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

Sunday, February 26, 2017

the rest of the week

Well here it's Sunday again and we were back at the church in the village after a busy week. This week there were more of our students and staff at the church with us, including Maria, who translated the sermon for us.
Most of the students were back there

The rest of the week was melting snow, teaching, driving and flat tires, it seemed. I took this photo of the geese down the street enjoying the puddles on Wednesday when we have afternoon classes for the second year students, the geese are not out of their yard at eight am when I walk down to teach my first year classes.

A good amount of snow had melted by Saturday morning, with it raining steadily Thursday morning. My coat got wet walking to class and back.
Garry drove to class at nine am with Maria and on Wednesday morning the bridge of boards was built to keep everyone's feet dry while crossing the ditch. I watched Garry walk carefully across it that afternoon but I wore my rubber boots all week and just walked through the water, it looked a little precarious!

Thursday after the staff meeting, the first one since we returned since the trip to Kiev was the previous Thursday (check out the other blog for photos, I finally got some to post) we headed to Zaporosia and bought a couple hundred pounds of potatoes, cabbage and carrots for the guys house to stretch their household food budget. Garry had bought them some before he left for Canada in December, but they had run out and some of the guys were complaining to Garry about the lack of variety.

We then did a little grocery shopping, went through the drive thru and got some dinner on our way to our usual English Bible study evening meeting. We left around 8:30 pm for the village, and I remarked that we would be home much earlier than the week before. The road was wet with the melting snow, and with the spring thaw, the number of potholes are growing in the highway.

Or we should have been home earlier. The rear passenger tire went flat about halfway back to Nikolipolia, so Garry pulled off to fix it. No air pump in the car (we have one for these emergencies), so the spare tire had to be dug out of the back under the bags of produce. He found the jack, but not the handle, so he had to use the cross to turn the jack. It turned harder than it should and then it did not go up far enough to get the tire off. Someone had broken it while we were gone, it seemed. He gave up and phoned Max. Max had driven to Kherson because his father was sick and needed to go to the hospital, so he couldn't rescue us (and he had borrowed the air pump.) He made some calls and during the next what seemed like an hour, Garry tried the jack again (it didn't work again), we stargazed and watched dozens of trucks and cars go past us. Finally, tractorist Sasha and Max's little brother Artom pulled up in Sasha's little hatchback with a big jack and changed the tire. We got home after ten pm. Garry went to bed, I had a skype call with our daughter and grumpy granddaughter.

Friday morning Garry dropped the big bags of vegetables at the "boys house" and went to the little tire shop across the highway (it's only open mornings) to get the flat tire fixed. It had a small nail hole, so maybe it wasn't hitting a pothole with all those vegetables weighing down the back that had left us on the side of the road with a jack someone had broken and put back into the car while we were in Canada. Amazing, Garry had a second tire go flat as he pulled off the highway at the tire place. The front tire on the other side, but they couldn't find anything wrong with it.

We left for the city early, Garry was teaching an English class at four and then we had our SEI followup class at seven pm.  First we stopped to buy a new bigger and better jack for the car, and a few things for Maria, who has moved out of the house and into the little house - the old summer kitchen- broom, dustpan, and some blinds. Then we stopped to see the travel agent about booking our trip in April.

We were going to check on buying mattresses for when the team comes- we need two new ones after a couple of ours ended up finding homes in the apartments last fall. However, Garry needed to find the new place where his lessons was the school moved while we were gone, a few blocks away from where he had been teaching. He'd been there once in December, and thought he knew where it was... but we drove around for half and hour before we found it, with 5 minutes to spare.

We had a surprise at 7 o'clock at Patona, there was a cake with our names on and all the familiar faces to share it with. We talked about our friend Sandy and how Don was doing now and how they all felt her loss and what she meant to them after meeting her for and having her teach the last two summers in Dnepro. "Sandy was a queen, always dignified."

inside the show, out of the rain
Saturday morning Garry helped with the 5 am milking  and then we were going to stop at the travel agent to make a cash deposit and show my passport for our April trip. We said we'd be there at 11 am, since we were going to visit our friend Lena's English school at one before Garry's lessons.

However, we ended up behind schedule when the nothing wrong with it front tire was flat again. First we drove over to our shop to try putting air in, but Garry couldn't find the compressor so he changed it.

