Monday, July 21, 2014

Garden - Spring 2014 - Update I

It's been a couple of months since our last garden update, and so we thought we'd show the latest from the garden!

Here is some of the first produce the Lord granted!

First Garden Produce 2014
More First Garden Produce 2014


And here, we'll show you around the gardens from early in July. In our 2014 wheat blog post, I mentioned that we had planted turnip seeds back last year, and that nothing had grown. Well, a couple of months ago or more, God granted somewhere around 7 1/2 inches of rain in a few day period; and lo and behold, a bunch of turnips sprouted! Here you can see them (again, early July) in Garden 2, along with the green beans on the right:

Green Beans & Turnips, Early July 2014


And more turnips in the raised beds. The ants started getting to those, so I have since pulled them and fed them to our pig (they were really small):

Turnips in Raised Garden Beds, Early July 2014


Again from early July, the zucchini:

Zucchini, Early July 2014


The corn:

Corn, Early July 2014


Tomatoes:

Tomatoes, Early July 2014


And in the hugelkultur bed:

Tomatoes in Hugelkultur Bed, Early July 2014



The following from just yesterday. We've been eating the greens from our turnips in salads and sandwiches, and we hope to start to preserve them by lacto-fermentation, which would be our first attempt at that with turnips:

Beans & Turnips, 3rd Week in July


Also, I mentioned in the previous garden blog post that I thought I might try planting okra. I believe I planted them the next day, and none germinated. And so, I tried again, and here are a few that have started!

New Okra, 3rd Week in July


And here are the tomatoes:

Tomatoes, 3rd Week in July


And again, in the hugelkultur bed:

Tomatoes in Hugelkultur Bed, 3rd Week in July


The corn:

Corn, 3rd Week in July


And zucchini. We're getting to the time with them where the inner leaves start to die and any further growth starts occurring farther from the root. We've had a lot of flowers, but not a lot of actual fruits, which to me is interesting (apparently other folks here have had some similar issues), but of course, we are thankful for what the Lord has granted:

Zucchini, 3rd Week in July


And here's another okra:

More New Okra, 3rd Week in July


And here is a lot of the produce being lacto-preserved:

Lacto-Fermented Preserved Garden 2014 Produce


As always, we are so very grateful for the food the Lord is granting us through the gardens; the rains he has brought, with His direct watering, and allowing us to have water stored to water the gardens; and the mulch garden beds, which has allowed for a lot less watering and allowed me to water areas of the gardens without having to monitor the watering minute by minute.

-- David

Friday, July 11, 2014

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: The Goat Kids of 2014

I know it's been a bit since our last post, but it's been extraordinarily busy around here, with seasonal chores to attend to; and so, thanks for your patience!

Back in November, it was time to start the goat mating process once again (with a 150-day gestation period, this usually puts the kidding to after freezing temperatures). We have two bucks, and we separate our older does with our buck Shatner:

Nubian Buck Shatner


And the next generation does with Rocky (posing with my brother Kevin when he was visiting back in April):

Nubian Buck Rocky


And lo, after 5 months, by God's graces, many kids were born! Here are a few pictures of the lot of them. Nine does gave birth to 17 in all -- 9 bucklings and 8 doelings, although we sadly lost two of the bucklings in the first few days:

2014 Goat Kids
More 2014 Goat Kids
Some More 2014 Goat Kids
Yet More 2014 Goat Kids
Further More 2014 Goat Kids


Here's a kid relaxing with a chicken in one of the sheds:

Goat Kid & The Chicken in a Shed


Besides the losing of the two bucklings, this goat season was also interesting in a couple of other ways. First, we lost our Nubian nanny Betsy during the winter, although not from the cold because it wasn't cold when she died. She had had a lump on her throat for several years that sort of just sat there; but it did seem to change a couple of weeks before she died -- got spongier; so maybe something happened with that. Here is Betsy and her kids from last year:

Our Nanny Goat Betsy and Her Kids from 2013


And secondly, our nanny Minnie, who was our first born on the land from Winnie, died two days after giving birth from what appeared to be complications in the birth. Here is Minnie from last year with her kids as well:

Our Nanny Goat Minnie and Her Kids from 2013


It was quite sad to lose them both, but we always pray we have the proper attitude toward the things the Lord has provided to us for our use.

Here is where Betsy and Minnie were first introduced back in 2008.


