Kansas Wheat Farm Adventures
All About Wheat Grains of History Kansas Wheat Farm Adventures
Prairie Skyscrapers Super Trivia Home

Ehmke Diaries

November 2

Vance and Louise left for Denver at 6 AM with probably too much baggage. We are bringing some Kansas momentos like small stone post items, caps, and lots of photos of the farm and Kansas.

Arrived in plenty of time for our 11:15 Delta flight to JFK airport. Enjoyed the flight. Tried to sleep. At JFK we were met by the Delta personnel who hustled us over to the Berlin/Warsaw flight. Our Denver flight was late because of waiting to land. Once on the Berlin flight we relaxed and hoped the luggage made it. We ended up waiting awhile. It was a great flight because we enjoyed the most interesting chat with Dr. Ilya Raskin, a plant biotechnologist with Rutgers University. He has done research with wheat and was familiar with triticale. We had so much in common about agriculture.

And why in the world are the Ehmkes going to Poland? The main reason is that we are doing business with a seed company called Danko who have some of the best varieties of triticale particularly suited for Kansas and the High Plains. They are represented by Rolimpex, a trading company in Warsaw. After a summer of faxing back and forth we decided it was important to meet these folks with whom we are doing business. They also have rye and wheat varieties we are interested in.

November 3

Ms. Oberc of Rolimpex met us at the airport. How did she know who we were? She had printed our family photo off this site! Truly remarkable to us. It was windy and stormy so we headed right to the Sheraton Warsaw hotel. After greetings and schedule checks, Ms. Oberc went on and we went to sleep!!!

The day was spent in naps, eat a little, naps. Then we decided it was exercise time for mind and body. So we got directions and walked to the US Embassy, which was fairly close. Before leaving we did call the embassy asking for the agriculture attaché appointment. It worked to see him right away. Unfortunately the US Embassy is an ugly building especially when surrounding embassies are much more attractive! We enjoyed an informative discussion with Jim Higgenston who told us about Polish agriculture and business. He was quite helpful.

A brisk walk back to the motel not before stopping to visit a small grocery store where we found a Polish version of Pepsi, lots of interesting foods we'd like to bring home. Different pastas, breads, candies, sausages, canned fish items and vodka.

Back to bed and hope we make it up for tomorrow's journey to the Danko breeding station for triticale and rye in Laski.

November 4

Ms. Oberc and driver picked us up. Then we drove to the home of Dr. Tadeusz Wolski, primary triticale breeder in the Polish program. He is now professor emeritus. We enjoyed a great visit with him and Ms. Oberc on the way to Laski. The countryside, in spite of a recent freeze was clear and fresh with miles and miles of apple orchards. Such a rich agricultural area.

Dr. Wolski speaks excellent English as well as Ms. Oberc. The other researchers we met also spoke very good English. Vance and I felt humbled that all we can really speak is English. We know words in other languages but not like the fluency of the Pols. Others we met on the breeding team were Andrzej Szolkowski, the director of Danko; Jerrek Gryka, current triticale breeder; and Jan Bialoskorski, assistant director. The Danko team explained to us their history and program of cereal grains development and breeding and business. We explained our farm business, its history and who we are. They enjoyed our photos of equipment, family, wheat and triticale fields as well as Milo.

Jerrck took us on a tour of the facilities explaining all the aspects very thoroughly.

We enjoyed a delicious lunch there, which featured the local beer called Warka. The brewery was in site of the farm. I brought a bottle home.

Talks continued about the seed industry in this country and in Europe as well as the future of the grain industry and change. By 5pm we were all ready for a break.

At that point we along with Andrzej and Zofia were invited to Dr. Wolski's house for dinner back in Warsaw. The trip back was dark as by 4 p.m. the sun was going down. But before reaching the house, Dr. Wolski had the driver take us to Wilanow---a lovely palace built by a former king many years ago. It was lovely in the night lights with a park and church nearby. We walked around it when we found out that Dr. Wolski's wife, Anna and her family were the last residents and the last owners of Wilanow. In 1945 they were "evicted" by the Russians. Anna was sent to a camp for 2 years. She was 20 years old. What a story and what wonderful people.

The dinner at the Wolskis was delicious with beef and potatoes, a delicious mushroom soup; and dessert of currant pudding! It was delicious!

November 5

Today we called home. All is well. I called at 2 a.m. here and 7 p.m. at home. Sent Marit and her class a fax about the time difference, geography and weather. Dighton lost the district playoff game to St. Francis.

After a large breakfast here at the Sheraton Warsaw we met Sofia. We all took the bus to the Rolimpex headquarters. Great experience to be on the public bus like the Pols do.

At Rolimpex we met with Mr. Szolowski and Ms. Oberc.

Pols do not eat lunch like Americans do. The Pols work all day, maybe eat a snack as they work. Get off by 3 p.m. or 5 p.m. depending on the flex time schedule. They tend to eat later afternoon after work and then late evening.

But after our talks we did eat a large lunch at the Marriot Hotel next door. After that, Ms .Oberc took us on the bus to Old Town. There we parted and we spent the afternoon and evening looking and shopping. It was terrific to soak up the local history, color. It is truly amazing to realize that this city was leveled by bombs in 1945 and has been totally rebuilt--even to replicate that which was destroyed. The Polish people certainly have strength and determination and much faith to rebuild their city, their lives. We truly enjoyed the whole area and did lots of shopping particularly for the beautiful amber pieces. It's difficult to choose.

We walked back to the motel and crashed!!! Ate late at the motel.

November 6

Today we slept in late, ate breakfast . We walked all over Warsaw-looking, shopping, stopping in the beautiful churches. Doing lots of people watching. Ms. Oberc met us at the motel where we signed the contract.

November 7

Today we had to get serious about finding gifts for the boys. Walked many blocks to what we thought was an army surplus store. But unfortunately it wasn't. Yet we certainly enjoyed the busy cityscapes along the way.

After a full day of walking and shopping we did find a hardware store to buy locks for the boys. Enjoyed a very Polish meal at the Hotel Europeski--borsht soup, pork chop with a delicious sauerkraut, wonderful bread and special creme cake for dessert.

On we walked back to the motel--it was a gorgeous Friday night. Teenagers were out everywhere in groups as well as families. Stores are open later so lots of shoppers.

Finished the evening with an old movie--Treasure of Sierra Madre in our motel.

It is Cole's 23rd birthday today!!! We bought him a belt and knife.

November 8

Up early and out in a taxi to Wilanow--the palace where Anna Wolski lived. The grounds are lovely--like an English garden. The buildings are just beautiful with fabulous works of Polish artists from centuries ago. The restoration of this palace is truly a treasure in itself. We tried to imagine Anna running around these many rooms and gardens as a child--like our daughter Marit. It is tragic what happened to this country in World War II yet you come away with such admiration for how they have survived and persevered.

After a rest at the motel we ventured out in the rain to the National Museum where again we saw wonderful works of Polish artists--modern and old. The women are as beautiful in the old paintings of 2 or more centuries ago as they are today. There are frescos that have been preserved which are also remarkable.

Got back to the motel early to rest for the musical tonight. Ms Oberc used her talents and skills to get terrific tickets for a musical at the Roma Theater. It's a Hungarian one by Kalman, which is a favorite of the Pols. The music was wonderful as well as the actors. Plus we thoroughly enjoyed the audience. Truly a wonderful way to end our visit.

We said our good-byes to Ms. Oberc and certainly hope to come back to this enchanting country. We too hope that Sofia and others can visit our farm some day.