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

Monday, April 30, 2012

wrapping up for a few days

  The blog will be out of business for a few days while I travel home to Manitoba for two weeks. I am taking the overnight bus to the airport in Kiev tonight for my May first flight. Garry says he'll do some posts while I am gone this time so we'll see if he does! Meanwhile Needles can nap all he wants on the computer when he comes inside; with the nice weather he actually does want to be an outdoor cat, unless it's raining.

Garry is very excited, his corn is up already, the first field they planted is not quite as good as the other two, there seem to be a few missed plants where seeds didn't get planted. Most farmers here are waiting until next week for the official corn planting time, but there are some other corn and sunflower fields that have been planted. It has not frosted since April 4th. The corn fields are being sprayed for weeds today, and maybe insects, at least I heard that maybe since there are some bugs chewing on the plants. Garry has hired the vegetable grower to spray, he has nice equipment to do it, at a reasonable price. Another hot day out, the corn should really get growing now.

A smiling Garry out standing in his corn field on Saturday.

It's our lawn, Garry was rototilling it up today to get rid of weeds.
Now that there is water he is thinking of planting grass
 Garry is very happy with his new heifer calf born Friday, out of the cow he wanted a female from, she's black and white and 75% Holstein. They named her Barbie. Right now we are still selling all the milk we are making to the regular milk buyers, about 500 liters a day; although the price has dropped to 3 grivna a liter (under 50 cents now) We are making less milk than this time last year, since not all the cows calved at the same time like last year, which may be a good thing.

my favorite yard flowers are just blooming, today the petals were coming off
the fruit trees  in the wind, looked like snow swirling!

Hot Sunday in Dnepro

Garry stopped at the "home store" to get some sprinkler supplies to water the garden
We made a couple stops on the way to church this morning, first Garry stopped to check out his new alfalfa seeding across the highway- this week it does look green in the photos, and a good amount of the green is tiny alfalfa plants! The we stopped at Nova Lena, because the turn is way easier on the way into the city. Then we made our regular stop at Victor's church to drop off milk. We brought only 50 liters for our church, because it is the holiday weekend - May first holiday is officially on Monday, but it is more like a four day weekend!
we dropped milk off at Victor's church

the most common billboard in Ukraine this year, Coke and Eurocup

Pushkin bust - where Garry turned right toward the market
 Garry wanted to buy a hoof knife so he could work on the cow with the sore foot, so he went to the vettenka at the market after church. I waited in the car up the hill parked next to this business. The hoof knife he bought is a little unusual, so I may need to bring Garry one from Manitoba.
recycling in Ukraine- you can see the beer bottle return
 price on the  signs on the door

Globa Park on Karl Marx 

Since we were in the area, Garry wanted to check out Globa Park on such a nice warm day- the car thermometer read 34 C as we drove downtown on Karl Marx street, where the explosions took place . We did see some soldiers as we walked around in the park, which is not normal, and a lot more shorts than any other time this spring.
Crowded corner on Karl Marx

Shorter skirts and more skin with the temp over 30 C (almost 90 F)

Thinking this building may have been damaged in the explosions Friday.

Garry bought a phone card across from Globa Park

There were two ambulances parked next to the movie theatre (kino) across from the park,
 ready for more emergencies? This may be where one of the explosions was.

Tram stopping near the park, the tulips are going fast with the heat this week

there were a number of soldiers patroling in the park, which we assume was because of the bombs on Friday

Feeding the swans
classic pose

some less common tulips in the shade with ferns

there were some kids playing in this giant bouncy thing

these soldiers at the main entrance had a German shepherd with them

the temperature sign leaving Dnepro at 2:30 on April 4th
Two weeks ago on Easter Sunday our church still had the big electric heater they bought this winter running, this week they had the windows open. Garry ran water on his garden and the strawberry patch after we got back to the village with the sprinkler he bought, the water pressure is impressive from the irrigation line. He walked out to check his hayfield, and got mosquito bites around six pm. Then we put the air-conditioner in our bedroom and started it running!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Water was running today!

 Yesterday the guys were finishing digging the trench across our yard for the water line. First they dug 15 metres of trench, and then after lunch Garry and Maxim dug another 15 metres because the pipe was too short when they put it in the trench, so they had to dig the trench straighter than the first try, where they had zig and zagged  through the fruit trees to avoid some of the roots.
The peas and spinach will enjoy some water later
 Today was the day when the water was getting turned on, the neighbor Misha got his connection hooked on to the pipe (everyone needed their meter and connection done today) and Victor came out this morning and helped with getting ours on- there was a little problem with having some metric and some non-metric parts, but they got it to work. Just before lunch he and Garry were hooking a small pipe to the connection so they could water the garden and some of the trees and flowers.

the connection/shut-off for our yard
 The guys went to turn the water on, I waited around in case the valve needed to be turned off when the water started flowing- like there was a flood before they walked back. Polo sat in the shade of the raspberry bushes waiting with me, I was told it would be 15-20 minutes before anything happened so I took photos of the insects in the fruit trees.

no water yet
  I heard some gurgling noises like air was going through the pipes, but no water came out. Victor and the neighbor checked it out.
 After lunch, they got the air lock out of the pipe, and look! water flowed into a bucket, then Garry and Victor hooked up some hoses and watered lots of stuff in the yard this afternoon. They turned the big line off for the night, tomorrow the line will be tested under pressure with water being pumped from the big irrigation line the project tapped into.

