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

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Trip to Kiev (part one)

Well, when it was time to take Garry's father and brother back to Kiev we all decided on the train, and it was a great ride, smooth and no flat tires! We played cards most of the way there. Garry had booked the four seats at one of the tables and two seats across from them, so the top and bottom player sat across the aisle from the table. I am sure the rest of the people on the train thought the English speaking people were crazy changing seats all the time, as we were all in every seat a few times since we played for about five hours, I think.

When we got to Kiev around 1 pm Tuesday, we checked the suitcases at the train station, and had some lunch at KFC, where Garry successfully ordered a sandwich with no ketchup or mayo for his dad. Then we were off to take the Metro (subway) to the center of the city where Maidan took place.
We had the first trouble of the day when Dad's wallet was stolen in the crush getting onto the subway train. He only had grivna in it, since his  his passport and other cash was in the suitcase back at the train station, but he lost his credit card and driver's licence (turns just the cash and card). He wasn't too upset, because he wanted everyone to enjoy the trip so we climbed the hill to see some of the old Orthodox churches.

Everyone but Garry's dad and I climbed the bell tower at St Sofia's, built in the 18th century, The church itself was built in the 11th century, with extensive renovations in the later centuries, but many places now show the original finishes and frescoes.

We then went to the ancient church across the hill and walked around the grounds. We rode the inclined railroad down the hill (worth the price of 3 grivna per person) to find the vendors on first street.

We didn't buy many things there, but we then took a taxi, well, two taxis to the Lavra monastery grounds... more on that next time. It's almost ten pm Thursday and we are still a little tired, everyone else has gone to bed and I think I'll join them, it's been a busy couple of days. Tom and Dad are safely home in Canada, and we are back in the village with Micah and Crystal.

Monday, March 28, 2016


Or as finished as we are getting, we need to be on the train to Kiev at 7 am in Dnepropetroesk tomorrow morning, We are going to do a little touring before Dad and Tom go to a hotel to get ready for their flight the nest day. The rest of us will be coming back on the overnight train.

The walls are insulated inside and most of the vapor barrier is up. They even washed the outside of the house, because the siding had gotten a little dirty while they installed it with the rain and mud.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter... or time change day?

Here in Ukraine we will not celebrate Easter until May, since the country uses the Orthodox date, so our family visiting will miss Easter this year. They were hoping to see what Easter was  like here, so yesterday I followed a recipe for paska bread, I made it in muffin pans so we could have little ones for breakfast. A couple broke when I was getting them out, so i gave Garry a piece and he said it tastes just like it. Not sure if that's a good thing, because he doesn't like paska bread.

I boiled a couple eggs to put the plastic wrappers I found when we went to the market on, so we have some decorated eggs, too.

However, just as we were going to bed, someone messaged us on facebook that time would spring forward overnight! So our guests get to do that twice. To top that off it is snowing outside this morning, for the second Sunday in a row.

Last night I put the chocolate covered Jelly bunnies Crystal found at the village store yesterday with a little candy I had brought from Canada for Easter into bags for everyone, and we will be off to church in less than a hour, so hoping we have a good day, we'll be exploring the city after lunch, hopefully not in the snow!
I like peeps and there are two mini eggs in each. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016


Friday turned into a strange day, and not just because our daughter-in-law Crystal slow-cooked the cow tongue she'd been brining in the fridge all week. Everyone who ate it enjoyed it and said it didn't taste like any cow tongue they had eaten before. I am told you could taste the pickling spices it was soaking in, but looking at it makes me remember my teenage vegetarian period when I didn't want to eat my pet steer who'd gone in the freezer.

Tom (Garry's brother) didn't try any either, he had toast after going to bed when they came back at noon from working on the addition. They had gotten some work done, but it was cold and windy and he'd thrown up. After soup and/or chili for lunch, Garry admitted he wasn't feeling great either, in fact, everyone but Grandpa, Garry's father, took naps. He watched some NCAA basketball, and wished he could get back to work, in spite of having a cold and being 84 years old!

They did get the windows installed yesterday and are working on finishing the roof and siding.

Luckily we had no plans for the evening, and played some cards, after tongue and coleslaw,  before going to bed by ten o'clock, except me, I waited for Masha to come in, she had gone to a seminar on sexuality from a Christian perspective with the students, Max and Victor drove them, they are on the way back now for today's Saturday session from 10-5.

