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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's cold outside

Today Garry spent most of the day in Dneprotroesk speaking to English classes at the Lyceum (high school) that Victor’s son Daniel attends. He says he spoke to two assemblies of about 100 students and one smaller class at the end of the day. Here we did math tests today along with our normal school work. Our Wednesday plans have changed- team meeting has been moved to next Monday due to a number of colds and illnesses in other families. So Victor is coming out- the steel is arriving and Garry hopes to get the feed bin made so it will be full of ground feed when we leave for Canada next week (and safe from mice.)
When I went outside to feed the puppy today he had a problem- a big brown hen from next door that hangs around the yard was stealing his dinner. Polo occasionally barked to chase her away but the chicken was defiantly sneaking back in for more- as you can see in the photo. It was nice outside-warm enough that I didn't need a coat this afternoon, so I shooed the hen away for a while so Polo could eat most of his dinner.

The sun was even shining today- the yard is pretty muddy from yesterday’s rain. Garry even got a load of slag for the driveway again this week- luckily before the rain.
Garry took a picture of the new calf when he went out to check on the barn- the wind is blowing hard out of the north tonight. In fact, before he went to bed at ten he decided to turn the water off in case it freezes the lines to the water bowls tonight (prevention-less to fix that way). He said that it is definitely warmer in the barn than outside but there is quite a bit of air blowing in even with the new improved glued-down seams (it’s a good thing that was done). It is about -4 C at 11 pm- the predicted low for Dnepro is -7. We’ll see how cold it gets in the barn by morning.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Rain and other surprises

Today Garry and I headed into Dnepropetroesk to pick up the fixed car- that's right, all is well on the car front. Turned out that a little rubber piece that was supposed to hold the wires where they went through the dash was missing and caused the short- and fire I wrote about in the last post. Garry ended up driving into Dnepro Saturday afternoon with the car- Maxim was unable to find someone to fix it in Zaporosia. So Victor's neighbor ended up fixing it (yes the same one who fixed the lights on Friday.)
We met up with Victor to trade cars- he had just ordered the metal for the feed bin Garry's going to make. We then headed downtown, parked and walked over to the Central Market to do a little Christmas shopping (I know the kids at home are excited now- sorry boys no CCCP boxer shorts like last year) as we headed inside the wind picked up and it seemed a little colder. Interesting fact- the meat section of the market smells a lot better in November than it does in July (I remarked on it and Garry said he had just thought the same thing) While we were wandering through the stalls in the back looking at toys I thought it sounded like it could be raining a little. Which seemed strange since it didn't really look like rain when we were driving.
Anyway it was sprinkling a little as we headed out to check if we could find some hand-knit mittens Garry had seen being sold out on the street another day. We gave up as the rain got heavier, and as we stopped to get Garry's favorite lunch- sharma- by the time the lady had finished piling the meat, veggies, french fries and sauces onto the wraps, rolled them like a burrito and put them in the hot press- it was really pouring. We ran inside the main building with our bags to eat our lunches and buy some fruits and vegetables, hoping the rain would let up. Of course it was still pouring as we headed up the hill a couple blocks to where we had left the car. It slowed a little as we got close to the car, but we were pretty wet, and my hands were red with cold.
We gave up on our planned trip to the art market- but hope to get there on Wednesday when we go across the river to the Bellamy's for team meeting. It would be a good chance that the cold downpour would have convinced the vendors to pack up- they do not have stalls with roofs there, they just set their creations out on folding tables and display boards between the sidewalk and the tram track.
We did go to Metro to pick up a few groceries, with the defroster running full-blast and on hot all the way home where I was glad to change out of my soaking wet socks and the jeans with the dripping cold wet bottoms!
The other surprise of the day happened when it was still dark- Maxim went out to deal with the milk buyer this morning and came back to get Garry. The milker ladies were concerned as the cow that was supposed to calve in two weeks had feet coming out of her. So they pulled the calf- it was a black one with a little white spot on it's forehead- the herd was bred with a Holstein bull. Unfortunately, in spite of smallish feet it turned out to be another bull calf. Every dairy farmer wants a heifer calf so it will grow up and make money- but in reality more than 50% are male. It looks like the cow is feeling good, and that will be one less cow for Garry to worry about calving while we are in Canada. Maybe a couple more will decide to calve in the next ten days, and we'll keep milk production at the current level (240 liters a day I think) when the ten cows due in January go dry soon.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Maybe it wasn't a good idea..........

