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.

Category: animal husbandry (Page 1 of 12)

Cattle Update – 2016-2021

The last time we did a cattle update was when a little heifer was born back in 2015! I’m not sure why I haven’t followed up more…I think once I got behind, it just kept being pushed off because of how long it might take to do.

But now, without further ado, I thought I’d try to get everyone up to through last year (note that not all the cattle shown were/are Sue and mine personally)…

2016

At this point, our very kind and generous neighbor was letting us run the cattle on his land…some 400 acres! And so for those years, we didn’t have to buy hay, which was really nice! And so, here they are…

Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Calves
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Ami & Calf

Here’s the herd sire who wasn’t ours personally, Manolete:

Longhorn Manolete

2017

We didn’t apparently take many pictures this year, as they are all of cattle headed off somewhere:

Longhorn Bull
Longhorn Bull
Longhorn Bull

2018

This is Mateo who eventually became the herd sire after Manolete in 2019, which you can see as a little calf on this blog post:

Longhorn Mateo
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cow & Calf
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle

While over on our neighbor’s property, we finally put up a somewhat decent corral to be able to…well…corral them for loading into trailers. 🙂

Cattle Corral

2019

Well, early in the year, our neighbor said he was turning his place into a wildlife reserve, so he graciously gave us about a month to get our land ready, which involved shoring up fences, etc.

And here they are back on the land. It was nice to have them back, actually:

Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle

We moved the corral to our place, and here they are during “cube” time:

Longhorn Cattle Cube Time
Longhorn Cattle Cube Time

Ummmm….yeah….

Cattle Looking in the Car
Longhorn Cattle

One day, Amistosa, our best looking Longhorn as far as pure Spanish traits, came strolling up really skinny. I thought to give her some special feed, which I had given her before when she had gone down just before one of our worst cold spells here (which you can read about in this blog post), because it had worked before, and I did, but I guess I had given her too much, as she ended up extremely bloated.

We shoved a bunch of baking soda down her, which helped some, but over the next several weeks, including a vet visit, she never quite recovered.

One morning, when I was out of town, Sue found Ami fallen over in a little ditch that led to a small watering hole in our inner area, which is where we were taking care of Ami, and she was just struggling and rolling around, and just looked in a bad way, so Sue made the executive decision that she just wasn’t going to make it, so Sue solicited the help of a neighbor here, and he graciously helped to put her down.

Amistosa

When I got back home, we wanted to move her to a final resting spot under some trees in our north field, and so we hooked up a chain around her horns and towed her up there:

Amistosa

…and then said a final goodbye…goodbye Ami…you were one of our first group of cows for us. We thank the Lord for all the offspring He granted from her…

Amistosa

2020

Continuing on, it indeed was nice to see the cows around the house:

Longhorn Cattle

…and out our front porch:

Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Calves
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle

2021

And finally, onto last year…

Longhorn Rosa & Calf
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Natilla & Calf
Longhorn Cattle
Longhorn Cattle

Here’s herd sire Mateo again, a little older now. However, he started going through and jumping over (after fixing the “going through” the fence”) to our neighbor’s property, the gentleman who let us run our cattle on this land those years ago. He was nice about it, but I couldn’t control Mateo anymore, so I sadly had to dump him at the sale barn. Bye, big guy!

Longhorn Bull Mateo

But now lastly, to close this blog post off, here’s the compilation video across the years (I was wrong in the video with the 2 fighting bulls in the back of the trailer about how old they were…it was actually 1 1/2 and 2 years old):

We are always thankful to the Lord for His provisions of the cattle, the meat He’s granted from them, the sales to be able to pay for hay over the winter, and the provisions on the land He’s granted to feed them through the growing times!

— David

Goat Breeding Time 2021!

Early November means goat breeding time — time to put our billies and nannies together in hopes the Lord might graciously grant offspring starting in April, when usually it’s starting to warm up!

Even though we tried to keep some new does we kept from last year’s offspring away from the bucks, one got to one of them and had kids, and one didn’t, and so this year is her first time with the boy goats!

And without further ado, here’s the adventure from this year!

 

As always, we are grateful to the Lord for His continued provisions, and we pray He might grant offspring, according to His will!

— David

Texas 2021 Arctic Blast: Our Homestead’s Version

Here’s a little around our homestead at the beginning and end of Texas’ 2021 arctic blast!

This was after the first main night — snow and cold, with forecasted windchills down to -18F. These were I believe our worst temperatures we’ve experienced here, even after the 2011 freeze. The thermometer says about 4F:

4F on the Thermometer

Here’s the homestead:

Frozen Homestead
More Frozen Homestead

I was a little worried about the cattle, given there are some young ones, but thanks to the Lord, they all made it through ok!

