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

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Garry and Clay go to the sea

The Kherson region is famous for its watermelons and they found a big one
 Garry and Clay are off on their 5th annual post-SEI trip to the Black Sea. Sometimes I go, sometimes I don't and of course this year I am in New Jersey. Last year Clay's wife Maggie came to Ukraine and got to see Crimea and Clay's favorite place, Alupka. Of course, this year they cannot go to Crimea- you would need a $500 Russian visa, for one thing. Many people in Ukraine have headed to the beaches of the Sea of Azov, where we were last September, but it is too close to the Donestk region for comfort and apparently has a number of refugees living there and filling up the accommodations.
swimming in the healthy mineral water

I wonder who took the photo? Maria, Clay, Garry and Marina

Odessa and area beaches are very popular this year, but they decided to go to the Kherson region. Maria found a resort area famous for a mineral spring pool, and she and her friend Marina (from the gym) are the back seat passengers and translators for the trip. Garry tells me that it was discovered after an unsuccessful oil well had been drilled, someone had removed some of the pipes for scrap, which caused the water to flow and created the pool opportunity. They went out on a powerboat today, for swimming in the Black Sea. When I talked to him today while they were waiting for dinner to arrive, he said that they have been playing volleyball too.

 I have downloaded some facebook pics to show you what they are doing, besides eating lots of good food. They will drive home to the village Thursday, as Clay is flying out to Kiev and beyond Friday morning. The drive is shorter than going to Crimea, but the road is a little rough, it will still take several hours. At least they have air conditioning, summer driving in the Lada was like baking in the oven.

No Austrian airplanes are flying into Dnepropetroesk because of the Malaysian air crash, everyone else got their flight changed for free to go out of Kiev- they have been flying a regional jet from Dnepro because they are still flying from the city. Unfortunately, Clay had to pay extra for his flight to Kiev, he had used his air-miles to book his flight. Hopefully cheap-o air gets me back on August 20th, because I flew Austrian Air, too!
The boat at the island/sand bar

Monday, July 28, 2014

Faith of our Fathers (and Mothers)

When I was a child we went to the Hornerstown Baptist Church, every Mother's Day they presented four potted geraniums, one for the oldest mother, newest mother, the mother with the most children (and sadly I can't remember what the last one was for) and they always sang the hymn Faith of Our Fathers with mothers instead. My sisters and I would attend church with our mother, grandmother (my Dad's mother), and great-grandmother when I was very small. We would often sit with F and Hay, my father's great aunt Ethel and her daughter Helen, who was the postmistress at Cream Ridge; she would give us a quarter (25 cents) to stay after Sunday school for church. It was the church where I was baptized at the age of twelve by dear old Marshall "Pop" Sewell, who had come out of retirement to lead the church for a few years.

Last Sunday I took one of the baskets of flowers from my mother's funeral there for the service, after we heard that father's original choice, the Imlaystown Baptist where they were married, and she had sang in the church choir as a teenager, is apparently closed. The pastor and most of the congregation I knew from my last visit to Hornerstown a few years ago have either moved into the heavenly choir, or a different church, due to some new directions the church has moved in. However, the sanctuary looks much the same, with the exception of the red and gold drapery behind the cross has been replaced with the cloud canvas, and the powerpoint screen mounted above it. The drapery had covered extensive damage to the wall when the church was hit by lightning in the 1960's, right after they had finished renovations, which caused some soul searching about what God thought of the changes.

This Sunday my father and I decided to go to the annual service at the Old Yellow Meetinghouse which was built in 1732, some of my mother's ancestors are buried in the churchyard. He had gone there with mother a few times early in their marriage, and I remember going there as a child with her and her mother. It has been held on the last Sunday in July at 11 am for as long as my father can remember, but there were no cars when we arrived at 10:30. The sign had been changed in the last week since my aunt and I had driven past while trying to find someone in Imlaystown to read 2 pm. On the way home, Father and I drove past Emley's Hill Methodist Church and stopped at the graveyard to check how the flower baskets were holding up on Mother's Grave. We took a few faded-looking ones off and put them in the dumpster. My sisters were coming around noon to get the firehall fundraising dinner in another nearby town, so after we ate takeout BBQ chicken with all the fixings, I headed back to the church.
Old Yellow Meeting House