Today Garry went off to Dnepro to help Victor build a mudroom-entry on the front of his house. Victor had poured cement for the floor a couple weeks ago. Garry took off after feeding the cows this morning (and laying out his feed bin project upstairs in the haymow, so he could order the metal to line it) while Maxim went out to finish plowing. The boys and I worked on the biology test review - they are memorizing the muscles in the human body for tommorrow's test.
So I talked to Garry around 4 pm and he said he was leaving soon, as the walls were up and the roof was made but Denis and Daniel had not come home to help lift it so they would finish on Saturday- the aspenite (chipboard) could get nailed on then.
So around 5 o'clock he called to say he would be on his way soon (Max had just come in to shower after doing the afternoon feeding) The delay was caused by fixing the lights on the car.
I have been bugging Garry to do something about the rear lights on the Lada- you know the ones on the back of your car so people can see you in the dark. We have been trying to avoid driving at night because we have no tailights-he noticed they quit working when he returned from taking his parents to Kiev last month- we do have an exceptionally bright light on our licence plate, and the four ways will work- Garry used them the night we drove in the fog- and the brake lights come on.
This is not unusual to have poorly lit tailights in Ukraine- you see tiny tailights on big trucks, most older Ladas and Moshvisches have tiny dim lights- which are sometimes white instead of red (is that car coming or going?) Garry even got stopped this week at night by the police for a document check- and they didn't say anything about the lights- he did admit he had his foot on the brake while he talked to the policeman. He was coming back alone from seeing the Ukrainian national basketball team beat the Lithuanian national team in Dnepro (he says they had more big Americans playing for Ukraine.)
Anyway Victor's neighbor fixed the lights once before when the brake lights weren't working- by making an unblowable fuse when it kept blowing fuses. Maybe this is the first indication that the rest of the story might occur, but...
Victor had said that they should get his neighbor to check the lights when he went with us to the dentist on Wednesday. So I guess that's what they did before Garry left for home. So he did some stuff, and got them were working, but went out after Garry drove 20 feet down the street.
So the guy decided to juryrig them instead, and Garry says (in hindsight) he wondered if it was a good idea to do this wire shifting before the fuses- but this guy is a mechanic of some kind (everyone in Ukraine is supposed to be able to fix a Lada- interchangable parts, and they get to do it a lot maybe). So Garry started home after telling me he'd be home in a hour. He walked in at 6:30- that's when I got to hear the rest of the story.
Just as he reached the outskirts of the city, the car started to fill with smoke fast. He pulled off the road, stopped the car, opened the dash to find a mess of melted wires. After it went out and the smoke cleared, he was surprized to find that the car would turn over so he drove home. When he got home he discovered that the car would not turn off- the lights would not turn off either after he stalled the car and put on the emergency brake so he pulled the battery cable off to kill the lights, and walked in the house to tell the tale to me and then explain it again to Maxim in Russian.
Maxim went out to see if he could find someone to fix it in the village on Saturday, as he is hoping to drive to his home village to visit his parents after we get home from church on Sunday. It started pouring rain around 7:15. (forecast says maybe snow next week)
So maybe fixing the lights ruined the car - at least a little. Hopefully we get to Dnepro on Sunday. Garry called Victor to say he wouldn't make it to help build in the morning.

Update- Max got the car running- he and Garry covered the bare wires with electrical tape, and Maxim drove it to Zaporosia Saurday morning to get fixed- hopefully it does not have any fries electronics to go with the wires.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

here's that milkhouse photo

Here's that missing photo from the last post - you can see Garry's breeding calendar (thanks to my little brother Ronnie- I brought it back from NJ) and Garry's semen tank he bought from someone in the village- the contents are thanks to the Canadian-Ukrainian dairy commission. We even have semen from Quebec I believe. that frozen stuff is some bull with a famous father who didn't get such a great proof (When they compare how good a bulls' daughters are). I' m sure he's heads and tails better that the little red bull in the village though.

