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

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hay days

A photo of Garry taking a photo of his hay

Lots of hay
Here are the photos I took of Garry"s hay being cut as I was leaving for the airport last week Monday. I talked with him on the phone the other night, and they got most of it baled without rain. He said that the hay mow is 5 deep in alfalfa bales. Or there are 2000 I think, it was almost midnight here in New Jersey Sunday night- he was calling early Monday morning, and had some hay still cut but it had rained on Saturday and Sunday, and maybe it going to rain more, I think. He was going to see if he could get the rest round baled.

Any way more hay than he got all last year, he said the cows were mostly eating bales that broke going up to the mow. He is still waiting for the price to go down on brewers grain, where he thinks it should be, with all the hay people have now, to feed instead of brewers grain.

Garry before and after his hair cut- as promised.

Checking his corn field Sunday after lunch

After his haircut- not too short like last summer!
My suitcase had a rough trip, I arrived on Tuesday and United Airlines had it delivered it to my parents house on Sunday, just after noon. I had not packed my dress for the 55th anniversary party in my carry-on  so I had to get something at Wal-mart. However, we had a great time at the party anyway. Our daughter, and the two oldest boys came down from Canada for it and the grandkids too.

If you are wondering everything was still inside the suitcase.

My parents at the party

Fun at Grandma's house- look up!

Uncle Josh and Havi in the tree
Josh mowed some hay for Grandpa
Everyone has gone home now, Matt and family should arrive today, since they drove to NJ. Jess was on a plane with a rap group going to Winnipeg for  a show yesterday. 

I will be helping out my parents and my brother on the farm until next week. Garry will have a less busy week. Spraying, cultivating corn and sunflowers, I think...

Monday, May 20, 2013

On the way

Well, I am sitting in Vienna en route to New Jersey to visit my parents- we are celebrating their 55th anniversary this weekend. Garry dropped me off at the airport, and then he was meeting with a possible new milk buyer. The guys had started mowing down the alfalfa field by the highway this morning before we left. Garry was going for maximum yield after last year's small really good first cut, and not much more until September because of the dry weather all summer.
The tractor drivers

When I say the guys,  I mean Maxim and his two helpers. About a month ago, two young guys from the village showed up and wanted to work for free this summer. They were students at a tractor driving school and wanted to do their practicum at our farm. They had helped bale hay, stacking on the wagon and putting bales in the mow, last summer. Believe it or not, they never actually drove a tractor until they came here, even though they paid a fee for diesel every month at school. They have been working with Max, helping spray the corn last week, and cutting hay for other people and some baling for other people, so Maxim has become a supervisor, driving on the road and watching them in the field. Except for spraying, where he drove and they drove the tractor with the water wagon for refills.

Maxim is driving the baler here at a small garden field

The helpers and the farmers are making sure all the hay goes in the bales
More photos to come, including Garry's befoe and after haircut, but it seems I'll be getting on the plane soon.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

One more holiday on Sunday

After all the other holidays May started with, Sunday was the busiest day on the road in Ukraine, as it has been every year on the Sunday after Easter. This is the day when Orthodox believers go to the cemeteries to honor and picnic at the graves of their ancestors. Here are some photos we took on Sunday.
sorry, windshield's dirty - going out of the village

Village cemetery 

every car is on the road today

all heading out to the villages in the morning

Entering the city
the entrance to the big cemetery going into the city

busy crosswalk one day each year

everyone heading in with bags of food and plastic flowers

You can see the new Easter banners at Morningstar 
After church we went to see the diorama downtown by the History museum, and walked around the WWII stuff outside too. The painting is very well done for the diorama, well worth seeing.

Driving down Karl Marx 

outsside the history museum

History museum

Inside the diorama

Rain and other crop news

Yesterday afternoon, I walked outside to hang the laundry I washed. It was sprinkling out, but I hung them on the line anyway (no clothes dryer) not so much in hopes they would dry, as in hopes it might make it rain. We had already missed a storm on Tuesday evening, when there was just enough to wet the road in the village when we got back from our Mere Christianity study in Dnepropetroesk around 9:30 pm.

Around 7:30pm , while Garry was off helping the milker ladies with the state vets, who had shown up to vaccinate the cows and heifers for anthrax (Sunday evening they had come to draw blood on the cows to test them for leucosis and brucellosis - Garry found out what they were testing for this year because he taught all these diseases to Andrei at trade school, who was helping that night) ; I hung out another load and brought in a couple things that had dried.

An hour later, thunder and lightning, and then rain as the television and internet reception went away. We went to bed and listened to the storm still banging and raining at 9:30 pm. This morning Garry was excited to discover almost two inches by Ukrainian methods- you dig down to see how far the ground got wet.

Since there is more rain in the forecast =  80% chance of showers and thunderstorms through Friday, Garry says they will mow hay on Saturday. Check out how tall the alfalfa was on Sunday morning. See the shorter patch? That's where someone cut some and took it home to feed their cows, I guess it looked like some of that free roadside grass....

The yellow is some volunteer canola (it keeps coming up)

There's some missing there! About 8-10 square feet
The sky is a little dark again, Garry plans to spray some herbicide on the cornfield Friday , unless we have a lot of rain tonight. However, rain is always good for farmers in Ukraine, so lots of rain would be great... but no clothes on the line tonight, I got them in this afternoon, when they dried from their rainwater rinse last night.
Polo is trying to climb on my lap, so maybe there is a storm coming, he is a big baby with thunder, wants to come inside and hide.

