Garry went to buy bread one day this week in the village and got into a conversation with the lady behind the counter about the rising costs of food. A loaf of bread is now 7 grivna, this fall it had risen to 5 from 3 1/2 earlier in the year. A kilo of sugar was 10 grivna in the fall, now it is 26. She said she didn't know how the pensioners were eating. Pensions remain fixed where they have been for years, so the elderly are having trouble paying for heat, let alone eating on what they get from the government.
Garry says many of the people in the village are buying buckwheat, a Ukrainian staple, and something to fill up on. Our Maria, who is 30, remembers a year when she was small that there was not much food and all they ate was buckwheat. Typically it is served boiled, like rice, as a sidedish, with hopefully some kind of gravy from meat. Many people are eating the vegetables that they put away last fall, cabbages, carrots, potatoes and onions, so they are still able to have borscht and bread. Of course, many people in the village have a cow, if she's milking now, and chickens for eggs. Lent means many Ukrainians are not eating meat anyway.
Thursday Garry had to go to Zaporosia to buy front tires for the tractor, and he asked if I wanted to come along. I had not been out of the house since the dentist on Saturday, so I decided I could go for a ride. We left the house around 8 am, so we went through the Mc Donalds drive-thru for breakfast. We were sent to the wait spot (bonus you get a free ice cream cone coupon then) and someone came out with a bag and Garry drove away, then we circled back through the drive thru, because I said didn't you order two for you? He checked the receipt and we got his missing Mc Muffin and another ice cream cone coupon, and headed off. I was pleases to be able to eat my sausage one, and hashbrown, because I had been unable to eat for days because of dozens of sores in my mouth (however, the tooth extraction site has not become infected. )
We drove through the other end of Zaporosia to the car parts market that takes place on Thursdays, and paid to park inside. I sat in the van reading while Garry shopped. He came back saying he was glad he brought lots of money. The tires that cost 900 grivna last spring were 3900. They did come with tubes for that, but he had to carry them around to the van, since he couldn't drive any closer to the place that had them. Then he went to buy a funnel for putting gas in the tractor, and we were heading home.
Garry had brought two plastic containers to fill with diesel for the tractor. He hadn't spent all the money on the tires, so we stopped at a couple stations in the city that had 24.50 as the price, it took two tries to find one that would fill the containers (some have a policy against it, they want steel.) Unfortunately, she would only fill them in the back of the car, so we had to open the windows. There are two stations on the highway near the village, the one where the guys normally buy tractor fuel is less expensive, but they are unable to get any diesel to sell now. Garry said that on Friday the cheapest diesel was up to 26.50.
The grivna to dollar ratio seems like it may be settling, the money changer/pawn shop places are offering to buy dollars at 27 grivna to a US dollar, and to sell them at 38 I think. Gas prices that were just hitting 20 for a liter last week soared early this week some as high as 28 or 29.
While driving into the city we saw a billboard advertising a farm show, it turned out that the last day was Friday and it was in Zaporosia, so Garry and Maxim Rudei went Friday morning while Max had other business in the city. Garry said the show was smaller than the one we usually go to in Dnepropetroesk. They were able to buy corn seed cheaper than he had found at the Kiev show, and saw a few other interesting things.
I am starting to feel a bit better as I get over the canker sore attack, still have the sore throat and coughing, but not as tired, I hope to be over mononucleosis before the first building team arrives on March 21st. For more about the remodeling project, click on the birds. We will be remodeling a house that Garry bought for another group home, seen below. It is closer to our house and the "new barn" than the others, just on the corner of the old cobbled road that leads toward the barn off Centralna Street, if you are familiar with the village.