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: creation (Page 1 of 2)

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

Icy What You Did There (New Year’s Eve Snow Storm)

One thing you can count on about Texas weather is that you can’t count on it. So, when they predicted ice and snow for New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day, we had no idea what to expect. But it came through and we thought we’d share a few pics from it! We’re thankful for the moisture from the storm and for God’s mercy in the weather.

New Year’s Eve day started out rainy and turned to icy rain and then it turned to snow:

Ice Storm Ice on Trees

By the next morning several inches had fallen. Our cows had tried to take shelter under our porch roof in the middle of the night so Dave had to get up a few times to shoo them out. Most people wake up groggy on New Year’s Day for “different” reasons; ours was “cow shooing” in the night haha:

House & Snow

Our firewood pile got completely covered with snow. Thankfully, we had staged a lot of firewood under the porch roof before the storm so we had nice dry wood to keep the stove going. Dave builds a mean fire and the house was nice and warm, thank the Lord:

Firewood & Snow

This is one of our garden areas:

Garden & Snow

The cows didn’t seem to mind the snow much after it had stopped falling and enjoyed their New Year’s Day breakfast “alfresco”:

Cows at the Hay Bale in the Snow

Our local hay man was so kind and thoughtful to contact us and ask if we wanted him to deliver any hay before the storm. It would be difficult to deliver afterwards due to mud, etc. So he dropped off a few bales and Dave put out a couple for the cows before the storm arrived:

Hay Bales & Snow

The weight of the ice and snow on tree branches wreaked a lot of havoc all over the region. The power in our local town went out for many hours due to fallen branches, etc. And Dave has been busy cutting up more firewood from the fallen branches all over our land. We’re very thankful no person or animal was injured by any fallen branches:

Broken Tree Branches After Ice & Snow Storm

Here’s a token goat picture for any goat lovers. We brought all the goats in the barn to keep them warm and dry. Elvis is sporting his black and dark blue checkered ensemble:

Goats in the Barn During Snow Storm

On New Year’s Day our neighbors snuck over and were building a snowman behind our house but I happened to look out the window and we came out and caught them. I think it’s the equivelant of getting your house “TP’d” haha. With an excellent suggestion from one of the children, we decided to call the snowman “Bill”:

Neighbor Children Building a Snowman

Here are the usual suspects (all very special and precious to us) and Bill!

Neighbor Children & Their Snowman

Then yesterday we had another snow storm come through which dropped even more snow than this one. I’d better go look to make sure there are no new snowmen behind our house. :))

Sue

David’s Digest: The Godliness of Music

I took piano lessons from age 5-15, and so music has been a good part of my life. But if you think about it, what is music actually? We all sort of know about it, understand it exists, participate in it when we sing or hear a song, but what’s going on “under the covers”, so to speak?

I would suggest that it is all God’s specific doing, and that it is inherent and literally built in to creation by the Creator. Let me try to explain…

Sound is based on waves of vibrations in the air, like a Sine wave, where the wave starts at a mid point, goes up to a point, and goes down below the midpoint an equal distance, and this repeats over and over. The characteristics of the wave give the distinctions of the sounds: the higher the wave apexes from the middle, the louder the sound is, which is called amplitude, where we get “amplify”, or make louder; the closer together each wave is to the next one in the cycle, the higher the sound, which is called frequency (ie. how many times a wave happens per unit of time). If we were to pipe sounds into an oscilloscope, you could see these represented, and watch the changes as the sound changed.

This in itself shows a constant in creation. But there’s more…

Most believe it was Pythagoras (yes, that Pythagoras) that discovered an interesting “phenomenon”. Two different tones together could be categorized mathematically in 2:1 ratios (ie. the frequency of the upper tone being 2 times that of the lower tone) and 3:2 ratios (the frequency of the upper tone making 3 vibrations in the same amount of time that the lower tone makes 2). Then, if you crawl up tones using the 3:2 ratio, on the 12th iteration, you land basically, with some slight mathematical variance, on the 7th iteration if you had crawled up using the 2:1 ratio, thus ending the cycles of each before starting a new round (this is where we get the 7-note scales and the 12-note chromatic scale, for you musically-inclined folks).

