This is our journal of what we pray is our sojourn of life (Hebrews 11:8-10) along the narrow way (Matthew 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 2 of 3)

The Orchard – Fall 2015 – Pecan Tree Fencing

After getting some more permanent fencing around our main orchard area, it was time to starting putting up some around our pecan trees. The hand-pulled method has worked ok, but sometimes the goats still get in them, and recently one of our pecan trees was completely barked by a goat from top to bottom. Bummer.

For this new fencing, I decided for expediency to just use t-post corners, even though they didn’t work well on long fence lines, figuring these were going to have much less pull on them.

Here is one pecan tree before starting, with just the hand-pulled fencing around it:

Pecan Tree Area with Old Hand-Pulled Fencing

After putting in t-posts, it was necessary to sometimes twist them to align better with a fence line or otherwise, so a pipe wrench works great for that:

Turning T-Post with Pipe Wrench

Here is one corner done. After facing the corner t-posts outward on a couple of the other pecan areas, I realized the corner bracket pieces are designed to work more properly facing the t-posts inward:

First T-Post Corners in Place

Here is another corner done:

Another Corner F

And all t-posts in place:

All Fencing T-Posts in Place

Then, it was time to pull the fencing. I decided to pull two directions: one out away from the goat field fence, around the corner, and then perpendicular to the field fencing; and then the other, to close off the last side away from the field fence. Going around the one corner worked ok if I tightened tension on the fencing a little at a time and moved the fencing around the corner after each time of tightening:

Net Wire Fence Puller Ready for Pulling

As before, the truck is used to help pull the fencing:

Come-Along Hooked to Truck and Fence Puller

And here it is pulling:

Pulling Net Wire Fencing

And here is all the fencing complete!

All Fencing Complete

Lastly, I put down about an 8 inch layer of mulch:

Mulch Layer Laid Down

We are grateful to the Lord for granting the growth of the pecan trees, even some from the roots (this one pictured I believe was one of those), and for Him granting provision to be able to continue work on the homestead!

— David

The Orchard – Summer 2015 – Nectarines

In our orchard, we have a few nectarine trees — some of our bigger ones — which produce later in the season; and God graciously granted a goodly amount of fruit on them this year! This time with the fruit, I tried to pick them before they were fully ripe as we’ve had what we believe are critters helping themselves to our edibles out there…birds probably, and we think maybe raccoons too.

Here the nectarines are on the trees:

Nectarines on Trees

More Nectarines on Trees

And then, a couple of the buckets full:

Harvested Nectarines

Laid out on the tables to ripen some first, not touching so they don’t cause each other to rot:

Nectarines Ripening on Table

Notice our little visitor hanging out in the chair on this one: 🙂

Nectarines Ripening on Table with Mimi Hanging Out

“Soldiers” all lined up ready for their duty of tasting yummy! You might say they’re in the “Nectarine Corp”! 🙂 Best eaten when with them you “Chew Raw!” 😀 (Was that too much?)

Nice, Plump Nectarines!

Then, it was time to cut up the nectarines and get them on the solar food dehydrator:

Nectarines on Solar Food Dehydrator

Here they are shrunken down and dried:

Dried Nectarines

Collected and ready for storage:

Dried Nectarines Collected in Buckets

And in their almost final resting place (the final resting place is in our bellies! 😀 )

Dried Nectarines Stored in Jars

As always, we are very grateful to the Lord for granting these provisions, and a way to store them without freezing or canning!

— David

The Orchard – Summer 2015 – Plums & Peaches

God graciously began to grant fruit to grow from our fruit trees!

I believe these are our first plums from the trees!

First 2015 Plums

Here are more. Often, the wind would blow the trees and drop many of the plums to the ground before they were ripe, so they would ripen off-tree:

More 2015 Plums

That looks yummy! (And they were!)


Here they are on our solar food dehydrator:

Plums on Solar Food Dehydrator

There were a lot more on the trees too, like bundles of grapes. Interestingly though, a couple of days after seeing them like that, they were all gone…nothing…like they had never been there. I’m assuming birds got them, but wow.

