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

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Photos of Odessa

Smiling faces to start the day

Up the first set of steps (many more to come)

Stroll through the market- look at those fish!

19th-century architecture

Here we are downtown where both outside and inside this courtyard there are all kinds of plasterwork. The courtyard has been turned into shops. It was incredible inside, even if a few statues could use a wash, they have rivelets of black running down them. You see many more buildings that were built in the 1800's as you walk down the streets, most of the city is four stories high. A few streets downtown have been turned into walking boulevards, and many of the old beauties are being restored in that area.

We toured several Orthodox churches, and a Catholic one also, of course you can’t take photos inside them, but they are beautiful inside. One Orthodox Church had a service going on when we went inside, the singing is beautiful. Somehow I didn’t load any of the photos of the churches, one was rebuilt and opened in 2007, after it was destroyed during Communist times, and amusement park was built in its place, one man is famous because he changed the location of it from the area of the original church’s altar, and a fountain in the surrounding park is named for him. There is still an amusement park for children on the grounds of the park.

Garry and the flying cow

Odessa is known as the city of humour- they have a big celebration on April Fools Day. Here is Garry with a cow we found in front of a restaurant along the cobbled pedestrian street I mentioned. We also found some famous bronze statues in a park that had lines of people waiting to take photos with them, so of course we all had to try it too.

the opera house

The riverview boulevard

We walked on down to the history museum, Tanya consulted the students and they voted against going inside so we headed past the buildings, passing a group of police near the statue in front of it with their really big hats (Clay - from Summer Institute- would have enjoyed that part.) Here are two familiar faces for my fellow Summer Institute teachers- Vika (Victoria) and Sofia, in front of a lovely flower bed. There are two more girls if you look in the other photos. The flowers still looked good, but all the fountains have been turned off and mothballed for the winter already. We then headed for the famous Potemkin Stairs as seen in movies, (I am told a baby carriage goes down them in some movie) halfway down the boulevard. Most interesting- from the top looking down, you don't see the steps, only the landings, but going down and looking up all steps, no landings. Then we continued our walk as far as you can see in the photo- past the Odessa Hotel on the pier.

The Potemkin stairs

The wharf

We walked all the way to the end of the pier, checked out the ships, the exhibit of the anchors recovered from the Black Sea and the statue of the family waving goodbye to the sailor. There was a banana boat getting unloaded with a crane by the Chiquita warehouse, it was noon when we were there and the temperature was 7 degrees C, I had to open my jacket, since it was getting warmer (I had layered with a wool sweater).

Jumping up and down

Here is Garry and the whole group jumping up and down on the mother-in-law bridge, which has wedding locks on the rails like the bridge in Dnepro (although there is no water in Odessa to throw the key in) apparently wishes made under the bridge are supposed to come true. Why are they jumping- because the walking bridge is supposed to start moving if you do- and believe me- the photographer it starts waving on the first jump- they jumped up and down several times, and it really waved- check out the boy in the hat watching them.

A skinny house on a skinny street

This house was mostly destroyed during WWII and the story goes, only the front was standing, so they rebuilt but ran out of money, so this is how much they built- it's called the skinniest house (it's sort of triangle-shaped back there.) You can see people live in it, with an air conditioner up there. Check out how the cars are parked along this street- it made the sidewalks rather skinny, but cars could get through with cars parked this way on both sides of the street.

Catherine and friends

Here's Tanya and all the gang in front of the Catherine the Great Statue, just below her, are her famous nobles, and in front of them on the steps are Tanya, the group of girls, and two guys who came with us to Odessa. This monument is a recreation of the original, which stood on the same spot and was destroyed in 1920.

