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

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

More of the same

As you can see in the photo, the squash (light green are the Ukrainian type- those plants grew even better than the zuchinni when it was dry) have multiplied in size and number with the recent rain- I braved the mud to pick these Tuesday morning and even picked a pepper (a few tomatoes are turning red and the first sweet corn is in tassel- about two/three weeks until corn on the cob for dinner!

Rain fell a few times yesterday morning, but I was able to get the almost dry clothes off the line late in the afternoon as the clouds were building up (missed that one) and hung out Seth's and Jonah's bionicle sheets. They are getting a workout with all the company we have had since they left! I told Garry I would enjoy a day or two of an empty house on Monday (even though all our company have been so charming that they wash the dishes and clean floors and bathrooms!)

Lo and behold, suddenly Tuesday afternoon I got my wish. We drove out around noon to take Julia back to Dneproetreosk to catch a marshuchka back to her village (the VBS is still up in the air- someone else may be organizing one now, but she may come help and bring one or two of her students with her.) Garry is a little disappointed but hopes that there will be one for the children in the village.

Anyway Garry and I went bowling (10 pin) at Most City Centre (big mall downtown) for and hour and got some McDonalds for lunch- I tried the new chicken roll (think wrap but it is a little bland with all that mayo stuff could use some hot sauce!) Bowled another hour and like two weeks ago I managed to bowl decently and get around 120 while Garry was having a bad streak, although he about doubled my score in one game. Good way to get in shape, trying to get as many games in as you can in an hour with just the two of us. Maybe we have finally found a sport we can do together after all these years (I told him he is sinking to my level.)

While we were gone, Maxim, who is still limping (Garry ended up doing all the feeding yesterday morning and missed the cows going out to the field- he was 30 minutes late with the heifers and had to chase them out to the the pond- a long ways)had gotten a neighbor to drive in to Zaporosia to meet his friend who was coming by train from Moscow. We got a phone call on the way home from Max to say he was at home and when would we be back. We drove through a 5 mile downpour a little ways from the village (felt sorry for the guy getting drenched that we passed on the motorcycle) but the sun was shining in the village (I did take the clothes down right away- while Garry went into the house to talk to Maxim.)

We had been surprised by the pile of luggage next to the house, and there were two guys and two girls (looked like they had tea and washed up while they were waiting) and the door was open when we drove in -Box the cat was catching flies all night. Turned out when Maxim had asked Garry about changing our day to drive down to Crimea from Thursday to Friday he meant he would left with his friend(s?) Tuesday after they came and be back on Thursday. Garry is a little busy but I got my empty house wish- we don't even have a car for two days! Like a little anniversary honeymoon (Friday is the big day as facebook keeps reminding me- for a week must be a male feature for reminders- that's why we picked a holiday, Garry always knows it's Canada Day.)

I made omlets for dinner- using the pepper I picked in the morning, now I am going to slice the squash today, dip it in egg and flour and fry it so I can freeze some squash parmesan casseroles to eat next winter (or for Garry and Maxim when I fly home to see the kids in August.)

Victor will be out sometime today- the vacuum pump for the milking system went bad Tuesday at noon while Yana tried it out herself (with Max) Garry didn't have to milk last night. He was out there until eight anyway, since the brewers grain had been delivered a little after seven pm, right when the heifers came home.

He was a little upset after Maxim and friends left, when he went out to feed the cows and discovered that young Andrei, while we were gone had sold all but two wheelbarrow of brewers grain (Garry had halted sales Monday evening so he'd have enough to feed until more came Wednesday before the afternoon sale time. Even though we now have hours for buying it it seems like someone is always showing up at other times who just couldn't get here then. Poor Andrei thought selling it was a good thing, Garry was feeding the cows extra barley silage when I went out to tell him his phone call to Victor (to see if it could come first thing in the morning) had been a success- in fact the truck would be here by six (well more like seven- but he had fresh stuff to feed!)

Right now Garry is feeding the barley silage that was chopped the second day after the repairs to the chopper and it was drier since it sat until afternoon, so it did not ferment well- it is hot and had a bit of white mold on it. The nicer stuff is at the back of the pile from day one. Since there are only half the knives left in the machine (chopper) it makes a longer cut, fine for hay, but he needs to somehow get a new set of knives for it before he does the corn silage in August.

