This is David & Susan Sifford's journal of what we pray is our sojourn of life (Hebrews 11:8-10) along the narrow way (Matt 7:14), even the old paths (Jeremiah 6:16), submitting to the Bible as a light unto both (Psalms 119:105). It is our prayer that these documented moments in our earthly time benefit whom God might choose to edify, but ultimately that God glorifies Himself through them.

Month: April 2012

A House – Update XVII – Main Roof – Update I

With the house internal walls framed, it was time to finish on the roof. I decided to go with metal roofing, for its longevity.

First, the tar paper (roof felt) was installed with a hammer stapler:

House Roof Tar Paper/Roof Felt Being Installed
House Roof Tar Paper/Roof Felt Finished

And we painted the face-plates:

House Roof Face Plate Painted

Then it was time to put up the metal. First, we pre-drilled the holes where the grommeted screws were to be put. I chose to do them 2 feet apart up the metal pieces:

Pre-Drilling Holes in Roofing Metal

And here is the first piece installed:

First Piece of Roofing Metal Installed

Between each piece of metal, we laid down “tacky tape” where the next metal piece would overlap:

Laying Down Roof Metal Tacky Tape

And we installed metal edging with the fitted foam on top underneath the roof metal. We found that putting the foam on first and placing the edging in place before laying down the metal piece worked best:

Metal Edging with Roof Metal Fitted Foam

For these long pieces, we really needed two people to put up the roofing:

Carrying the Roof Metal on the Porch Roof
Carrying the Roof Metal onto the Roof
Placing the Roof Metal on the Roof

And here is the roof with all of the metal in place, including the ridge cap:

Roof Metal Complete

We put metal edging on the gabled end of the roof as well:

Roof Gabled End with Metal Edging

And here is a closer view of the end of the ridge cap. Mr. Gurau thought to stuff fitted foam in the ends, and with that and some caulking, that seemed to work pretty well without having to buy the typical metal roof trim and end caps. Hopefully what we did will be ok in the long-run:

Metal Roof Fitted Foam in Ridge Cap end

Since we don’t have air conditioning, air flow is everything, in trying to vent out the air that is heated in the attic space. Rather than buy the typical ridge vents, I decided to try a vented foam that simply is installed under the ridge cap: it’s less expensive and is supposed to vent very well:

Ridge Cap Vented Foam

And finally, here is a look up at the ridge cap with it and the vented foam installed:

Inside View of Ridge Cap Installed

Once again, we are grateful to the Lord for allowing continued progress on the home, and thank Him for the resources to do so.

— David

Providence’s Perpetuation Provisions: First New Chicks of 2012

Last year, the Lord granted that some of our hens would be broody and sit on eggs — something that hadn’t really happened much until then. Well, God has continued to be gracious in that way, granted one of our hens to get broody; and by God’s graces, she hatched out 13 new chicks out of 14 eggs!

We’ve since lost one, but here is a picture of them:

New Chicks Hatched Early April 2012

And a quick video:

Along with this hen, we suddenly had an avalanche of broody hens! We’ve had a hard time finding where to put them, but we put one in our chicken coup in the chicken pen, and turned our summer kitchen into a chicken nursery.

Here’s one sitting in the piano room:

2012 Spring Chick Nursery in Piano Room

And another in the summer kitchen area:

2012 Spring Chick Nursery in Summer Kitchen

And the pantry:

2012 Spring Chick Nursery in Summer Kitchen Pantry

There are two (sometimes three in two nests) more in the main chicken tractor that we’re not sure where to put, but hopefully we will figure that out before the chicks hatch (if the Lord wills).

We are very grateful to the Lord for granting this “problem,” and we pray for continued healthy hatchlings, according to His will.

— David

Spring Ranchfest 2012

Twice a year we gather as a community for a week to work on projects for our teacher, Mr. Bunker, and his family; and to provide an opportunity for guests to come by and help out and meet the folks here, etc.

And so, it was that time again for “Ranchfest” — Spring 2012!

