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 2017

Garden – Fall 2016 – Update I

Even though we gave a mid-October update on our 2016 garden, outside conditions were still conducive for the garden plants to keep going…

The weather here where we are at is difficult at times in regards to gardens at the end of the year, because what often happens is we will still be having garden-friendly weather, and then a cold snap will hit, followed by weeks of fine weather before another one, or before the cold really starts to take hold for the winter.

The end of last year was like that, and so for the first cold snap, we covered all of our garden plants because they appeared to still be producing. This was November 20:

Here is the tomato plant:

2016 Fall Garden Tomatoes Covered for Cold Snap

And the okra plants:

2016 Fall Garden Okra Covered for Cold Snap

And then here is the okra uncovered after the freeze:

2016 Fall Garden Okra After Freeze

To elevate the blankets over the okra, I ironically used tomato cones:

Tomato Cones Around Okra to Elevate Cover Blankets

And here is the tomato plant uncovered. This plant was a volunteer tomato plant, and I believe is all one big one that just grew and grew:

Tomato Plant After Freeze

And these are two volunteer tomato plants that grew outside the garden on the west side of our house:

Other Tomato Plants After Freeze

But finally, after about another month, the next big cold snap was on the way, so we decided to just pull everything left. Mostly there were only tomatoes, and here you can see the final haul:

Tomato Plant with Tomatoes Picked

Final Basket Haul of Tomatoes

From that point, we just spread them out on newspaper in the house to let them ripen, and then we ate them as they did! Yummy! We even have a few left! 🙂

We are always grateful to the Lord for granting what He decides to from our gardens! We pray He continue to guide us in developing our gardens and homesteads, for His glory and the benefit of His Church.

— David

The Barn – Update VIII – Second Animal Stall

After mostly finishing the barn loft platform, and then doing so after putting in some steps, we were finally able to move more ground-floor stuff we’ve had in the barn up to the loft so we could get the second barn stall in place. This was the plan all along, since we have two sets of goats during breeding time, which is during the winter when we would most likely need for them to have extra shelter.

What was nice was I was able to essentially copy exactly the first barn stall, and when I bought the materials for that one, I had just doubled the materials in preparation for the second, and so I already had all of the supplies needed.

You can see more details of the process in that first barn stall blog post, but here a few pictures from this one. The long boards had been standing on the ground so long, some of them getting moist, that termites had eaten out at least one of the ends, but it was still usable after cutting off the bad part:

Second Barn Stall Side
Second Barn Stall Side from Outside
Second Barn Stall with Gate
Second Barn Stall Gate Closeup
Second Barn Stall from Inside
Second Barn Stall Side Cross Brace

As I mentioned, the purpose of these stalls is to bring in our goats during cold or extreme weather. I added large eye hooks along the side boards to be able to hook each of them up to hopefully keep the chaos to a minimum, and here is a video during one of our fairly drastic (for us) cold snaps we recently had, with them all hooked up in place. Thankfully, it appears to have worked out very nicely, and we are thankful to the Lord!

We are very grateful to God for granting we be able to finish this part of the homestead and barn, and to have a better place of refuge for our goats. Their exposure up in the fields has been a concern for us over the years, and it’s a relief to be able to bring them into the barn now.

— David

Lullaby – Thank You Lord for This Day of Care

Not only did I have a little theme song for William our cat, which I was able to turn into a little lullaby, I also had one for our other cat Mimi.

Her lyrics were “Little Mimi, little Mi-mi-mi,” etc., and I often sing it to her as I’m carrying her into the house at night. Wanting again to do something spiritual with it, and although it has some cha-cha-sounding syncopation in it when played a little faster, slowing it down made it sort of like a lullaby again to me, and being short like William’s song, I put some quick lullaby-esqe words to it, and here is how this one turned out:

Thank you Lord for this day of care
And the graces you did kindly share!
If you please grant us rest
May your name eternally be blessed!

Thank You Lord for This Day of Care

Here’s a PDF:
Lullaby – Thank You Lord for This Day of Care PDF

And this is a musical audio of the arrangement:

Lullaby – Thank You Lord for This Day of Care MP3 (instrumental)

And a vocal version:

Lullaby – Thank You Lord for This Day of Care MP3 (vocal)

When I started to score it, I wasn’t sure how to write the syncopation in measures two and four; even though they’re technically 4/3 with the last two notes tied, that just seemed more complicated in trying to read it than to just write it out the way I did, a little more literally.

Anyway, as before, I’m pleased and thankful to be able to do a little something with the little tune the Lord granted. 🙂

We always pray the Lord glorify Himself through us in whatever way He may, and maybe even through a simple little melody!

— David

Goat Breeding Time 2016!

Recently, it was time to put our billy goats and nannies together for breeding time this 2016!

The following is a video of the event. As I mention in the beginning of the video, our buck Shatner had some problems coming out of our first cold front of the season. It appeared he spent the night sitting in his urine, and the temperature had reached freezing. He was quite cold in the morning and was having trouble standing. He did seem to bounce out of it, and was shown here in the video around the time, but sadly, shortly after the first part of the video was made, Shatner went down hill and soon died. We were both there with him at the very end. He was a good buck, our first, made many kids, and we are thankful to the Lord for granting him to us. Also mentioned in the video, our other buck Rocky has a growth on his back leg, which seems to be slowing him down, although it did appear the other day he is able to get the job done:

With one of our two bucks gone, we were hoping to find a new one, leaning more toward the Lamancha breed with the hope of more milk production. Graciously and with one look at an internet selling list page, there was a young Lamancha buck available in the general area — wow! I contacted the owners, and went and got him the next day. Here he is in the back of the truck just after arriving back after picking him up on that cold morning, and sticking with the famous “Billy” names, we decided to call him Shakespeare:

New Billy Goat Shakespeare

His previous owners said he could jump fences, and he indeed did one time as he was roaming out of the pen. But the silly billy (pun intended 🙂 ) tried again to jump the fence but this time caught his back hoof in the top square of the net-wire fencing, so when he went over, the top vertical wire next to his leg bent up and over the top wire pinching his leg in place. Thankfully, Sue was there, and we were able to cut the wire pretty quickly with only a little, mostly external damage, although it seems to have shaped him up a little with fence jumping. 🙂

Here is his video when we put him in with his nannies. You can sure tell he is younger by his immediate interest level 🙂 :

We are always thankful to God for granting we be able to have the goats and the milk. We thank Him for Shatner and the offspring from him, and for Shakespeare now, and the continued health, safety and provision He has granted for the goats and the homestead, and pray He might grant those continue, and for healing for Rocky, according to His will!

— David