Monday, March 12, 2018

March 2018 Community Work Day: Chicken Tractor Retrofit, Curtains & Pecan Shelling

Chicken Tractor Retrofit

Back in December, 2005, just a few months after we arrived here in Texas, we built a chicken tractor to house our chickens, the original process which you can see here.

Well, fast forward 12 1/2 years, and while it has served us well, it had also begun to fall apart, with uprights rotting, etc.

Given that this was the only real overnight housing for our main flock of chickens, I felt a retrofit really needed to be accomplished in one day. I figured there was no way I would be able to do that myself, and so I requested March 2018's community work day, and this past Wednesday, we men began the process with haste...

The plan was to pull it all apart, replicate the siding, the front frame, the lower section in the back, and the upper "penthouse" section, and then put the sections back in place, and then the siding pieces. This would allow for not having to re-design things, and allow for using the same roofing and chicken wire pieces without having to re-do those.

But first, we had to pull all of the staples to get the chicken wire pieces off. Everyone got to participate in that, and it actually took a little while:

Removing Chicken Wire from Chicken Tractor

Here, the roof, siding, and lower back section (which you can see on the ground upside down on the right) are removed, with the front frame and penthouse section still in place:

Chicken Tractor Roof, Siding, Back Section Removed

Here you can see the back section center right, upside down, and a youngin' sitting on the back door:

More Chicken Tractor Roof, Siding, Back Section Removed

Still working on the penthouse section:

Working to Remove Chicken Tractor Penthouse Section

Here on the left, you can see the penthouse section removed:

Chicken Tractor Penthouse Section Removed

And here, the new front framing and new uprights are in place:

New Chicken Tractor Front Frame & Uprights

And here's the new penthouse section, guarded well by a couple of smiling gents...would you trust these fellers? ;)

New Chicken Tractor Penthouse Section

Skipping forward a little, here we are with the back and penthouse sections in place, and the new siding installed:

New Chicken Tractor Back & Penthouse Sections & Siding Installed

And here's the front view:

Front View of Chicken Tractor Put Back Together

And from another angle. I was really hoping to get to this point so we would at least be able to box them in for the night, and thanks to the Lord and the guys, we were able to! But, we did pray the Lord would grant the chickens safety through the night, being they were a little more exposed with the chicken wire not put back:

Another View of Chicken Tractor Put Back Together

Here's looking in the back. I decided to use the same nest-box structure as it was still in fairly good shape:

Back View of Chicken Tractor Put Back Together & Nesting Boxes

And here's how we attached the roofing tin:

Inside View of Chicken Tractor Roofing Tin

And just a metal flashing piece to cover the roof apex:

Chicken Tractor Roof Apex Flashing Covering

Here's the smattering of the old pieces and new left-overs all over...quite the war zone! :)

Chicken Tractor Pieces & Leftovers

Well, the next day, after God did graciously grant the chickens' safety through the night, I went ahead and stapled on all of the chicken wire pieces, and they all fit very nicely! Good job to the chicken tractor retrofit crew! Now all we need is some paint:

Retrofit Chicken Tractor with Chicken Wire Stapled Back On

Hopefully a little more so now! :)

Happy Chickens

Curtains & Pecan Shelling

Over on the ladies side of things, they graciously helped Sue make some new curtains:

Shelled Pecans

And did some of the pecan shelling from the pecans the Lord granted us from our trees last year, which is something of a time-consuming process. The lady who did this got quite a bit of them done!

New Window Curtains

We are very thankful to God for His graces and mercies in allowing us to be a part of this fellowship. We thank Him for the people here, and we always pray we do these things in love and service for each other out of love and service to Him!

And thanks to the folks for all of the help! May God bless each of you and your households with an abundance of His graces, and temporal, spiritual and eternal blessings!

-- David

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

David's Digest: Worthy to Suffer for His Name

Acts 5:41 - "And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name."

This has seemed odd to me, almost oxymoronic -- worthy to suffer. If I'm a child of God, why would I be worthy to suffer? Shouldn't I be worthy (by adoption and grace) to not suffer? Wouldn't a king protect his child so he wouldn't suffer, thinking he is surely not worthy of suffering, being the king's child?

