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.

Fall Ranchfest 2012

Well, it was that time of year again around here — Ranchfest! This is a time where folks can come to visit (in a more formal way — visitors can come out at most any time) and fellowship and help support our teacher, Mr. Bunker, in working projects for his homestead. We had several folks from Pennsylvania come by for the weekend, and a couple of fellows from the southwestern U.S.

Ranchfest usually starts on Friday, but the Lord granted over 2 inches of rain on Thursday, which effectively rained us out. But we are so very thankful for those graciously given provisions as they filled many of the ground-water tanks and almost fully one side of our cistern! It’s amazing the difference for living things when God grants the water of life!

On Sabbath, Mr. Bunker had everyone over for “tapas,” using foods they grew and processed here on the land. Yummy!

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Sabbath Tapas Meal
Fall Ranchfest 2012 Sabbath Tapas Meal and Fellowship

We usually have a Ranchfest kickoff breakfast at a local mexican establishment:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Lord's Day Kickoff Breakfast

And then we participated in our normal Lord’s Day fellowship activities, including singing, our fellowship meal, and the holy reading, which is currently (John Owen’s The Glory of Christ).

I believe we received a little more rain on the Lord’s Day, and so we started after lunch time on Monday working on the various projects. One of the projects is a rock-walled, 12-foot high water tower. The previous week, the telephone poles were put up and a concrete base was poured:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Water Tower Posts

And then Monday, the men started in on the framing and siding, including cutting into the framing and posts and attaching diagonal braces to help prevent “racking”:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Water Tower Framing
Fall Ranchfest 2012 Water Tower Framing and Siding
Fall Ranchfest 2012 Water Tower First Row Siding
Fall Ranchfest 2012 Water Tower Second Row Siding

Another project was to get the west side of Mr. Bunker’s cottage hooked up with gutters and piping to harvest the rain into his cistern:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Cottage Rain Harvesting Gutter Cutting
Fall Ranchfest 2012 Cottage Rain Harvesting Gutters in Place

We had another special meal for Monday’s lunch — a meal of mostly food grown or raised on the land, where the whole community participated, from the Bunker’s recently-butcher bull, to vegetables, to goat milk cheese, to cactus juice, and more! We’re thankful to the Lord for His provisions to be able to do that:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Lunch from the Land Main Dishes
Fall Ranchfest 2012 Lunch from the Land Side Dishes
Fall Ranchfest 2012 Lunch from the Land Drinks

Another project was to install new cabinets in the kitchen of the cottage:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Cottage Cabinets Installing
Fall Ranchfest 2012 Cottage Cabinets Complete

The ladies of the community got together to process and preserve the butchered bull:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Ladies Preserving Butchered Longhorn Bull
Fall Ranchfest 2012 More Ladies Preserving Butchered Longhorn Bull

And do some sewing on a sewing machine run by foot treadle:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 More Sewing with Treadle Sewing Machine

Here are some of the children fellowshipping too, although new-born Joseph is just trying to relax:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Young Joseph Relaxing

Here, the girls are hiding from Sue:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Young Ladies Hiding

And then listening to Jennifer read:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Young Ladies Reading

Back at the cottage, the piping of the catch-water gutters were completed, with a roof washer…

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Cottage Rain Harvesting Piping Complete

And the connections to the pipes on the other side of the cottage that then run into the cistern:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Cottage Rain Harvesting Piping Connected to Other Piping to the Cistern

Over at the water tower, once the siding and rock wall connector tabs were in place, it was time to start placing rock. We just happen to have nearby a stone mason, who graciously granted his time to help teach and direct folks in this project. Here are a couple of the guys carving rock:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Carving Rocks for Water Tower

And then the “mud” was mixed by hand — 9-12 shovels-full of sand with 1/2 bag of type N mortar cement and 1 shovel-full of type S portland cement (I believe that was the formula). The mixed consistency is apparently supposed to be where it slides off a trowel cleanly:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Mixing Cement for Water Tower

Here is the placement of the all-important first corner-stone (Isa 28:16; Matt 21:42):

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Placing First Water Tower Cornerstone

And here is most of the first row of rock completed. After only a few hours, the joints were scraped out with a handle or stick to just behind the edge of the adjoining rocks and then wire brushed:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 First Row of Rocks for Water Tower

Well, there had been a sickness moving through the group since before Ranchfest started, and Wednesday night it hit several of the rest of the group; and so, sadly the last two work days of Ranchfest were cancelled. But, we are thankful to God for granting the healing and help through the sicknesses that He has.

We are also grateful to Him for granting this time of fellowship and service, for the new folks we were able to meet, and for the work accomplished on the Bunker homestead. We are thankful to the Lord for the teacher He has granted us in Mr. Bunker, and for his family; and we pray the Lord continue to provide for them and grow us into continued and more service to them, and each other, in love for each other, motivated by love for Christ Jesus.

— David


  1. Anonymous

    Thank you for all the nice pictures of the Ranchfest projects and people involved. Your posts are always so thorough and a joy to read. Appreciate all you share.

    Have a blessed day! Beth

  2. Anonymous

    Thank you for the report. I have never seen a modern sewing machine as a treadle. Can you enlighten me to how this was done? I have a treadle and two electrics, and it would be wonderful to have the versatility of the modern machine with the treadle.

  3. David and Susan Sifford

    Thanks for saying hello, Beth.

    Anonymous, I believe there are conversion kits for certain types of machines to use with a treadle. But, this machine was purchased ready to be put into a treadle cabinet. You can look for "janome 712t" on the Internet to find it.

    — David

  4. Anonymous

    Its wonderful to see the togetherness of what you all are doing and instiling in the children.. Kuddo's for all the beautiful work yall are doing.

  5. David and Susan Sifford

    Hi Barn Swallow,

    We're grateful to the Lord for this opportunity, and thank Him for His provisions.

    Thanks for saying hello.

    — David

  6. Carolyn

    The elna Carina SU66 was designed to go into a treadle cabinet and has a mechanism to release the machine to be pulled up into a free arm, too. I have one. It can readily be turned into a real treadle machine by disengaging the motor and applying the treadle leather belt. Some Amish look for this particular machine to make into a treadle.

  7. David and Susan Sifford

    Hello Carolyn!

    Thank you very much for the elna Carina SU66 information! We do have a woman in our community who has converted an electric sewing machine into a treadle with great success. I have an older Singer that I know can be converted and I plan to do that when I get more time – maybe this winter. (I'm not a good sewer yet but, hopefully, someday 🙂 We also have a woman here who bought one of those new Janome treadle machines and she loves it.

    I'll plan to keep an eye out for the elna Carina model! Many thanks!!


  8. Carolyn

    You mention the Sabbath and the Lord's Day in this post. Are you 7th Day Sabbath keepers?

  9. David and Susan Sifford

    Hi again, Carolyn!

    Yes, Ma'am, here in our community we observe a Saturday Sabbath and we also observe the Lord's Day on Sundays.

    Thank you for your question!


  10. Carolyn

    A little more on the elna Carina SU66. It is all metal and not computerized. It uses cams and my favorite cams are the point de paris #146 for machine appliqué and 165 or 163 for overcasting the edges of fabric for a «serged» look and quality finish. The elna Carina SU66 will use both the older style single green elna cams and the newer double red style cams.

    I've had my elna since 1983 and it sews as good today as the day I brought it home.

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