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: May 2014

Providence’s Perpetuation Provisions: Second Batch of 2014 Chicks

As I mentioned in our blog post about the first chicks that the Lord granted us in 2014 1, we had another hen go broody, an Australorp, which we showed in our mini chicken tractor, and by God graciousness, He granted that she hatch out a bunch o’ chicks! Out of 13 eggs, 11 hatched out, and all 11 are still rolling along just great, it appears!

Here are a few pictures:

Second Hatching of Chicks in 2014
More of the Second Hatching of Chicks in 2014

And their video:

As always, we are so very grateful to the Lord for His granting of these provisions. We’ve had to butcher some more roosters recently to get the rooster-hen ratio better, and it is humbling and joyful to be eating the food the Lord has directly provided! We are very thankful.

— David

1 P.S. You’ll have to forgive me, as in the previous post I said one of our Australorps was the mother of those first hatchlings, and that wasn’t correct — I’ve corrected it since.

Garden – Spring 2014

At least for me, it’s always nice to start coming out of Winter into Spring time, with the warmth and the anticipation of planting the gardens! Since the last time we planted a garden, given we took last year off for our land sabbath, we had done some expansions, mostly based on the idea of mulch-bed/forest gardening, in our original garden area, and then adding a new garden area, and my first attempt at an hugelkultur bed.

Also, last July, I added a layer of manure we got from the local cattle sale barn:

Manure on Mulched Garden Bed

Given the very often dry and hot conditions, I have concluded that our mulch beds are going to need to work for gardening out here to work — watering in raised beds without a really good layer of mulch is just going to take too much water. And so, prayerfully, we started to plant in the mulch-bed gardens.

As for what to plant, I decided to stick with what has worked around here in the past: zucchini/squash, beans and tomatoes, and hopefully okra later when it gets warmer. I also learned you need to plant deeper, making sure to get to where there is soil, or the seeds won’t really germinate (no…really?? 🙂 ). Our garden 1 is also in the shade, so I thought that might help with some of the more sensitive plants, especially the tomatoes. I also decided to move some of the goat-area compost I had put in garden 2 for the Winter turnips over to garden 1 to try to make sure there was some decent soil available.

I wasn’t sure how this was going to work, but we were very thankful when little sprouts started to show up! I did plant some broccoli, but nothing germinated with them at all. These are about a month ago:

The zucchini (I thought I had bought squash seeds, but didn’t realize I hadn’t until I went to plant — so it’s all zucchini this year). The PVC pipes are just markers as to where I planted:

Zucchini Sprouting

Just to see what would happen, given the hopes of much more moisture in the mulch-beds, I thought I’d throw a little corn in the ground to see what happened; and it started to come up:


And here are the tomatoes in the hugelkultur bed:

Tomatoes in Hugelkultur Bed

And the green beans in garden 2:

Green Beans Sprouting

And then just a few days ago…

The zucchini. I had planted just a few in some dried chicken manure to see what would happen, but none of that came up:

Zucchini Growing

From this morning…beautiful, in a couple of different ways:

Zucchini Flower


Corn Growing

Tomatoes — these aren’t doing too well, as I don’t think what I planted in was good enough soil — I think it’s still composting, and that I’ve found in the past doesn’t work either:

Tomatoes Growing in Hugelkultur Bed

The Bunkers graciously gave us some tomato plants, and I thought I’d put a couple in the manured area; and these actually seem to be starting to do well:

Tomatoes Growing in Mulch Bed

And the beans:

Green Beans Growing

One nice thing about the mulch/forest-bed gardens is that I haven’t had to water nearly as often so far as I would have in our normal beds, which has helped, given the low rainfall from this Spring time.

We are very thankful to the Lord for granting us the forest/mulch-bed gardening idea, and for Him allowing it to apparently work! We’re thankful for the water He has granted, and we pray for His continued provisions, both spiritual and temporal, in accordance with His will.

— David

A House – Update XXV – External Siding – Update I

Well, after putting on the siding for the upper west side of the house, I decided to try to knock out the upper north side, given it was during Winter, which is from where most of the rains come, and that the water running off the main roof has a tendency to bounce back toward the house — something I hadn’t considered in the design. I guess the worst part is having to close the north and south upper windows if it rains, which is only a minor inconvenience.

First was the tar paper, which Sue and I are able to do:

House Upper North Side Tar Paper

And then the window trim. Once again, we’re using cedar fence slats for the siding, for aesthetics and durability:

House Upper North Side Window Trim

And then the main courses for the siding. After climbing the ladder himself, here is foreman William, our cat, making sure I do a good job on things:

William Our Cat Supervising Putting on the Siding

And here is some of the siding complete:

Cedar Fence Slat Siding Partially Done

Here’s supervisor William up on the roof again with me. He had tried to jump up to the main roof, but didn’t quite make it; so I set him up there, and he went and took a look around:

William Our Cat Supervising from the Upper Roof

And here is the upper north siding complete!

House Upper North Side Cedar Fence Slat Siding Complete
Another View of the Completed Siding of Upper North Side

So that’s two upper sides done now, both of which I’m starting to paint with wood preserver.

We are once again very grateful to the Lord for granting the provisions to continue on the house, and safety while we are up there.

— David

Wheat 2014

After our land Sabbath last year, in Autumn, we decided to plant wheat again, using the wheat we harvested back in 2012, which has also been used to supplement the chicken scratch.

Here is one of the sacks of wheat:

Wheat Seed from 2012

And then in the grain drill:

Wheat Seed in the Grain Drill

Here’s the prepared field:

Plowed Field Ready for Wheat Planting

And then me out there planting the wheat seed:

Planting Wheat Using the Tractor and Grain Drill

We did it shortly after a good rain, so it sprouted pretty quickly; and here it is growing well about 10 days after planting:

2014 Wheat About 10 Days After Planting

The Winter weather had some pretty good cold snaps this year, and not a lot of moisture, and we weren’t sure anything was even going to grow. I also didn’t do a very good job of making the ground even when I plowed it, so there are quite a few bare spots. Here it is near the end of March,:

2014 Wheat Late March

But here it is again almost a week ago, and thankfully there is some wheat growing:

2014 Wheat Early May
Closeup of 2014 Wheat Early May

Also back in 2012, I planted turnips next to the wheat using the grain drill, and those actually worked out fairly well. With our mulch garden beds though, I thought I’d try planting turnips in there. Here are the rows ready for planting, dug out using a rake:

Mulch Garden Bed Rows Ready for Turnip Seed

I had noticed that, the hay, pee and poop from the goat sheds, and the area around them, after time, rain and being trampled, turned into what looked like really nice compost, so I thought I would add that to the mulch-bed rows. Here it is:

Goat Area Compost in Wheel Barrow

And then in the rows:

Goat Area Compost Placed in Mulch Garden Bed Rows

I planted the turnip seeds in the rows, and thought I’d try just scattering some on the non-row area left in the mulch-bed garden, but it appeared that with the cold snaps, the turnips, even though some germinated, just couldn’t get going. I have a feeling I waited too late in the year to get them planted. And so, the rows basically looked like that after Winter. Bummer.

Still, we’re thankful to the Lord for granting the wheat He appears to be granting, and we look forward to perhaps being able to harvest it in due time, according to His will.

— David