Wednesday, May 04, 2016

A break in the rain.

We have had so much rain the last few weeks that it is almost unbelievable.  Certainly more then I have seen here, and the forecast is calling for more.  That has really set us back in a lot of ways.

We can not get the tractor on to the fields to prepare them for planting.  I had an afternoon last week when I was able to get three fields tilled, and 2 of them the second tilling with the plow attachment on to form the rows and the irrigation canals, but thats as far as I could get before I got rained out.  We have had our first full dry day today in a while and tomorrow is supposed to be dry as well.  I am hoping to get the next three fields tilled and plowed if I can get on them.  We should be OK.  The tractor has streamline things so much that we are on target still with the planting, and with the extra fields this year we are staggering the produce so by tomorrow we will have 1/2 of everything planted, then we will start planting a duplicate after that so the crops will be staggered by a few weeks to give a longer growing season.

Its not only the planting that has been slowed up, The green house project is taking a hit as well.  The type of green house we are doing is a Pit Greenhouse with the back wall made of mud bricks and then a burm piled up against it.  This has made it almost impossible to do much because the blocks need dry weather to set up and dry properly.. Today they were back at it

waiting for the rain to stop 

this is an example of what we will be building except that we are hopping to use poly carbonate rather then plastic.
It is interesting to see the walls go up.  First the mud and the straw are mixed up , then the mettle form is put into place 

the form is then packed with the mud mixture, and let to set for a bit while the next batch of mud is mixed. Then the form is carefully lifted off and moved to the location of the next block

Today Sydoola had a friend from Germany here who is an expert at this type of green house and wanted to look over the project and discuss it with Sydula and Jengish

Over at the hospital, they are coming along great .. probably by the end of tomorrow they will be ready for the tin to go onto the roof.

I stood watching the boys for a few minuted this morning, and was quite amazed at how well they were doing .  They both appeared to have a full understanding of the project, and were able to work independently, measuring, cutting . and nailing rafters in place.  It was so encouraging to see them.. I was a proud poppa.. It also speaks to Vladys abilities, not just doing the work but being such a great teacher and mentor for the boys as well.

So the trees were at the point that they needed to be thinned out.  I was all set but when it came to it I just could not bring myself to do it .  Its not like thinning carrots.. these trees are so Valuable to us at the farm and they have the potential to off set the kids salaries in the future.  So what we did was carefully loosened the soil and gently pulled the duplicates out being careful not to break the long roots.  Then carefully replanted them into fresh peat pots  

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Lots of planting done at the farm

The rain cleared off this afternoon and the sun actually cam out.  Momma and baby calf got to spend some time out on the grass.

Julie and a couple of the kids went back to put the finishing touches on the bus stop .

Notice the old Kyrgyz man sitting at the side of the bus stop.  Ever since we fixed it up, he has been spending his days there guarding it to make sure that people keep it clean and nice.  I think this is the biggest thing that's happened in his life in a long time.  He told Jengish that he would like 3 baby geese so he could raise them to tell him when people came so he could keep an eye out.  Goosey was not willing to give up any of her babies so maybe we will wait until the next batch hatches.. maybe that goose will be a little more agreeable.

we fired up the tractor today to get it ready to head back out on the fields tomorrow afternoon if it dries up a bit . With all the planting today we are just a day ahead of the planters so hoping for a dry day . 

Goosey wanted to see what all the excitement was about 

Masha the pig has a friend for a couple weeks .. 

this is the field that we planted today .. sweet corn, green beans, Chinese long beans, peas. sunflowers, onions, cabbages, carrots beets, radishes and Swiss Chard.  Tomorrow we will plant the broccoli, cantaloupes, watermelons and peppers.  

the next day we have ordered 750 peppers and 750 tomatoes and will pick up a couple hundred egg plants as well  by then we will be caught up to the plow, so pray for a couple dry days so we can get the next field ready to plant. 

the third field will be planted with much of the same but will be planted about two weeks after the first so that we have a longer growing season. 

 not sure if goosey was happy to see me or thought I should stay away from the baby calf, 

a couple new arrivals

The new baby calf has arrived 

This morning we are on our way out to the farm to do some planting .. starting with sweet corn and the long beans.  We also ordered 1500 pepper and tomato plants for tomorrow .    The seedlings are up and doing well.  Likely this week we will transfer them out into the garden. 

We stoped by the hospital to see how Vlady and the boys are doing .  We are putting the roof on the clinic now.  Its looking really good. Vlady is doing the work, but has been having the boys from the farm come out to help him .  Its great that they are such a great resource for us.  

It has been too wet to get onto the fields and do a lot of planting, so we have been catching up on a lot of painting and repairs around the farm, as well as being able to involve the kids in some social projects, like the painting and repair of the bus shelter,  The cleaning up and putting a roof on after the fire, and now the roof on the hospital clinic.   Yesterday they cleaned and bleached everything in the kitchen and pantry to freshen everything up before the summer . 

We also have another new boy out at the farm.  Misha two has finally arrived.  He got all his documents and belongings and arrived last week .  Now to start getting him settled in.. Every time you add a new person the whole pecking order gets messed up and there are bumpy times.  Hoping for a smooth transition. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A few projects off the farm.