Ah, the great pride and reasonings of the carnal mind and heart. :)

Thankfully, the Lord does not think as we do, and in His great wisdom has a better way -- there is worth in suffering for Him.

But why? Or how does that work?

Here is Puritan Dr. John Gill on the above verse:
And they departed from the presence of the council
Having been threatened and beaten by them:

rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name;
Beza's ancient copy, and others; the Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions read, "for the name of Jesus"; in which name they were forbid to speak, and for speaking in it they were beaten; the Alexandrian copy, and the Syriac version read, "for the name": that is, for God, for the glory of God, and in the cause of God; "the name" is often used in Jewish writings for God:

the shame they suffered for him was by being scourged with forty stripes save one; which was reckoned an infamous and ignominious punishment, and which was inflicted on persons guilty of very scandalous crimes: but this gave the innocent minds of the apostles no uneasiness; they accounted it an honour conferred on them to be called to suffering for the sake of God and Christ, and in so good a cause; they did what Christ exhorted them to, (Matthew 5:11) which shows they had much of the presence of God, and large measures of grace communicated to them, by which they were supported; and thus cheerfully bore all indignity and reproach, for the name of Christ, which was exceeding dear and precious to them.

The following are several things I've collected regarding this topic as I've been going through the writings of Thomas Manton:

From Manton's "A Treatise of Self-Denial", which you can read here (BTW, I highly recommend this treatise):
5. Whatever God doth to his children, it is with aims of good; he is goodness itself, more apt to do us good than the fire to burn or the sun to shine. Consider, God's nature is most alien from other courses, he doth not 'willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.' It is for our sakes that he puts on this rigour; the scripture speaks of it as a forced dispensation. If a friend should undertake a business that is contrary to his nature and disposition to pleasure us, we are the more obliged to him: so it is God's great condescension that he should take the rod in his hand, and that he should use it to our profit, we are
bound to acknowledge it

If God doth punish, it is not that he delighteth in punishment; but he doth punish us here that he may not punish us for ever. Who would not rejoice, that, if when he owed a debt of a thousand pound, the creditor should require but twenty shillings? It is God's mercy that we shall suffer in this world, that we may not suffer in the world to come: 1 Cor. xi. 32, 'When we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the

There is often a great deal of mercy in affliction. After the sin of Adam, there could not be a more gracious nor more wise invention than affliction to wean our affections from the delight of the senses, and to meeken the spirit.

And if God should not deal thus with us, we had cause to complain, as if he were too gentle; as we have cause to complain of that physician that lets his patient die, because he will not put him to the trouble of physic; or as Eli's children had cause to complain of their father, because he was so indulgent; and Amnon of David.

It is a great judgment to be let alone. When God was angry with Ephraim, what is his sentence? Hosea iv. 17, 'Ephraim
is joined to idols, let him alone.'

It is an honour that God is mindful of us, that he will give us suitable corrections. If a man see a serpent creeping upon another while he is asleep, though he give him a great blow, yet it is a courtesy to him to kill that serpent that would destroy
him; so God doth but kill that serpent that would kill us. We are chastised, but it is only to destroy and kill sin.

But suppose we could, see no good in the affliction, yet we are bound to believe there is good in it, and not to have hard thoughts of God. Alexander, when his physician was accused that he would poison him in such a potion, takes the letter in one hand, and shows it his physician, and drinks off the potion in confidence of his trust and fidelity. Distrust will make lies
of God, as if he meant to hurt and wrong us
; but we should say as Christ did, 'The cup that my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?' We should trust God's potion.

We are dearer to God than we can be to ourselves; he is more solicitous for our good, than we are for our own. God loves the lowest saint infinitely more than the highest angels love God.

