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: January 2016

BarnBNB – Trina the Turkey

One day, what we thought was probably a wild turkey just showed up around the homestead. It just started hanging out like it had always been here…moved into the barn at night, and ended up staying around. We didn’t really know what to make of it.

Well, after some research, we believe it’s a she, and that she is a Black Turkey — a heritage breed, which makes sense because of its friendliness. Where it came from we don’t know, but unless we discover an owner, we’ve decided to keep her, as there is a person in the general area that has what we think are the same breed, and so we’re planning on looking into seeing if we can get her a mate!

And, we decided to call her Trina…Trina the Turkey. 🙂

Here is a video of our story thus far with her, from introduction day to various times of her interaction with the homestead!

We’re thankful for the new visitor, and we pray the Lord direct us as to what He would have for us with her, if anything.

— David

A House – Update XXXIX – Bedroom Windows & Doors, Great Room/Kitchen Siding, Wall Passthrough Electricity, & Homemade Amish Hat Rack

We’re thankful to the Lord to be able to continue on the house! Thanks again to those who are helping make this possible, and thanks to Robert for his help!

The plan always was to seal in the bedroom so we could run separate heat in there, with the idea of using fewer resources for when we are sleeping, rather than trying to keep the whole house warm just so the bedroom is. And so, we added the doors:

To the library:

Bedroom Library Door

To the closet:

Bedroom Closet Door

And to the bathroom:

Bedroom Bathroom Door

And then we put in the bedroom internal windows:

Bedroom Internal Windows

Then, it was more great room/kitchen siding, which are now finished!

Great Room Back Siding

More Great Room Back Siding

Great Room North Siding

Great Room East Siding

Electricity Through the Wall

Up until recently, we’ve had an extension cord running from our camper going through two slightly opened windows wrapped around the wall frame between the two windows, and we’ve had towels tucked in the openings to keep out the weather. Well, we recently discovered cold air was coming in between the sliding and permanent glass in the middle of the two windows. We put some towels there also to try to get by, but only until I could figure a way to pass the electricity through the wall.

In looking online, the only similar male to female things I could find were for RVs and were very expensive. So, I set out to see if I could figure out something a lot less costly…

Here is the metal, external wall plate with holes drilled through using the smallest bit I have:

External Electricity Wall Plate

And then L brackets attached, which will hold the male receptacle ends:

External Electricity Wall with L Brackets

Here are the male receptacles and some foam seals:

Electricity Male Ends with Seals

And in place on the metal wall plate:

Electricity Male End on Wall Plate Showing Seal

I attached the wire, which was just a 3-wire extension cord I cut a piece from, to the back of the male receptacle:

Wire Attached to Electricity Male End

And put the male receptacle back together:

Electricity Male End Wired

And here is the male end of the passthrough:

External Electricity Male Receptacle Complete

I then cut a hole in the internal siding and cut out a square to fit the electrical bracket box that the female receptacle attaches to:

Drilling Hole Through Wall Through Cut Out Square in Internal Wall

And here is the hole on the external OSB wall:

External Electricity Wall Hole

And the square cut out:

External Electricity Wall Square Cut Out

And then the male end and wires through the hole:

Wires Through External Electricity Wall Cut Out

And then the whole male receptacle installed and calked:

External Electricity Male Receptacle in Place

And here are the wires coming through on the inside:

Wires Coming Through the Wall

And through the bracket box:

Wires Through Box Bracket

I originally attached the two wire sets to the top and bottom of the female receptacle, but thankfully discovered that without having the current coming directly in the top one but only the bottom one, the top female outlet was still active! Well, that would have been something if I had plugged in another active cord into the top one while the bottom one was plugged in. Thanks to God for letting me find that beforehand. And so, apparently I only needed to wire in the one set of wires to one of the female receptacles to make both outlets active, and then I just taped up the not used wire, keeping it there in case it was ever needed:

Taped Up Not Needed Extra Wire

And here is the female receptacle in place:

Female Electricity Receptacle in Place

And the cover plate:

Internal Electricity Wall Plate in Place

Then, I plugged in the extension cord to the outside:

External Electricity Plugged In

Et voila! Power on the inside!

Extension Cord Inside Showing Power

And now, we can close both those windows completely to help keep the place warmer.

