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: Ranchfest

Fall Ranchfest 2012

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!

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Sabbath Tapas Meal
Fall Ranchfest 2012 Sabbath Tapas Meal and Fellowship

We usually have a Ranchfest kickoff breakfast at a local mexican establishment:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Lord's Day Kickoff Breakfast

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:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Water Tower Posts

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”:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Water Tower Framing
Fall Ranchfest 2012 Water Tower Framing and Siding
Fall Ranchfest 2012 Water Tower First Row Siding
Fall Ranchfest 2012 Water Tower Second Row Siding

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:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Cottage Rain Harvesting Gutter Cutting
Fall Ranchfest 2012 Cottage Rain Harvesting Gutters in Place

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:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Lunch from the Land Main Dishes
Fall Ranchfest 2012 Lunch from the Land Side Dishes
Fall Ranchfest 2012 Lunch from the Land Drinks

Another project was to install new cabinets in the kitchen of the cottage:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Cottage Cabinets Installing
Fall Ranchfest 2012 Cottage Cabinets Complete

The ladies of the community got together to process and preserve the butchered bull:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Ladies Preserving Butchered Longhorn Bull
Fall Ranchfest 2012 More Ladies Preserving Butchered Longhorn Bull

And do some sewing on a sewing machine run by foot treadle:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 More Sewing with Treadle Sewing Machine

Here are some of the children fellowshipping too, although new-born Joseph is just trying to relax:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Young Joseph Relaxing

Here, the girls are hiding from Sue:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Young Ladies Hiding

And then listening to Jennifer read:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Young Ladies Reading

Back at the cottage, the piping of the catch-water gutters were completed, with a roof washer…

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Cottage Rain Harvesting Piping Complete

And the connections to the pipes on the other side of the cottage that then run into the cistern:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Cottage Rain Harvesting Piping Connected to Other Piping to 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:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Carving Rocks for Water Tower

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:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Mixing Cement for Water Tower

Here is the placement of the all-important first corner-stone (Isa 28:16; Matt 21:42):

Fall Ranchfest 2012 Placing First Water Tower Cornerstone

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:

Fall Ranchfest 2012 First Row of Rocks for Water Tower

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.

— David

Spring Ranchfest 2012

Twice a year we gather as a community for a week to work on projects for our teacher, Mr. Bunker, and his family; and to provide an opportunity for guests to come by and help out and meet the folks here, etc.

And so, it was that time again for “Ranchfest” — Spring 2012!

The men had two projects they were working on throughout the week: building a cabin for Mr. Contra and Miss Tracy, who are betrothed; and doing finishing work on the inside of Mr. Bunker’s cottage.

The Cabin

For the Contra cabin, we started on Friday with a concrete slab pour. This was the group’s first real concrete pour on the land, and the guys did a lot of study and prep work in getting things ready. Here is the area formed with the rebar:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Cabin Foundation Forms and Rebar

And here begins the concrete pour:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Beginning Pouring the Concrete

And more of the pouring and after “screeding” (or spreading) it out with the long 2×4 that spanned the whole width:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Continuing Pouring the Concrete

Here the concrete is tamped lightly by what they call a “jitterbug”, and a “bull float” is used to smooth out the concrete surface:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Floating and Tamping the Concrete

And then it was edged so the edges are rounded, to help keep them from chipping. One fellow also went around the sides with a hammer, lightly tapping the forms to help keep the concrete from “honeycombing”:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Edging the Concrete

Here’s Mr. Contra and his improvised concrete texturizer:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Texturizing the Concrete

And finally, the betrothed couple thought they’d mark a memory of the event:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Betrothed Couple Making Handprints in Concrete of Their Eventual Cabin
Spring Ranchfest 2012 Betrothed Couple's Handprints in the Concrete

Friday Night Sermon

On Friday evenings, Mr. Bunker is going through in an in-depth way the last chapters he included in his book “Modern Religious Idols,” which was an article series he wrote called “What is the Gospel?”:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Sermon


Ranchfest times are often planned around the Passover time, which we observe as a teaching method for the children (and as a memorial for the adults) of the types and shadows used in the Passover feast representing Christ.

Here is the Passover “ceremony” time:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Passover Seder

And the seder plate, with each food element representing some part of the event of the Passover time of the Hebrew people in and leaving Egypt:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Passover Seder Plate

We also sang Psalms 113-118 from our psalters, and here is a video of a few of those psalms being sung:

The Cottage

As I mentioned, the other project was working on the internals of Mr. Bunker’s cottage, putting up insulation and siding.

