We’re getting closer! Closer to being finished enough to move onto the property, that is. The construction phase of the farm will come to an end soon but the work will not be over. The finishing touches are going on and we are preparing to move in, but for us the work is just getting started.
We praise YHVH for putting this team together to accomplish His purposes. We have all contributed to this project. Construction crews have done their work but that would not have been possible unless designers had designed and supervisors had supervised to make sure the designs were completed as YHVH desired for it was Him who inspired us every step of the way.
YHVH used me to design the layout of the caravans and farm and Michael, my husband, to take care of our transportation and handle the farm cleanup. He does all the driving because he is the only one of us with a Jordanian driver’s license and handles the maintenance and cleaning of the pickup truck. I have already told you about Michael Qudah in a previous post. Now let me tell you about Rick. You know him as a teacher in our online room but his skills go much further than that.
Rick has construction experience from the Navy and as a licensed electrician in Oregon but his skills go beyond teaching and installing electricity. While he did not install the solar system, he does understand its operation. In the few times there have been glitches, he has known what to do. Neither Michael nor I would have known. I work on building designs and write articles and Michael drives and cares for the truck but when it comes to hands-on knowledge and experience, Rick is there.
Rick teases me about my wanting the electricity to work but not wanting to know anything about why it works. All I want is to flip a wall switch and have the lights come on. Truly, I did not want to learn about electricity but I had to because having solar power brings with it a need to understand it. First, power usage and storage has to be determined. This is a critical phase for buying the right equipment and getting enough of it. I might now understand something of amps, volts, watts, kilowatts and kilowatt hours but it is Rick who maintains the system and can even wire one!
It was Rick who designed the layout of the irrigation and a lot of work and materials have gone into that irrigation project. Think of it: Electricity flows and so does water. Many Jordanians electricians are also plumbers and the plumbers are also electricians.
Rick does a marvelous job with the irrigation even after the plumber made mistakes in the installation that Rick later had to correct on his own with some hired men to help. The system he designed is streamlined and easy for almost anyone to use.
I say “almost” because my first attempt to irrigate without Rick there to supervise resulted in me using half of the water in cistern #1 on the first 7 rows! Oh my! I underestimated how much the ground was soaking up the water and wasn’t watching the time as closely as I should have. Michael and I have a lot to learn about irrigation. Blessedly, Rick is here to teach us.
The irrigation entails constant watching of the trenches around the trees to make sure to not over water. There are over 100 irrigation lines. Rick designed the system so that 5 to 7 lines are opened at a time. He monitors the amount of water going into the tree trenches and adjusts the nozzles so all the trees are watered the same amount.
There is a lot of walking back and forth in those rows to make sure everything is going well. Once the tree trenches appear saturated, the next row or two are opened and the first couple of rows are shut off. As rows are opened, others are shut off until the water reaches the other end of the property and all the trees are watered.
A few weeks ago, we ran into a water situation wherein the trees needed water at the same time the cement workers needed it for the cement. This came after over 2 weeks of not watering the trees because of municipal water disruption. So the trees were not watered for almost 3 weeks! They survived because olive trees are drought resistant and we had water trucked in so there would be enough water for the irrigating and cement making.
Our days are comprised of making sure the front gate is opened so the workers can come in. Opening time depends on each construction crew’s needs. Sometimes, the workers have come as early as 5:30am but mostly they come between 8am and 9am.
Letting the workers in the gate is followed by making sure they have enough bottled water and snacks. We still do not have water in the kitchen (there is in the bathroom but who wants to drink bathroom water?) so we use bottled water. We can get a 6-pak of 2 liter bottles for 1.25 JD.
We also purchased a small refrigerator to keep the water cold so the workers can have a refreshing drink when they need it. Eventually, when we move to the farm, our big refrigerator will sit in the central kitchen, but until then we need a way to keep water cold.
We supply coffee, tea and sugar. Jordanians drink a lot of black tea with lots of sugar. I have watched them just pour the sugar from the bag into the cups. Wow!
