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

Thursday, July 28, 2011

the week so far....

Here are some photos (really slow tonight uploading- so you' ll have to wait for them) Garry took at the camp (VBS) in the village this week. I came home Tuesday evening, but was too busy to get anything up until now--Saturday morning we will all be unbusy. Friday will be the last day for the English Institute for me and also for Garry's camp.

Garry has brought together people from different places and many different churches to have a "camp" here in the village. Most of then speak a little English, but not all. Three ladies from the village church have been in charge of the food. One teacher is the one Garry went to visit her English class and she is staying at the house with four children who are her students, along with one voluteer form Morningstar church in Dnepro- our friend Sehva. The other teachers and the music guy come from Zaporosia each day.

Monday they had 22 children come for the camp, Tuesday 32 came, 39 Wednesday and today there were 45 Garry tells me. They have breakfast, and lunch along with singing, crafts, sports and a lesson. Everything has gone well from what I hear, except lately they are getting more 12 year old boys who would like to just play soccer instead of lessons and crafts. In the morning they will be doing a craft where they glue seeds and beans on a paper plate to make a rooster plaque- there is a Bible story with an animal each day- Monday was a donkey, Tuesday raven, Wednesday lion and today it was a whale (for Jonah.) Garry says some kids- even boys- are really enjoying craft time. Today for craft they folded origami whales and made scenes with them, with the help of glitter glue, Garry said he was really impressed by some of the middle-sized boys' artistic use of the glue, which made realistic-looking whales.

Today they sent home invitations (in Russian of course- Garry has a translator for most of his part as director he leads assembly time) to invite the parents for a closing party Friday evening after the cows come home with some games, singing by the kids, a short talk from the missionary from Zaporosia and ice cream and fireworks.

There seem to be many flies in the house but no cats I think they are hiding somewhere outside. The big kittens may never come in again, and I haven't seen Box tonight. Needles was in for a minute to eat. The four children are maybe 7-12 years old , two boys and two girls, and keep trying to catch them. Garry served the troops sweet corn and chicken tonight, and a salad he started and I finished (he was the one who put in the hot peppers). Tuesday night I made spagetti pizza for them since Garry was busy trying to bale the hay. I think he made them popcorn Monday night for dinner, and they ate ears of corn last night too.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sneak peek

well it will be a crazy busy week- hopefully all goes well at Garry's camp Monday morning- I still need to cut out at least 60 donkey ears for the puppets tonight. In the morning I will drive into Dnepro for the first day of the last week of English Institute - I am teaching a class where we are reading a book about relationships. This week there will be extra things to do also after classes so I will stay overnight some nights in the city (meanwhile Garry has two adults and 4 children here in the house while camp is on.)

AS you can see the rain made stuff grow- even mushrooms in my tree trunks with petunias!

It has not rained since Thursday afternoon so maybe the hay is drying- it looks like they may be getting ready for the brewers grain bagging to happen (maybe in the morning)

as you can see from my flowerbed under the apricot tree - its a bumper crop this year - hopefully the flowers don't disappear under a pile of apricots while I'm busy this week (for last two years almost nothing on the trees and now....) Garry says he saw someone picking apricots in the village - one guy was under the tree with a basket and the other shook the tree... and ran after getting pelted on the head with fruit!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Power again!

After a 5 minute on at 11 pm (by the time I woke up Garry to say the lights were on next door they were off) the power came on to stay at midnight- Maxim hooked us back to the line then, after turning off the generator.

Garry lit two of the candles Stacy made at 9:30 and went to bed (after returning from breeding a cow in another village- the people paid a guy 50 grivina to drive here and back with Garry so they could get the cow bred. He tells me it was storming like crazy as they drove---cars in the ditch even. At least the cow wasn't fifteen (years old) like the one earlier this week!

I stayed up to watch the candles and Max and his brother Andrei kept an eye on the generator while the ladies milked the cows for the last milking of the day. I worked on making the rest of the (VBS) craft samples by candlelight----it was a little tricky gluing on seeds and beans to make the rooster. I finished off some stuff after the lights came back on and took a shower (I had missed getting one while the house was on the generator earlier) before heading to bed around one am.

This morning I worked on the craft supplies. Marina helped clean house before the meeting about camp (VBS) and she went back to Zaporosia afterwards, she will do the games and sports with the kids but will come just for the days, with two other ladies.

