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.

Root Cellar/Storm Shelter – Update III & Community Work Day

In our previous root cellar/storm shelter episode, we added a concrete footer slab all the way around the east side. This worked pretty well, keeping the majority of water out. However, with rain usually coming in from north and west, and there still being some leaking, we needed to do the north side as well (the west side currently has flashing attached to the root cellar wall acting as a footer).

I requested this past Wednesday, our monthly community work day, for the fellows to help with pouring the concrete. In preparation, I dug out the footer, which was 1 foot out, 4 inches deep, and then another 4-6 inches out, 8 inches deep as a trench. I had to start around the previous east footer because I had dug out that trench all the way to the root cellar wall, which wasn’t correct, since water in the trench could just flow up to the root cellar wall and then down it, which defeated the purpose of the trench.

Foreman William apparently had to approve:

Dug Out Root Cellar North Footer
Concrete Anchor Bolt

I put in some concrete anchor bolts to try to help join the new concrete with the old, spaced about 2 feet apart:

Other Side of Dug Out Root Cellar North Footer

And added re-mesh, tying it to the anchor bolts and elevating it off the ground with rocks:

Re-mesh in Dug Out Footer

Then it was time for work day and the pour:

Mixing Concrete by Hand
First Part of Footer Poured
More Mixing Concrete by Hand
Re-mesh in Dug Out Footer

We mixed in some dirt into the concrete to try to help it go a little farther:

Getting Dirt to Mix in Concrete

And here it is all done! It was about 25 feet long, and the guys banged it out in about two hours, 32 bags of 80 pound Quickrete. It seems to be holding ok at this time — I had to spray it down with water all afternoon because even in the shade, it was drying too fast and starting to show cracks:

North Footer Complete
Other Side of Complete North Footer

Since we finished the whole footer in the morning, the guys came back after lunch break and helped with painting a few items around the homestead:

Painting House Facia
Painting House Facia
Painting House Facia
Painting Cistern Siding & Summer Kitchen Facia

The ladies did some painting in the morning, along with some preparation on preserving our garden pumpkins, and in the afternoon, Sue continued to work on the pumpkins for final processing, and the ladies worked on sewing:

Ladies Processing Pumpkin & Sewing
More of Ladies Processing Pumpkin & Sewing

And then at the end of community work day, we had our customary taco meal together!

Community Work Day Meal

Here are the pumpkins cut up, and the meat and juice preserved:

Pumpkins Cut Up
More Pumpkins Cut Up
Still More Pumpkins Cut Up
Pumpkin Juice
Canned Pumpkins

And the seeds drying on the solar food dehydrator:

Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin Seeds on Solar Food Dehydrator

Thanks again to everyone here for their help on work day! And we are thankful to the Lord for allowing us to be able to work together — we pray He glorifies Himself through these things. And we are thankful to Him for continued progress on the homestead.

— David


  1. Vicky

    Greetings Mr & Mrs Sifford, it is wonderful to see your community working together, that must be such a blessing to you. I am intrigued by the way the ladies preserved the pumpkin, I have never seen that before but then I am not overly experienced at preserving yet :). May I ask, did you simply cook the pumpkin and the put it into hot jars to get a seal? and also how will you use the pumpkin and the juice, I would be thinking pies and soups and the like.
    Thank you for sharing with us,
    Vicky Schreiber

  2. David and Susan Sifford

    Hello Mrs. Schreiber!

    Yes, it is a true blessing to have our monthly community work days and we are so grateful for the help of everyone.

    This was the first time we had planted pumpkins in our garden, as well as the first time processing them. Here is the link to the process that we followed:

    It seemed to work great! I haven't decided what to do with the canned pumpkin meat but I imagine I will be trying a few new things like pumpkin pie, bread, soup, etc. Lots of firsts in this lifestyle 🙂

    And I think Dave and I will just be drinking the leftover juice for the nourishment. Although, I could have canned that as well but this time we'll just drink it.

    Thanks so much for saying Hello and may God bless and keep you!


  3. Vicky

    thank you for the link Mrs Sifford, it was very helpful 🙂

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