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

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Video of container

Here's a video I put together of unloading the container, click video If you think it looks easy, remember it took three and half hours, you just have to watch three and half minutes... and your toes won't get cold!

Maria and some of the students head to class

We were teaching this past week and are going to teach again this week before I leave for Canada, so is continues to be crazy busy, and I need to pack my bags. The good news is the Ford is back home, they rebuilt the "turbino" since they couldn't get one for at least a week.

Yesterday they were able to use the TMR feed mixer to make the first batch of feed since it arrived on Tuesday morning, it was in the container from Canada. Thursday morning when I arrived home from teaching my first class, I discovered at least six guys (most who work for us) looking it over, they had a problem with the PTO, but they got what the needed at the auto/tractor parts market in Zaporosia later that day.

The rain we've been getting did soften the ground up enough to plow with three bottoms (it had been so hard because of the dry weather that they had taken one off) and get both tractors (we have two plows) out in the field. They were able to start again on Friday, it was actually too wet to plow until then. Garry said it was difficult for the guys yesterday because it was slippery yet. They went today until seven pm, a couple hours after dark. Seems like more wet weather in the forecast for next week and somewhat warm, too.

Right now we are making more milk than ever before here, we were making 800 liters a day, Garry tells me it is closer to 900 now, with many fresh cows and heifers in the last few weeks. We are milking 65 cows in 37 stalls, the milkers switch the groups, so the first group of cows milked are turned out to the barn yard, and the ones who were there get milked and stay in the stalls and get milked first the next milking.

Garry is excited that several of the two year olds who calved recently are actually big enough for the stalls in the tie stall barn. In the five years of milking cows in there, the stalls he made have been too long for the small Ukrainian cows, so they make piles of manure on the platform they lie on. The stalls need to be cleaned off constantly to keep the cows clean, but the Holstein crosses are bigger. Of course, we hope to move them into the free stall barn in the new year, so it won't matter then. Garry is hoping they will give more milk than the average cow, too.

She's already go an eartag, so every one know who she is!
Last week we had a cute little red heifer (female) calf born, seems like Garry was using a red factor bull's frozen semen nine months ago to breed cows, because black cows are having red and white calves in the last month.

 Garry was worried about having a six day old bull calf in the barn last week Saturday, since they were supposed to sell it already, so he had me make a sign.

Apparently my Russian was a little off (the ending on first word) but it worked, they sold that bull calf, and the one born that day.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

It's here! The container has made it to the village

The container was donated by the people at left, Big Steel Box, and is now sitting on top of a couple of old concrete "telephone poles " next to the farm shop. We will use it for storage. For more info about the container, click on the bird photo.
Here are some photos from Tuesday when the trucks arrived. One truck arrived shortly after nine am along with a crane the guys hired to unload everything. That truck had the body of the new hay mower and the feed mixer wagon on. The mixer wagon is used but in great shape with a fresh coat of paint.

 The crane would lift the item up and the truck would drive away and the crane would swing it to the ground.

Then the guys waited for the second truck to arrive... around 1 o'clock it made it. Garry thought it would be quick to unload the container off the truck, but it took several hours to get it in place and unload everything. Most of the stuff went into the farm shop for the evening, except the clothes, which went into our house for now.

Almost ready to go, it was hooked to a tractor by noon. However, there were seven guys outside looking at it this morning  (Thursday) when I got back from class,

First they tried to lift the whole container but it failed...

Some of the students were watching before they went to class
Then they decided to take the skid steer out! They got it started, and Max drove in onto the back of a truck, later they backed up to a ramp and drove it off the little truck.

 Then they rearranged the cables (Garry said the crane did not come with long enough cables) and  crane tried to lift it again...

Unsuccessfully...  so they came up with a new plan...
did I mention that there was a lot of arm waving all day long, as they tried to unload things?

They decided to have the truck drive up into the ditch to unload it. So it went down and turned around to get up a good head of steam and make it up to hill (remember Garry said it was a bad truck and could only go 60 Km an hour,),

First they had to clean out the garbage from the ditch, the truck driver was worried about glass cutting his tires.

 Here the truck comes, with lots of smoke, as he churns up the ditch... remember it rained the day before.

Lift again... then they had to get the truck out, so they hooked one of the tractors to it so it could drive away from the container.
more arm waving

Then they took some more stuff out of the box...

Garry's very excited about the table saw getting here

they had to maneuver the box around with the help of some big pushing power...

and then they pushed it into just the right place with the help of manpower!

And finally they completely emptied the box with the help of the bobcat...