This afternoon I got ready for some important visitors for dinner--- my fellow English teachers, they got a tour of the farm and saw the cows come home at 7 pm, along with corn on the cob, BBQ (shaslik) salads and cherry pie (I thawed some I made a few weeks ago) and I continued to prep crafts for Garry's camp.

Today we started the transition to machine milking-(again after the vaccuum pump got the new motor Garry was too busy with the straw to teach the ladies how, and he wanted the new bettter pulsators we have now for all four bucket milkers.) Garry went out to help hours ago for the evening milking- before the team left- it's 9:15 now and I am photocopying and working on this post (I forgot to take photos of the team's visit so ....we are ready for another even busier week with the camp here in the village while I am teaching English in Dnepropetroesk (after I pick up some scissors and markers for the crafts on Sunday after church.)

I did wish I was home in Manitoba a few times last week--- like on Wednesday for Josh's birthday - thanks for the photos and video of the birthday song on facebook-- and our little granddaughter Keziah's first birthday yesterday --- can't wait to see her walking and talking in person!

Friday, July 22, 2011

busy week everywhere

Week two of English Institute in Dnepro is over... I drove in everyday but two- Monday night the car and I stayed at Victor's after class, and on Thursday Garry and his helper Marina came along and bought the new milking machines and pulsators (they arrive next week)and got some stuffed animals for Garry's camp next week (VBS) and picked me up when I was done.

They had a slow day because they finished the straw (for a week or two) on Wednesday. I'll try to get a photo of the mow- I hear one side is very full. They hope to put some hay on the other side. The new alfalfa field was cut down on Wednesday and Thursday - right before the rain came. The forecast changed from nothing but sun to chance of thunder showers every day for a week! At 4 am Friday morning we had a big thunderstorm that put the power out and it's still out- (7 pm) the new generator is now working- Victor came out to get it hooked up. The bagging of piva travina (brewers' grain) for the winter had to be cancelled since was so muddy- they had finally gotten around to coming today- the trucks were on the way.

Today was Canada Day at Institute you should have seen all the red and white outfits- too bad I forgot the camera (I did buy gas as I drove in to the city- a first I pointed to the kind I wanted and handed him a 200 grivina bill- that's about half a tank now- and said da when he asked if I wanted 200.) I wore my new red cowboy hat with the silver maple leaf- check facebook for photos this weekend (and watch for us teachers singing four strong winds it may find its way to youtube!

Tonight I hope to finish my sample projects for the crafts for Garry's camp (VBS) and the photocopy sheets for the kids because he has a meeting about it in the morning....and who knows when the power will come back (stuff looks froze in the freezer with the generator on for a couple hours in the house- it will get shut off tonight at nine to power the barn for milking and then its off for the night (hoping its back in the morning!)

Now it's 8:30 pm and raining again!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

It sounded so easy...

Sunday morning Maxim was not here so Garry had to hustle to get everything done- he accidentally chased the heifers out to the road too early - so he came in and yelled for me to go watch them until the rest of the herd got in front of our house. When I got there he went to start feeding the cows (a water bowl had run over and made a mess the night before of course- so he had extra cleanup first) after the boys went past with the herd and the heifers joined in, I went to the barn and helped feed silage with the wheelbarrow for a while - Garry had some problems with the second wheelbarrow (it had a flat tire) which he was using to move the heavier brewers grain so he took over with a few loads to go to the far side yet. I washed out the milk jugs to go to church in the trunk of the red mission Lada, and filled some buckets of water for the heifers, and we had time to shower before leaving for church.

When we got back home at 4 pm, Garry did not get the nap he was hoping for- a lady came who wanted to sell him some alfalfa- she told him he needed to feed the cows something green, so they had a nice talk about how to feed cows. At the same time someone came about breeding a cow- they drove and it wasn't in this village as Garry thought they said, and then they ran out of gas on the way back into Nikolipolia. He still needed to start feeding after five pm but managed without my help- although he told me that a handle broke off the better wheelbarrow so he had to try pumping up the tire on the other one with the hand pump. It may be time to buy a new wheelbarrow. I picked the green and yellow string beans so I could freeze them tonight.

