Well, it was that time of year again around here — Ranchfest! This is a time where folks can come to visit (in a more formal way — visitors can come out at most any time) and fellowship and help support our teacher, Mr. Bunker, in working projects for his homestead. We had several folks from Pennsylvania come by for the weekend, and a couple of fellows from the southwestern U.S.
Ranchfest usually starts on Friday, but the Lord granted over 2 inches of rain on Thursday, which effectively rained us out. But we are so very thankful for those graciously given provisions as they filled many of the ground-water tanks and almost fully one side of our cistern! It’s amazing the difference for living things when God grants the water of life!
On Sabbath, Mr. Bunker had everyone over for “tapas,” using foods they grew and processed here on the land. Yummy!
We usually have a Ranchfest kickoff breakfast at a local mexican establishment:
And then we participated in our normal Lord’s Day fellowship activities, including singing, our fellowship meal, and the holy reading, which is currently (John Owen’s The Glory of Christ).
I believe we received a little more rain on the Lord’s Day, and so we started after lunch time on Monday working on the various projects. One of the projects is a rock-walled, 12-foot high water tower. The previous week, the telephone poles were put up and a concrete base was poured:
And then Monday, the men started in on the framing and siding, including cutting into the framing and posts and attaching diagonal braces to help prevent “racking”:
Another project was to get the west side of Mr. Bunker’s cottage hooked up with gutters and piping to harvest the rain into his cistern:
We had another special meal for Monday’s lunch — a meal of mostly food grown or raised on the land, where the whole community participated, from the Bunker’s recently-butcher bull, to vegetables, to goat milk cheese, to cactus juice, and more! We’re thankful to the Lord for His provisions to be able to do that:
Another project was to install new cabinets in the kitchen of the cottage:
The ladies of the community got together to process and preserve the butchered bull:
And do some sewing on a sewing machine run by foot treadle:
Here are some of the children fellowshipping too, although new-born Joseph is just trying to relax:
Here, the girls are hiding from Sue:
And then listening to Jennifer read:
Back at the cottage, the piping of the catch-water gutters were completed, with a roof washer…
And the connections to the pipes on the other side of the cottage that then run into the cistern:
Over at the water tower, once the siding and rock wall connector tabs were in place, it was time to start placing rock. We just happen to have nearby a stone mason, who graciously granted his time to help teach and direct folks in this project. Here are a couple of the guys carving rock:
And then the “mud” was mixed by hand — 9-12 shovels-full of sand with 1/2 bag of type N mortar cement and 1 shovel-full of type S portland cement (I believe that was the formula). The mixed consistency is apparently supposed to be where it slides off a trowel cleanly:
Here is the placement of the all-important first corner-stone (Isa 28:16; Matt 21:42):
And here is most of the first row of rock completed. After only a few hours, the joints were scraped out with a handle or stick to just behind the edge of the adjoining rocks and then wire brushed:
Well, there had been a sickness moving through the group since before Ranchfest started, and Wednesday night it hit several of the rest of the group; and so, sadly the last two work days of Ranchfest were cancelled. But, we are thankful to God for granting the healing and help through the sicknesses that He has.
We are also grateful to Him for granting this time of fellowship and service, for the new folks we were able to meet, and for the work accomplished on the Bunker homestead. We are thankful to the Lord for the teacher He has granted us in Mr. Bunker, and for his family; and we pray the Lord continue to provide for them and grow us into continued and more service to them, and each other, in love for each other, motivated by love for Christ Jesus.