Friday, July 31, 2015

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!)

Plum!


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

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: 2015 Chick Hatchings the Seventh & Eighth

God has graciously granted yet another two sets of chicks to be hatched out in the 2015!

Here is the seventh group in the mini-chicken tractor:





She hatched out five chicks, but one was something of a runt and took much more time to grow, and usually they don't make it. You can see the little one in this video. It actually went along several weeks, seemingly getting stronger. However, one day, for some reason its little head started to twist and want to stay that way, and it just could not keep it upright anymore; and so, I made the personally tough decision to euthanize it, figuring it was now in a bad way and just wasn't going to be able to sustain itself. :(

And here they are before that time. The other four are still healthy and doing well!




And this is group eight! I believe she hatched out at least eight, maybe nine, and there are seven still going strong; and thankfully they haven't had the little sickness that has run through some of the other groups:





And here's their video:




We are very grateful to the Lord for the continued health and safety of the hatchlings, and His continued provisions in this way!

-- David

Monday, July 20, 2015

Introducing Mimi

Last year you may remember us introducing our new stray rescue cat, Ritzie. At the time we weren't sure why God brought her into our lives but thoroughly enjoyed the time He allowed us with her. After a few months, in April, we had to make the decision to have her euthanized due to illness. It was very sad for me, in particular, because we believe there was a very spiritual side of that whole experience and things God wanted to teach me. I plan to write a blog post about that in the near future. We still miss her.

Well, fast forward about five months in early November, just before a cold snap, while we were doing our morning farm chores. I had walked past the summer kitchen and beyond the cistern when I heard William meow back by the kitchen. Then he immediately walked right in front of me. Dave and I looked at each other realizing the mewing wasn't William after all. I walked hastily back to the kitchen and listened more intently. Just then I saw this little gray "thing" nestled safely in between the summer kitchen wall and the top of the closed root cellar door. She was crying out but really scared at the same time, growling and defensively showing me ALL of her teeth. I went and got some work gloves and a stick and tried to nudge her out but she wasn't "down with that." Then I brought out some goat milk to entice her but she still wasn't buyin' it. I finally nudged her out, but she then ran towards the barn wall where there are lots of obstacles under which she could hide. Well played, little gray "thing", well played. Thinking of my next move, I went and got an animal cage and finally tracked her down hiding under a generator. I slowly reached out with a gloved hand and petted her furry face. Bingo! When she sensed I was not out to harm her, she melted like butter and started purring up a storm, rubbing her face against my glove. I scooped her up and put her in the cage whispering sweet sing-songy things to her. After the whole Ritzie experience, I knew Dave (let alone William) would probably not be too keen to take in another feline tenant, and was ready to accept whatever his decision was. Well, I walked in the house with the cage and Dave was on a business phone call. I stayed across the room, took her out of the cage petting her, and she just couldn't get enough lovin'. Dave looked over, smiled, shook his head like "here we go again" and later said he didn't hesitate about agreeing to bring her into our homestead. She had shown up out of nowhere as a 6 week old kitten, no other cats in sight, probably not even fully weaned. Dave and I agreed to take it one day at a time and see what would happen.

Here she is when we first took her in. We couldn't help but notice how big her ears were in relation to her little body! Dave started using Google Translate to see what he could come up with, and lo and behold, apparently the Japanese word for "ear" is an English, female proper name -- Mimi!!

Mimi as a Kitten

Mimi on the Bed


It was cold outside so Mimi's first BFF was the heater!

Mimi by the Heater


She found a resting spot "exactly" her size!

Mimi in an Egg Carton


When mommie's away, the cat (and socks) will play:

Mimi in the Laundry


Mimi's safe lookout spot:

Mimi on Top of the Pantry


Mimi and Dave bonding:

Mimi with Paw on David's Arm


We refreshed our memories on the best way to introduce a cat (kitten) into a household with an existing cat. It was the best case scenario with William being the older, dominant, male cat and her being a small, female kitten. Over the course of the next two to three weeks, we sloooowllly introduced them. Thankfully, they have become very good friends.

