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: orchard (Page 1 of 3)

The Orchard – Summer 2021

With the cold winter freezes, and especially with the artic blast week we had, we were hoping for some fruit from the orchard this year. Now, even with freezes typically playing a part of a good fruit harvest, we believe these things still only come about if the Lord grants them out of His graciousness.

And, accordingly to that, He has decided to do so, and we are very thankful!

Here’s a recent look at the orchard itself:

Orchard 2021
More of Orchard 2021

This is a pecan tree in the background, and you can get the size perspective with the fencing and goats. I believe this one even grew back from the root!

Pecan Tree 2021

And here’s most of the rest of the pecan tree line:

Pecan Tree Line 2021

Here’s a peach tree loaded with yummy goodnesses!

Peach Tree 2021
Peaches on Tree 2021

And then picked:

Picked Peaches 2021

We made a solar food dehydrator quite a few years back, and it’s still working pretty well, despite some cracks in the plexiglass, the big ones I believe coming from young goats jumping off the dryer! 🙂

And here it is with the fruit drying or about to start drying:

2021 Fruit on Solar Food Dehydrator
More 2021 Fruit on Solar Food Dehydrator
Still More 2021 Fruit on Solar Food Dehydrator

We rarely get apricots, but this year God granted a whole bunch, and here are some dried ones. They may not look like much, but fruit with the water gone condenses its natural sugars, so they taste great!

2021 Dried Apricots

And here is the collection of dried tasty morsels the Lord has granted so far:

2021 Dried Fruit

Once again, we are always thankful to God for granting food off the land, coming from His direct hand of providence!

— David

The Orchard – Summer 2018

The Lord has graciously continued the 2018 orchard bounty through Summer, with mostly nectarines and pears!

Looking good!

Nectarines

God’s gracious bounty!

Buckets of Fruit

Ripening…

Nectarines Ripening

Pears Ripening

And then cut up ready for the solar food drier:

Fruit Pieces

Here they are on the dehydrator:

Fruit Pieces on Solar Food Dehydrator

And showing dried vs. new. Sue did a great job of monitoring this and getting them off the drier before they were too far done…good job, Honey! 😀

Dried vs. New Fruit Pieces on Solar Food Dehydrator

These things taste great…it’s tough to stop eating them! 😀

Dried Fruit in Jars

God was so gracious, we had to pressure can some of the fruit to keep up. And with the pears, because their ripening schedule is difficult to guess (they don’t ripen on the tree, and the ripe period of time is a small window and hard to detect), we just canned them as well.

In a more sad note, we lost probably our biggest tree that had lots of peaches on it, but in God’s plan, it was time for it to be done. Like last time, it’ll go to firewood:

Dead Peach Tree

But, we are so very grateful to the Lord for granting these provisions directly off of the land! It is always our prayer that we bear much spiritual fruit by abiding in Christ deriving nourishment from Him for His graces to grow in us and outwardly for His glory!

— David

The Orchard – Spring 2018

With the previous two Winters being somewhat mild weather-wise, there wasn’t much activity with our fruit trees. However, this past Winter had quite a few more cold days, and I’m thinking that really made a difference, because by God’s graces we’ve had a very nice fruit bounty this Spring!

Here’s a current picture of the orchard, for which we are very thankful to the Lord:

Orchard Spring 2018

So far, God has granted plums and the first apricots produced from a couple of our apricot trees. We’ve been extra diligent this year in getting to the fruit before the birds do as we’ve had trouble with that in the past. Thanks to Sue for going out there 3 times a day! Here they are ripening:

2018 Plums & Apricots

Here’s Mimi keeping guard over them….sort of. She’s really just keeping cool on a hot day! 🙂

2018 Plums Ripening on Woodburning Stove

And here are more plums with apricots ripening:

2018 Plums & Apricots Ripening

The easiest way for us to preserve the fruit is to dry them on our solar food dehydrator. It works very well, and we are thankful for it! In the past, we have ended up leaving the plums on too long, maybe to make sure they were dry, but they end up very stiff; and so, this year with them, we’ve made slices in the sides, to help hopefully dry them out thoroughly without going too far. It’s closer to what we do with fruit out of which we can remove the pit, like peaches:

2018 Fruit on Solar Food Dehydrator

And here is basically all of the dried fruit so far. We are very thankful to God for granting these provisions!

