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

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Catching bees

Tuesday Garry was back on the tractor while I was in and out of the house watering the garden. I kept having students show up looking for Garry, they couldn't seem to get their heads around the fact he was out in the field. He did get finished mowing hay by one pm, and Artom finished spraying the rest of the wheat so he could get back to driving tractor instead of Garry on Wednesday morning.

Garry had a few things to do in the afternoon, meeting with a pastor friend of our new translator, out under the walnut trees. That's right we have hired a new translator, Nellya, a single lady closer to our age, we hope she will be able to be a group home parent as well, because Luda decided to leave us to start over in western Ukraine with her adult children.

Garry had noticed a lot of bees flying around while he was outside (with the new hives there are more around) but around four o'clock he came in the house, because he had found a swarm of bees on one of the apple trees in the yard.  He was upset that he couldn't call Victor because his phone book had somehow disappeared on his new phone, he only had a couple of numbers, and none of the important ones.

Max cutting the branch they were on
Luckily I figured out how to find Victor's number (I have only Garry on my phone, and we gave my other phone to Nellya to use a few days ago, she didn't have a cell) I turned off airplane mode which was on, and then it was there. I hurried after Garry who was ready to go with Max and get them, so he could phone for more guidance on catching them.

Here are some photos I took with my phone of them catching the bees, Victor will be out today to see them, we are wondering if it is the rogue group that broke away with the old queen from the yellow box that he had noticed the day before while checking the bee hives. That box had a new young queen in now.

Garry and Max were in the protective bee hats, shirts and gloves and had a pail of water and a little Ukrainian broom, Victor had told them to wet the bees to calm them and had a ladder and the rechargeable circular saw to cut the branch off the bees were on. They had the old green box that was empty to put them in under the tree (that was the one the hive that died over the winter was in).

sprinkling water

 First Max climbed the ladder and used the broom to sprinkle water on the bees, then he used the saw to cut the branch and held onto it at the same time. Then he handed it off to Garry, while a small clump of bees fell off on the ground, but he stuck the branch on the box and got as many bees in as possible.

Handing over the bee branch
into the box

 The audience they had gotten of people working in the yard had moved further away when the branch came down (the cats stuck around) and the bees were buzzing around but they got most of the them in and closed most of the top of the box, they left a hole that the rest of the bees used to join them.

Twenty minutes later, all the bees had settled down in their new home. We left the box there on the ground. Victor phoned back after seeing the photos on facebook to say they should be moved around dark. Around eight pm, as dusk was falling I helped Garry move the box into line with the rest of the bee boxes, so all the hives will have safe traffic patterns home.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Still working on irrigation set up

It's Monday (and now Tuesday) and Max is still welding bits and pieces of the irrigation system together, I am not sure when we will have the water on out there. Apparently some parts that were screwed together leak a lot so he is improving it.

The only rain over the weekend lasted about 10 minutes early Saturday afternoon, there were some puddles on the road because it poured for five minutes, but the garden is so dry I put the sprinkler back on it this afternoon. This morning we realized some seeds that had never come up finally sprouted after we watered it well a couple days ago. Garry and I hand weeded the last section of garden and found tiny carrots and beets up under the weeds.
 The peas are just starting to bloom today. I replanted part of my green bean row, they came up last week but about six feet has no beans up, with one lonely plant at the end of the row. I ended up with 8000 steps on my fitbit Monday and that was just cleaning house and gardening!

The black parts are the filters
Sunday evening I got some photos of the irrigation line work in the field with my cell phone around 6 pm.

 The little drip lines all need to be attached to the big hoses. However the special tool they ordered to do this did not work very well, if I understood correctly (sorry no one translated for me, so I sometimes guess the parts I don't understand).

We had gone out there after our tour left. (I only got one photo that afternoon, but I downloaded some from them to show you),
 They had a good time, I think, some drove here in private cars, but most came in a bus his English school hired for the day. They were earlier that we expected, so I was not quite ready so Garry did a little village tour down to the classroom while I cooked the last hamburgers and put them in the oven to stay warm and set up the cheese room tables for our salad master class.

We did the classic American potato salad they had requested, plus my favorite coleslaw, they sliced cabbage and were surprised to add chopped apples and mayonnaise with orange juice. Several told me that they never have cabbage salad that is sweet like this, but they liked it.

 Garry and some helpers started a fire and cooked some hot dogs and brought out the burgers, fixings and tuna macaroni salad to the cheese house and everyone lined up to fix their plates and eat. After that most of the group walked over to the barn with Garry to see the cows milking and pet the calves.