Mimi ain't no dummy. She wanted to be friends with William right away but knew he would take a little longer to realize how adorable she was - so she kept her distance:

Mimi Looking at William


After about two weeks of bonding and cuddling, we agreed I should take her to the vet for a once-over and a rabies shot. The vet came in the room, took one look, and I don't think used more than her thumb and index finger to pick her up by the neck the entire time. Mimi was instantly branded with a scarlet "R" for ringworm. I couldn't believe the avoidance in this vet. Heck, we didn't know what ringworm looks like on cats. The vet proceeded to tell me all about ringworm, which I appreciated. But it was almost like a death sentence the way it was described. (Paraphrasing) "Ringworm is a fungus-based condition, with spores that can live up to a year, and you and all of your other animals will get it, and it will be next to impossible to rid yourselves of it". The vet, then, proceeded to scare me with the cost of an expensive $20 bottle of chemical-laden shampoo and 30 day bathing (yes, bathing a cat) instructions. It was like a declaration of leprosy or something. I dutifully bought the shampoo and left in a stunned condition. When I got home and told Dave about it, he said, "No way, we're going natural." (I love that about him) Long story short, we did some research, sprayed her with diluted raw apple cider vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. A couple of weeks later, ringworm gone, and no other animals got it from her. Dave and I had gotten a couple little itchy patches we realized later were ringworm, but put some essential oils on and, bam, gone. Hurray for natural cures!!

So far so good. Then, a few more months into it, Mimi started showing signs of going into heat, so we decided to get her...shhhhh...s-p-a-y-e-d. Here she is recuperating after a successful and non-eventful surgery, thanks to God. Boy, the vet sure wanted to have a big, clear working area, didn't he?! By the way, I took the expensive bottle of shampoo back and received a full refund which we applied towards her spaying fee! Yay!

Mimi Sleeping Showing Spay Shaved Area


Well, it's been about eight months, and we couldn't have asked for a better feline friend for William, as well as another good hunter to help keep the varmints down around the homestead.

Here are a few meow feline fotos for your enjoyment:)

William & Mimi Eating Together


No doubt, this is William's regular napping spot, but Mimi had gotten there first on this day. As you can tell, it didn't faze him much (Mimi: "For real, dawg?!"):

William & Mimi Lying on the Chair

William & Mimi Lying on the Cooler & Table


Mimi loves to hang around Dave when he is working in the orchard or the garden. She will stay for hours at a time. She's definitely a tom(girl) cat! Can you spot her there in the tree?

Mimi in a Fruit Tree


Finally, here is our signature video introducing Mimi live and capturing her first known catch and kill, as well as her sweet side. Awwww ;)




As we have learned to be with all gifts from God, we are very thankful for His provision to us in Mimi, and we pray for His help to be good and righteous stewards of her and all of our animals.

Susan

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Orange Day 2015 - The 12th

Once again, in honor of our Protestant heritage against the antichrist Roman Catholic Church, we gathered to remember "The 12th," an Orange Day celebration commemorating William of Orange's stand against the Roman Catholics on July 12, 1690, where he defeated the antichrist Roman Catholic forces at the Battle of the Boyne (see the "Antichrist" section on our "Soul Info" page regarding our belief that the Pope and Roman Catholic Church are the Antichrist and religious system of Antichrist).

Here are some of the sights of our gathering...

Gathering for Orange Day The 12th 2015

More Gathering for Orange Day The 12th 2015

Still More Gathering for Orange Day The 12th 2015

Yet More Gathering for Orange Day The 12th 2015

Again More Gathering for Orange Day The 12th 2015

Continuing to Gather for Gathering for Orange Day The 12th 2015

More Continuing to Gather for Gathering for Orange Day The 12th 2015


And the food festivities!

Orange Day Food

Plate of Orange Day Food

Eating the Orange Day Meal

More Eating the Orange Day Meal


And then a very nice time of fellowshipping together after the meal!

Fellowshipping After the Orange Day Meal

More Fellowshipping After the Orange Day Meal

Still More Fellowshipping After the Orange Day Meal


We are thankful for the faithful saints throughout time who the Lord has kept in His hand to be faithful to the end, even to death. May He grant we never deny Him, and may He grant us that kind of faithfulness to Him, so faithful a Savior.

-- David

Friday, July 10, 2015

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