And so, with Minnie dieing, we had two orphans on our hands again (here is where we had orphans the first time). That's Pearl (in honor of Minnie -- think Hee Haw) in the back, and Tiger (because he sort of has tiger-looking colors) in front:

Orphan Goat Kids Pearl & Tiger


This is Sue and Kev feeding them:

Bottle Feeding Orphan Goat Kids


Kev also helped me move goat sheds back when we separated nannies from Shatner and Rocky:

Moving Goat Sheds in the Spring


The Lord had graciously granted a very nice gentleman to be interested in buying our entire kid herd last year, and he was interested again this year, and here we are prepping the area to load them up:

Preparing Animal Trailer for Loading the Goat Kids


And finally, here is the kids of 2014 video. It's a little long, but it includes introducing each of them and their sires to you, bottle feeding the orphans, letting them eat (including the smaller amount of wheat we ended up receiving this year) and roam around our inner field and barn area, and when we said goodbye to them after getting them loaded in the trailer:




As always, we are very grateful to God for granting the kid crop of this year; the health and safety He granted for them; the trials He brings in order to glorify Himself and we pray mold us in His image; and now for the provisions of the very healthy milk, which is really why we keep goats in the first place.

-- David

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Community Singing - June 2014

It's been a while since we have recorded our Psalms singing from the psalter we use, but this past Lord's Day/Resurrection Day, we gathered together and recorded the next set of Psalms. As always, it is our prayer that God glorify Himself and that He benefit His Church through these:

Psalms 28A-31G


Previous Psalms singings:

Psalms 1A-12B (minus 4B)

Psalms 4B & 13-18L

Psalms 19A-22E

Psalms 22F-24C

Psalms 25A-27F


Once again, we are eternally grateful to the Lord for His Word, and this opportunity to sing it, and His praises. We thank Him for bringing circumstance in our lives so that the words have much more meaning, and we pray He hears these cries of our hearts, again for His glory and the praise of His name! Amen!

-- David

Friday, June 13, 2014

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: Third Chick Hatching of 2014

About a day after the hen from the second batch of chicks went broody, another hen, one of our Game Hen breed I believe, went broody as well, in a garbage can in the barn, if I remember correctly. And so, we moved her into the piano room with a set of eggs under her; and by God's graces, a day after the other hen hatched out her chicks, this one did too! Nine in all, and eight are still going strong!

Here are a couple of pictures:

Third Batch of Chicks Hatched in 2014
More of the Third Batch of Chicks Hatched in 2014


And below is their video. There was one chick hatched out that was cripple -- it couldn't stand up and would just lay on its side, moving its legs almost swimmingly, trying to stand up. If you got it standing, it would just fall over. I tried working with it, feeding it to try to keep it alive, making a runway for it to try to learn to walk. I called it Tiny, because it was such a small little thing:

Our Little Chick "Tiny's" Walking Trough


And for a while I thought it might get it -- it would walk along, eat the food I had laid down in the trough, even preen a few times, and seemed to be getting better with its balance; but in the end, sadly, about a week after hatching, it died.

Still, one thing that was interesting to me was that I would place it in its runway, come back later, and it would have crawled its way out, and slide-crawled itself through the 1-inch chicken wire around the cage area, I assume to try to get to its mommy. This happened at least twice. It was an inspiration in dedication to me, and led me to think and then pray that we strive after the Lord Christ Jesus the same way. May we be able to hide under His wings, and may He maybe grant a sense of that (see these several Psalms references).

Although I wasn't able to capture those times with Tiny, you can still see it in this video:




We are once again very grateful to the Lord for granting us the continuation of the flock, and we pray He always glorifies Himself through these things, including in His sovereign giving and taking of anything, in accordance with His will.

-- David

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Barn - Update II - The Loft - Update I

Recently, my brother Kevin, whom I hadn't seen in quite some time, graciously offered to take some time off and come out and visit! It's the first time he's been this way, and it was very nice to see him!

David with His Brother Kevin When He Visited


He was here for around five days, and during the time, he graciously helped around the farm. With him here, I decided the main project he and I could work on was continuing with the barn loft, which I talked about in this blog post here. And so, since the beams were in place, it was time to start adding the floor.

Given the approximated 10-foot span, and I decided to go with 2x10 joists spaced at 16-inches:

Barn Loft First Floor Joists


Before implementing this phase, based on costs, I decided to use 3/4-inch plywood for the floor with 2x4 blocks, instead of 3/4-inch tongue-in-groove OSB or plywood; and here are the blocks on the back side:

2x4 Blocks Between Joists


And then for the blocking over the second beam, I decided to use full 2x10 blocks for added stability. While this picture shows the joists extended over the beam, we eventually slide the joists back so the blocks and joists would only cover half of the 4 1/2-inch wide beam, so Lord willing when the floor is extended from beam 2 to beam 3, half of the block-joist end covers the other half of the beam:

Full 2x10 Blocks Between Joists Over Second Beam


Since there was going to be some overhang of the plywood because of the horizontal metal purlins of the barn, I added a couple of 2x4s to help support under the plywood that was going to extend over. Quite frankly, I probably didn't need to do this, or maybe I only needed one 2x4 instead of two:

