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

Monday, June 30, 2014

Driving in the car... in Ukraine

Last week while we were driving back from western Ukraine, I was bored and shot some video with my camera. This is taken on the road about halfway between here and Kiev. We drive this road several times a year, and it has some bad stretches, however I would call this typical highway driving. There are a few holes, but a lot of the bumps are from the many patches that have been added to the roads to fill them.

Monday morning Andrey came in and said that we had a flat on the van. Garry bought two tires later that day when we drove to Dnepro because he had to put the spare on (its rather bald, but it worked on when we had the flat on the trip too) This tire had separated from the belt, so it was garbage. We were lucky it did not go bad on the trip home, I guess.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Road trip to the other side of Dnepropetroesk to look at cows

Garry is looking for pregnant heifers to buy since the barn should be ready for them in September, the milking parlor is en-route to Ukraine from Canada now, and they should be ready to install it at the end of July. On Saturday we went with Maria to see a place that Victor had heard would have cows and heifers for sale when he was at the milking supply company recently.

We had to drive through the city and then turned off the highway to Donestk (we were still 240 km away, don't worry) to follow a road through a number of villages to our destination. Here are a few pics I took on the way there, we saw a number of black and white cows as we drove through the villages, a change from the red cows on our side of the river.

There were a number of guys on motorcycles yesterday, most with a girl behind, not all of which were wearing helmets (as though driving on in Ukraine on the highway or city isn't dangerous enough.) Back to our story...

Look I think they have had that stella (signpost) a few years

They sell milk here- see the jar in front of the bench? it has a white paper in it

we bought the big potatoes from the lady here
just blow the horn and wait for her to come out her gate

Selling buckets of cherries at this house in a village

WWII memorial in the same village

There's a black and white cow!
We found the lady waiting for us to see the cows...

we follow her van for a while to the farm

She was surprised that we were Canadian

they milk the cows here

Looking at the bred heifers

maybe these two will come to Nikolipolia?

Some of their fresh two year olds (they don't go with the main herd)

We looked at the younger heifers too

Interesting numbering rather than tags, they use a notching system
that was used in Soviet Union days (Garry was taught to read it too)

we went to see the main herd out on pasture- the closer ones are their cows

Maria got wildflowers

We had to meet their son who had visited Canada once, and they fed us
liver vereniki , tea, coffee, and the cookies were delicious

Garry and I under a stella (also from Soviet Union days)

someone's cow is getting alfalfa to eat!
Garry plans to go back later this week, he'd like to buy 20 pregnant heifers, if there are that many. He will preg check and pick out the good ones (or rather the not bad ones). The ready to breed ones are cheaper, but we need ones that will milk in September when we start. He might buy some milking cows then. These cows were not bred artificially, but they have imported bulls form Holland from what we were told, for a number of years. Looks like a good find!

Crop report

We've been back for almost a week and I have not shown you the crops, so here goes! It was wet when were returned on Sunday, the guys said it had rained all Saturday, but it needed it as there were cracks in the fields (one way to tell how dry it is here). Interesting fact, when it rains, rain is measured not by how much rain you catch in a gauge, but by how deep the soil gets wet. Garry drove around and checked out most of the fields, but I needed to recharge the battery soon after returning to the village, so no photos!

That green in the distance is one of our corn fields 
It doesn't look that bad for lots of weeds!
The guys had cut the new seeding and the sudan grass before it rained, so they hoped to get it in before the rain in the forecast arrived, even if it had been rained on. Garry decided to chop the sudan grass for silage, and it took some work to get the small bunker that they had been able to buy near the trade school barn fixed up enough to put it there, but they were able to finish it by late Tuesday night and cover it with plastic. Its a rather small pile, but its there if they can't green chop for the heifers living over there if it gets dry latter this summer. They did bale most of the hay (it really was mostly weeds anyway) and got it up in the mow with rain clouds everywhere on Wednesday.

Eventually the rain did arrive, Wednesday and Thursday evenings we got some real downpours. A big piece of one of the walnuts trees in the yard came down, and Friday morning they had to run the generator to milk because there was only two of three phases working in the village. It was fixed sometime during the afternoon milking, so all of my stove was working by the time I made pizza for dinner.

I did get some photos of the corn field next to the trade school barn (too wet to get to the other fields yet) on Friday at noon.

