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: critters (Page 1 of 2)

Critter Corner: Where’s the Belf-ry?

Well, we had an uninvited guest flying around in our house the other night. At first, I thought it was a barn swallow, which we commonly have around the house here, since they build nests on the porch rafters. But as it flew by me at around eye level, I wondered….and sure enough, when it landed up on the wall, it sure looked like what I had now suspected it was…a bat! We figure it must have tailgaited when one of us came in from outside.

Hm, what to do. So, I went and got a fish net we have (which, by the way, works great for swooping up runaway chickens! 😀 ), set up the ladder, and with a piece of cardboard, rounded up the bat, and then took him outside and let it go.

Here’s a little video of the event! To me, it looked like a flying mouse. The cats were sure interested in it, although I assume they thought it was a bird:

I don’t know what grief it could have caused us or the cats in the house, but we thank the Lord we were able to scoop it up and out.

— David

P.S. If you don’t understand the reference in the title of this blog post, a long time ago there was a TV commerical for a fast-food burger joint where an elderly lady was complaining of the competitor’s hamburger size compared to the bun, asking “Where’s the beef?” 😀

Diamonds Are Not a Girl’s Best Friend

One night late, when it was dark, Sue heard what sounded like what I call heat bugs (I think they’re cicadas) out here, that make a constant higher-pitched sound. But then she thought, that wasn’t quite right…not quite their sound.

She looked toward the sound, and saw about 15-20 feet from the east side of the porch of our house our new resident stray cat laying down looking at something in the direction of the noise. Sue got closer, and realized he was only maybe 4-5 feet away from a very big diamondback rattlesnake! Wow!

Sue came and got me, and I got the .22 rifle out (thanks again to grandpa Bernie!), and we went out there with headlamps on. Because of the situation, I decided I needed to shoot even with the cat still there.

I did. The cat bolted away. I got closer, and took another shot at the head, although I think I actually got him in the head the first time, because the second shot to the head didn’t seem to make any difference. At any rate, I finished it off by using a shovel to mostly detach its head.

The cat ended up ok, no bites and no bullets, and we were thankful it appeared no other damage from the snake or otherwise.

But wow again! It was a biggie! Probably the biggest we’ve seen around here, perhaps at least 2 1/2 inches across at its widest:

Big Rattler!

And what was that I was saying about diamonds and girls? (BTW, this was an action unsolicited by me 🙂 )

Sue Holding Rattlesnake

Also, I ran a video of it so you all could see. Remember, snakes’ nervous systems aren’t only in their heads, so they keep moving a lot, even after being dead (which is kinda what makes this video fun, IMO, in a creepy sort of way 😀 ):


In the end, we are very thankful to the Lord nothing appeared to get hurt, that Sue saw it, and that we were able to remove a deadly creature from the land. We thank God for His mercies!

— David

Pathways of Protection (aka To Catch a Chicken Thief)

Over the last couple of years, we’ve really had a problem losing chickens to what I believe is a fox. We put all of our smaller animals away at night in enclosures (coups, the barn, etc.) to help against night critters, but this one has been difficult, because it comes during the day in stealth. And so, we had often found a feather pile, and then a missing chicken at night.

Well, one day, after losing one, I was able to discover a feather trail, which led me to an area where the little thief was taking them to eat. And then, I was able to discover from where it was taking them now — a large area of shrub brush to the west of our house, very thick for a human, but nice cover for something trying to be sneaky.

One day, the resident rooster that goes out that direction with some hens alerted, as he had often in the past, and so I went running out there with the shotgun, following the feather path out to the chicken graveyard. I didn’t find the bad guy, but I did notice a hen walking back from that direction along a fence line. So it appeared I had been able to get out there quickly enough for the fox or whatever to drop her and run off. Wow, nice! And how merciful of God to allow that!

The little hen struggled for a week and a half or so, with me having to feed her, but she’s been back with the flock now for some time, although she’s still not quite right, and I’ve had to separate her because I think roosters servicing her were getting to be too much for her legs, and she was starting to struggle to walk or even remain upright.

But, by God’s graces, she escaped the Jaws Of Death, and so I call her JODY. 🙂

For some time I had wanted to carve my way in the shrubbery from where these chickens have been taken, to be able to get in there and perhaps track down the chicken stealer; and now with these consistent attacks, I decided I needed to do it right away.

