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

Monday, May 30, 2016

Photos from Garry

Well  I am squeeze squeezing everything in my suitcase after a nice Sunday morning walking the dog and going to the church we attended as a young married couple 30 years ago.I should have gone to the early service but I didn't look online until after walking little Jackie. I met the pastor before the service after walking down the front of the cemetery to pay my respects to my great great grandparents.

I told him that we were married by the Reverend Schulte and he would tell us that he knew we would go to the mission field, and thirty years later we went to Ukraine. Anyway, he introduced me while starting the service and told the story and I was a little overwhelmed when people turned to look toward the back where he had pointed and applauded. I few introduced themselves during the grey the church time following it, however, the few people I might know were at the earlier service.

Anyway, before I left for church I talked to Garry after he taught his maybe last Sunday English class while he was getting his hot wings at KFC, and he sent me some hay making photos to show you.

Nikolai is always waving in my photos!

Losha, Karina and Nikolai in the mow

 I'm going to be glad to not type on this tablet when I get back! It's hard to fix things.

Coming from the field across the highway.
Garry said they used three wagons that day

Sunday, May 29, 2016

End of the school year and hay

As my time in NJ grows shorter, I am getting ready to pack up my suitcase with all the things Garry asked for... at least the ones I found.

Yesterday was the last day of school for schools all over Ukraine with graduation ceremonies and it happened to be the end of class picnic for Garry, group home families and the students. It looks like they had a grand time, with lots of games and food. The group home families brought salads and Garry bought a lot of hot-dogs and taught everyone how to come them over the fire. No one had ever cooked a hotdog on a stick before... except him. For more photos check the bird's eye view Blog.

Garry was excited he said it didn't rain on Saturday (unfortunately I talked to him Sunday morning and it had rained overnight) and all the hay was cut now. He will meet me in Kiev, he bought train tickets for himself so he can apply for his new passport.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hay and other things

Garry is keeping busy, it's the last week of classes, so he and Maria are busy giving exams every morning and they are trying to bale hay. They did 1000 small square bales and put them in the mow yesterday. That was about 12 acres I think he said, and there is about a hundred this year in alfalfa. He was hoping to get some round baler today, if the guy comes and it doesn't rain. He said that the new mower that came in the container is working wonderfully. No new photos of haymaking yet.

They finished planting the corn and sunflowers today. The last piece that they got this spring to rent needed a lot of work, there a lot of trash- or stalks from the last crop on it. They did more hay and are spraying the corn fields for weeds.

In other news, he is trying to get a new Ukrainian passport or permanent resident passport I guess you'd call it since he keeps it in a handy passport cover with his Canadian one, which he still has not found. It was Ira's birthday yesterday, click on the bird photo to link to the other Blog for a post.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Where is my passport? And Bees...

 I have the song from veggie tales in my head with one word changed - instead of hairbrush, sing passport. All week I have been watching Garry on Skype hunting for his passport. Ever since he asked if I knew where it was. If you have any ideas where it could be, email him, because the last time I talked to him he was still hunting for it. He has taken everything out of every part of our bedroom for the second time this week.

He had it last, we think,  when he went to the bank (you need it for ID purposes) while the teams were here, and thinks he remembers taking it out of his pocket of his jeans and thinking that it was a bad place to keep it... however he doesn't remember what he did with it next.

Today he also helped Victor with the Bees. That's right, we now have beehives in the yard and today the Bees moved in. Victor is even going to teach a class on beekeeping next year. We will be the school of milk and honey.

Garry will need a passport to go to Budapest to go to the mission conference, so he is hunting hard, since I am not back until late on the 31st. Maybe you can pray for his passport.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Update from Ukraine

Talked with Garry a few times this week. They managed to get the crops planted in spite of some wet weather . Garry says that they had a big thunderstorm with hail Thursday evening while he was off breeding a cow. He said that the little corn plants have some shredded leaf damage from the hail.

Work has progressed on the renovation with the wet weather. He sent a photo of the outside. He asked if I thought purple would be a good color to paint the bricks between the  yellow walls and the green roof. Hopefully it was a joke, I told him Green.

He decided to start mowing hay, even though next week's forecast is for more rain.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Post one thousand- and what have we done?

When publishing yesterday's post, I realized that the next post, this post, would be number one thousand. It seems incredible that I have written that many blog posts over the last eight years, with most of them over the last four, I think.

So obviously this should be a momentous post. An incredible story, or something like that. While I try to think of something, let's remember how we got here... too bad Garry is not here to ask for his thoughts, but he is in Ukraine, while I am in NJ, visiting my Dad.

