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.
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:
Here’s the 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!
During the week, Sue’s “onesy” (coveralls) in front of the wood burning stove was the favorite for the domestics:
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:
And here are all the goat accoutrements hanging on the fence after Sue took them off:
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!
We recently had another little stray show up around here…just started hanging out like he always belonged. 🙂
He showed himself to be a very friendly one, and was almost certainly a domestic for someone at some point.
We decided to take him in and call him Tuscan, because of his yellow coloring:
True cat form:
He’s all boy-cat, follows me around a lot, and pretty much runs the outside. 🙂 He and William don’t quite get along yet, and Mimi is still afraid of him, and he chases her, but they all do appear to be getting a little used to each other. We put him in the barn at night, and he actually doesn’t seem to mind, and I really think he’s helping keep down the mice population in there, earning his keep! 🙂
He sometimes likes to join Sue in the goat field while she is milking…we think he might have ulterior motives… 🙂
And here he is camped out on the cistern roof!
And here is a quick video of him, including a few moments of he and William around each other:
We’re thankful for the little addition to the homestead, and for the help in mice catching the Lord has granted us through him!
Sue and I sing a Psalm each evening as part of our family worship. Interestingly, William our cat almost every single time if he is around, once we start singing, comes over to us from wherever he is and hops up onto the couch or Sue’s lap while we sing and just hangs out with us. It is near 100% that he joins us like this, so we thought we’d show you that fun nightly event!
We are always thankful to the Lord for granting us His word, and the opportunity to learn the Psalms in this manner! May these always be praises and prayers from our hearts, and we ask and thank Him for His condescending ear to hear them!
Last year you may remember us introducing our new stray rescue cat, Ritzie. At the time we weren’t sure why God brought her into our lives but thoroughly enjoyed the time He allowed us with her. After a few months, in April, we had to make the decision to have her euthanized due to illness. It was very sad for me, in particular, because we believe there was a very spiritual side of that whole experience and things God wanted to teach me. I plan to write a blog post about that in the near future. We still miss her.
Well, fast forward about five months in early November, just before a cold snap, while we were doing our morning farm chores. I had walked past the summer kitchen and beyond the cistern when I heard William meow back by the kitchen. Then he immediately walked right in front of me. Dave and I looked at each other realizing the mewing wasn’t William after all. I walked hastily back to the kitchen and listened more intently. Just then I saw this little gray “thing” nestled safely in between the summer kitchen wall and the top of the closed root cellar door. She was crying out but really scared at the same time, growling and defensively showing me ALL of her teeth. I went and got some work gloves and a stick and tried to nudge her out but she wasn’t “down with that.” Then I brought out some goat milk to entice her but she still wasn’t buyin’ it. I finally nudged her out, but she then ran towards the barn wall where there are lots of obstacles under which she could hide. Well played, little gray “thing”, well played. Thinking of my next move, I went and got an animal cage and finally tracked her down hiding under a generator. I slowly reached out with a gloved hand and petted her furry face. Bingo! When she sensed I was not out to harm her, she melted like butter and started purring up a storm, rubbing her face against my glove. I scooped her up and put her in the cage whispering sweet sing-songy things to her. After the whole Ritzie experience, I knew Dave (let alone William) would probably not be too keen to take in another feline tenant, and was ready to accept whatever his decision was. Well, I walked in the house with the cage and Dave was on a business phone call. I stayed across the room, took her out of the cage petting her, and she just couldn’t get enough lovin’. Dave looked over, smiled, shook his head like “here we go again” and later said he didn’t hesitate about agreeing to bring her into our homestead. She had shown up out of nowhere as a 6 week old kitten, no other cats in sight, probably not even fully weaned. Dave and I agreed to take it one day at a time and see what would happen.
Here she is when we first took her in. We couldn’t help but notice how big her ears were in relation to her little body! Dave started using Google Translate to see what he could come up with, and lo and behold, apparently the Japanese word for “ear” is an English, female proper name — Mimi!!
It was cold outside so Mimi’s first BFF was the heater!
She found a resting spot “exactly” her size!
When mommie’s away, the cat (and socks) will play:
Mimi’s safe lookout spot:
Mimi and Dave bonding:
We refreshed our memories on the best way to introduce a cat (kitten) into a household with an existing cat. It was the best case scenario with William being the older, dominant, male cat and her being a small, female kitten. Over the course of the next two to three weeks, we sloooowllly introduced them. Thankfully, they have become very good friends.
