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

Monday, September 29, 2014

More on the storm

Box looking at the babushka in her yard Wed afternoon
We heard people call it a cyclone, a super storm... Garry says it was the most rain we have gotten at one time since we came to Ukraine in 2008, it's almost a week later and there are still mud puddles everywhere.

As you can see in the photos our next door neighbor had some damage from the storm when a tree and number of branches fell in her yard. The tree went right across the driveway, but she got some guys to clean it up on Friday.

Two days after the rain and everything was a mess

The babushka next door had a tree fall on one of her fences

On Friday she hired two men to cut the down trees and some tree limbs

She was outside supervising the whole time they were working- at least 5 hours

The storm washed away layers of plastic paper off the billboards

Thursday we drove through a giant puddle in Zaporosia
Most of the broken trees and debris are cleaned up now, and we have bought new chargers for our cell phones, the internet modem, and have sort of figured out the buttons on the top of our bedroom TV because the remote can't talk to it anymore. The washing machine is in Dnepropetroesk to hopefully get fixed soon. Luckily the dishwasher and most of the other things are still working, and the fridge and freezer are always plugged in a surge protector.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

and the rain came

There is now plenty of moisture to get the wheat growing. Tuesday morning there was some rain, and sometime that night and until mid-day Wednesday the real rain arrived. Unfortunately it came with high winds and much cooler weather, so many people are wearing winter coats, and there were trees down and power outages all over the region. Here in the village the power didn't go out but a down tree caused a voltage fluctuation that ruined a lot of electronic things that were plugged in, like phone and computer chargers, microwaves and our six month old washer won't light up and run, so we are getting it checked out. The milk tank (cooler) had the control box zapped but Victor bought a new one and sent it out on a marshutka that afternoon, so it was fixed quickly.

view of the river from our room Tuesday morning
We had stayed for two nights in Dnepro as a mini vacation, which Garry had planned although he was worried that the sides might not get back on the barn with him gone and the rain arriving on Tuesday. We drove home Tuesday afternoon after waking up to rain that morning and Garry was disappointed to see that the barn was still open. They couldn't pick the repaired canvas up that afternoon when Maxim phoned, so it was scheduled for the next day.

Sometime that evening the wind started to howl, the rain came pouring down sideways, and both cows and milkers were cold, wet and unhappy that morning. The straw would blow away from under the cows and the rain was blowing straight through the barn, and making big puddles everywhere. This continued until afternoon milking, (the wind kept blowing hard until sometime in the night) while Garry and Maxim drove to Zaporosia to pick up the sides for the barn. When they got to the city there were trees down everywhere, one completely across the road, they had to drive on the sidewalk to get by. There were power lines in the street, and the trolley bus power lines were down in several places where trees had fallen on them, too.

Luckily the wind was not blowing on Thursday so they could get one side up on the barn, which helped make it warmer, although the ladies were happy that the wind and rain had stopped. I am sure that they are happy that the second side is going up today. Soon the barn will be ready for winter.

More photos of the storm problems in the next post, we are having problems with the internet.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Planting and waiting for rain...

The guys have been busy planting wheat this week, while we have been busy teaching (click on the birds for more on that). I think they have finished our fields tonight. Yesterday they were planting for a neighbor whose truck they were using to put the seed in (they purchased some treated wheat seed this year and this truck picked some of it up a few days ago. They are trying to get in in before the rain arrives. On Monday and Tuesday we are supposed to get a good soaking, but it is forecast to start raining tomorrow (Sunday.)

That is a good thing, it will get the wheat sprouted and growing, and the other fields soft enough  for fall plowing, right now the ground to too hard to plow. The fields they planted were disced up to prepare them for planting wheat. So I am hoping to take some good muddy photos for the blog next week!

They also bought some wheat seed from a different place, one that Maxim Rudei spent all day last Sunday getting to and back with the tractor and one of the precepts (wagons) that they had foamed (like the insulating puffy kind you use to seal around windows and doors) to seal the cracks so it wouldn't leak. He also had a one of the neighbors in a spotter car driving in front of him to avoid police checks (the wagon does not have a passport, mostly because it is so old that it has parts of more than one wagon, and all equipment in Ukraine needs to have a "passport" an official document that proves ownership especially on the roads, even wagons.) He had to go on the dirt roads through the fields for a while, but they got that load of wheat seed home.

bo- KC - C is our s, and Ks is the X sound in Russian
N is not a Russian number their N looks like our H,
so I assume someone put a little English there.
Garry only had to purchase the seed this month, since they still had bagged fertilizer in storage in the box (it's our locked storage compartment in a building the collective had in the center of the village- and it is called a box, like  бокс N8, as you can see in this photo.)