Then we drove across the highway to see if the tire shop was open on Saturdays. It was sort of slushing on the windshield at this point, the rain that had started mid-morning was changing to snow.  It was open,  so the old guy there tried fixing the tire again, he said it has a little dent in the rim, which may be the problem, but he took it off and cleaned it and re-inflated it and back on the car it went.

at the tire fixing place

Then we were off to Dnepro, where we did everything he'd planned. I was feeling sick with a sinus headache by mid afternoon, so I holed up in the car while Garry did his other classes.

at Lena's English school

It was clear and dark by the time he drove home. Second night in a row without a flat tire. However, when we got home the yard was white again from the snow that had fallen earlier in the afternoon.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Monday we were back to teaching classes with our students. First thing in the morning I had a cup of tea and put the roast that we had found in the freezer in the crockpot to cook all day. I walked down to teach English at eight am and found the students trying to mop up water on the floor that was coming through the ceiling. Garry and Maria took over at nine. I started making up beds, moving a third bed into Maria's old room, she is now sleeping in the summer kitchen. When they finished  their classes at 11:30, they picked me up for a quick trip to Zaporosia.

Maria needed to get some groceries and medicine for her parents who were sick and housebound in their apartment, and I wanted some groceries because we had company coming in the afternoon (which was why I was doing beds and cleaning). Our missionary friend Adam was coming to Dnepro to pick up his friend Issac who was flying in from Alberta Monday afternoon. He had visited us a couple years ago, the last time he was in Ukraine, so Adam had called asked if they could spend the night. Then Daryl asked to join the group Saturday and Adam phoned Sunday evening about an orphan friend of our Kolya who is going to university in Dnepro who'd like to come out too.

On the way to the city Garry explained what had happened with the ceiling. Shortly after the roof was put on, one of the students decided to throw rocks at the windows in the attic and broke them. They were never fixed and the attic had a pile of snow blow in which was melting with the warm weather. Garry had a couple of the guys go up to the attic to shovel snow out. Tuesday morning there was still water puddling on the tile floor in the classroom, hopefully things will dry out soon, looks like we will be replacing some of the water stained tiles in the drop ceiling.

We headed toward Maria's neighborhood, where Garry's first stop was at the sitdown shaslik place for lunch. Garry loves to eat the meat and veggie filled wraps, but normally you have to stand in the street to eat them, which is not easy. Then Maria needed to stop at an Aptenka (drugstore), but while we were eating, Garry mentioned how much he needed a haircut and she said she knew a good place, near some aptenkas. So we went there and parked along the street. 15 minutes later, Garry had his haircut and Maria had bought her drugs, so we were off to the grocery store.

Garry pushed one cart that I helped him fill with stuff we needed while Maria filled hers. It took us a few tries to weigh our potatoes and onions, some stores have numbers on the bins that you punch in to get your price stickers for your bags, but this grocery chain writes the names in Ukrainian and you hunt for them; so you have to remember which kind it is when you get to the machine. There were four kinds of onions and five or six types of potatoes, I went back to the potato bins more than once to look and try to remember what it was again.   Then we couldn't figure out how to get the machine to print the label once we found the correct type, most scales have a button with a star or something on... and a red arrow pointing at the button, too, but this one seemed to just randomly spit one out... or not while we tried different things to make it work.

Garry drove home and I got the groceries unpacked while Maria had some soup from the fridge and Garry went to check on some stuff at the barn. He is really getting around well in his walking boot with his good foot in a rubber boot. Then he takes it off and walks around the house without it, which he insists is fine to do. He's supposed to wear the walking boot for a couple more weeks. At least he's wearing it when he goes outside.

Our company arrived around three pm, just after Garry had returned from getting the mill working. One of the girls had come to say there was no power to it when we got home, so she couldn't grind the corn for feeding cows (it goes in the TMR). So when Garry got back from the other barn, he went to check it out since we had power in the house and the breaker was not tripped. While he was there, he sent one of the boys in for the hammer and some nails to fix the heifer escaping problem since there were some boards right there to nail under the railing they were climbing under. It seems he is solving some problem everyday.

After some talking and coffee, Garry and the guys all went for a tour while I made the rest of dinner to go with the meat in the crockpot, which really smelled good when we got back from shopping. Peeled potatoes, put them in the oven, mixed up some apple tarts put them in muffin tins on the top rack and prepped my veggie mix and fried the sliced cabbage, mushrooms, chopped onions and grated carrots before they got back shortly after five pm with Kolya in tow. He told me he could just have some tea, but I told him we just needed another place setting and stool (my bench had been at the classroom since Christmas I'm told, I carried it home after class this (Tuesday) morning). Maria came in to join us for dinner.

