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.

Year: 2016 (Page 2 of 7)

New Pig Pen Fencing & Pig Update

When I originally built our pig pen, I thought to bury the bottom of the net-wire fencing several inches to try to help with the pigs digging themselves out of the pen, but what I didn’t realize at the time was that metal wire eventually rusts and breaks apart when buried. 🙂 And so, after probably 8 years or so, and lots of pig digging and cinder blocks around the pen trying to put patchwork on the problem, it was time to put in some new fencing:

With the success of the cinder block, cattle panel fencing sections I put together for the pig expansion area, I thought the same thing might work for the pen area, although instead of half the cattle panel in height, I’d use the full height.

You can see more detail of how I put them together in that blog post, but here is one of the new, full-height sections:

And ready for delivery to the pig pen:

And here they are in place, replacing that area shown in the first picture above:

And after putting a third section in place, I thought I’d show a little video of it all, and since we haven’t done a pig update in some time, I thought we’d include an update on our two pigs Ardy and Penelope!


We are grateful to God for granting the idea and resources of the fencing, we pray they work well 🙂 , and we are thankful for the continued health, safety of and provision for our piggies!

— David

David’s Digest: Love of the World, Part 2 – Truth in Trials

1 John 2:15 – “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

This regards sermon 9 on love of the world from a set of sermons on Mark 10:17-27 from Puritan Thomas Manton, where the rich young ruler asks Christ what he must do to inherit eternal life. I found it very interesting, beneficial and challenging.

Here is a link to the entire set of sermons on the topic:
http://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A51840.0001.001/1:17?rgn=div1;view=fulltext

And here is a link to this individual sermon 9 on love of the world:
http://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A51840.0001.001/1:17.9?rgn=div2;view=fulltext

And here are the previous parts from our blog:
Part 1 – Cooling Zeal

The below is part 2 of just some of the main snippets from the sermon. I hope you will take the time to go through the entire thing as it has many more rich explanations and many scriptural proofs.

One note: The word “sensuality” has come to pertain to sexuality, but I believe most often with the Puritans it basically means “operating by the senses” (vs. spiritually).

From Thomas Manton:

Mark 10:22 – “And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved, for he had great possessions.

Doctrine 2: That trials bring men forth to the light, and make them manifest what they are.

Here upon the trial the young man is discovered. Who would but have thought this young man good till now? But when he heard Christ’s terms, he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved.

They are offended, when it toucheth upon a bosom sin, pride, sensuality, or covetousness, or unlawful pleasure, they are tried by it.

Again, trial is either for the discovery of grace or corruption, to discover the corruption of their hearts, or the weakness of their graces:

REASONS:

1. It is for good, that men should be discovered; the graces of his people to their comfort, and their weakness that it may be repaired;

It is a great part of God’s providence to uncase hypocrites. It is for the Church’s good, lest men get a name to do religion a mischief:

2. It is for the glory of God, that men may appear what they are, and for the reclaiming of offenders. Many were likely to have grace, if they were discovered to themselves, and knew they had no grace.

USE. Well then, expect trials, and see to it, how you behave yourselves under them.

1. Expect trials.

Whosoever buildeth a confidence for heaven, must look to have his building tried: count it not strange, we are loth to forecast, and to think of trials. We take a carnal pillow, and lie down upon it, and count it strange when it comes.

2. Be careful how you acquit your selves in trials. When the hour of temptation is come upon the earth, then we should be cautious: Whatever a man doth, he will [if cautious] behave himself well when he is upon his trial.

Stay tuned for part 3, if the Lord wills!

May God show us who we are truly, in our hearts; may we pray for His graces in our lack; and we pray by His mercies He grow us in His graces!

— David

David’s Digest: Love of the World, Part 1 – Cooling Zeal

1 John 2:15 – “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

If you have been following along our blog, I have been reading through quite a few, and sometimes commenting on, the writings of Puritan Thomas Manton, and fairly recently, I went through a sermon that I thought had some very interesting, beneficial and challenging remarks about what it means to love the world. This is sermon 9 of a set of sermons on Mark 10:17-27, where the rich young ruler asks Christ what he must do to inherit eternal life.

