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: October 2012

Moses’ Song of the Sea

Revelation 15:2-4:

2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

Some time ago, our teacher Mr. Bunker mentioned these verses in Revelation 15 that talk about the saints singing the “song of Moses” in heaven, and wondered if someone had already put together words and music for that so that we as a group could begin to sing it now. In looking it up, I discovered a song of Moses sung after the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, which is in Exodus 15:1-19; and although there is another “song of Moses” in Deuteronomy 32, Puritan commentators John Gill and Matthew Henry believe the Revelation reference is to the Exodus song. Back then in trying to find a singing version of the song on the Web, we weren’t able to really find anything. Well, I have some musical background, and have attempted in the past to compose lyrical songs; and every once in a while — which has turned out to be about once a decade — I am able to put one together; and so, I thought I would try my hand at this, and see what might come of it.

I started with the words. The first line of the song, which is “I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously” sort of seemed to have natural musical meter — and with a couple of changes fell nicely into what’s called common meter, which has 8 syllables followed by 6 (like “Amazing Grace”) — and that set the lyrical rhythm for the song. With my first go at the words, I didn’t really put them together in proper meter; and so, I went back over them, and was able to finally work them into metrical shape. This was all over several months.

After the lyrics were basically done and Mr. Bunker approved of the “translation” from the actual scriptures to my lyrical version, it was time to see if I could come up with the tune. Over months again, I tried several times, but nothing really came out right, or I lost interest in pursing the version that I had started.

Then one night, after midnight I believe, I was having trouble sleeping, and I starting thinking about the first line of the song, and soon a melody came to me, which worked nicely with the song’s meter, and didn’t sound too badly to me. I continued on through the rest of the first verse, trying to continue with related melody lines (ones that flowed melodically from one phrase to the next). With the length of the song, I was hoping to come up with a “quadruple” common meter version (“Amazing Grace” is single common meter), so the melody wouldn’t be repeated many times trying to get through all of the lyrics. Finally, I was able to work through a quadruple version of the melody, which to me sounded like it might work…I was only hoping I could remember it the next morning! I generally figure though that if it’s a melody worth remembering, it’ll be remembered…

The next morning, I thought about it, but was having trouble remembering how it started. Shortly though, I did remember it, and then figured I’d better write it down. Once on paper, I was very thankful to the Lord for granting the tune, and thankful to now finally have a melody that sounded like it just might work and maybe even sound nicely. At one point, I actually teared up, happy and thankful.

Once the melody was complete, it was just a matter of putting a chord progression to it, and then voicing the parts, since this would be in the form of a typical hymn.

I sat down at the piano, worked out the chord progression and then the voicing; and here is how it came out!

Moses' Song of the Sea

Here is a PDF version:
Moses’ Song of the Sea PDF

And here is an audio piano version of the parts:

Moses’ Song of the Sea MP3 (instrumental)

And a vocal version:

Moses’ Song of the Sea MP3 (vocal)

We’re just starting to learn it here as a group, and so hopefully at some point, I’ll be able to have a recording of us all singing it, in parts, if the Lord wills.

I am thankful to the Lord for granting this, and pray He uses it for His glory and the benefit of His Church.

— David

Poor-Man’s Net-Wire Fencing

Our main working area is about 6 acres or so, where our barn, the pig pen, the chicken tractor and pen, the orchard, the goat pens, and a field area for crops are. To the south and west are barbed-wire fences.

One of the things we have hoped to be able to do is allow the cows and goats to roam in our main working area, eating either weeds or the left-overs from the crops. This saves costs and allows them to forage more, which is more natural to them. However, you find out really fast that 1) they prefer fruit and nut trees and hay bales first, and 2) what’s available on the inside of a fence is apparently not as enticing as what’s on the other side (regardless of what that is).

In the past, hoping this would be good enough, I had hand pulled net-wire fencing across t-posts around the orchard and pecan trees. Well, that alone proved to be a little less than successful as the goats would just go right through the barbed-wire fence to the south, and the cows decided to hop the orchard fencing to get to hay bales we had been storing in that area.


And so, in order to allow our animals to be able to graze/browse this area, we needed to first stop the goats from getting through that south fence. This usually means putting up some form of net-wire fencing, which, besides the cost of the fencing, would mean I would have to basically re-do the whole south fence, which would mean the fence would be down for some time as I fixed or put in new posts and pulled the fencing, which would defeat the purpose of having an enclosed (ie. protected from the cows) area.

When we fix barbed-wire fences around here, often we add wire stays in certain places on dilapidated areas to keep the cows from going between barbed-wire strands. And then it struck me that I might be able to actually just do that for a whole fence line, mimicking a net wire fence. It would be kind of a tedious, time-consuming process; but to me, it was better than re-doing the whole fence.

And so I began. For the stays themselves, I have found that galvanized electric fence wire is relatively inexpensive and pliable yet sturdy, and so I chose to use that. When placing the stays, I decided to put them about 10 inches apart — hopefully far apart enough to save on wire usage, but close enough to keep the goats from trying to get through it. At first, I started just trying to do a few stays each day. But that was going a little slowly, so on some days when I had time, I would do several sections (a section being between two wood posts), but generally got into the groove of doing a section a day.

