New projects for 2016



Another project built by Canadian teams, the cheese building was finished early April. We hope to have a Canadian cheese maker help us perfect our methods this summer, as soon as we get all the equipment installed.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Farm Show in Kiev - Field Trip photos!

We took a field trip with our second year students! Luckily the two of them fit in the back seat of the van with Maria (Masha) our translator, and we had a good drive, stayed overnight in a hotel before spending the day checking out the show. We looked at getting train tickets, but they were sold out for a Thursday night return to Zaporosia, it is a school holiday week in Ukraine.

We arrived before it opened at 9 am

Looking over equipment outdoors before opening

Maria, Max B and Andrey with combine

Can I get one?

Many foreign exhibitors were there- some from China

Max sitting in a tractor

Me with Maria

Andrey trying a John Deere 

Milking the only cow at the show

Max had a couple bags of brochures and pens by the end of the day

Andrey taking photos of a farm model with his phone


Checking out another piece of machinery

Saturday, October 19, 2013

What's happening this year with the trade school?

You may know that we are in a holding pattern for this year, no new students, and only two students back for year two of the program. John Wiens is in Canada now doing fundraising for the trade school, and we have a group from BC who are raising money and plan to send a team to help with the barn remodeling spring 2014. We plan to have a new group of students start the program next fall, and with the farm up and working to support the program and provide a better work experience for the students, even start a new trade track for students.

The program is undergoing some growing pains from last year, we hope to make it cheaper to run. Last year we gave the students, room board and pocket money, but most of them left us this year because even though we offer a government approved certificate, they could not receive the stipend the government pays monthly to orphans under the age of 23 attending trade schools. Most of our orphans from last year who completed the certificate are attending other trade schools this year, so they can get their monthly cash payment.

Maxim Boradim, our orphan from the "handicapped orphanage" who is not disabled at all, is living with us and along with Andrey (our Max's brother) doing the second year of the course with Garry. Masha comes out on Thursdays to translate, they are working on further balancing of feed rations and will learn to artificially inseminate cows. Masha is also helping Maxim Boradim with his schoolwork as he is attempting to do a correspondence course to finish high school. Orphan students that are labeled handicapped are not allowed to finish the last two years of high school in Ukraine- or even get a drivers licence.

Sweta, who did not finish and went back to Kramatorstk is working at a store there. Max Korabel was working for the local farmer, but quit and moved on to parts unknown with his girlfriend after they got paid this summer.

Our non-orphans from last year, were Alina, Andrey and Verinika, who was baptized this summer. She is studying to take exams to get into a veterinary university in the the spring. She is being tutored by Masha in Ukrainian language and a lady from Zaporosia in Chemistry and Biology. Her parents were worried about Garry paying the bill, but they are happy with it now. They are worried about their only child moving away.


Paint job

The team that came from Germany in the summer did some house painting and fence building (out of old wooden pallets) at the foster homes. I  had the camera with me this week and took some photos while Garry's parents were here. The addition to the boys home is still unfinished inside, but is painted on the outside as you see. It is empty now, but the girls' house mother is still living in the girls' home. Her (grown up) daughter is an artist and painted the traditional designs on the new fence in front.

The girls' house

The back yard with newly planted fruit trees


The boys' house

peeking inside the addition

inside the window

The summer kitchen they used for meals last year

another fence made by the German team

The boys' backyard has bigger fruit trees



Thursday, August 15, 2013

Student update

One of our students from the trade school Veranika was baptized in the  Dniper River on Sunday in Zaporosia. As you can see in the photos the river was very green.












Veranika has been attending John Wiens' church there. She is working at the gas station on the highway this summer, inside selling hotdogs. Nika plans to take the entrance exams next spring for university to become a veterinarian.






Some of the other students were there on Sunday, Alina, Vlad (Vadim) and Max Boradim, all came in our van from the village, and we picked up Nika and her mother on the highway near their village (remember Nika was one of our non-orphan students)
Vlad and Max B in the back, Nika's mother Alina (hiding her face) and Nika
Alina worked on our farm for a month, until it was our turn to herd the village cows. She is back with her brothers in the next village. Maxim Boradim and Andrey are working here on the farm this summer and staying in our house.


Vlad and Sasha (Alex) are living in Zaporosia, and also Katya, who is going to go to a trade school to be a salesgirl next year. Maxim Korabel is working on the farm where he did his work experience, mostly driving tractor.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wrap-up party...well, lunch at our house

Since I am flying to the US and Canada for the next five weeks,  we had the students for lunch today after morning classes. Garry had them doing some practical things and body scoring cows in the barn this morning.  Afterwards, I gave them the same English test we started with in October, and they did better on it. Except Alina, who didn't answer anything, even though she does know some English now, even if her favorite thing to say is "I don't understand"!

