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

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

here and there

Well I am now here in Manitoba, while Garry is I think, still making hay in Ukraine.
I have only talked to him through Facebook messages since I left the Kiev airport early Monday morning. He posted this photo of some of his haying crew on my Facebook. Its our friend Marina and Max Boradin, who got very exciting news on Friday, his student visa for Canada file has been reopened, and so he may be able to go after all! He has to go for a medical exam in Kiev June 15th. In the front row are the four Sashas. Student Sasha in black, tractorist Sasha in orange, student Sasha or Makerana crouching behind the chairs, and barn Sasha sitting in the middle.

Garry is said yesterday afternoon that they had to stop baling hay with about 600 bales to go because it was raining a little. I do not know if they were able to finish today. It is before dawn here, but lunchtime there. Garry was planning to go to the English class in the city of Dneperprajisk this evening and also have a late night in Dnepropetrovsk watching the football game with some guys from church. The Dnepro team is playing in Spain for the Europa?cup, and it's a big deal, so someone is having guys to watch at his apartment.

I had an uneventful trip, but long, it was 24 hours of actual time from getting on a plane in Kiev and getting off in Winnipeg, and that doesn't include the time spent from when Garry, Marina, Julia and Nikolai left me at the train station in Dnepropetrovsk around three pm Sunday after church, lunch and bowling.

Marina translated for Julia that Polo would really miss me and so would she, as she gave me a hug goodbye and told me to say hello to Micah, Crystal and Eugene. Everyone but Nikolai hugged me, and Garry kissed me, and I sat down to wait for my express train to Kiev.

Of course it was not on track one, as Garry had hoped, where you just go out the door to the platform, but track two; so I had to carry one large 23 kilo (50 pound) suitcase in one hand and the other two bags in the other down and up some stairs. Some nice man decided to help me halfway up the last flight of stairs and another helped me lift the big one up onto the train.
There were only ten minutes to get on between it arriving and  departure, and of course I had to trot down the platform as it arrived and I realized that wagon two woyld be atbthe other end, but I was seated with my bags stowed, the smaller ones in the rack overhead, and I dragged, er rolled the big one to the front of the car to the rack for big bags, where yet another man insisted on helping lift it into place.
Victor had booked it the day before and only first class was still available. We had risen in the second class carriage on our way home two weeks ago, and I called Garry and told him it was worth it, the seats are wider with enough leg room for even him! I was seated well before the train rolled out of the station at 5:20 pm and had a nice air conditioned ride.
The train arrived shortly before eleven and I repeated the going down and up stairs with my bags, turning down one offer of help carrying the big halfway up the steps by the escalator, which wasn't working two weeks ago either. I had been told to get a taxi to the airport, but came out of the building right by the marstutkas to the airport, so I rolled the bags toward the cheaper option. There were two British girls sitting in the middle chatting, a first for me. We were at the airport terminal before midnight, but the lights were turned down so low that the door by security looked closed! Eventually we went inside, and they were off to check in while I settled in on the chairs to wait until three or four am when mine would start. Had a chat with a lady flying to Calgary and Vancouver via Amsterdam for a while, read and tried to not really fall asleep because I am afraid of missing my plane.

Any way, all went well, with four hours between connections in Frankfurt and Chicago, although I was sitting at the gate an hour before take off to Winnipeg when
I realized the gate had been changed and had to hustle from b19 to c1 and although I didn't have to go through security
I did have to change terminals and discovered that I was on the by Gate16 when I came out of the walkway, so I still had some walking to do! Anyway plenty of time to make the plane. It was a little jet, so I had to check my carry-on at the gangway, but my luggage was quick as was customs, and Jess was just turning on her WiFi on her phone when I walked out and we were off to her house shortly after 9:30. We got there at eleven and I crawled into a bed and slept to six am.

No such luck on night two, I woke up at three and ended up starting this blog post!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Make hay while the baler's working

Well the baler was working, anyway... until about 5 o'clock. Turns out the problem that broke a part yesterday caused another breakdown, so there are repairs to be made and parts to get from somewhere. I don't think anyone is sure where yet... but they are going to get another farm to round bale some of the hay fields, since it will likely be Monday before parts are here.