Monday, June 27, 2011

six cows get milked (with machines) and more rain

At least six times today we had sudden downpours and a real thunderstorm around 5:30 pm- just as the guys (and me) headed indoors. This morning we were up early to take Stacy to the trainstation (well Garry did that- while I shopped at Metro- running low on groceries) Stacy is off to see the sea- she is staying with friends and we plan to drive down and get her on Thursday.

We were home by 8:30 am with Julia, who had taken a early morning bus from Dnepropetjisk - you may remember that Garry visited her English class last month, and asked her about helping with the VBS he hopes to organize for the village children (looks like late July now.) She is here to look at the materials and hopefully meet some of the other people who will be involved. She and Garry walked down to meet the local pastor and his wife from the church where we will be using the building.

Maxim finished welding on the milking system and Garry was excited to report that he had milked six cows with the bucket milkers before dinner at noon- or oneish, anyway. I hung out a load of clothes after the first rain shower this morning. Sorry to say that Garry's socks and other things are wetter than when they went out- lots of good rainwater rinses.

Garry had bought more flowers for me to plant- and a couple flowering bushes- yesterday at the market- he had gone to find some tomato and pepper plants to fill the spots where ones had died since the whole week is going to be rainy. I did some hoeing around in the mud before cooking dinner, after hanging the laundry out, but didn't get the plants in then. After lunch we had a number of quick hard rain showers, but around 4 I went out with the storms circling around the village, and worked fast to fill the flower beds. I took this photo when Garry went out to milk at eight o'clock after the big storm of the day.

After I finished planting I walked through a puddle to clean off some of the mud caked on the bottom of my sneakers- when this good Ukrainian soil gets wet it sticks like gumbo! The I went to the barn and climbed the haymow ladder and tossed down a couple bales for the little calves, who looked sad and mucky in their pen. Garry and Max were outside trying to get some of the water away from the back of the barn (the barnyard is flooded.) Good thing they moved the manure out to the field late last week, but its still a mess. They decided to help- Maxim even bedded up the rest of the heifers. Not many bales of straw left in the mow, but there will be more to bale in about 2 weeks.

Garry and I got back in the house just as the biggest thunderstorm of the day hit. Julia had just aopped the hallway (I normally don't even bother when its muddy outside but I seem blessed with helpful guests lately.) It seems that it rains hard almost everyday that little Andrei is selling brewers grain, and he sold a lot today, even with the storm- there were about eight customers waiting to get some when we went inside the house (and a couple of small dogs with them- you can see one very wet black dog heading home in the middle of the storm in the photo.) There was some lightning, wind and sheets of rain, I believe everyone waited it out under the shed. A big limb came down out of the old apricot tree behind the shed.

Maxim picked a big box of apricots this afternoon in the next village, but they were costly he fell (or jumped?) out of the tree and hurt his ankle- in fact after Garry came in from his part of the evening milking, Maxim decided maybe he should drive him to hospital to get it checked out- it is looking swollen and bruised on top, and he was still limping badly after putting it up with ice on this evening. I told him he needed a babushka stick (cane) to lean on. NEWS BREAK- NOTHING IS BROKEN OR TORN-MAXIM WILL BE FINE IN A WEEK OR SO

So here are the pictures of Garry milking tonight. You can see that the white heifer is pretty small next to Garry. These are some cheap milking machines made in Dnepropetroesk (1000 grivna each) but Garry plans to buy better ones- the puslation ratio is 50:50 on these instead of 40:60.

The larger red cow is crazy one that kicks that they have been talking about selling- she didn't kick much until she was done- not during prep- the washing and drying of her udder to clean it and let down her milk, or even when the machine was attached to her udder.

Garry says that they gave more milk tonight than this afternoon, so they must be adjusting to the new system (they didn't give much the first time, which is why they tried just six. He plans to get two more milking machines soon and then try more. Yana was watching the process carefully and teat-dipping them as they finished, while Luba was milking her cows by hand at the other end of the barn.

As you can see all the rain is making a mess in the barn, Garry plans to pump the water away with the sump pump in the morning. Even the ducks were looking for a high and dry spot for the night.

Milking machines...almost in use

Saturday morning Garry told me he might pour cement for the footing for the little porch/boot room, but that didn't happen between the AC guys using the door by the kitchen to come in and out and the rain. I went out mid-morning to discover him and Maxim with the vaccuum pump running for the milking machines- I had not realized the two bucket milkers had been delivered. I said I wished I had brought out the camera as they scurried around the barn closing valves and checking for leaks- there was a graet deal of air escaping somewhere. Garry told me to wait and take pictures of them using the milkers later that afternoon. They were off to look for a missing rubber gasket for a metal part in the milkhouse when I headed to the garden to pick more squash.

