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

Monday, July 30, 2012

Not ignoring you...

I didn't just teach, I danced too

my Ukrainian hat- for the last day

One of my classes with our friend the fan.
Just still busy...wrapped up the three weeks of English teaching on Friday. Garry headed off to Yalta with two of the guy teachers for the weekend Saturday morning, after Friday night pizza. I stayed here to get ready for our houseful which arrive later today (Monday) We are hosting a team from Ontario until Friday morning, they are doing the Bible camp (VBS) in the village this year. They are with John Weins' organization. Watch for an update (finally) on progress on the trade school project (I haven't been here to see it) later this week, one house is nearly finished remodelling...and a second will be purchased this week.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Not really enough rain...

Monday night as we went to bed, it continued to rain, thunder booming and lightning blinking around the edge of the window blinds. When Garry woke up, he said maybe it had rained enough to keep him from working... but no, he did not come to Dneproprotroesk with me when I drove off to teach English. There were puddles outside, and all the way to the city, but they were able to get chopping the corn around nine am. There only was the one rainy night, it did cool the temperature down a little for a couple days, but it really isn't going to help the crops much, even the ones that weren't already drying up from the drought.
Andrei pushes a wheelbarrow full of silage into the barn

So the corn crop was all silage by Wednesday afternoon. The pile was hard to pack down, lots of long fluffy leaves in the mixture. Right now the cows are getting some corn silage to eat, along with lots of brewers grain, and 2 bales of hay they share a day, and they are giving a good amount of milk now, as I mentioned last week.

Garry cut some bad corn for another farmer into silage Wednesday afternoon and Maxim has been cutting some another farmer swathed (cut down) although that farmer was planning on leaving the best part of his field in the hope it can produce some grain.

The whole gang at SEI 2012
Meanwhile week two of English teaching is completed, with Friday (when Garry came along) being our annual Canada day with special events and almost every student and teacher dressed in red and white. I am in the middle with a red cowgirl hat.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Football, corn silage and car rides

Sunday morning Maxim showed up with the Lada when it was time to leave for church, they loaded up the milk (forget to pick up the milk products for Victor's church) and Max drove to Dnepro somewhat slowly-- something about taking it easy on the new motor (at least it has new parts in it.) Garry and Max were concerned about the car temperature (not inside but the cooling system) as it was running hot.

Maxim had another dentist appointment so he dropped us off at Morningstar with the milk, took milk to Victor's church and went to his appointment. He told us later he kept falling asleep in the dentist's chair, because he had stayed up all night helping the mechanic put the car's transmission and motor back together. We made arrangements to spend the day with some of the other Summer Institute teachers after church.

Ukrainian Eagles fan???
First we took a bus down Kirova (street) then walked to the mall---Appollo Centre---for lunch. Then the female members of the group with the exception of me, headed home for the afternoon, while the guys and I went to the free entrance American football game at the nearby Meteor field. It was a little like watching high school football, and we cheered on the home team the Dnepro Rockets ---the crowd would chant Rock- ket-ti! Rock- ket- ti!

They were playing the Odessa Pirates for the championship and won in spite of going down 8-0 about 28-8 even with and injured quarterback that hobbled and threw off one leg after getting injured in the first half. They were way better in the second half, must have been a really good speech or strategy in the locker room.

Victor's son Daniel Dantsev came with us, and went to buy us some cold bottles of water and soda during the game when we were getting overheated, jusr before halftime. The trophy/medal presentation was cool- they played the theme from the TV show Dallas while they handed out the trophies once they got them back from the drunk guy who ran out, grabbed them off the table and had his buddy take his photo. We even found a guy in the crowd wearing an Eagles jersey, and here I thought Garry had the only one in Ukraine.