You can see all the full milk cans- this was before the lady buyer that didn't make it yesterday and was coming in the morning (which was about noon today) came for the milk that went glop, glop.--see the earlier post for details. The plastic cans by the window are the ones that we fill for Victor on Sundays. Even the big round steel tubs by the table were full of milk- plus several cans were sitting in the water tub for the other buyers who comes twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. You can see that the window wall is still waiting for its coat of paint- it may have to wait until spring as it's getting colder now. Jackets were nice today. The window is cracked open to cool the milk of course, but we'll have to keep the water pipes from freezing before long.

Tying up loose ends

Here are some photos of some of the recent improvements made around here. While we were in Kramatoresk last week the tent guys came (we finally paid for their transportaion costs as the nearby job had not materialized yet.) Victor was here and Maxim worked with the guys all day fixing all those unsealed seams around the second floor that would flap in the wind everytime it blew. It sounded like a ship under sail, and with winter coming the wind coming through the barn was making it cold. They also finished the connection between the barn and the milkhouse. When the Steinbach team was here, the tent guys finished but there was a hole in the corner where the milkhouse was built the next week by the team. Since there was space between the metal milkhouse and the canvas barn, Garry had done some building to try to seal it it up. The tent guys did a great job of fastening the canvas to the milkhouse as you can see in the photos here. Garry and Maxim put some screws in this week to finish it up.

I took a few photos in the barn this morning- unfortunately Garry could not get the nice straw bales from the farm the cows came from, and the ones he got from the other farmer to make the insulating wall are not staying stacked as well as he had hoped- some fell over one night this week and one of the ducks was squashed. Maxim is spending his spare time making a net of used baler twine to keep them upright. You can see Garry doing his daily cow grooming in the photo on the right.

Garry and his currycomb

the Holstein first calver

The little Holstein heifer with the pretty udder in the photo was one of the three fresh cows he bought from the big farmer- you may have seen a photo of them in October when we bought them. She had a bad case of mastitis (coliform) last month but whatever the vet gave her worked- she is one of the top producers now with 14 liters a day. She is looking much better, they are all putting on weight - Garry hopes to breed them if they come in heat before we leave- if not they can wait until January when we return. You can see Garry's breeding calender and the semen tank he got in the photo of the milkhouse.(Which I seem to have lost- this is why I don't use the new editor!) He has breed all the open heifers but one now- she is pretty small so it will not be a problem if she waits until January too.

There are many full milk cans in that milkhouse photo-(that I can't find or reload in this editor) one of the buyers did not come on time- she picked up milk that was two and half days old. It is cold now so it may may go sour as fast, but another thing that a refrigerated milk tank does is stir the milk occasionally so it does not separate out into cream and skim milk. Garry says it went glop, glop as they poured it into her cans. She was making cottage cheese and sour cream from it. Apparently the milk from the cows feed brewers' grain works better for sour cream than the ones feed the beet pulp. We were able to get another load of brewers' grains yesterday and the pit outside is very full as you can see in one of the pictures.
the brewer's grain is overflowing
Luba had 18 steel cans to wash out before milking this afternoon- Yana is off this week doing her mother's job at the lady farmer's place (where the herd came from)so her mother could visit relatives. They raise mushrooms and have some pigs and heifers there still. We have about 10 more cows to go dry soon there are 6 already dry (not milking - ideally they get 6 weeks off before having a new calf) but Garry says one cow is starting to look like she may calve before we leave- she's due to have a calf on December 15th- the week after we go to Canada. Still one of the ladies can easily milk alone so the other can take time off. They will be much busier in January and February, but we may be getting some milking machines then.
Maxim started plowing that piece from the village today- we have gotten the go-ahead from the mayor -we are doing weed control, and hopefully that paperwork will be done by spring so we can plant it. Garry took some pictures when he took him back from lunchtime- we had a little American Thanksgiving dinner with chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cornbread and baked apples.( I seem to have moved some photos to the bottom and can't get them to go where I want- we may be back to all on top next time!)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Birthday books and braces