 I finally walked home around 4 pm when the battery on the camera died.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Rain and snow

While Garry was busy today with going to Kiev to get the long awaited container shipped from Canada (previous post) I walked over to teach English this morning at 7:30. It was damp and cool outside, the sky was bit gray, but I was surprised to see rain on the classroom windows an hour later. I got rather wet walking home, you could hear the rain coming down on the new group home roof as I walked past, nothing like rain hitting a metal roof!

By noon it was still raining, really coming down and Maria was glad I had made soup for lunch, her coat was soaked from walking home, she wore a different one to class in the afternoon.  After lunch we looked out the window to discover big blobs of snow falling, it melted as it hit the ground, it was like it was slushing out.

The girls walking in the driveway to help milk this afternoon were thrilled with the snow, and mugging for the camera. It changed to straight rain later, and water was running down the streets when I walked back for English class two at 3:30. You had to watch your step, big water puddles and slippery sticky mud.

When I arrived at the classroom, I discovered that they had to move the desks and put a bucket under a leak in the ceiling this afternoon. Guess someone needs to check the roof, or maybe just close that attic door?

Over the weekend we had finally gotten heavier rain, rain that you could hear hitting the windows Saturday evening. Diluted the cistern with some rain water to soften it up!  Garry is hopeful that there was finally enough moisture to get the wheat sprouted and growing. Sunday there were a few drops around, but it was pretty warm out, Garry forgot his coat as we left for Dnepropetreosk with Victor in his blue van, but he was OK in his long sleeved shirt. I had actually worn my winter coat, normally I have less on than he does these days, but I walk around downtown Dnepro most Sundays while he is teaching his afternoon class. This Sunday I actually went to visit one of friend's English school, where Garry used to talk once a month, after getting some groceries.

Yes, the van is still in the shop, as you might guess. They wrote off the turbo (turbino) after the events on Thursday. However, there is not a replacement to be found in Ukraine, it would need to come from Germany and take at least a week, so they are rebuilding it after all. Hoping to have a working car by the end of the week, at least it is less labor than last month, when they had the transmission out of the car.

Man on a Mission- updated at nine pm!

Garry, Victor and Max Rudei left very early this morning to drive to Kiev. The container sent from BC this spring that arrived in Ukraine in September has finally cleared customs! They have to repack the container, pay fees, deal with the import company, who are supposed to get part of the shipment as payment, and hopefully see it loaded on a truck to come here before returning, hopefully tonight.

Garry is hoping they will just want the clothes and shoes. The students who live on the other side of the village are excited about bicycles, so hopefully we get some of the used ones in the container. The girls- Julia and Karina want one, they are excited about getting over to the barn for work or class faster; but they need to learn to ride one, they have never had the chance before.

We discovered that we do not have an alarm clock anymore, and Garry wanted to leave at 3 am, so we both tried setting alarms on our phones. Garry went to sleep after the first half of the Eagles game around ten pm (I gave him the bad news before he left). Apparently I was more successful at technology, as the little beeping noise woke me up and I poked Garry at 2:45. He made coffee, called Max and was on his way.

It is now quarter to five, I was going to go back to sleep. after re-locking the door... perhaps CNN was a mistake, or deciding to crochet the next block on the afghan I am making...

however I need to get up at 7 am so I can walk over to teach English at eight, so maybe I will turn the lights on (OK I did for the photo) and just stay up now. Maria is here, we picked her up last night, so she will teach the classes without Garry today, starting at nine. Garry had told her "we" were going to Kiev, and she assumed "we" meant me, but he meant Max and Victor.

Garry took his tablet with him, so hopefully there will be photos to share when he gets back to the village.

After a rather long day of waiting, the stuff was loaded into a truck, they left some stuff for the organization that helped import it as agreed (that was one of the things they did today, along with paying some fees) , including two rolls of the silage plastic that they really wanted to cover stuff with, but it sounds like some of everything and all the farm equipment were on their way around nine pm. The last thing loaded on was the skid steer, they had a little trouble getting it up the ramp, Garry said it was driven up, tires spinning with six guys pushing.

The  first truck left when it was loaded, the car is following the container on it's truck because they are thinking they may have pay at few checkstops since it is too tall according to Ukrainian law, I was told earlier today. They will drive all night and should arrive around dawn, maybe sooner, but it will be a slow trip from Kiev. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Aborted mission

Today after our weekly staff Bible study/ meeting (today's meeting featured cake for Ira's birthday even though she wasn't here, Victor brought it, so we ate it and sent the rest home with her husband) we needed to drive to Molachansk to buy more frozen Canadian Holstein semen. Garry split the last straw between two cows this morning. Last month he decided to get numbered ear tags in every milk cow, and it has paid off big time. Every day the students tell him which cows are in heat, and he seems to breed a cow or two every day.

Of course we did not get out of the house and in the car at 2:30 like Garry had hoped, it was after three pm when we left the village but he knew we should make it there by five pm as we hurried along.