Sunday evening Maxim was still gone (he came in -along with his brother Andrei-carrying a watermelon around dark) so I helped Garry get the heifers in from the herd as they passed the gate. No problems- everyone turned in at the gate led by the big black lost heifer from Friday.

Saturday we spent most of the day in Dnepro for the English Institute picnic, where we had a great turnout for games and food at the beach on the island. Garry found a close parking spot- look for the red mission Lada next to the stairs to the bridge!

Garry's baling helper Marina (in yellow)and Julia who came out to talk about the camp (VBS) which Garry is putting together for the week after this in the village church, came to the picnic with us, and Garry had to hurry back and got the cows fed with Victor's help - he had come out to move the manure pile out to the field. Garry had told the girls he would take them to the church in Zaporosia (it is Marina's home church) so they took off just after five, and I told Victor to go ahead home around six, I would easily get the heifers in by myself.

I went out at quarter to seven to the barn to set up for the heifers -close the chains across the aisles and doors and open the gate to the pen- first I had to catch a cow that had gotten loose, as the baby ducks (now half the size of momma duck) waddled past.
The biting flies are bothering both the cows and the milker ladies, as the cows stomp their feet to get rid of the flies and endanger the milk buckets (and ladies.)

So I sat by the road, talking with little Serosjka (he's 5)while waiting for the herd to get closer. He came over to show me his candy from the store(he nicely shared a piece with the little girl in the photo while coming up the street) I took a photo of the cows coming up the road, as I looked west into the sun (makes it hard to see them coming).

Just as the cows got to our gate in a fairly tight bunch, two cars drove through them, and only 7 of 9 turned in. I ran after the herd trying to tell the boys that we were missing two. I spotted one two houses up- but she ran into the yard there with another heifer as the guys tried to get her back she went in and out of several yards, and every time we got her headed in the right direction, she'd run back toward the group! I was wearing my too skinny plastic sandals, which kept falling off, while trying to chase her. Finally I ran back to get the seven into the barn, since I didn't know what kind of trouble they were getting in unsupervised. I closed six in the pen, tied up the heifer that gets tied up (she escapes when the rest beat her up- they were already chasing her.)

I headed out past the house, with a couple pieces of baler twine. when young Andrei came up on a motorscooter. First he asked where Garry was, and I told him Zaporosia. The he tried to tell me something and finally patted the back of the scooter for me to get on. I am sure you'd like to see a picture of me holding onto the bar behind me zipping down the street on the scooter behind him!

It turned out the one heifer that I had tried to chase back was tied to a cement telephone pole, an older lady was standing there with a rope tied around the heifer's horns- that's how cows around led here- a rope around the top of the their heads. I tied my string to the heifer's neck rope and started trying to drag her home. She was a little upset- she had knocked one of her small horns and was bleeding a bit. A couple of babushkas solved the problem, pulling a stick from a bush and whacking her on the rump to keep her moving up the street with me. She started to run when we got closer (or maybe because small Serosjka had taken over the hitting- after asking about the blood.) We got to the barn as Yana was setting up to milk, and she helped me get her in the pen.

Just as I got outside the barn, a man turned into the gate with young Andrei leading the second heifer- the same black one who had gone for a walk on Friday night. I went and opened the pen and he untied the rope he had around her head and I thanked them and went to get a shower.

It was not as easy as I had thought to get them in by myself- if it had only gone as well as tonight.........

Friday, July 15, 2011

An evening walk

Garry took a walk just before dark tonight, Maxim had phoned from his home village (he left after I returned home from Dnepro this afternoon- he has a wedding of a friend to attend) to say that someone had called him to say Garry had missed getting a heifer back when the herd came home tonight. I went out and took some pictures but missed Garry coming back with the heifer- he said he found her standing in front of the village bar in the road yelling since she was lost. The confusion was because as we left this morning one heifer had returned home so Garry thought that there was only eight heifers to get in. But the guys must have chased her back (Garry had driven into Dnepro and returned home with the mission Lada so we can go to the Summer Institute picnic Saturday.)

Garry is busier than he thought this weekend-he had planned to try skydiving with a friend from church but he couldn't fit it in it was too early in the morning since Saturday will be the first of ten days of caring for the village herd (I got my wish) -he has hired some of the same boys who have been helping bale straw (they load the wagons and unload them into the mow) They are also the same boys who feed the cows when Maxim is busy - you can see one filling up buckets of brewers grain for a customer while he is shoveling a wheelbarrel full for the cows in the barn this afternoon. Check out the little wagon that the babushka was going to pull home with her buckets in.