Mimi ain’t no dummy. She wanted to be friends with William right away but knew he would take a little longer to realize how adorable she was – so she kept her distance:
After about two weeks of bonding and cuddling, we agreed I should take her to the vet for a once-over and a rabies shot. The vet came in the room, took one look, and I don’t think used more than her thumb and index finger to pick her up by the neck the entire time. Mimi was instantly branded with a scarlet “R” for ringworm. I couldn’t believe the avoidance in this vet. Heck, we didn’t know what ringworm looks like on cats. The vet proceeded to tell me all about ringworm, which I appreciated. But it was almost like a death sentence the way it was described. (Paraphrasing) “Ringworm is a fungus-based condition, with spores that can live up to a year, and you and all of your other animals will get it, and it will be next to impossible to rid yourselves of it”. The vet, then, proceeded to scare me with the cost of an expensive $20 bottle of chemical-laden shampoo and 30 day bathing (yes, bathing a cat) instructions. It was like a declaration of leprosy or something. I dutifully bought the shampoo and left in a stunned condition. When I got home and told Dave about it, he said, “No way, we’re going natural.” (I love that about him) Long story short, we did some research, sprayed her with diluted raw apple cider vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. A couple of weeks later, ringworm gone, and no other animals got it from her. Dave and I had gotten a couple little itchy patches we realized later were ringworm, but put some essential oils on and, bam, gone. Hurray for natural cures!!
So far so good. Then, a few more months into it, Mimi started showing signs of going into heat, so we decided to get her…shhhhh…s-p-a-y-e-d. Here she is recuperating after a successful and non-eventful surgery, thanks to God. Boy, the vet sure wanted to have a big, clear working area, didn’t he?! By the way, I took the expensive bottle of shampoo back and received a full refund which we applied towards her spaying fee! Yay!
Well, it’s been about eight months, and we couldn’t have asked for a better feline friend for William, as well as another good hunter to help keep the varmints down around the homestead.
Here are a few meow feline fotos for your enjoyment:)
No doubt, this is William’s regular napping spot, but Mimi had gotten there first on this day. As you can tell, it didn’t faze him much (Mimi: “For real, dawg?!”):
Mimi loves to hang around Dave when he is working in the orchard or the garden. She will stay for hours at a time. She’s definitely a tom(girl) cat! Can you spot her there in the tree?
Finally, here is our signature video introducing Mimi live and capturing her first known catch and kill, as well as her sweet side. Awwww 😉
As we have learned to be with all gifts from God, we are very thankful for His provision to us in Mimi, and we pray for His help to be good and righteous stewards of her and all of our animals.
Dave and I have learned to look for the spiritual lessons and reminders in just about everything since we moved here. ♫ Big things, ♫ little things, ♫ things that climb ♫ on rocks (ok, enough of the hot dog commercial) but speaking of dogs……er, and cats…..
There has been this little black and white stray cat hanging around the community land for, wow, months now. It has eluded gunshots; it has been chased away by other domestic cats in the community; it has managed to *not* be coyote dinner (and those coyotes can get CLOSE!); it has been through at least two very strong winter cold fronts and seemed to be able to scrounge and hunt and somehow survive. Then one day our neighbor said she believed it was not a feral feline, which come around fairly regularly, but a domestic cat that had been dumped out in the country. Hmmmmm. That put a different light on this cat. It was a true survivor. As they say on Broadway, “Kid, ya got moxie.” So, with Dave’s permission, we started leaving goat milk and food out for it. Slowly, over the course of a few weeks, the cat started coming around during the day when we called it (our other cat, William, was distracted elsewhere) and would come over for food but would not let us pet it. We would leave the food and walk away and it would slowly come up to eat as long as it didn’t feel threatened. By necessity you’d think, it had become extremely skittish and on alert all of the time. Finally, one day I had a breakthrough. Before, I had tried to pet it while it was eating and it would back away every time. (Duh, Sue, how would you like it if someone tried to pet you while you were eating, well, except for Dave 🙂 ) One day I waited quietly until it was finished eating and I just sat there a few feet away. The cat walked about six feet away and started grooming itself, then several minutes later when it was good and ready, it slowly walked back over and cautiously let me pet it. Over the next few days, we continued to earn its trust and the floodgates finally opened. It loved to be petted!
Now that we knew we could capture it, I talked to the lady at the local humane society and she said there was no established method of “adopting” cats in the area and the local pet store had eight that were still waiting to be sold. Dave and I looked online to see if there was a recommended way to try to successfully integrate an existing cat (William) with a new cat. The process, depending on the situation, could take weeks to months. But, since it had become such a good hunter and our options were extremely limited, we thought we’d give it a try.