We got through Zaporosia, which takes a while, there is no bypass around Zap.  Garry did a quick stop for Pepsi, peanut m and ms and grapes at a grocery store (travel snacks) and were heading south, the sky streaked a little pink as the sun started to think about setting around four pm.

We called Masha so she could call the place and let them know we should be there shortly before five pm, and then as we headed up a hill, I said that the car sounded funny. Garry laughed and said we needed to turn the radio back on, but he turned it off a few minutes later, when the motor slowed down, There was an odd noise. He decided to stop at the next gas station, coming up at the bottom of the next hill.  

Garry stopped the car and the smoke billowing from under the car prompted me to jump out too, carrying my purse and crocheting, I had started a mitten as we left the village.

First  Garry looked under the hood, trying to find the problem.

Then the gas station attendant called someone to take a look..-

While he waited for them to come, Garry phoned Masha to tell the guys we wouldn't get there today after all. Then he called to say we would not make it to Bible study this evening either (we had planned to go there on the way home.)

Three guys pulled up in a little car and looked under the hood, and talked with Garry and had him start the car, rev the engine, and decided that it was a problem with the turbo, but said we could still drive it back to Zaporosia slowly.

The next gas station was only a mile or two,, there was smoke billowing behind the car causing other drivers to flash their lights to alert us. First Garry mumbled, I know I know, and thought we could just get some oil there, but when we stopped he quickly realized we did need to be towed back instead.

We sat in the car, once the smoke cleared inside... once again, we had to jump out when we stopped. Oil was dripping out of the tail pipe. Garry was on the phone again, talking with Max, and calling for a tow truck, which are not that common in Ukraine, although we had seen one on the way there, with a banged up Lada on. The gas station attendant here had a number for one.

After fifteen or twenty minutes, the guy phoned back, with a price and an arrival time, forty minutes. It was dark already, Garry turned on the interior lights so I could see to crochet. He bought some more snack food to eat, and even put his seat back and took a nap.

Finally around six pm the tow truck arrived!

Garry got to steer as the van was winched onto the back of the truck. The guy stopped and went back to talk to him a couple times, he seemed to think that he must have it in gear or even have the brakes on.

 It took a while to get it all the way up there and then the driver secured the wheels.

He asked if we wanted to ride in the van, or his truck. Garry vetoed the idea of riding on the back of the truck in our car, so he put the center seat up for me.

No seat belts of course, Garry held my hand, as I tried to not look nervous as I stared at the eye level cracked window inches in front of me. Garry squeezed his legs in, knees tight to the dashboard. He had a seat belt hanging by the door, but nothing to catch it onto to (not that he would have insulted anyone by wearing it).

 My blood pressure may have risen a bit, even though Garry reassured me with "the guy doesn't want to crash his truck."

We, and the van made it safely to Zaporosia without any big scares, although a few bumps were found in the road, and few drivers passed us in a somewhat close to oncoming traffic fashion. No real surprises there. 

The driver found the same place that fixed the van when I had the adventure on the bridge about six weeks ago, after a second call to Max for directions. I realize now that the exercise and no salt diet may not be all I need to lower my blood pressure...

It was raining lightly as they unloaded the van with the winch again, after the guard opened the gate for us. He was expecting us, since Max had phoned our guy from the village who works there. Garry got the tow truck driver, who was returning south, to drop us by Mc Donalds for some food before trying to find a taxi to drive us home.

Luckily we had a pocket full of cash for buying the semen, because we spent some on this trip. Less at Mc Donalds than having the van towed...

After eating we went out in the rain (it was more steady now and me in a hoody), walked across the road a few times looking for taxis. I got a wet foot when I stepped in a puddle. We found one who didn't want to go all the way to village, and finally phoned Masha who got one to come get us and drive us home to the village. We went into a dry warm store for a few minutes while waiting for her to call back. Then we head across a cross walk to wait in front of Mc Donalds on Lenina (main street) for the taxi. Masha calls again, to say the taxi would be coming form the other way so we shouldn't wait in front of Mc Donalds after all. Cross the road again. Masha phones again, the guy is waiting... where? Garry hurries across two streets with little regard for lights as I run behind him.  There is is, in front of the store we were in before! Garry got into the front seat after opening the back door for me, and put the seat back as far as it would go. Poor guy was crammed into every seat once we got out of the van.

It was a slow ride home, but we arrived safely. The driver had me a little worried when making the u-turn on the highway to get to the village, but he waited for that first car, after all.

Don't tell Garry, who didn't buckle his seat belt, I found the shoulder belt hanging beside me and spent a few minutes fishing under the crack of the back seat for the other end and was securely buckled in all the way home. Hope i didn't insult the driver.