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

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Crop update- April 29th 2014

Petals on the ground look like snow outside
Today no one is planting corn, or sunflowers... Garry is in the city buying new front tires for one of the tractors and it is muddy, really muddy outside. There was a big downpour around three am, and it has been raining to varying degrees all day.

However, they did finish planting the big field in corn this past weekend (260 acres) and yesterday they used the planter to plant sunflower seed. There will be more of both crops to plant when the ground dries. It may be a while, because the forecast is for rain the rest of the week,  very unusual (and good) here, where we are always looking for more rain. The first ten acres that they planted is poking out of the ground, now, I'll try to get a photo of it before I fly to Canada on Sunday.

Field tour time!

Many fields are not worked, only the small farmers are planting this year.

New alfalfa planting looks greener

close up - they look like alfalfa now!

The pop bottle on the tree marks the line of the field boundary

Birds are everywhere now

Someone is cutting grass to feed their cow by the pond

The winter wheat is looking good

and the weeds are not- the spray worked!

Where the road goes (into the pond since last year)

so up to the new alfalfa field...

and back down to the road....

looks like someone's filling a water tank from the pond

It's Saturday so people are hanging out at the pond fishing

To Moroznika to look at the "bad" wheat field

It looks pretty good even if they didn't spray for weeds

Hard to find the hay for the weeds 

but it's there!

Past another pond to the last 25 acres of wheat

Look there is the corn planter!

...well there...past the wheat field

another good wheat field

it's closer to the village (the tire marks are from spraying)

Birds where the cows grazed today by the pond

the village herd ate a lot of grass in two days

Look, its the trade school barn across the barn
  We have not grown any winter canola, but maybe some year. It is planted in the fall here, like wheat, and blooms early in the spring. The fields are starting to turn bright yellow now.
Canola is blooming along the highway

Friday, April 25, 2014

And the rodeo begins...

The two Ukrainian fighter jets that flew over the village on Wednesday afternoon (Garry and Maria were outside and saw them, one was painted yellow and blue, I heard them flyover indoors, reminded me of growing up near the Air Force Base in New Jersey) were not as exciting as the cows coming down the street at seven am. That's right today, not Saturday as we thought,  was the first day out grazing for the village herd!

I guess we should have closed our gate! 
 This year Garry decided not to put any animals out with the herd. We have had some out in previous years, but the new barn will soon be ready to move some heifers in.

One year we put pregnant heifers out with the group, last year we tried sending dry (not milking) cows but the problem with either is everyone else has just a couple cows and they have the same ones out with the herd everyday. After the first week, they get used to the system and are easy for 2-3 people to herd for the day. However, ours would calve and stay home and then we would put a different cow out who would try to run home all day, causing extra work for the people with the herd that day or even week while she adjusted (one or two never did adjust and were kept here because everyone was tried of chasing that stupid cow!).

The lush green pastures that the cows will enjoy today will dry up to a few weeds in the middle of summer, and our cows know there is a nice barn with good food at home. The village herd grazes community land and sometimes harvested fields as the season progresses, but when it is dry, as it normally is here in the summer, there is not much for them to eat.

 So even though Garry enjoyed participating with the neighbors in herding the cows, we won't be putting out 8-10 animals a day and taking our turn with the cows. There is a list of people at this end of the village (there is a second smaller herd at the other side) who have cows, and you are responsible for taking care of the herd for as many days as you have animals going out with the herd. There are a few people who work for people when it is their turn for about 100 grivna a day, so for the last couple years, except when the students did it, we would hire them, because it is how they make a living. We normally had to bring them lunch for ten days too. I am sure that Yana and her mother will be glad to not have to chase our cows out and and be here to try to get them back in the barn every evening. (Seth and Jonah did it the first year- look in posts April / May 2011.)

Now we will just have to remember to close the gates so the cows don't run into our yard, which is trouble for the people chasing them in or out of the village everyday, from now until the snow flies.
Garry to the rescue, chasing them back out to the street

Today there were lots of people going out with the cows, and more protecting their roadside flower beds and guarding the gates, since there are young animals out with the herd for the first time, and even old cows get excited about getting out for the first time in the spring. Today they will be coming home early, so they don't get too much green grass to eat (they can get diarrhea) but by the end of the first week, things settle down to the normal routine, and the herd will be out on the street by 7 am and coming back at 7 pm for evening milking.

A little rough-looking after winter

For the last week or two, some people have had their cows tied out to eat grass, they get pretty skinny over the winter. We have seen people out cutting grass, or going over to the barn where vegetables are stored by the grower next to the trade school barn, to fill bags with discarded cabbage leaves.
Lady with a couple bags of cabbage leaves on her bicycle

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A walk through the village

Yesterday evening we took a walk down the street after dinner, and I had my camera, so here is a little tour of our little Ukrainian village with Mennonite roots. You will notice that in Ukraine, good fences make good neighbors is the rule, you will see wood, metal, concrete, see through and solid fences. Very good when the village herd is coming down the street twice a day. Garry has heard that the cows will go out for the first day in the fields on Saturday.
Three little goats playing king of the mountain 

Their owner calling them and the baby ducks home

Garry telling her how nice her babies are- She said the goats are one month old

Yana has her mixed twins tied out in front of her house

Polo was marking his territory as we went down the street

Mowing the grass with a weed wacker

There are lots of tulips blooming in the village (this is a Ukrainian style house)

Human kids playing king of the mountain

Garry got them to pose for a picture

Look it's pigs, like a whole family of them

Garry and Maria checking out the pigs in a front yard

Hi Mama, let's play!

Look it's our tractor! 

Garry and Maria talking with a retired man at his datsha (cottage)

Maxim Rudei house with its neighbors

Max built a metal fence with a lovely gate

All the way to the second store

Tulips in rows

The concrete fence is also popular 

Taking care of her little sister

Even the summer kitchen is painted 

This Mennonite house was built in 1880

Where Garry gets his hair cut 

Polo walking in front of the store closer to our house

Are we friends?

Where the little brown dog lives

Garry and Maria catch up to me

House for sale

Garry is trying to make friends with little Bogdan

And back at home