Cattle After Freezing Snow Storm
More Cattle After Freezing Snow Storm
Another of Cattle After Freezing Snow Storm

During the week, Sue’s “onesy” (coveralls) in front of the wood burning stove was the favorite for the domestics:

Mimi in the Onesy
William in the Onesy
Tuscan & Leila on the Onesy

On the first day after a week of these freezing temperatures, things started getting back to normal. Here’s our resident stray hanging out on the cistern spigot, which we had double wrapped with blankets the whole time, allowing us to use it too whenever we needed:

Mimi-Dude on the Cistern Spigot

And here are all the goat accoutrements hanging on the fence after Sue took them off:

Goat Coats on the Fence

Those were just a few pictures, but we show a lot more in this video, which has the day after the first main night as above, and then after coming out of it 5 days later (including a surpise from a momma cow!):

All throughout, the Lord was merciful in granting all the animals come through (yes, that missing rooster from the video showed up!), and helping Sue and me with strength to do all the care-taking!

We have no grid electric or water, which actually worked to our advantage, as we always had electric and good water as needed. We pray for those still suffering from the effects, but also hope people might consider their situation and on whom or what they depend for life sustenance.

We also saw how we believe God pre-set up provision before we really knew what was coming, even though they seemed a little “cross” to us at the time: the boy goats had knocked off the top of their hay bale, but Sue just took that hay into the barn, and it ended up being their main food for the week; and I had pre-put out hay bales for the cows, and one had been eaten down a lot and spread out by the time the cold hit, and another spread around some, but those also afforded bedding for the cattle. Also, both the tractor and truck starters went out at the same time a few weeks ago, we needed both for this cold front, and so they were ready to go.

Once again, we are very thankful for God’s help through 2021’s arctic blast, and for the gift of the new little heifer calf!

— David

Goat Breeding Time 2020!

It was that time of year again, to put our male goats and females together for mating season. We wait until now to try to get any offspring being born in April, when most of the cold weather is typically over.

This year, we had kept two of our female goat kids in order to increase the herd, but didn’t want to breed them this year as we feel they are just a little too small still.

And so, we moved them to their own field, and put the billies and nannies together, and here’s the video of all that fun and frolicking adventure!

We thank the Lord for His continued provisions, and pray He might grant the offspring next year, according to His will!

— David

New Pig Pen Fencing – Update I

One thing out here is things seem to go much more slowly than anticipated. 🙂 God’s providence as first cause — His bringing about all things according to His will and plans — but, by means of other priorities becoming more important, other things to fix, etc.

Well, back in 2016, I started replacing our old pig fencing in the main pig pen with new cinder block/cattle panel fence sections I started making as part of an extension to the original pig pen back in 2014.

Last year, I started getting back to working on this main pig fence area, and recently finally finished all the panel sections and got them in place! Yea! 😀

In the 2016 blog post above, I show in the video the first few sections being done. And here is a picture from 2017 of the whole one side being done:

New Pig Pen Siding, Side 1 Complete

And here are some more ready to haul over using our goat shack caddy:

2 New Pig Pen Cinder Block Cattle Panel Sections Ready for Hauling

Once there, I opened the previous fence line:

Opened Pig Pen Side

And started dragging them in, sliding one end at a time back and forth:

Sliding Section

More Sliding Section

And stood and scooted them into place:

Siding Section in Place

It’s like a parade! 😉

Sliding More Sections

And here’s that whole back side done:

Pig Pen Side Two Done

Pig Pen Side Two Done, Other Direction

Then, it was off to the short sides. After cleaning out the previous fencing and t-posts, I slid the panels in place, and here’s the first short side done. What’s nice about these cinder block cattle panel sections is you can curve them around, which helps when trying to join with another fence line where there is no corner post:

Pig Pen Short Side Done

Pig Pen Short Side Done, Other Direction

This is the last side before cleaning out the previous fencing…lots of previous hacking at it to try to keep it acting as a fence: 🙂

Old Dilapidated Fencing

More Old Dilapidated Fencing

And here’s that last side, finally done!

Final Pig Pen Siding Done

More Final Pig Pen Siding Done

I just have to wire them all together now, and then Lord willing we’ll perhaps test it all out with a new piggy or two! 😀

Always we are thankful to the Lord for His provisions, and safety in working with these things — even though one person can move them, they’re still pretty heavy, and I have strained my back before, but God mercifully granted that I not this time, and I am thankful!

— David

Goat Breeding Time 2019!

Middle Fall rolled around this 2019, and it was time to put our billy goats with their respective nannies for breeding time! We do it around beginning to mid-November to try to get kid delivery happening after March, because we’ve had snow here into early April before.

Sadly though, our oldest goat this year, Pammy, died early Fall. It was kind of suddenly…just one night in the barn, even all bundled up with sweaters and blankets, so we’re not sure exactly what happened. She had a sweet disposition, was one of the originals here on the land, and will be missed. We thank the Lord for the many kids and much milk He granted from her!