Our baby turned 15 yesterday- Jonah now six teet tall and no where near finished growing. Garry had a phone call the night before from Victor- some lady who knew the former school director (whose share we are now farming- Garry's first rental last year) Had called him. She no longer lived in the village and had been trying to get paid her yearly share for six years and had taken the former collective guy to court to get it (and control over her land- which we are going to rent next year now) Anyway the rent is paid to people in the village in barley grain, straw - a certain amount per share. However those people who have left, if they are lucky enough to get anything from him, get a lesser amount in cash, because they cannot take their grain. So on Tuesday she came to the village, signed for the grain she was owed, we paid her for it and had it trucked it to the mill to be ground and stored for feed for the cows (buying grain ahead was on Garry's list of things to do before we leave in two weeks). Thursday Garry and Maxim start building a bin in the hayloft to put feed in.
While Garry spent most of the day on the grain buying project, I made a special dinner- speacial chicken (a recipe of my Mom's originally from the Hornerstown Baptist Church cookbook published around 1975) and baked potatoes- from those potatoes the guys found in the field on Monday- it was done cooking around one but we finally ate when Garry came in at 2:15 - I had just told the boys we were eating at 2:30 no matter if they came. Maxim was tied up with the paperwork for the grain- he ended up eating his dinner at 5 when we had the cake, ice cream and presents. Jonah had been waiting all day to find out how many books he would get for his birthday. You have to know that the answer five was so exciting because there are really no English books to be found here- for sale or loan- and certainly not the ones on Jonah's list (older teen fantasy-sci fi- spy- just released series he's already reading mostly.) He was pleased with his other presents- new orange shorts, rubber experiment kit, a Racko game and thinking putty (really big ball of silly putty-like stuff in a can.) You can see the boys stretching it out in one of the photos. After opening the presents, Jonah blew out all the candles- Seth was hoping that one would relight.
Jonah finished off the book from his sister this morning and has started on his second book while we went to the dentist this afternoon. They did a special exam to check their progress (x-rays) and Jonah has to wear his nightly headgear for another three months - with another set of elastics at night to boot- but they think he will be about finished next fall. He's a real trooper, always puts it on every night on time, so I think the dentist's this part is really important speech was not needed! Seth's braces may be on longer however- they say one side is further along than the other. He hopes to be done by next year, so we'll see. You can really see a difference since they got them on in March.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Reading signs - or a little Russian lesson

We are getting better at Russian- Garry can do simple conversations with people, and I know a lot of words- although I have troble remembering them when I need to use them. However we are pretty good at sounding out the alphabet- so billbloards are fun. Often they have some English on---if you see the letters V---in Russian that sound is what looks like a capital B (a lower-case looking b with a cap on is the B sound) or S ---which is made by the C in "parusskie" -explaining why the USSR looks like CCCP (P is the R sound in Russian) Check out the photo of sign downtown near "Most" by a bread- or xleb kiosk (x is the H- but in this case a light 'ha' sound at the beginning of the word)It seems to be some kind of takeoff of Uncle Sam's I want you -from the picture on it and the word tbi- which is one of the many ways to say you in Russian.
The big advertisment for Joe Cocker's new album is mostly in English - Jam is the record store in most of the malls in Dnepro. Underneath you can see the name of the sushi store in Russian Bonzai! (the coolest letter in Russian the zee sound looks like a 3. The name or the small mall it's on is roughly Novi(roughly New) Center- Center starts with the "ts" sound in Russian(looks kind of like a U)- also used for the city center.
The store photo at top left was taken in Kramatoresk-- you may think it says tin ton but that letter is the Russian P so tip top - many signs when you sound them out turn out to be English!
The billboard ( or bigboard the local English speakers tell me) that is hard to see- I was trying to get a quick snap of it from the wrong side of the car (in the rain) yesterday before it changed while we were at the stoplight- it was on one of those billboards that flip over with three different ads on-- is for McDonalds and features items sold for 6 grivina (yes- on about 8-1 exchange- the less than a dollar menu) There was the cheeseburger, coffee, pie, small fries and I think -the breakfast blini- pancake. Hamburgers are less than that but if you want ketchup on your fries, it's 2 or 3 grivina a packet (Garry now eats his without)
Finally try out your new knowledge on the grocery bag in the bottom photo-- the name of the store Varus is in English- the next line is Russian but reads supermarket when you sound it out. The second letter that looks like a y sounds like oo or u and you now know the C is S and P is R and that the p sound is like a box without a bottom--- the rest of the letters K, M, T and in this word E (er)are the same as English. Some e 's are different though, the ones that sound like E (eek)are that upsidedown N looking letter!

