This is our journal of what we pray is our sojourn of life (Hebrews 11:8-10) along the narrow way (Matthew 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.

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


  1. Kara Powers

    Thank you for the pictorial, Siffords! It is nice to see the progress and fellowship in your community.

  2. ozhamada

    I'm curious about the adequacy of the rebar. I'd estimate that the squares are 400mm by 400mm and a 5mm diamater bar. In Australia we commonly used 100mm by 100mm squares with a 10mm bar. Nice finish on the slab!

    BTW: I came to your blog years ago in respect to "Chicken milking"…I'm still enjoying your posts.

    Cheers, David (Sydney)

  3. David and Susan Sifford

    Thanks for saying hi, Powers family.

    Hi David,

    It looks like they made two-foot squares, and I'm not sure if the rebar was 3/8 inch or 1/2 (I wasn't involved with those site preparation aspects). I'm assuming the guys did their research on that part of it…I hope they did. 🙂 Without researching it, I probably would have had the rebar closer together myself.

    Thanks for saying hello as well.

    — David

  4. Pilgerin

    Wonderful pictures and I like your songs. 🙂

    Do you have part time "wordly" jobs to pay for materials…?

    Blessings over the Ocean

  5. David and Susan Sifford

    Hi Cara,

    Some work here on the ranch for other people, sometimes people do ranch-hand jobs for other neighbors, some do remote computer work, etc. Hopefully Lord willing, we'll get to a point eventually where everything is being produced on the land enough to sustain us and then allow us to pay and/or barter for other things.

    Thanks for saying hello.

    — David

  6. Anonymous

    Greetings Siffords!
    Thank you for sharing the "process" and photos from Ranchfest. May our heavenly Father continue to bless your family and your community.
    Mike, for the Brabo clan in Missouri.

  7. David and Susan Sifford

    Thanks much, Mr. Brabo, and thanks for saying hello!

    — David

  8. Anonymous

    David & Susan

    Thank you for taking the time to post the wonderful pictures, looks like you all had a wonderful time of fellowship.


  9. David and Susan Sifford

    Hi Pat,

    It was a very blessed time, and we are grateful to the Lord granting it.

    Thanks for saying hi!

    — David

  10. Carolyn

    Are your ranchfests at the time of the Spring and Fall holydays of God?Is there a site or an article that lists your beliefs and hows and whys of your community?

  11. David and Susan Sifford

    Hi Carolyn,

    I believe we would try to time the Spring Ranchfests with Passover, which we observe, mostly as a teaching tool.

    I guess the closest things that encapsulate our beliefs and worldview are the first few posts we did way back, after the Welcome post: April 2008 archive (they start at the bottom).

    We have been here for 9 years now, so things have evolved over like, like our dress, but generally the whats and whys are the same. The "David's Digest" and "Susan's Musin's" posts will have more too.

    Thanks for saying hello,

    — David

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