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

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wheat, hay, corn and teaching

We are in the homestretch for English teaching this summer, only one more day to go, and then we are off to Crimea for a few days of rest and sightseeing. Here are some more photos.

Garry with som of his students on "Canada Day"

Basketball on Tuesday evening (Garry in the red shorts)
 Meanwhile the guys on the farm have been busy baling straw, getting the barley ground and stored away to feed the cows this year,  mowing hay and trying to sell the wheat (they are keeping some to plant next month) and they have finally sold most of it. That way no one will need to sleep in our car over at the other barn every night to guard it. I have been so busy I have gotten over there with a camera to take a photo of it piled on the cement in the barn.

Corn is looking better than last year, as you can see in the photo, a good rain would really help, though. We have been eating a few cobs of sweet corn from the garden, so good, too bad a cow got loose one night and ate off some plants, munching her way down the rows!

Yesterday was the closing party that Word of Life Church hosts and we didn't get back to the village until 9:30, just in time for Garry to change his clothes and deliver a heifer calf out of a very nice looking first calf heifer. Yana tells him that this is the first heifer he bred that has calved (meaning the cow is out of a Canadian sire, and half Holstein and the calf is three-quarters Holstein.) Hurrah! We had been having bull calves, lately so he was very happy that this one is not male!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Back online...if I had the time!

Here we are back online Sunday afternoon, internet at the house has not been working most of the week, it's a problem with the antennae or the cable to it on top of the house, so I'll quick update you on our week.

Garry talking with students before the boat cruise Wed evening
 Garry and I have finished another week of teaching at the Summer Institute, he is a very popular teacher, with his class about techniques for avoiding failure (in life or business)

 I am teaching a much more boring standard American pronunciation class, most students here learn British English and we have a few differences in grammar, spelling and pronunciation.

Many students went on a boat tour on the Dniper River with us on Wednesday.
Here it comes!

the sun was setting as we arrived back at the dock

me with my hot chocolate not like Tim Hortons!
It was like thick, somewhat bitter dark melted chocolate

Garry organized a basketball game on Thursday evening, and has another planned for Tuesday.

 We had the popular Canada Day on Friday, when everyone, students and teachers wear red and white.
Garry and I dressed in our Canadian best (as an American, I try harder)
Just one more week to go, and things will be back to almost normal. We are getting a little tired at times, we leave home at 6:30 am and return home between 2:30 and 4 pm, depending on whether we have lunch at 2 pm with the other teachers-

sometimes we go home early so Garry can start the second part of his day- when he catches up with what's happening on the farm, helps unload straw bales and stack them in the mow, which is getting really full now!

I drove the new car for the first time on Saturday, while Garry was helping with the straw, I went into the city to stock up on groceries.

Only had one crazy SUV driver on the highway zoom between me and a semi truck in the right hand lane as the truck was merging from the other highway, just normal! There was a thunder storm while I was in the city, unfortunately, no rain here in the village (well, a couple drops which convinced the boys to stop baling, much to Garry's chagrin, as they only got five loads done). We really could use a good soaking rain right about now to get the best corn crop.

Monday, July 15, 2013

fun weekend and back to work Monday

Saturday we drove into Dnepro early, Garry had a second dentist appointment for his root canal that began last Monday afternoon, it was at nine, the Summer Institute Picnic started at ten, so we had lots of time...not, it was 10:35 when the dentist finished with him, so it was eleven am by the time we drove the short distance there, walked a cross the bridge and over to the part of the park near the beach where the picnic is every year on the first Saturday of the Institute.

 I had made a quadruple batch of brownies the night before and cut them into many small pieces so I could offer them to everyone, and there was so much food that students and teachers had brought to share, no one wasn't stuffed! There were games and we had a good time talking to students, both current and former students who came to see which of the their teachers were back in the city this year.

We left the picnic with Daryl Porter shortly after noon time, right after I gave my last two brownies away just before one of my favorite students arrived and came up hoping to get to eat one! I have gotten the recipe printed so I can hand it out to the students who asked for it, after I converted it to metric terms, so they can make them.

We had decided to drive Daryl and Molly back to their apartment in Kiroy Rog that afternoon, they wanted to go home for church, they are helping plant a church there, which meets in their apartment.
we were admiring the sunflower fields along the highway

a happy little guy

 We had an ulterior motive, since I had a present to bring for the Nikkel's first baby, who is one month old already, even if it will be fall before he fits in the sock monkey hat I crocheted him. Adam and Luba are part of the mission team working with orphans in that city. We walked over to their apartment, it was good to see them.

After dinner with Daryl and Molly, we left for home. Garry was watching the clouds, as it appeared that there could be rain in the direction of home. Just as we got off the new highway, raindrops hit the windshield, and the rain started pouring down, big puddles on the highway.

a little rain hitting the windshield

Is the storm over?

Lots of water on the highway still....

Garry was sure the rain would not have hit our village, as these summer storms seem to get one village and miss the next.

 He was hoping though, since all of the cornfields and hayfields could really use some more moisture to keep growing- and to get up out of the ground in the case of that cornfield they seeded when we got home two weeks ago.