Orchard Spring 2018 Dried Fruit

Finally, and sadly, earlier in the year, a storm knocked over one of our bigger trees:

Fallen Fruit Tree

You can see the size of it:

Size Perspective of Fallen Fruit Tree

The inside of the trunk was almost like paper. I assume some sort of disease got to it. But, not much around here goes to waste typically, so it has become firewood for Winter time. We are thankful to the Lord for all of the fruit He has granted from this tree over time!

Cross Section of Fallen Fruit Tree

The peaches and nectarine trees have many fruit on them, and so we pray God keeps them and allows us to harvest them in due time. Interestingly, one of our newer trees has had probably 100 peaches on it, but I believe in keeping Lev 19:23-25, which says:

23 And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as uncircumcised: three years shall it be as uncircumcised unto you: it shall not be eaten of.

24 But in the fourth year all the fruit thereof shall be holy to praise the Lord withal.

25 And in the fifth year shall ye eat of the fruit thereof, that it may yield unto you the increase thereof: I am the Lord your God.

And, besides this being in the Bible, Puritan commentator John Gill, on the end of vs 23, says:

which was a provision partly for the benefit of fruit trees newly planted, whose fruit, when they first bear, gardeners frequently take off immediately, and do not suffer them to grow to any perfection, by which means a tree will grow stronger, and will bear more and better fruit another year; and partly for the health of man, which physical reason is given by Aben Ezra, who observes that the fruit that comes unto the third year there is no profit by it, but is hurtful; and chiefly because, as it is proper that the first fruits should be given to the Lord before any is eaten, so it is right that it should be given seasonably, and when it is brought to its perfection: three years were to be reckoned, as Jarchi and Ben Gersom say, from the time the tree was planted.

And Matthew Henry says:

3. We are hereby taught not to be over-hasty in catching at any comfort, but to be willing with patience to wait the time for the enjoyment of it, and particularly to acknowledge ourselves unworthy of the increase of the earth, our right to the fruits of which was forfeited by our first parents eating forbidden fruit, and we are restored to it only by the word of God and prayer, 1 Tim. 4:5

Now, since the priesthood is no more, some might argue the whole command has gone away, but for me, I look at it as the 4th year going away, and we still wait for after 3 years to harvest from a tree, discarding any fruit during those 3 years. Needless to say, it has been a little difficult to toss down so many, but we pray God glorifies Himself through these things.

Again, we are very thankful to the Lord for granting these provisions! May we bear much fruit, the fruit of His Spirit, by the graces He supplies to us!

— David

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 – Summer 2016 – Plums & Pears

It was a very light winter this past one. While I’m not a cold-weather person, it also appears to perhaps have affected the productivity of the orchard. By God’s graces, we almost always get peaches and nectarines, but nothing really this year. And we willingly submit to God’s providence in these things.

However, we did get quite a few plums earlier in the year! Several buckets-full like this, which we just ate on the fly:

2016 Orchard Plums

And for the first time I think, other than maybe an odd one or two over the years, God granted a few pears! Yea!

2016 Orchard Pears

We are always thankful to the Lord for whatever He grants. We deserve to receive nothing, anything granted is by His graciousness, and we submit, agree with, and are thankful for His perfect will in this and all things.

— David

The Orchard – Winter 2016 – Fruit Tree Pruning

January rolled around, and although I got a bit of a late start, it was time to get out and prune the fruit trees! This year, I needed to do all of the ones older than probably a year or two at most, whereas last year I only did the biggest ones.

Here is what it looked like before:

Winter 2016 Orchard Pruning Before

And then, after about three weeks of getting out there in the mornings, here is the after picture. I hacked them up quite a bit…hopefully didn’t overdo it:

Winter 2016 Orchard Pruning After

And here are some of the leftovers, which I think once dried out will make good kindling for the wood burning stove!

Winter 2016 Orchard Pruning Leftover Branches

There are obviously many spiritual teachings and lessons in the Bible that are agrarian based, including trees and taking care of them. While in pruning the tree is cut back, it is a necessary process for the success of the tree. It is the same spiritually, and the Lord prunes the trees of our hearts, which is often painful, but necessary for His fruit to come forth. I mention more in detail about this spiritual example in last year’s pruning blog post, and I encourage you to take a look at it.

We are thankful for God’s lessons in His word, and to be able to experience them and better understand them when actually living the “types” (or physical realities) of the “antitypes” (or spiritual fulfillment of them). And we pray the Lord might grant the increase from the bearing trees this year, in accordance with His will, as we pray He bring forth His fruit in our lives!

— 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

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