Sunday, Monday...

Sunday morning it was raining. Maxim decided he had to plow because the borrowed plow would need to be returned so the boys had to help Garry feed the cows and load up the milk for Victor's church in the car before we could leave for church. We drove to Victor's church to drop off the milk- they sell it after church is over and apparently attendance is up since the milk came- Victor sells it for less than the price at the market- he has a couple women who sell it for him. Production is still good - he had 140 liters to sell yesterday.
The rain fell on and off all day, the temperature was about 11 C so Garry and Jonah did not wear coats - you can see by the photo of the praise team in church that not everyone at Morningstar was as warm as they were- one of the singers even had gloves on!
After church we were supposed to meet up with the Nickles (missionaries in Kirva Rog working at the orphanages there) but it was delayed so we hung out at the "Most" shopping center(mall). They had brought two of the local girls that work with them full-time, and two of the graduates that are students at university and work with them part-time to Dnepro to meet missionaries, and were staying with the Bellamys for the weekend (well Trish and the kids- Orben was off teaching this last week and was not back home until Sunday night.)
By the time they could meet us for lunch somewhere it was going to be after three and Garry was wanting to get home to feed the cows before dark - so suddenly Trish ended up hosting us for lunch at 2:30- with an army of female helpers chopping, mixing and making open-faced sandwiches. We had a great time meeting the girls and mixing with all - I took a photo of the gang as we were leaving the Bellamy house. The group from Kirva Rog were heading back on a two hour marshuka ride shortly after we left. Of course it still was dark when we got home, Garry went out to the barn to help Maxim, who was feeding the cows as the rain was still falling.
This morning the headlands still needed plowing- Garry and Max picked up some pototoes from the field he had plowed- apparently it wasn't all planted in pumpkins- as you can see in the photo of them in the back of the car, they are way bigger than the ones we grew in the garden!
The guys made and poured some cement around the brewers grain pit- to keep the feed cleaner, fixed a tractor tire. By lunchtime Maxim was off to finish plowing- Garry told me yesterday how they got the borrowed plow- it was still attached to the guy's tractor, so they had to drive over and get it by lifting it and turning it around to put on our tractor- the other tractor had no battery. Garry and Victor were off picking up a load of straw bales that Garry plans to stack up as a insulating layer for the canvas wall in front of the cows. Seth and Jonah moved the puppy's house to a new spot between the summer kitchen and shed, hopefully Polo will get his chain less tangled up in the new spot. Today was more wet and muddy than rainy, and still warm enough to go outdoors in your t-shirt (I hear that it's snowing in Manitoba).