It was 2007 and we were dairy farmers in Manitoba Canada. Three boys still in school, four finished and working on the farm, at least part-time. Our daughter was teaching two hours away from the farm. Oldest son married, with a grand baby on the way

1- Garry went on a mission trip to China.
1a- He felt called to become a missionary

2- Chuck convinced him that I should take TESOL at Providence (missionary wives need something to do)
2a - I went and finished my long delayed college diploma. Class of 1981* nope 2009!
*my graduating class out of high school at DelVal, where Garry got his BS in dairy science in 1980

3- China wasn't working out, and Wasfy told Garry to consider Ukraine, which has lots of cows.

4- To get my BA, I need experience in another country teaching English, and after not being selected for a different team, end up in Dnepropetrovsk, with Garry tagging along July 2008.
4a- We meet Victor, and spend a weekend at his house in the village of Nikolaipolia.

5- We apply to become mission associates with the Evangelical Free Church of Canada, and Garry flies back to Dnepropetrovsk to figure out the details of moving to start a demonstration farm.*there is a great story about Garry, jet lag, sleepwalking, and looking for the bathroom. If you ever meet him ask him to tell it, I can't recreate it on paper or screen, and do it justice.

6- We move to Ukraine, two teenage boys, eight suitcases of stuff, leaving Manitoba the morning after their older brother graduates from high school. Just in time for me to teach English for the month.

7- Renovate the other half of Victor's village house, added kitchen, bathroom and living area. Finished in October but still had to cook in the summer kitchen until we got back from our Dec to  Feb vacation at home.Started home schooling for the first time.
7a- Met John and EV Weins, who invited us for Canadian Thanksgiving. John talks about the trade school he wants to start for orphan grads.

8- In 2010 build barn, host our first work team. find a herd of cows, milkers and feed for the winter.

9- Boys return to Manitoba in 2011 for the summer and stay to go to school. Garry and I start teaching at John's trade school.

10- After John's death, Garry runs trade school 2.0, the economical version.

That sums it up, or you can read the first 999 posts for the details...except the fact that Garry is still renogiating my contract. When we started in 2009, we we going to have the demonstration farm up and running in two years so we wouldn't be in Ukraine full time.
That's why the boys went home then but Garry found a new project in the school and lost his heart to a second family of young people who need him. Don't worry I have had better benefits since year two, more trips home. Even though Garry and his other kids miss me while I am gone.

Friday, May 13, 2016

The phone call

Talked to Garry last night. More he asked me where things were because he was making cottage cheese. It was morning there, and nearly midnight here and I had been asleep for more than an hour when my tablet ringing woke me up. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to answer the call!

 me after t only 20 hours aware
I am still sleep deprived after spending 48 hours without a bed, what with the train, waiting to check in at the airport overnight andthen a long seven hour layover in Amsterdam and going back in time traveling to the US!

 He said that they had problems selling enough milk to empty the milk tank on Monday- it was the May 9 holiday and the day after one of the big holidays, the Sunday after Easter, when people visit the graveyard and have a meal with their ancestors. It is the busiest day for driving the highways, with every car that can run pressed into service as everyone tries to return to their home village.

Anyway, by Wednesday he had to get the tank empty so it could be washed and filled with fresh milk to sell, so he spent most of the day running the separator making slevki (very heavy cream-you can stand a spoon up in it). He said he gave most of it to the group homes to eat. The skim milk was set aside to separate and make cheese. Ukrainians love natural products so they let bacteria, warmth and time turn it into cheese. Garry was looking for the curtain fabric he strains the curds and whey with. I knew where that was but I don't know what happened to the big green enamel pot he cooks it in, I seem to remember that he lent it to someone.

Hopefully he got all his excess milk turned into something useful. I am sure all the group home students and families are happy eating them. This excess milk problem happens a few times a year, and he hates to just throw milk away. The milk buyers complain that they can't sell anything after a major holiday because no one has money, having spent it all celebrating.

He told me that on Thursday afternoon he had visitors from Brazil. Four guys stopped in, whoever they were visiting had heard of us and so they came out to see the project. Garry said they were there about an hour and several of them spoke English so it was easy to communicate.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Crop report

!We'll see how this works. I loaded some photos before leaving Ukraine, and after a few hurdles, I have logged in to the blog to get this post done. I was worried for a few minutes that there was not going to be any blog posts for three weeks, because I am using my tiny tablet and left the computer in Ukraine!
As you can see, the wet weather means that the alfalfa has really grown this spring. Garry says it is ready to cut to make hay if it ever stops raining.

This is the new field Garry told me he bought. I assume that means we have a 49 year lease on it. It is on the highway as you turn onto the village road. Last year there were pumpkins on it I believe. Garry is a little worried about the weeds, mostly volunteer wheat growing up in it. It is some of the 49 hectares that need to still be planted this spring. About half of that is land like this piece, which we got control over in the last few weeks, and was not worked up in the fall..
An interesting field near the gas station

Everyone has been planting their garden in the village.