inside the church

John Polhemus- near the church building

The Old Yellow Meeting House was organized in 1723, the current building was built in 1732 after a fire. It is the oldest Baptist church building still in use in New Jersey and the third oldest in America. This the was the 99th annual service, and it featured hymns written by Issac Watts, one of which was sang at the church's dedication. After the service I walked through the cemetery and took photos of Polhemus gravestones. My mother was a Polhemus before she married, and my sisters and I remember our grandmother Jennie walking us carefully through the lines of graves to find the ones of Tobias and Job Polhemus. The oldest one I found was for John Polhemus in 1795.
The oldest grave in the cemetery  -1723

I need to figure what an Emley (my father's family)
was doing buried with the Polhemus (mother's) family

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Goodbye to Summer Institute- salute to volunteers!

Garry and Christian
Josh- shortly after arriving from Canada this month

Garry is spending the weekend with Josh and Christian, who ended up at our place for a couple nights after the first week of teaching, because the apartment that had been rented for them was hopping with fleas, quite literally. A new very nice but more expensive place was found for them right downtown, they stayed at the apartments at the mall near the bridge, where Garry and I had stayed for our anniversary at the beginning of July, although they did not get a river view. That way they were available to meet up with students after classes during the week, as it is an important part of making relationships for personal contacts for share about Jesus, which we do not do in class, only at assembly time.

However to save some cash, they were going to come back to the farm with us on the final Friday before flying back to Canada, so when I talked to Garry Friday evening he asked where the sheets for the pull-out couch were located.
Both guys worked with the kids at the Youth Institute, along with Dawn, classes for students aged 11-16. He said Christian was leaving for the airport Sunday morning and Josh on Monday. Sounded like they were watching more Corner Gas - they had started a marathon of season one the first weekend they were with us, but no pizza this Friday. Garry did make pizza Saturday night, he says it is still better when I make it and he doesn't. Apparently poor Josh is still suffering from the effects of the flea bites, his feet and legs were covered and he had a very adverse reaction to them, Victor had to get medication for him.
Garry with one of his classes and the Milk King shirt he got

 I got to see some of their teacher presents form the students. Garry got a t shirt that one class had made for him and cow cereal bowls and a big mug from another and a giant chocolate heart. He said I even got some tea from my students. Every year they love to show their appreciation to the volunteers who teach English, whether they come from Canada or not!
Last day- Photos with the teacher
Garry had a tall chair for teaching

Some of the ladies with their certificates

Friday was the day of the closing ceremonies when the students with good attendance or perfect attendance received their certificates, with farewell handshakes and hugs for and from the teachers. After a few more photos to remember SEI 2014.  the teachers pack everything up to be stored away for next year (last year all the fans went in our attic) and go out for a farewell dinner. This year they had Chinese food at the Bruce Lee restaurant.

Here are some photos of the wanted posters of some of the teachers from the Cowboy themed party earlier in the week :

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ukrainian Day at SEI

Garry tells me he won Ukrainian day at English Institute today, it was because he was wearing the hat I got at a festival in the city a couple years ago. It was a very hot sunny day and he decided I needed a hat so I didn't burn. He told me everyone loved the hat. I found a photo of him with one of his students. He just bought the shirt on Sunday, he has never had one before, although he gave me one for Christmas.
That's my replacement teacher with the microphone in the photo
Then during the evening he was wearing my cowboy hat at the "closing party" at Word of Life church on the left bank. They host it every year, two years ago there was a Ukrainian theme with salo (think fatty uncooked bacon) on black bread, last year it was fishing, with fish flavored bread spreads (and caviar), I wonder what they had to eat tonight... apparently they learned to line dance, anyway. I did not talk to him before he went to bed. I found out they had chili - Garry said it was even a little spicy!

Just two more days of class left. He is going to be listening to the students' business plans they have made, so he is coasting now... thinking about what he will be doing next ...

likely working on the parlor after a short trip with Clay to the Black Sea. He told me that he has ordered the metal framework for it from the company that made the freestalls.