He is also busy with preparing for the Bible camp as its called here (like VBS) in two weeks he has gathered a crew of Russian speakers (most know some English) who will live at the house and run the camp, Monday through Friday. Julia has come out this weekend and her and Marina (the one helping with straw) are explaining the lessons to Garry (the book is in Russian) since he will be the camp director and do the opening assembly each day. This will be the same week as the final week of my teaching English, so it may be a little busy here. And next week he needs to bale another 5000 bales of straw, too.

here's Mint over by the petunias in the fallen tree trunk- he gets tied up every morning and let loose in the evening- after the neighbors chickens are in their sheds.

The boys at home in Manitoba are busy trying to finish making hay before taking part in the St Labre 200 go-kart race this weekend, hopefully they finish before they have to start building. They had some equipment breakdowns. Looks like it will be a fun weekend (and hot too) if you want to check it out- the website is

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Straw and teaching

Well, Garry drove me in to teach English on Monday morning, but he was so busy baling straw that he didn’t come back to get me until Wednesday after class. The baler is working great – it’s all fixed this time- they have baled 5000 small square bales of straw (3000 for us- 2000 for other people) and have broken hardly any. The bales are nice too- square and firm, unlike last year’s soft ones that broke when you moved them. They baled 800 bales Monday afternoon, but broke one of the needles on the baler- since it is made of aluminum Garry had to drive into Dnepropetroesk early Tuesday to get it welded, but after that they had no problems.

Maxim welded together a nifty add-on to the baler to put the bales up to the high wagons we use here. There are a number of boys from the village and a girl from Zaporosia (she is going to help with the Bible school or camp for kids Garry is organizing here in the village in two weeks- she's staying at the house now) working on moving straw bales- piling them in the wagon and taking them from the wagon into the mow.

Garry took some photos of his tall corn fields while I was gone. The corn really grew after the rainy weeks, now it is sun and heat. Garry says it is pollinating well, and if we get a good rain in a week or two, it will be a really good crop, he should be able to combine some for grain to feed the cows, since there will be more than enough for silage (no matter what his late corn field does- it is trying to grow out of the insect damage, the bugs are dead, and the weed killer did its work- even the grassy stuff died off well- but that field will need more rain this summer to grow.)

This is Garry showing why he needs a set of knives for the chopper- he will need them before chopping that corn silage in August- although he did chop some corn – the big farmer has nothing to feed his cows so they will be getting some not too finely chopped green stuff- not much to the cobs to worry about cutting up anyway, he told me.

Garry has been watering my flower beds with the water from the air conditioner- he put a big metal bucket under the drip from it. It is set at 25 degrees centigrade in the living room, but Garry has to keep convincing his Ukrainians (Maxim and his brother) not to turn it off. Their latest attempt (I hid the remote) was to pull the plug on it. You may not know this but cold breezes are what makes people sick- like the one from the A/C!

Yesterday evening I froze a big pile of green and yellow beans Garry picked for me in the garden, and washed the floor, so I didn't get around to doing the blog last night. Today was a first I drove the Lada all by myself into the city to teach and back (only stalled once at a light, the shifting is a little different than I'm used to) I still think driving here is a little... you need to be alert for drivers changing lanes, driving fast, and holes in the road. It was really nice to sleep in my own bed though.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Getting ready for next week

Garry's cornfield was sprayed for both weeds and bugs on Thursday- Friday morning he went out to look at it. Maxim said we should spray as close tot he neighboring wheat field as possible becuse the bugs are living there.

Today Victor brought out the new motor for the vacuum pump, so we should be back to machine milking soon. Maxim spent most of the day with the baler and wagon, making sure everything is ready to start baling straw (however they are still having problems with the knotter, like last year.)

Garry got the chopper ready since they are supposed to do some on Monday at Vitaly's (hay luckily- they are still trying to get a set of knives for it so they can do corn silage next month- our son Josh emailed some phone numbers for a dealer in Romania but they wouldn't work for Garry when he tried calling today.) Garry hopes to trade the hay chopping for getting some big round bales of straw done so they could use them for bedding up the heifer pens this year instead of doing all small square bales. The little preemie calf is doing great.