Corn growing right behind the heifers by the barn

as tall as Garry= about 6 1/2 feet)

Friday morning at the home farm yard 

Yes, the corn is starting to tassel!
alfalfa field across the highway
Saturday it was dry enough to start mowing the second-cut alfalfa. You have to love six feet of top soil. Garry is hoping to get the combine here to do the wheat next week and then there will be straw to bale..  a lot more small square bales to make and move around.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Western Ukraine castles (the drive back)

We left the conference after goodbyes and breakfast at 9 am Saturday morning, trusting the GPS to take us to Lviv and then on toward Nikoloipolia. We stopped to fill up on gas at this Luk Oil  while were were still on the small road (turns out there were much better roads and it was only two hours from the correct Polyanna to Lviv) Garry wanted coffee and more little chocolate croissants in a bag and I asked him to get me pretzels. They didn't have any so he bought a can of Pringles, I asked if they had any flavors other than the bacon he had bought, so he went back in to see if he could trade it for paprika. The guy told him in Russian "Of course your wife did not like them, I cannot change them, they will be upset in Kiev" so Garry had to buy two cans.
There were ladies out raking hay by hand in the field

On to L'viv!

It was a good day to drive, Garry even used his sunglasses I bought him at Dollarama before we left Manitoba. We were approaching the city by 11 am, the GPS took us right to the city center, where we parked and walked around for a couple hours, enjoying the European style buildings and Catholic cathedrals.  This area of Ukraine used to be part of Poland.

 There were some buskers, on the side street, including these three lovely ladies who played these instruments that were both strummed like a guitar and made plucked  notes also, lots of strings in two directions! they sang beautifully, we listened to three songs before moving on.
We enjoyed a rare treat for lunch, spicy stir fry and cans of  Canada Dry and Dr Pepper (both very rare also.)
We found spicy noodles for lunch

there was a book market around this statue

Shevchenko statue downtown

Everyone was taking photos of the guy being interviewed
we think he was from the Slaboda (far right) party

This little girl had her hat blown off by air from the pigeons flying up
we drove past the opera house on our way out of the city
Around one pm we set the GPS for Nikoliploia and were off, we planned to stop for the night, since it said it would be 14 hours of driving. Then as we were traveling the 2 lane highway Garry saw what looked like a castle on a hilltop, and drove off to find it.

Olesko Castle

Look what's that?
The other large building appeared to have been a church, we were amazed as we drove up, there were no signs to get off the highway, but it was easy to find when we did, and there were several kiosks selling refrigerator magnets, wooden swords, shields and crossbows for kids and other Ukrainian tourist items, we got an Olesko magnet. We walked over to the churchyard first and then found the KASA to buy tickets for the castle, they cost about two dollars. This was the birthplace of a Polish king, and part of the L'viv art museum. We bought two booklets in English at the gift shop.

selling stuff by the church building

This saint must have had a special day

dragons on the church

walking up to the big house

these guys are big

the king that was born here

told you they were big (Garry is 6'5")

It was renovated in the 1970s

A really large painting of a battle the King won

Me (Teresa) inside the castle courtyard door

Armed with our guidebooks we saw and found another castle to tour from the highway, this one was a little harder to drive to from the road. From the pictures in the books, we decided it was Pidhirtsi built by the same family as the first one we stopped at. This one was cheaper to get into, half the price, but the inside is not renovated, they are working on it. As you can see from the outside it was a grand house. Unfortunately we lost one of our booklets here, which was sad, even though it only cost $ 1.50 we hadn't read it yet. Garry walked back to get it after we got to the car, but they had already locked the gate at 4:30 pm. 
The church at the gate is under renovation too

Church statues on roof line

church door

the booklet said the drive is lined with lime trees (not sure what kind they are)

As you can see there is even a moat around it

detail on second floor 

bride and groom going for photos on balcony

Heading back down the lane to the gate and the church

The rest of the way home

drive through checkpoint

there was a tractor pulling this pile of hay down the highway

Many villages in western Ukraine had the crosses decorated with ribbons

it didn't look it, but the hotel was open
We spent the night in this very empty hotel - we were the first car parked, there were five cars in the morning, and we ate dinner in a lovely empty attached restaurant.

The next morning we were surprised when the GPS took us through Kiev and home past the airport so we turned it off since it was a familiar route. No idea why it chose a different route than on the way to the conference, it's a random GPS.
We did get to have breakfast at Mc Donalds.... in Kiev. 

What, we are going through Kiev?

we did go on Garry's favorite highway 25 Km of fast road

we saw some billboards for the new President

lots of fields to look at

Finally back to the village! 3 pm Sunday