Partisan catacomb tour/museum

We ate lunch at a Puzata Hata on the sixth floor of a downtown mall- we took the elevator up and I was ready to both eat and sit down for a while- it was at least two o’clock. Then we started out walking, and took two different marshuska buses to get to the catacomb tour. It is a museum/tour of the old mine tunnels where the underground partisans hid from and harassed the Nazis during the occupation of Odessa during WWII. It opened in 1969, they raised the height of the tunnels in the second level to make it most is recreated, and few things are original to WWII. The tunnels were formed when rock was mined for the building of the city, there are three levels to the mining, the hardest rock came from the third level, which is now flooded. The saws on the wall were what the miners cut the rock with when it was mined.
At one time you could get all the way into Odessa in the tunnels, but it is sealed off because of cave-ins. It was very interesting, you could see how they lived underground, there were 69 people in this cell, which disbanded after the leader and two others were betrayed and executed. Tanya translated what the lady guide said for Garry and I. Fidel Castro once came to Odessa just to take the tour when visiting the Soviet Union. Dusk was falling as we got a marshuska back into the city.

The end of the day

Since the overnight train was leaving at 10:20, we had something to eat, and headed out and saw some of the same sites again in the dark, the red-lit building is the museum, and the trees down on the river walk are wound with lights, it was beautiful. Garry found a guy with a telescope at the top of the Potemkin steps and checked out the planet (thank goodness we didn’t go down them again- my legs were killing me!) I took a photo of the gang at the top of the stairs.
We headed back to the train station by way of the Catherine statue, some guy dressed as a clown was blowing giant bubbles across the street there we checked it out along the way. I slept really well until 2:30 in the morning, took another Advil for my aching legs (and sore throat- more smoke creeping in the car) and got back to sleep until 7:20. It was a great trip and we'd definitely do it again!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Overnight train to Odessa

Wednesday evening we drove to Dnepropetroesk around 7 pm. It was already dark, and Garry had to slow down as we approached a what's that in the dark on the highway, a few blinkers flashing ahead turned out to be an accident that had the left and part of the right lane blocked, squeeze right, and hope we don't hit something you can't see. There was a guy waving traffic around the car, barely visable ten feet from it. Always be ready to react when driving here, especially at night.

Since the overnight train to Odessa didn't leave until after ten, we went 10 pin bowling to kill time. Garry killed me in all four games, and afterwards I complained that my legs were going to be sore before we even spent all Thursday on a walking tour of Odessa!

After parking the Lada on the street in front of the big Lenin statue at the train station- the lot was only for parking by the hour, according to the attendant- 6 grivna for an hour. Garry and I got a snack, sharma (Garry's favorite street food), and a bottle of Pepsi while we were waiting. We met our friend Tanya and some of her older English students in front of the Voxall (you can see it in blue letters on top of the building in the photo BOK3AL ) and boarded the train- we were all in the same coupe or car, but in different sections of the car.

There are two bunks on the aisle fitted across the window, and two sets of bunks to complete the square on the other side of the aisle with the window and a little table between the bunks on the two bunk side they can fold the bottom bunk to make two seats with a table between if they aren't sleeping). The bunks are more Teresa-sized than Garry-sized; if he doesn't curl up, his feet are halfway across the aisle. Around 11 pm we made up our bunks- Garry and I had bottom ones, you get a thin mattress to roll out on the padded seat, a pillow and inside a plastic package- a set of sheets and pillow case with a little towel that's made from a dish towel material. There are wool blankets to use, but Garry and I didn't bother the first night, the train was rather warm and stuffy.

When Garry pulled my mattress off the top shelf, a pack with three cigarettes fell down with it, someone must have left their cheap smokes behind on the last trip. They are Kozak brand, so i assume that they are Ukrainian, there is a warning- Garry asked one of the boys to translate it, and he said it says don't let your children smoke.

The bunk is a little thin on padding (for middle aged North Americans) so I woke up a few times with a sore hip, and changed positions. I actually slept through many of the stops and starts as the train clacked it's way down the track, unlike other times we have taken the overnight train. My biggest complaint was the amount of secondhand smoke sneaking in with the smokers after they went out the back of the car to indulge, even Garry noticed it. In the middle of the night my eyes were watering, and my throat was sore.