Well, fast forward a few weeks, we discovered “it” was female, and kept her in our summer kitchen building until we could get her spayed. Dave or I would go in there a few times per day to try to continue the bonding process. After she was spayed, we brought her into the RV with us while she recuperated. Well, she slept and slept and slept and slept and slept and….. I think even aside from the medical procedure, she was now able to really let down in a safe environment and truly rest during her recovery. She had been in ultra survival alert mode for so long, I think she was pretty weary by now. She staked claim at the head of our bed in between our pillows day and night.
Now enters William, stage left……. William had also been a stray cat that was very close to getting shot a few years ago but we had taken him in and he has turned out to be a great hunter and valuable member of our homestead. I had seen William get aggressive with this new cat and run her off a couple of times when she was still a stray. So we closed the door to our bedroom when William was inside and kept them totally separated at first. Then we put her in a cage and allowed them to be around each other without contact. Lots of hissing and howling going on at that point. But, slowly, we’ve allowed them supervised contact face to face and they have come to a, kind of, understanding to “purr and let purrr.” They are not friends by any means, and there is still some “tension” but they are able to co-exist pretty well now. We are very thankful for that.
Ummm, William doesn’t seem to be losing much sleep over it:
I discovered that her markings are labeled “tuxedo” (like Sylvester the cat). Dave thought of the name “Ritzie”, like “puttin’ on the ritz” in a tuxedo. It also sounds like moxie, of which she has lots! So, meet our new rescue cat, Ritzie!
We hope to get her hunting in the barn as soon as she further acclimates herself to all of us and, hopefully, will become another valuable member of this little homestead for however long God allows us to have her.
We don’t know why God has brought her into our lives but we are thankful we could help keep her from a most likely icky fate otherwise, and grant a place where she can be used and valuable. She’s the sweetest little thing, and very affectionate. Oh! And she immediately took to the litter box. Yay!
I have tried to look at the possible spiritual shadow of this situation. Very loosely, I see a shadow of myself, lost in sin and desperately trying to survive in my own strength in a wicked world with spiritual predators all around. Then, as God takes me in and adopts me as His child, He opens my eyes to the “milk” of His word, and over time He teaches me to learn to look to, rest and trust in Him as my Provider, Protector and Refuge. And He transforms my life to be honoring to Him as I perform the good works (Eph. 2:10) I was ordained by Him to do. BUT! If I succumb to spiritual sleep as I feel too comfortable in my new, safe environment, unless I continue to be circumspect and alert for spiritual predators, my spiritual usefulness will be for naught.
Recently, the Bunkers captured a garbage bandit in a live trap they had set. The culprit was an orange tabby cat, a male. He ended up being quite friendly, and some of their children wanted to keep him, but the decision was made against that, and he was offered to us actually.
Sue had been wanting a cat for some time, but we really need things to have utility value around here. We have had some mice problems in our barn; and so, I decided that he could be beneficial to have for our barn; and I could do a little something for Sue as well, especially given how friendly he seemed.
So, we decided to take him; and here is how we decided on a name:
On March 17 of each year, we have a tradition around here of having an orange party, with orange being the somewhat official color of Protestants, in protest of the Roman Catholic St. Patrick’s Day and their green color. Some time ago, Protestants in Northern Ireland and Scotland took the color orange in honor of William the III, also known as William of Orange, and for his stands against the Roman Catholics, especially on this day, July 12, where he defeated the antichrist Roman Catholic forces at the Battle of the Boyne (see the “Antichrist” section on our “Soul Info” page regarding our belief that the Pope and Roman Catholic Church are the Antichrist and religious system of Antichrist).
And so, since orange, being the color of Protestants, was derived from William of Orange; and since our cat is also “of orange” — of orange color, that is — we decided to call him William.
Here are some pictures:
Cats apparently like to lay around a lot it seems, especially during the day — at least, this one does:
Also, I must say that he is the friendliest animal I think I’ve ever been around. We keep him inside with us during the day, unless he wants to cruise around outside; and he really likes to just hang around people:
But, here he is earning his keep:
William the Tabby Cat Playing with and Eating His Caught Mouse
William’s fun to have around; and he seems to be doing his job, at least to some degree; and he doesn’t cost too much to maintain.
We’re thankful to the Lord for granting us this living mouse catcher, and we pray God grant that William fulfill his duties. We’re thankful for this friendly gift of creation, but we pray the Lord grant us a continued proper perspective on animals without sinning by having inordinate affections. Also, we stand with our Protestant brethren throughout time who have been faithful to Christ against Antichrist, even to death: see Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.
Heb. 11:8-10 - "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God."