From Manton, sermons on Phil 3, sermon vi, which you can read here:
Secondly, The fellowship of his sufferings, 'that I may be conformable to his death.' Here is the second privilege, conformity to the death of Christ; so the apostle accounts it in this place. Here take notice,

1. Those that would be partakers of Christ must not fancy to themselves an easy life free from all sufferings, but such a condition as they may be conformable to the death of Christ: Bom. viii. 17, 'If so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.' We must be partakers of his sufferings if we would be partakers of his kingdom. If we be dead with him, and suffer with him, 'we shall also reign with him,' 2 Tim. ii. 12. The way to eternal salvation is to tread in Christ's steps, by the cross to come to the crown.

2. These sufferings for Christ should not seem grievous to God's children, and they should be so far from shunning sufferings when God calleth them to it, or from any repining or heartless discouragement, that they ought rather to think it their glory, and their great honour and happiness; for Paul reckoneth it among his advantages.

And elsewhere in scripture we are bidden to rejoice in it, if we suffer anything for Christ and his truth; for indeed there is great comfort and joy to be had in suffering for him and with him in his mystical body. They that have tasted this sweetness count all things but loss and dung in comparison of it; and so might we rejoice and be exceeding glad if we consult with the privileges of the Spirit rather than the interest of the flesh: James i. 2, 'Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations'; Mat. v. 11, 12, ' Blessed are you when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my name's sake: rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven.'

3. The two grand things which lighten all our afflictions and sufferings for Christ are those mentioned in the text — fellowship with him, and conformity to him.

[1.] Fellowship with him, 'That I may know the fellowship of his sufferings'; 1 Peter iv. 13, 'But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.' How partakers of his sufferings? He suffereth with them, and communicateth his Spirit, and that in a larger measure of comfort than to the rest of his people. As a special measure of wisdom and strength, so a more liberal allowance of supports and comforts: Col. i. 24, 'Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh', the leavings.

The sufferings of christians are the sufferings of Christ, and the filling up of his sufferings. Not as if his personal sufferings for the redemption of sinners were imperfect and to be supplied by our sufferings; that cannot be, for 'by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified'; but partly because such is the sympathy between Christ and believers, that their sufferings are his sufferings: Acts ix. 4, 'Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?' How persecute me? Christ was far enough out of his reach, but he persecuted him in his members. When the toe is trod upon the tongue will cry out, You hurt me. And partly because so strict is the union which is between them and Christ, that he and they make up but one
mystical Christ
: 1 Cor. xii. 12, 'For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.' That is not Christ personal, but Christ mystical; they are one; he partaketh of their sufferings, and they of his Spirit.

[2.] Conformity to Christ. We must be like him whom we have chosen for our head and chief. What do we with Christianity, if we refuse to be like Christ? Rom. viii. 29, 'Whom he did foreknow he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son'; to be holy as he was holy, and to be afflicted as he was afflicted: 2 Cor. iv. 10, 'Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus.' When name dieth, and interests die and languish, when we are scorned, reproached, despitefully used, we carry up and down the sufferings of Christ.

Patient undergoing crosses for Christ is an evident resemblance of the cross of Christ; this maketh us like christians, yea, like Christ himself. And however this seem troublesome and disgraceful to those that are blinded with the delusions of the flesh, yet to a holy man and a believer this should make a bitter cross lovely, that thereby he may be more like his lord and master; as the apostle, ' That I may be conformable to the death of Christ.'

And finally, Manton's sermons on 2 Thess 1, sermon xi (in the same volume as the link above):
2. There is a worthiness of meetness and suitableness, without any respect to merit and proper justice. So we are said to 'walk worthy of God,' Col. i. 10; 'Worthy of the gospel', We translate it 'becoming the gospel.' So 'worthy of our calling,' Eph. iv. 1, so as may beseem the duties and hopes of christians, that the life of Christianity may show forth itself in us.

In this sense God maketh us worthy, when we are made more holy and more heavenly, for this is becoming our calling. So 1 Thes. ii. 12, 'Walk worthy of God, who hath called us to his kingdom and glory.' God is a holy God, and the happiness we are called unto is a glorious estate; then we are worthy when we are made more suitable to this holiness and happiness. Both together are expressed, Col. i. 12, 'Made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.' It is the inheritance of saints, and therefore the meetness consists in sanctification. It is in light; by it I understand glory, or a happiness abstracted from those dreggy contentments wherein men usually seek their satisfaction. Therefore this meetness must consist in a heavenly frame of heart, that can forsake or deny all earthly things for Christ's sake.