Snacks are supplied so they don’t run out of “fuel” while they are working.
Our days start with prayer most mornings at 9am. This is followed by a meeting to discuss the progress for whatever phase or project is currently happening. We also discuss the next and other upcoming phases and projects at our morning meetings.
After the morning meeting, Michael, Rick and I check on whatever project is being worked on. Are the builders doing what we want? Does it look good? In other words, we must supervise the workers.
After making sure the workers have water and snacks, having our meeting and walking through the project, it is usually time to get the workers their lunch. It consists of a chicken shawarma sandwich (sliced chicken wrapped in pita bread) with fries or chicken and rice. Sometimes we have gotten them falafels and fries. I love to serve the workers because they are always so grateful.
We sometimes run errands to get materials for the construction crews. Running and errand for supplies makes a short sentence but it can make for a long day! One day, the solar power company needed 6 mil wiring to finish connecting the caravans to the solar arrays. The team foreman sent us out to find it. I don’t know why he didn’t call around to the electrical supply stores. Probably because he didn’t want to take the time which was probably because who could have imagined that any electrical supply store would not have this common item in stock?
We drove almost 50 kilometers to 6 stores and only found 1 roll of 6 mil wiring. We needed 2 rolls. Goodness gracious!
Our day only ends when the workers finish for the day. The last question before we leave the farm is, “What time will it start in the morning?”.
If people should ask what we do all day, well… here it is. Whatever it is that we do all day, all we know is that it took all day to do it! Most days, we stay so busy that we don’t even remember what all we did that day.
Reviewing the progress over the last 5 months: To date, the dirt work at the back has been completed and the lane up the middle of the property is covered in crushed asphalt, the caravans are in place, the slab on the end of the house has been built on and the central kitchen has been opened up for serving people in the future, and a room has been enclosed that now houses the solar system’s inverters and batteries because we now also have a large solar system on the property.
The plumbing has installed (except for a few small items that needed to wait for the other contractors to finish) and cement slabs have been poured under the caravans to facilitate storage of non-perishable items that people will need in a refugee situation. These include clothing, bedding, towels and, perhaps, tents. Another item to be stored will be wood and jift, the pressed and dried logs of olive seeds.
A recent addition to our kitchen was more electrical outlets in the cooking and serving areas the installation of which was done by Rick.
Currently, we are having a cement block tool shed built which will be followed by a chicken coop. The gate still needs to have a concrete footer poured so the wheels won’t run through the dirt. More crushed asphalt is planned for around the caravans so it will be easy to walk. The dirt will turn to slick mud during the rainy season. Steps into our caravan need to be made and there will be many other projects to finish.
YHVH’s farm has come a long way! When we started here last March, there were only trees with broken down irrigation lines and a house which was really messed up inside. We have come a long way in the last five months.
By the way, the trees have more olives on them than I last reported. We are not sure if some budded late or we just missed them in our last count because tiny olives are so hard to see. However, we recently found out from a friend that all of Jordan is experiencing a reduced olive crop this year.
On another note: YHVH brought us 3 beautiful puppies! One of our Jordanian friends who was with me as I was checking on the incoming water happened to see a puppy laying in a hole under the concrete footer of the fence. I approached it but it started yelping like crazy! I could see that it was not doing well in the heat so I left it a bowl of water and some bologna.
To get it some bologna, I had to go back up the lane to the central kitchen. When we got there we found another larger puppy! She had been hiding under a set of metal steps which are to go next to a caravan and all of us had completely missed seeing her. I estimated her age to be about 12 weeks.
As I got out of the truck, she crawled toward me, yelping all the way, until she reached me. She immediately let me pet her and love on her. Her yelping was just because she was so scared of me until I loved on her a little bit. I went into the kitchen and gave her some bologna and water after which Michael and I went on another trek to the store for more bologna. We now had two puppies to feed!