(More details are in lots of places on the internet, but here’s a starting place if you would like: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagorean_tuning. And for anyone interested, the handling of the mathematical variance mentioned above in tuning instruments in more modern times is discussed in equal temperament or well temperament.)

Notice anything about the numbers in the above description? 12 and 7? In the Bible, 12 represents God’s power and authority, or governmental foundation, or the number of completion; and 7 is the number representing completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual).

Coincidence? These are mathematically built in to nature, and shows an extraordinary degree of order. If I had nothing else, for me personally, this would show some intelligence put nature together. This is absolutely amazing to me!

Further, the base structure when notes are played together is called a “chord”, and the base structure of that consists of 3 notes, and 3 in the Bible also represents completeness.

But now, looking beyond that, I believe there are many spiritual representations in music, and how it’s used.

First, God would have us sing to Him. Many, many verses, but here are a couple:

Ps 105:2 – “Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.

Ps 135:3 – “Praise the Lord; for the Lord is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant.

In fact, the Psalms are really songs. Sue and I sing them each night in family worship, using a Psalter (here’s the last set of Psalms we recorded to help people learn them: Psalm Singing – August 2020).

Usually in any song, there is the melody, or the tune we might all know, and the other parts sung with the melody that form chords which sound good together, which are called harmony parts, all working together to make the music, and to make it sound better. I think one can glean a couple things from this:

  • This is similar to the body of Christ, His people, working together in…wait for it…harmony (see this definition). 🙂

    1 Cor 12:12-14 – “12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many.

  • Not everyone in the Church has the same function, and yet they are all important for the complete picture:

    1 Cor 12:15-20 – “15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

Another thing that I think can be observed: when an orchestra with multiple kinds of instruments, and multiples of those, play together, there is usually a conductor. His job is:

  • To help lead and keep everyone together as they make their way in unity and not chaotically to the end, and the orchestra follows the conductor’s lead
  • To help with the interpretation of the original composer’s intent
  • To set the speed (or “tempo”) of how fast the music is played, with the idea it’s not about how quickly you get to the end, but how you get there

To me, this is similar to the Church, where:

  • Pastors and leaders help guide Christ’s flock through their earthly pilgrimage to the end, helping keep away from chaos and instead in unity, and the people follow their lead as it conforms to scripture:

    Heb 13:17 – “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

  • Pastors and leaders should rightly divide God’s word (the composition) as to how God would have it interpreted:

    2 Tim 2:15 – “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

  • Our Christian walk is not about how quickly we get to the end, but how our pilgrims’ progress in this life is to be travelled as the Lord would have for us, in the manner in which He would have us get there:

    1 Cor 9:24 – “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

    Heb 12:1 – “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

All in all, I believe music is a gift architected into creation by the Lord, thus revealing Himself in nature, and is to be used for His glory and means by which we worship Him, and which is also graciously something we can enjoy as we praise and give thanksgiving to so great a God!

— David

Critter Corner: RafterBNB for Barn Swallows & Tiny, the Orphan

Rafter Nest

Barn swallows are common around here, and this year we had some build a nest on the vertical side of one of the porch rafters just outside the front door of our house!

They use mud and the like, and just make it into the shape of a half-funnel. The first attempt collapsed on them, but the second one was successful, and here is a video of that and some of the new little ones they hatched out!


Tiny, the Orphan Barn Swallow

One morning in the barn, I heard cheeping, like a baby bird, and eventually tracked it down to a large mineral tub. Sure enough, there was a little barn swallow in there! Sort of above at the top of the barn in that area are barn swallow nests from previous years, but I hadn’t seen any action up there and didn’t think I could put it back. So, I decided to give it a go and take it in and see if we couldn’t raise the little thing. I called it Tiny…

In studying on how to try to take care of them, they apparently need high-protein feed, like bugs and worms, or turkey starter, which is higher in protein than chicken starter. Well, we had chick starter, so I thought I would use that. I also learned you don’t give them water directly (like I try in the video below) and that they get their liquid from the mush the mama usually gives them. And, they need to be warm, so I would use a rock heated on the stove in the box I had Tiny in, or one next to the box in the storage cabinet I put it in at night.