For a blog post about the corn crop and rain, click on the bird photo, at top right of this blog

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Stacy and Danil's wedding

I was supposed to attend a wedding Saturday, so Garry had to go solo. Victor Dantsev's son Danil (or Daniel) married Stacy Unger (who has appeared in our blog before, she has taught at SEI for several years and spent a month with us on the farm in Ukraine in June 2011, the same summer Danil was visiting our farm in Manitoba.) They had a vintage theme, I had collected all my doilies and embroidered table pieces for her to borrow for decoration, and had found an old picture frame for a project she was working on for the wedding. I hope to see a photo of the completed project. I had even crocheted a vintage hat from a 1940's pattern to wear for the big day.

Victor with a special wedding bread

here comes the wedding party

Victor's sons are at the center of the pavilion on the lake

Garry and Esther (one of the SEI teachers) with traditional Ukrainian
bread baked on a stick- you often see it at festivals

Stacy wore her grandmother's wedding dress, and her parents, step dad and brother and his wife were flying in from Canada for the big day. There was also a traditional Ukrainian feel as you can see, and sunflowers. I have not talked to Garry yet to get all the details, but here are some photos I have seen from the big day.

There were even fireworks for the occasion on this side of the world. My parent's dog was hiding under the couch last night, because the winery on the first farm we milked cows on (we rented it on the other side of town) was having some pretty spectacular ones I could see across the fields and over the trees. Today is our son Josh's birthday and he is here to celebrate in New Jersey as he did many times as a child visiting Grandma.


Yesterday was my mother's funeral. The family tried to do things the way she wanted, at least as far as we knew. My father, and one of brothers spoke, and my sister's husband read a short tribute she wrote about our mother. There was a full house, and our son Matthew did a fine service for his grandmother, she would have been proud. We played a hymn I remembered her singing when we were young, In the Garden, my siblings remembered it when it got to the chorus ....'and He walks with me and he talks with me, and tells me I am his own...
 I managed to get to almost the end of my tribute before I chocked up just at the end. Sine I get so much practice writing and there was so many things to say about her it was three typewritten pages, but I had to copy it out by hand Friday morning before we went. It is very strange without her here in the house, because she was ...  a caring friend, aunt, mother, grandmother to so many people. Here is a little part of what I wrote about her.
My mother -about 7 years ago
 Mother never forgot anything, she could tell you every story she’d ever heard, every person she’d ever met, everyone’s birthday and anniversary and if she was on your side, you had the biggest supporter in the world. She also remembered when she was upset with someone, but that’s another story. She always put father, us kids and her grandchildren and great grandchildren ahead of anything she had planned for herself. However, even if mother may have spoiled us as much as possible, she did not believe in letting children win at games, she used to play checkers with her grandmother as a child and we could never beat her.

She loved to sew and made everything from clothes- to baby quilts and dolls to embroidering pictures to hang on the wall for her grandchildren, nieces and nephews. When we were young, Sandy, Dee and I got homemade dresses for Easter every year as children and often for Christmas and the first day of school too. Mother taught all of us girls and many other girls to sew in 4-H, where she was a leader, and was proud when we all made our own wedding dresses.

She was a one person welcoming committee, and was a great cook, making meals for every family gathering, planning menus with everyone’s favorite foods when they visited, like Special Chicken, Corn Fritters, Blueberry Buckle, Mama Edith Emley’s Chicken Salad with homemade dressing, and she handwrote the recipes into cookbooks for us. She even got Seth – who hated tomatoes – to somehow eat and love her mashed potatoes with gravied tomatoes, when she had him and Jonah for a month seven years ago (the first time I taught English in Ukraine in July).

Mother always put everyone else’s needs ahead of her own, so when we wanted her to see a doctor when she was having trouble talking, she said she didn’t have time for her, it could wait while she took care of father after he was diagnosed with cancer. Eventually she found out what was wrong with her but didn’t tell us until after coming to Manitoba for Josh and Krissy’s June wedding two years ago because she wanted to wait until after Christmas, so we could enjoy her favorite holiday of the year. She finally told us; however, she told that we were not allowed “to put it on the internet.”
 She didn’t want her children to help her, because she was the one who did things for us, and so we had to try to do only the things she wanted us to do. It seemed like every time I visited for a couple weeks, if I had tried to organize something, she would write father notes asking where I had moved something to which he would read to me on the phone, and I would try to remember, so she could find it.  She came to depend on him more as time went by, she said he signed up for it when he married her, and he did a wonderful job of taking care of her for the last two years as she slowly could do less for herself.

