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

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Some days

 Looking at this beautiful cake we got on Monday night for visiting an English class in Dnepro you'd think all was right with our world here in Ukraine. We help people, everyone is appreciative and even give us gifts.

The sun is shining, last week's snow has melted, today the guys were even able to get back in the fields... but it's not always wonderful.

Thursday evening is when we go to Zaporosia for our English small group meeting, and we are planning to go tonight, if the Mercedes is working. It wouldn't start earlier today, so Garry was trying to fix it for the second time this week. If Max was here, he'd fix it, but he's on that well deserved holiday in Turkey until Sunday (we have heard that they are having a good time there.) Yeah, March 30th when the van burned wasn't a good day either. We are hoping to get a replacement sometime soonish.

Garry came into the house yesterday and said that there was two days of hay left in the mow to feed and two weeks of corn silage. While he was in Canada for two months for his ankle surgery, someone changed the ration and fed way too much corn silage for it to last, so they have been feeding brewers grain and more hay to the cows. Now it looks like they will be getting fresh cut alfalfa to eat in their TMR for a while.

Garry had planted oats early this spring as a cover crop with the new alfalfa seeding, mostly so it could be cut for silage to replace the corn silage, but it looks like all the first cut hay will be feed fresh or as hay before the oats are ready to cut. If you are wondering, yes, they did plant that seed they harvested from the alfalfa fields last year when they left some flowers for the bees, Max bought some additional seed from the place where they got it cleaned, because it wasn't quite enough to plant the field.

The oats were affected a bit by the snow, but it should grow out of it, a week after the 8 inches of snow and the temperature is back to 20 C (72 F) and rising. The mature alfalfa fields were 6 inches high before the snow, so there should be some to start cutting anyway. There are 63 cows milking at the moment, and nearly 60 dry cows and big bred heifers that Garry and some of the students chased over to the barnyard by the free stall barn for the summer from the barn here. Now there are just some small heifers left in this barn.

 We should be milking 150 cows by fall. That is part of the reason we are running out of stored feed this spring, there are more cows than last year, and they did not make more corn silage than the summer before (and they used too much to feed heifers while Garry was gone). You can be sure that next summer they will make twice as much.

The 63 cows are making 1100 liters of milk a day, and it being spring, the price is dropping. The milk buyers say they can take the extra milk, but only if they pay less. One milk buyer has fallen way behind in how much she has paid for the milk she takes- like a couple hundred dollars, which does not help when we are paying all our normal expenses plus buying seed, fertilizer and fuel to run the tractors for spring planting. Thanks to CMRF we are planting one 20 hectare corn field with drip irrigation lines this spring, so we'll have one good field even if   when it doesn't rain this summer.

The cheese plant equipment is not quite ready to use yet, Max was working on welding the big vat last week. It will be helpful to have the option to process the excess milk into cheese instaed of dropping the price to sell all the milk. Yesterday evening Garry and Victor used 20 liters of milk to make a practice batch of cheese in my kitchen. Victor stayed over because he was teaching beekeeping today.

fresh cheese

Beekeeping class was today after I taught English (last week we decided to have English every week, so 8 classes in two weeks instead of 4). .

No one got stung (except Victor after the students left)

In Victor's honey room
The peas and spinach I planted in the garden with Marcie before we went to Egypt are up and it looks like every seed sprouted. The onions Maria (Masha ) planted in a square in the center of the garden while we were gone are up too.

That's the other thing that happened yesterday, Maria told him she was leaving that night with Samson (Kolya) the student she fell in love with while we were gone for Christmas. The day before he thought she might leave over the summer since they wanted to get married. She has promised to come translate for his classes for the rest of the year (next month), but she was Garry's assistant and did a lot of the student and staff communication and planning for many parts of the program, and was the contact person for new students and organizations for us. So we are trying with Victor's help to get things organized. Two weeks ago, Garry had to let a group home parent go, so we need to fill two positions over the summer.

But, hey, the sun is shining and the big May 1 holiday is on Monday. We are even taking two days off from school like the rest of the country. One of the students worked up a schedule for work today (one of Masha's jobs). He did miss my English class doing it, but its a start, I guess.

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