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

Friday, September 30, 2016

A cloud of dust

It's a little dusty inside the house, but it's dustier outside, the grad boys are clearing the layer of dried mud and straw out that the Mennonites used for insulation in the attic, so we can insulate the attic and this house will be warmer, and cost less to heat this winter. They have been working on it for three days now. with only a few mishaps, the ceiling in the blue bedroom will need some repair where some nail were hammered back through, and stuff has fallen down the vents into the tub and down the stove ventilation pipe.

They cleared stuff out of the attic that has been there for a decade, I am washing up a few rag rugs to add to my collection for the bedrooms.

They really liked one find and tried them on...

Kolya, Artem, and Sasha

Garry and a couple from church in Dnepro have started finishing the inside of the addition at Luda's (the original girls house), so we have more options. Right now the guys house is overflowing, there is only one student with Luda, and five more girls at the "new house". So do we move guys into Luda's, all the girls into the new house, all the girls into Luda's (if we finish her private room addition so we can use two rooms.) or maybe some of the girls Maria has been talking to will come...

Today I stayed at home while Garry went to Dnepro to do English classes/groups to conduct a tour. The INTourist hotel called Victor earlier this week to say they had a group of 25 Canadians coming to see the Verhoog farm at four pm, right when Garry teaches his class and I wander around the city center shopping before we do our follow up Summer Institute meeting at seven. Victor almost did the tour, but someone missed their flight and he had to pick them up today, and Maria went home to see her parents. 

Victor called around 5:30 to say he'd had a call that the group was late but on their way, and they arrived around six pm. Unfortunately just as the boys dumped a big load of dirt out the attic window onto  the pile so you could hardly see for the dust filling the whole yard. Max had greeted them and told me some wanted a toilet so they got to use the bathrooms (there was quite a line so I opened the summer kitchen up too.)

 I made my new handout available and took them around the yard and talked about what we do, and answered some questions about farming. Too bad Garry or Victor weren't here, because I always forget the name of the Mennonite family that lived in this house (it's Letkeman if he's reading this). Of course their time was limited so we did not get over to the new farm or any of the houses, but we peeked into the barn and I gave them the blog address on the handout, so they may be reading this now.

Max and some helpers were busy putting together the new cultivator that came today. Some of the students even said hello to the group.

Now i am enjoying a quiet house to write in, I even did posts on most of the other blogs I work on, so click on the bird photo to see some photos of the students in class, and I even updated the CMRF page

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Road trip

Today I am slicing and freezing the hot peppers that Garry grew in the garden this summer. Spicy food is not popular in Ukraine, so he starts his plants from seed in the spring, the teams that were here in March saw his box of tiny plants he was trying to remember to water every morning and evening.

I was going to do it yesterday, after I picked them after morning English class, but I went with Garry to Molochansk on an emergency semen buying trip. Garry was down to one straw of bull semen for artificially breeding cows, he thought.  He bred one cow in the barn last night, and discovered that he had two left.
That's 13 cows in our barn this month

 I even got a couple photos of the three times a day moving the milk to the bulk tank on the new farm, which will continue until the middle of next week. It seems it will be at least next Tuesday before the equipment company has a working motor reinstalled and the cows can walk back over to the "new barn" again.

 Today is Wednesday and we have class with the second year students in the afternoon, so no trips today. I have to teach them the English alphabet in cursive since their teacher for their classes in Dnepro uses it and I didn't think it was necessary for them to learn, with so many schools in America not using it anymore.

Anyway I bought the camera along, so here are some road trip photos for you to enjoy.

On top of a Lanos= for recent models it is the most popular in Ukraine

Garry's first bank machine stop in Zaporosia
Garry needed some grivna to pay for the semen, so we stopped to get some at an ATM. All the cash at home went to buy fuel in the morning for the tractors. Tractorist Sasha has been busy plowing up the fields where the sunflowers were harvested. Unfortunately, the ATM had technical difficulties and Garry could not withdraw all he needed, so we had to visit two banks in Molachansk before we could buy the semen.
entering Molachansk 

This is the orphanage dorm that our Max Boradin grew up in

Everyone loves a rototiller vehicle 

The smallest bank with 2 ATMs in Molachansk- but
Garry couldn't get it to work there either!

The wet spot in town

The Mennonite Center is looking well kept

Has to be an old Mennonite building 

The Bull semen business is in an old Mennonite house-barn 

Liquid nitrogen is cool to pour in the tank



dodging holes in the road

The trees are growing closer

Detour through the drive thru at Mc Foxys
McDonalds is closed for remodeling 

chicken dinner

public transport
The onlly Mc Donalds in Zap while be closed a while...