Yesterday they did about a thousand bales and another 1200 today. This is off the old alfalfa fields, last year's seeding is mowed and it looks like there will be twice as much in the windrows. It is beautiful green stuff, and the house is getting a fine coating of green fluff from peoples' socks as they walk inside.

All the male  students have been working really as hay loaders and unloaders. Karina and Julia have been working at the 'new farm' and helping with milking instead of the boys to free them up.

 Today I made lunch, noodle soup and hot dog melted cheese sandwiches for all the guys. I think everyone ate except tractorist Sasha who only likes to eat bread with ketchup! The students were very happy, but they will have to get used to plainer fare. This morning I went to buy groceries for making sandwiches for lunchtime for the next days and to buy more drinking water; since my bags are packed and I'm ready to go home. I fly out early Monday morning so I'd decided  (since Garry is so busy, he was going to drive me -7 hours of holey roads, each  way) to take the bus but the schedule didn't work, so now I have a train ticket. Garry will be coming next month, closer to the weddings. I am going for the preparations.

Unless the parts for fixing the baler are between here and Kiev... maybe

This morning was the day all the cows in the village get blood tested by the state veterinarian staff,  including ours. First they do the one or two or five cow farmers so they can get the cows sent out to the field with the herd for the day. So they were doing our cows in the barn when I got home from Dnepropetrovsk. The lady was sticking the needle in the neck veins and filling the test tubes which the guy would cap, write the number on, and put them in the pail. Maxim Borodin was assistant for holding the cow somewhat still during the procedure. The lady got squashed a bit by this little cow after I took the photo.


Friday, May 22, 2015

Garry's busy day

We are teaching this week so Garry is busy every morning from nine to after noon with the students... and busy before and after teaching with everything else!

Monday morning at 5:30am, a lady from the village tapped on the living room window ...have I ever explained that people here are more likely to tap on your window than knock on the door? Makes me jump every time.

Anyway he was up on his computer checking the weather forecasts for here and Manitoba and the news and watching youtube videos, like every morning, and answered the door. Luckily I slept through that one. She wanted him to come breed her cow. Now that the village cows are going out to pasture everyday, he is keeping busy breeding cows in the village and elsewhere.

Monday morning  he saw a cow in heat in our barnyard, and only knew she was black with big horns. Every morning after milking the cows are untied and chased outside for some exercise. Then the stalls are cleaned up before they come back inside after running around for an hour or two. This is the perfect time to see if a cow is in heat. When a cow is at the point in her cycle where she is ready to breed, the other cows will jump on her back and she will stand still. She will be running around jumping on other cows, who will stand still only if they are also in heat. Monday evening he asked the ladies, no one saw a cow in heat...

Tuesday morning, Garry was out working in his garden when he saw another cow in heat. He decided that it was time to use the eartags he brought back from Canada. I knew where they where, and his marker he bought in Kiev to write the numbers on with- a regular sharpie fades quickly.

Part of class that day was putting in eartags - it's like getting your ears pierced - and now anyone can tell which cow is in heat. It used to be Yana was almost always milking and she know all the cows by sight. Now the three ladies work 20 days on, 10 off (mostly, sometimes there is a sub) and there are twice as many cows, so sometimes no one knows which cow was in heat, if they were looking. Not to mention many of the cows are solid black or red!

So on Wednesday, Garry bred three cows in our barn, and six elsewhere! Some man drove him to the village of Choreney Yar (I think it means Black Valley) to breed his cow. He showed Garry the yearling heifer from two years ago when he bred the same cow and the twin bulls she had this year. They were very happy with having twins. Garry told him he should charge him double then!

 While Garry was breeding the cow, the lady of the house was calling all her neighbors ( or the whole village, maybe) to see if they had a cow to breed, and so he bred two more cows before the guy drove him home.