I planned to get a lot done on final lesson prep for teaching English next week today but instead I went out the the garden and found all this...

actually Garry told me when they came in for breakfast that there were beans to pick and that he could pick them with a guys but I said I'd do it myself because the plants are delicate. Truth be told, I enjoy picking string beans, I always munch a couple raw green beans fresh off the plants and think about my cousin Doug who loved to eat them that way when he was small.

so I froze green beans, yellow beans, pea pods, spinach and made some squash fritters and cut up our first cucumber from the garden for lunch. Then tonight I made two batches of apricot jam.

Friday afternoon Garry dropped Stacy and I (and all of Stacy's stuff) in Dnepro for orientation and food with the rest of the Summmer English Institute team, followed by riding an afto-bus (or trolley bus- they are attached to overhead wires) over to the building where we held registration night for the lucky ones who passed the test and will be able to attend this year. Here is Stacy and across from her with the blonde hair is the only new member of our team- everyone else is a familiar face from earlier years (Marina had the window seat by Stacy but you can't seem to see her in the photo- we started out standing but everyone had a seat before we got there). This will be the 19th straight year of holding the Institute here. Registration went well and quickly (but I was too busy to remember to take a photo then!) We will have about 140 students and everyone will have classes to go to on Monday morning.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

He doesn't take my advice either...

This morning Yana (one of the milkers) told Garry to leave the white heifer in the barn because she was going to calve when the heifers went out to the field at seven am with the village herd. Garry told her it would be another week before she calved, and sent her out with the rest. He may take her advice next time, because he took Stacy out to the field to see the calf being born- however she had a tiny heifer calf before they got there. Garry brought it back wrapped in his shirt before 9 am. Then Stacy helped him chase the fresh heifer back to the barn- it took a while- she led them on quite a chase- by taking a path through the swamp!

Stacy spent her last day in the village doing what she has done since coming- washing dishes, picking cherries and raspberries, and taking a morning walk (plus that extra walk this morning!) She also cooked herself a big bowl of buckwheat for breakfast- she had told me she missed it since eating it last year.

I took some photos of the heifer after she got back into her stall, the calf - for a while they thought she might have a second calf- it's so small and looks premature- you can see it next to Polo and he's a little dog (beagle-sized). So far the calf seems to be doing OK, Maxim got her to drink a liter of colostrum.

Garry decided to pour the floor for the new porch- he took off the forms and Andrei helped by breaking up the old step with the sledgehammer- you can see the pile of broken concrete outside the forms.

They poured the floor just before lunch at one pm, they finished but had a few problems mixing cement- not enough sand in the first batch and it got too dry on top while garry worked on finishing it- he kept asking for pitchers of water- that Stacy would refill it and hand it out the kitchen door while I finished the spaggetti pizza and chopped and fried some zuchinni and carrots up.

Garry had to go to Dnepro this afternoon- he went to buy a new motor for the milk pump (they thisnk they finally found a decent one) and he took in the milk that Victor sells on Thursdays and helped Victor go around Dnepro picking up stuff for Summer Institute- it gets stored in different places for the year. They also got the motor, and stopped by the rocket factory to get the pulley remade so it will work with the new motor. (The rocket factory makes all kinds of things now- and still makes rockets- they sell them to the Americans now they say- but it was the reason Dnepropetroesk was a closed city in Soviet times.)

I did laundry, organized and baked muffins, a cake and made a batch of raspberry jam- after Stacy picked three bowls this afternoon!

Starting next week you'll be getting less posts here as I will be busy with English teaching in the city- so here's a look at the ducklings- as you can see some of them are really getting big!

A Day in the Sun- in Zaporosia

or Zaporozhiza if you prefer (you'll see it spelled the second way in English, but it sounds like Zap- eh- rose- ah to me) Since Wednesday was going to be Stacy's second last day with us (Friday we will begin the three + weeks of craziness that is Summer English Institute and she's moving into Dnepro then) we decided to do something touristy in the afternoon.

In the morning we picked fruit, and Stacy went for her usual morning walk around the village, where she tried out her Russian on a basbushka who was carried a heavy load to ask if she could help her. Stacy said she thanked her with a smile, but no.