While I was heating up leftovers and making a salad for lunch they had an explosion of sorts, so no cows have been attached to a milking machine yet. Since they have had to make a few subsitutions because of some things we'd have at home not being availiable here, they had used sewer PVC pipe in the milkhouse (I think for a overflow- to catch any milk or water that gets into the vacuum system) and when they got the leaks sealed and built up pressure- it exploded right over Victor's head! Luckily no one was hurt and when I went out they were washing out an old metal tank to use in it's place. It will be sometime this week before they try to get the milking system running again, Max has some more welding to do.

It rains and pours

Friday afternoon we had company and it started raining enough to make mud! Garry came in soaking wet from chasing the heifers in the barn before we ate pizza that night (and excited about the rain.) It has officially got the corn growing fast, and should have the new seeding of alfalfa growing back strong after the barley came off this past week.

Stacy, our visitor, was sick in bed (with flu we think)when we waved our other company goodbye on Saturday morning just before Victor came, along with the guys to install the airconditioning unit in the main room in the house. I admit I laughed when they were finished installing it and the cord hanging down inside from the unit was two feet above the outlet below, but there is an extension cord attached now- which is hiding (mostly) behind the TV- and I plugged the power bar for the TV and other electonics around the corner behind the couch.

Seems to work as planned, drawing a huge amount of humidity out of the house on Saturday, as the thounderstorms rained some more on us and others circled around- as you can see in this photo on Saturday evening as Garry chased the heifers back in.

The ducks are enjoying the weather. We are now at 12 ducklings- one was lost under a cow- both little yellow ducks are still there- but they wander pretty far from Momma and Poppa duck at times. Garry says he had to take off his sandals and socks to wade into the puddle at the end of the barn Saturday to chase in three ducklings merrily swimming by themselves in a large puddle outside in the barn yard so he could shut the doors before the heifers came home. I think Momma duck counts two yellow ducklings lots of striped ducklings...good to go!

Sunday morning and Stacy and I were feeling better and went off to church with Garry and a couple jugs of milk. Maxim reported that shortly after we left another storm that put the power out hit the village. Luckily the power was back on before the milk truck arrived at 4 pm (it had not come on Saturday) so Max could pump out the milk. The generator comes on Tuesday. We only had 36 people write the test to attend English Institute on this last Sunday afternoon of testing and were home before 6 pm, after driving through a monster downpour the last 15 km on the highway. Sorry didn't take the camera to church today but snapped a few outside when we got home. Things are really soaked- water standing in the pumpkin fields as we turned in the village- when you could see that far again- most of the cars were pulling off the road since it was raining so hard, we were almost swimming!

Garry went to bed early as he was feeling ill- I told him we shouldn't eat sushi for lunch! Maybe it was puddle splashing.. or the flu. Hopefully he's feeling better in a couple hours- I am posting the middle of the night because the internet was down after the storm for a couple hours.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A day off

We had planned on Sunday after church getting together with some of our English teacher friends getting together at Lena's apartment on Thursday (everyone is excited that Stacy has come to Ukraine so early before the start of the yearly English teaching Institute.) Since Garry had "nothing to do" with the silage finished we went in early and ordered the generator Garry and Victor had looked into on Monday - by dropping off a deposit of cash so it would be ordered. Garry had no trouble finding the place again, and drove over the curb parked on the sidewalk (like all the other cars) and went in. Stacy and I sat in the car and checked out the rock band grafitti on the wall in front of the car.

Then Garry went over to drop off a bag at Victor's (Jonah mom is sending those shorts you forgot to pack) and we went down Robotcha Street to pick up Tanya for the trip to a different part of Dnepropetroesk to visit Lena. Garry had not driven there in over a year and we missed the direct route- there is a large metalugic factory and railroad tracks that block off where we were from the river drive where we wanted to be to get to the district where she lives. There was a number of streets that were not the one we were looking for when we tried going down them, but eventually we arrived at the right place. Dima her 12 year old son met us and we followed him to the apartment (we had only been to her English class nearby before.)

It turned out that Lena had not cancelled our lunch even though she had been in hospital with her baby until the day before. Little Maxim is 9 months old, and seemed to be feeling better- he smiled at Garry alot. He had a high fever on Monday, and had been on an IV in the hospital. We had a lovely time talking and looking at pictures.