Friday night at 6 pm the seed drill (planter) broke down and Maxim phoned several farmers in the village to see if they had the bearing on hand, since all the dealers would be closed at that hour if they even had the part in stock. None of the three farmers had it, but the last guy he talked to thought maybe someone in a different village might have one. Maxim phoned him and he had half of the bearing, luckily the half Max did not, so the guys were able to repair it, and keep planting.

Garry carrying a bag of fertilizer out of "our box" to the van

The truck of seed in the field- they bucket the wheat out and into the seeder

The fertilizer is in bags however.

Andrey is driving a load of corn silage over to the other barn to feed
the cows in the foamed wagon that had wheat seed in earlier in the week-
you can see a line of yellow on the back of the precept

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Airy barn this week

Yesterday some of the students helped take the lower sides off the barn. This summer the canvas ripped up the center of the side the pens are on, and the piece on the other side has had problems since last summer, because it is the one that get rolled up in hot weather.
It seems the cows are enjoying the fresh air

students working on taking the bar off and folding it up

Maxim found a place in Zaporosia that will mend them at their factory and when they go back on, it will have an improved method of fastening them so that when they are rolled up it will prevent damage from strong winds.

It needed to be done before winter, or there would be some cold air blowing through the barn.

One of the ladies milking a cow in the pen
This morning the milker ladies told Garry that the cows gave less milk because of all the air coming through, but when he checked the milk tank they actually gave more. Truth is the ladies don't like all the air, Ukrainians are sure illness is caused by drafts and the temperature this morning was only 11 C! That's about 52 for Americans, Garry and I think it's wonderful, but the natives are wearing coats.

With more cows than stalls now the ladies are milking some of them in the pens. Since fall we have three milker ladies, but only two milk at a time, so Jenia goes home to her village for a week or ten days at a time. The new lady lives next door, where they have pigs, geese and chickens. She used to work seasonally at a greenhouse, and take the bus to work.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dnepro day

Dnepropetroesk's birthday was celebrated over the weekend in the city, we accidentally saw some of it when we went into the city to pick up some new and prospective new students for the school at the bus stop. This time we had no trouble finding the girls, along with Kolya #3 (Kolya is the nickname for Nikolai so half the boys at the trade school will be named Kolya!) On Sunday we dropped Kolya3 back at the bus station, he plans to join us in two weeks after clearing up loose ends where he has been living, the girls are here to stay.

here are a few photos:

This car has a USSR-era Dnepropetroesk licence plate

Garry and I went bowling we were tied going into the the final frame -
but he won 181- to 156 with his two strikes

Crowd downtown

Driving along Karl Marx - look at the art market! 
There are two blocks jammed with people and artists today!

These guys have matching Ukraine t-shirts

birdhouses for sale

Making more straw hats to sell

Garry bought a little clay cow at this stand
a big crowd checking out the arts and crafts for sale

Winter is coming- see the lady in the yellow head scarf?
the woman at center has a long reed with bread baked around it
Traditional flower headdresses were for sale everywhere

in front of the opera house

The new heat project for the house

The little house (where school is meeting) got radiators as part of this project

 They  had to dig a trench for the new heat pipes. Garry and Maxim dug (and pickaxed) until seven pm to get it almost deep enough. The big overhead pipe will be a thing of the past soon, as both pipes are now underground.
the new gas heater vents out the wall

The pipes will all be under the floor, this room will get tiled after it is patched
First Garry was going to go into the big house in the same way it was before, so he cut a hole in the wall of the yellow bedroom, then he decided that the foundation of the big house was not that deep so they would go underground from both sides, so they cut a hole in the floor of the bedroom. Everything got rather dusty, and then there was a pile of dirt in that spare room! Oh well, it is going to get a real radiator, so it won't be the coldest room in the house anymore. The other room that could win that honor, our bedroom; \ is going to get more insulation on the outside wall before winter.

