Thursday, July 24, 2014

The rain came, and more next week would be nice, too!

Happy to report that this week the rain came to the village on Monday. This time Dnepropetroesk was not very wet that day while Garry was there teaching English (for more about this read my regular blog), but he had heard that it had rained more in the village. When he got home in the afternoon, only one of the three phases of electricity was working and while I  talked with him that evening there was another thunderstorm and all the power went out.

Garry was smiling though because the corn should be able to keep growing now, and we should get grain corn- especially if it rains a bit more next week! Apparently it really soaked everything, because I just talked to him and they went out to check on the fields on Thursday evening and he said they got stuck in a wet place and spent more than an hour getting our Ford out of the mud.

 Friday he told me that there was no rain in the forecast and hot weather coming next week 35 C (getting close to 100 F) so they would likely start chopping some of the corn that was planted early for silage. However, the rain should help the later planted crop... and definitely only planting enough next year for silage in a dry year. The sunflowers look better than the corn, but in Ukraine they are considered the crop that always grows!

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Here is a photo of Nastya, the only girl signed up for the trade school for the fall. She is a very exuberant orphan girl who has been living at the girls house this past year. Max O, John Wiens Ukrainian coworker, helped find some orphans for Luda to foster parent while the trade school was in limbo. The other two girls will attend other trade schools, but Nastya (short for Anastasia) decided she would like to stay here in the village. She has been helping Maxim Boradin feed the cows often and is always smiling. While the guys have been busy with the straw for the last month, no one has been working fixing up the barn, so a day guard was hired to keep an eye on things. Recently, Nastya has been doing this, and she enjoys playing with the puppies. If you ever met Nastya, she is sure to greet you with a hug.

We also pay someone to sleep there at night, two guys take turns sleeping in the barn, so no one is tempted to walk away with anything. As soon as Garry is done teaching English he plans to jump back into barn reno, as his boxes of pieces for the milking system he shipped while we were home have arrived in Ukraine, so the building of the milk parlor will start to happen in a week or so, watch for photos he sends me with his tablet.

The crops are really needing some rain over there. July is a critical month for a thunderstorm to come over the village and give us a downpour, as wet weather is unusual this time of year. With so much land in corn this year, it is hoped that some of the crop will be grain to sell,  rather than all of it becoming silage for the cows to eat. If it continues to dry out, they may have to chop it soon, as the plants will start dying, and it will be the only option. The later planted corn is starting to tassel now, and the earlier crop is making cobs. The sunflower crop is a little more drought tolerant.Without some decent rain this week the farm will not be able to generate as much income as hoped for day-to-day operation of the school for the coming year (last week would have been better). Next year, they plan to get as much land as possible into winter wheat, which is a much more reliable crop in this area, as it can use the normally wet fall weather to get started. We have only seen one disaster year in the last seven for wheat.
baby Polo (it seems Polo may be a dad)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Did you donate to buy a cow for the school?

If you did, you will be excited to know that the first 15 cows have been found and brought to the barn! Here are some photos of the lucky girls getting on the the truck at their old farm and getting off at the trade school barn.They joined the other heifers and dry cows in the corral, or barn yard over there.

some of the lucky girls

getting onto the truck

Just a few more to go on now 

the truck backs up to a pile of dirt to get them off at the barn
first cow off the truck 

Excited  and running around in the pen

They aren't quite cows yet, but pregnant heifers that will calve (give birth) and become milking cows in about two months, or September, when the new school year starts and we plan to start milking cows in the trade school barn. Many of the cows, the younger ones in the bran here will move over there, but we will buy as many as we can find to fill the stalls with good cows to milk in the "new" milking parlor (a used one from Canada), which Garry plans to install in August after it arrives. He shipped it while we were in Canada for our son's wedding last month. Right now he is looking at get the metal framework for it built and in place.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

meeting one student at a time

Garry, Maria, the group home parents and sometimes Max Olyfeski have been meeting and interviewing prospective students for the fall term. Most of these are coming from Christian organizations working with orphans in Ukraine, or social services after Garry and Maria went to a meeting in Zaporosia with them last month. Since most of the students we have accepted so far are guys, there could be a problem if Ukraine starts drafting in case of war, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it, since we would likely leave the country then!

Over the weekend one of the guys showed up in the village for his interview. He had problems getting here earlier in the week. He called Maria to say he was not coming, because he was going to herd cows to make money for the bus ticket, but it had rained too hard and the herd had not gone out that day.

When Nikolai arrived on Friday at six pm, he was in need of a shower and his clothes were in pretty rough shape. Maxim Boradin recognized him, he had been a year older than Max at the same handicapped orphanage, and has a certificate from a trade school he went to for two years. He filled out some forms, ate some pizza and spent the night at the boys house, where he got the shower. He had one gym bag with his possessions in, and had been staying with/near an aunt (who if I understood is a nun). His father killed his mother while he was in the orphanage and he has seven siblings.

Saturday morning he came to try working on the farm here to see if he would be able to do it.  I got some photos of him with Max B, feeding the cows greenchop with the wheelbarrows.
 He along with some of the guys who at loose ends will come to the village soon and do some work and get paid and pay the group home parents for room and  board (part of our new fiscally responsible program to teach the value of working for what you get in life, to prepare them for the real world when the orphan stipend is over at age 23- or if the government cuts it in the new fiscally responsible Ukrainian government.)