I was sitting up awake by 6:20 in the morning, Garry slept until 7:30; Tanya in the bunk over me, slept until we woke her up at 20 minutes before nine, since we were supposed to get to Odessa shortly after nine. I had packed some homemade bagels for us since Tanya had said we should eat breakfast before getting off the train. Tanya had a pastry in her bag and got a cup of tea (she and Garry bought tea the night before also- they sell it for 3 grivna) and then checked out the information she had printed off the internet to organize our day.

Since I am having problems loading photos, I'll finish the story of our tour of Odessa next time!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Driving around

This morning Garry wanted to go fill the liquid nitrogen tank that the semen is kept in for breeding the cows. The level was getting really low- he had noticed it when he lifted it to put in the car last night to go breed a cow for someone. Since he is still not 100% I drove on the way there and he drove back home.

You won't believe this, but I met three horses pulling wagons while I was driving today- one here in Nikolipoli, one just out at the highway (with an old couple riding on the edge of the highway) and the third in a little village we passed though, that one had a draft horse pulling a load. I got to drive to Salonie first, because Garry needed to drop some money off at the mill, for the combining and the processing and delivery of the compicorn. Then we headed cross country toward the Kiev- Kirvoy Rog highway. The narrow paved road wove through one village after another, lots of curves and occasionally we had to choose which was the main road to take at the fork in the road!

I had to watch out for people walking and bicycling along the road, really wide trucks coming the other way (saw a few meet each other- interesting.) Since we were driving through the villages, we could see houses where they were selling milk- they put a jar on a stool outside their gate with a white piece of paper in it. We also saw a number of houses with squashes sitting by the gate for sale, and one with a bucket of shelled ear corn- if you want to buy you stop and yell at the gate until someone come out to sell you their product.

I wished I had the camera handy when we passed two babushkas pushing bicycles up the street toward us, they had two large plastic burlap-type bags tied on both the front and back of the bikes. No idea what they were carrying in the bags, or how heavy the load was, but using a bicycle to transport stuff this way is common. People will ride a bike to the school or the market and come back pushing what they bought. They were dressed really colorfully, also, one had an orange print scarf on her head, and the others was bright purple.

Eventually, we got to the highway and Garry guessed left to find the old bull stud where he buys the liquid nitrogen. After I had driven that way a while- by the the way that highway has more potholes and is rougher than the road through the villages- he checked for the GPS in the glove compartment, no luck, but then he checked the map book. We passed a town sign, and he had me make a u-turn over the grass meridian. Too bad he had never tried going that way before, so he didn't know where we came out on the highway.

We got to the place, driving past some half-finished abandoned houses, and the old sheds where the bulls were housed (you can see a few cows there now.) Victor tells us this was one of the most profitable collectives in Ukraine, but now it's nearly empty. First Garry went into one building to pay for the liquid nitrogen, then I drove a little further down the tree-lined laneway to a large building.

I helped Garry carry the big tank inside (it was pretty light on the way in) and he called out to find the lady who works there. She was on the phone, but then came into the hall, checked out Garry's paperwork and led us into a really big room, full of really large tanks of liquid nitrogen (remember this is really cold- it has one of the lowest freezing temps) where we watched while she put a funnel in the top of our tank, and opened up the closest big tank by unscrewing a cap more than a foot wide. She put on a big pair of gloves, took a regular galvanized pail and dipped it in the tank and poured it into our tank several times until the liguid nitrogen poured over the top and bounced around on the cement around it, frozen fog moving around her. Garry says everytime he has come there it is always just her working in that building, at one time it must have been where they processed the semen for freezing at the bull stud.

Then we carried the tank (much heavier than when it went inside, but much lighter than the cans of milk) out and put it in the back of the Lada. I asked if Garry wanted to drive, and we returned through Dnepropetroesk. We checked out how the construction is going on that highway - it's the other half of the construction on our highway this summer. Looks like it won't be done until next summer.

Last night it got below freezing, we have now had a good hard frost, and the leaves fell off the walnut trees in one day. Maxim got out his new insulated coveralls to wear this morning for chores, and the babushkas are adding extra layers under their skirts, pants and stockings with winter boots for walking to the store. Everyone is dressed warmly, lots of coats, hats and gloves out there today, although a few brave souls and Canadians are wearing sweatshirts!