Garry charges 150 grivna to breed a cow, but 200 if he has to drive himself. He and the semen tank squeeze into the back seats of a lot of cars, many are old Ladas. One time the drivers side door on one car wouldn't stay closed, so the guy had his friend kick it shut, after trying slamming it a number of times.

He got home to find a second man from the same village (and it's not that close, it's the one our original herd came from- read They're here) so he had another ride there, with a guy who said his heifer weighed 300 kilos, big enough to get pregnant. Garry had already thawed the straw of semen before he saw her. She was a lot smaller, but she got bred anyway. This time he returned home after dark to find two people nearly fighting over whose cow he was breeding next, a lady and man. I think it's the most cows that he has ever bred in one day, in Ukraine, anyway.

The tractor crew have been busy mowing hay this week and they are baling today. They started a 10 am and the first load was in the barn by noon, but then there was a problem with the baler... the knotter, I think I overheard Max Rudi telling Garry, but the wagons have been coming in fast since 3:30.  Garry says they will do a thousand bales today anyway. All the rain this spring means a great alfalfa crop.

The male students are helping with loading and unloading bales and our friend (and Masha's) Marina has taken vacation from work this week to help. She lifts weights, and she helped bale straw four years ago.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Farming in Turkey- as seen driving by

Yes, it is really Turkey

and we drove through a lot of mountains

As you saw in the earlier post, we saw mostly sheep and goats on the way to the resort but we were looking for cows.

We will start down by the sea- we went to the Mediterranean coast where, we discovered,  the bananas grow, and grapes and maybe olives and a lot of greenhouse vegetables!

We went to see a medieval castle and had some Turkish tea at a cafe, besides the resort where we enjoyed swimming, waterslides and Garry  did the para-sailing you saw in a previous post.  

Garry pretending to fall - you saw
where he actually fell in the earlier post

a beautiful view with the tea

 Driving back cross country thorough the mountains we stopped for gas and we found a very friendly dog!

roadside stand
fish farming!
a field 
Where there are milk trucks there must be cows!
All the milk trucks we saw had 4 tanks like this
Look cows not goats!
looks like it could be a farm...
NH equipment for sale in a city

I found a big dairy barn!

We finally decided most of the dairy farms were in town with houses with attached barns and big walls around, maybe they have 30 cows?

One area we drove through had marble quarries. Nearby one city had porcelain factories.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Saturday in the village

It seems hard to believe that last week we were in Istanbul. The corn is all planted, the last ten hectares of sunflowers is going in the ground today. We even put pepper and tomato plants in the garden this week. The alfalfa is up to Garry's knees and about ready to become hay, the cows will be getting some next week. The giant straw bale piles they made last summer are nearly gone now, and there are only a few bales of hay left in the mow.

Garry has been busy, he has finished the drywall around the inside of the windows- it took an entire sheet for each window, the walls are so thick- and there is just a little more mudding and sanding around them, the walls are nearly ready to prime and paint. Andrey, the father from the boys' group home is working on the electric outlets and wiring for the rooms, and the guy is finishing up the first coat of stucco on the outside of the house. Garry is now excited about sand color with the red roof, we'll see what he chooses, I guess.  They have finally found an overhead door for the shop at a reasonable price and it should be ready in three weeks.

Right now there is a party going on outside, the Agape organization has brought out a group of about 22 orphans of various ages this afternoon by van from Dnepropetroesk. They toured the new house and the barns and have been playing music,  singing, playing soccer, eating around a bonfire- they cooked potatoes in foil- and brought cookies and juice, and fruit, plus we had cookies and juice for them. One little girl asked Garry if she could "buy a small cow" to take back to the city.

Istanbul and back to Kiev

Saturday our friend drove us back to Istanbul, and it was going so well we didn't stop for lunch on the outskirts because it was only 10:30 (we left at 8 am) then we hit the traffic jams until we were over the bridge.  We parted after returning the rental car and checking into our hotel and lunch at 3 pm - Whoppers at Burger King, a restaurant which has not opened in Ukraine...yet, we hope!  Then it was a long bus ride back home for him and Garry and I hopped on the subway, and then a very crowded tram to find the Blue Mosque and the Hagia (Aya) Sophia. 
Hagia Sophia

me near the Blue Mosque

inside the courtyard of the mosque

We ended up just walking around them, and into the courtyard of the mosque, because the tourists were out in droves on a warm Saturday afternoon. Maybe we will return to pay to see the inside of Sophia on a winter day, but the outside was impressive.

