Friday, August 26, 2016

A little One on One

This fall at the farm, things are much more organized and things are starting to fall into routines. Not that the odd strange and exciting event does not take place, but for the most part every one is pulling together.  I am trying to spend time with each of the kids on their own, doing things that will be encouraging to them.  Last week I brought Misha with me on the food deliveries.. He got to return to his orphanage with a car load of food that he had worked hard growing all summer. It was such a great time for him  He then came back to my place and we bottled the honey. He had collected the honey with Vlady so he was eager to continue the process. 

With Nurik, he loves to shop and he loves to eat, so I had him come and help me when I was taking some of the smaller kids to do some back to school shopping, then out for a meal after. And of course he got a new track suit as well .

The last couple of days I have been spending more time with Marat.  Marat is very artistic and loves to do things with his hands. The coolest thing is that as I was working with him it was so encouraging to see him doing this. If it had not been for some of you, he would have been legally blind by now, but instead he was able to have an operation and his eyes are getting steadily better every day.   He is on light duty and still needs a couple more operations, so it was not just fun but a real sense of accomplishment for him as well.  I have taught him how to make signs; the first one is for in front of the guest house. 

The apples are not quite ready yet, but we do have apples and pears starting to drop all over the place, so we set up the juicer on the grinder and now they gather everything up each day and run them through the juicer and what is left is great for the geese. 

Last night Jengish was out at the farm until after midnight working with the boys to slaughter one of the pigs.  Emma has exhausted many of the local suppliers for lard for the soap making, so it was time for one of our big fellows to help with the cause.  

So this morning Marat went from a carpenter to a butcher and learned how to cut meat. 

We then cut all the fat up into little cubes and rendered it into lard and will likely have about 30 or 40 liters by the time we are done. 

And once again the freezer is full. We are looking on line and we have found another large freezer for about $150 US.  We are hoping that things work out that we could buy that so we would have room for both meat and veggies. Things like corn would be much easier and better to freeze then to can and is so expensive in the winter.  

On deliveries today we ended up back at Olga's center for women.   There were probably about 30 ladies there today along with many of their children. They were so blessed to fill large bags with corn, tomatoes and peppers.  I think next week we will bring them potatoes and carrots as well . We did not plant a lot, but they are very cheap compared to peppers and tomatoes so we will trade some peppers for potatoes 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A great opportunity to make a difference.

As you know,  Jengish and Emma  work hard to maintain a good relationship between the farm and the village.  They have done several small community projects like the bus shelter and cleaning up the garbage. This is done through our village chief.  A couple days ago we went with the village chief to a meeting with the regional head of villages.  He is the head of eight villages all close to the farm .. you can actually see three villages , including The Farm from where the main office is..  

We had a few idea's  of how we might be able to help, but before suggesting them we wanted to know what they thought.  They shared with us a very ambitious, much needed pre school project that they are working on.
Before I tell about this specific project , I want to tell a bit about the importance of it.  Especially in the smaller villages, when every one old enough to work needs to work just so the family can service, little children are often left with other little children to look after them or even left alone for long days.  We have seen kids that have been put in a dug hole at the end of a field to keep them from wandering while mom is working , or left home and tied to the dog to protect them. We also know of little ones who have wondered into the irrigation canals and drowned because they were un attended.  The government is working hard to educate people not to leave heir children, but for many in the smaller villages the only alternative  is to put the children into the orphanages until they are older. In fact there is a large percentage of the kids in the orphanages that are from remote villages and families in this situation. 

The chief recognized the need and has identified nearly 200 kids that are in this situation between the 8 villages.  He was able to secure an old school that has sat empty for many years.  It is centrally located to all the villages.   This spring he was able to get a foreign grant to renovate the school.. new electrical, roof, windows , walls, flooring .. everything in the structure has been done, and done right. 

It sits on a large property where they will be able to have plenty of room for the kids to play as well as have a garden and orchards so they can off set the feeding program. 

There are many large class rooms, activity rooms, and even has new indore pluming for the kids 

It has a new heating system as well 

along with the other bed rooms and education spaces, they even have a dinning room and a everything in place for a full kitchen .

This is the view from the dinning room window . 