Here is a link to the entire set of sermons on the topic:
http://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A51840.0001.001/1:17?rgn=div1;view=fulltext

And here is a link to this individual sermon 9 on love of the world:
http://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A51840.0001.001/1:17.9?rgn=div2;view=fulltext

The below is part 1 of just some of the main snippets from the sermon. I hope you will take the time to go through the entire thing as it has many more rich explanations and many scriptural proofs.

One note: The word “lust” has come to pertain mostly to impure sexual desire, but most often with the Puritans it basically means “desire” or “improper desire,” and so it helps me to just substitute those for “lust” when I’m reading.

From Thomas Manton:

Mark 10:22 – “And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved, for he had great possessions.

We have hitherto seen the young man at his best: now we shall find him discovered and laid open in his own colours. It was well that he came to Christ with such reverence and seriousness about such a weighty question, as, What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? It was well if he could say truly, All these have I kept from my youth: but now here is the event and issue of this interlocutory discourse between him and Christ, when Christ bid him sell all, and take up his cross, and follow him; then he went away sad, etc.

Here observe,

1. How he was affected with Christ’s advice, he was sad at the saying, and went away grieved.
2. The reason of his sorrow, or why he was thus affected, for he had great possessions.

And observe, that the bare having is rendered as the reason, he had great possessions, and therefore he went away sad: it is hard to have them without lustful affections to them.

Doctrine 1: That a man may go far, and be zealous and forward at first, and yet cool and fall away at last.

Witness this young man, who comes to Christ to learn of him the way of life, and that in such an humble and reverent manner, and makes profession that he had kept the commandments from his youth; and yet when Christ tells him what he must do more, he was troubled, and falls off.

Reasons of this are,

(1.) They take up religion upon foreign and extrinsic reasons, and when those reasons fail, their religion saileth also: as puppets moved by the wires to which they are fastened; so they are moved by credit and esteem, and countenance in the world: they court religion while it hath a portion for them.

Therefore the difference between false and sincere professors is not altogether taken from their zeal and outward diligence; they may be exceeding zealous and forward upon the impulsion of false principles, who have a base heart lurking under it; because the motions of lusts disguised with religion are rapid and earnest, and by-ends have a powerful influence. Though lust be served, yet because it is in the way of religion, men’s affections are much aloft, and they may seem to have great fits and zealous pangs in the service of God, and yet all this comes to nothing.

(2.) Because they many times rest in externals without internal grace. This young man for outward conformity went very far: there is nothing for external duties that a child of God doth, but a hypocrite may do also; he may pray, preach, confer, hear the word, though not in a holy and gracious manner.

(3.) Because that internal affection which they seem to have to the ways of God, is not rooted and fixed, only a slight tincture, that may easily be worn off;

(4.) Their corrupt lusts were only restrained, not mollified and weakened, and so it is but like a sore that is skinned over, and festers inwardly, and will at length break out again.

Many an unsound professor seems to cast the world, and their old fashions behind their back, yet their hearts are not wholly weaned from them, nor are they wholly cast out; some prevalent lust remains that will make them turn back to their old vomit again:

USE. It doth press unto two things; to search for a sound work, and to watch against declinings.

(1.) To search for a true sound work.

Whilst any one sin remains unbroken, all that we do in conformity to God will be lost:

And what is prized besides Christ, will be soon prized above Christ; therefore unless the sweetness of his grace makes all the baits of the flesh unsavoury to us, we cannot be sound.

(2.) To watch against declinings; for we lose ground every day, as a thing running down the hill falls lower and lower, if we do not keep up a constant relish and savour of good things. When you lose your first love, you will leave your first works

Stay tuned for part 2, if the Lord wills!

May God grant us His graces and true zeal, full of His graces, in the heart, for Him!

— David

The Barn – Update VII – The Loft – Update V

After getting most of the barn loft platform done, and in preparation for hopefully adding another barn stall before winter, we really needed to get some steps in place, as going up an extension ladder was just not going to work, with trying to haul up tubs and boxes.