We left around 5 pm, and drove past the "palace" on Rabocha where we had seen a sign for Joesph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in Russian (the design of the logo is the same) while going to pick up Tanya. The tickets were free, and Tanya invited us to her apartment for a bit to eat (she managed to cook us potato, meat and salad in 15 minutes while we watched part of Jesus Christ Superstar on DVD- we had somehow started talking about musicals and Garry had started singing it as we walked to the apartment. Then we left for the show up the street-one minute before seven- parked right in front of the building and went in, got our free tickets- Garry and Stacy put a donation in the box- and were seated before the curtain went up.(I even took this photo of Tanya and Stacy checking out the program in Russian before.) We have been inside the building many times- Tanya teaches English upstairs, but never inside the theatre before- it is beautiful. We had a great time watching the singers, dancers, and listening to the songs- which were all in Russian- of course we did know the Bible story it is based on, but we had never seen the production in English! It seemed to have been sponsored by some churches and the director spoke in English about coming and working with the group for 4 weeks before the show (last night was the first of three nights.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Finally Finished!

This morning Garry and Maxim after a good night's sleep, finished fixing the chopper. Then they drove all the equipment out to the field again. Unfortunately they were back with the chopper right away. They had chopped for about 2 feet before it broke again. They came in for breakfast before taking it apart again- I cooked up some leftover potatoes and sausage with some onions and eggs for them.

They took the chopper apart and found that a welded piece on the "spider" had broken so they had to take everything apart and reset the 6 remaining knives, so there would be less stress on the welded piece. It was a bigger job than the first time, they finished before one- with slight delay for another repair, which they needed after trying it in the yard. We ate dinner after they finished fixing it and selling milk to Oxana, the lady milk buyer.

After we ate they headed out the field and it was a relief to hear Maxim driving past the house regularly to dump loads of silage. By four pm, the chopper and everything else was back in the yard and Serosia showed Maxim how to pack the pile with his payloader. You have to squash the air out of the silage so it will ferment into silage- otherwise the air will cause it to rot instead.

Garry went off to breed a heifer in Frederika - a nearby village-at four o'clock. He said it was on a thirty foot rope- he grabbed it and clipped its neck collar to the stake it was tied to since the man who had come to drive him there was not much help catching the animal so he assumed he didn't have much to with it(mostly women take care of cows here in Ukraine.)

At five pm the neighbor boy Andrei was busy with customers for brewer's grain- Garry has hired him to sell from 5-7 pm three days a week, for 5% of the sales price. We were surprised to find out that Andrei is 15 years old- the same age as Jonah (Jonah is alot bigger) Garry had thought he was 12 or 13. He has his back to the camera in the green shirt (that used to be Jonah's) Maxim is loading a wheelbarrow for the barn with one of the guys that were helping him this afternoon, and a couple ladies are there to buy some for their cows.

After the heifers came home, we had some battered and fried summer squash for dinner and then Garry, Maxim and some of Max's friends (with the help of Stacy) covered the pile with plastic (after 8 pm) and the guys piled dirt around the edges to hold it down. Garry then bred a cow in our barn while the ladies were doing the evening milking. Afterwards they tried out the latest strawberry cobbler I made- Stacy keeps picking fruit so we have a new dessert everyday! Stacy seems to be enjoying her time in a Ukrainian village before spending nest month in the city teaching English.

For some reason Papa duck thought me and the camera were more of a threat than Mint!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Some of the silage is done

Garry and his crew started chopping silage around 10 am this morning. Garry drove out with the tractor with the chopper and a precept (wagon) behind. Serosia followed in his little tractor with the rake- he would put 3 swathes into one for chopping. Maxim brought up the rear with the loader-tractor and the other precept. If you look closely you can see a green pea and some barley grains inside the chopper with the pieces of chopped stalks.

Maxim was going past the kitchen window up and down the driveway at a steady rate, dumping the loads of barley/peas/alfalfa. I cooked a big meal at noon, and Stacy and I packed it into plastic snap top boxes - one for everyone, and put them into bags along with a box of juice and some cups and forks. Polo and his little fluffy black dog friend decided to follow along, as we walked down the street, and around the corner to the field. We met Max coming up the street with a load, so I handed him his box of lunch- a porkchop (which I cut up before packing, potato salad, fried squash (dipped in flour and egg- it was really tasty) chunks of tomato, and buttered bread for the guys.