And here are the results!

Barbed-Wire Fence Turned into a New-Wire Fence Small Section
Barbed-Wire Fence Turned into a New-Wire Fence Larger Section

Here are some pictures as to how I wrapped the wire — starting at the top, two loops around each barbed-wire strand, alternating starting from the front or back of the wire as I went down each strand. Once wrapped, I would take my wire pliers and “crush” each set of loops down onto the barbed wire to keep them from sliding:

Barbed Wire Wire Stay Close Up
Full Barbed Wire Wire Stay from the Top
Full Barbed Wire Wire Stay from the Side

Besides turning the south fence’s barbed wire into net wire, I needed to do something about keeping the cows from jumping the orchard fence. What we normally do for a fence is add a strand of barbed wire above the fencing, but I certainly couldn’t stretch barbed wire on a hand-pull, t-post-only fence. But, I thought I might be able to use wire stays here as well to elevate the barbed wire, thus at least causing a visually higher fence for the cows, which hopefully they would not attempt to jump.

And here is how I wrapped the stays to do that:

Wire Stays to Elevate Barbed-Wire Strand Above Hand Pulled Fence
Wire Stay to Elevate Barbed-Wire Strand Above Hand Pulled Fence Close Up

And here is a close up. I did some extra wrapping of the wire down the net-wire fencing to hopefully make it a little more sturdy:

And lo and behold, it actually worked! Thanks to the Lord! The cows stopped jumping the fence; and when we started letting the goats out into the field after the cows had finished with what they were going to do with it, the goats couldn’t get through the south fence!

I was worried though they would try to do that on the west fence, but thankfully they never did, although I did add a barbed-wire strand along the bottom of that fence line because in some places the soil had eroded, and it seemed at least some of them could have fairly easily gone under it.

Our littlest doe from this year would sometimes go under the new “net-wire” fence to the south, and we’d have to shoo her back in, but being separated from the herd, she wanted back in (and would audibly let us know that!), and then eventually figured out how to get back herself. (We had one other doe figure out some way to the other side too, but it was only a few times, and she would want back in as well).

Here are goats, kept in by the “new” fencing:

I had to shore up the orchard and nut-tree fencing, adding a few t-posts, as the goats and cows would push on the fencing or lean over it to try to get to the trees (I didn’t add a barbed wire strand to the nut tree fencing); but all in all, this has worked well enough to be able to allow the animals access to some more, previously unavailable, grazing land.

We are thankful to the Lord for this idea and for allowing it to work, for the land He’s granted us all out here, and for the opportunity to further separate from dependence on the world to more dependence on Him and His direct provisions.

— David

A House – Update XIX – External Windows and Doors

After the porch roofing was complete, it was on to the windows and doors! Since our cooling and heating is through conventional means, I decided to go with double-paned, LowE windows.

For this part of the house, I was definitely going to need some help; and so during a couple of our first Wednesday of the month community work days, the guys came over, and we started installing.

The most important windows were the pony wall windows above the porch roof, because once those were in, we could be generally rain-free inside the house. Each window was caulked, and we used deck screws on every other hole in the window frame’s “flares” that attach to the wall:

House Installing Pony Wall Windows
House Installing Pony Wall Windows from The Porch Roof

And then we worked on the lower floor windows:

House Installing Main Floor Windows
House More Installing Main Floor Windows

And here are the windows installed! The pony wall windows:

House Pony Wall Windows Installed

And the south bedroom windows:

House Bedroom Windows Installed

And the east library windows:

House Library Windows Installed

Once the windows were done, we worked on the doors. Those are always interesting to do, because you have various things to try to maintain as you get the door into place — that it’s at least somewhat level, that it’s plumb, square, and not torqued or twisted, using shims to accomplish and hold the door in place in the door frame. Interestingly, the first door we did went in without having to work very hard; but it ended up that we should have installed the door knob and hardware first, because when I did that after, the door latches didn’t match, and I had to re-do that entire door. 🙂 Arg…but, lesson learned!

House Front Door from the Inside
House Front Door from the Outside

We’re once again very thankful to the Lord for granting that we be able to progress on the house, and we are grateful to God and to the brethren for the help in this process.

— David

Providence’s Perpetuation Provisions: New Calf “Rufino”

Mr. Bunker’s been keeping his grullo (grey) pure Longhorn bull, Manolete, corralled in his homestead area. Here is Manolete:

Pure Longhorn Bull Manolete

Well, he’s there most of the time……

One day he got out, and I guess pretty much bee-lined to Rosa, our pure Longhorn cow.

And so, nine months and about a week later, it was confirmed that Manolete had done the job, because sure enough, Rosa gave birth! He’s a little bull calf, and we decided to name him Rufino, which means “red-haired.”

Here he is with his mama:

New Pure Longhorn Calf Rufino

And here is his video (I apologize for the shakiness — it’s a little less so at the end):

While we’ve had to liquidate a lot of our cattle, and have decided to not breed for a while to keep the herd count low, to try to allow the land to restore some if the Lord wills, we are thankful for this not-so unexpected gift from Providence. We thank God for the safe and healthy birth of Rosa and Rufino!

— David