We walked back toward the mall and caught a number 11 tram to get to the bottom of Rabotcha (work street) and hung out at Clay's air-conditioned apartment until it was time to go over to our second game of the day---Ukrainian football (or soccer)

It was the home opener for Dnepro and we had blast-- a couple of the girls rejoined us for the game, and the home team won 3-1, in spite of being a man down for most of the game (on an unjust call when they showed the replay.) Buying water and cokes cost as much as tickets for the game---10 grivna (about $1.25 US) Most of the guys bought scarves, which did cost more.
some teachers and students too

Maxim came with the car, with some hoses reversed back the way they belonged, which seemed to solve the overheating issue, every one heading to Robotcha crowded in (we had 4 in the back seat of the Lada for ten minutes, a little squished) Then Garry drove out of the city after a stop at the Mc Donalds drive-thru, and Max nodded off after finishing his cheeseburger and fries. It was 11 pm when we got back to the house.

The next thing I knew Garry was saying was 6:30 am and I had to hurry and get dressed to drive in for English classes. Everything went fine, although it did worry me on the way back when the coolant gauge went just under the red., so I ran the heat and cooked myself all the way back to the village, where I was glad we have air conditioning to cool down now!
Maxim dumping a load of silage, the payloader is packing the pile.

Meanwhile Garry spent the day chopping corn, no mechanical problems, just there isn't much there to chop into silage! He says it will be done in three days or less, he plans to plant these fields in winter wheat, hopefully we get the fall rains this year to get them growing.
 It has been more than a year since we had a good rain. There were a few drops just as I pulled in the driveway, and now at 10 pm it is raining so you can hear it against the windows, hope it continues all night and it is too wet to chop corn in the morning, maybe the hay will grow back...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Another sleepless night

I thought I was over the sleeplessness of jet lag after last weekend's two and a half or four hours of sleep, but it's 1:30 in the morning in Ukraine and I have not really been able to sleep yet tonight. While I was staying the the city I got good nights of sleep on an inflatable air bed, and last night I slept fine (Thursday night I was so happy to be in my own bed with air conditioning, but was up for hours with tummy troubles- must have been something I ate- we eat a big meal at 2  every afternoon in the school cafeteria after teaching, and sometimes here food is not kept either cold or hot enough for North American tummies not used to fighting with bacteria.) It could just be the nap I took this afternoon, as I was feeling really wiped out after teaching yesterday and still having my tummy thinking everything I put in it is not settling well, even fresh from the garden corn on the cob...

It may just be that my heart is back in Canada today, as Garry's niece Kristen was married today, and I wish I was dancing at her wedding this evening, Our daughter is Ontario for the wedding, and from the year Kristen was one year old and we moved there until we moved to Manitoba when Kristen was in seventh grade we saw her grow up, in fact the cousins spent many happy times playing together. She is two weeks younger than Micah and they were the best of buddies back then.

The boys are busy with the St Labre 200 go kart race today, and as much as I wish for details ___facebook has already provided me with some wedding photos of the lovely bride__ nothing from my sons, maybe on Sunday when Maxim tells me - fingers crossed (apparently that works for Ukrainians too) the Lada may be ready (he was helping the guy fixing it this afternoon/evening) The only news they found worth writing about this weekend from the boys was that it rained on their cornfields on Thursday....really good news, at least it is raining somewhere. Here is the village the weeds are drying up and dying even. Really glad we got so many people to join the garden irrgation project this spring, as thier gardens, like ours are alive and well. I made some pickles today and need to pick a pile of tomatoes yet.

Maybe at 4 am ...Sunday night was one of my two and half hours of sleep nights, on Monday morning (we got back Saturday morning from our trip back form Canada last week, remember?) I woke up around 4 (it's light out then) and was outside before 5 am and picked cucumbers, tomatoes one zuchinni ( four large plants and only one small zuchinni, weird, hu?) and a pile of peas that were still hanging on to the dried out plants. I then planted more beets since the beets seemed to disappear while we were gone, checked out my string beans I planted before we left- a good number of healthy plants are about 6 inches high already. Then I came inside and made a nice stir fry with some chicken and the peas and zuchinni for the guys to have for lunchtime. Since Garry rejected it as breakfast food, I cooked some eggs before showering and changing for the drive in for my first day of teaching English class...

