Sometimes we cannot find something we are looking for in Ukraine. Garry bought an American corn planter but was unable to locate any powdered graphite to put in with the corn seed. When you plant corn with this kind of planter you squirt some into each seed box so everything goes smoothly and the seed flows out correctly.
They tried doing without, back that just didn't work. Someone told Garry and the guys that there was a pile of solid graphite sitting somewhere in Dnepro if they wanted some. Apparently every morning the trolley cars get a block of graphite attached to the part that runs on the line, and every evening whatever is left of it is dumped in a pile, and is not re-used.. Somehow they acquired some of these pieces.
How could they get it in a powdered form? First they pounded the pieces on the concrete pad out by the barn to break them up. Then Garry ground them in his electric coffee bean grinder into a powder and poured some into the boxes with the corn seed and believe it or not, everything went better with the planting. When he told me this story, I asked if he was using the same one he made coffee with everyday and he said yes, the graphite made it very clean and shiny looking inside... hopefully it's safe to keep grinding coffee in!
Well all the corn crop was planted almost three weeks ago now, we'll see how its growing in a about a week. We leave Chicago (where we attending our niece's wedding) to fly back to Ukraine today, but we will be driving to a conference in western Ukraine before returning to the village.