[1.] This meetness consisteth in holiness: 1 Peter i. 15, 'As he that hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation [behavior].' The calling puts a holy nature into us, obligeth us to live by a holy and perfect rule, offereth us a pure reward, and all to engage us in the service of a God who is pure and holy, who will be sanctified in all that are near unto him.

Therefore to make his people such who were once sinners, he hath appointed means and ordinances, Gal. v. 26, and
providences, Heb. xii. 10, and all accompanied with the almighty operation of a Holy Spirit: 2 Thes. ii. 13, 'Through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.' Therefore the more pure and holy, the more doth God make us meet.

[2.] This meetness consisteth in heavenliness; for God by calling inviteth men, and draweth them off from this world to a better; the more they obey this call, the more heavenly they are.

It is heaven they seek: Col. iii. 1, 2, 'If ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God: set your affections on things above, and not on things on the earth.'

Heaven they hope for: 1 Peter i. 3, 'Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus. Christ, who hath begotten us again to a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.'

Heavenly things they savour and count their portion: Mat. vi. 20, 21, 'Lay up treasures in heaven, &c.; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.'

They count heaven their home and happiness: Heb. xi. 13, 'These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed they were strangers and pilgrims on earth.'

Their work and scope: Phil. iii. 14, 'I press towards the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ.'

Their end, solace, and support: 2 Cor. iv. 18, 'While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.'

Their course becometh their choice: Phil. iii. 20, 'Our conversation is in heaven, from whence we look for the Saviour.'

These are worthy, or made meet.

3. There is dignitas dignationis, or worthiness of acceptance. So it is taken, Acts v. 41, 'They went away, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Christ'; that this honour was put upon them. So we in common speech say, Such a one counted me worthy of his company or his presence, or conference with him, or to sit down at his table; by these phrases of speech, not ascribing any worth to ourselves, but condescension in the party vouchsafing the honour to us. So here the apostle prayeth that they may be accounted worthy of this calling; that is, that God would vouchsafe them to partake of his grace and glory.

This worthiness is nothing else but God's gracious acceptation of a sinner through Jesus Christ, calling them to this grace by the knowledge of the gospel, and giving them eternal life because they are worthy; which noteth liberality in the giver, but no worth in the receiver. So it is taken, Luke xxi. 36, 'That ye may be counted worthy to stand before the Son of Man'; and Rev. iii. 4, 'They shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy'; because in Christ they are accepted as worthy, having given them a right by his grace.

All is to be ascribed to God's dignation [condescension]; for Christ's sake God doth take our carriage in good part, though many failings.

Wow, amen, and thanks to the Lord for His graces and mercies! May we never, ever murmur against God in His dealings with us; may we believe in His infinite goodness, wisdom and love; may we remember His ways are infinitely above ours; may He conform us to Christ's image in all ways; may we think forward to being with Christ in heaven; and may He sanctify us and make us more meet to be with Him eternally!

-- David

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

David's Digest: Coming Boldly to the Throne

Heb 4:16 - "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

It seems to me this verse can be used to approach God in ways that we might approach just anyone, or in any way we might feel. And while the Bible declares God to be the friend and father of saints, I believe it cannot be forgotten that He is almighty God, holy King and majestic Lord! Would we approach an earthly king or even a civil magistrate just however we felt like it? I think not.

The following are some gleanings that I believe accurately reflect how we should and should not approach God, and for what reasons most importantly:

First, how did Esther approach her king and husband no less? Here is from Esther 4:15-5:2:

15 Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer,

16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.

17 So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.

1 Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king's house, over against the king's house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house.

2 And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre.

Esther recognized the authority of her king over her in that she knew she was transgressing the law and that he could punish her to death for it, and she came in proper apparel fit for the presence of a king showing reverence. She and her people had also prepared themselves beforehand in humility.

