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.

Turnips & Wheat 2012 – Update II

Since our last update on our turnips and wheat, the turnips basically dried out; but we are grateful to the Lord for what He granted in them in being able to feed our pigs with them.

But the wheat continued on its process. Here is what the wheat field looked like back in April. You can see how high it had grown in the second picture:

2012 Wheat Crop in April
2012 Wheat Crop Waist High in April
2012 Wheat Crop Wheat Heads in April
2012 Wheat Crop More Wheat Heads in April

Fast forward a little over a month, and here is what it looked like. A beautiful gift from God!

2012 Wheat Crop in May
2012 Wheat Crop More Wheat Heads in May

And then it was time! The harvest! This is something we had been looking forward to basically since we moved here — being able to harvest a crop. There is also much to learn spiritually from the wheat harvest, the wheat being the saints of God.

First was to cut it and tie it into sheaves. I tried using a scythe for reaping (God harvesting the souls of His people); but it ended up leaving the wheat on the ground in somewhat of a chaotic fashion (which could just have been a lack of technique); and we found that having all of the heads together in one place is better for the threshing process; and so Sue used a sickle, which worked well. We tied them using weeds or twine. The whole time out there are got “Bringing in the Sheaves” stuck in my head:

Tying the 2012 Wheat into Sheaves

And then stacked them into stooks to dry (God gathering His saints together):

Gathering the 2012 Wheat Sheaves into Stooks

Once ready, it was time to begin the threshing process (God breaking down the carnal, selfish man of His chosen with trials and chastisements). We laid out a tarp, and borrowed some flails from one of the folks here. He attached some chains on the end of closet dowels — we thought the loose, heavier chains might do well with the flailing:

Preparing to Flail the 2012 Wheat Crop

And here is Sue and myself flailing away. It’s something of a violent process (sometimes God needs to be a little “violent” in the breaking down of our pride):

Flailing the 2012 Wheat Crop
More Flailing the 2012 Wheat Crop

And then it was time to winnow the wheat, separating the chaff from the wheat berries (God further refining the souls of His children). We used a garbage can lid, which didn’t work too badly:

Winnowing the 2012 Wheat Crop

After several hours of work, here is the finished product — the mostly cleaned wheat berries (God’s gathered in, sanctified people):

Hand Harvested 2012 Wheat Berries

We were thankful to be able to go through the process of hand-harvesting and processing the wheat.

It happened though that a fellow from town we know had an old grain combine that he wanted us to have to use, if we wanted, and he had a backup one for spare parts. After the Bunkers got done using it, and graciously going through all of the headaches and replacing of parts needed to finish their fields, it was our turn to use.

The “combine” is a machine that does all of the processing we described above all at one time. Of course, it’s much faster, but you also have to maintain it (which causes dependence on the world), you don’t get the experience needed to learn how to harvest wheat by hand should the mechanized methods be no longer available one day, you don’t think about the spiritual aspects of the harvesting process because you’re not intimately involved, and you don’t get the benefits (spiritual and temporal) of performing work in God’s way, all of which are why we wanted to process at least some of the wheat by hand.

Still, I wanted to be able to make sure to get all of the wheat harvested and stored before we lost the crop from being in the field too long; and so I decided we would use the combine on the rest of the field. And here it is a-harvesting:

Harvesting the 2012 Wheat Crop with a Combine

And a completed row:

Completed Row of Harvesting the 2012 Wheat Crop with a Combine

You can see the difference in amounts between the picture above of the hand-harvested in the bucket vs. what the combine collected after just a couple of hours. I can understand the temptation of the carnal man that caused him to desire and then over time find and eventually implement, through industrialism, what appeared to be easier ways to do things, and how easily it can be to get sucked into the industrial trap, which actually leads to slavery — you become dependent on the industrial machine (as a system), and then MUST do things the worldly way to survive). This is something we try to remember and keep in perspective, even if we use something like a combine for now:

Combine Bin Full of Harvested 2012 Wheat Crop

With the combine’s grain bin full, with the help of some of the men, we unloaded it into sacks for storage:

Unloading 2012 Wheat Crop into Sacks

And used rebar ties to tie them off:

Tying Off 2012 Wheat Crop Sacks

Here is the first haul from that first bin:

2012 Wheat Crop in Sacks

And here is the final stack of wheat sacks:

2012 Wheat Crop Stored in Sacks in the Barn

If you’ve never seen a combine in action, it is pretty amazing the amount of “work” it does, when it’s working and not broken down:

We are so very thankful to the Lord for His granting of a wheat harvest — our first real crop, besides the turnips this year as well. We thank Him for the lessons He teaches us in His word and through work, and we pray He leads us into work that is worship unto him. We pray He thresh and winnow us in purity, and that He help us through that when He does; and we pray we will be presented to His Son one day, a “cleaned” and holy bride.

— David


  1. gail

    Hello David And Susan,
    I'm really happy for you. such an achievement. Many years ago when we had our sheep farm I remember the thrill of getting ready for our very first shearing. Such anticipation. When the wool came off that first sheep and we started skirting the first fleece we were just so excited. Of course after two weeks of standing at the wool table, my husband classing and me skirting, we were pretty exhausted by the end. Especially when we had to go back up to the shearing shed after dinner at night and work till very late to press the days wool clip into the bales with an old Kurtz hand press. However the end result was so good and so satisfying. You can imagine how it felt when we were able to buy an electric press. So much less work. Congratulations on your harvest and may you have many more. Susan thank you for sharing the video. David, just a gentle reminder from someone who has used augers, be VERY careful putting your hand into that auger. Not shaw if the blades go right to the end but remember shirt sleeves and hands can get pulled into those coils so easily and many folk have lost limbs when they thought the auger had been turned off. Maybe next year a little wooden scraper to get the last bit of grain out, would do the trick. (hope you don't mind me saying this)
    Blessings to you both

  2. David and Susan Sifford

    Thanks Gail.

    I did feel a little weird putting my hand in there. 🙂 Will try to keep in mind about using a stick or something next time.

    — David

  3. jw

    CONGRATULATIONS on your wheat harvest, the LORD does provide! Hope that you dont mind if I mention something that you may or may not already know. depending on the internal moisture of wheat at harvest, sometimes when you sack it & stack it the moisture will cause it to heat up & mold. Just dont want you to lose a harvest. I made that mistake once! thanks!

  4. Vanja

    Hello! Greetings from Sweden 🙂
    I just found you as I was looking for ideas about solar food/herb dehydrators, and got stuck reading continously. I'm impressed of your work and I think you both are really, really skilled. Well done!

    We have sown some barley this year, but was a bit unsure of how we would deal with it without machines. Now I know 🙂

    Have a great week you two, I will bookmark your blog to be able to follow your adventures.

    Best regards

  5. David and Susan Sifford

    Thanks for the info, jw, and thanks to you and Vanja for saying hello!

    We are thankful to the Lord for His provisions, graces, mercies and help.

    — David

  6. Lorrie

    Thank you for this lovely video of such a simple process made simpler with the use of the combine. Although I know a bit about the process by hand but I was researching it to find out more. As I stumbled upon your blog of the simple life which really isn't so simple, I was quite blessed in your giving God the glory. Thank you! I look forward to searching out more of how you have chosen to live.

  7. David and Susan Sifford

    Hi Lorrie,

    May God guide your searching, and thanks for saying hello!

    — David

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