After dinner we cleared the table Kolya's friend Roma thought the dishwasher was really cool, he and Adam helped me load it. Kolya and Maria left and Isaac got out a card game called Exploding Kittens, which Garry really enjoyed playing with the guys while I took a couple of video calls on facebook from Canada, one from our Max Boradin, who looked like he was studying hard and then my daily Jessica and Abby call. Abby who is six months old, is no longer looking in the hallway when she hears my voice like she did the first week we were back, Gramma is in the computer again, not at her house. At nine pm the younger guys went to check out evening milking, while Garry and Daryl talked and I got a few more crochet pieces done for an afghan I am working on. They got back from the barn, showered and everyone headed to bed by eleven pm, when I emptied and refilled the magic dishwasher and let it work while I slept.

In the morning it was quite foggy out, with the warm weather overnight (the water on the road did not ice over like Monday morning) and the melting snow. I got something going for breakfast and headed out to teach English while they ate, the guys left after Garry and Maria went to teach. Garry popped back in the house looking for his ziplock bags for the yeast experiment he wanted to do the day before, but he'd run out of time. It got put off until Tuesday because they talked so much about bacteria and showering.They have been reviewing what Maria taught them the two weeks before we returned. Garry says that they remembered more today than yesterday when he asked questions. Apparently Maria even highlighted one answer on the overhead and they still didn't give the answer. They are learning about cattle diseases now.

Monday, February 20, 2017


On Sunday we went to church in the village. Garry has been thinking about going to church in the village to encourage the students and group home parents to go there. We went at 10 am (Max had told Garry the start time) and found Luda, her daughters and the girls from her house there. I got photos because they were sitting across from the empty seats we found.

We were just in time for singing hymns, someone shared their hymnal with us. It is sometimes tricky to find the right number we found. Masha, our newest student, even read scripture during the service. We would find the Bible verses on the Bible in my phone to follow along with the sermon readings.
We did have some problems understanding the sermon, because it was in Ukrainian, not Russian. After the service we shook hands with a few people and answered questions about how Max Boradin was doing in Canada. We found his Providence Prayer Reminder card on the wall, he sent it back to the church with us last winter.
After church I suggested I walk home while Garry drove Luda and the girls home. It seemed only fair to reward them for being there  (and more steps makes my fitbit happy).Their group home is the farthest from church and they had walked more than a kilometer in the melting snow to get there.

It was a nice day to walk a little, I was feeling quite warm walking home; t was above freezing and the water was running down the street (even more today, Monday).
the church

our house in its warm coat of insulation and stucco
the color will be added in the spring

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Getting acclimated

I always joke about the transition from Manitoba to Ukraine and back again. In 2010 I had blog posts about the 10 best things about being in each place.

It is more than whether you drink (or cook with) the tap water, or flush the toilet paper.

 There is a big difference between well water from the middle of the Sandilands Forest and well water here in the village- it is "salty" and corrosive to the water pipes, taps, and even the hot water heater tank, which was replaced in the house two winters ago when it broke open while we were in Canada, getting water all over the laminate flooring in our bedroom. You can still see the water line on the closet drywall (it is in our clothes closet since it backs onto the bathroom).

When we were shopping the day after getting here last week, I made a critical error and forgot the "if its on the package it's in the package rule". We learned this the first summer we were here and bought what was called mexicali tuna fish in a can. There was a picture with corn and kidney beans and other things on the front and that was not a serving suggestion- it was what was in the can. It didn't take me long to learn the Russian and Ukrainian words for in oil and in water or broth, so I could get the one I wanted.

What did I buy last week? Facial tissues. and I decided to save a few grivna and not buy Kleenex brand. I picked up the children's box (with crayon drawn zebras on it) of a cheaper brand of tissues, and thought- hey why not buy the ones with lemons on instead? Because you have to remember not to breathe in before blowing your nose with them, it's like inhaling lemon pledge. I mean the whole room smells when you pull one out of the box. I should have realized it because we bought them once before, but I was not in Ukrainian mode yet, after two months in Canada. If you are wondering, the zebra box does not smell like zebras.