2x4s Attached to Extend Floor Parallel to the Joist Blocks


And I added one to the joist running parallel to the barn purlins:

2x4 Attached to Extend Floor Parallel to the Joists


Here are the 2x4 blocks to support under the edge of the plywood at four feet. Before we tacked down the floor joists to the beams, we squared the whole section from corner to corner:

2x4 Blocks at Four Foot Spaces to Block for Plywood Sheets


And here is the first piece of plywood in place:

First Plywood Sheet in Place


We then added more floor joists along beams 1 and 2:

More Floor Joists Extending the Floor


And then added more plywood. Now, we need to add more floor joists to be able to continue adding plywood:

Several Plywood Sheets Installed


And here are Kev and I standing on the loft:

David's Brother Kevin and Him Standing on the Barn Loft


We are very thankful to the Lord for granting the resources to be able to make some progress on the barn loft, and we are very grateful to Him for allowing us the time and resources He did for Kev to come and visit!

-- David

Friday, May 30, 2014

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: Second Batch of 2014 Chicks

As I mentioned in our blog post about the first chicks that the Lord granted us in 2014 1, we had another hen go broody, an Australorp, which we showed in our mini chicken tractor, and by God graciousness, He granted that she hatch out a bunch o' chicks! Out of 13 eggs, 11 hatched out, and all 11 are still rolling along just great, it appears!

Here are a few pictures:

Second Hatching of Chicks in 2014
More of the Second Hatching of Chicks in 2014


And their video:




As always, we are so very grateful to the Lord for His granting of these provisions. We've had to butcher some more roosters recently to get the rooster-hen ratio better, and it is humbling and joyful to be eating the food the Lord has directly provided! We are very thankful.

-- David

1 P.S. You'll have to forgive me, as in the previous post I said one of our Australorps was the mother of those first hatchlings, and that wasn't correct -- I've corrected it since.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Garden - Spring 2014

At least for me, it's always nice to start coming out of Winter into Spring time, with the warmth and the anticipation of planting the gardens! Since the last time we planted a garden, given we took last year off for our land sabbath, we had done some expansions, mostly based on the idea of mulch-bed/forest gardening, in our original garden area, and then adding a new garden area, and my first attempt at an hugelkultur bed.

Also, last July, I added a layer of manure we got from the local cattle sale barn:

Manure on Mulched Garden Bed


Given the very often dry and hot conditions, I have concluded that our mulch beds are going to need to work for gardening out here to work -- watering in raised beds without a really good layer of mulch is just going to take too much water. And so, prayerfully, we started to plant in the mulch-bed gardens.

As for what to plant, I decided to stick with what has worked around here in the past: zucchini/squash, beans and tomatoes, and hopefully okra later when it gets warmer. I also learned you need to plant deeper, making sure to get to where there is soil, or the seeds won't really germinate (no...really?? :) ). Our garden 1 is also in the shade, so I thought that might help with some of the more sensitive plants, especially the tomatoes. I also decided to move some of the goat-area compost I had put in garden 2 for the Winter turnips over to garden 1 to try to make sure there was some decent soil available.

I wasn't sure how this was going to work, but we were very thankful when little sprouts started to show up! I did plant some broccoli, but nothing germinated with them at all. These are about a month ago:

The zucchini (I thought I had bought squash seeds, but didn't realize I hadn't until I went to plant -- so it's all zucchini this year). The PVC pipes are just markers as to where I planted:

Zucchini Sprouting


Just to see what would happen, given the hopes of much more moisture in the mulch-beds, I thought I'd throw a little corn in the ground to see what happened; and it started to come up:

Corn


And here are the tomatoes in the hugelkultur bed:

Tomatoes in Hugelkultur Bed


And the green beans in garden 2:

Green Beans Sprouting


And then just a few days ago...

The zucchini. I had planted just a few in some dried chicken manure to see what would happen, but none of that came up:

Zucchini Growing


From this morning...beautiful, in a couple of different ways:

Zucchini Flower


Corn:

Corn Growing


Tomatoes -- these aren't doing too well, as I don't think what I planted in was good enough soil -- I think it's still composting, and that I've found in the past doesn't work either:

Tomatoes Growing in Hugelkultur Bed


The Bunkers graciously gave us some tomato plants, and I thought I'd put a couple in the manured area; and these actually seem to be starting to do well:

Tomatoes Growing in Mulch Bed


And the beans:

Green Beans Growing


One nice thing about the mulch/forest-bed gardens is that I haven't had to water nearly as often so far as I would have in our normal beds, which has helped, given the low rainfall from this Spring time.


We are very thankful to the Lord for granting us the forest/mulch-bed gardening idea, and for Him allowing it to apparently work! We're thankful for the water He has granted, and we pray for His continued provisions, both spiritual and temporal, in accordance with His will.

-- David