When we got to the field, Garry was just finishing a load. Max drove in right after we walked in, and unhooked the empty wagon. Garry unhooked from his full wagon behind the chopper. Maxim and his friend hooked up to the full one and drove away. Garry stopped and picniked with Stacy and I on the side of the field. Stacy had thought to bring along a bottle of water so Garry could wash his hands. After he ate he took along the other meal for Serosia and hooked up to the empty wagon, and started chopping again. We walked back to the house.

Later in the afternoon, Garry came in with a lady who had come from Manitoba and was here in Ukraine doing mission work (she was born in Dnepropetroesk and speaks Russian.) Garry was fixing his chopper when she came in- his face all black with dirt. He brought her in the house where she met Stacy- they share a last name- Unger.
Garry had broken some of the knives inside the chopper when he had a build up of dirt inside the machine and it took in a large chunk and bang! no more chopping today- they were about three-quarters done with the field.

Serosia packed the pile with his big loader, while Garry (and then Garry and Maxim) worked on the chopper- they had to take a break to run down the driveway and get the heifers in as the village herd went past- but the broken part of the chopper is all apart and they are resetting the knives so there are half as many (to use the good ones)then the silage can be finished on Wednesday. Luckily nothing broke that they really needed to chop hay- but he will need a new set of knives before chopping the corn silage in August. It is hard to get parts for this machine- they would need to come from Canada I think, Garry brought back a few small parts for it when he went to his father's birthday.

Garry had a shower and some dinner, helped Max more with the chopper, had another visitor and was sitting in a chair enjoying his cherry cake I made this afternoon (Stacy get credit for picking and pitting the sour cherries) when Maxim came in to tell him that someone in the village wanted a cow bred. Garry was in bed shortly after getting back from his last job of the day. Now it's midnight and I am the only one awake- and just finishing this blog post (photos were loading slow.)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Crop (and bird) report June 20th

For all you farmers all there here is the new crop report for our little village. The rain last week saved most of the crops (at least for the time being). Garry's field of corn that was replanted on Friday has already sprouted (he dug some up to look today) should be up out of the ground soon. He cleaned out the planter that he borrowed on Saturday morning before returning it. It was cool, cloudy and sprinkled a bit this afternoon (and windy.) The forecast is for 32 (90 F) later in the week, with a chance of rain tonight and Tuesday.

Maxim and neighbor Serosia spent the day cutting down the barley/pea/alfalfa field today. Garry said the barley was a little yellower that he wanted but he didn't want to be making silage over the weekend. The peas kind of dried up in the hot dry weather as you can see in Garry's hand in the photo. Still cracks in the ground from the dry weather- it will take a lot more rain to really soak the ground. However it looks like there will be lots of silage to feed the cows. Maxim had the blue tractor with the new mower, while Serosia used his little tractor with the mower Garry bought last year. The swallows were swooping all over looking for insects to eat. You can see someone's ripe winter barley field behind Maxim mowing. Garry said he saw a combine at work today when he came back from Dnepropetroesk. The winter wheat is not as far along. Garry plans to get the crop raked and chopped into silage tomorrow.

Here is the other big corn field- Maxim cultivated it for a second time last week. The one across the highway has a lot of grass growing it it as the rows were too crooked to try to cultivate it. Thanks to Stacy who took the photo of Garry and I in the corn field. While we were driving from the corn field to the barley one, we saw a cuckoo bird with a crested head- I took several pictures, but his brown body was too well hidden for anyone to find him in the photo, at least Stacy got to see him.

The cuckoo was in a field with a lot of sunflower stalks from last year on the ground. Garry said it was worked up and planted in sunflowers a couple weeks ago, it seemed a few were up thanks to the rain (but it was mostly brown dirt and tan stalks). Most of the sunflower fields are up and growing- they really took off after the rain, as you can see in the photo. Next month there will be a lot of yellow fields.

Weekend- some things just don't go as you planned

Some things don't turn out the way you plan- like this orange lily that was blooming the day the tree fell down- it only lost a couple petals in the crash, but I was a little disappointed- if you look closely the label from the package is there where I planted the bulb this spring and promised a lovely pink one- similiar to one I have at home in Canada.

Garry and I were waiting for the cows to come back on Saturday evening around 7 pm- the beds were all made in preparation for Victor's Mennonite roots tour group and Stacy to return and spend the night- when we were surprized by the arrival of Sasha from Dnepro- he had biked all the way to the village- he said it took 2 1/2 hours- and he was very thirsty. After the heifers (and Micah the dry cow) were back in the barn, Garry sat out under the trees with him, until he had to leave because someone from the village needed to have a cow artifially inseminated (the Russian sounds much like the English inseminate.) Victor phoned to say that they would arrive in half an hour, so Sasha decided to wait to say hello (he met her last year during the English Institute) before going out to the highway (with his bicycle- velosepet in Russian) to catch a marshuhka back to the city.