And here is some of the completed work:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Cottage Insulation and Siding
Spring Ranchfest 2012 More Cottage Internal Siding Completed

Here are the men cutting the siding:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Cutting the Cottage Internal Siding
Spring Ranchfest 2012 More Cutting the Cottage Internal Siding

And here is some staining work of the siding being done:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Staining the Cottage Internal Siding

More Cabin

Once the concrete slab was completed, it was time to build and raise the walls. Here’s the cabin with two of the walls raised:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Two Walls of Cabin Raised
Spring Ranchfest 2012 Two Walls of Cabin Raised - Inside View

And then with all four walls in place:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 All Four Walls of Cabin Raised

Apparently, the plan is to have a second story; and so, they are using a 10 inch I-beam spanning the width, which will be the support for the upper level floor:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Second Floor I-Beam in Place

More Cottage

Back at the cottage, after the siding was in place and stained or painted, the window sills and trim were cut, installed and painted with a clear wood protector:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Coating the Cottage Window Sills

And here are a couple of final pictures of the cottage work for the week:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Cottage Internal Siding and Trim in Place
Spring Ranchfest 2012 More Work Done in the Cottage

Ladies Work

Besides all of the group meal preparations the ladies did for the week, they also had other projects, which this Ranchfest included sewing for the Bunkers and snapping mesquite pods, which they use for their mesquite coffee.

The main sewing project was for curtains for the cottage, although there was some clothing-making worked on. Here are some sewing preparations being done for some clothing:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Preparing Sewing Patterns

And here, even the younger ones helped:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Sewing
Spring Ranchfest 2012 More Sewing

Seems to be a fun time too!

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Young Ones Smiling

And here, Mrs. Sustaire is functioning as a seamstress and a lounge chair:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Sewing with Sleeping Baby

And finally, here are some of the ladies and children helping with the mesquite pods:

Spring Ranchfest 2012 Ladies and Children Helping Snap Mesquite Pods
Spring Ranchfest 2012 Snapping Mesquite Pods
Spring Ranchfest 2012 Snapping More Mesquite Pods

All in all, it was a very nice time of fellowship, community and work. It’s tiring, but rewarding as well. We did have a few guest families that visited this year, and it was a pleasure to see them again or meet them, and we thank them for the help and work they provided.

We are grateful to the Lord for the opportunity to gather in His name to work together, and we’re thankful for the teacher He has granted us.

— David

Fall Ranchfest 2011

Twice a year, the community, along with visitors sometimes, gather together to work as a group in service to our teacher, Mr. Bunker; it’s also a time where people who follow the ministry or otherwise come down and visit and meet the folks here and work with us — something we call Ranchfest. We just finished up one last week, and I thought we’d share once again a few of the goings-on around the Ranch during that time.

We usually have a kick-off breakfast during the weekend Ranchfest starts:

Ranchfest Kickoff Breakfast

And then it’s off to work during the week! Here we are gathering in the morning for coffee and a breakfast dish in preparation of the day’s events:

Ranchfest Gathering in the Morning to Start the Work Day

The men this Ranchfest were continuing to help build the Bunker family’s new cottage, putting in windows, doors and putting up siding:

Ranchfest Men Working on the North Side of the Bunker Cottage
Ranchfest Men Working on the South Side of the Bunker Cottage During

We also typically meet as a group for lunch break for delicious lunches provided by the ladies, and here we are gathered at the Community Center:

Ranchfest Lunch Break Around the Table

The group has generally been moving toward wearing more Amish-style clothing. Here is a picture of the progress for the ladies:

Ranchfest Ladies in Their New Amish Clothing

And so, while the men worked on the cottage, the women were helping out in sewing new outfits for the Bunker family. In the end, there were several pairs of Amish broadfall pants and dresses, and other items, completed or at least started:

Ranchfest Ladies Working on Sewing Projects for the Bunker Family

Even the young ones were helping and learning the “ropes,” so to speak:

Ranchfest Jennifer Sewing
Ranchfest Sarah Sewing

Here’s poor Amish girl Ella being forced to wear a headcovering and bear under the burdens of living agrarian life, probably disciplined often, and socially undeveloped, as she learns sewing, a duty which she’ll probably have to laboriously toil under to clothe her family one day. She looks like she’s really sad about the prospects:

Ranchfest Ella Working with the Ladies Sewing

Oh, wait…

Ranchfest Ella Happy to be Working with the Ladies Sewing

All in all, it was a wondering, even joyous, time of fellowship and community here at the Ranch. We are thankful to the Lord for the teacher He has granted us, and for the opportunity to do a little something back for him and his family; and we pray He glorified Himself through this, in the heavenly realms and here on earth, and in demonstration of what we pray is God-granted love for Him and for each other. We’re also grateful to God for granting the provisions He has to the Bunkers for allowing their homestead to be furthered, we pray for Christ’s glory and the benefit of His Church.

— David

Fall Ranchfest 2010

Twice a year we have an “event” around here called Ranchfest, when we have an official time where people who follow the ministry of our teacher Mr. Bunker come visit. It’s a time of fellowship; an opportunity to meet new people; see others we haven’t seen in some time; a time of teaching, questions and discussion; and a time where we work during the week on projects for Mr. Bunker and his family as a way of communicating (providing means of support) to him as our teacher (Gal 6:6).

And so, we wanted to pass along a few videos one of the folks put together of some of the projects and things that went on during the week, to give you a little taste of Ranchfest:

We’re thankful for the opportunity of gathering together to serve each other and fellowship together as a community.

— David