Archive for the ‘village life’ Category


this is the fields / forest near our village— 100s of mole mounds!!! We have them in our backyard, too. New word in Russian! Mole = крот.


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One “fun” part of village life, and moving into a house that wasn’t lived in for several years, is the wildlife that occupies our rooms.

Our storage-room-turned-bathroom is of particular interest because Vitaliy made the floors warmable, so in winter, guess where the creatures go? Of particular interest was the snake that came in and out through a hole in the floor. He even left his shed skin next to the dryer one day.

Vitaliy covered that hole, so we only know of snakes inhabiting the summer kitchen at this point.

Ukrainian history and architecture note: The summer kitchen is a tiny building outside, not attached to this house, with  a clay stove inside (and sometimes they have gas stoves added) so cooking can be done outside the house in the hot summertime. The clay oven (pechka) in the house was also a major part of the heating system. We removed that oven after a while, though we used it when we had it, just to live romantically. We did leave the gruba which is a fire-heatable wall that warms the house for a long while.

We also have mice living all throughout this house. We had mice sightings 🙂 So weeks ago, Vitaliy put out tons of poison in all these hidden places — so the mice would find it and not Andre. The poison causes the mice to not be able to run quickly, and then it kills them. So we’ve been collecting now-countless numbers of dead and half-dead mice …


Mice, snakes … and Vitaliy and Igor went fishing, so now we have this in our bathtub … a pike maybe?


It’s not Africa, but it’s a jungle out here.

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Knock me down with a feather.

Well,  first. Let me explain. Yesterday V went to Kiev to observe some weekly evangelism a group does with addicts, and while there, he did some heavy shopping– we’re trying to take advantage of our money at this time when we don’t have to pay rent and the exchange rate is so favorable to the dollar.

So he bought the rehab center their own washing machine. It’s not too hard to share with them, but them having their own will just be handier for all of us– especially them.

We also bought a stand-up freezer. We’ve thought of getting one for our 10 years of marriage, and … now we have one 😉  I like freezing the berries of summer, and I’ve been stuffing our current freezer with foods for after the baby’s born … I’d also like to move now to monthly big shopping (instead of weekly), so having room to store meats and stuff longer-term will be good for that.

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Then, after 10 years of marriage, he bought me a wall clock in the style that I love. He doesn’t love or understand the existence of this style, and this is, I think, the first time something like this has happened in our marriage!

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Meanwhile, the war with Russia rages on …


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this was the morning start– To do: net and priming around the ceiling-wall connection, priming along the wooden beams, second coat on the gruba.


Second coat started on gruba:


Wooden beams started


I put the frozen vareniki from yesterday in a bag for storage


Later I made nalistniki–crepes with meat/fried onion inside–and put some into the freezer– I’m trying to do extra this week while the girls are gone– it’s a lot easier with 2 less mouths to feed 🙂



This is the second coat on the gruba drying


A wall– gray patches are where the primer was put to fill in holes


wooden beams along the ceiling– left one is still just netted, right one is coated with primer


Vitaliy thinks we can start painting tomorrow. Friday too. Then Saturday is a workday for the rehab center–some men will come from our church in Kiev to help out. They’re laying the foundation for the veranda around the front of the building.

Oh, in order to clear out the bedroom, we put everything in the kitchen. It’s actually pretty handy because we still have access to everything we need.

From this chair at the computer desk where I’m sitting, here are shots of the room from right to left.





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Today’s work was something like priming the walls. Just Vitaliy and Igor worked in the bedroom–I made vareniki. Igor first did the third window frame, while V scrubbed off the white, chalky coating from the gruba (brick/clay heating wall) down to the clay, put net on it, and then slathered it with the primer stuff. I want to say spackle, but I’m not sure it’s exactly that. They filled in the holes in the walls and around the bottom of the room. And across the ceiling are two wooden beams– they put net over those and started covering them.

Tomorrow, more of the same. More coating on the gruba, finishing the wooden beams. Then Th or Fri we’ll begin painting.

Here you see the side of the gruba (the white with net over it) and the front face/long part of the wall already plastered up with the grey stuff.


I made extra vareniki to freeze for after birth food ❤


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So, here are photos from today. We got a lot done! And nobody died doing it, I even took a nap, and best of all, we worked in air conditioning!

This is the morning when we started clearing out the room. We have everything nicely set up in the kitchen now– I will post photos of that later.

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Igor worked on the windows all day, this is Vitaliy starting on the walls.

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I climbed up on the top of the bunk bed to work on the ceilings and tops of the walls, and Vitaliy decided to put dry wall up for the ceilings.

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Stripping walls of wall paper

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This is the finished room– finished stripping. It was a big job– the wallpaper stuck in some places, so we had to use a spray bottle and scrape it off, but all in all, it wasn’t too bad. I’m glad we’re getting out years of dust and some mold (though V tells me it’s “healthy” mold). And can air out the room a bit.

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The dark holes you see in the wall is actually the clay the house is partially made of.

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Here’s what Igor did on the windows:





We’re eating easy this week, too, bought some easy foods and prepared foods, which is a big help, and it’s super to do this while the girls are at camp! Andre did great dinking around, playing with various little tools and water. I just had the brilliant idea that we could find some cartoons for him to watch tomorrow.

A lovely start! It’s nice to be working together after 10 years of marriage– it all just flows in a pleasant way.

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Every Sunday we stop at Ashan (Auchan, from the German, though I don’t know what it means). Think Wal-Mart, if you’re American– huge store, low prices. So lately I’ve been gradually buying some household things that are necessary while adding nice touches. Here are some things I got today, aside from the week’s groceries:

I was wanting a towel-fabric-type rug to go in front of the sink, and lo and behold, I found just that


Needed/Wanted some new hand towels– they get worn out so fast!

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A dish-drying pad for the counter–I mostly hand-wash.


Love the designs on this dustpan and broom set.

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Now about the big project, we’ve decided to paint the bedroom walls while the girls are away at camp. Here’s the current situation, some of this is still bagged up stuff from the window replacement days.


The white wall on the right is the grooba– it’s a heating wall made of bricks and clay. The current paint job is like a chalky paint that comes off on you if you touch/rub it. We bought a certain paint to paint over it with.


New windows– one hooked up so the portable A/C hot air tube goes outside.


We’ll start all the prep work tomorrow, then the spackling, then painting. We’re doing a textured/marbleized look so we can keep it simple and cover the defects so as not to straighten the walls with spackle everywhere–that is a huge job! It’s one plain coat (blue), that dries, then a coat of dark yellow textured by laying and lifting plastic wrap on it while it’s wet.

I’m glad to be keeping busy this last month of pregnancy. I was hoping to chug along and get this bedroom job done up in 3 days, but after all the tightenings today, I’m happy to space it out till Friday, hopefully, and rest more when I need. (The center has a workday Saturday to lay the foundation of the veranda they’re putting around their building.)

Will try to post pictures.

And now, I will continue resting  🙂



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