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: crops (Page 1 of 2)

January 2019 Community Work Day: Fence Fixing, Milo Gathering & Chimney Sweeping

This past community work day, we did half-day at our place, and the folks here graciously helped us accomplish a few projects…

First, over the years, in trying to get to the “grass that’s surely greener on the other side” of the fencing, the goats have put a pretty good leaning-angle in the fencing when their heads are through and they are pushing to get just that perfect morsel that’s as far away as their little necks can reach. 😉 Anyway, we had to straighten up the fencing on two sides by unclipping the fencing, pulling the t-post, re-pounding in the t-post, and then re-clipping the fencing. Here are the gents helping me with that:

Straitening Goat Fencing

And here, the Stonger boys are helping gather milo seeds from the field:

Gathering Milo

Then, it was time to try our first chimney sweeping. We used an adjustable ladder, uneven on one side, and Mr. Stronger held it in place on the roof while I worked the stove pipe.

After years, I believe the creosote “glued” on the cap, so I had to pound it off:

Removing Stove Pipe Cap

And then it was time to use the sweeper. For our metal chimney pipe, you’re supposed to use a poly brush so it doesn’t scrape up the metal.

I will conquer you o creosote, my foe! 😉

Ready with the Chimney Sweeper

And here’s the sweeping. One thing I forgot about was that near the bottom of the pipe there is a damper, so when I hit the stopping point, I kind of tried to push through it, and ended up bending the damper turner…oops. 🙂 :

Sweeping the Chimney

And then, putting the cap back on:

Putting Back On the Chimney Cap

Finally, here are some other sights from work day….

I’m not going to ask about this one… 😀 I’m with Joshua….must…get…away…quickly… 😉

Community Work Day Folks

Don’t wear out the youngin’s, Mr. Peck! 😉

Community Work Day Folks

A quarter for your thoughts…(inflation, you know) 😉

Community Work Day Folks

Tree climbing, supervised of course:

Community Work Day Folks

Community Work Day Folks

Community Work Day Folks

We all here are grateful to the Lord for Him granting us this opportunity to be here and live together and focus more of our lives on Him, and showing we love Him by loving and serving each other. We thank Him for the safety He granted, and Sue and I thank everyone for the help!

— David

A Pile o’ Milo

In the attempt to become as sustaining as possible, we have grown some crops in fields throughout our time here. Some have been for us to eat, but also for chicken feed.

One we haven’t tried but apparently works well around here is milo, and so last year I thought I would try that.

I planted in May I believe, and because of the drought and longer, hot summer, the milo was stunted, and took 4-5 months to really start to seed out. Here is what it looked like 1/3 of the way through November:

2018 Milo Field

2018 Milo Head

At that point, it was just a matter of if the seeds could mature before the freezes hit. Well, that sadly didn’t really happen.

However, I’ve gone ahead and begun to harvest what’s there, in the hopes that the chickens might eat it anyway. With the seeds being as immature as they are, I don’t think that even a combine would do anything, so we’re doing it by hand. At least it’s not 11 acres of pulling weeds, like our cocklebur fight with the upper field! 😀

Here are some buckets of collected milo heads:

Buckets of Milo Heads

And me scraping. I found a serrated knife worked best:

Scraping Milo Heads

And here is a bucket full of the scraped seeds. We have about 3 so far as of now:

Bucket of Scraped Milo Seeds

We are thankful to the Lord for these provisions and what He granted, as He is in no way obliged to grant us anything. 🙂 And we pray for continued help in learning how to live in direct dependence on Him, both temporily and spiritually.

— David

Wheat 2015 – Update II

Back in June, we began to harvest the wheat the Lord had graciously granted us!

The Stongers graciously offered to help, so Mr. Stonger and the boys got out there and began gathering in the wheat. We started with sickles, but found we could just pull it up by hand:

Harvesting Wheat

Still More Harvesting Wheat

Again, Harvesting Wheat

And Still Harvesting Wheat

Here I am tying the wheat into sheaves:

More Harvesting Wheat

And here’s the first row done, with the sheaves put into stooks:

Continuing to Harvest Wheat

This is about a month later, mid July. Amidst all of the other projects around here, I was able to continue and do about another row before the weeds took over:

Harvested Wheat & Weeds

Then, it was time to get them out of the field and into the barn:

Wheat Sheaves in the Truck

With us unable really to harvest anymore, the goats were able to enjoy the delectable delights of the overgrown field! 🙂

Goats Grazing in the Wheat Field

Goats Still Grazing in the Wheat Field

Again, Goats Grazing in the Wheat Field

Goats Continuing to Graze in the Wheat Field

More Goat Grazing in the Wheat Field

And here are most of the sheaves in the barn (I had already begun to process some by this time):

Wheat Sheaves in Barn Loft

Again, Wheat Sheaves in Barn Loft

And speaking of processing, the next step with the wheat was to try to extract the berries. This is always the fun part. We’ve tried flailing in the past, but that just sort of ended up being a bunch of flailing more than anything else. So, this time, I thought I’d try a couple of different things.