The garden at the new group home, the straw is the potatoes, all the group
 homes planted a lot of potatoes this spring.

Yana has her bull tied in front of her house most days. She's one of the milker ladies

Garry has pepper plants ready for the garden

Why did the goat cross the road? Trying to get back to the other side!

A few holes in the road and puddles in the field

A couple of our tractors going down the street
Garry told me that Wednesday there were more thunderstorms. The fields have puddles again, like in the photo above from last week.
I didn't get a chance to get a photo of the cornfields before I left. Garry said most of the new land will go into corn. The field he planted part of is up. They went through a few missing rows and replanted them on Monday afternoon before it rained again. Garry says that they need a working monitor for planting the corn next year. Or actually he said that they would have one!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Packing my bags...

While Garry is left to finish supervising painting (and clean up after) installing the final kitchen and teaching for the rest of the month, I have packed my bag for my visit with my father. It looks like it's going to rain until I return at the end of the month, so planting and making hay may be difficult.

Here's what I did yesterday...
finished tiling that last bathroom

did this kitchen back splash

put the last 1/3 tile edge up there by the ceiling
we finally remembered to buy it ! 

Did this kitchen too, Garry has to add a few details

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Tile and kitchens

The one with the shower in already, I made the tile fit

Need eleven more ! This was taken when I started Saturday
We have gotten more done on the reno this week with the help of some of the students. In fact, I would have finished tiling the last bathroom yesterday, except for the fact we were eleven tiles short and I had to give up cutting them when it started raining in the afternoon and the tile saw was giving me a zap if I touched any of the metal parts... and then everything, so it had to dry out. Monday I will finish it before I leave for NJ on the Tuesday afternoon train the Kiev.

Here are a few photos.

Look Peter, doors with trim in the classroom 

Putting in a few more drains to connect

Nikolai did most of the the grout

New student Losha getting it ready to grout

Leila cleaning

Julia and Karina painting

The green kitchen- the stove will be on the opposite wall

The kitchen in the apartment facing the road (only one with a separate bedroom)
Here he is working on the stove hood

One more apartment to paint, along with the bathrooms, We have been saving money, using paint left over from last years's house, except the classroom, where we bought a bucket. I took all of it from the shop last fall before it froze and stored it here in our house until last week. They just needed to be remixed. There were two pails of yellow, still unopened, so both big apartments are yellow.

The grouting of floor tile is finished (except a few touch ups where someone missed a spot, and Garry has even installed two of the kitchens, I hope to put the back splash tiles up on them Monday.

The only real delay is cleaning up the back of the house, since the skidsteer is still broken, and we need it to clean up the piles of debris from the demo. Yesterday some of the boys were shoveling dirt from the back of the house so the man working on the stucco can finish it. He rebuilt the broken back corner on Friday, reusing the bricks that fell out, and removing all the the roots of the bush or tree that broke it.
here is the almost finished bathroom picture

Saturday night student church was in the classroom again, we may have class there Monday morning.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Back to normal?

Well, after almost two months of guests in the house, Garry drove the rest of the BC team to meet up with Victor and Jack Tuesday morning at the bull (along the highway on the road toward Dneprdajisk, Kiroy Rog and eventually Kiev) to start their trip to visit some orphanages and then go to Kiev for their departure the next day. I have been promised a photo, but as you can see none has arrived via email.  and here it is- Thanks Jeremy! They should be home in Salmon Arm now. I heard that they were delayed in Calgary, but they made it home about 50 hours after this photo was taken with Garry!

We celebrated by going on a 24 hour get away in Zaporosia. We stayed in a hotel, ate out, and only went to the home building stores to shop twice before heading back to the village with more supplies. No photos of that trip, but I have some of the work that was done Wednesday afternoon by Garry and the students.

Many of the walls are painted with primer, Garry put more plaster on the drywall around the doors, and Garry and Nikolai did some grouting in the big classroom (1/3rd done) and the office room.

 Karina painted most of the classroom and office with the paint we bought Tuesday afternoon. It looked more beige on the sample at the store, but it looks good.

 The guy that they hired (a relative of Max's wife) continues to work on the outside of the house, and Max is doing the plumbing.

Finally I got a very small amount of tiling done, so I am off to work. I am leaving for New Jersey to visit my father next week Tuesday afternoon, my time is short to finish tiling two bathrooms.

PS- BC team, where ever you are, it is not easier to tile after installing the shower (as some of you said). Unless, perhaps, if the wall or shower is straight... and level, unlike this one.

At least the last bathroom only has water pipes to go around, no shower yet.