We got rain, even puddles too!

Of course, Garry was disappointed when we didn't get more rain on Sunday night, as there were storms around again....

Monday and we were off to teach again, Maxim and the guys were busy, they got another three and a half tons of barley ground at the village mill, bagged and stored away to feed the cows. They are anxious to get it all put away or sold in the case of most of the wheat, as Max and Andrei are taking turns sleeping on one of  our orange beach lounge chairs over at the barn, to prevent disappearing grain. I was wondering why one had disappeared from the yard last week...

This afternoon they finally baled up that sudangrass hay, every time they started to do it on Saturday it would rain and little and then we got the real rain! Garry helped unload it into the haymow, I assume the bales were heavy. There is still the wheat straw to bale this week.
one of six apricot trees in the yard

 He and the boys enjoyed the apple dessert I cooked after we got home this afternoon. The apples falling off the trees are getting big enough to bother peeling. Sunday afternoon Garry peeled some apricots and I made more jam.... it's a bumper crop for apricots this year in Ukraine.

For those who have been following our blog, you may remember the neighbor boy Andrei, who used to paint things and sell brewers grain, in the last year he has gotten much taller, now he does look like he is 17 like Jonah! I took this photo when he stopped in Saturday after the storm. 

Andrei is at center and is downhill in the photo, he is taller than Max.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Farming between teaching, Garry's week so far...

Garry has enjoyed teaching at the English Institute in Dnepropetroesk, week one is almost over, one more day and the picnic on Saturday, with two more weeks to come. The two of us left before lunch with the team on Tuesday and Wednesday, so Garry could take care of other business. Tuesday he went home early because the barley was being harvested (sorry no photos, we drove straight out to the field and I had not taken the camera in the morning) It wasn't pretty, but there was 15 ton(nes) which was put into trucks and unloaded onto cement over in the reno barn for the night, yesterday the guys, with a few teens from the village took it to the mill in the village. There was a lot of bucketing, and the ground barley was put in bags to be stored to feed the cows this year. The wheat harvest is supposed to start tomorrow (Friday) and it will be sold, since there is no place to store it, and we have enough for the cows with the barley.

Garry had a phone call on the way home about chopping corn for Vitaly (the farmer from Molazanahorina) his chopper had broken and he has nothing to feed his cows, so Garry started getting ready to chop some loads for him. He had to change from the hay header to the corn one, he was hoping to find out how well it would work, since it had a rough time last fall when someone else used it, and it might need some fixing before his corn is ready to become silage in a few weeks. First thing he discovered a flat tire, which took a while to fix, he took it off, put it in the back of the van, and drove it over to Molazaharina, where Vitaly's workers were able to fix it, but it was after six by the time he drove the tractor and chopper over there to start. He got two loads cut, but on the third load he started to hear some noises, and a bearing went, so parts will be needed. It was dark by then, after 9:30 and he called to see if I would drive over to pick him up.... but no van outside, Andrei had taken the guys swimming in it, and Garry does not have his phone number, and he couldn't get Max on the phone.

Eventually he did get him on the phone, Andrei got home around ten, and Max went to pick Garry up... he had a bowl of soup I had made, and still couldn't go to bed, because someone was coming at 11 to get him to breed a cow. Still he was up by six am and ready to drive to the city to teach!

Wednesday he had to get home to leave for Zaporosia by three for meeting with John with some government official about the trade school barn property. He was home by five pm, and in bed by 8:30 Andrei asked for him and said something about big problem with cow, baby, and I woke him up. It turned out it wasn't a cow calving, the ladies were just worried about Lada, the cow who had the giant heifer calf about 10 days ago. She is up and walking OK now, although they are tying her out under an apple tree everyday and putting her back in the barn at night, to make sure. She has an infected uterus, not unusual with the problems she had calving.

Lada is a favorite of the milker ladies

Her giant heifer calf, she was one month size at birth!
Garry did feel more rested this morning, and had another good day teaching, we took a detour on the way home and checked out the crops, and I had the camera this time. The corn could use some rain, both the tall and just trying to emerge stuff that was planted last week were the first wheat field was combined while we were in Canada, maybe it can come after the wheat is in the bin, and the straw is baled and the sundan grass hay they hope to bale tomorrow. It's thick stuff, it has been drying in the hot sun since Monday, but they haven't been able to keep up with it chopping it for green feed, maybe the heifers will be eating it next winter.

the sudan grass needs to be raked over

The regrowing sudan grass (sudanko in Russian)

That's our sunflowers and corn across the pond.

Garry's corn is looking good

The wheat is ready to combine tomorrow

some of the new corn is up, about 20%

You can see lots of wheat residue on the new seeding of corn
Maxim Boradim feeding the greenchopped sudan grass

Victor giving the heifers outside something to eat
Victor was helping Maxim Boradim feed the cows when we got back from school and picture taking. Garry hired Max, one of our orphan students to work this summer, he is sharing Andrei's room.

 It's Thursday, the day he sells milk, so he normally comes out earlier in the day to help out. He helped Garry start taking apart the broken chopper so they can try to find parts for it.