The men had two projects they were working on throughout the week: building a cabin for Mr. Contra and Miss Tracy, who are betrothed; and doing finishing work on the inside of Mr. Bunker’s cottage.

The Cabin

For the Contra cabin, we started on Friday with a concrete slab pour. This was the group’s first real concrete pour on the land, and the guys did a lot of study and prep work in getting things ready. Here is the area formed with the rebar:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Cabin Foundation Forms and Rebar

And here begins the concrete pour:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Beginning Pouring the Concrete

And more of the pouring and after “screeding” (or spreading) it out with the long 2×4 that spanned the whole width:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Continuing Pouring the Concrete

Here the concrete is tamped lightly by what they call a “jitterbug”, and a “bull float” is used to smooth out the concrete surface:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Floating and Tamping the Concrete

And then it was edged so the edges are rounded, to help keep them from chipping. One fellow also went around the sides with a hammer, lightly tapping the forms to help keep the concrete from “honeycombing”:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Edging the Concrete

Here’s Mr. Contra and his improvised concrete texturizer:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Texturizing the Concrete

And finally, the betrothed couple thought they’d mark a memory of the event:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Betrothed Couple Making Handprints in Concrete of Their Eventual Cabin
Spring Ranchfest 2012 Betrothed Couple's Handprints in the Concrete

Friday Night Sermon

On Friday evenings, Mr. Bunker is going through in an in-depth way the last chapters he included in his book “Modern Religious Idols,” which was an article series he wrote called “What is the Gospel?”:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Sermon


Ranchfest times are often planned around the Passover time, which we observe as a teaching method for the children (and as a memorial for the adults) of the types and shadows used in the Passover feast representing Christ.

Here is the Passover “ceremony” time:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Passover Seder

And the seder plate, with each food element representing some part of the event of the Passover time of the Hebrew people in and leaving Egypt:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Passover Seder Plate

We also sang Psalms 113-118 from our psalters, and here is a video of a few of those psalms being sung:

The Cottage

As I mentioned, the other project was working on the internals of Mr. Bunker’s cottage, putting up insulation and siding.

And here is some of the completed work:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Cottage Insulation and Siding
Spring Ranchfest 2012 More Cottage Internal Siding Completed

Here are the men cutting the siding:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Cutting the Cottage Internal Siding
Spring Ranchfest 2012 More Cutting the Cottage Internal Siding

And here is some staining work of the siding being done:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Staining the Cottage Internal Siding

More Cabin

Once the concrete slab was completed, it was time to build and raise the walls. Here’s the cabin with two of the walls raised:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Two Walls of Cabin Raised
Spring Ranchfest 2012 Two Walls of Cabin Raised - Inside View

And then with all four walls in place:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 All Four Walls of Cabin Raised

Apparently, the plan is to have a second story; and so, they are using a 10 inch I-beam spanning the width, which will be the support for the upper level floor:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Second Floor I-Beam in Place

More Cottage

Back at the cottage, after the siding was in place and stained or painted, the window sills and trim were cut, installed and painted with a clear wood protector:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Coating the Cottage Window Sills

And here are a couple of final pictures of the cottage work for the week:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Cottage Internal Siding and Trim in Place
Spring Ranchfest 2012 More Work Done in the Cottage

Ladies Work

Besides all of the group meal preparations the ladies did for the week, they also had other projects, which this Ranchfest included sewing for the Bunkers and snapping mesquite pods, which they use for their mesquite coffee.

The main sewing project was for curtains for the cottage, although there was some clothing-making worked on. Here are some sewing preparations being done for some clothing:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Preparing Sewing Patterns

And here, even the younger ones helped:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Sewing
Spring Ranchfest 2012 More Sewing

Seems to be a fun time too!

