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: summer kitchen

Summer Kitchen – Update III – External Siding, Community Work Day & Acorns

This past Wednesday was our first-Wednesday community work day, and this month it was at our place. The men worked on our summer kitchen, and the women and children washed house windows, shelled pecans, collected acorns, and sewed aprons and dresses!

Summer Kitchen External Siding

It has been 6 years since our last summer kitchen update. Wow!

Over the years I have done a decent amount of the internal siding, which you can see here:

Summer Kitchen Internal Siding

More Summer Kitchen Internal Siding

You can see what the mice have done to the insulation at the top:

Still More Summer Kitchen Internal Siding

And more here. We have traps in there, but they still do the damage:

Still More Summer Kitchen Internal Siding

Even with some work on the internal siding, the external siding has been sitting unfinished, with just the OSB, for 9 years, shown in this blog update!

And then, as one might imagine, the weather has taken its toll on it. With the Lord graciously granting resources to do so, we were able to do some work on the north side with the men helping…

Here is with the old siding off:

Summer Kitchen North External Wall Removed

The mice have been busy! 🙂

Insulation Removed by Mice

Here is removing calked windows. This worked pretty well, thankfully! (I have had a previously unsuccessful attempt before 🙂 )

Removing Summer Kitchen Window

Bending the outside away was the best approach:

More of Removing Summer Kitchen Window

Here’s with the first window out and first new OSB board in place:

Summer Kitchen Window Removed, First OSB in Place

And then putting the first window back:

Summer Kitchen First Window Installed Back

Here’s with some of the tar paper up:

Summer Kitchen First Row of Tar Paper

And then all the windows and boards in place:

Summer Kitchen All Windows & OSB in Place

Here’s with tar paper on the entire side:

Summer Kitchen Tar Paper on Entire Wall

And finally, with a couple of the external siding boards in place, which is how far we got on this work day:

Summer Kitchen Two External Siding Boards in Place

Excellent! Thanks to the guys for all of the help!


While the fellows were working on the summer kitchen, the ladies helped shell pecans and make some aprons and a dress for Sue, and the children washed house windows and collected acorns for our pig!

Here are buckets of acorns they collected!

Buckets of Acorns

Thanks to the ladies and children for all of their help too!

We are very grateful to the Lord for granting us the opportunity to be a part of the fellowship! We always pray we love Him in part by loving and serving each other, and we thank the folks here again for all of their help and willingness to serve!

— David

Summer Kitchen – Update II – Insulation & Final Cross Wall

Little by little, I’ve been slowly working away at the summer kitchen in between everything else going on. The next step was the insulation, and here is a little pictorial of the process…

First, I wanted to cut in roof vents into the cross pieces that were in between the rafters on top of the walls. I drilled 1″ holes and then used a reciprocating saw to cut from the top of one hole to the other, and then the same from bottom to bottom. Here is what it looked like from the inside:

Summer Kitchen Roof Vent Inside

And then on the outside I stapled and glued aluminum screening to keep the bugs out:

.Summer Kitchen Roof Vent Outside

Then, I began insulating, starting with the roof:

Summer Kitchen Beginning Ceiling Insulation

With the 2×8 rafters, I used R19, which is for 2×6 wood; this allowed for an air gap above the insulation to allow for the air to flow in the lower roof vent out the upper one. This gap is also recommended for proper effect of the solar board:

Summer Kitchen Ceiling Insulation Showing Air Space for Venting

Before installing the wall insulation, I put diatomaceous earth on the bottom of the frame to perhaps help with termites:

Summer Kitchen Diatomaceous Earth in Walls Before Insulating

And here is the main area completed:

Summer Kitchen Main Area Insulated

And the pantry:

Summer Kitchen Pantry Insulated

Due to my lack of construction knowledge when building the wall frames, I hadn’t done a header over the doorway between the main area and pantry; and it was beginning to sag. And so, I decided to insert one.

I began by cutting the door frame cripple studs:

Summer Kitchen Cutting Door Frame Cripple to Add Header

Here it is with all of the cuts made:

Summer Kitchen Cutting Door Frame Studs to Add Header

And then with the cutout removed:

Summer Kitchen Door Frame Studs and Cripples Cut and Removed to Add Header

Here, the header is in place. I simply used three 2x6s:

Summer Kitchen New Door Header in Place

And then shimmed them to fit up against the cripple studs above them:

Summer Kitchen Shimming Above New Door Header

After the header was in place, I was able to insulate the main cross wall. Here it is completed, viewing from the piano room:

Summer Kitchen Main cross wall Insulated--View from Piano Room

And here it is from the main room:

Summer Kitchen Main cross wall Insulated--View from Main Room

As I noted above, part of the plan for the summer kitchen building was to have about 1/4 of it partitioned off to be a piano room; and so, I added a cross wall from the south wall to the main cross wall using 2×4 wood. And here is a picture of it after it being insulated:

Summer Kitchen New cross wall Added and Insulated--View from Piano Room

And here is the wall as viewed from the pantry:

Summer Kitchen New cross wall Added and Insulated--View from Pantry

Finally, here are a couple of other views, one of the piano room from the main room:

Summer Kitchen Piano Room--View from Main Room

And the other of the pantry from the main room:

Summer Kitchen Pantry--View from Main Room

The Lord has been gracious and merciful in allowing resources to be able to continue this project, some from the sale of His providential provisions of animal offspring. We thank Him, and we pray for continued help, wisdom and guidance in further homestead development, according to His will.