Garry enjoying dinner

On the way back the hotel we stopped for dinner, and got a number of courses of Turkish cuisine. It was spicy like we asked for. After a rather short night on a nice bed, since there was a lot of noise from a rally that broke up around 11 pm and we had a 4 am wake-up call to get to the airport.

We landed in Kiev Sunday morning at 8 am. It took a while to get the baggage and on a bus into the city center bus station, where we bought tickets for the 3 pm train and checked two bags so we could go to the city center.
Unlike Garry,  I have not been there since before the Maidon protests started, so we took the metro (subway) over. It was pretty busy, but nothing like Istanbul, and we only had to go 3 stops.
praise singing

the white spot at center is the drone

We found an outdoor church service just after we got off the Metro. Garry thinks it was Pentecostal because people were speaking in tongues... you should hear a thousand people speaking in tongues. The service started with praise and worship singing, which was amazing - hearing Our God is an Awesome God and others sung in Russian by so many. We stood in the middle and sang along. There was a little drone flying overhead. I sat on a curb for the preaching, Garry could follow some of it, it seemed to be asking for prayer for the country of Ukraine.

Afterwards we walked down the street and around the square before heading back to the train station.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

from the village

Quick update on what is happening, as of Monday. It was dark when we got back Sunday evening, and we were tired. Watch for more details on our Turkey trip later this week. Sorry I defrosted the freezer instead of finishing my post!

foreground new alfalfa, background our winter wheat fields

Max Rudi had good news for Garry. They were finally able to get some corn planted while we were gone. It has rained so much it has been hard to get into the fields. I think that we have 70 hectare planted as of Monday evening.

The new alfalfa field (not the garden in the photo) got sprayed for weeds today. Garry has found a salesman who seems to have more knowledge about options for weed control than the previous guy. Last years seeding looked good, but it was full of weeds by summer, so it didn't produce any hay (it looks good now) Hopefully this year's will be better with some weed control.

Bad news from Max Borodin, his student visa application was denied by the Canadian Government. He was accepted by Providence University College in Manitoba for the fall and Garry was very excited about sending him, so he is very disappointed, as is Maxim. Max is so hard working, we want him to have more options in life than he has as an orphan in Ukraine. It seems like not having a family to come back to was a strike against him, which seems unfair. He wants to study to be a pastor after learning more English and return to Ukraine to preach.
Garry and Max at his baptism in the village pond last summer

Garry hired a guy from the village to finish the outside of the new house with stucco. He is almost done with the base coat, the final color coating will go on next. What color do you think it should be? I think white with the red roof, but we haven't bought the stuff for it yet.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Talking Turkey

It's  after 11 pm in Istanbul. We have been visiting friends in Turkey this week and have a six am flight back to Ukraine in the morning. Noisy outside, so I woke up to post about our trip

. What do farmers do on vacation? Look for fields and farm yards of course !

we saw flocks of  sheep

We had to zoom in with the camera to see if they were cows, but goats  again...

and goats on the slopes

This is
see. the blood on the snow?
a few of the photos I took while driving to the sea, (watch for more) and some pics of our vacation.

On Tuesday we drove about 5 or 600 kilometers through the mountains to the Mediterranean Sea

. There was snow on the mountains and Garry decided to go get a snowball and went down a little too fast. He tore his jeans, his knees and his right hand is still very sore days later. I am glad he didn't hurt himself... more.
At least he was able to swim and go parasailing with a friend at the sea.

that is him up there

 Oh well, got to get up in couple hours for our flight to Kiev.. then we'll take the train to Dnepro and be in bed in the village before ten pm Sunday! It's quieter now, anyway. Good night!