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

Monday, April 29, 2013

Last week (April 21-27) in farm life

Here is Garry on Sunday evening turning what was left of the cow with a bad leg (I forget her name, Garry says she was 12 or 15 years old) into hamburger to go in the freezer. Victor bought an electric meat grinder to turn her into ground beef, very lean hamburger, while we were at the retreat on Friday.
The thing on the floor at front is the cream separator
 Spring is really here, the village herd started going out everyday on Monday. It's the village herd because everyone on this side of the village with cows puts their cows out everyday to graze together from now until the snow flies next fall. They take turns herding them for the day, you do one day for every cow you put out when it is your turn to herd (you may remember last fall the students were herding for us. Katya liked it so much she wants to know when it will be out turn this year.) Garry put large heifers and dry cows out the last two years, but this year he tried something new, putting out 10 cows who are not giving as much milk and will become dry over the summer. They will just get milked twice a day now instead of three times, before they go out and when they return to the barn. Many people in the village go out at noon and milk their cow or two in the field, because three times a day milking is common here,  but we won't do that.
Cows coming home- day one

That first one is the one I chased through the village two years ago!
 As an added bonus, they all knew where they were going, turned into the gate, ready to be home....and they had all done this before. Much easier than the heifers who would forget to come in our gate often, and we'd have to chase them back home from somewhere else in the village!

Planting crops

On Tuesday I brought lunch out to the field Garry and Maxim were working in spreading fertilizer. You may remember that a new fertilizer spreader was purchased this year, so they didn't have to borrow and try to get one working properly. The idea was to spread some fertilizer, then cultivate again, and the put the rest of the fertilizer on while planting on Friday and Saturday.

I thought I would drive the way I knew best, with the nice meat pie I had made them;  but it turned out there were a few detours around a flooded part of the road- I got to drive uphill onto the edge of someone's wheat field, following someone's tracks, of course, and around some fallen trees. There were a number of water birds enjoying what used to be the road when I drove up, but they flew off across one of the ponds.

The road is underwater by the pond

Birds landing on the other side

Garry and Maxim posing for a photo before lunch

 Garry tells me the bags of fertilizer are hard on the back- they weight 100 kilograms each! This was urea. Garry installed the GPS monitor on the tractor that he brought back in his suitcase from Ontario, so the field was spread evenly, even if the rows wiggled a little.
Off with another 400 kilo to spread (with GPS too, no waste) 

New flail chopper delivery

Wednesday morning at 8 am the shiny new flail chopper (it will direct cut for feeding fresh, green-chopped feed for the cows, plus can be used to mow down hay) that was ordered from Kiev on Monday morning arrived at the farm. Here are some photos of the unloading. This is one of the things that they saw at the farm show in Kiev in February and had been talking to the company about buying. Cash on delivery, we didn't have to pay at the bank this time. The company will send someone out to assist the first time we use it- maybe next week, the alfalfa is a foot high already, and the corn silage is about gone (all fed). 
They pulled it behind this van from Kiev

Its Russian (they have a plant in Winnipeg)

Unloading it with the neighbor's loader

Waiting for rain

Garry spent the day cultivating on Wednesday, he came in after 8 pm with his face black from dirt. He said the students helping with milking had laughed when he came in to breed a cow, and he knew why when he looked in the mirror. Victor had people on a Mennonite tour that had arrived that afternoon to stay at our "B and B" until Saturday, they got see a little farm life too. Thursday we went on a trip with Masha to buy semen to breed cows from a new place, I'll do a post about it soon. By Saturday everything was planted and now we can wait for rain so everything grows! 
Garry fixing up the planter on Friday morning

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Selling milk

You may remember that Garry bought a cream separator before I came home last week to make products to sell from unsold milk- sleeve-key (cream you can stand a spoon up in) and the cottage cheese like product made from the skimmed milk (which is somewhat soured) He sold all he had last week at church, and even sold more milk than normal, which surprized him. However, he has not made any more this week, they have been busy with cultivating the land and planting crops.
The box for the separator was filled with bags of cheese Sunday

Someone  carrying their milk home after church

A milk truck we saw going into the city on Sunday morning - see the word MOLOKO on the back?

He is checking into finding a milk company that will pick up all the milk, frustrated with the constant wondering if all the buyers will show up and the milk tank will be emptied out every couple days so it can be cleaned- and the milk in it stay fresh.

Today there was no problem emptying the tank, nor will there be this week, as it is Easter week and the only kind of Ukranian baking that uses milk- the making of paska bread - is taking place.