The grant covered everything for the structure itself, but it is up to them to find the funds for the furnishings.  They have also found the funding to fully operate the pre school as well , teachers salaries, coal, food , electricity , all is in place.  Just the furnishing are needed . 

To operate a pre school, there is actually a very extensive list of things that are required before you can open .. It is not over the top and makes sense, but you can't just bring kids in until these things are in place . I don't know if it is just being realistic or if it is a lack of faith but it seems easier to believe for the first 100 kids right away, and then once the school is open and running we can add kids as the furnishings arrive. 

We have had them source and price everything needed for the first 100 kids.  Then we have gone through this list to confirm the accuracy of the pricing.  We would like to tackle all the pig ticket items like the beds and tables, and kitchen , they are hoping that many of the smaller items could be provided by people from the villages.   We are setting a target of $10 000 from international funds, and at the same time hope to raise another $5000 from with in Kyrgyzstan.  here is the list and break down of items that we need. 

They have done so much in such a short time, but with the school year right around the corner the pressure is really on now.  Maybe you are part of a school, church or organization , or you know some one that would like to take this project on in hole or in part over the next month and help us make this work .  I will add a thermometer to the blog here so you can follow the progress. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Update from the summer ..

Well I think it has been about three days that I have been back in Kyrgyzstan now. I have visited most of the projects that we have been working on as well as an exciting new one that I will share more about tomorrow, but for now lets recap the last couple of months. 

  The hospital clinic has been an on going project for a few years now and it is almost finished.  In the beginning of the summer we finished the roof allowing the workers to work inside all summer.  

 The back half has been completed with the floors, interior walls, and ceiling all dry walled and ready for plaster.  The waiting area has been expanded, a procedure room with a private bath and shower room added as well as a public washroom.  The exam room has also been expanded to include more Dr's office space in the exam area.  Sponsors have been found in country for the windows and doors, and now a lot of the labor is also being done free by people who's kids have been treated at the hospital.. 

Plaster, paint and tile flooring in the procedure and exam room are all that is needed.  

Back at the farm we have a few big projects on the go ..they have been juggling around depending on the weather.  The biggest one is the green house.  This was a very ambitious project and has had a lot of problems because of the weather.  We have had so much rain and to build mud walls we need it to be sun dried and baked before the parging could go on.  But It looks like we are on track now to start putting on the poly-carbonate next week.  

The inside has been dug down a foot, but will need to be dug out another 2 feet.  

There are actually 2 green houses connected by a furnace/ pump room at one end. It sure was easier to draw a second one on the plan then it has been to build it... But the worst is done, and we are now welding the trusses on the second green house. 

The farm has started to out grow the barns, both with the animals and the hay storage space.  The barns were full and we still have another 1000 bails to bring cut in a another month.   Last week they finished the addition on the new barn. This includes the extra hay space as well as a covered pen for the bulls. They have also just planted the second crop of cucumbers. 

Tomorrow we will be putting in the mangers and building a small paddock around this that will give the cows access to some grass area behind the house. 

We will need one more barn before winter so we have begun the newest barn on farm 5. This will be where the goats and sheep end up with a larger outside pen as well.  Like the others, it will be a two story building with the hay loft.  If you have proper storage, hay is worth almost 4 times more in the winter so it will be a great investment for us to not sell the hay until January.  We are hoping for another field this year so that next year we will have enough hay to fill this one as well. 

Well some of the kids  are hard at work on the construction projects the others have done an amazing job with the gardens.   There has been so much rain that they have had to stake up most of the plants to stop them from rotting in the fields.  

I have had other farmers tell me that they have not been able to get a good crop this year , but we have been blessed with another bumper crop.

The fruit trees are doing exceptionally well. Last year there was a late frost so we did not see much fruit to realize how many fruit trees we actually have that have good fruit. We sure can see this year.

The sweet corn has been exceptional as well.  Yesterday we picked about 2000 cobs and still have about 4000 that will be ready over the next couple weeks, and yes the sun flowers did it again.  The ones behind Nick here are on our property, the ones to Nicks left are on the neighbors and are the size they should be right now. 

 We have planted a lot of herbs this year and Emma has begun experimenting with making goats milk soap with our own herbs and scents. She has about 5 different herbs as well as medicinal flowers.  Also we have planted flowers through out the garden for bug control so that we are able to keep the gardens pesticide free . 