This bedroom will need a little cleanup before we have guests!

Pipes going into the big house

 Over the weekend the guys working on the furnace installation got the last of the plastic pipes sealed together so Garry insulated on all sides of the foam insulated pipes with slices of Styrofoam board late Saturday afternoon before the trench was refilled with dirt.

good thing Garry has long arms!

Monday, September 15, 2014

No internet in the village

Some of the boys have bikes
It's been down for 3 days, hoping it comes back soon, we are at Mc Donalds catching up on the web, second week of classes started today, the new girls arrived, and so on. Next week the others are teaching, it will give Garry a chance to catch up will other things. Hoping to get the wheat planted this week as it looks like rain may be moving in on the weekend and it is extremely dry now.

Monday night the internet was working again (we even streamed the Monday Night Football game live- our Philadelphia Eagles were playing very early Tuesday morning here.) It was off for while Tuesday morning, back in the afternoon, so keep your fingers crossed. The computer techie guy in the village phoned Kiev to complain, because everyone was asking him why it wasn't working (one theory - it was the Russians) and they fixed it.

Sadly the newest long range weather forecast has moved the rain until the beginning of October. We went on an excursion with the students this afternoon, they had a good time, watch for photos on the other blog.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Is there a typical day this week?

 So this week we started classes at the trade school (see more about this if you click on the birds) which means that Garry is busy teaching from 9 am to 12:30 pm except when I teach English for about 45 minutes at 10:15 before cooking dinner, then he is busy catching up with everything else going on.

Monday I bailed on English class so he had to teach the whole morning while I got our celebratory luncheon ready. The day was a little disappointing as he only had three guys show up for class. The two who had gone away for the weekend did not make it back, one did show up that night and the other says he is not coming, although we are hopeful he will change his mind and return next week. For some reason, the girls' house mother  turned off her cell phone, she had decided to let Nastya learn to get up on her own on the first day of school and Garry had to send one of the boys over to the house at 10 am to get her (day two Nastya showed up hours early for class, she was so worried about being late.) Late Monday afternoon we drove to Dnepropetroesk to the bus station to pick up the other two girls who were considering coming to the trade school form Kiroy Rog. We left early to get in an hour of bowling before they arrived, and then had trouble finding the girls. Forty minutes later, after phoning Maria, who would phone them to try to figure out where they were and translate; and having checked out other places the marshutka (route vans) from Kirvoy Rog could have come to, he found them behind the bus station instead of in front of it. We got them some Mc Donalds drive thru food and dropped them off at the girls house for the night, then Garry had to go breed a cow for a lady in a different village before bedtime.

Tuesday morning Garry went outside early because he knew that they needed to move some corn silage from the bunk near the new barn to this barn in one of the wagons in order to feed the cows, and Maxim Boradin was going into Zaporosia on the 9 o'clock bus for one of his English classes that morning (he is furthering his education after finishing his grade 9 or 10 high school certificate last year.) This tractor was hooked to a full manure spreader, so he drove it out to the field to empty it... and ran out of fuel. He walked back to the house, and had Andrey, who was going out with the other tractor, take him back with a plastic jug of diesel to get it going again. Then he drove back, got a wagon, drove to the other farm, unhooked it got silage out with the loader on the tractor, had a flat tire on the wagon, walked back to the house again, found out the air pump was over where he had come from (although not where he had looked)  when he talked to Maxim Rudei, went back, got the tire pumped up, and brought the silage back to feed, all before school started at nine am.
the girls house

 He got a quick shower and started teaching. At break time, he discovered the girls had not had any breakfast, because they had left the house so early since Nastya was worried about being late (someone was supposed to make them breakfast at 7:30 but apparently they were already gone when she got up) so he went to the store and bought cookies so they had something to eat before lunchtime. The girls seemed to enjoy classes although one was worried because she had been told that she had to quit smoking if she wanted to attend school (more about this in the other blog.) Garry and Maria talked to them a bit more after class before they walked back to the girls house for lunch, we were going to pick them up there at 3 pm to drive them back to Dnepropetroesk to catch their ride back to the dormitory we visited last week.