Here is a video about the whole adventure regarding cutting these shrub-caves with the loppers, about Jody, about my little work-mate Tuscan hanging out with me, and then I take you along for a walk-through of the whole system. Since the Jody attack, and since these have been in place, the Lord has graciously granted no more losses. Whether these throughways have helped or not, I don’t know, but we thank Him for His mercies with the chickens, and for the idea and even physical strength to make the pathways!


Again, we are grateful to God for His mercies, in the chickens, in all our lives temporily, and in His infinite spiritual mercies; we pray for protection from all our enemies, especially our spiritual ones; and may He teach us His way, and lead us in His plain path, of truth, holiness and righteousness!

Psalm 27:11 – “Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.

— David

Elvis’ Venominally Fangtastic Fright!

Sadly, our buck Rocky now has a pretty bad injury on his leg, which has prevented him from performing his male-goat duties this last goat breeding round:

Our Buck Rocky

However, the group graciously allowed us to basically take over “ownership” of a buck graciously given to the group by some very nice friends of the group (all the bucks around here get used whenever needed). His name is Elvis, and he’s Lamancha, which is where we’ve been wanting to go with our breeds, and here he is:

Our Buck Elvis

A few weeks ago, I was in the house, and I saw Sue running back with the dogs that she had just taken up to the fields to let go in a fenced area to run around for the evening. She looked like she was in a hurry, so I stepped outside to see if something was wrong.

There was……rattlesnake! It was in one of our pecan tree areas. She had already let the dogs off the leashes, and they were the ones that alerted her to it with them barking at it, but thanks to God she was able to get them leashed up again and her and them out of there.

So, I went up there with a shovel and the shot gun. The rattler was tucked in a tuft of weeds, but finally I could see it. In trying to save a shotgun shell, I lunged at it with the shovel in an attempt to maim it, but all I did was end up covering it with the shovel head. Nice. And so that was that…I aimed the shotgun, and sent him packing.

Here’s brave Sue after carrying it back:

Sue Carrying the Rattlesnake

And its rattles:

Rattlesnake Rattle

Thanks to the Lord that all went well!

The next morning though, Sue had noticed Elvis was sitting in the goat shed opening, didn’t get up when she came that direction, but didn’t appear as if anything was wrong. It wasn’t until that evening that she discovered him limping pretty badly.

And then we discovered the cause — snake bite! The leg was swollen, you could see puncture marks, and some blood-stained fur around it. Oh no.

We wondered if it was the one we killed or another.

In researching snake bites, we read that if the goat doesn’t die in a few hours, there’s a good possibility it will live. Well, if he had been bit by the snake we killed, it was nearly 24 hours by then, so we were hoping and praying for the best.

Besides the external betadine, we gave him some activated charcoal in his feed, hoping that might help remove some of the toxins.

Over the first day or two, the swelling moved into his chest, and down his stomach, and on one of those days, he spent the day just sitting in the shed…we figured he just wasn’t feeling very well. 🙂

In the following picture, you can see the bite on his swollen left leg after we had drenched it with betadine:

Our Goat Elvis with Snake Bit Leg

At this point, a couple of days into it, he had an appetite, which we figured was good.

Today, thanks to God’s graces and mercies, Elvis is doing much better, and there’s only a little swelling on the leg! And we haven’t seen another rattlesnake since here.

Here’s a video documenting a couple days into it, a few days after that, and then almost three weeks after that (the day of this blog post, about 25 days since the bite):


We are very grateful to the Lord for sparing Elvis, and for granting him the healing He did! We pray Elvis will continue to be of benefit to the community!

— 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

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

A Little Rattled

Recently one morning on my way to feed Penelope our pig, I suddenly strolled up on a snake in the middle of the road. Yep, it was a rattler! Well, Sue brought out the shotgun to me, and that was that.

And here it is after the fact:

Rattlesnake Shot with Shotgun
More Rattlesnake Shot with Shotgun

And the souvenir rattle:

Rattlesnake Rattle Souvenir

Sue got to carry it back, while it was still moving (they do that even without a head), and then I cut it up into 6-inch pieces for the chickens, although I think the ants had more of it than they.

Yes, rattlesnakes are one of the things we have to keep any eye out for, and I’m thankful to the Lord for His mercies in granting I see it before walking right up on it!

— David

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