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: March 2016

Garden – Spring 2016

With us coming out of Winter heading into Spring, it was time to start getting the gardens in shape for warm-weather planting!

Weeds and Mulching

Lots of weeds this year — I don’t know if it’s because of the mild Winter or not, but there are a bunch of them. This was Garden 2:

Garden After Winter

However, it’s not all bad! Here is one of several volunteer turnips coming from seeds I planted probably a couple of years ago! I think I’m just going to start throwing down turnip seeds all over the mulch garden beds from now on!

Volunteer Turnip

Sue & I started chopping down the weeds using yo-yos (I looked it up, and apparently that is indeed what they’re called) in preparation for laying down a new layer of mulch across the whole garden area:

Chopping Down Weeds

And here is about half of the garden chopped down:

Weeds Chopped

And then the first mulch load laid down and spread out. Looks like probably four loads to cover all of Garden 2:

First New Mulch Section

Compost

With the trouble last year getting plants started from seed directly in the mulch beds, I really figured I need to get a composting system running well.

In a previous blog post almost three years ago, I mentioned the compost container we have been trying to use. It’s been sitting there full of all of the stuff I gathered I think from the chicken tractor and maybe goat fields for probably a couple of years. Well, I planned to take what was in it and move it to inside Garden 1 so I could start turning it more, as I picked up from a local friend that he turns his piles apparently after each rain; and when I opened the lid, there was barely anything in there! I was quite puzzled — where did it all go?

Cylinder Container Compost Pile

But, in looking close at the bottom, lo and behold, there was nice deep, rich looking soil! Wow! And very nice!

New Composted Soil

Here’s a wheelbarrow full of it, clumped because it’s wet:

Wheelbarrow of New Composted Soil

Excellent! I also have a pretty big pile of chicken droppings/hay and wood ashes going in Garden 1 that I hope now by turning it over it will compost better.

Thanks to the Lord for granting the new soil, and we pray for continued guidance always. And may He help us in continuing to prepare the gardens, and we pray He might grant food from them this year!

— David

A House – Update XL – Kitchen Counter & Sink, & Birdhouse 2

With the kitchen siding in place, it was time to install the kitchen counter and sink.

Kitchen Counter Top

I decided to go with a pre-formed laminate one as it was going to be easier, more cost effective, and I believed better quality than if I were to try to make one myself.

Sue had decided she didn’t want permanent cupboards below the counter top, so my plan was to build bracing that attached to the wall studs, and this is what I came up with. There is a cross 2×4 attached to the wall studs, then the counter top braces extending from the wall on top of that, and then diagonal braces from the top brace to the wall stud:

Kitchen Counter Bracing

For the corner, I just put braces across from back board to back board:

Kitchen Counter Corner Bracing

Once the bracing was completed, I tied the corners together with glue and the provided nuts and bolts in the pre-cut areas:

Kitchen Counter Corner Tied Together with Bolts

Here are the screws I decided to use to tie down the counter top to the top braces. They have a larger, flat head that I hoped would help pull the counter to the brace:

Screws to Tie Down Kitchen Counter to Bracing

I had Sue sit on the counter and push down to get the counter to set against the top braces while I screwed it down, and here is the counter tied down to a brace:

Kitchen Counter Tied Down to Bracing

And here is the counter top installed!

Kitchen Counter Right Side

Kitchen Counter Left Side

Kitchen Sink

We decided to go with a stainless steel kitchen sink, to be placed between two braces. When I initially measured, it appeared it was going to fit nicely, but I eventually ran into some issues…

When cutting on a laminate top, you’re apparently supposed to put tape down to help keep the laminate from cracking as you cut:

Tape Laid Out for Kitchen Sink

Then, you lay the sink down upside down, trace around it, then draw a cut line inside the trace line, the width according to the instructions that come with the sink:

Kitchen Sink Cutting Marks on Tape

I used a jig saw with laminate blade to cut out the main section:

Kitchen Sink Main Cutout

Then used a coping saw for the back part as I couldn’t get close enough with the jig saw to the back cut line:

Coping Saw Cutting Back of Kitchen Sink Cutout

One issue I ran into was the sides of the hole ended up going over the bracing, and so I used a skill saw set to counter-top depth to make the initial cut of the sides, and then needed to chisel out the rest:

Chiseling Out Kitchen Counter on Top of Bracking

And here is a side completed:

Kitchen Sink Side Chiseled Out

Sadly though, on the right side, I apparently didn’t chisel down far enough in the corner, and it slightly cracked up the laminate. I ended up just gluing it and caulking it, which appears to have worked ok:

Laminate Crack

Another problem I ran into was that the sink tubs wouldn’t fit completely between the braces, so I needed to cut off a little of the brace siding:

Kitchen Counter Trimmed Bracing

And then, another issue was how to clamp the sides of the sink to the counter top. For that, I drilled holes and chiseled out a hole in the brace, and enough underneath to reveal some of the counter top so the clamp would have something to grab on to. You can see here at the top of the hole a little of the counter top exposed. Given the design of the brace, I could only really use one clamp on the sides even though you’re supposed to use two — I just hope that ends up being enough 🙂 :

Kitchen Sink Clamp Cutout in Counter Brace

Once all cutting, etc. was complete, I put down the caulk bead:

Kitchen Sink Caulk Bead

And then placed the sink in place, and clamped it down in a star-like pattern, starting from the inside clamps outward according to the directions:

Kitchen Sink Counter Clamps

And then I added more caulking from the outside, stuffing it under any slight gaps between the sink and counter top, and then tried to smooth it all out. And I put a couple of jugs of water to try to help keep pressing it down with the caulking cures:

Kitchen Sink Installed

To finish, I put in caps with caulking to plug the faucet holes:

Kitchen Sink Installed

And added the plumbing, which we plan to run into a bucket, at least for now:

Kitchen Sink Installed

So far after several days of the caulk around the sink curing, without using it yet, it seems to have sealed up. I guess we’ll know more over time and usage. 🙂

Birdhouse 2

Last but not least, young Abram Stonger made us another birdhouse, and here it is in place. Thanks to you, Abram, and a fine job!

New Birdhouse

And both birdhouses from the boys:

Both Birdhouses

As always, we are grateful to the Lord for granting the resources, designs and abilities to continue to work on the house! We always pray our place will be one of worship to Him!

— David

Musical Roosters

A couple of times now, we’ve had roosters at some point in their lives have crows that sound like familiar human tunes! It brings a smile to my face when I hear them, in just how much their crows sound like a snippet of a familiar song or piece of music.

Anyway, here is a video of them in action — the two music compositions being the standard Bridal March and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony! 😀 See if you can hear the similarities:


We are always grateful to the Lord for His continued provisions, both spiritually and temporally, and we thank Him for these little gifts of farm fun He grants out here!

— David