The tour group had been in Kiva Rog working with the orphanage team there, and were taking a day tour before flying back to Canada on Sunday. After they arrived they got a tour of the barn just before the ladies began the evening milking, and then enjoyed cold drinks and pie (cherry and strawberry- some people tried bath to see which was better.) Then we got a phone call- Sasha was still out on the highway- he had not gotten a ride after waiting a hour or so. Since Maxim was back from going to church in Zaparosia, Garry went to take him in the car, and the group started getting ready for bed (once we realized no one was in the locked bathroom (door locks turn the opposite way here- it's happened before) they were going to get up at 3:30 am to leave for the airport by 4 am.

Everyone was in bed except Maxim around midnight when Garry arrived back home (I was still awake because I had noticed he had forgotten his wallet when I went in the bedroom- he had lost his cellphone the day before- we had hunted for it in the house and car unsucessfully Saturday morning.) He said he realized he had no wallet when he was going to buy a coffee at McDonald's (home of the biggest cups in Ukraine- think the small at home in Canada) before leaving the city- he was glad he had not been stopped by the police. He said it looked like there was quite the party going on in the village centre at midnight (maybe that's when Maxim was- there is a disco in one of the village buildings Saturday night.)

In no time the group was up and on the way at 4 am exactly - I heard that they were at the airport in Borispol (where the Kiev airport is) in plenty of time for the flight to Heathrow. Since I was up I spent almost an hour chatting on Facebook with my little brother in NJ.

Garry and Maxim had some problems on Sunday morning- the milk in the bottom of the tank had frozen on Saturday evening when the ladies milked,(the milk truck had come Saturday afternoon) so it was not cooling the milk properly for taking to church (they couldn't get as much as Victor's church had ordered because some of it was still frozen.) Turned out to not be a problem as they did not sell all the milk we did bring!

Then as they went to chase the heifers and dry cow out to the road for the day with the village herd, one of the heifers, a red one seven months pregnant (cows are like people= 9 months)was having trouble walking out of the pen, so they tried to put her in a stall, where she went down and couldn't get up. Garry discovered she was unable to pass any manure and they called the vet and doctored her with a couple of remedies (including motor oil- which was supposed to keep more gas from forming in her stomach as she was bloated.) They also got someone to open the the vet-aptenka in the village a purchased a drench for stomach problems.

We left around 9 am with Stacy and delivered milk, and went for lunch after church at Puzata Hata. I found out Garry remembers most of the words for the praise songs in Russian as the projector was not there this week- I could do some of the chorus- but he was singing the verses too. Then Stacy and I went to help Marina with the testing for English Institute- this week we had two sittings - another 62 people wrote the placement test- add that to the 84 already and however many show up next Sunday (and the last day is normally the busiest) Some people will not test high enough to get in- the students need to understand the Canadian teachers- but it looks like will will be full!

Garry did some errands while we were busy- including getting my plants for my hollow tree project which I did in the evening. Unfortunately we had to hurry back to the village Garry had received a phone call from Victor (whom Maxim had called since Garry had my phone with his missing) to say that the heifer had died. Now Garry had a new problem- how to dipose of a dead cow. With no backhoe to bury her, he decided to compost her in the manure pile in the field (this is how we do it in Canada too.) So he took care of that before the herd came home. No one knows if she ate something poisonous while out with the herd or it was something that just happened like a twisted intestine. Most sick cows in Ukraine get eaten (no down cow legislation here) so it was a problem most farmers do not deal with here.

Since Garry was unable to get the semen last week Monday when he wanted it (the guy who gets it out was off last week) he went to Dnepro this morning with the tank to get some- Sunday he did not have any left for one of our cows who was in heat or a cow in the village that the owner wanted bred (you need to breed cows with the little frozen sperm at the correct point in the cycle- so it will be 21 days befroe they will be ready again.) He has a heifer in heat today- she aborted last month while out with the herd. He is also supposed to get a cell phone to replace his missing one.

So I have been washing the sheets so they are ready for our next visitors (or the boys when they return in August) and planted the rest of the flowers Garry bought yesterday at the market. Stacy picked more cherries so I may need to bake another pie. I did have a surprise while weeding the flower beds- the seeds I planted in the beginning of May have come up with the rain we had recently- you can see the white kitten checking them out.