It was also Andrey's birthday today, so I baked a chocolate cake to go with the pizza. We sang Happy birthday in English. The students will find out what they will be doing this summer next week, since they did not get visas to visit Canada. Hopefully the trade school gets some donations so work on the barn remodel can proceed this summer.


Garry dishes out the last pizza


Happy birthday Andrei! (center)

Verinika made her t shirt she's wearing

The back has all the student and teachers' names

Friday, May 10, 2013

Back to class

For the whole month of April the students were doing practicum- working at different farms during the weekdays. The two Maxims were at Vitaly's farm (the big farmer I have posted photos of that farm on the regular blog) the other guys at a farm with 60 cows and the girls and Andrei here at our farm. Vlad worked weekends to make up for his missed work- yes all of our students were back by the end of March.

Now they are back to school few a few weeks before exams- well with all the May holidays, today is the first day Garry and I will see them, the had class on Tuesday and Wednesday. Yesterday was Victory Day and we were invited to a picnic with the students, and some of the directors at the pond. Lots of food and games and a hot sun, and even some swimming as you see here. Ev Weins said she enjoyed the family feeling as the students feel free to goof off with Garry.


Alina has fancy hair for the picnic, Katya in red

John Weins cooking the first course (sausages- after games it was chicken)

 Game time - Ev and I were glad we decided to sit in the shade while Garry and John played with the students!

The blind feeding the blind yogurt 

These guys may have been able to see

Garry got a little messy

A water balloon catching game- look out!

This "fight" was staged-  as Verinika punches her teacher

Garry dives in the pond

Nika went in, so the boys had to swim too


Everyone else watching

Verinika spreads her water with hugs of Ev and John

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pizza and other things

Today we had the students in for pizza for lunch, they really liked it. Garry had planned a morning in the barn rather than the classroom for the day. He was hoping it would warm up, but it was pretty cold until this afternoon when we were done, it finally got above freezing. The students scored cows on body condition first, than came in a warmed up with some tea and did the quiz that Garry;s translator prepared about the last quiz. The they went out and gave all the cows vitamin injections to practice giving needles. Veronika even successfully gave a cow an IV, I was told.
Last one!

Veronika ready for the barn

Katya and the kitten

Then they came in for the pizza. I made seven and they ate six, one had no onions as requested by Alina- I got a kiss for that- one was spicy and most of them had a piece and liked it. Then they had their English quiz on word order - subject- verb- and the other stuff. Most of them did very well on it. Of course, we are two boys short as they quit last Friday, and left. Rumor has it that they are on their way back. First we heard one had phoned the director  on Tuesday and now maybe both want to come back and finish their certificate. It seems their friends in the city make fun of them for working on a farm. So we will see hopefully before next week. In April they are scheduled to do more work on the farm, instead of having mostly classroom work and then there will be exams in May.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

February for the trade school

This month the students are working, taking turns getting milking experience in our barn with Yana. Garry was up early and in bed late the first week, training them as they worked, but now they just come and do their thing, and then come in and use our shower, at least most of them have been showering in our bathroom and leaving their dirty barn clothes in bags in the arch room or Andrei's room, where they change.
Alina putting on one of her first milkers- more photos on the other blog

Andrei has missed out on his turns as he has been visiting the hospital in Zaporozhye (that's how spell check wants it, its the way it is spelled on signs in English, but I can not see why they pronounce it Za-por-rose-ya) to get his shoulder checked out, he hurt it sledding while we were in Canada, and they operated on Tuesday afternoon. He is supposed to be in hospital for ten days.

Since our big outing for the month was Tuesday evening to Thursday morning when we took the train to Kiev and visited a farm show with the students he missed out on it too. The students enjoyed the excursion, after the show, which they found impressive, was over we did some sightseeing, riding the Metro (subway) and walking in a downtown park, before getting some dinner, and walking some more before going back to the train station for our 11pm train back to Dnepropetroesk. Everyone returned with us .... so a successful outing! Just joking, here are some photos. Some got out of order while loading, we are still having internet problems...
Wednesday morning 7:20 am we arrive in Kiev

Breakfast at Mc Donalds mmmn ice cream

Deciding which train to take in the subway

Walking from the Metro to the show

photo taking was popular at the show

The whole gang as we arrived at the show - except Yana who took the photo

Maxim K - they loved the big equipment

There was snow in Kiev! and snowballs

Foggy in the park - it was big park, we walked and walked...

Alina throwing snowballs

We walked up to one of the famouse churches in Kiev after dinner

The doors are still open...some of them

Inside the museum

Hello down there! They climbed the bell tower

Vera the school director came with us

This should be last! Back in Dnepro Thursday morning

We rode down the inclined railway to the Metro 

one of the bells