You are never bored farming!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Driving to Dnepropetroesk

It's time for selling watermelons again!

The wheat and barley fields are being harvested, straw baled, fields of sunflowers are bright yellow now

Some of the Canadian teachers enjoying lunch on Sunday
For the next three weeks we will be driving into the city almost everyday. Today was the first day of Summer English Institute , and for the first time, Garry is teaching a class, this is my fifth-sixth year in a row. He had a really good day teaching, but he went to the dentist after, with a sore tooth and had a root canal drilled, so he went to bed with a sore mouth early tonight.

Saturday night the air conditioning quit working in the new van; luckily it was just a fuse, it was fixed today, and we drove home in cool comfort after the dentist appointment.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

More about our trip back

Here are a few photos and stories from our trip back from Canada. I left my poor United / Austrian Air abused suitcase in Manitoba, (No I have not heard back from them online, since I sent them photos- they said I needed to flie a claim at the Newark airport in the only reply I got, after I went to Manitoba!)

 and brought Garry's black one back with his baseball bat and silage fork handle and hay hooks... in it along with my stuff (mostly prizes for Summer English Institute which starts on Monday and yarn and my clothes) Why didn't Garry have his own suitcase?

Garry got this box from a nice semen dealer in Manitoba

Because he had a box with an extra (empty- he poured the liquid nitrogen out) semen tank that the boys had on the farm in it and few other things he had stuffed inside with it. He was a little worried about it being rejected at the airport, so we brought a empty suitcase and Jessy and James, who drove us to the airport on Sunday morning,  hung around until we were checked in at the airport. As you can see in the photo, the Delta people in Winnipeg were kind enough to stick fragile stickers on it and place it with the oversize luggage place so it would get special treatment.

When we arrived in Kiev, we went through passport control and headed to the luggage conveyor, nothing was coming out yet, so Garry took a walk around while I waited, he didn't see a place to pickup oversize items anywhere (there is a lost and found)  As the belt started moving, he was having a discussion about money changing with the nice Canadian ladies from our Paris flight who were waiting for their luggage, and the first thing that fell down the slope was his box! Luckily, when we opened it after the drive back here from Kiev it was still in good shape, in fact the bottom was still frozen, two days after he dumped out the liquid nitrogen! He is excited about using this new tank for breeding cows, as soon as he gets it filled.

The new tank is smaller and uses less liquid nitrogen
Here is the photo of the new car I promised in the last post....
the 'NEW' used Ford transit
It has air conditioning as promised, and better shocks- heavy duty as it is on a truck chassis, and room for five milk jugs in the back (and it is a diesel). However I did find one problem with it, after Garry drove up where I was waiting by the terminal. He had walked over to get the car from the parking lot, using what was left of his grivna (he had traded for some for US dollars for the ladies who needed to get a taxi to their hotel) to pay the fees for two weeks of parking.

My seatbelt wouldn't fasten into the holder! It is not the same size!
one of these things is not like the other!
After we ate at McDonalds, halfway home, I discovered that my belt could clip into Garry's which made me feel safer- so we came to and agreement - I would use his until he gets mine fixed. It seems our van was imported into Ukraine from Germany, and retrofitted as a passenger van, and seatbelts were not a priority in the remont!

Anyway, it has been a busy week, we got home Monday and fell into bed, Tuesday morning Garry unpacked his box, and went out to see his corn field (he is very pleased with it, it is taller than he is and in tassel) on the tractor since it was too wet to take the car. That night he was off to breed someone's cow.
He has pulled a giant heifer calf from Yana's mother's favorite cow Lada. She calved two weeks late, I guess she was waiting for Garry to return. It is her third heifer calf in three years, but she has had a little trouble recovering, and is tied to one of the apple trees now, she is getting up and down, but still a little sore. Today there was a much smaller heifer calf born.

Today the agitator on the milk tank broke, so Garry dropped the broken part at the machine shop that has made stuff for him before in Dnepro, they will have it ready after lunch tomorrow.

On Monday they plan to start combining the big wheat field and then there will be straw to bale... however Garry will be busy teaching English for the next three weeks, so he won't be stacking bales himself, good thing the boys in the village are happy to get paid 100 grivna for a day's work.

And, no, the seatbelt is not fixed yet!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Farewell Manitoba, hello Ukraine

We spent a very romantic 35th wedding anniversary traveling from Winnipeg to Kiev by plane with a stop in Paris (two hours in the airport, too foggy to see the city) and then driving to the village in the "new car." We only sat next to each other on the first plane to Minneapolis on June 30th, then our seats were on opposite sides of the plane! However we had a nice dinner at McDonalds- even splurged on the fried battered cheese with cranberry dip with our royal cheeseburgers (think quarter pounders, I guess it doesn't translate well in metric.)

Garry was excited to arrive at 9:30 pm July first (our anniversary) to huge puddles in the village, he drove out to see the corn field to see how it looked after a couple weeks of dry weather in the tractor this morning. It is in tassel and a little short, but he thinks this rain will mean we will get a decent crop anyway. Photos to come, we are having a few problems hooking my computer up to the new WiFi in the house.