Next morning, the little dying puppy was laying outside the hole next to the water bowl. I tried to touch him but he started that infernal yelping again. I told Michael that I needed to get him and take him to a vet, so we got my work gloves out of the truck. By the time I got back to him, he had crawled back into the hole but his little feet were sticking out. They made good handles for dragging him out of there which he fought with every breath and yelp!
After getting him out of the hole and into a box, lo and behold, Michael Brown pointed to another puppy in the hole! Now we have 3 puppies!
We took the dying the puppy, which was much smaller than the other two, to the vet in a cardboard box. The vet said the puppy was dying from the heat and dehydration.
He was so weak that he could was barely lift his little head. The vet gave him a couple of shots of medicine which we had to go get from the animal store. That was just another of the “errands”, trips to be made, because the vets here don’t keep a stock of medicine in their clinics.
We decided to take the dying puppy home to be in a cooler place and where I could watch him. Initially, I had to place him next to his water bowl because he was too weak to get there on his own. He drank and ate the food I gave him and was stronger by the next morning but still too weak to walk far. We took him to the farm with us where he laid on the floor of the central kitchen all day getting better.
I complained to the Father that now was not a good time for Him to send us these dogs. I don’t want dogs inside my house and we now had the friendly girl dog and her little sick brother in our house because they would have been alone all night after we left the farm and all day in the central kitchen. We didn’t know if adult desert dogs could get in or what the puppies would do to hide from us under a caravan where we might not find them in the morning so we took them home and dealt with un-paper-trained dogs.
We discussed taking the dogs to some other place and letting them go in the desert after the sick puppy got well. I prayed again and asked the Father to heal the sick puppy and said I would take that as His will for us to have these 3 dogs.
Next morning, little sick puppy came wobbly-walking into the living room and right up to my chair to greet me! Oh my! Well, I guess we now have 3 dogs, right? They are 3 precious gifts to us from YHVH for the farm. Little dying puppy is doing well but is still much smaller than his sister and brother.
One problem we’ve had is adult desert dogs getting on the farm through a hole in the fence. When we found the hole, Rick closed it and we have kept the gate closed to keep those dogs out and our own dogs in! But one day, one of those dogs got inside because someone left the gate open. Our three little puppies chased that big mama dog all the way down to the gate where we could open it to let her out. She hasn’t been back since! I told Michael she probably went and told the other desert dogs to beware of those little punk puppies on that farm!
We chose “Bella” as the name for the biggest girl. She has an orange body with a black nose that has a white stripe.
“Habib” is the name for the male puppy that was dying who YHVH healed. “Habib” means “loved” in Arabic. He is grey with the same kind of black nose and white stripe.
“Bear” is the name of the third male puppy. He also is gray with a black nose and white stripe.
Both Bella and Bear are much bigger than Habib which is probably because he was sick and not growing while they were.
Bella and Habib come running to all of us and Habib is a “talker”. He lets everyone know when we have been away too long or when he has not been fed on time! But Bear is different. He will only come so close and no closer. Even though he is shy with us, he also sometimes talks and even dances on his legs when it is feeing time.
He in no way has been dangerous to us, he is simply afraid of us. It may be that some human did something to hurt him before the three of them found their way onto our farm. We hope Bear will get out of that behavior and let us love on him like we do Bella and Habib.
We had a sandstorm this past week in the hottest temperatures Jordan has seen in a long time. The people here claim they have never experienced this kind of heat. Some of the people are my age and I’m 67! So it was unusual to be so hot at the highest temperature of 108F. Then we got a sandstorm and it looks like most of was on the central kitchen floor!
Praise YHVH! It looks as if Michael and I may get to move into the caravan this week! Rick already moved into his a couple of weeks ago. Michael’s and my caravan needs floor repairs. Some of the vinyl wood-looking strips popped up during the move from Amman so we have been waiting for the construction crew to do that repair so we can move in. That may happen this week!
YHVH has used each one of us for His plans on the farm. Praise YHVH for He is good and His mercies endure forever (found 52 times in 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Psalms, Jeremiah and 1 Peter), and it is He who has provided this farm for His Kingdom!
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