Monday, April 22, 2013

My first crop report of 2013- updated

Saturday afternoon Garry out cultivating one of the new rented pieces

 This field is about 155 acres I think, there will be 5 hecacres of sunflowers, 5 (about 12 acres) of prosso millet sudangrass and the rest in (about 120 acres) ucorn, they need to spread some fertilizer on it so it can be planted this week. They have hired Vitaly to plant it.
Turns out he rented them the planter again, it was planted on Friday and Saturday.
Vitaly told Garry he'd rate his wheat field in the next photo with a 4 out of 5. There are a lot of worse looking ones. The smaller, closer to the village field (the one the geese were in last fall) will be chopped along with the alfalfa for silage in the coming weeks, maybe early May.
Garry is happy with his wheat field, this one will be grain and straw

close up wheat

The older alfalfa field is growing

Garry says its sweet to eat

 Garry says this small herd of cows were grazed all winter from the village of Ma-ros-nik-ca (its one farmer, not th village herd) Our village herd went out this weekend, photos to come.

Greening up, cows on the road!
Barley coming up near Marosnikca

Last year's new seedingof alfalfa looks great across the highway

Looks like lots of hay to make first cut!
The barley and a new seeding of alfalfa were planted the week Garry was gone, it was planted "between rain showers" by someone else, maybe Vitaly's guy and they wanted to do it while the planter was set up for it (like the corn this week) so the field looks rough and chunky, we'll see if it amounts to anything. Garry tells me it looks pretty good when he checked on Friday.

 Using borrowed or rented equipment from other farmers or custom work when they want to do do it is not ideal, but we may have more acres to farm this year, but not enough to purchase a full line of equipment. The spraying will be custom done from Vitaly this year, too. Garry looked at buying an inexpensive sprayer, but didn't think it was made well enough to buy.

The jetlag post- change of seasons and the marathon of flying

Manitoba on Monday morning

Ukraine on Saturday afternoon

I did get back to Ukraine on Friday afternoon; that's right, a day later than scheduled, missing most of the conference I was flying back to be in time for. The plane out of Winnipeg was delayed 5 hours, some of which was spent on the tarmac, as the rescheduled time, which maybe would have gotten me into Montreal in time for the flight to Frankfurt that evening, was dealyed again to check out a mechanical problem. Nice hotel, food vouchers ( a little skimpy for the hotel- and the one for lunch at the airport was dated for the wrong day so I couldn't use it) from Air Canada, and at noon on Thursday I was sitting at the airport waiting for my flight at 5:30 pm.

After landing in Frankfurt I had to run to make the plane to Vienna, hurrying ahead of a bunch of people toward the promised less people at passport control than the several hundreds waiting at the first lineup I found at one of the busiest airports in Europe, really plan on more than an hour to change planes there! By the time we taxied up and deplaned it was 6:30 and the only plane to Vienna on the departure board I could find was Luftansa at 6:45. The gate matched my boarding pass, it was a codeshare with Austrian, so I was looking for OS128 at 7:15. Even took a tram for one stop to terminal A-  needing to get through passport control to get stamped by the European Union, and security (get out the computer, take off the scarf and hoodie- which I left off as I was sweating and out of breath at that point, break a nail, drop the boarding passes, get them returned to me while tying the scarf and putting the computer bag back on top of the roller bag) before racing to the gate at 7:05 (my ticket said 7:15 for the flight, but that was when we started getting on the bus to go out to board the plane) totally out of breath, and no euros to buy a drink in the ten minutes to spare.

Now that plane took off late so my one hour in Vienna was looking shaky, plus there was the worry in the back of my mind that although my luggage was checked through to Dnepropetroesk, I did not have a printed boarding pass for the flight. I had asked the Austrian/ Lufttansa lady at the gate in Frankfurt, and she said I could get it right at my gate, so as soon as we got off the bus from the plane, I headed to the one on the board for Dnepro, noting it said delayed...which turned out to be good. No security to go through, just passport control, got my passport stamped again (now you know why I had to get extra pages in my passport) so I was there 20 minutes ahead of boarding, no agents at the gate (number 9), back to the toilets I passed by gate 5, back to the gate, talked to the guy, who had arrived while I was gone, about getting my boarding pass. He said I was not on the passenger list so should see the service desk back by gate one, good thing tha the flight was delayed so I should have time. Short line, got to the front and the lady had trouble figuring out what to do with my Air Canada coupon and itinerary, keep saying but I wasn't on the list I was on yesterday's, that seat was sold now, she talked to both of the other agants helping people made a couple of phone calls, all in German: while telling me in English she had never seen one like this it wasn't like theirs and AC had messed it up (which I had already guessed. )

I was thrilled when she handed me a boarding pass exactly 20 minutes later, and I ran back to gate nine, where the passengers for Dnepro were going through to get on the bus to the plane. I finally relaxed as we flew for two hours, I was amused to see that the business class got a fancy meal with a shrimp salad and steak; as I could see through the curtain, sitting in the first economy row she had put me in, while was eating my half of a cream cheesy-filled sandwich, with a whole can of coke. I even had a muffin and juice on the hour flight to Vienna, bring a book (unless you are in Business- they get magazines to read) and fly Austrian, even if they don't have little tv's to watch like Air Canada.