This spring she had a good day at the family Easter egg hunt, but shortly afterwards she could no longer walk around the house with her cane, and had to use the wheelchair for everything, not just going outside. When I came to see her in May I knew it could be the last time I kissed her goodbye, but I had hoped to see her again in August for the Polhemus family reunion (her maiden name)that she was excited about.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

here and there...again

Garry working on his lesson Sunday afternoon
 it is nine am in Ukraine and Garry is busy teaching an English class, but I am not there. I had to turn over my class to a volunteer from Texas on Monday at noon. My mother passed away Sunday morning in New Jersey (which was late Sunday afternoon for us in Ukraine) and Garry got me on the first plane to Vienna, so I arrived in New York and got a ride home, thanks to Garry's brother Ben.

I decided a photo of inside was OK

Garry dropped me a the airport Monday during assembly time, and I discovered that they were taking security measures to prevent photos of the military planes and helicopters on the ground in Dnepropetroesk- there are signs saying photographing and videotaping is forbidden in Ukrainian, Russian and English, on the windows overlooking the runways in the waiting area for departures. While I was waiting with the Vienna passengers and ones flying to Moscow, I watched guys with large cameras snapping away. Then I noticed three guys outside on the roof carrying a ladder. shortly after I realized they were working to screw green mesh about six feet high across the windows to obscure the view of the runway. One of the older guys would hold the ladder for the other one who had the drill they were using to screw into the metal pieces between the windows, and the young guy in blue and orange got to unroll and hold up the fabric roll for them You could still see through it, but not as clearly. It might make it a little cooler in the upstairs of the airport too, screening out some of the sun coming in the glass.

After three hours of sleep the night I arrived (and none on the plane), I woke up at 1 am and couldn't get back to sleep, so after a somewhat busy helping with some of the planning I fell asleep at 8 pm (last night) Wednesday evening.... but woke up after six hours at 1 am again, because my body still is back on Ukrainian time!

Once I finish this, I will try to sleep, or sort through the photo albums for photos of mother for the funeral tomorrow... but I going to have to adjust to the new time zone, because Garry booked my ticket for a month.

Here is a photo of the giant straw pile that the guys finished making outside the barn by the house. I understand on Monday and Tuesday they were working on one near the new trade school barn, but of course I don't have photos of it!
They were calling it the pyramid

another day of work finished

Thursday, July 10, 2014

SEI -Summer English Institute starts in Dnepropetroesk

This past week we have been busy as our three week commitment to teaching English began on Monday. We have also had guests, John Weins' brother Mel and his wife Vel have been staying with us (when we are home- most of the day we are the city.) He is one of the Canadian directors for CMRF and did some finishing work on the windows and doors over at the trade school barn for the classroom and bathrooms. She was wonderful, cleaning up after dinner while I was trying to get the next day's lessons prepped.

Looking good! Trim around one classroom window

Here are a few photos of our typical day with students and Canadian teachers. We leave the village for the drive in around 7 am, when the village herd is heading out for the day. We have to drive through carefully if we meet them on the street. One morning we were behind schedule, and they were already past our house.

Here they come!

The boy on the bicycle is part of the crew today
Yesterday some of the holes in the highway were patched, good to see when we drive it everyday. There are quite a few cars on the highway when we are driving in the morning, and we were pulled over by the traffic police in Novi Swit on Wednesday morning, the day we were running late, for the normal document check, but the guy kept asking Garry questions, so it took ten minutes. Most mornings we go through the drive-thru for McMuffins for breakfast. The last two days we have stopped and picked up a couple Canadians along our route, after they had some problems with public transportation, the tram didn't come past them that day.
We arrive at the building around 8 am

 We start the day with devotions and prayer, followed by getting ready for our first class at 9 am. This year Garry is doing another class based on talking about a book about business, while I am teaching a pronunciation class. We teach two classes before the assembly and student lunch break and two after noon. The last class ends at two o'clock. That's when the teachers eat lunch together in the cafeteria. Afterwards we head home for the rest of our day...
Garry halfway through the day of teaching

the general assembly is for all students- and visitors too

One of the students going through the cafeteria line

Part two of the day we spent with our company, unless Garry was busy with breeding cows, either here or for someone, one evening right in front of our gate, and one night in another village after a little multi-colored car picked him up. Wednesday evening dinner was delayed as he was working on solving a difficult calving, the calf was stuck upside down. He did get the calf out of the heifer alive, and I got the beans picked and frozen while he was busy.