But then, it was on to peaches!

More Peaches on Tree

Peaches on Tree

First 2015 Peaches

Bucket of Peaches

And then onto the food dryer for them too. We were getting so many at one point, it was hard to find room on the dryer!

Peaches on Solar Food Dehydrator

And here are almost all of the peaches, conveniently stored away in bite-sized, fruit-roll-tasting morsels!

Dried Peaches

And some extra ones pressure canned on the left, and made into jam on the right!

Canned & Jam Peaches

We are very grateful to the Lord for these gifts! It was so great to be able to walk out to a tree, pick a fruit, and eat it straightaway! We are very thankful.

— David

The Orchard – Summer 2015 – Permanent Fence – Update I

After putting in the fence posts around the orchard for the more permanent fence, it was time to stretch the net wire. It had taken me a while to get to it, because it rained almost the whole month of May! (Wow, thanks to God for that gift of abundant water! It was worth the wait! 🙂 )

I did try pulling the wire after wrapping the t-post corner brace system I was trying; but once tension was on it, enough for this kind of longer fencing where I needed it pretty taught, it didn’t look like the aluminum pieces were going to hold long-term, and it appeared the ground was getting loose around the posts. So, I went ahead and installed a wood post system at that end as well.

And then, it was back to pulling fence.

Here’s a post wrapped and ready to have the fence stretched against it:

Starting Net Wire Wrapped at Fence End Post

For this project, and I assume others at some point, I decided to get a good, metal net wire fence stretcher. It has ended up working great as it really grips the fencing, which has often been a problem for us using 2x4s bolted together or the like. I did find that even though I had chain pulling on top and bottom of the stretcher, I needed tension to be in the middle because the stretcher would bend once tension was applied, so I tied a piece of barbed wire from the middle hook of the stretcher to a middle point on the chain, and this has helped:

Net Wire Fence Puller

I hooked the stretcher to the come-along, and hooked it to the truck’s ball hitch:

Fence Puller Hooked to Truck with Come-along

Come-along Hooked to Truck Ball Hitch

And then moved the truck forward until the stretcher was standing up straight. Then, it was just a matter of getting the right tension on the fence using the come-along:

Fence Puller Pulled Taught

And here’s a corner, each strand double wrapped around the post and then wrapped tightly like a cork-screw around the its own wire going back the other direction:

Net Wire Stretched & Wrapped Around Corner Post

With the fencing stretched, it was time to install the gate. Using the crescent wrench to turn the gate lag bolt works great!

Using Crescent Wrench to Screw In Orchard Gate Lag Bolt

And here is the hung gate:

Orchard Gate Hung

And down that fence line:

Looking Down the Gate & Fence Line

It’s all stretched at this time…I just have to go back and install the t-post clips, a job I try to spread out over time, doing a post or two a day.

We’re always grateful to the Lord for granting the provisions to continue on homestead improvement!

— David

The Orchard – Spring 2015 – Permanent Fence

For a few years now, we’ve let our goats out into our inner field, which is between the goat pens and the barn, as this area is always growing something naturally…mostly weeds, but the goats eat just about any of it. Well, in order to be able to do that, I had to put up a fence around our orchard and pecan trees, but I didn’t want to take the time to put up a permanent fence, so I was hoping to be able to get away with just hand pulling some fencing around some lightly-pounded t-posts.

This worked well, until last year, and the goats started getting into the orchard, and ate back one of the pecan trees. So, it was time.