Monday, September 26, 2016

Harvest time

It's cool and drizzly today, and we had classes to teach this morning with the first year guys (we are up to eight guys now, but there is a rumor that there will be two girls soon) had some visitors this afternoon. Maria is off to visit the very full boys house - nine guys living there now.

Saturday evening
Right now Garry and Max are sitting at the kitchen table doing some crop planning for the fall and spring. How much winter wheat should we plant? How much fertilizer do we need to buy and store for the spring? How much corn do we need to sell? Can we afford to buy a big tractor? We need to have money for the monthly expenses of the school. too (Milk is so cheap that we do not make a profit, so crops make the money. It does keep everyone busy all year round,) The Belarus tractors are not up to really heavy field work, they were considering if they should hire a farmer with a big tractor to work up some fields with a heavy disc, to save wear and tear on the Belarus tractors.

The auger is working well with a new motor to move the corn
That's right, sell, not just to buy seed and fertilizer, but so there will be room to put the rest of the corn in the storage shed. It's really full now. Yesterday the combine finished doing the 80 hectares of early corn, which was very dry, 12-14%. Those fields were planted three weeks earlier than the late corn, the leaves and plants in the late fields still look little green in places, so they will wait a while before combining the last 50 hectares.

The corn crop turned out well, about 50-60 bushels to the acre. It's not as good as last year's harvest, but better than most years. If we'd only had more rain or less heat in August... Garry thinks the cobs may be bigger and better in the late fields, so there could be higher yields to come.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The cows came back...

the very same day!

 Hours after moving them.
 However, here's a couple photos of milking in the new parlor... which did not happen for long.

trying to get a second group in from the holding area
 The guys managed to get the first group of eight- ten, no, 14! in one side of the parlor, all facing in the correct direction. The milker ladies, with Garry's assistance got milkers on all of them, then onto the four extra cows and were chasing cows into the other side of the parlor when everything stopped, because the vacuum pump turned off abruptly.

Opps...What broke?
now the milker is falling off that last cow

 It wasn't the vacuum pump as Garry feared (he said he thought did we put the oil in?) but the "good motor" the milk equipment company said they had for it and installed. Since the milk tank is installed over there, we'll be milking them here, putting it in pails and taking over there to cool until some time next week when they can get a new motor put on the vacuum pump. Good thing the company was here installing the milk tank when it happened, although they tried to say it was a problem with our electricity. Good thing we got that fancy transformer for the farm.

New home for the milk tank

They rounded up a bunch of students again and chased the herd back- with a few detours through peoples yards- one cow even walked up the babushka's driveway and then cut back onto our driveway through the hole in the fence by the house. The milker ladies and helpers were getting started on the second milking of the day about when its normally getting over..,

The good news for the day is that the corn is being combined and doing better than Garry thought it would and its very dry too. It's going in the shed.

Hi Nikolai!
I have so many photos of him waving...

Moving day

Today is the first day the cows will be milked in the new parlor. Everyone just chased the cows from this barn to the old collective barn, which is finally ready for them. Now the big job of moving and reconnecting the milk tank or cooler to the other milkhouse will be happening so milking can proceed this afternoon. 

You may remember that we had a team here in March 2014 that helped with the remodel and building the milkhouse, milking parlor and a classroom. Last September, we finally waded through all the red tape and got hooked onto the power grid. We thought we were home free, and started teaching in the classroom,  but it took until spring to get a company to come install the milking equipment in the parlor. 

Ready to go

 Early in June, Garry hoped to move the cows, but they discovered we needed more water than the well that had been drilled was providing for the cows to drink and to wash the milking equipment.
Last week the additional water source was completed, and this week all the last minute, gates, latches and light fixtures went in to the barn. Yesterday they removed walls from both milkhouses to facilitate moving the tank this morning.

Garry really likes the latch Max made for the parlor gate

here we go

most of them are there

the two that turned around
Most of the cows hurried along in a group without too many problems but one red one turned around near the creek and ran through anyone trying to stop her and one fell so far behind the others she didn't see them anymore and tried to go back home, too.

Eventually Garry, Max and a few helpers got them to the barn, too.

we did it!

Happy so far

Well, that was the easy part, watch for the photos of moving the milk tank and  milking in a whole new way to come. I am sure everyone, milker ladies, students and cows will not be happy the first time through the parlor. We are moving from tie stall and bucket milkers to a pipeline in a raised parlor, so the first week or so will be challenging for all.