Garry drove to the city this morning, one of the girls wanted to attend a Christian conference today, and he dropped her off before hunting for a milker bucket lid with Victor. When we got home they were milking four cows over here at the "old farm" (three times a day) because they could only milk them in the line, three fresh cows and one Yana was worried would not be able to adjust that calved since Garry left. The cow- I forget her name- has bad legs- but gives lots of milk, she said. Garry has decided she will go over with the rest of the cows and if she doesn't adjust, we will sell her to someone looking for a milk cow.

Garry went over for afternoon milking and was gone for a while, he was doing some preg checking. Apparently the breeding chart where the cows who are calving now, or need to dry off before they have a calf in the next two months is missing too. See previous post for the Let's burn some paper to light the fire problem. Yana was trying to reconstruct all the information we do have, they mostly burnt the unused pages from her calving record book. Yesterday they tagged and moved some of the calves who were in the hutches and off milk (weaned and eating grain 2-3 months old) so they could put new ones in the hutches, which are over at the other farm. Garry tells me many of the calves being born now are solid red, and some that were born in December were red and white, instead of black and white.

Tonight Ilya, Max Borodin's friend stopped in to pick up the bag of stuff Max sent for him from Canada. Most of the tools and parts have departed the house for the shop now. I am getting ready for some company on Monday and Maria moved out to the summer kitchen this weekend, at least she started. Garry told her she could still eat here, so not sure how different it will be. She went home today to her parents, but she'll be back on Monday for our first week of teaching.

Garry was missing CNN and the "Trump update" he'd been watching everyday in Canada, but he found out he can watch via the internet. We used to have an international CNN feed on the satellite but it disappeared last fall, so we can only watch BBC for news in English on the tv.

Snow, love and catching up

Sledding in Zaporosia park on Sunday

Everything is back to normal... well almost. We seem to be getting over jet lag. Still getting up in the middle of the night sometimes. The snow has melted a bit in the last two days. Garry has been getting around, trying to get everything back on track. He may have overdone it a bit on Monday and Tuesday morning, he has been helping with milking to get everyone working faster. When he is there it takes an hour to milk, it had been taking two hours to milk 70 cows with 3-5 people in the parlor. We were close to or over our electric allotment last month, so making the vacuum pump run for half the time will help with reducing that bill.

Garry is a little upset, it seems all his unused breeding charts and the one that he was using when he left (and where Max wrote any cows he had bred in the last two months) have disappeared. He thinks that the students shredded them and used them as tinder for starting the woodstove over there in the milkhouse, along with some of the milk filters, since Victor had to buy more unexpectedly when there was suddenly none left a couple weeks ago.

On Monday Garry had Max go buy train tickets for the annual student trip to Kiev for the farm show. He had a plan were the first year students would go one day and the second year students the next (and the two of us would stay there overnight) but the only day there were tickets available for the overnight train was Wednesday, so everyone was going together and returning on Thursday night's train.

view from the 9th floor
Tuesday morning, Valentines Day, Garry went off for morning milking, and one of the cows was stuck behind a freestall, so he helped push her out and hurt his foot a bit, so he took a nap after breakfast, and told Max to return our two tickets because he was not up to all the walking after all. His foot was sore and looking rather more swollen Tuesday at noon (I am happy to report after taking it a little easier for the rest of the week it's not as swollen).

 I had brought him a card and box of chocolates from Canada, but he had decided to book a hotel room in Zaporosia for my Valentine's present. We woke up from our nap around noon (I was still not sleeping much at night) and drove to the city. Mc Donalds has finally finished their renovation and has reopened, so we got Mc Nuggets and village fries (think wedges) going thorough the new two lane drive-thru and checked in at the INTourist Hotel.

It started snowing in the afternoon, so traffic was a little snarled when we went out for dinner at 5 pm. All our favorite restaurants wanted a reservation, so we went to the mall for chicken sandwiches and salad, followed by so Lviv chocolates before heading back to the hotel.

Breakfast buffet at the hotel

We drove home around 11 am to make sure everyone was organized for their trip to the city. The highway was mostly just wet, (with a few more holes than the fall) except for the one section where the two lanes collapse into one just before the village because it was never cleared well after the big snow they had (it's on a curve and it tends to drift there.)

The road into the village has a set of tracks with bare pavement, it can be a little tricky getting in and out onto the highway. When you meet someone you have one sides' tires in some deeper snow.
The street thorough the village was not plowed and is icy under the bumpy snow. Hopefully the whole mess will melt next week when it is supposed to warm up above freezing.

