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: nut trees

The Orchard – 2017 – Pears & Pecans

The Lord has graciously allowed our orchard to continue on, and we are very thankful!

The year started with my pruning the fruit trees. This year we had foreman Mimi supervising! 🙂

2017 Fruit Tree Pruning

More 2017 Fruit Tree Pruning

And here is the orchard mid June:

2017 Orchard in June

I think the mild winter last year affected our peaches and nectarines, as we didn’t really get any of those. And not many plums either. But God granted we had one pear tree do very well. Quite a few fell off in a storm we had, and we collected them but they never ripened. And apparently, pears don’t ripen on the tree, and you have to pull them at just the right time, when they easily twist off the tree, and then they ripen as they sit, but can only sit for so long before they over ripen.

However, we were able to enjoy quite a few of them from the ones still on the tree which did ripen fairly well! Here are the last several:

2017 Pears

And this year was our most productive pecan harvest! We had basically three trees produce this year, up from one last year.

2017 Pecans

More 2017 Pecans

Here is the first round from the two newly-producing trees. This sheller apparently works extremely well:

2017 Gathered Pecans

And then our big producer yielded a two-gallon bucket worth!

More 2017 Gathered Pecans

We are very grateful to the Lord for granting these provisions of food off of the land, directly from His hand. And we thank Him for the increase in pears and pecans He graciously granted!

— David

The Orchard – Fall 2015 – Pecans

That time of year rolled around to where any pecans that were growing were starting to break forth from the green shells in which they grow on the trees. One of our trees has some, but something appeared to get to them as the pecans were eaten out. But the other tree that had pecans was okay, and so it was time to gather them in!

Here are some of them on the tree:

Pecans on Tree

More Pecans on Tree

And then the 2015 haul!

Gathered Pecans

We are always very grateful to the Lord for the least grain of food He provides, as each one is a miracle of providence from Him!

— David

Garden – Spring 2014 – Update II

Just recently our Spring garden wrapped up for the year, and so we thought we’d show the progress since our last update in July:

Shortly after that blog post, I believe, all of the zucchini plants pretty much dried up. The corn didn’t fare too well, but here is one ear we received — not too appetizing looking, but the corn was an experiment and tasted just like corn! 🙂

Sweet Corn Ear

However, through the Summer, with the green beans really slowing down, the turnips continued to do well in the mulch garden beds, even though I didn’t manually water them:

Garden 2014 July Turnips

And the okra started to take off too!

Okra

In September, here were some turnips I pulled to give to the piggies:

2014 September Turnips

And with things cooling by October, the green beans started taking off again:

Garden 2014 October Green Beans

While working on the house from up on the porch roof, Sue showed me some more October beans:

More Garden 2014 October Green Beans

And some turnips!

2014 October Turnips

By mid November, here is what the gardens looked like:

Mid November 2014 Garden Green Beans & Okra
Mid November 2014 Garden Tomatoes

But, the cold was coming, and we covered with blankets as much as we could, which was almost everything. However, after several nights, most everything didn’t make it:

Okra After Freeze Nights
Tomatoes After Freeze Nights

…except for this late-germinating zucchini. But, a few weeks later, this even succumbed to the cold:

Late Germinated Zucchini

And here is the last bean and tomato haul after the freezing nights:

Final Green Beans & Tomatoes Haul

And a final, nostalgic look at the gardens with the blankets hanging to dry:

Final Look At Garden With Drying Blankets

And finally, the Lord also granted some pecans again from our pecan trees!

2014 Pecans Haul

We are very grateful to God for His gracious and merciful provisions from the garden this year, the successes and failures, and learning more about gardening and mulch garden beds. We look forward to the next growing season, if the Lord wills it to see us to that point — the season of new life after the time of cold and death, much like a cold, dead soul being brought forth in new life by the work of the Holy Spirit.

— David

The Orchard – Fall 2013

I thought we would catch everyone up with how our orchard is doing.

The Lord in His wisdom decided not to grant much this year, except…

These were our first apples I believe we’ve received! We were pretty excited, and they tasted yummy!