Here’s a video of trying to care for little Tiny. We were doing fairly well, and went 11 days, but as you’ll see in the video, it only documents a couple early days, because the morning of the 12th day, Tiny had died. I was sad. It had not seemed to have the normal energy the day before, although seemed to be keeping up, but apparently something was still not right. I thought the fact we made it all that time was a good indicator it might make it all the way, but it wasn’t meant to be. Perhaps the protein level wasn’t enough, and we did read that that could be a problem.

Bye Tiny…I will have good memories of our time together…


Seeing God’s creation in action is a blessing, and how He takes care of them, even in the means He uses, like parents with the built-in instinct to do it just right to have successful children.

We pray for God’s protection and care, in all things spiritual and temporal, and look to Him alone for those, as it exists in Him as God to do it just right to have successful children!

— David

TreeBNB – A Swarm Welcome to the Honeybee Haven

Last week I was walking near the barn and noticed a brown patch in one of our pear trees. My first thought was that they were some dried up leaves, but that didn’t make sense because that tree had really fully leafed out this year. And then I thought…I wonder…

And sure enough…it was a swarm of bees! Wow! So, I thought I’d record the moment…

Here are some pictures:

Bee Swarm
Bee Swarm Closer
Bee Swarm Closer, Different View

And here’s a video. At one point, one of the girlies bounced off the camera and started buzzing around me…I got a little worried she was going to tell her friends, but thankfully things stayed calm! 🙂


I had expected them to move on quickly, but they were there for several days.

With what has been happening to bee populations around the world, we’re always thankful for the bees we have or see, and we pray that God might grant these bees to have found a nice and safe new home, do lots of pollinating, and continue to replicate and make more hives!

— David

Try to Remember the Snow of December (2015)

It’s somewhat rare here, thankfully, but it snowed overnight here, and this is what we woke up to this morning!

December 2015 Snow

December 2015 Snow 2

December 2015 Snow 3

December 2015 Snow 4

December 2015 Snow 5

December 2015 Snow 6

December 2015 Snow 7

December 2015 Snow 8

December 2015 Snow 9

December 2015 Snow 10

December 2015 Snow 11

On this one, the snow drift formed into a wave extending out from the roof of the barn (you can see it more in the video):

Wave Snow Drift Off the Barn

And, Sue took a video of the area as well:


While very cold, and a reminder of winter, and the time of death out of which life springs (a type or shadow of Christ), the snow is beautiful, white and pure like Christ, and brings always-needed moisture to the ground. We are thankful to the Lord for His mercies in the weather, and for the warmth and shelters He has allowed us to have!

— David

Critter Corner – Texas Redheaded Centipede, Butterflies, Tree Cricket, Roadrunner, Ring-Necked Pheasant

We’ve had some interesting and sometimes new visitors around the homestead this 2015, so we thought we’d show you some of them…

Texas Redheaded Centipede

Ran into this fellow next to our cattle trailer. A little creepy given its size, but this was a relatively small one as they can get to be 8-9 inches, and has beautiful colors. Apparently, their bite is painful and mostly just causes localized swelling, but some people can have worse reactions:

Texas Redheaded Centipede

More of Texas Redheaded Centipede

Butterflies, Tree Cricket, Roadrunner, Ring Necked Pheasant

Here is a video of a bunch of beautiful butterflies that decided one day to be or fly around the front of the barn, a tree cricket “singing” its song, a roadrunner that had been hanging about quite a bit, and what we identified as a ring necked pheasant—a new visitor we haven’t seen before. The tree cricket is a little blurry given the video was taken at night, but it can sure vibrate those wings!


We are thankful to the Lord for allowing us to see His marvelous works in creation!

— David

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