Here she is with her first kid for us, 10 years ago:

Pammy with Her 2009 Kids

And her last ones last year:

Pammy with Her 2018 Kids

What a good mommy! 🙂 Again, we are thankful to God.

But time continues, and it was time to put the goats together. We are down to 5 females now, and we really want to keep any next female from Hannah, the most LaMancha female we have, and so with Pammy gone, we moved Lucy to be with the “older” group (Hannah & Annie) with Shakespeare, and kept the 2 sisters, Adeline and Nellie, to be with Elvis:

Here’s Shakespeare:

Goat Buck Shakespeare

And Elvis, sans his horns. If you read last year’s breeding time blog post, we talk about how Elvis was going after Marie and using his horns as weapons. Well, in the off season, we took him to the vet, and polled him, and now he can’t do that. 🙂 We’re thankful this worked, as we were not going to be able to keep him if it didn’t:

Goat Buck Elvis

Here’s me getting a shed in place after dragging it behind the truck on our shack caddy from one yard to the other:

Getting Goat Shed in Place

And the dogs are ready! (to watch, at least) 🙂

Dogs Watching Ready for Goat Move

And here is our video of putting the groups together for this year:


As always, we are thankful to the Lord for the provisions of the goats. We pray He might grant kids in Spring, and safe deliveries, and help through the Winter. And again, we are thankful to Him for allowing us to have Pammy and for the provisions He granted from her!

— David

New Upper Field Fence – Update I

After completing the north section of a new, long fence line we’re putting in, to allow our goats to be able to have access to an 11-acre field, it was on to the southern part.

The south-most end ended up being really interesting. I dug the end post hole without too much issue, but when I got to the second post, I hit rock. I thought, ok, no problem, I’ll just dig it out. Well, I stopped trying to dig it out when I got about 3 feet by 2 1/2 feet (maybe more) exposed and still wasn’t done. I then tried a different post location, but hit another big rock. Ugh…

Big Rocks Where Post Hole Digging

However, when the Lord formed the earth in this area whenever He did, He graciously granted a gap between those two rocks, just about post-diameter size. Ha, what a gift! And so I started digging it out hoping it would work:

Gap Between Rocks

Breaking rock is fun! 😉

Rock Breaking

Well, it did end up working, and I was able to get all the posts set in concrete. I am thankful to God for Him granting that! Again what a gracious gift!

Big Rocks Where Post Hole Digging

And then I put in the posts of the northern end of this southern section:

End of Line Fence Posts

And hung the gate. Whew…just made it! I don’t know how it ended up so close after measuring before digging the post holes, but post hole digging sometimes can drift:

Gate Next to Fence Post

Here are the t-posts and inner wood posts done:

Set Tposts & Wood Posts

More Set Tposts & Wood Posts

And then the twisted wire for more bracing:

Twisted Wire End Post Bracing

Another Twisted Wire End Post Bracing

And all of the barbed wire pulled:

Pulled Barbed Wire

More Pulled Barbed Wire

Again More Pulled Barbed Wire

Still More Pulled Barbed Wire

And lastly, the dividing gateway. Fence line done, thanks to God!

Middle Dividing Gateway

One final step was needed for the field in general, and that was to shore up the north-south end of the western fence line, and so here it is completed:

Western Fence Line New End Post System & Pulled Barbed Wire

New Entrance Culvert Pipe

In order to get ready for using the new road entrance we showed in the last blog post, the county will come and prepare the dirt, but we needed to provide the culvert pipe.

Here is what it looked like getting it home. I’m sure that was an interesting sight when I was driving on the highway! 🙂

Culvert Pipe on Truck

Those things are quite heavy, so I solicited the help of the guys, and they graciously accepted. We were thankful no one got hurt!

Unloading Culvert Pipe from Truck

More Unloading Culvert Pipe from Truck

Still More Unloading Culvert Pipe from Truck

Once they were off the truck, when the road crew came, they dragged them up to the front with a backhoe and chain:

Backhoe Holding Culvert Pipe

Dragging Culvert Pipe with Backhoe

And then they did their thing:

Scraping Culvert for Culvert Pipe

Culvert Pipe in Culvert

Joining Culvert Pipe

Burying Culvert Pipe

More Burying Culvert Pipe

Belly Dumper Dropping Road Base

Scraping Road Base into Place

More Scraping Road Base into Place

And here’s the new driveway into our entrance!

New Entrance Driveway Complete

We are thankful to the Lord for the provisions to continue to work the land in the hopes of getting further sustaining, for the strength to even do the work, and for no injuries; and we always pray He will guide us in these things so they may be used for His glory and blessings of others!

— David

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