Homemade Amish Hat Rack

With the great room siding done, I really wanted a place for the men to be able to hang their hats when visiting, and so I set out to make something quick but useful for the larger sized Amish hats we wear.

And here’s what I came up with. Had to angle the backings to be able to fit on the wall as I hadn’t measured the wall width beforehand, but it worked not too badly:

Extension Cord Inside Showing Power
Extension Cord Inside Showing Power

Again, we are grateful to the Lord for allowing the continued work on the house!

— David

Garden – Winter 2016 – Mini-Greenhouses

Sue came across this article about sowing seeds in the winter using mini-greenhouses out of milk cartons or two-liter soda bottles (or anything similar). Once again, this is the kind of idea I like: easy to do and inexpensive, assuming you have the containers, which we do, from the club soda we like to drink. 🙂 The nice thing about these too is that the seedlings are apparently already hardened!

And so, I obtained some seeds for vegetables that apparently can grow in the winter — cabbage, broccoli, beats and peas — and started making our little greenhouses…

After removing the label, I drilled 1/8 inch holes in the very bottom:

Drilling Bottom Hole in Club Soda Bottle

And also up about 3/4-1 inch, all to try to make sure water can flow through so it does not sit and rot the seeds and roots:

Drilling Upper Hole in Club Soda Bottle

Then, I made a starter slice in the side, and cut around, leaving maybe 2 1/2 inches uncut for the bend:

Making Side Slice

Cutting Around the Bottle

Finished Mini-Greenhouse Opened Up

And then, it was off to the garden. Here is one with the soil in it, and then set in place in the mulch garden bed:

Soil in Mini-Greenhouse

Mini-Greenhouse Set in Garden Mulch Bed

And here are the first results!

First Mini-Greenhouse Seedling Sprouts

And finally, this is where we are as of yesterday morning:

Garden with Many Mini-Greenhouses

And those same first sprouts! They even survived the snow we recently had:

First Seedlings Growing Some More

Excellent! Thanks to the Lord for granting the germination and seedling growth!

Many of the seeds have sprouted, so we’ll have to see how this progresses through the winter, as God might grant.

We are thankful to Him for being able to work to grow our own food, and new and creative ideas, and we pray He might indeed grant provisions from the garden, in accordance with His will!

— David

A Boar-ing Update, Take 2 & 3

As we mentioned in our last pig update, we had purchased Odysseus to mate with our female Penelope. We left them together for four months and then took him to the butcher, expecting her to deliver any time. Well, four more months passed, and…..nothing. Bummer.

I’ve been trying to figure out what do to, and asking God, as we try to do with everything, that He would direct in this. I really like the line of Durocs we have had, and have been hoping to try to breed Penelope still, but if that’s not what God would have, I have asked He would direct whichever way He would.

Well, one day much to their surprise, Mr. Bunker and family found out one of their Duroc females had dropped a litter of piglets. She hadn’t been placed with a boar, so the assumption was a wild boar got to her, which was evidenced in the characteristics of the piglets. Given that, I thought it might be nice to get one of those males and mate him with Penelope. And when they were big enough, so I thought, we began the process…

The first fellow we put with her was pretty small, although they got along pretty well. However, by afternoon that day, he was gone, and we found him again back with his mamma and siblings. We were happy that he at least made it back with them. So, we figured it might be good to let them grow up some more before trying again…

Take 3! We rounded up a young male again, which ended up being a different one this time, and began the operation of putting him together with Penelope. This at first didn’t go very well. Penelope became downright hostile, even to me at one point — very unlike her. But, eventually, they have learned to at least get along, and are cohabiting relatively peacefully now.

When trying to figure out what to call him, with his long, wild-hog snout, he reminded me of the aardvark from The Ant and the Aardvark cartoon, so we decided to name him Ardy. And here he is:

New Mating Boar Ardy

While a bit long, this video takes you on the journey of putting the first little one with her, and then how it went with Ardy. It shows Penelope snapping aggressively at me at one point, then slamming her snout full speed into a tree chasing Ardy, but also a couple of weeks later things being much more calm. And finally, I take you along for a morning feeding with them, which includes views from the bucket cam! 🙂

We thank the Lord for this opportunity, and His continued health and safety with the animals (and me at that one point). We pray He might grant provisions from these two, or show us a different direction if that’s what He would rather have.

— David