We’ve had a whole bunch of rain this Spring, thanks to the Lord for His graces and mercies. But that has slowed things down, so I’m only partially done after several weeks, but here is progress…

I originally thought I could just bury the landscape timber posts in mud, but the rains showed me that that wasn’t going to work — it just wasn’t going to be solid enough for stretched fence. So, after unburying them, I concreted them in. I’m trying to get away with only using a single angled brace on the corners. I also added distance between the current trees, and brought out one side to allow for another row of trees. I figure I can just continue to move that west line over the years if needed to add room for more rows. There is also a gate space planned along one of the lines, big enough for the tractor to drive through:

Fence Posts Concreted In

More Fences Post Concreted In

Still More Fence Posts Concreted In

Again More Fence Posts Concreted In

Here’s a diagonal brace installed. I notched out the the bottom of the dead-man post using a reciprocating saw and hammer and chisel, worked the angles on the brace until I got it right, and then notched out the upper side of the main post. Then, I drilled pilot and counter sync holes for the 3/8 by 6 inch lag bolts and washers:

Fence End Cross Post Installed

And so I didn’t have to dig a post hole on line that already had fencing, I thought I would try using a t-post bracing system for one of the ends (sadly, once I started pulling the fence, this ended up not working — too much pressure on the aluminum pieces and the t-posts too loose in the ground), and I had to put in the wood posts and brace):

T-post Fence End

With the posts in place, using a string line around the perimeter, I pounded in the t-posts. Sometimes you hit rock, but sometimes those rocks are smaller, and it is possible to pound through/around them, although that almost certainly brings on the blisters, at least for me it does. 🙂 :

Fence T-posts in Place

More Fence T-posts in Place

Still More Fence T-posts in Place

And that’s it for now. Yesterday was dry enough for me to work on the fencing some, so I just started to tie off a couple of the ends of the net-wire fencing; but Lord willing, this will be ready soon. Actually, because we are sort of out of hay for one of the groups of goats, and it’s too muddy to get any right now, I have to go move the temporary fence and hand pull it around the new fence line because we need to let them out today.

We thank God for His provisions to be able to put up the fencing, for the rains, the mercy in the weather, and for the free goat food He’s granted to grow!

— David

The Orchard – Winter 2015 – Fruit Tree Pruning

With the growth of the fruit trees the Lord granted in our orchard last year, I figured it was about time I get out there and start to prune some of them, especially the big ones.

And so, I watched a few videos, and here are a few interesting things I learned:

  • Peaches grow on first-year wood
  • The skin of apples actually helps in the photosynthesis process as well as the leaves, which is why it’s important to take out a lot of the middle of an apple tree, to allow the sun in
  • The worst thing you can do with pruning is not get out there and do it.

So, I got out there with the loppers and pruners, and started in.

And here are a couple before and after shots. I noticed that I became a little less timid from the first tree to the latest done: 🙂

Fruit Tree Before Pruning
Fruit Tree After Pruning
Another Fruit Tree Before Pruning
Another Fruit Tree After Pruning

I believe just about all, if not all, of creation has type and shadow in it of spiritual realities. The Bible talks a lot about fruit, and that there must be not only fruit, but good fruit, being beared by ones who take the name of Christ, which evidences good works brought forth in their hearts by the Spirit (Eph 5-22:23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.“)

Even pruning is discussed in spiritual terms:

John 15:1-2 – “1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

Here is what Puritan commentator Dr. John Gill says about verse 2, which regards two types of people who say they are Christians:

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit
There are two sorts of branches in Christ the vine; the one sort are such who have only an historical faith in him, believe but for a time, and are removed; they are such who only profess to believe in him, as Simon Magus did; are in him by profession only; they submit to outward ordinances, become church members, and so are reckoned to be in Christ, being in a church state, as the churches of Judea and Thessalonica, and others, are said, in general, to he in Christ; though it is not to be thought that every individual person in these churches were truly and savingly in him. These branches are unfruitful ones; what fruit they seemed to have, withers away, and proves not to be genuine fruit; what fruit they bring forth is to themselves, and not to the glory of God, being none of the fruits of his Spirit and grace: and such branches the husbandman

taketh away;
removes them from that sort of being which they had in Christ. By some means or another he discovers them to the saints to be what they are; sometimes he suffers persecution to arise because of the word, and these men are quickly offended, and depart of their own accord; or they fall into erroneous principles, and set up for themselves, and separate from the churches of Christ; or they become guilty of scandalous enormities, and so are removed from their fellowship by excommunication; or if neither of these should be the case, but these tares should grow together with the wheat till the harvest, the angels will be sent forth, who will gather out of the kingdom of God all that offend and do iniquity, and cast them into a furnace of fire, as branches withered, and fit to be burnt.