Monday, October 24, 2011

lost and found

This morning Garry was still feeling sick with his cold. Maxim was feeling better- he had gone to the aptenka (drug store) and and bought a bag of cold and cough curing medicines last night. Garry decided to try some of Max's medicines since Max was feeling so good. I got out a bottle of cough medicine from Canada, but he hasn't tried any of that yet.

Garry also took a nap this morning, and then again in the afternoon. He says he doesn't feel that bad, just gets tired easily. He sandwiched in some work outside before lunchtime, and went outside after the village herd came home when Maxim popped his head in with a question. It turned out that Garry confirmed Max's idea- one of the heifers had calved this afternoon in the field, and no one had noticed. Maxim went out to the field and amazingly - actually found the calf- it is a little black and white bull calf as you can see in the photo. The heifer has not bagged up much (very small udder) which is why no one thought she would calve for a few weeks. Strangely enough, this is the heifer I chased down the street and dragged home on that Saturday evening in July.

See post from July 17,2011 It sounded so easy... for all the details

Right after Maxim brought the calf home, someone came to get a cow bred. Maxim had bred one earlier in the day, but Garry went off in an older blue Lada to breed this cow, he, and the driver were loading the semen tank in the back of the car when I snapped this photo. Apparently Garry bred the man's neighbor's cow and she got pregnant, so he wanted his cow bred artificially also. Garry said this one was a pretty old cow. He gets lots of cows to breed because of neighbors' recommendations.

Victor was out to the farm today, after lunch (I fed everyone Chinese- it wasn't as good as what we had on Saturday) he worked on getting the light fixture up and working in the entryway, among other things. Here in this photo you can see Needles, who is not limping like he was last week, going out into the entryway. He has the new door all figured out and uses it to come in and out of the house (on the days he sneaks out- I am still trying to keep him in.) You can also see Polo in the doorway of the house. For some unknown reason the dog will follow us into the entry way, but you can't entice him up the step into the house- he has no problems coming in the house through the other door.

Two nights ago I had Polo in the house, because he and Mint were barking like crazy around 11 pm. When I let him back out, they were back at it, and again last night.

For more on barking dogs and other noisy things go back to Sept 17 2009 Top Ten Noisy Things in a Ukrainian Village

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Inside, outside,


As I said last week Garry insulated the inside of his entryway, he hopes to get the walls covered with genuine Canadian chipboard this week. Of course that depends on how he is feeling, since he is still coughing a lot, and didn't sleep well last night- at three in the morning he took some medicine and watched the World Series game since he couldn't sleep. I drove the milk into Dnepro with Garry in the passenger seat of the Lada, so we could bring the milk to Victor's church. Unfortunately, Maxim is feeling sick today also, and I think I am catching it.
I certainly hope we are all feeling better by Wednesday- Garry and I are supposed to take the overnight train to Odessa with one of Tanya's English classes, and after a full day of touring the city, we return on the overnight train, getting back to Dnepro around 9 am. Then taking nap after we drive home (at least that's my plan.)


The bricklayer finished the outside of the entryway last night, and as you can see, using the old Mennonite bricks made it look like it belongs on the house. He did a nice job around the window and door, you can see there are not many leftover bricks in the photos- Garry plans to clean up the mess around the porch on Monday.

more outside

This is the canola field across the highway (here they plant it in the fall, unlike in Canada where it is planted in the spring) next to the corn field we had this summer. That is the one field we have plowed up for next year, Garry is waiting for two more weeks in hopes of getting some rain. The tractor will use less fuel if the ground is not so dry. Some farmers have been plowing this week, though.

There are a number of fields that are in winter wheat along the highway to the city, the really nice ones look like emerald green lawns - some are a little thinner and not so green.