The guys have been baling straw for people who get it as part of their share, dropping 60-65 bales at their homes. Maxim has been delivering a ton of wheat this week to the people who did not come to pick up their own, on Sunday the people with more than one share came to pick theirs up at the barn, because they get a ton for each share they rent to us.

Today we were driving back into the village when a babushka waved Garry down with her cane. She had a loud conversation with him in Russian, leaning in the car window; the gist of it being that she did not have cow anymore and did not want the straw bales that the guys had dumped on her yard. Garry told her the guys would come and take them back.

Here are two of the puppies over at the barn,
one looks a lot like Polo, so he may be the Papa

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Getting the heifers- return to the farm

 We left home at 6:10 am this morning to return to the farm where we looked at cows last week. Garry and Maria went there earlier in the week and he selected 16 pregnant heifers.

 However, when we arrived to watch them weigh the truck, the lady told Garry that one of the heifers was limping and maybe we did not want to take her. After we had some tea, coffee and cookies, the truck arrived, so they weighed the truck empty and we went to see the heifers.

Garry said the heifers were tied up in the winter milking barn when he choose
them on Wednesday- see the gutter cleaner for manure behind him and the
small water trough in front near where the cows are tied all winter

looking over the heifers

He decided not to take her as she had two swollen front feet, so we only bought 15. It took a little while for them to get them all to go up the ramp into the truck. First they chased all of them, then some of the them, eventually most of the heifers had walked up into the truck.

Da-Vie, Da-Vie, (go ,go) they would say as they urged them forward.

Look at those shoes... I mean plastic sandals... looks a little messy

they put a rope on the last couple and pulled and pushed to get them up

Last one is on the truck!

weighing the truck- the heifers were bigger than Garry expected

Going to the office to pay

Garry has a bag of money - he paid by the total kilograms 
 By the time we had gotten all the paperwork done, each heifer has a passport paper, and health record,  it was almost ten o'clock and we were ready to go so Garry talked with the trucker about the route (in Russian of course, he never had to phone Maria all morning)

Then we followed the truck slowly through the city and beyond
Then when we got on the highway closer to the village, Garry passed the truck and led him to Nikolipolia and then to the barn. It was just noon.
They decided it would work best to let the heifers off on level ground, so the trucker backed up to a pile of dirt. We had lots of help, all the boys that had been hired for the day to stack straw bales (including three Andrei- s) and did not have much trouble getting them in the corral with the other big heifers already there.

help everywhere (and two shirtless Andrei-s)

who wants to get off the truck (easier than getting them on!)

making new friends

lots of running around inside the fence

discussing mileage with the trucker (he and Garry disagreed but
Garry had set it on the car as we left and it had been 120 kms- x2)
And do you think Garry was done for the day? No, he helped the boys unload 7 loads of straw, finishing about 8 pm. They had sandwiches I made around 2 pm. Garry made an ice cream cone run to the village store at 6 pm, and they were in and out of the house all afternoon getting bottles of cold water that someone (them or me) kept refilling with filtered water and putting in the freezer to get cold.

At noon, they had to fix the pile before the seven loads came.
The mow will be full of hay, all the straw will be stacked outside.

The wheat is all harvested and most of it has already been sold to a company in Zaporosia. They think it ran about 2.5  to 3.8 tons per hectare, and graded 2-3 ( the scale goes from a high of 1 to a low of 5) so it was pretty good.
 There is a pile stored inside the barn (I don't know where is will go next year when there are cows there!) which is either for seed for next year, or to give some to the shareowners we rent land from, a few are paid in cash, but most of the 73 people we rent from get 3 tons of grain, along with a number of other things- like straw and a really big bag of sugar (Max has already bought and given some of that out, they wanted it for jam making.) This year Garry and Max decided on one ton of wheat and two tons of corn for our grain payment to the renters. It is easier to sell wheat, they tell me, and people will be happy with either for feeding their animals- and so far the corn looks good... but it would be nice to get some rain this week!