And so, here’s a quick look at the process:

After using a stair stringer calculator and figuring out the rise and run, I drew the steps to cut using a framing square (you use the outside edge to mark the rise/run cut) and then cut them out:

Barn Loft Stairs Stringers

I decided to go with juxtaposed 2×6 and 2×4 boards for steps instead of 2×10…not sure if it saved money in the end, but I thought it might:

Barn Loft Stairs Step Boards

I had to torque over the one stringer to straighten it, so I hung the bucket of screws on a pipe wrench:

Torquing Steps Stringer with Pipe Wrench

And here are the stringers in place, tied to cross pieces and resting on the loft beam and tied to the floor joists structure:

Barn Loft Stairs Stringer in Place

And then the steps done:

Barn Loft Stairs Steps in Place

I found it to be a little soft-feeling when walking up and down, so I added a vertical 2×6 brace down the center of the steps, which made it feel more sturdy. I had to remove the middle cross brace:

Barn Loft Stairs Steps Center Bracing

Top Part of Barn Loft Stairs Steps Center Bracing

And finally the last couple of ply wood pieces, save the last corner:

Barn Loft Plywood Flooring to Stairs

More Barn Loft Plywood Flooring

Yea! It’s nice to have it to this point, as it has been over 3 1/2 years since we posted the first blog post on the loft. It’s nice to be able to have it functional! 🙂

We are always thankful to the Lord for granting provision and progress on the homestead!

— David

Lullaby – Hey You Sleepy Head

I have a musical background and will sometimes set out to write a song, like with Moses’ Song, or sometimes I just come up with little tunes, usually as I’m putting away animals at night or walking the dogs or what have you.

Recently after having a few of them, and since they were ones that I had continued to be able to remember them over time, I thought I might try to put some words to them, or find words for them.

This first one in this blog post is one I came up with for William our cat. At one point I dubbed him “The Williminator,” said with emphasis on the last “tor” — I imagine a cartoon superhero announcer saying “It’s the Willimina-tor!” 🙂 I called him that because he liked to Williminate mice, and he would often Williminate out his backend what were to us quite noxious fumes, and you would never know when one was coming! 🙂

At any rate, I recorded it one time just so I would have it stored somewhere. I’m sort of only including this because of the very end — see if you can hear it. Please excuse the singing 🙂 :

Williaminator

Could you hear it? When I did that recording, William was there, and that was he at the very end of it, unsolicited. I don’t know if that meant he approved or what, but it was kind of neat he exclaimed right after I had sung his theme song.

And so, with wanting to do something more permanent with it, and with it to us sounding like a lullaby, I added a few lyrics to it along that vein, wanting to have it spiritually based, and this is how it ended up:

Hey you sleepy head
Time to go to bed
May God keep you through the night
In His arms of might!

Hey You Sleep Head (Basic)

Here’s a PDF:
Lullaby – Hey You Sleepy Head (Basic) PDF

And this is a musical audio of the arrangement:


Lullaby – Hey You Sleepy Head (Basic) MP3

And a vocal version:


Lullaby – Hey You Sleepy Head (Basic) MP3 (vocal)

I also did a little bit more of a fancy version:

Hey You Sleep Head (Fancy)

And its a PDF:
Lullaby – Hey You Sleepy Head (Fancy) PDF

And its musical audio:


Lullaby – Hey You Sleepy Head (Fancy) MP3

It’s a simple little thing, but I’m glad I could take William’s theme song and do a little something with it. 🙂

I am thankful to the Lord for Him granting I learn music, to my parents for making that happen, for the opportunity to participate in music in this way, for the gift of little William and his inspiration, and for the gift of this little lullaby.

— David

A House – Update XLVI – Kitchen, Great Room, Bathroom, Front Closet Cabinets & Fixtures, and Porch Swing

Just a little update on some continued progress on getting the house more livable…

Great Room/Kitchen

Here’s a towel rack underneath the kitchen sink:

Kitchen Towel Rack

And a paper towel holder I found laying around here:

Kitchen Paper Towel Holder

These are the cabinets we decided to go with for flatware and cookware. We wanted something enclosed to help keep dust off of it all. We hope to add one or two more:

Kitchen Cabinets

And then something similar for the great room as a utility cabinet. We hope to add one or two more here as well:

Great Room Utility Cabinet

Bathroom

We moved into the bathroom some of the things we’ve had sitting around just waiting for this time. The sink cabinet we bought at a yard sale, and the water from the red water container that has a spigot just goes into a bucket, much like the kitchen sink:

Bathroom Cabinets & Sink

And a towel rack here too:

Bathroom Towel Rack

Front Closet

This is the front closet between the great room and library, and now we can hang our longer, cold-weather clothing here:

Front Closet Clothes Hanging Rod

Porch Swing

As I mentioned in our blog post on our wood burning cook stove, Sue and my parents have been very supportive of us in living out here, and one set of parents bought us the very nice porch swing! It has gone from being in the barn for years, to being in the bathroom in the house, and with starting to try to get the bathroom in order, rather than just move it to under the house in pieces, I thought I should just put it together. Sadly, I’m not sure why I didn’t just put it together sooner. I still can’t believe the mice didn’t destroy the cushions and pillows while in the barn.