While our crops are all harvested, there are some cornfields between Dnepropetroesk and Zaporosia that are still waiting to be combined. I think all the sunflowers are combined now, there was one or two fields still standing two weeks ago. There is a soybean field that isn't harvested along the highway too, you don't see a lot of soys being grown here.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Compicorn is ground grain to feed the cows. Right now with so many stale (opposite of fresh- so a cow who has not calved recently- and not giving much milk) and dry cows, we are not feeding very much, as cows who don't give much milk can get all their nutrition needs from the corn silage and brewers' grain.

Early this week there was a call from where our corn is being stored, they thought our corn was too wet and heating up. This is bad, it means that there can be mold and spoilage of the corn. They did not have a loader tractor working to move the corn around to mix it and help in dry. In Canada if your corn is wet, you would dry it by blowing air through it, but there do not seem to be those facilities here in Ukraine. They harvest grain as dry as possible, and then spread it around inside a building on a cement floor, and move it around to dry it as needed. Max drove there on Wednesday with the Boricks (it is the name of the loader on our Belarus tractor) and moved the corn around for them.

Anyway, they decided to grind some of this corn right away, and Friday morning Victor called to say that the mill would be delivering some to us. Garry said fine, we had room in the bin in the upper floor of the barn (he built it about a year ago if you want to look back in the blog.) It didn't arrive in the morning, or in the afternoon while Garry was sleeping (seems like all that sleep helped, he's feeling much better today)--- it arrived after dark, when the pizza I made was going in the oven of course. Maxim was outside since the bricklayer had worked until dark, and he came in to get Garry. They told me it's like a four man job to get the truck to blow the feed into the bin- the truck driver made three, I think. The pizza was staying hot in the oven when they got back in the house.

Garry was a little disappointed because it looked like the load of feed was straight ground corn- ground corn likes to stick together, it didn't come out of the truck easily and it will bridge up and not fall easily down the chute from the bin when they feed it to the cows. It turnes out that our stored wheat was behind a pile of sunflower seed that was waiting to be crushed (most sunflowers here get turned into oil) so they used some millet they had handy to add to it instead. They also add some salt and ground limestone to the mix, to meet some of the mineral needs of the cows. Garry gives the fresh cows injections of vitamins because they are not readily availiable as feed additives.

This morning they fed some, Garry says it is more yellow than the previous wheat compicorn but it does not seem to be heating up anyway. As I said, Garry was feeling better today, but he is still coughing.

This afternoon we went to Dnepro to visit with an English teacher's students. She gives lessons in a back room at a movie theater, and for group meetings we meet in the lobby of the theatre (it was a little noisy since Real Steel was playing in the background!) Garry noticed at the refreshment stand that a bottle of beer is cheaper than a small popcorn, 7 grivna for the beer, 10 for small popcorn- large is fifty- more than the movie ticket!

We picked up groceries on the way home, and got back to the village as the last cows got home at the far end of the herd's homes- right past the bar- they walk through the yard there. We stopped to talk to John Weins, his crew was just finishing cleanup for the day at the village property they want to turn into a trade school next year, if all goes well. He mentioned that he had heard that there was a chinese restaurant in Zaporosia now. Garry was excited, he really misses eating chinese- there are sushi restaurants everywhere in Ukraine, but we have never found a real Chinese restaurant.

When we got back to house, we started to unload the car, but discovered a problem- Maxim had locked the door on the driveway side of the house. Garry went around to go in the new entryway, since it is usually unlocked when Maxim' s closeby- he had taken the load of trees and junk that the boys and John had cleanup to the dump since it was in our precept (wagon.) Garry couldn't get in the door- the bricklayer was finishing over the door, and standing on boards there. Max arrived back with the tractor- not only was my key inside - so was Max's. We couldn't get in for at least a half hour. I had unpacked some of the groceries. Garry decided to put the cat food back in the car (leaving the kitty litter and bottled drinks outside) and go find the Chinese restaurant.