Today everyone seems fine, and Garry commandeered a tractor and wagon to drive down the street to work on the addition. It seems a little drizzly but warmer than yesterday. I'd better get to work on lunch or dinnertime, I guess you'd call it.

Our family will be missing out on Easter tomorrow, since we celebrate it according to the  Orthodox calendar in Ukraine, and it will be in May this year, when they are back home. Once it was the same day, usually it's a week or two off the rest of the Christian world. I am thinking of trying to make some paska bread, so they can experience a little Ukrainian Easter on the day they will be missing their Resurrection Sunday.

Friday, March 25, 2016

A little rain, a little work, a little tour

Thursday morning it was wet. Garry woke up during the night and could hear the rain outside, so after breakfast they went down to the closer new reno (Garry is also without a car this week, so we have to share the Mercedes, so careful planning around everyone's activities is necessary) They decided to work inside and mark levels with the laser level, since Garry plans to pour cement there before the Steinbach team arrives in April. Micah was under the weather, so he stayed here and slept, we seem to have a cold going around the house this week.

The rain did clear up, leaving things wet and breezy, and rather cool outside. I can confirm this since I walked down to see them with Crystal, who stayed to help while I walked back with bread we bought at the store for lunch. Before coming back for lunch they were down at the addition to the girls house, working on the roofing, and the siding and windows for the front of the house, and checking how dry the cement was that they had poured the day before (they had been wanting to do it since waking up, but remember, no car to take a quick drive there, they returned home for dinner sitting in a wagon behind the tractor).

After lunch Garry was busy with his weekly one o'clock staff meeting for Hope for Each (Victor, who is the other director is always here on Thursday afternoon for milk) so Micah who was feeling better headed down to the house to see what they could get done before 2:30.
  Today (Friday), it's still wet, but they are back at work trying to finish up the outside of the house addition. They got  a ride down there with Max in the Mercedes before he left for Zaporosia, Garry really has to avoid walking as much as possible with his bad ankle. Crystal and Maria just walked down with coffee and cherry buns for them for a mid-morning snack.

At 2:30 everyone hurried to clean up and get ready for a little tour. Someone had called recently to get get Garry's opinion on a project they were planning to get a farm going near Zaporosia on an old dairy collective site. We met the two guys near Epi-Center, Maria was with us to translate. We followed them to the place, which has been heavily vandalized by people looking for free building materials.

 We did check out a worm growing concern they have going on the property. They sell two smallish worms in a cup of dirt to improve your garden, there was a lady picking worms from the straw and compost and packing little plastic cups into a box to sell. You can see some of the straw piles behind the scarecrow in the photo.

Garry told them it seemed like there was not much left to work with, so it would be expensive, in spite of the advantages of  repairing instead of building new (it would be good for not needing permits and there is electricity and water on site.) It started to rain as we were getting ready to leave,
 Garry drove back to Zap where we went out for dinner before going to our weekly Bible study. We even played a few hands of cards before going to bed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Trip to the market and pouring concrete

Yesterday Garry had talked about going to the market in Zaporosia on Thursday, but then it seemed like nothing was happening this morning, so he decided we could go there this morning instead. His dad was looking for a few things he wanted to buy to take home, and it is always interesting to see what's for sale. We went into the big Orthodox church first, then walked to the nearby market going under to get there.

We walked a lot of the market and everyone made some purchases, Garry's dad got a new plastic tablecloth, his parents have gotten one at one of the markets the two previous visits and he bought a winter hat. His brother got a few things, including an old watch and we bought some veggies and checked out the milk sellers.
 Afterwards we headed to the Epi-Center (think home depot) to buy some stuff for the house they are working on. We found two windows, and the salesman helped find vinyl siding and insulation, which was outside.

Then Garry found a guy with a truck to deliver and we had some lunch at the store cafe before heading back to the village. We forgot about getting the train tickets for the return trip to Kiev next week, we'll buy them tomorrow.

The guys were in a hurry because the cement truck was coming between two and three, and the roofing was supposed to be delivered after lunch, too.

They got the floor poured, it was a little tricky to do as you can see in Crystal's photos. They even put up the siding on the short sides. Tomorrow they plan to install windows in the morning and finish with siding the front of the addition.