I tried turning a bicycle upside down, pedaling it by hand, and trying to thresh the wheat in the spokes. This actually kind of worked, but not too well, and often the heads would break off. I also tried a harder rubber mallet, and that worked not too badly — good control, just a lot of pounding. Then, for some reason I thought to try a 9 inch, 2×4 block of wood, and up to this point, this has worked the best. You can control things so the wheat heads don’t bounce around, you can use the sides to cover more area, or use corner edges or even corners for more accuracy. It’s a little tedious, but it seems to work pretty well.

Here is a little demonstration video of that process:


We’re still in the threshing process, but hopefully at some point Lord willing it will be finished, and then it’ll be onto the separation process!

We are grateful to the Lord for granting the wheat, and for being able to continue the process of it, even for the physical strength to do so!

— David

Goat Field Grass – Update I

The Lord graciously granted huge amounts of rain in May! Of course, this is great for plant life (as the Spirit’s cleansing and nourishing water is for the soul!), and it really shows in the sorghum almum (Columbus grass) field we planted earlier in the year…

As a reminder, here was Sue planting at the time:

Sue Planting Grass Seed

And here is what God has granted as a result of His providence! Wow! Lord willing, the goat bucks in the video will soon be enjoying it, and the doggies, or at least Brodey, in the video are having fun running around in it — he’s soaked with dew every morning! 🙂


We’re grateful to God for what He has granted with this grass, in helping us hopefully get further sustaining here on the land!

— David

Wheat 2015 – Update I

Quick wheat update: the Lord has graciously allowed the wheat to continue to grow!

Here it is early May:

2015 Wheat, Early May

More 2015 Wheat, Early May

Still More 2015 Wheat, Early May

Closeup of 2015 Wheat, Early May

Even Closer of 2015 Wheat, Early May

It literally rained almost all of May, so we’re just now getting to a point where things have dried out. Which means it’s that time….harvest! Hopefully we’ll start to get out there very soon to see what we can collect.

Here is where it is as of today:

2015 Wheat, Early June

More 2015 Wheat, Early June

Closeup of 2015 Wheat, Early June

We are thankful as always to God for His provisions, and for the abundance of rain! We pray He help us in this process to be able to do a good job in saving the gift of this wheat!

— David

Goat Field Grass

When I had bought the seed to plant the north field with sorghum almum (with some millet as a filler), I also had bought enough to plant one of the goat fields that has just turned into more of a place in which the dogs can run around than anything else.

So, just a couple of weeks ago, after the field had been plowed, I wanted to get it planted before some potential rains, and so Sue and I got out there and just walked around, hand-throwing the seed:

Sue Planting Grass Seed

Also, I thought I’d use the shack caddy similarly to how we did the north field, dragging it; but I really didn’t want to use the truck or tractor; and although I forgot about it initially, I didn’t want to hook up the chain to make drag “fingers” like for the north field, as we wouldn’t have been able to pull the caddy by hand with them.

So, Sue graciously accepted my invitation to help me drag it around the field, and we got out there and did it. The result wasn’t as good as having the chain “fingers” behind, but I was hoping it would be sufficient to cover enough of the seed, and that the rains would do the rest.

And here we are on our little “romantic” walk in the field together, including shots from the DavidCam and the SusanCam! 🙂


Thanks to Sue for the help and nice time together! 🙂 And thanks to the Lord for the provisions to plant, and we pray the Lord might grant the grass in the field, so we can be further sustaining, relying on Him directly!

— David

Wheat 2015

Back in October or November, we planted a wheat crop for this year. Since we had decided to try to keep our inner field in the native grass that had started to grow last year, I thought I’d take one of our goat fields and use it for a crop, figuring it would be a more manageable size (I think they’re each about 1/2 acre, while the inner field is something like 3 1/2).

There are some places where Winter weeds have grown in, especially where the chickens ate the wheat down in the south east (front right) corner, but we thought we would just post a quick mention about it, and show where it is after the majority of the Winter weather has very hopefully passed. 🙂 These are from mid March:

Wheat Crop 2015 Mid March

Closer View of Wheat Crop 2015 Mid March

And here is the latest look at it (a few days ago), after some warmth and gracious rain from God:

Late March View of Wheat Crop 2015

Late March Closeup of 2015 Wheat Crop

Late March Closer View of 2015 Wheat Crop

We pray the Lord might grant provisions from this, and we thank Him for the growth He has granted!

— David

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