Just think how big the strawberries will be this year with water! They are just starting to bloom.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Quiet day in the village...

You may have heard that there were a number of explosions in the nearby city of Dnepropetroesk yesterday or an eastern Ukrainian city, since many of the foreign news readers were having trouble pronouncing the name of the city! You need to ignore the D and say Nee- pra- pet- trosk if you want to be close. We heard about it in the early afternoon when Victor phoned Garry (they happened between 11 and 1 in the downtown along Karl Marx Avenue) and checked the internet for more information. It seems that nearly 30 people were injured, when 4 devises went off in garbage cans, most of the ones in the city are small cement ones, and injuries were caused by broken glass and other flying debris. The first one went off at a tram stop as a tram approached, you can find information and photos, but not all in English, the KyivPost site is good for news in English if you are looking.

Meanwhile, here in the village Friday was a warm day, it was feeling rather quiet and drowsy as I hung out the laundry mid-afternoon, with the air heavily scented with all the blooming fruit trees and bushes in every yard. Garry and Maxim would call it hot, as they were sweating digging the rest of the trench for the water line.

Dnepropetroesk is a city with a population of more than a million people, and it is industrial, like most of the cities in this area, with steel plants, and a hazy look in the air as you drive there. In Soviet times was a closed city because of the famous "rocket factory" which produced missiles. Dnepropetroesk is sometimes spelled Dnipro in English because the river that divides the country and the city, the Dniper is usually spelled that way. All the explosions happend on the right bank of the river, although I have heard from friends in the city that rumours flew arround the city of other explosions.

The city was in the original running as a host city for the EuroCup soccer matches, but lost out to the city of  Kharcov(you don't really pronounce the K in that one.) Games will be played there and Donestk, Liev, and Kiev in Ukraine, with other games in Poland. One report said that we are close to Donestk, but they must have never driven from here to there,(we have) it takes about as long as driving to Kiev. No one is sure why someone would do this here, one would doubt terrorist activity as some reports say, but they are investigating.We'll be going into the city for church on Sunday morning as we do every week.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

beautiful day in the the neighborhood

Cows going out in the morning with the village herd

Maxim digging in the  trench today- it has to be finished before Saturday!

So warm today out the milker ladies have the door open
Victor brought vistors out today, Pastor Andreiy and family,
Garry is trying to get the baby to smile

The babushka may have too many roosters next door
, they were fighting over  a  hen this afternoon

Maxim helps Victor load milk into the van

Cows and crops

The spring grain fields are up, the wheat fields are
 growing taller along the highway, some trees are greener too.

We went out on Sunday and took some crop photos- our first crop report of the year!

Garry’s recently planted alfalfa is coming up, you can see some green in the field across the highway- and it’s not all weeds! In the afternoon, we went out to the replanted field- they part of last spring’s seeding that they worked up last fall because there weren’t many (alfalfa) plants in it. As you can see in the photo, there are two old alfalfa plants growing by Gary’s feet, alfalfa has a very long root, which means some of them survived. Garry is pointing to one new plant that has sprouted, after Sunday evening’s rain; you can find even more of what was planted among the little weeds.

Garry says the new seeding across the highway  is turning green

can you see it now?

the new alfalfa in the field

and the old returns too!

The alfalfa field from last year should be ready to cut in a couple weeks. It looks really good where I took the photo, however there are a few barer spots. On Monday Garry started cutting a little fresh green alfalfa from the garden plot, to feed the cows instead of the straw they had been getting to eat with their brewers’ grain, corn silage, and ground dry corn mix. They are using the little blue trailer to pick it up and bring it home, much easier that lifting it into the high off the ground precept (wagon) with the pitchfork. When the little field is done, they will cut grass until the hayfield is ready to cut. 

Hunting for sprouts in the corn field

there's one!

We checked out the corn field, a few of the seeds that the planter had put in a bit too shallow have sprouted, you can see them poking up, I think there will be more to see in this field next week!

The further adventures of Tuesday...

