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

Monday, September 30, 2013

On my way back

Sitting in the Winnipeg airport, flight in an hour to Minneapolis (then on the Amsterdam and Kiev) enjoying the free wifi. Three weeks ago I was flying in the other direction for my helping with the new baby, seeing the kids whirlwind. My suitcase was bang on 50 pounds- good thing I was not able to get all Garry's wish list, or how would all that yarn fit in?

Yesterday I phoned Garry before Micah's birthday party (our final family gathering) and realized he thought I was coming in on Monday instead of Tuesday, so glad I called him! Then I took a drive into Winnipeg to return Seth and Jonah to university, before finishing up my packing, mending some things of the girls I had forgotten, and getting some sleep, before coming back to Winnipeg this morning. We left home at 7:30am, after I called my father to wish him a happy birthday, so I am on my way back, Garry plans to meet me in Kiev this time, no bus this time! 18 hours to go....

It was well worth spending some of that retirement money to help out at home, and of course with the new baby, and connect with the other granddaughters and the boys.
See you for Christmas time Manitoba! (sunrise over the barns)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Still raining

I talked to Garry before he went to bed Wednesday night, and he was hoping to plant some winter wheat today (Thursday) since it had not rained since that morning. However, when I talked to him today, they had done some discing, but no planting since it had rained in the night and more came down on Thursday. He says the ground in wet about 8 inches down now.

He did more work on two new projects today, expanding the shed to store the new planter under cover, and they have cleared a place upstairs in the barn and are building a new grain box to store some of the corn that they will eventually combine this fall.
Future farmers and haybales!

Meanwhile, I am collecting stuff and packing it in the suitcase for my return to Ukraine on Monday, so I can spend all weekend with the family.

Here are some photos for Garry, who wants to see what the cornfields look like here in Manitoba. The boys cut some test strips in two fields and will start making corn silage on Monday. The camera battery died before we got to the fields that are ready to combine, sorry Garry....

How tall is it? The field to the right of Gringo hog drivway

over 10 feet tall!

Noah's shoe is size 12, so big cobs too

at Big Tex field (it's a mile long)

Josh took this from the top of his truck cab

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Some photo fun- driving in Ukraine tips too!

Here are some photos I took while Garry was driving to church on Sunday morning, with close ups, first the yellow Honda that zipped around and in front of us as we approached the red light on the shazha . We laughed as he did, do you think he cut it too close sometime before? Watch out when approaching red lights drivers often jockey for position in Ukraine.
Held together with scotch (tape)?

We had another smile as we came up this car, as you can see it is a Soviet classic car, the Combi. Note the licence plate is old, like pre- Ukraine (22 years) you often see them repainted, and they have Cyrillic letters on them- new licence plates only use letter shared by the Latin alphabet to be EU friendly . I think.

Note the traffic light, many new ones have the counting down feature, this one starts are 85. If you are wondering about the yield sign it is for when when the light is not working or in the evening when it is flashing yellow - NEVER GO THOUGHT A FLASHING YELLOW LIGHT AT A UKRAINIAN INTERSECTION! THEY ARE YELLOW IN BOTH DIRECTIONS-  look for the handy yield sign which means the other direction has the right of way. A Yellow diamond means you do, but still look bothe ways before crossing the street!

Ukrainians love imports as you can see on this car

and shopping for English brand names!


Garry told me he went to church in the village on Sunday because it was the Thanksgiving service there, we often go, it is the one Sunday when the little church is very full - you may remember that our trade school had classes there last year. (This year with Garry, his translator Masha and two students for year two, I think they are meeting at our house!)

We went to last year's celebration, they decorate the place up nicely with garden bounty, and prepare a dinner for after the church service, you can check out last year's photos if you want. In fact, I think we have gone to it almost every year, in 2009, it was where we met John and Ev Wiens for the first time.

Garry sitting next to Max Boradim 

You would think that Garry enjoyed a big meal Sunday afternoon, but he told me just as they were sitting down to eat he got a phone call and had to hurry to Dnepropetroesk. He had forgotten he had promised to speak to Lena"s English students at 2 pm (we did it almost every month last year on Sunday afternoons, since we are already in the city on Sundays.)

He made it there on time, Lena had called him after church when he wasn't at Morningstar for church. I guess he may need me to keep all his appointments straight!

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Talked to Garry yesterday, he was heading to bed after a long day, and I was heading out mid-afternoon in Manitoba to pick up Seth and Jonah from the U of M for the weekend (PS don't go to pick up your students when there is a CFL Bomber game- they close campus roads to students and staff for 2 hours, I didn't know they were playing and I was later than planned, but I managed to get them, even without a cell phone to call Jonah!)

Anyway, Garry had some land worked up to plant winter wheat, they have got some rain to wet the soil so it will sprout now. He said that they have given up on the idea of seeding alfalfa on the small piece where they had winter wheat last year, it just got too late in the season. The rain arrived later than last year, and of course they just got the seeder bought, they didn't not purchase the additional seed boxes for the alfalfa seed, but had acquired old ones from two different guys in the village, Maxim had torn them apart and painted them with some good rust covering zebra paint, and rebuilt them two weeks ago to put put on the seeder when they bought it. The seed box owners just want to use the seeder sometimes in trade.