Apples from Apple Tree, Fall 2013

Very sadly though, shortly after this, the tree began to wither and died. We pray that spiritually the Lord sustains us by the power of His Spirit so that the same doesn’t occur with us, and that by His Spirit He brings forth much fruit! (Please see John Gill on John 15:2 regarding this.)

We also have pecan trees, and here is one that made pecans this year!

Pecan Tree with Pecans, Fall 2013
Fall 2013 Pecans

These are our first harvested pecans:

Our First Harvested Pecans

And the final haul — 26 in all! We’re thankful to God for granting this provision!

The Full Pecan Haul, Fall 2013

I guess it was last year, we began mulching the orchard, starting around the trees, just to get the process going, and then filling in the rest of the area with mulch starting at the back. Well, over the past several months, I tried to get back to doing that, because it really looked like those trees in the fully mulched areas were growing better than those not in it. And so, here’s how far it’s been filled in:

The Orchard, Fall 2013, with Mulching
Another Pic of the Orchard, Fall 2013, with Mulching

We lost some trees this year, especially the apples, but most stayed with us, thanks to the Lord.

We are once again grateful for these resources, and humbly ask the Lord grant that these trees be fruitful, as we again beseech Him by His graces and mercies for the same about us spiritually.

— David

The Orchard – Update I

Well, it’s been a couple of years since we posted about the orchard we have tried to start (if you click that link, pay no attention to the immodestly dressed person in the cowboy hat 🙂 ). Each year except this one, for which we only did replacements, we have tried to put in at least a few new trees. We now have 35 fruit trees — apricot, plum, nectarine, peach, apple, pear, and persimmon, 7 pecan trees, and 10 grape vines.

Here are the fruit trees:

Our Orchard
Our Orchard
Our Orchard

These are views of the fruit trees down the rows:

Our Orchard Between the Rows
Our Orchard Between the Rows

Here are the grape vines of the beginnings of our vineyard:

Our Vineyard

And our first little grapes! At this point, our plan for any grapes God graciously grants is to dry them into raisins:

First Grapes from the Vineyard

We haven’t really received much fruit up to this point; but this year the Lord has granted some apricots, nectarines and peaches. This is our first year to have apricots, and they are the first ones to be ripe enough to pick so far:

Apricots on the Tree

Here is Sue gathering some:

Sue Picking Apricots

And what we gathered:

Apricots from Our Orchard

In order to preserve the apricots without canning, freezing or having to use a preservative, we put the apricots in the solar food dehydrator. Also, I wanted to save the apricot seeds to be used in moderate quantities for the health benefits of vitamin B17; so they are being dried as well. And, on the lower shelf you can see some plums we were given, which we’re drying into prunes:

Apricot Halves and Pits in Solar Food Dehydrator

And here are a couple of pictures of the pecan trees. They really seem to grow slowly. We lost one last year too — it had been growing nicely, and then one day the leaves dried up, and it just died; and so we replaced it with a new one. Also, in order to allow the goats to keep our main homestead area mowed (thus allowing them access to all of that free food), I fenced off the orchard area, and each pecan tree, as you can see here:

Our Pecan Trees
Our Pecan Trees

We thank the Lord for allowing us to plant perennial fruit-bearing plants; and we pray for His provisions from them for many years, if it be His will.

— David

The Orchard


That first Spring we also began planting fruit trees: 3 apricot, 3 plum, 3 peach and 3 nectarine. Sadly though, the cows (to be mentioned in a future post, Lord willing) got to them and ate them back, and so they were set back probably a whole season.

Last year we planted 3 more apricot, 3 pear, 3 more peach and 3 apple. 2 pear and 2 peach didn’t make it into this season, and so they were replaced with another plum, another pear, and 2 more apple trees. And another pear and 2 persimmon trees were planted just the other day. We plan to add 5 grape vines and 3 pecan trees this year as well.

One thing we didn’t know about but have since learned is that some of these fruit trees require another species of the fruit tree or a special one to be pollinated themselves, or they won’t be pollinated. Apparently a Yellow Delicious apple tree is a “pollinator.”

Here what the orchard looks like now:

And here are some beginnings of fruit graciously granted by the Lord so far this year (2008)!

— David