We know it was near Mc Donalds and after walking around a bit we found it. Our Russian was not up to this menu- it was in script instead of printing, so we ended up with Garry asking the waitress what was spicy/hot. She picked #25 and #29 and we ordered ordered- we hoped- plain rice. We drank green tea while we waited, and then she brought us each a little plate with an upside-down bowl of rice molded on it- at least two cups each- and one plate of really hot spicy, my-lips-are-burning delicious stuff. When we finished that dish number two arrived- also beef, maybe sesame beef, we almost finished that one, asked for the check, asked which dish was which (we are defintely getting the super spicy taste treat- #25 next time) paid the bill, talked about asking for a container for the rest, and then started picking at it and ate the rest between us.

We drove home, unloaded the rest of the groceries, I assume Max brought the drinks in, or Mint made a huge mess somewhere and we didn't see it when we drove in. Mint is still a chewer of things. Polo is better behaved, by far. And the entryway is all bricked outside - I'll get a photo on Sunday, I hope.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Power's back on!

After the heifers came back with the village herd yesterday (it happens around 4:30 nowadays) Garry and Maxim went to look at a heifer to buy. Garry said it was past the valley we went to earlier in the week, in a village near the river. He told me that they got to a really nice, wide part of the road and asked the person who was guiding them to the place why it was so much better than the rest of the road. He told them it was because there was a rich man's daughter who got married nearby (there is some kind of resort with datshas (cottages/summer homes)you can see from the village) and they had the road widened so planes could land there with the wedding guests.

Anyway, it was a nice red and white Holstein-looking heifer, and about five months pregnant so Garry decided to buy her for 8000 grivna. There is a cow in the herd who can't get pregnant and she is giving very little milk now. So if we sell her for meat, the new heifer will not end up costing too much more than we get for the old cow. Garry had been using the old cow to teach Maxim to artificially breed cows for the last couple months. Max is getting pretty good at the simple ones, the plan is that he will be able to breed cows while we are home in Canada in December.

So this morning the power went out around 9:30 am, Maxim was already off to pick up the heifer with the marshuchka driver (the same one that transported Zera in his van last year) since this heifer was 30 km away, Max wasn't going to walk her home. It turns out that there was a smaller open (not pregnant) heifer that Garry told him to buy if she wasn't too expensive, and when they got back around 11:30 there were two in the van.

The driver came out holding his nose saying corova (cow) when he got backed up to the barn door. There was a good deal of manure in his vehicle, but they washed it out after unloading the heifers. Maxim had no trouble getting the small heifer out the back door, and into a pen with some of a similar size (she looks 8 or 9 months old.) The red and white one was more trouble, she ended up coming out the side door, but rolled to feet unharmed, I think she did not appreciate her marshuchka ride. She has the end pen to herself until 4:30.

Yana came out to welcome the new heifers when the van arrived, she must have been napping since she was in her robe. I ran out with the camera, its not often we have cows come by van!

Garry missed the unloading, he is feeling worse with his cold. He did go out to check on the generator so it could be turned on for milking, I even had some power to the house for 20 minutes first, so I could fry up some leftover potatoes and eggs for lunch. After eating, Garry decided to go to bed. I even got him to take some cold/cough pills, since he was coughing this morning (Garry thinks you should just let it run its course, so he must feel bad.)

Since it is warmer and dry today, I decided to plant my tulip and daffodil bulbs I bought last week (Barbie outfit #4 is almost finished anyway.) We really haven't got much rain yet, the ground was damp for about two inches, then the dirt was really dry in my holes I was digging.

I couldn't find the not-that-bad shovel I used to plant the rose bushes last week (I'd really like to know where the nice one I bought last year went), so I ended up digging with the bent-handled trowel. Occasionally I had to stop and straighten it out a little when I hit a really hard piece of ground, and it got a more than 45 degree angle to it.

Polo attempted to be helpful, climbing on my lap, crawling under my armpit while I was digging and licking my face. However, I did get them all planted. These bulbs are going further up the drive from the ones I planted the first fall we were here (about where Polo is sitting in the photo). Right now it looks pretty sad with a couple 4-inch high marigolds with one flower blooming that stayed alive in the dry season, and some yellow mums blooming in the background, yellow and brown leaves and apricot pits scattered all over the place, but it should look nice in the spring.