Oh well, it's after 2 am maybe I should get some sleep or I'll never stay awake during church in the morning, hopefully we will have our own car to drive...  we will get to Dnepro somehow...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Back in the village (well I am now too)

much shorter crop than the same sunflower field/village sign photo last year
Seems hard to believe that two weeks ago today we were in Manitoba with family watching Josh and Krissy get married. Garry has been very busy this past week since we returned, he has been busy baling straw most of the week, finding more to buy and bale up, most of which he has been doing for half the bales and the owner of the crop gets the other half of the bales delivered to them. We need as many bales as we can get because the sraw was really short on the grain fields this year with the drought. Garry plans to grow some winter wheat of his own next year, so he will have straw of his own.
bagging up grain

He also bought four and half tons of of wheat, because for our shares we rent, part of the traditional rent is not just cash, but grain and straw...and even liters of sunflower oil when it gets pressed in the fall. The guys have been bagging up the wheat and delivered three tons for rent this week from the pile that the truck dumped under the machine shed. Now they are bagging up the rest and they will get it turned into compicorn (grain to feed the cows.)

We certainly won't have any of our own corn grain to feed them this year, we will be buying all of it.
He just got the chopper back from a farmer who made eight or ten acres of corn into silage this week, because it has not rained and he decided they will have to start chopping the rest of the corn fields on Monday for silage. So far the parts that were weighing down the suitcases this time have not been needed. Many of the corn fields you see on the way to Dnepropetroesk are actually drying up, but at least we can salvage ours as silage to feed the cows (even if it will not be very good silage!) The sunflower fields seem to be doing better, but the plants are shorter than last year and starting to look really droopy by last afternoon with the hot sun beating down all day. In the morning they look a little better after a slightly cooler night.

Garry drove me into my first day of teaching English Monday morning, then the Lada was supposed to get taken apart by the Lada-fixing man down the street to get the transmission fixed. Second gear really doesn't work anymore, it has been popping out of gear for a while now. The plan was it would be fixed while we were in Canada, but for some reason that did not happen. I was going to spend a few nights with Marina (another teacher) and her husband Jenya (or Eugene) and the car was supposed to be finished by Thursday.

One of my classes- they made illustrations for Emily Dickinson poems Friday

 The 20th Summer English Institute in Dnepropetreosk had a great first week of classes, the weather was as hot as is normal for July, so I was excited to hit the air conditioning Thursday afternoon. I got a ride in Maxim's old VW van, he had to take his fiancee to Dnepro for a dentist appointment. However, our car was not ready, in fact it is still in pieces because the guy decided that he should take apart the motor and clutch since Garry has put so many kilometers on it. First report from the mechanic on Friday was another week to go before we have a car to drive, but after Garry complained to Maxim about how long it was taking...MONDAY...maybe.

Meanwhile, Max drove me back to teach Friday morning in the van - it has long furry seat covers for the front bench seat- I couldn't find a place to buckle my seat belt. He stopped for gas and then the motor didn't want to turn over, the attendant helped him push it backwards so he could jump start it.  When he picked me up after class (Yulia had another appointment) he had a friend and Yulia and they were driving the guy's  dad's Lada- it's newer than ours.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Crops and cows

The milker ladies feeding calves after milking this afternoon
This morning Garry went out to the barn and pulled another bittok (bull calf) when Yana knocked on the door before 6 am (we were up - jetlag means you never know when you'll wake up.) There were three other fresh cows while we were gone, only the first had a heifer calf. Now that there is corn silage to feed the cows milk production has gone up to 600 liters a day. The ladies did the monthly milk weights yesterday the highests cows had 39 and 37 liters of milk each. The high cow was the Holstein-looking little cow Garry bought as a first calver last year, she had a bad case of mastitis, but the vet cured her with some kind of antibiotics. She calved for the second time a few months ago, and was certainly worth keeping!

 As I said in the last post, they made corn silage out of two of the fields while we were gone, because it has been so dry it wasn't growing. !30 tons from 25 acres.   They covered the plastic on the pile with dirt this time, trying for less spoilage from air leaks, I think.
Corn silage pile- under that dirt! beside the barn, behind the garden
There are many bad looking fields from the drought, there was one little rain and one that made puddles last week here in our village, the storms are hit or miss, we could use more than a few days of steady rain! The sunflowers look better than the corn fields, at least they are blooming, some are really short, like the corn they are trying to mature early, but in some of them the plants are drying up too.