I believe these show us we need to be dressed in Christ's righteousness to approach God, and only this way dressed shows reverence to His holiness and respect for His declared order (John 14:6 - "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."), and that approaching God belligerently or in pride ("God I have something to say to you!" under the guise that "Oh, God is big enough to handle it!") could very well bring down the King's wrath upon us.

The following is from JC Ryle on prayer, which you can read in full here, that discusses improper and proper prayer boldness:
(g) I commend to you, in the next place, the importance of boldness in prayer. There is an unseemly familiarity in some men's prayers, which I cannot praise.

But there is such a thing as a holy boldness, which is exceedingly to be desired. I mean such boldness as that of Moses, when he pleads with God not to destroy Israel: "Wherefore," says he, "should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains...Turn from thy fierce wrath" (Exo 32:12). I mean such boldness as that of Joshua, when the children of Israel were defeated before Ai: "What," says he, "what wilt thou do unto thy great name?" (Jos 7:9).

This is the boldness for which Luther was remarkable. One who heard him praying said, "What a spirit—what a confidence was in his very expressions! With such a reverence he sued, as one begging of God, and yet with such hope and assurance as if he spake with a loving father or friend".

Here also I fear we sadly come short. We do not sufficiently realize the believer's privileges. We do not plead as often as we might, "Lord, are we not Thine own people? Is it not for Thy glory that we should be sanctified? Is it not for Thine honor that thy gospel should increase?"

Finally, here is what Puritan commentator Dr. John Gill says about Heb 4:16, indicating the main reasons for coming before the throne of God:
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace
Either to Christ, who is before spoken of as an high priest, and who was typified by the mercy seat, to which there seems to be an allusion; and coming to him as a priest upon his throne is very proper: to him saints come for pardon and cleansing, and for a justifying righteousness, for the acceptance of their persons, and the presentation of their services, and for every supply of grace; and to him they may come "boldly", since he stands in the relations of a Father, husband, and brother, and from him they may expect receive mercy, since it is kept for him, and with him, and is only dispensed through him; and in him they may hope to find grace, since all fulness of it dwells in him; and help in every time of need, since their help is laid on him.

Or else to God the Father, since Christ, the high priest, is the way of access to God, and it is by him the saints come unto the Father; who is represented as on a "throne", to show his majesty, and to command reverence; and as on a "throne of grace", to encourage distressed souls to come unto him; and to express his sovereignty in the distribution of his grace:

And this coming to him is a sacerdotal act, for every believer is a priest; and is not local, but spiritual, and with the heart, and by faith; and chiefly regards the duty of prayer, and a drawing nigh to God in that ordinance with spiritual sacrifices to offer unto him:

And this may be done "boldly"; or "with freedom of speech"; speaking out plainly all that is in the heart, using an holy courage and intrepidity of mind, free from servile fear, and a bashful spirit; all which requires an heart sprinkled from an evil conscience, faith, in the person, blood, and righteousness of Christ, a view of God, as a God of peace, grace, and mercy, and a holy confidence of being heard by him;

And such a spirit and behaviour at the throne of grace are very consistent with reverence of the divine Majesty, with submission to his will, and with that humility which becomes saints. ...

The end of coming hither is,

that we may obtain mercy;
the sure mercies of David, the blessings of the everlasting covenant; particularly pardoning mercy, and the fresh application of it, and every other blessing of grace that is needful: and there is reason to expect it, since there is mercy with God; and it is with Christ, as the head of the covenant; and it is ready for those that ask it; and it has been obtained by many, and is everlasting.

And find grace to help in time of need;
the Syriac version renders it, "in time of affliction"; which is a time of need, as every time of distress is, whether from the immediate hand of God, or through the persecutions of men, or the temptations of Satan: and help at such times may be expected; since not only God is able to help, but he has promised it; and he has laid help on Christ; and gives it seasonably, and at the best time; and it springs from grace, yea, it is grace that does help; by which may be meant, the discoveries of God's love, and the supplies of grace from Christ: which may be hoped for, seeing God is the God of all grace; and he is seated on a throne of grace; and all fulness of grace dwells in Christ: to find grace often, signifies to find favour with God, to be accepted by him, as well as to receive grace from him.