When I came back in Maxim was finishing up his rather cold potoatoes and eggs with hot sauce (Max is one of the few Ukrainians we know that likes spicy food- lucky for all of us) as he had found a few minutes to come inside. The bricklayer is back today and has needed a hand, plus Max had the butcher in to look at the cow we are selling for meat.

The electricity was restored to the village around 2:30. Max turned off the generator after he ate and we went back on the grid, and I worked on the this post - i was about to give up when the first photo loaded on the 6th try and then I did to more quick. Garry is still sleeping, hopefully he feels better in the morning, since we are supposed to talk to a group of English students in the city. The sun has even come from behind the clouds, everything is looking up.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

the heat is on!

As dusk was falling yesterday, we were doing a brisk business in brewers grain, there were two boys with a bicycle getting a feed bag full, and a motorcycle with trailer getting his little trailer full, he had a little trouble getting the engine going when he left, but eventually he got out the driveway. Garry said the horse and wagon were the first ones in Wednesday around 4 pm.

Wednesday evening around 6 pm we were headed into Dnepropetroesk on the highway, with the problem heat (water line) pump, my laptop, and a few things to do. Garry had been under the weather all day, (he has a cold) but decided we could go in and get the insulation for the porch/entryway he started building back in the middle of June.

Wednesday morning the man came to start bricking up the outside of the project. We are using old Mennonite bricks to cover it to keep up the character of the old Mennonite house we live in. He works as a bricklayer in Dnepro, I think. He got about half way up the walls, when he returns he will need some kind of scaffolding to finish. It is not costing anything, since he traded Maxim for some welding Max did for his heat system. It looks like Garry and Victor need to find 100 more bricks, though.

Now that the bricks are going on, Garry wanted to start finishing the inside of the room. He is going to insulate the walls and put chipboard on the inside. He said he could paint it whilte like he did in the milkhouse while we were buying the insulation at Nova Lenya . I said "white?" and he laughed and suggested brown - to hide more dirt.

When we got to the store, Garry got a handcart before coming in, I was waiting halfway across the entryway, looking at a Comfy (electonics store)ad a helpful girl had handed me while Garry was at the cash machine in the corner, getting some grivna out, with his cart pulled right up behind him. Suddenly I noticed a man pushing Garry's cart toward me, one-handed. I said Isvaneatcha (excuse me) and grabbed the other handle. Luckily Garry came toward us and told him it was his, since I had run out of Russian and so he went off to find his own outside.

After buying the insulation and a sharp new utility knife to cut it, we drove over to Dafi and had a bite to eat while I uploaded some blog photos amd Garry met Victor to pay for our internet in the village- it had quit working sometime before Wednesday morning so we were unable to connect, sadly we can't figure out how to track usage with our new service. Garry had been wanting Victor to show him how to
put money on with the machine at the mall and now he knows how to do it himself. We grabbed some Mc Donald's drive-thru for a snack on the way home.

This morning Garry tried taking the pump off the electric system (it's the backup in case Russia turns off the gas to Ukraine) since Victor had told him they were exactly the same. After cleaning out a filter we have water going around the entire system, the house is heating up nicely!

Today is more cloudy and cool (6 C this morning) than wet, and Garry is working on the inside of his entryway, putting up the insulation, so they will have a nice place to leave all their barn boots and coats. Polo will come into the entrance but won't step through the second door into the house for some reason. I think he'll figure it out before winter.

I admit I may have a crochet addiction, I have been making a lot of stuff for the girls for Christmas, here are the owls and the play sushi I have been making, I have switched to Barbie clothes now.

Jonah's cat seems to have a lingering injury from when he got hurt 10 days ago, he limps on three legs and his front shoulder is swollen, like something is broken. Needles seems happier about staying indoors with the cool wet weather anyway. He still moves really fast when he thinks there is something good to eat, and can jump up on the furniture.