I got to the last two sessions -one Friday evening where I had to work to stay awake after about 30 hours up and the final one Saturday morning. At least I got to see our fellow missionaries in Urkraine. So for the first two nights I slept about six hours- going to sleep at nine pm, awake at three; and I figured that it would work better to go to bed at ten pm (and sleep until four) and instead I slept for two hours and was wide awake sortly after one am! Jetlag is a strang thing. I will probablly fall asleep around dawn...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Leftover milk

Garry bought a cream separator just a few days after getting back to Ukraine. On Monday he had 300 liters of unsold milk and decided to make cream (the very heavy stuff made here- you can stand a spoon up in it) and skim cottage cheese, like the lady Luda, across the street does.He figures not being able to sell all the milk will not be a one time thing, with spring coming, and selling products will be more profitable than selling to the village milk truck (the cheapest price paid.)

 He was up late that night warming up milk on the stove to put it through the separator. When they started they churned a little butter so Luda came over to show them the best way to operate the new equipment. He was going to make cheese when I talked to him last night, (I am sitting at the Winnipeg airport, waiting to start my journey back) he got 14 liters of cream and scrambling to find glass jars to put it in...

He hopes to be planting corn in a few days, seems strange as I am looking at snow on the fields here in Manitoba.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Trip to Ontario and beyond

I am writing this from Manitoba, Garry just arrived back in Ukraine yesterday after our trip to Ontario to celebrate his parents' 60th wedding anniversary with almost all of the family (almost 60 people) last weekend. It was a exciting fun-filled weekend, and I caught a ride back with Matt, Kari and the girls and Seth in their minivan - 18 hours of driving time, and the roads through northern (Upper Peninsula)  Michigan  are much smoother than the ones between Dnepropetroesk and Kiev!

The anniversary 

Garry helping Keziah with her shoes

Teresa with five of the boys 

Our son Matthew did the affirmation ceremony

I talked to Garry yesterday on the phone before driving out to Morden to visit with our daughter Jessica and Jonah- last night we went to Jonah's last parent-teacher conference for high school, and all his teachers had good things to say about him, and his report card was excellent as usual. I know it was the right move for Jonah, going back to Canada to school, even if I miss having him around all the time.

Anyway, when I talked to Garry he was about halfway between Kiev and Dnepro (just past the city with Mc Donalds where we normally stop) and said he should be in Dnepro around 8 pm. He said that there seemed to be as many holes in the road as when we left last week, so the patching crews must have run out of materials. He was happy that he had gotten all the stuff into his suitcase he bought, although he had to move some to his carry-on as his suitcase was overweight; and he had got it all through customs in Kiev, too. He said he had talked to Victor and Maxim had planted barley and alfalfa while we were gone, and hoped to finish it yesterday before Garry got home.

So I will be enjoyed the family in Manitoba, babysitting and exciting stuff like that- including snow- until next Wednesday when I fly back just in time for a Ukraine Missionary Conference.

I watched the boys play basketball Wednesday night 

Jonah's new hobby is origami - here are 1000 tiny paper cranes in a cake dish

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Spring is coming... some places in Ukraine

At least in the Dnepropetroesk- Zaporosia area, spring is coming...  we drove to Kiev (well to Boripol, where the airport is) yesterday. Garry almost forgot his coat as it was so nice in the village for the second, third day, it was up to 20 C (70 F) by the time we left at noon, after morning classes.

We are on our way to Ontario to help celebrate his parents 60th wedding anniversary this weekend. Garry was driving by his alfalfa field on the highway as we drove out of the village, and was saying that next week when he returns it may look green, when he stopped and ran out to check if the alfalfa was really growing already. He took this photo.
It's growing!

So we were on our way, as we drove we noticed that the winter wheat fields were not as green as the ones in the village, the grass on the side of the road was not as green, in fact as we got further along, there was some snow in the ditches. The fields had puddles, it was really wet looking and before we reached the Kiev region, the fields were outright snow- covered. They had a storm about a week ago, when we had a inch or so, they had piles, in fact there are piles all over the city waiting to melt!

out our car window!
So spring planting will be later here... Monday Garry saw a no till grain planter go past in the village, on it's way to the field. Maxim tried cultivating yesterday but still too wet. They plan to plant 10 hectares of alfalfa now as they got another 25 to rent.