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

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Moo-ooy Christmas!

Things are quiet tonight after days of Christmas/birthday fun around here on the farm in Manitoba. We heard from Victor today, he was out to the farm yesterday for the Thursday milk to sell, and says that there have been 3 heifer calves and a bull born in the last 10 days, so there must be more milk in the milk tank!

We had the annual Moonshadow Holsteins/Gringo Hogs Christmas party on Saturday night and since the boys were there with all the new girlfriends put everyone in a big family photo.
 The night before we celebrated our daughter's birthday, Sunday we did Garry's, then we all got together for breakfast and presents at 9 am Christmas morning and all the kids were here on the 26th (yesterday) for my birthday.

Christmas morning

The girls all made me birthday cards
Today we enjoyed unseasonable weather- it got up to the freezing point, and Garry helped the boys sort heifers from the field and sheds at the "buffalo farm" this morning (there used to be buffalo on the farm they just bought) and they brought ones close to calving to one of the barns on the home farm.
By tomorrow night we will be back in the deep freeze, unfortunately, -36 C (-32 F for American minds.) That's cold!

In the afternoon we went to Winnipeg to see the Hobbit movie and Garry managed to find two people he knew from Zaporosia at the mall, believe it or not. They are working with the orphans there and are home for the holidays with their young sons visiting family in Manitoba. Garry said they joked before he left that they would see each other at the St Vital shopping centre and they did!

Here's a photo I found online of our orphan Max taken at Christmas at New Hope Center in Zaporosia, it looks like Andrei and Verinika was there too, and Maria of course. Garry talked to her today and she says that he misses us.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Birthday Garry

I think  Garry had the perfect 57th birthday on Sunday. We went to the early service at Emmanuel, where he got to sing the Hallelujah Chorus with the choir (I could hear him a couple times he really misses singing with the choir here) talked to lots of people, drive to Winnipeg, stopped for teen burgers at A&W, read the newspaper.... and then he played basketball with the boys for the second time this week.

That's Garry on the floor, playing too hard, no injury
Then home again for presents, cake and Eagles football on TV and they won too.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Back in Canada

 Garry made it safely back to Canada on Thursday, after a few adventures along the way. Saturday morning he was awake at 4 am- one of the blessings of traveling from Europe, it feels like it should be mid-day, he washed up the dishes, made coffee, tried to check the internet (the wi-fi was down in the house) wrote a biography for the program for the presentation he's giving in January at the Eastern Manitoba Holstein Club forum, and cooked himself eggs before anyone but me was awake.... I tried to go back to sleep, since my clock has been reset to closer to 6 am now, but gave up and wrapped Christmas presents.

What adventures? Well, he took the overnight train to Kiev Wednesday night after talking to his English group in Dneproprjisk, where they gave him more presents, including a new wallet, because his is falling apart- I guess someone noticed when they were paying for milk that he sometimes brings to class for people who ask.

Anyway, he got to Kiev at 7 in the morning and didn't need to be at the airport, about 40 km away until afternoon for his flight, so he decided to go see the protests downtown. He put all his small bags into his large suitcase, and left it in a locker at the train station, but he did keep his passport and put it in his pants pocket, and stuffed his wallet (the old one) in his coat pocket. Then he went to the the Metro (subway) bought a couple tokens, and got on a packed train.... and somewhere before he got downtown, his wallet was gone. I guess he checked out the protesters anyway, but he phoned Victor to see if he had any ideas on how he could get from the train station to the airport since he had about 10 grivna on him, and a token to ride the Metro back to the train station, and the bus to the airport costs 40 grivna now (twice as much as 4 years ago).

Victor the the rescue! He called someone and they picked Garry up at the train station and took him to the airport in plenty of the time for his flight. There he ran into a young woman we know from Zaporosia, who does mission work with orphans. She was returning to Boston for Christmas. When he told her what had happened she gave him 20 dollars American, so he was able to buy a sub to eat in Toronto, before his flight to Winnipeg.

He was supposed to land a half hour after midnight, so I had checked into a nearby hotel after spending some quality time shopping and eating with Seth and Jonah who are doing exams at the university this week. I got a wakeup call for midnight (or 00:00) in case I fell asleep. I checked the flights online just before 12 and discovered his was now coming in at 1:20 am, so I waited until then to go down in the crisp -23 C night to start the car and  after the engine warmed up a bit, drove down the street to the airport. That late on a cold night, they don't chase you off from the pickup area, so the car was warm by the time he got out and found me, his bag was the second last one to hit the baggage carousel. It was -25 in the morning when we checked out at 8:30, got breakfast and headed home after stopping in Steinbach to get him a new bankcard, his new credit card should be here before Christmas, there were no charges on it when I phoned to cancel it after getting the message that he had his wallet stolen.

 Only problem is he has two wallets to choose from, because I bought him a billfold while I was shopping with the boys, because I didn't know that he had already gotten one as a gift in Ukraine, complete with a grivna coin in- because in Ukraine you can't give an empty wallet as a present.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Almost ready

Garry tells me the barn is more winterized, they have built the straw wall for insulation inside the back and side wall, I believe all the retrofitted doors are done also. They have gotten more land to rent from people in the village and are trying to get it all plowed. They are plowing up the rest of the filed next to the barn for the trade school now. He told me he had been worried that they had planted too much winter wheat, but there will be plenty of land to plant corn on now.

 Garry had a terrible cold with a fever last week, but he seems to be feeling better now. He even went to the ballet and saw the Nutcracker performed by the Moscow ballet company on Saturday. He hung some Christmas lights on the fence after I left, and even though I haven't got a photo, he says they are still there, one of the neighbors told him they look romantic. He told me it was snowing there today (Monday) and there was at least 3 inches when he went to bed.

Garry has not packed his bag yet, but he will be flying home to Manitoba on Thursday, in the crazy world on time zones, he will fly out of Kiev on Thursday afternoon and still arrive in Winnipeg shortly after midnight. Of course he will have to get the overnight train to Kiev Wednesday around 11 pm, he has a ticket, and hopefully there are no travel problems with the protests going on in Ukraine about (not) making closer ties with the European Union.

While I was assuring people at church in Steinbach on Sunday that he was well away from any of the protests, he was at a rally in downtown Dnepropetrovsk where people were chanting "stand up Dnepropetrovsk" and posted a photo on his facebook page...