Saturday, November 20, 2010

wrapping up the week

Just a few notes on what else has been happening around the "farm." Maxim spent the day plowing, after finding a plow to use last night. Garry and Victor finally got some more land to use next year (even the piece from the village we paid extra to process the paperwork quicker last year under the - "we'll do the paperwork so the town will officially own it so you can rent it - quickly" - well it is now through one more last hurdle- while we were in Kramatoresk Victor brought out the historian to clear the title for having no historical features on the couple hectares. Anyway it and another piece is ready to plow after having pumpkins harvested off the other piece. Garry says the field of rye he planted to harvest in the spring for feed looks good- I'll have to get some photos on Monday.
I did take some photos in the barn this morning of the new waterbowls Garry got installed while I was gone last week. Thanks to Josh sending them here from Canada (he was a little upset to find them much cheaper when he visited dealers in Pennsylvania with Grandpa Emley last month- they are made in Canada) Now the cows can drink anytime they want, as much as they want. Garry says that all the cows have figured out how to get water out of them, and no more hose and bucket dragging around to water them!
Milk production was up, but it also was helped by getting some more brewers' grains into the ration last week (brewers grains have more protein than the beet pulp jhome). Garry ran out again on the weekend, so he got more beet pulp to put in the pit to feed the cows instead. So while we were in Kramatoresk Victor called to say the truck had come to bring more brewer's grains- which is a good thing. Luba went on vacation this week - Yana is doing all the milking except in the mornings when Maxim helps her- more cows are dry now, and more will be going dry next month when we are back in Canada for the Christmas holidays as most of the herd will be calving in January and February.
The new Holstein heifer (just bred) Garry bought while I was gone is calming down- last week she got loose and climbed the hay pile- they sold her because she jumped fences. She is nice looking, mostly white. There's a photo of her too- Garry was using the new currycomb I bought him at Agway in New Jersey to clean up some of the cows and heifers when I was taking pictures and she crawled under the headrail so he had to lead her back around- he says she's getting more used to the barn and does it less often- and leads nicely anyway!
When we got home yesterday Garry went over to breed a cow for somone in the village- he got everything he needed to get the semen tank he bought from someone from the old collective working while I was in NJ. He has bred a couple of our cows and heifers artificially already, but had told the neighbors he could bred their cows to a Canadian bull for 50 grivina- less than the price of using the little red bull in town. Hopefully she gets pregnant, Garry says she seemed good, but thinks that the neighbor has had trouble getting this cow pregnant.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Trip to Kramatoresk (spelling may be incorrect)

Have I mentioned that I can log in in English to blogger? ever since I mentioned it a couple weeks ago? Maybe someone reads this blog, besides you, of course.
Anyway I posted about some of the things that happened while I was gone last week on Tuesday evening, and on Wednesday morning Garry drove the boys and I to Kramatoresk so we could visit with Doreen Bauman, who went there a few weeks ago to start a "English and Bible" teaching ministry at the church there. She is a returning missionary as she taught English in Dnepro about 14 years ago. Doreen had asked Garry to pick up a whiteboard and some other teaching supplies at the Metro store- he bought them before picking me up at the train station Monday night. We were planning to leave at 7 am but overslept and got off at eight after discovering a problem- Garry had bought the whiteboard wrapped in cardboard packaging, and decided it might fit in the car better if he took it out of the wrapping. When he did he found that it was not a whiteboard but a corkboard! So we had to stop at Metro and try to exchange it on the way. After 45 minutes we were finally on the way to Kramatoresk. It only took calling Victor on the phone after trying to explain what we wanted to do a number of times - we now know where to go about exchanges anyway.
We saw a number of coal mines as we headed there- Garry stopped and took a couple of photos when we passed one on the route the GPS took us on- you can spot them because of the "hills" of slag. The land became more rolling as we got closer to the city -with real hills. Since we arrived later than planned we met Doreen at the church, she had brought us a little picnic lunch we enjoyed in the kitchen. Seth and Jonah worked on some schoolwork there while Doreen was doing her children's classes. After that we went back to her apartment played Yatzee (Jonah won- he had two yatzees in the game) and had a wonderful dinner with cabbage rolls she had made. Pastor Yura and his wife joined us for dinner. While we were having tea after dinner the English teacher came to talk about Garry talking to students at the school on Thursday.
Garry and I got to try out Doreen's new sofa bed (comfy) while boys got to inflate a sofabed to sleep on (also comfy according to them)
We were supposed to be at the school at 11:30 so the adults headed there (along with pasto Yura) while the boys worked on schoolwork. We had a tour (built in 1957- there are primary to secondary students in the school, and the only wood and metal shop program we've seen- but there is a huge factory in Kramatoresk that makes mining equipment) I took a few photos in the school, we had tea with the English teachers after Garry spoke to a group of high school age students in an auditorioum- all dressed in black and white, the boys in suits, as you can see in the photos. We left about 2:30 and picked up the boys to go shopping for a vaccuum cleaner and kitchen chairs that Doreen wanted to get to finish off her apartment (a car is great to shop with!) Then we checked out the chinese food we were hoping to get for dinner. We were disappointed- the cook had moved to Kiev so it was closed so we ordered at the Ukrainian cafe that had great food and ate after the guys picked up Ilonia, Yura's wife (I surely spelled that wrong) Then we went to Doreen's for dessert and tea and tried out the new vaccuum- it worked great- Ilonia is the model running it in the living room.
This morning Garry enjoyed a morning walk for the second day- and got coffee and a boston cream donut on his way at a little shop around the block from Doreen's apartment (Ukrainian Tim Hortons he calls it) After breakfast he went with Jonah to buy the chairs that Doreen had chosen while Seth helped Doreen with the excel program on the computer, and I washed the dishes. We left about 11:30 for home with sandwiches and goodies Doreen packed for our lunch. We saw a few farms with cows- see photo. It rained as we drove but it was dry when we got home around 4 pm. Seth and Jonah were excited to see all the pets alive and healthy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