People have become more excepting of the style of Apple orchard, and are now actually excited to have this modern method here. They must have been researching some on their own because one of my jobs this fall was to stake them. The one that was the biggest critic of this was actually the one that went out and staked them the right way .. out of 250 trees, we only lost 3.  I am very pleased with that rate. 

This next picture was us bagging up the corn for deliveries today 

Along with the corn we also picked 25 crates of tomatoes and peppers, and you would never know we were in the fields .  I would say that by the end of next week we will be able to do that every day.

Today we delivered to 3 different orphanages, as well as to Olga's center were about 20 families came to get food.  In total, one days delivery had a market value of almost $1500.  That was the by product of the life skills and healthy living that the kids are learning on the farm.  I had Misha with me today.  I want to start spending more one on one time with each of them, as well it is great for them so see the impact that these donations make on all that receive them.. Besides, Misha actually came to me and asked if I would please bring food to the orphanage where is little brother lives.  

So about the bees.  As I shared earlier we had purchased more bee boxes, and the bees began to come and fill them before we even got them to the mountain. The poor guys had to carry them across the river and 1/2 a mile further into the gorge on their backs .. miraculously no one got stung.  

We now are up to 17 hives, and only three of them do not have families in them already.  Again others are discouraged with the volume of honey so far this year, but we have been supper blessed.  So far, out of the 14 hives we have 101 liters of honey, and will likely get another 50 on the last draw of the season before we put them to bed for the winter.  This is about 50% more then what would be normal on a good year.  As we work toward a 5 year goal of becoming self sustaining and still donating the same level of produce, we have have been reinvesting the proceeds, and by this time next year, just half way through our 5 year plan, the bees alone  will be able to produce enough honey to cover 10% of our yearly operating budget. 

After the food deliveries, we picked up this kettle that brings the honey to just the right temperature to re bottle into smaller new sterilized bottles. In just a few hours Misha was able to seal 75 bottles ready to sell. 

I wanted to give a little up date on the medical side of things.    Marat and Aizada went to get their new glasses and it was discovered that he had a serious condition and would soon loose his sight. So he has had a couple operations so far, and his vision is already 20% better and has stopped all degeneration. Maybe two more operations and he will possibly be back to 20 / 20 vision. 

So that said, he is on light duty and works mostly with Aigula now, something he loves to do .  

We have also had an endless summer of dental trips for every one on the farm. With Nurik being the most extensive because of his cleft pallet.  He still requires another operation, then the will likely have to get a plate which will be tricky but they think they can do it.  

During the summer, two of our kids have passed their drivers exams and are fully licenced and able to drive, as well this fall we have three in university. One in a collage prep program and one in and fast track grade school program.  

heading to collage next week

Well that is all for now .. From all of us to all of you, thank you for all your on going support .. 

"exceedingly and abundantly  more then we could ask or imagine "

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Stopping to help

Emma is dealing with this now.  Options are limited.  The homeless shelter has been closed.  Alcohol appears to be a factor so it becomes more difficult.  It's so hard to find help for someone drinking until they are ready to quit.. but it's still hard not to try.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Gearing up to head back to school .

Nick has just one more week at the farm then he is back to University.  He has done a fantastic job with the gardens this summer .  I land in Bishkek on the 16th and he starts school on the 17th, so we will meet up on the 16th and find an apartment for him, then he will find a couple others who need a place to stay.  I sure wish he did not have to start so soon, he is always such a big help but they do grow up ...!   

They stopped at Auxana's to bring some more food for the chicks and the ducks , they are doing great.  It will be soon time to bring her new ones and bring these to the farm.  We have received a donation to set up some incubators and start hatching our own .. 

They washed the carpets today , then SOMEONE who still denies his involvement walked the cows on them on the way to the barn rather then going around ..

they are getting ready to put the roof trusses on the second green house 

working on the orchard 

Now that the addition is finished on the barn we have moved down house five and started the foundation for the barn there.

Back in the kitchen this week they have started making tomato salsa.  we are still in need of jars to keep up with the demand .. One days supply of jars lids etc is about $50 and can make up to 400 liters.  

Emma has started drying various different flowers and herbs to put in the goats milk soap.