 When they returned it was make your own ice cream sundaes in the shade under the trees and then the hands on brownie making class for those interested (more than for salads) while Garry showed his bees to some of the others.

Then they got to eat some brownies I baked in the morning, I went inside to start baking, with some cleanup volunteers (I had a couple help clean up the meal while the rest went to the barn, too). They played some games in the yard before leaving. We are still eating brownies, that they mixed up since they left before they were done.

We had so much leftover food that Garry invited the guys in the field to come eat when they were done. I had gone to bed before they arrived around 9 pm, but Garry did all the work (I got up and helped find things in the fridge as it was jammed with leftovers). They had microwaved hot dogs and lots of salads, followed by ice cream sundaes and brownies.

Since Max is busy trying to get the irrigation set up finished and Artom is spraying the wheat again, Garry spent Monday mowing wheat (not all of it, they are leaving some for harvest, that is what Artom is spraying) and then fixing the  PTO on the tractor so he could mow more. They don't think anyone else is up to the job of mowing, apparently both tractor's PTOs are damaged from trying to grind wet hay in the TMR. He is missing a skid off the mower, which was making it more difficult to mow, no one is sure when it fell off, and they don't know if they can get one in Ukraine. This morning (Tuesday)  he hopes to finish with the wheat, then he will mow more hay down.
 He also bred cows for people in the morning before mowing and after he got back, but he said if he had realized that would take an hour to do it he would have said no, he was so tired when got back to the house after ten! He did say at least they had a nice car to ride in. On Sunday besides (or between?) church and the English school tour he bred six cows, two in our barn and four for other people. It's the season with all the village cows having gone out to pasture a couple weeks ago.

There's the guard house that Dima was improving on
The first year guys were impressed with taking turns staying in the little house overnight for the new guard job in the field to watch the irrigation equipment, we'll see how long that lasts (the excitement, not the job, it will be all summer). Garry gave Dima the job of fixing  up the "house" in the yard (it was one Victor's father had used for staying by the bee hives) but he improved so much, adding a wooden floor and actual glass in the windows; that Garry was worried it would be too heavy to load up to take to the field!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Football or soccer

 We finally attended one of the games of the village football team, you'd probably call it soccer if you are from the US or Canada. The team started playing last year, and one of our guys, Kolya plays on it. Garry tried to get to a couple of games to watch him last year, but it never worked out.
Kolya waiting to go in for the second half
Sorry Garry is blurry, I used my cell phone
 We have donated a few things for the village team, the Steinbach team brought some nets for the goals for the school, but they did not work for the school, because they have smaller ones. However the village team was excited to get and care for the nets, which fit the goals on the big football field way behind the school. They also got some practice balls, and last week Kolya got a set of matching white t-shirts from the attic for back up jerseys (I think Jack brought them last year).
 The home team -Nikoliapolia- in the red jerseys (someone donated them because last year they didn't have matching shirts)- won 3-1. So far this year they have won several times and only lost once.
It seems like many people in the village were there cheering, kids running up and down the sidelines and some of the 8-12 year olds playing football behind both goals during the game- and on the field at halftime. Teenage girls dressed to see and be seen walking up and down the sidelines, and people cheering, drinking and watching the game. A fun time early Saturday evening.

2009- the boys made the goal and played all summer
Garry said he recognized a couple of the young men on the team as the boys he and our sons Seth and Jonah played with down the street in 2009, right in front of where our school and-apartments are today. That was how Garry and boys learned the Russian word for car, Ma-sheen-na! was yelled to get everyone off the road when a car was coming.

Today a couple of our students were kicking one of the balls in the same place, I even heard someone say "machina" to warn of an approaching car.


Friday, May 26, 2017

What I do all day

Garry tells people I crochet all day, but some days I don't get much done on play food and teddy bears for the grandchildren. Some days it seems all I do is answer the door and say that Garry is not here.

I always write about what Garry is doing, now that spring (and nearly summer) has arrived he is out in the fields or finding other things to keep busy. He keeps saying he has to quit teaching his English conversation classes in Dnepro (only three days left- today, tomorrow and next Friday afternoon) because he is missing hours of daylight that he could be farming or building or... doing something with the students.