car, shuttle, plane, bus, train and automobile

I made it back to the village last night just before one am--Garry picked me up at the train station just before midnight- we even went through Mc Donalds for cheeseburgers since I was hungry for the first time since eating that "omlet" on the plane. I did have help getting from the airport to the train station from Denis' girlfriend-after meeting me, riding with me and all my bags on the bus, she headed out after giving me my ticket, buying me a bottle of water, giving me her cell number in case I had a problem and finding a place to sit and wait for four hours until the time for the train to Dnepropetroesk (she had classes to get to in the afternoon). The only hitch was the ticket did not list the track it would depart from, I went down to check the board dragging my two 50 pound suitcases and a very large carry on bag (good thing I used to weight lift calf feed bags.) A very-insistent-on-carrying-my-bags man helped me find track one- he gave me his little plastic bag to hold- I could locate every track but the one that came up as where I needed to be! I gave him a Hershey bar- he seemed pleased with the "Americanski chocolate".
The plane ride was pretty smooth, but we were a hour late flying out of JFK and before that the shuttle from Newark airport was stuck in traffic that crawled along- I hope the guy going to Mexico made his flight. Thanks to my little brother Ron and my mother, I had a built-in cushion when they dropped me off in Newark- it's a much easier drive from the home farm than New York City (yes, my family really has a dairy farm in the middle of New Jersey) The customs guy wanted to know something and he didn't seem to know English- I realized he was listing family members so i said "moy moosh" - he looked at me expecting more so I said Gerrit- he typed more nad gave me my stamped passport- I guess "my husband" was an acceptable answer to whatever he was asking! It was good to climb into bed after about 24 hours of travelling! I did snooze on the plane during two movies I hadn't seen before.
This morning Garry was eager to check out the goodies he'd asked for in my suitcases for the barn and his new workshoes- size 14. They were busy while I was gone, and here are some of the pictures they took while I was gone of them finishing up the hay, and Maxim welding the heat pipes at the sportzali(the school/village gym) last week - he also did some welding at the school after - it's hard to get heat out of leaking pipes!
There was a veterinarian visit- from the state vet who eartagged (in photo with the white coat) and -I believe- tested the cows and even vaccinated the cats and dogs for free throughout the village. I was relieved to find Polo looking good when I got back- and he even has his vaccinations now!
I missed being here for Seth's 17th birthday on Thursday- Seth and Jonah found a recipe on the internet, made a two layer cake - they had to bake them one layer at a time- I only have one round pan- they got Victor to read the directions on some packets of chocolate glaze from the cupboard and you can see the results. I am told it was very tasty, with the ice cream with reese chocatlate shell I'd been saving for the occasion. The boys were very excited to get birthday cards (Jonah will be 15 next week) from their brother Matt and family- they took pictures of the mail- including the cards drawn by their nieces Xaris and Havilah that they are displaying in their room.
Garry and the boys attended the celebration of the five year anniversary of the village church on Saturday- Garry says he had a wonderful meal after (he took the photo as they were getting it ready)- and a translator for the service- but the boys headed home before the food.

I took some photos this afternoon of the finished shed with the chopper and baler tucked in- already parked for the winter. They turned a leftover piece of steel into the end of attic of the storage shed that Victor and Garry had rebuilt the brick/cinder block wall on early in the fall after it fell down- I must say it looks really good!