But, here it is in process of being built, with the frame done. It’s very well made and solid:

Porch Swing Frame

And then complete!

Porch Swing Complete

And the test run in our work grubbies! 🙂 It’s a very nice porch swing, and thank you to the parents again for getting this for us!

David & Susan on Porch Swing

This was a walking stick that decided to hang out with us. Maybe it was waiting for a ride! 🙂

Walking Stick on Porch Swing

Once again, we are thankful to the Lord for providing these resources, and thanks again to those who are helping make all this possible!

— David

Garden – Fall 2016

It’s been some time since our last garden update, and so we thought we’d post an update on some of the results…

Last Year’s Butternut Squash

First, earlier in the year, Sue decided to process our butternut squash from last year that had been stored in the root cellar up until that point.

Here is a basket of it:

Basket of Butternut Squash

She then peeled it:

Peeling Butternut Squash

And cleaned out the innards:

Cleaned Out Butternut Squash

And sliced them up, and then pressure canned them. Nice! Thanks to the Lord for them, and being able to store them all that time in the root cellar to be able to be processed later:

Sliced Up Butternut Squash

Winter Peas & Beets

We did get to enjoy quite a few peas we mentioned in the last blog post, and a few beets, in salads and the like. Given the fact we had laid down a new, thick mulch layer before planting these, we are thankful to God for what we received!

Here are some of the peas:

Peas

Peas

Fall Garden

Catching up to now, we planted okra during the summer, given how prolific they are and needing warmer soil. I used older seeds, and with the new mulch layer and harder soil underneath, continued to have trouble getting things going.

However, we bought some new seeds, and those worked better, although we got a late start because that was our third iteration of seed planting:

Okra Plants

Here’s our best one:

Large Okra Plant

And an okra! Right now with as few as we have, we’re just eating them in salads as we receive them:

Okra

We had something in our garden slicing off smaller okra plants across the stem, but I took one of the cutoff branches and thought I’d try planting it in the soil, and it’s actually still making it, with a little okra on it too!

Planted Okra Branch

This plant in front of this picture grew in a place where I didn’t specifically plant something. I’m assuming it’s an okra too, but it is a surprise plant!

Surprise Plant

And this is a little okra still struggling away. I continue to water it; I don’t want to give up on it as for me there is always hope.

This little plant reminds me of me, and my struggle for spiritual growth and where I see great lack. I pray and hope the Lord continues to water me that I may one day produce the fruit of His graces, and that He doesn’t give up on me either:

Tiny, Struggling Okra Plant

Also in garden 1 here, there are a couple of volunteer plants that just sprung up by themselves from seeds of seasons past.

The front one is all one big tomato plant, and the back a zucchini I believe, although we have just not had zucchini or squash work in this garden area. I’m not sure why: the plants grow big and green, but just no fruit. Maybe because it’s in the shade? Maybe because there is an odorous wild brush that grows behind it hiding the zucchini flower odors from pollinating insects? I’m just not sure, although there is a little one that has been growing on it, but just isn’t healthy:

Volunteer Tomato Plant & Zucchini

And here are some tomatoes!

Tomatoes

Lastly, here is the only cabbage that has made it since it was planted in the winter, and it’s starting to re-grow:

Cabbage

Over in garden 2, as mentioned in the last garden blog post, I scattered turnip seeds there, and here are the results so far! These have grown with zero work or effort on our part, and thanks to the Lord we have greens for our salads from these as well:

Turnip Plants

And some turnips!

Turnip

As always, we consider all of these things gifts from God, and we try to always be thankful, as we believe these are all granted by Him by His graces and mercies alone. Indeed we thank Him!

— David

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