Cucumbers had a little frost damage
Since Garry is so busy I have taken over the garden this year, spending an hour or two every morning hoeing and weeding. After having to hunt down the hoe and rake several times in the last couple weeks (the students carry them off to the barn) Garry suggested I save the 20 minutes looking for them, so now they are in the house instead of the shop/shed attached to the house. While I am still waiting for some stuff to come up, it's now looking less weedy out there anyway.

This morning while I was hoeing, I heard the sound of a calf breathing hard, which normally means pneumonia, so I walked over to the shed next to the garden to check it out. I then realized that the problem was the baler twine around the heifer's neck (no one took them off when they moved them from the barn last week) which had gotten so tight it was impeding her  ability to breathe. So I walked back to the house to get something to cut it off. I slipped through the bars of the gate of the pen and walked in circles following her until she put her head thorough the gate. I slid the knife under the plastic baler twine and cut it off. I may get Garry to give her some antibiotics just in case she does have pneumonia.

I got another calf to stand there long enough to cut hers, too, but then I tried to get a couple more and one jumped the fence... well half jumped it, her back legs were still in the pen, so I climbed back out and walked to the garden side of the fence, picked up her front legs and pushed her back in the pen. She isn't very big, so it was not difficult. She had jumped and gotten stuck where the top broken board was that I had been eyeing up while hoeing this week, so I was off to find a hammer, nails and a board.

Eventually I found a non-claw hammer in the shop/shed, a couple of nails Dima had left behind on the ground next to Bear's doghouse where his building project (see next  hopefully Monday's post for the finished project) has been ongoing this week. I hunted all over for a long board and eventually found a nice one by four-ish board under the shed where the baler and other machinery stay, and carried everything around to the heifer shed, and nailed it over top of the last board, so its a little higher and all the way across, so the next time someone is chasing them for something, no calf thinks she can make it over the fence there. Hopefully no heifer will be running in the garden eating corn this summer, too!

 I just have to get Garry to help me get the last three calves out of the potential killer baler twine necklaces later today.

  Leila and I did it Saturday afternoon, I got a little dirty, but she was determined to get them off when she came to the door at 4 o'clock, so I got the knife, after she showed me them. No one jumped over the fence, anyway!

 He went off to pick up the latest shipment of stuff for the irrigation system at Nova Posta in Zaporosia (think shipping company-called- New Post Office- they are immensely popular to send stuff around the country, there are dozens of outlets in the cities.) He had to get more stuff there Saturday morning before racing off to teach Saturday afternoon.

When I got back in the house I realized we were out of purified water for field drinking (Garry has been making sandwiches and hauling cold bottles of water for the students helping with the irrigation project the last couple days) so I spent some time balancing empty pop and water bottles under the tap (on top of a small can) to fill them, and put them in the fridge for later. Then I did a little crocheting and planned out what's for lunch (answer- something with fresh spinach).

 Later today Garry is teaching English and I will go along to do some serious shopping, somehow Garry thought that not many students from his school would pay for an excursion out the the village on a bus, with a Canadian style picnic, when it was suggested a month or  two ago, since they would charge 200 grivna- 80 for the transportation the school was coordinating and 120 person for the lunch. We'd BBQ hamburgers and hot dogs, I'd make potato salad, and there would be ice cream sundaes. He thought there might be a dozen people coming out this Sunday afternoon. but he was wrong there are four dozen coming, 48 people signed up.
 Turns out I forgot that we are supposed to be teaching a "master class" in making potato salad, so I have prepped stuff on Saturday, and we'll be chopping up ingredients and assembling the potato salad, coleslaw and mixing up brownies with the 46 people out in the cheese room (good thing the equipment isn't in there yet.) Hamburger patties are made and in the very full fridge for Sunday.

So tomorrow I'll be working on peeling potatoes We got everything but the potatoes yesterday, he bought those today, lovely new potatoes that I boiled with the skins on.and making brownies (not done yet) to go with the ice cream. I think coleslaw and macaroni tuna salad (I did make that)will be added to the menu to stretch out the potato salad, along with chips and pickles.

Well, better make lunch for Garry, and maybe some sandwiches for a half dozen students in the field. Easy. I may even get more crocheting done. I admit the grandkids are getting a pile of things when I do go home this summer.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Irrigation photos

The peonies are blooming in the yard
As promised, photos of the guys (and girls) working on the irrigation project this afternoon. They were working on it all day, but I caught a ride over to the field with Garry later in the afternoon and then walked back. Garry came in with a pile of bread and helped me put together sandwiches and cookies for the crew for lunch.
Artom filling the sprayer with water yesterday

If you remember all I told you yesterday about how they weren't going to put the water lines in the field, and maybe they would cultivate and replant the corn field they wanted to irrigate? Well forget that, because they aren't doing any of those things, instead they were putting the -plastic lines in the field today. It was decided that it will all be worthwhile anyway. The corn fields are all sprayed for weeds, including this one, and there are a few more corn plants coming up yet in the field.