I made some cake, while Garry with the help of Maxim's brother Andrei poured his forms full of cement. When they were almost done I took some photos, and one of the kittens tried jumping on the wall, looking very surprised when her feet sank into the wet cement. She jumped right back off the "wall" and was shaking her feet clean over by her siblings, at the corner of the house.

We planned to leave around eleven, but Maxim had to take the car to find a part for the tractor hydraulics that neighbor Serosia was helping with- they had taken it apart to discover that the part they got was too big. As we were leaving after lunch, the two Serosias came up the driveway (as you can see the guys got the yard cut with a weedwhacker- Garry worked on it while we were waiting.)

Max's brother Andrei came along on our excursion to Chortitsa Island, and he really liked posing for photos, as you can see- either getting Stacy to take them, or trying to get her to pose for them. We toured the sich (fort) re-creation (Catherine the Great burned down the original and it was built for a movie set a few years ago.)The island was the stronghold of the Zaporoshia cossacks, protected by hills - where they could light signal fires for warning of invaders, and the bad rapids on the river (now gone due to the hydro dam.)

Stacy paid to make her own commemorative coin, the rest of us tried the archery- Garry hit the target with all five arrows, but I only got one into the bag- the rest flew past (at least they went past the target.) They also had knife throwing, but we didn't try that. Stacy got a few postcards and Andrei bought presents for some of his family (the vendors really liked him- he got something at every booth.)

....they seem to have made some improvements- there was a house with furniture you could go into- I snapped a photo (we had paid for one camera on the way in and there was a guy checking when he saw Andrei's camera he asked to see our chek (receipt) so I took one undercover- the other room was set up as a bedroom. Luckily Garry could find it in his wallet this time -you have to pay an extra fee in museums, for photo taking.)

We walked over to the museum after, and Stacy and Andrei climbed up the big signal hill next to the building, overlooking the river. Garry and I sat on the bench by the door. Stacy bought the tickets at the casa this time and we didn't pay for picture taking inside the museum,(Andrei did) but we very pleased with a new feature there- they have added English signage on the exhibits - so now you can tell that helmet is a Polish winged hussar helmet, or which saint is portrayed in the icons, or what culture is portrayed by which outfit. Garry and I have been there a few times before but we were slower going through the exhibits than Stacy and Andrei!

Afterwards we went to the big store downtown (it used to be the big central store for the city in communist time) and took the escalators up to the fourth floor (Andrei said it was his first time on one) and then walked down all the flights of stairs- for some reason, many malls and stores will carry you up but not down here in Ukraine. It was fun window shopping there.

We went for a walk to a nearby park, Stacy tried to use the ATM, but it was out of money- we did find one that worked across the street. I took a photo of Garry taking a photo of Stacy and Andrei by the fountain (Stacy will be ready to pose for all those photos with students during Institute.).......

Then we went to the restaurant with an English menu because they serve crolik (rabbit) and Stacy wanted it. Sadly when we ordered there was none availiable, although Garry did eat tongue, the rest of us had pork dishes. It was an excellent meal and we arrived back in the village just as the cows arrived home bearing gifts- we went through the drive-thru and bought Maxim a Big Mac Menu (meal.)

And in spite of the dark clouds around noon, when Stacy and I brought our laundry inside....the rain did not fall on the village, for the first time in at least two weeks...maybe three!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pray for less rain, please!

We had enough earlier this week, or maybe last week. Monday morning it was just dry enough for Garry to get the garden and yard rotortillered, and then it rained later in the afternoon (and last night.) I went out to the garden around eight am to pick some peas and beans for lunch today - and came back with balls of mud on the bottoms of my shoes.

At 10:30 I was just finishing up a casserole to put in the oven when the power went out. So at noon stirfry, casserole, coleslaw and boiled string beans became chicken and veggie kabobs on the grill, grilled zuchinni, and peas and carrots, and string beans cooked in aluminum foil on the grill (and coleslaw.) There was a small problem- when Victor arrived with our company- someone had borrowed the propane tank from the grill for the cutting torch (Garry had to find a different one- before he could light it so I could get dinner cooking.)

We decided to eat outside with the lack of light in the dining area, and just as I finished grilling, Stacy was bringing out the last things for the table (which we had carried outside) the power came back on.