Since we did not go off the Kiev with the students, Maria, Max, his brother and one group home family, we invited the four grad students and the two other students who did not want to go on the trip and were working on the farms for afternoon pizza before went to our Thursday night English Bible study. Garry has promised to take them to the show in Zap next month if they want to come.

The other students and supervisors got home Friday morning, it seemed like they had a good time and did not have any major mishaps.  One guy missed getting on the Metro (subway) car with the rest, but he successfully caught the next train and found the group.

 We had a couple student romances that changed partners while we were gone, but it seems the broken hearts are recovering. One couple has been dating for 18 months, rumor is they want to get married this summer.

Nina, the first year girl with the short hair, decided to leave this week, she had planned to leave Thursday but decided to stay for the trip apparently. If he'd know on Monday that she was leaving, Garry would have told Max not to buy her a ticket and saved the 500 grivna. She had trouble adjusting from the start, disliked the work, and was having more problems trying to get the guys to do her work for her the longer she was here, I think. While we were in Canada she came into some money and took off to Kiev for a week until it was gone. Not the first time a student has done it, and likely not the last.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Back in the village

I am lying on the couch with Box sitting on my legs and Polo under the coffee table typing. The internet is working great here, of course. Garry had a phone call in Russian about going to breed a cow before noon today, so he went off in the car when Max brought it. Apparently he went over for afternoon milking. Some of the students have come to the door to say hello, and we have to get some groceries. There is some snow here.

All our flights went on time, we had quick connections and they all worked well. Noah and Audrey drove us to the airport, it was hard to cram all the suitcases (6 large ones plus carry-ons) in their new car, which is a Dodge SUV. Interestingly, we flew west to Calgary Friday afternoon before flying to Amsterdam and then to Kiev. Garry had no problems walking in the airports, so we did not use the wheelchair service we had booked when he was not supposed to be walking yet. In Calgary we landed at A and had to go to D, but has a little golf cart tram line for everyone to ride to move between terminal sections- so we didn't have to walk all the way.

Victor meet us at the airport in Kiev at 1:30 (Saturday) and drove us home, it went great no flat tires, a few bumps/holes of course.

We made one stop at Mc Donalds around 6 pm for dinner and were home before nine pm and got the six suitcases unpacked. I was amazed they all made it, nothing broke and they were all going around the baggage carousel when we got through customs, which had gone fast, too.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Our bags are packed, Garry's ready to go...

This year we are flying back together, since Garry was still supposed to be unable to put weight on his foot, but at last week's doctor appointment he got the surgeon's approval to start walking on it in the boot (the x-rays looked really good) and he has rapidly left the crutches behind. So maybe I could have stayed like normal and had a couple more weeks to play with the grandkids.

We fly out early this afternoon and in 24 hours will be in Kiev, where Victor is meeting us, and our six suitcases, one for each of us, three with used jeans for the students and farm parts and shovels and brooms heads for Garry (he can never find good ones there) and one more with donated sneakers that Roy and the Steinbach team had donated to the project, they will bring the rest next month. Thanks Source for Sports in Steinbach for 50 pairs this year.

We also have t shirts, designed and donated by Creative Print All that the students will be wearing for our annual trip to the farm show in Kiev next week. The design has Hope for Each in English and in Russian, and is printed in yellow and blue, the colors of the flag, and a hidden cross and cow, too.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Good news at the doctors

Well Garry was all smiles as he headed off to see supporters in Salmon Arm BC early this morning, since his checkup went great yesterday. The doctors looked at the x-rays they took and told him he can start walking with crutches already, and he can start using one crutch as a cane a week later and then a month in the walking boot.

Since we had only brought his "pegleg" to the city with us and stayed overnight, he won't be able to start really using it until he is home Monday at midnight when I pick him up at the airport, but its great news. (I am assuming he arrived there safely, I had a message from him in Edmonton, where he had a couple hour layover).  Looks like things are good for flying out next Friday for Ukraine, I have three suitcases full and two partial ones packed now.

Sadly we will just miss the memorial service for our dear friend Sandy Tremaine, who was with us this summer in Ukraine teaching English, since it will be the following day. Sandy was a wonderful Christian lady who will be missed by everyone who met her. She and her husband Don taught the previous summer also and the returning students were so happy to see her again. They also helped out for a week in the village both summers.

Registration night Don Sandy and some ladies who were waiting to see them