We had a short break in the rain , and had a couple dry days so we were able to get on to the fields .  This contraption on the back of the rotter tiller we made up so that as we till, the rows are formed for planting . 

More new babies over in the goat pens ,  

The last few days we had some extra kids on the farm as well.  They were here with their mother as she had a little break from life and some time with Aigula 

There is an old bus shelter in town that I have been eyeing up every time I pass it.. It is kind of run down and the benches are missing off the seats.  We decided that we could do a small day project and fix it up.  We first contacted the mayor to get permission, then brought the boys over and went to work 

 We started by picking up garbage and cleaning up while we were waiting for the paint to boil 

We mixed some colour paints to do the 3D spots. 

Everyone did a great job .

When the painting was done Vlady installed the benches .. what a difference it makes 

A couple days ago I shard about Nadia who had lost her home and son to a fire.  

Today we arrived with the truck full of kids and began cleaning up for her . 

The last 8 feet of the roof needed to come off and be temporally replaced to cover the wall so that the foundation does not wash away over the summer . The original walls were made of mud bricks then parged in and out.   So when it rains they would wash away if not covered,  

over the summer as we have time we can start clearing out the debree from inside and knocking off the scorched loose concrete, then as funds are available we will start replacing the walls with new concrete .  Our goal is to do most of the work in the fall when we return with a couple teams .  We have limited resources right now so we have just worked on making her comfortable and safe, and secure the building so it is still there in the fall. 

The kids all did such a great job, and Vlady once again came threw. 

We made real head way . and managed to get two huge loads of garbage to the dump, and a lot of burnt wood all cut up for her banya and heating.  

Friday, April 22, 2016

Now for the rest of the storey

Earlier today I posted a photo on FB with the caption  "If we start by doing what we CAN do, before you know it you will have done what others said could not be done."   This is so true of the storey today.   
Nadia is about 73 years old. 70 years ago she lost her parents and went into the orphanage system here.  She worked her whole life as a nurse in a local hospital.  6 weeks ago, there was a fire in her home, and her only son died in that fire and the house was destroyed.  
Now she is completely alone and can not find any one to help.  Just now the city and social services here were able to help her a little, just enough to cover funeral expenses. Fortunately her house had a small summer kitchen that she has moved in to 

At this point she only has a bit of clothes and a couple thin blankets and the house is cold and has no heat.  She is now having medical problems from the living conditions and the stress as well as more chronic back pain.  Certainly all this is not helping ..  

So where do you start .. Well last week the TV news came out and did a story about her and gave out her information for any one that wanted to help her.  With that she started to get lots of phone calls .. not people wanting to help, but people trying to get her house and property form her.. "cockroaches."  

We were there with our friend Marat.  He is a very caring young man that we know here in Tokmok who works hard to help so many people.  He was the one that contacted us about Nadia.  We surveyed the situation and have come up with a bit of a plan.  First step is to care for Nadia's immediate needs.  heat, food, clothing, and washed up and to see our Dr Tatyana 

First step was to get some in floor heating that we put under the carpets in her room , and we will cover her electrical bill until summer.  ($75)   The next step will be to put a bit of tin on the roof on the house so that the water does not damage the structure where the roof had been torn off.  This will be another $100.  We are hoping that these funds come in before next Wednesday when we will take the kids from the farm and the truck and go and repair the roof and start the cleaning process.   The next step will be to raise the needed funds over the summer .. about $3000 US to replace the windows and doors, gut the house and rebuild it when we get back here in the fall so that she is in before winter.   We will also start spreading her needs locally and see if we can get furniture and other needed items that we can collect up for her.  We have space in our garrage that we can store the donations until the house is rebuilt.  

Jengish asked her what we could do to help her.. she said that a small manual washing machine would make things a lot better for her ... Its so strange , we have asked older women on their death beds what we could do to help and they have said " A washing machine "  It must be some sort of a comfort thing,  Or maybe if I tried washing my clothes all the time with out one I too would feel the same way.. but either way, if a donation ($150) comes in this week, we will bring her one next week when we go with the kids. 

We had another mother goat give birth today.. This one was a difficulty birth and the mother needed some intervention, but buy the time we got to the farm both mother and baby were doing well 

It was nice to come in to the barn and see the nice row of box stalls , even nicer to know that they are all full of happy mothers and their babies 

while we were at the Bazaar we got a baby bath for Masha, Nastia's daughter, and a decided to get a second one for Goosey .. She spent about 45 minutes playing in it.

After her bath, Goosey came out with us to see Boomer 

Aigoola had the boys busy moving the manure pile further out from the barn.  It had been right outside the back door to the point that the animals soon could walk over the fence.  Now the pile will be further from the door and on the edge of the garden for easy access for fertilizing 

We had to get back to the apartment  by 6 pm today as we were having a special guest . Nadia came to use the shower at our place, then stayed for supper . It was nice for her to sit at a full table and have others to talk to.   Our friends from Ohio brought a few bags of bracelets that friends had made.  We have a few left so we gave Nadia one.  She was very please .. Thank you .