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Young Ones Smiling

And here, Mrs. Sustaire is functioning as a seamstress and a lounge chair:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Sewing with Sleeping Baby

And finally, here are some of the ladies and children helping with the mesquite pods:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Ladies and Children Helping Snap Mesquite Pods
Spring Ranchfest 2012 Snapping Mesquite Pods
Spring Ranchfest 2012 Snapping More Mesquite Pods

All in all, it was a very nice time of fellowship, community and work. It’s tiring, but rewarding as well. We did have a few guest families that visited this year, and it was a pleasure to see them again or meet them, and we thank them for the help and work they provided.

We are grateful to the Lord for the opportunity to gather in His name to work together, and we’re thankful for the teacher He has granted us.

— David

Garden – Spring 2012

After last year’s drought and not being able to plant a garden (other than the tomatoes, which I mentioned in our Mercy in the Drought blog post), with rains we received over the winter time, we were grateful to the Lord for granting us this year to be able to do so!

We have prepared several garden and orchard areas with the mulching for long-term composting, and since those aren’t immediately ready, I figured we would just continue to use the raised beds we have. Several are still in garlic for this year; but for the other ones, I bought compost, and just dumped and spread it on top of the soil that was already there, thinking I could plant directly into the compost (assuming compost in general was a good thing to plant in). What I failed to think through was that compost you can plant into is already composted, whereas the stuff I bought I believe still needed to compost. After planting in them, only the squash and zucchini, and a few okra sprouted — the beans and carrots didn’t (but for a few exceptions; I’m wondering if the squash/zucchini sprouted because of the seeds having hard-shells). I should have done my research *before* I planted. 🙂 And so, I decided to go in and mix the compost with the soil underneath a couple of the beds and replant the green beans and carrots.

Also, in watering the beds that have only compost on top, just running even quite a bit of water on them didn’t seem to cause the compost to get wet at all. I couldn’t understand what was going on — I mean, the water had to be going somewhere. Well, it appeared that if I just let the water run and soak in underneath, on the next day or two, the compost was indeed moist all through; and so, I figured that the water was just soaking upward after watering.

And here are the beds planted. I also planted already-growing tomato plants in the far, not-raised bed, in just the compost, although fairly deeply; and they are still living, but don’t seem to be growing much; so we will have to see how they turn out:

Garden Spring 2012 Raised Beds

And here is the okra area in the far side of one of the garlic beds:

Garden Spring 2012 Ocra Area

Interestingly, in one of the garlic beds, we had planted onions several years ago; and after last year’s drought, there wasn’t much left of them (some of them had continued to grow each of the previous years). Well, I thought I had cleared them all out for the garlic, but apparently not. We basically just use the green tops as I don’t believe bulbs are really growing, but I suppose we will see how that goes too, Lord willing:

Garden Spring 2012 Green Onions

Also interestingly, although I didn’t plant garlic in them this year, apparently there was some remnant cloves from last year, still in them. Here is the carrot bed with a couple of garlic plants growing:

Garlic from Last Year in Spring 2012 Garden Bed

We are truly thankful to God for the opportunity to plant and water this year, and we pray He might grant provisions from the garden, in accordance with His will.

— David

A House – Update XVI – Internal Walls – Update I

Once the main roof of the house was covered, it was time to finish the internal walls.

Here’s the last main wall that needed to be completed, before it was raised:

House Internal Wall Frame Before Raising

And the following pictures are how the walls look now all up and tied together. This is from the great room facing the library, showing the closet space in between:

House Internal Walls In Great Room Facing the Library

And a picture of the door to the pantry, which is next to that closet:

House Internal Walls Pantry Door

Here is the bedroom from the kitchen area with the bathroom in between:

House Internal Walls In Kitchen Facing the Bedroom

And here is from inside the bedroom facing the library:

House Internal Walls In Bedroom Facing the Library

And then facing the kitchen area. The bedroom is the only room that we plan to enclose with windows to be able to keep heat in during the winter while still allowing for air flow during the summer:

House Internal Walls In Bedroom Facing the Kitchen

And here is a look down the pantry and closet from the bathroom:

House Internal Walls Looking Down the Pantry and Closet from the Bathroom

We are thankful once again to God for His provisions to allow us to continue progress on the house.

— David