Anyway, the shiny seeder pictured in the previous post called Here and There was made in Ukraine and cost $8,600 dollars, which is a pile of grivna, Garry has been saving up farm profits from selling crops and milk and some extra cows (there were more milking cows than stalls last month) to buy this seeder. However, they spent Friday morning tearing it apart, taking the wheels off and the front of it to turn the sprockets around. I guess someone wasn't paying attention at the factory, because when they tried to plant, seed came out when it went backwards instead of forwards (the clutches were engaging while driving forward to plant)! By the time they were finished changing everything around, the rain that was getting them wet while they were taking it apart, had gotten heavier, so no wheat got planted yesterday.

Tall corn
Meanwhile here in Manitoba, the boys are hoping to dodge a killing frost on the 1600 acres of corn for a few more weeks so they will have grain corn, snapledge (a kind of high moisture corn with cobs) and a big pile of corn silage.

Matt is is 6 ft 3 in, if you are wondering how tall the corn is in the this photo taken last week!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Open Farm Day on the farm in Manitoba

I was excited that I would be home for Open Farm Day this year, it was on Sunday and the baby arrived Saturday evening, so I was actually at Matthew's house, helping with her big sisters on Sunday. However, after church and visiting Mommy in the hospital, we went over to check it out.
If you are wondering every September in Manitoba there is a visit the farm day, where about 60 different farms of every type (emus, alpacas, even) open their doors to the public, it is advertised on the radio and in print. Even though St Labre is really far from other farms on the list and other places, the boys had about 60 visitors, who got guided tours in either English or French, some from as far away as Winnipeg. They tell me we are the largest dairy farm participating this year, and spent days mowing grass and making sure the place was in top shape for viewing.

Even at nearly 4 pm, there were cars parked all over when we arrived

Some of the visitors

The girls checked out the free coffee- well the choc milk and donuts
and the pencils,  frisbees, coloring contest and sunflower seeds

....and the 4 wheeler

cow modeling

Luke at work
Some visitors were disappointed we didn't have the robotic milkers like they talked about on the radio, but we have real people milking the cows. Our son Luke was working that afternoon, while his brothers were doing the English language tours.

The new baby came home on Monday afternoon so I was busy helping out with her and the housework and her big sisters until Thursday afternoon, when I came back to the farm - for a rest!
waiting for the bus on a Frosty Monday morning

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Here and there- big happenings

From Garry in Ukraine, there was a good rain on Saturday, a thunder storm followed by a couple hours of slow rain, On Monday his brand new seeder arrived that he has been talking about getting for months- no more using old borrowed ones to plant grain with!

"We are getting ready to plant our wheat. 2 days of rain and this is our new seeder. It is so new that the paint is still wet. We have about 125 acres to plant."

Unfortunately the rain brought a problem - one of the electricity phases was not working due to a problem with the lines. Garry said they were cutting parts of the walnut trees next to the road at the babushka's house next door to really solve the issue on Monday afternoon. He said she was watching them closely, while they were doing it. Most of the village just using one phase instead of three, so the quick fix they did on Sunday caused problems for the barn, where there are 3 phase motors.

" We had a storm and a branch broke on of the phase lines. Instead of fixing it they just connected two phases together so we had two phases instead of three and the motors in the barn would not work and we blew all the lights in the barn. They are fixing it now"

Meanwhile here in Manitoba, our new granddaughter arrived on Saturday evening, so I have been helping out at our son's house. Her big sisters are very excited that she came home on Monday afternoon.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Azov Sea part two

Somewhat discouraged by the cool wet weather we talked about what to do next. I mentioned that we always see a billboard near Melitopol on the way home from Crimea for a place called "the Stone Grave" in English, and we've never checked it out. Garry looked at it on the internet and agreed it looked interesting, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. I thought we could even sleep in our own bed that night, although Garry said that we weren't supposed to be back until Friday and it was only Wednesday.

 We headed back down the coast and decided to check out the other big resort city we bypassed, Primorsk (sea is mor-ray in Russian) as we drove closer to the shore we drove past several sanatoriums and resorts (they are almost the same thing, Ukrainians say they go to the sea for a rest) We stopped to check out one with colorful camel statures in front and ended up staying the night.
our room

dinnertime, sailor suits on the chair backs on the porch

beautiful gardens (our room was on the 3rd floor of the building behind me)

there was a "zoo" of birds- pheasants and peacocks

we tried out some exercise equipment

 The room was a little basic, with twin beds but we enjoyed an afternoon relaxing on the beach reading and watching the seagulls in lounge chairs (under blankets when the wind picked up) and the meals were all you could eat. Garry really enjoyed the breakfast omelet the next morning.

Thursday we continued on under cloudy skies, taking a detour along a sunflower field to see if it went all the way to the sea. It did not as you see.

There's a village down there!

 Another detour so Garry could show me the beach where he went on the Saturday  before the VBS camp with Hannes, Andrei and tall Max. It was pretty empty with the weather and school starting.

I wasn't sure how they found the beach here

beach front cottage, anyone?

We found the historic site, even though the GPS died before we got there, the signage from the highway was easy to follow, and in both Ukrainian and English, which was a nice surprise, we often use the GPS for finding things. We enjoyed climbing on and exploring the pile of rocks, even if we didn't see any petroglyphs.

Sign says beware of snakes, we climbed up where those people are too

almost petroglyphs....

The admission was less than we paid to see things in Crimea, we got in for 20 grivna each plus five or ten for camera use, and then another  5 each to tour the museum, really a room of displays in the museum. (Still 8 grivna in a US dollar, so a good deal, we even bought a book, since it was in three languages, including English about the place.)
walking up to the museum- it was smaller inside

There was a timeline of people in the area

display in the museum of inside one of the crevasses 

We had a roadside picnic on the way home, so a real Ukrainian holiday!

Ate some of the "camping supplies"