Seth and Jonah have nearly finished homeschooling- just a chapter of biolagy and some math to go! We will be done before Seth flys home to the farm for the summer!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


As you can see our garden really grew while we were gone, there was rain for about 10days in a row, until the last couple days. When it’s this hot the rain really gets things growing! We have been picking spinach, sugar snap peas (Garry is alarming the neighbourhood kids by eating pea pods- they are not familiar with this type of peas, one girl keeps pantomiming shelling peas to him) and strawberries and cherries. I made some tasty cherry pies Saturday.
The field crops are looking better with the rain- the sunflowers and corn are getting growing. The grain fields are starting to ripen already. In the garden Garry’s sweet corn is getting tall (he has been planting some every two-three weeks so we can eat it for a while) as you can see in the photo. He wishes he had field corn as tall- he has paid a local farmer to grow some, since the land we have been leasing/buying is all planted for the year already, and we won’t be able to use it until the crops are off. Most of it is in winter wheat.
The villagers are making hay. Garry plans to buy a small (7 foot) mower when our alfalfa is ready to cut- one farmer in the village has one. Everyone else cuts the hay with a scythe or some people have a gas-powered weedwacker, and bring it home and spread over the front yard to dry. The guy with the horse and wagon is moving some of it. When it’s dry they fork it into haystacks near their cow shed. The rain was not helping this process, some of it was wet for a week, and so some hay didn’t look too good, but now they are making nicer stuff.
Garry and Maxim have been busy digging the hole for the septic system for the milkhouse – it is 2 metres by 2 metres by 4 metres deep- they finished Saturday morning. Maxim was in the hole most of the time with Garry dumping the buckets of dirt, but Garry was down there digging a bit too. Next week they need to get it bricked and plan to get the steel on the outside of the milkhouse- it was delivered yesterday.
The boys are working hard to finish off their biology, math and computer lessons (Jonah has finished the Bible section, with English and Physical science to go.) In the photo Seth is checking out some plant slides we made this week. They are on schedule to be done by the end of the month, when Seth is going to home Canada for two months with Victor’s son Dennis. He plans to enjoy hanging out with his brothers and their toys and even do a little work. Jonah is hoping to get more books to read.