Everything was tasty hot off the grill, but as Garry and Victor headed off to look at the sickly cornfield one more time with Vitaly, raindrops started falling so the rest of us carried everything inside. We had decided to eat the cherry pie inside anyway, since it was cool out- under the black cloud that came over us.

So when they returned we had tea and pie- with the news that it looked like aphids were what was damaging the new corn field and that the field would be sprayed for bugs and weeds in a couple days (he needs to get the insecticide.)

This morning Garry went and took some pictures over at the neighbors where they were butchering a hog. Max used the torch on the tail and ate it. Then Garry took Stacy over to see, and ate some piece that was supposed to be really tasty raw (with salt.) I told him something bad would happen to him now, and half an hour later he was working on his porch forms (they are all ready for cement now)

... when he stabbed himself with a nail as he was removing nails from the boards. He is telling me it hurts this evening- but he cleaned it and put antibiotic creme on. I told him if it`s infected I will be happy to give him the antibiotic syringes like last July when he hurt his hand in the baler. They hope to give the baler a test run to see if it is ready to make some hay and straw bales- if it ever stops raining so the wheat gets harvested.

Garry told Maxim he should show Stacy some of his highbar moves just before the cows came home this evening (last year he built a highbar in the yard under the old apricot tree.) He`s quite a gymnast.

His brother Andrei had to show off some moves and even little Serosika gave it a try- he couldn`t do flips and catches like Maxim though!

The audience (photo- left to right- Stacy, Max`s brother Andrei, neighbor boy Andrei, and Garry)got a shower of rain off the wet tree when Max started but we were all impressed. We had several showers this afternoon- including the one after I hung out the laundry when I thought it was clearing up finally.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Cherries, corn and candles

When we got back on Saturday Garry laid down for a nap, but Maxim was in soon, and I had to wake him up to look at a sick heifer calf (about 6 weeks old- still drinking milk) but it died while he was working on it - she had bloated, and he tried a few things before sticking her side to release the gas- about the time she died anyway.

Then Garry went out to check on his new corn seeding and was even more upset- the corn- about 3-4 inches tall now- looked like it was dying. Had it been sprayed with something? apparently not. It was black with mildewy stuff- maybe the mold from the wheat field next to it was affecting it or even a fungus with the wet weather? Maybe some sun and wind would help it grow out of the damage. Garry had decided to go ahead and spray it for weeds (he was trying to decide which would be more stressful for the little plants, and had decided to spray.) Today the "big" dairy farmer stopped in to look at it-(he sprayed the other corn fields) and he thought it was a problem with insects attacking the plants. Garry brought a plant back to house trying to find any bugs on it- it does have holes in it's leaves. Of course today's thunderstorm hit about the same time. It has not dried out- the squash are getting blossom rot (still more than we can eat though.) Not sure how soon they will be able to spray, if the rain keeps falling.

Sunday we stopped on the way to church so Garry could check how tall the cornfield by the highway is getting- it is showing a lot of tassels now. As you can see it is about six feet tall (Garry is 6-5.)

Today Garry and Stacy pitted the box of sweet cherries that Max brought back from his village, and I made four pies (to go with the three cakes last night.) Some are going in the freezer for later.

Then Stacy worked on a project we have been planning for more than a week. Her mother makes beeswax candles, and Garry found some beeswax in the attic. She braided some string we found at the store for wicks, melted wax and we tried all kinds of things for molds. I enjoyed crocheting a baby hat while Stacy did all the work.

Maxim brought his younger brother Andrei back with him- he's one year younger than Maxim and was in the army last year (there is a more or less compuslary one year service for guys.) Here they are tonight- we were watching Ukraine's Got Talent on TV and Garry told Maxim to show his gymnastic tricks on top of the stool for Stacy but when he dismounted he hurt his sore ankle. Maxim took him to church with him on Saturday night, and he has been helping out. Maxim plans to visit relatives in Moldova at the end of August and he is training his brother to take his place when he is gone, I think. If we can only keep him from shutting off the air conditioner - they think its cold and its set at 25! Centigrade (it's like 77 F I think)

I have given Box the cat a flea collar so that Garry and Max won't throw her outside by accident- the younger kittens are almost as big as she is, and they couldn't tell which was which when they were inside the house. If you are wondering- Box was watching birds on television today.