Garry went over to the trade school barn after lunch, Maria caught the 1:30 bus back to Zaporosia (there are bus stops in the village for it). The metal structure that the factory in Zaporosia that made the freestalls constructed was delivered to the barn. He paid for the rest of it, he had put a big deposit down for them to purchase the metal to make it. He says it is like a giant 400 piece jigsaw puzzle to put together.

 Garry decided we could go bowling two days in a row (turns out we are not quite as good on day two) and checked out the menu at the KFC that just opened at the MOCT city centre (mall). We tried several things to figure out what they were, the snack wrap Zinger comes in either a cheese or kiss flavor (it had a red sauce almost a salsa), there is a snack box with chicken fingers and french fries- the girl couldn't understand me even though I could see it spelled snack box in Russian, then I remembered to say B-ok-S -with more emphasis on the end and she understood. We tried the hot wings, which were actually hot and spicy. There were a number of people ordering little buckets and eating them, and it seemed the just opened KFC was as busy as the Mc Donalds at the other end of the food court (it  always has a line, the rest of the food places never do).

What should we order? 

These four guys had 3 buckets (the signage says they are for 2-3 people)

On the way home, Garry forgot to get money from the bank to pay for the furnace. We had decided to install a different gas heater this spring, one that would not require a chimney as the one we had going up through the summer kitchen bathroom was constantly dripping water onto the bathroom floor and causing mold problems there, and damaging the ceiling too. This system heats both the summer kitchen and the big house, and when we were working on the reno early in the year it was still being used to heat both, so nothing was done then.

Garry and Max B at work on Wednesday at 6 pm
 Of course one of the advantages of the new system, besides taking up less floor space would be that all the heat pipes in the foyer of the summer kitchen could be put under the floor instead of on top of it, before we tiled that part of the summer kitchen to match the main room. No more stepping over (or ducking under) pipes, or trying to sweep dirt around (under, over) them when cleaning.

Now that it is September it will be time to turn the heat on in a month or so, so it was time it went in, so the summer kitchen was undergoing reno on Wednesday afternoon to get it put in and the guys, including Garry, were digging a trench for running the new pipe over to the main house. Maxim Boradin worked on making it deeper on Thursday.

Garry had to go visit the bank machine before school on Thursday so he picked Maria up at her apartment, instead of her taking the bus, so she did not have to get up at 5 am.  Of course we had a full slate of classes on Thursday, Garry even gave them their first quiz on body parts of cows. The furnace guys were not back on Thursday, so we had no problems with noise, just had to step over a deep trench to get there.
 Today Tolik (our student who left us) joined us for class, since he had returned to pick up his documents, apparently he is going to attend a driving school. Garry says it's a shame, because he is the only student who has ever milked a cow when he asked today.

Then the students joined Garry at the new barn this afternoon to help assemble the parlor framework. I got some photos as they were getting started after lunch.

At least 400 pieces to put together

Starting the assembly of the parlor

Then Stacy, who had come out with Victor for the afternoon, and Maria and I walked back to the house and had a pleasant afternoon talking, before Garry had a meeting with Maria and the group home parents about how things are going (it will be a weekly thing.) Then we drove around to see how the corn combining was going, because Garry had gotten a phone call from Maxim Rudei to say he'd finally got one to do a load. They have been trying all week, so they could get some to grind daily for the cows, since they remaining wheat is for planting, the cows had been cut way back on grain this week, and dropped off in milk production as you would expect.
A sunflower header is not good for corn but it was all they could get now
they will get a real corn combine for the harvest (the rain drops were sprinkles)

 We dropped Maria back in Zaporosia at her place before grabbing a dinner of sharuma; Ukrainian street food, a wrap with chicken and veggies and ketchup and mayo, (we ask for the chili version and tonight's was actually spicy!) before going to an English Bible study with some Canadian and American missionaries in an apartment. We left about nine pm, drove home to the village, and Garry was snoring by 10:30 pm.

Friday, we will not have classroom classes and three of the male students have medical and passport appointment in the city in the morning, the two remaining students will be working over at the barn with the parlor assembling. Saturday we have to go back to Dnepropetroesk to pick up the two female students who did decide to join us and a guy from their dorm who would like to come to see our program, if he joins us we will be at eight students.