Garry bred a heifer in the village today- she was the result of a breeding he did two years ago. Her calf will be 3/4 Holstein.

The weeds in the barley field are turning yellow

the wheat is making heads, some will be silage

Corn on Sunday, the rain will really get it going
Once the alfalfa is mowed down, they will green chop wheat silage and then make some into silage, to replace the corn silage which is gone now.

Yesterday we sold 400 litres to the village milk truck so they could empty and wash out the milk tank. They only pay 2.3 grivna a litre. However, there is a new milk buyer on the horizon, Garry will meet with them on Monday, hopefully this will fix the leftover milk problem lately. More on that as details are finalized.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Crop tour on May 9th- and a new calf

While we were trying to figure out where the picnic was on Thursday, we ended up going on a tour of some of the fields, and so here are some photos. We checked the barley field that they sprayed late into the evening on Monday, the weeds are starting to die. Garry says it smelled kind of like 2-4D, it was a local herbicide, dry that they mixed and sprayed after the wind died off. They were able to finish it in the dark with the lightbar GPS system Garry brought back in his suitcase from Ontario.

We did eventually find the right pond as you can see in the trade school blog. Garry is hoping for some rain to get the rest of the corn up, and the sunflowers, which are planted somewhere near the corn.

The alfalfa field is past Garry's knees, and there are a few buds, so maybe they will cut it this week. Maxim has been cutting little hayfields for people- mostly garden plots of alfalfa, and even baling a few up, so all the equipment is is working order, and there is no rain in the forecast this week, good for making hay, sadly not so good for the rest of the crops, which could use a shower.

Most of the corn is up and growing

Garry's wheat is forming heads and looking good
On Tuesday Maxim got a phone call while we were eating dinner at noon. One of our dry cows was calving, and they wanted Garry to come get it. Garry said it could wait until they finished eating, and they returned with a heifer calf. It was one of the good cows. Victor got a phone call, since he was out from the the city for the day, that they wanted the cow chased home too, but Garry refused, saying it would be less stress on the cow to come back with the rest of the cows in the evening.
the new heifer calf- looking good

Friday, May 10, 2013

May 9th is a holiday in Ukraine

For the last two weeks the banks have been closed nearly every day because of holidays. Normally there are a lot of days off but this year with Easter falling in the beginning of May, it seems like everyday has been a holiday.

Luke (center) and Jonah
May 9th has been a birthday day in my family since I can remember, because my sister Sandra was born on the ninth, a good day to plant corn, my parents always said; and twenty two years ago our son Luke was born at 10 in the evening to make it his day too. Luke pushed his way into the world with one hand on his head, and was our biggest baby at 11 pounds 14 oz - really almost 12 pounds, and grew to be as tall as Garry, taller than any of his brothers, although Jonah is still growing.

Here in Ukraine May 9th is Victory Day marking the anniversary of the end of the Great Patriotic War, or WWII. There were special celebrations in Dnepro - I am sure this photo I took along the riverfront on Wednesday was connected to the celebration.

We had heard earlier in the week that there would be classes on Thursday; but because of the holiday, they were moved to today (Friday) and we went on a picnic with the students instead. There are more picnic photos on the trade school blog post- just click on the birds.

A little guy that Garry and Andrei found in the grass

Water balloon game

Monday, May 6, 2013

Happy Easter and stuff

Easter billboard 

Today is a holiday in the village, Easter Monday. Across the road there has been the thonk, thonk, of banging on metal as they try to straighten out their metal gate with a big hammer. Yesterday someone was learning to drive and did not stop in time.

Garry managed to get two sets of salespeople out today however, at the same time this morning as things often work out! They people who sold the new chopper came out as promised to oversee the first use of it, so they went with Garry to the alfalfa field. Everything worked fine, the cows are somewhat undecided if they like eating the very wet and  green new feed.

Ready to go

Seems like the black cow is digging in for the alfalfa

There's that baby kitten from the shed- she moved to the barn

The other guys who showed up brought the new sprayer. After paying the bill for using the sprayer for the corn (which including product was more than Canadian prices) Garry and Max borrowed a different one to spray the sunflowers, from the guy who grew the corn for Garry the first year we had cows. It was the same model as a Russian?Ukrainian? one that they had considered buying earlier this year. Maxim liked it so they decided to get their own.

After they paid for it they spent the afternoon making recommended alterations to it (Tour, the guy they borrowed one from told them where it had problems) welding some parts into place that had a crank to adjust-- the three point hitch of the tractor will be able to adjust height anyway, and reinforcing some of the framework. It has a 40 foot spray boom, that folds manually as you see, and attaches to the back of the tractor. They bought some Russian weedkiller earlier today, I seem to remember that Garry said something about the spring barley needing spraying for weeds.

working under the lilacs

Easy to fold up

Last week we took a quick trip to Kirvoy Rog to see Daryl and Molly with Tanya a friend from Dnepro - we even ran into the Nikkels at the mall that evening, so we saw the whole EFFCM team while we were there! We had a good time, and had a walking tour of downtown too.

The weather is about 30 C (80s F) daytime now

Garry and the marathon man in the lead again

walking past the kids rides and games
The city is proud of its Cossack roots like Zaporosia- the chestnut trees are in bloom

The winter canola fields are bright yellow now
and finally my personal mission to keep flies and extra cats out of the house... two closed doors are better than one---shut both doors on the bootroom!