Some of the guys were working on digging a trench for the big pipes, the filters will be in this area of pipes. They economized by buying four smaller filters for about 800 dollars (total) instead of  $7000 for one the size of the big pipe coming out of the meter and the big line.

Max is busy with welding pipes together for the system. They started on it yesterday.
the meter is in the locked brick box the pipes are coming out of

Artom was driving the tractor across the field, they borrowed the machine to put the plastic drip irrigation lines in the field  from the vegetable farmer.

Those big rolls of plastic are heavy. I helped Garry carry them from the van into the the cheese room after he picked them up at the shipping place of Friday morning. I have a bruise on my forearm from carrying them.

 There were two crews of students cutting and folding the plastic lines at either end of the field. they also had to hold them to start the new rows until the tractor had gone thirty or forty feet.

That's Nikolai standing of the back watching for problems

folding the ends

taking a break until the tractor is back on this side

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Weekend wrap-up

The weather is a definite topic of conversation in the village. We had another touch of frost on Thursday morning, it's been the coldest spring since we came here in 2009. We only lost a couple of tomato plants this time. The promised rain over the weekend did not amount to much precipitation, either.

I am still waiting on my beans to emerge in the garden, I found the first one poking through this morning. However, we had our first harvest of a handful of spinach today, and ate fresh spinach salad at lunchtime.

It is dry for this early in the spring, right now it looks like we are hooking up to the big irrigation pipe to set up irrigation for the corn field (tomorrow, so I'll try to get photos), but if it doesn't rain we'll save the small plastic lines for next year. Although Garry has declared if it does rain a significant amount they will cultivate the field up and replant it, they have leftover bags of corn seed anyway. Some of the later planted sunflower fields have not emerged or only some plants are up, too, it's just too dry.

Of course the day it did rain was Friday, the day they were going to bale up some hay. We went out to the field to get some photos but the baler needed a few repairs before they could start, and we had to leave for Garry's English class in Dnepro. Shortly after getting on the highway it started to rain, the guys only got two loads done before the rain came.

However, the bales they made will keep them from having to go out to the field to greenchop the alfalfa to feed the cows everyday, so it will save them a couple hours. They are still waiting to bale the rest, the baler is getting more repairs. One guy is busy spraying the early cornfields for weeds this week, because we only got a little rain on Friday and some drizzle Monday.
They were really nice looking green bales

 We drove into Dnepro Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week, and we have amazing news, because they are chipping off the asphalt at both ends of the Dnepropetroesk region of the H-08, so we think they are going to repave the whole thing. We have never seen this happen, except in the cities, so we'll keep you updated, since we figure it may take all summer. Garry tells me they had repaved a small section near Dnepro  when he drove the students to evening school yesterday.

He tells me that they have put the traffic all on one side of the highway at this end and are paving at this end today. Today he took one of the boys, Vasili along to the city because he had a toothache, they ended up getting back later than normal and Vasili got a temp root canal and some painkillers before they came back. There are a few more weeks of class, they go Monday and Tuesday afternoons, Vika tells me they have to take three exams next month, history (I think), Ukrainian language and mathematics.

The canola has been blooming for a couple weeks now, the ones that bloomed early are looking less yellow now, the others are still really yellow. In Ukraine canola is planted in the early fall and overwinters so it blooms in May. There are a few fields we pass as we drive into Dnepro.

Sunday we went to church in Dnepro, its nice to see everyone once a month. Afterwards we went over to visit with Lena's English school. I had noticed on facebook memories that it had been five years since we had made paper rockets with them. The younger kids really enjoyed it, some of the older ones had done it when they were little. One rocket was shot off, chased down and relaunched eight times.

Garry's brother John brought the equipment then from Michigan and it's always fun to shoot them off. Since we didn't have a bicycle pump like before we used the tire pump that plugs in the cigarette lighter, so we had to do it next to the van.

The chestnut trees are still blooming, there are so many of the them lining the streets in Dnepro. Some years it is so hot that they bloom for about a week, this year they have been blooming for three weeks because it is so cool.