And every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
These are the other sort of branches, who are truly and savingly in Christ; such as are rooted in him; to whom he is the green fir tree, from whom all their fruit is found; who are filled by him with all the fruits of his Spirit, grace, and righteousness. These are purged or pruned, chiefly by afflictions and temptations, which are as needful for their growth and fruitfulness, as the pruning and cutting of the vines are for theirs; and though these are sometimes sharp, and never joyous, but grievous, yet they are attended with the peaceable fruits of righteousness, and so the end of bringing forth more fruit is answered; for it is not enough that a believer exercise grace, and perform good works for the present, but these must remain; or he must be constant herein, and still bring forth fruit, and add one virtue to another, that it may appear he is not barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of Christ, in whom he is implanted. These different acts of the vinedresser “taking away” some branches, and “purging” others, are expressed by the Misnic doctors

It behooves us to examine whether we bear true spiritual fruit of the Spirit or not.

May He grant us His fruit, which is only brought forth by the work of His Holy Spirit in our hearts; and then may He grant us extra faith, strength of heart, and courage during times of His pruning.

Temporily, we pray for a successful pruning of our fruit trees in the Lord granting us provisions from them, according to His will.

— David

The Orchard – Summer 2014

We thought we’d give a little orchard update, since it’s been a while since our last one from last year.

We have continued the process of laying down around 8 inches of mulch covering the entire orchard area. When my brother, Kevin, visited in April, another thing he helped with, besides the barn loft and moving goat sheds, was helping lay down some of this mulch.

Here he is unloading it from the mulch carrier. One person would unload while the other person dumped, and then we’d switch jobs:

My Brother Kevin Unloading Mulch from the Mulch Carrier

Here he is dumping some mulch around one of the fruit trees:

Kevin Dumping Mulch Around a Fruit Tree

And here he is, apparently having way too much fun! 🙂

Kevin Happily Carting Mulch

Once again, it was really nice to have him here to visit! This is burger lunch at the Owl Drug Store Soda Fountain & Grill downtown Coleman:

David, Susan & Kevin at the Owl Drug Store Soda Fountain & Grill for Lunch

Back in the orchard, these are our first peaches of the year!

First Peaches 2014

Since they all ripened around the same time, we decided to pull them all and dry them on our solar food dehydrator. We ended up with probably 30-35 dried peaches, thanks to the Lord granting them! The dehydrated fruit seems to be able to last for years in jars, as I recently ate some from a couple of years ago, and they’re not too bad!

Peaches Dried Using Solar Food Dehydrator

And here are our nectarines. We had a couple of trees produce them, and since they’ve been ripening so slowly, we’ve just been eating them along the way. In previous years, we’ve had grasshoppers eat them down; but thanks to the Lord not this year.

If you haven’t experienced it before, I can’t tell you how neat it is to walk to one of your fruit trees, grab a fruit, and eat it right there. What a wonderful provision from God!

Nectarines 2014


Up-Close Nectarines 2014

Here are a couple of pictures of the orchard now:

Orchard 2014 in Early September
Another View of the Orchard 2014 in Early September

You can see the difference I believe the mulch has made, by God’s graces, from that last picture vs. a similar one from last year. It is amazing how much the trees have grown just this year! We’ve seen good growth from ones we got fully covered in the Spring time.

2013 Side View of Orchard

Goats love to eat fruit and nut trees. 🙂 Here is their handiwork on the left side of one of our peach trees. I do hope one day to put up a more permanent fence around the orchard, including chicken wire around the bottom to keep the chickens out so we might plant something perennial-ish in the mulch, like maybe sweet potatoes:

Fruit Tree Eaten on the Side by Our Goats

It’s also neat to have trees big enough where God has provided that the birds have a nice little place in which to hang out together. Here’s a little video of them in one of the trees, and them flying away when I got close enough:

We’re so very thankful for the growth of the trees and the provisions the Lord has graciously granted from them!

— David

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