They are right on schedule I think, even if they couldn't get an early start today, the roofing will be ready to go on tomorrow too. They are hoping the floor will be dry enough to walk on.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Progress and snow

She kept trying to stand on one leg
Saturday we had a bit of snow, Sunday we had some snow, Monday we had snow and rain, today, Tuesday,  it rained for a few minutes...(not quite cold enough to snow) but the guys keep going. The chickens next door have not been out since Saturday when they were looking cold and confused in the snow.  The internet not so much, so it's been hard to get a post done, it's on, and then it's off. Yesterday it worked for a little while in the morning, but by the time I was caught up on emails it was time to cook noon dinner, and it was bad for the rest of the day, and night.

Today has been somewhat better so we'll give it a try while Crystal and guys are drinking coffee and playing Big Boss, Little Boss. Which it turns out has slightly different rules in Ontario, according to Garry's brother Tom, but they seem to be using the Manitoba rules. They have played since Sunday night, I think. Saturday night most of us went to student church (those somebodies were in bed when we got home at 8 pm.)

Saturday during the day, it was too cold, windy and snowy to work on the house putting up the trusses, and they were busy killing a cow in the morning (the group homes will be making and eating hamburger) and Garry and Max had a cow breeding lesson for the students in the afternoon. We had a few extras for soup for lunch, since our vet students were out for the day.

 They went back to Dnepro after church with Victor, who had come out to do the sermon this week. Tom and Dad had trouble following since it was in Russian, but they enjoyed the student choir singing and the fellowship after, Tom played Garry in ping pong and Dad enjoyed when I got a few of the students to sing Jesus Loves Me in English (we worked on it in class this week).

It's a long way across the street in the snow!
Sunday we were surprised when we left church at noon, it had snowed while we were there! Dad and Tom were surprised to find out that it is not Easter Sunday while they are here next week, they will miss it because it is in May this year. Garry went to do his English class while we went to Puzata Hata for lunch, every one enjoyed picking what they wanted to eat from the ladies, I translated a little. They bought some coffee while I went across the street to find a bank machine and got a little wet in the snow, so I drank a cup of tea before driving to English class we were going to visit.

 The class had prepared questions for us, and we asked them a few, too. After the class we bought gas and drove back to pick up Garry, who drove home.

They started playing cards and we had some sandwiches and leftover soup.

Monday was not looking good when we woke up to snow on the ground, so Garry thought they would work at the other house site on the plumbing set up. However, the kids had not pulled up the wood floors yet, so they started on that. Then the sun came out, so they got the trusses up before lunch, which was a little later than the 12:30 I had been told when they left in the morning! In the afternoon they were doing some brick cleanup at the other building site.
Garry and his son Micah

Today they got the sheathing on the outside of the addition at the girls house, and got some fill inside, because they plan to pour cement for the floor tomorrow, I think. There was some shoveling, too.

Garry and his dad
Garry and his brother 

Crystal- who took most of the building photos

Friday, March 18, 2016

Building with family

If Garry is driven, a non-stop guy, it's because he gets it from his Dad, whose 83 years old and never slows down. So of course, we expected him to be ready to go Thursday morning, in spite of traveling for more than 24 hours and getting here after midnight (and a very bumpy car ride).

However he slept in until ten. His sons thought it funny, and headed to the city to buy some building supplies. They all got to work after lunch and nearly finished the trusses. I brought them some coffee and cookies around three pm and took some photos. They were working in the shop.

They finished around five and then we had a skype call with Garry's mother and some of his sisters. It was her birthday and it looked like quite the girls party.

 We then had some soup and headed to Zaporosia to drop off Masha at her home and go to our Bible Study. Most of the guys were ready for bed when we got home around ten pm.

Friday morning and they were all ready to work, the three guys, along with Max Rudei's little brother, finished nailing trusses and started building walls.

 I drove Micah and Crystal to the airport in Dnepro to pick up their bags that had arrived last night. They wouldn't give them to Victor last night, they had to see their passports and have them sign for them. It didn't take too long, and people spoke English, too, they were at lost and found. All was good with the bags. Then we stopped at METRO to pick up a few things, but couldn't fill the water bottle when were were finished there, the lady was on break... for more than the 5 minutes on the sign in the window.

We got back around noon, so I quick made some dinner, and we ate around one, then they were back at work. They loaded their trusses and pre-made walls onto a wagon behind a tractor and drove down to the girls house. Crystal sent me a few photos she took of this afternoon's progress.