Yesterday I asked Garry if the cows would be back early from the field on the first day, it seemed like maybe it happened last year, he said no.... and Maxim was not back yet to ask (in fact he called to say it would be Wednesday before he returned as he had just come back through the border from Moldova late afternoon.)  Garry and Andrei had dug their 10 metres of trench for the day (this is the water irrigation project where it crosses our yard- more on that in a coming post), Victor had come out and helped him put up two different fences.
Adding a post for the side of the yard fence

Garry was sitting in the living room watching TV after Victor left (and Andrei was lying down- he has a sore throat) when I glanced out the window just after five pm to see why the dogs were barking. I saw Polo walking back and forth looking very anxious in the driveway, and then saw a cow and a lady on a bicycle go by on the road--- “Garry the cows are coming!” “But it’s not seven o’clock!” was his replay as we raced outside, meeting up with Yana who had also noticed them going by at about the same time. She ran up the street after one of our heifers that had already past the gate and chased her back, Garry and I tried to pick out the rest and shoo them into our gate, one red one that was bagged up insisted on going in, although Garry told me she wasn’t ours because she was milking, we closed the gate after pushing the black and white cow with a sore foot through, she didn’t want to walk through the gate, and kept turning around. We tied them up with Andrei’s help, put four heifers back in the pen they had come out of in the morning, and Garry did a head count, since it was too disorganized to count them as we chased them in as we did last year.  Garry thought they were all in, so we went back to the house, and relaxed and ate some cake I had baked that afternoon.

As the sun was getting ready to set, we decided to go for a walk, I wanted to take a photo of the other fence they had put up, so we went to the right. The fence is across the yard of the new house Garry just bought, it may become one of the houses for the foster parents for the trade school. There was no fence, so Victor brought out a roll of cheap wire fence, since there were posts, but no fence, it keeps the cows from running into the yard, which is much appreciated by the people chasing the cows in and out of the village everyday!
the house with the friendly people

Tulip time in the village

That new fence

Polo helping look at the alfalfa field

We were taking some photos of the spring tulips blooming in people’s yards, when a big dog started barking in a yard and a man came out and talked to Garry, for a few minutes. Garry knew he was talking about a cow, and told me as we walked on checking out the onions the vegetable farmer planted recently, and Garry’s alfalfa field. Polo had joined us on the walk, you can just see him sticking up in the field as he followed Garry there.  We turned to return home as it was dusk, and Andrei was backing the car out of the driveway as we were almost home. Yana was with him, and they talked with Garry, he said there was a cow missing from our group and he would go with them to look for her. It turned out the people who talked about the cow, had our cow in their shed, she had come back up the road, after all the other cows had gone home and our gate was closed, so they had put her inside. It turned out she was harder to get out than in, she was bigger than their cow, and wouldn’t back out, so they had to take part of the shed apart to get her out! The wife told Yana that Garry just didn’t understand them when they told him about her, it would have helped if he had known he was missing a cow! He also said the man looked a lot like a man he talked to last week about buying his cow, so when he talked about a cow, he was confused because that cow was on the other side of the village.


the assistant with the bag of glass vials
This morning I got to take a brisk walk down to the pond with Yana and nine cows and heifers, (the cow with the sore foot stayed inside today) shortly after the herd went past the gate, they were at the end of the road by the time we got to the road with them. Our delay was caused by the district vet, they blood test all the cows in the village for diseases and vaccinate them, and today was the day (although they will be back to read the TB tests and do the vaccinations on Friday) all for 60 grivna per cow.

 They do them in the morning before they go out, and the ones to go out weren’t quite finished as the village herd went out.  They did all our milk cows, taking blood out of their necks and putting it into vials, which takes a while. Andrei was holding the cow’s heads for the lady taking blood, but they were moving around as she was trying to find the vein.

Meanwhile, Garry was busy....

Two milk buyers at once

Trying to get the last milk out of the tank

Garry was busy with the milk buyers, since Andrei had run in the house to say the pump had broken- the one that pumps the milk from the tank into their containers. They had to bucket the milk out of the tank instead, which was much slower. He told me that three of them were bucketing it out into the ladies cans, but she left right after I went out. 

We had the bull calf for the tractor licence guy born yesterday. Big and backwards (calves normally arrive in the world  front toes and nose first) Garry says it took four of them to pull it out of the cow, but he’s alive, as you can see in the photo. His eyes are a little bloodshot, and he has a little wheeze, which happens in backwards calves as they can breath in fluids as they are born, but he looks like he’ll be OK, he was walking around in front of the cows all day.

His mother was not the one Garry was hoping would have a heifer calf, Garry is still waiting for her to calve. The vet was very concerned that she had not cleaned (delivered the afterbirth) and wanted to do something with her, but Garry said no, as it is best to wait a couple days and it comes out easiest (a  little stinky, however.)  

Garry working on his good game -only one in shorts in the mall- Wednesday's high was 28C

Garry and I drove into Dnepro to drop the broken pump off at Victors house so he could get it fixed before coming out on his Thursday milk run, do some grocery shopping, and go bowling. Garry had a good game with four strikes in a row to get a 214, while I managed to bowl 107 almost every game, in spite of very few strikes!

We got home in plenty of time to help get the cows back in the gate, as they returned with the village herd about six pm on the second day, all nine made it in the gate, with Garry, Andrei and Yana out by the road while I guarded the garden in case they didn't go in the barn while the late ones were coming.