The field along the road into the village too bad this farmer has no cows to
 feed, he could make silage out of it, it may be a total loss,  short and tasseled
 and full of last year's sunflowers....

A good looking sunflower field facing the morning sun

another dry corn field along the highway....

Garry would like to get some acres with irrigation next year like this farmer!

Most fields with irrigation are growing vegetables or soybeans.
 Just think of the hay or corn you could grow here with all this heat and
 wonderful soil if the land got enough water.

Back in the village...

We made it back to the village around 6 am Saturday morning in Victor's blue van- he met us at the train station in Dnepropetroesk when we arrived around 4:45 am - it was light out of course, since it's summer!

It was a long trip- delayed almost 2 hours leaving Toronto for Rome, where Garry was so tired because he didn't sleep much on the very old plane- all the seats were full and uncomfortable felt like sitting on rocks but at least he didn't have the small child who kicked and banged on the seat back that was behind me (his parents were going to buy him a red truck for being so well-behaved) - Garry laid down on the cement floor and slept for a couple hours on his back, with his arms laid out y shaped at his sides, I didn't take a photo but several stranger took one of him!

We got on a bus to go out and around to our plane a couple hours later on time, but thenafter everyone was seated, something was up with computer systems ground control, that meant we sat for two hours on the plane before take-off. It also meant we landed in Kiev just after 7 pm, and luckily got through passport control and luggage pickup quickly and got a taxi instead of a bus, because our train was leaving at 8:27 and the train station is a drive from the airport- the taxi driver said 25- 30 minutes, there was a slow up at the bridge- a truck was broke down in one lane backing traffic up- but we arrived around 8 pm, I watched the suitcses at the top of the stairs while Garry ran over to Mc Donalds to get some dinner - those crackers on the plane were not very filling! We got on after going down two setsof stairs and back up tow, dragging all the suitcases and bags all the way to wagon (car ) 16 with ten minutes to spare.

We shared our compartment with a mom and little boy about four, wearing glasses and waving Poca (goodbye ) to Papa, so we gave them the bottom bunks- good thing because the little guy fell out of bed at 3 am! The only problem was getting our luggage out from under the little guy's bunk at 4:30 because they were going all the way to Zaporosia! we woke up his mother who held him, stll sleeping while Garry got them out of the box under "our" bunk.

Now if I can adjust to sleeping again, since I start teaching Monday morning at the Summer English Institute, and my body has decided that 2- 3 hours is enough now! I'll try to get some crop photos, it is still really dry here, in fact the guys made some of the corn fields into silage while we were gone before they dried up all together. One big field, the one that did not get cultivated, is still growing and hopefully a little more rain will keep it going, or it will be silage in couple weeks, too. They had trouble buying straw to bale with really short straw on the whaet with the dry spring/summer so far, so it came dear, but there is some in the barn now.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

On our way

We are sitting in the airport in Toronto, waiting for about six hours to get our flight through Rome (where we have 7 hours before flying to Kiev, where we get an overnight train to Dnepro) Of course we had to get  up in the middle of the night to get to the airport for our 5:20 departure from Winnipeg!

Ten days of excitement is over, the wedding went off pretty much without a hitch (although a few guests had some glitches driving and flying the Manitoba, all arrived safely) Our internet was pretty much non-existent over the holiday weekend, so I never did any blog posts until now! We saw our last wedding guests my parents and brother off Tuesday morning in the car they rented in Duluth when their car broke down there (it was fixed- they should get home to New Jersey today). Garry played some golf and fished on Tuesday and Wednesday, so he's filled all his time at home to the max!
The not in the wedding party sons

waiting for the bride- the other brothers are in the middle of the guys

Mr and Mrs Joshua Verhoog

Granddaughter Keziah warmed up to her new boy cousins from Ontario
Havilah was the flower girl, Xaris' purple dress was made by her Aunt Jess
We were happy to have a lot of family out for the wedding, including both
sets of grandparents, mine on the left, Garry's on the right of the bride