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

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Hoping, praying for rain...

Fires are part of fall clean up in Ukraine
Sunday at church, Garry did something unusual, he made a prayer request during the sharing time, for rain.  It is so dry, it has not rained more than a drizzle in the two months I've been back here. We just missed some rain last week, it was raining 150 kilometers from here. There is very little winter wheat up in the area. Some farmers that planted it at the end of August after the wetter than normal summer had so little come up that they have worked those fields back up recently. A few fields have turned green, but even those have bare patches where no plants came up, especially on the headlands.

 Garry's guys had only planted 20 acres of wheat a week or so ago on the field where the sorghum was harvested, and he was trying to decide whether to plant more or not. If it stays dry (unusual for fall in Ukraine, where it is cool and wet right through November most years) putting seed in the ground would be a waste of time and money. However, we will have a lot of land to plant in the spring if we don't plant wheat, plus next year we will need straw and grain for the people who get goods instead of cash for rent, and straw to bed up our cows, too. Most people say October 20th is as late as you want to plant, although now some are saying the end of October this year with hardly any wheat planted.

For the last month, every time the weather forecast would call for rain in 5-6 six days, it would be gone when it got closer. Garry really didn't want to plant and just get a little rain, which might sprout the seed and not get the wheat up and growing, As time went by, he would switch from we won't plant to we should plant, even though he was worried it would turn cold soon and maybe it wouldn't grow. They could plant spring grain, but summer and even spring are normally dry, so the yields are not as good as winter wheat, which the moisture from winter snow.
This year's corn - there is some piled in the shop
Most people prefer wheat for their share, but a few took corn

Saturday they were chopping cornstalks and getting some of the land plowed and ready for spring planting. Some land had already been disked up, but it seems like the ground that is plowed in the fall grows better corn every year. The land is almost too hard and dry to plow now, we'll use less fuel in the tractors if we get some rain to soften it up, I'm told.

The new tractor

It's getting dirty planting now
Today is October 20th and rain was still predicted for Wednesday through the weekend (and hard rain Thursday) when Garry checked the forecast this morning. We had gotten up early to catch last night's Blue Jays and Eagles games (we got up around 3 am, (8 EDT) and watched both in bed, the baseball game on television and the football on the computer, two wins, although we did doze off a couple times!) He started trying to get the planter going before class this morning, hoping to get at least 50 hectares planted, and rolled with the cultipacker. I passed him hooking up the planter to the new tractor at the shop while walking to teach my 8 am English class, with my constant companion, Polo, one step behind me. It was overcast and cloudy all day, about 18 C (65 F), and you could almost smell the rain in the air.

Amazingly, they got finished a couple hours after dark, the guys were back around 8 pm. The field that had sunflowers by the highway was planted by lunchtime, and Garry helped move tractors around to the other field that sunflowers were harvested off before teaching his afternoon classes at two pm. I drove him around after we gobbled down the nice dinner I had cooked after class, leaving Maria (Garry's translator) in the house.

 First we went to the "box" (best description- rented storage in the village public works buildings) meeting the guys (tractorist Sasha and one of the students Valera) where the wheat is stored, then I drove him to the field to pick up the tractor and planter, he started driving back to the garage -which is what everyone calls the new farm shop, where he filled up with fertilizer and headed to Moroznika, the village where the other field is. I met him at the shop after going back to the house and grabbing some food for the two guys and followed him with the van and waited while he took a turn around the field planting the headlands before the second tractor with the wagon of seed and fertilizer arrived with Sasha the tractorist and Valera, his assistant for the day.

I wished I had brought the camera to take some pictures while I was following him, as he passed a horse and wagon that pulled off the road for him, since the planter fills most of the narrow two lane road, and twice he pulled off the road a bit when he met an oncoming car, so it could squeeze past. He just squeezed though the trees on the dirt lane on way to the field from the main street in Morozinka, a smaller village than Nikolipolia, but was part of the same collective, so we have some land there.

I walked home after my 4-5 pm English class, well Polo and I, first I got some bread at the store (the dog stays outside as he's told) and then we walked through the village herd on the street which was heading home at 5 pm. There were a few tiny drops of wetness while I was raking leaves and hunting walnuts in the yard until it got too dark to find the nuts around six pm. Hopefully this rain arrives tomorrow after Garry had the the guys hopping to get this wheat planted... and it grows before winter arrives!

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