— David

Summer Kitchen Update

The Lord is gracious in allowing more homestead improvements and fellowship with the brethren, one of those for us being what we have planned to be a summer kitchen project. With me being a rookie building designer, things “ended up” being a little different than the original plan.

In including windows but desiring them to be horizontally sliding, I purchased some from the local home improvement store that were typically used as vertically sliding windows thinking I could simply spin them sideways and thus make them horizontal windows. Well, it worked ok, sort of, but not, because I discovered that, not only was there a spring line attached which is meant to help in opening the windows up against gravity, but since mine were tilted over 90 degrees, that resistance made it difficult to close them. Further, when it rained, water puddled in and leaked over the lower sliding area. Something was amiss.

I soon found out that vertically sliding windows are not designed to be installed as horizontally sliding windows, and that there were indeed windows specifically designed to be horizontally sliding.


So, after understanding a little more about windows, I ordered the proper, left-right sliding windows. When they had arrived, I began the replacement operation.

The biggest obstacle was that the open space I had built into the window frames was horizontally too short for the new windows. However, in thanks to God for how I originally constructed it and for the idea, I was able to just cut out with a reciprocating saw one of the side 2x4s of the window frame and replace it with a 1×4, thus allowing for the needed space and therefore resolving that, quite possibly complicated, issue.

When replacing the first window, which I had silicone-caulked originally, I thought I would sort of “work” the window loose. When I did that, I apparently twisted the window beyond capacity, and the outer pane of glass shattered. Sigh, again. Ok, so then, when installing the new window, after setting it in the window frame, as I was trying to screw it in place, the top of it fell forward, hitting my head (which took off a nickel-sized piece of skin), and the screw that I had been planning to use to secure it was now found to be buried in the screening of the new window. Sigh, again, again.

Anyway, I learned very quickly that what I had been doing was apparently not, at a minimum, the best way to proceed. I figured then that I should spend more time prying the old windows’ edges from the caulking before trying to remove them. Wonder of wonders, this worked much better. 🙂

And so with all of that, here are a couple of pictures of where we are with the summer kitchen, which includes screen doors, hopefully allowing maximum ventilation:

It has been a bit disheartening and sometimes frustrating, but during these situations hopefully the Lord is graciously granting us more meekness (Part 1, Part 2) and contentment, which are some of the graces for which we try to daily pray; and difficult times certainly offer the opportunity to examine ourselves (especially right at the moment) and then continue to seek Him for His graces.

We are ever grateful to God for His provisions, spiritual and temporal.

— David


Summer Kitchen

The original plan for the root cellar was to have a concrete slab on top, which would allow for the constructing of a building on top of it, thus creating a rather large insulation space to help keep the root cellar cool (plain air space is apparently a good insulator). We decided (at least at this point) to make this building a summer kitchen, allowing Sue and any of the women in the community who might want to use it, to cook and can the Lord’s provisions in a hopefully ventilated and cooler environment and to not heat up their own houses. And so, the design was to have the north half be the kitchen; the south west quarter be a pantry for the kitchen; and because I would like to have a place to take up the piano again, I thought I’d make the south east corner a piano room.

This is personally my first real building project. While this is still a work in progress, here is a little tour of where it is today and the process by which we got there.

Building the walls:

Time for a “barn” raising. The Lord has granted us the fellowship of like-minded brethren (see here, here, and here) to help and show their love for other brethren:

A quick point of note: when securing a wall to its perpendicular wall at a corner, and in anticipation of internal walls, you not only have the corner stud, but you need another stud to be placed stud width plus 3/4″. This will allow for the tacking up of internal walls. I did that for the corners of the building; however, I forgot about the middle dividing wall. And so, Lord willing if I do put internal walls in, I will need to add a 2×4 wall stud to support the internal walls:

Here is a backside view with the first wall braced:

And more “barn” raising:

“I think the meaning of life is that way.”
“Yes, I see it!”
“I think the meaning of life is over here, and I’m now contemplating it.”
“Yes, I see it!”
“Isn’t it meal time?”

Welcome to the frame of our summer kitchen building:

To secure the building down, we anchored it with heavy-duty 4-5″ concrete bolts:

Here is the structure with the roof put on. We used 24′ long, 2×8 rafters for the roof, and then covered it with Solar Board to help with insulation. Notice here above each window frame now has a “header.” This was suggested to me by our neighbor Logan, who has had more experience building. This is to keep the pressure from the rafters causing a sag in the window frames on the windows. Thanks to Logan:

The metal anchors are called “hurricane clips”, and they apparently help tremendously with high winds:

We covered the roof with tar paper and then began installing the corrugated roof metal:

I continued with Solar Board for the siding, and this is how far I have worked on it:

The Lord is gracious and merciful.

— David