May God grant us a holy awe, fear, and reverence of Him, for who He is, and what He has done, His great works throughout time, the salvation of sinners, the revelation of Himself through Christ, Christ's righteousness, His infinite graces, mercies and love, and the gift of His Spirit; and may these bring us to humility before Him and cause us to love Him in return!

-- David

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A House - Update XLIX - The Porch, Lower Siding, & Window Sills

It's been a while since our last house update -- June of last year in fact -- and so, we thought we'd catch you up on the progress on the house the Lord has graciously granted!

The Porch

It was finally time to start getting going on some external siding, but before that, we needed to be able to figure out where the porch was going to attach to the house because siding placement would be determined by that. Plus, the stairs we had in front of the house leading into the front door were a little unstable, and so I wanted to get into place a temporary set up that was a little less rickety as well.

We started by going around the outer porch beams along the porch posts to find the highest point so we could level the porch all the way around off of that. We used the water level we used when leveling the foundation piers, which works great for long distances.

Once that was figured out, it was time to put up the siding tar paper:

Lower East Siding Tar Paper

And then the porch ledger board...

Lower East Side with Porch Leadger Board

...bolted to the outside main structure floor joists (which are doubled up on the east and west sides, since walls are sitting on them):

Porch Ledger Board Bolted to Joists

We also needed to put the final porch beams in place. You'll notice the one side isn't even with the porch beam next to it. This is because I discovered when trying to find the porch leveling point that the north east corner of the porch is probably 3 inches or so lower than it should be. Oops. I'm not sure how I managed that, but as we go around installing the porch joists, Lord willing, I'll have to raise the beams to get them more level:

Installing New Porch Beams

And here they are installed:

New Porch Beam in Place

I did some research on how to do the flashing over the ledger board, and this YouTube video is the one I went with. It's z-shaped with a little lip that juts out from the ledger board, forcing a space between the joist and the ledger board preventing water from being kept next to the joist potentially causing future rot:

Porch Ledger Flashing

And here's a side view of the flashing:

Porch Ledger Flashing Side View

Here is a joist hanger in place, nailed in with hanger nails:

Porch Joist Hanger on Ledger

And with a joist attached:

Porch Joist Attached to Hanger

This joist I had to notch to get around a porch post:

Porch Joist Notched to Go Around Porch Post

And here is the first set of porch joists in place. I used the 3-4-5 rule to get the first joist square with the house:

Porch Joists in Place with Outside Header

I put this board in place just so the joists would maintain correct separation:

Porch Joist Spacer Board

And then I tacked down a couple of leftover plywood pieces for now, moved the steps to the side of the porch, and added a set of steps to be able to walk over the beams. It's much easier to get into the house now! :)

Temporary Porch with Stairs Over Beams

Lower External Siding

Thankfully, the lower OSB siding is somewhat protected from the elements being under the porch roof, but eventually that won't last, so we have started putting up siding on the lower external part of the house, beginning with the north side, which seems to see the most weather activity.

Here is some of the tar paper in place behind the porch ledger board:

Lower North Siding Tar Paper

And this what I used to elevate a piece of siding so it doesn't set directly on the flashing, once again to keep things out of sitting moisture:

Siding Spacer

And here is some of the siding in place:

Lower North Siding Begun

I had to cut a hole in the siding for the electrical inlet:

Lower North Siding Electrical Inlet

And here is more siding done:

Lower North More Siding Done

And then the whole side complete!

Lower North Siding Done

Now, we need to choose a color, paint it, and add window trim, and then it should be all done.

Internal Window Sills

In an attempt to continue to seal in the inside of the house from air leaks to help keep in the warmth, I've started putting up boards on the inside of the window sills with the plan to eventually come back and finish the front part of the sills later.

Here is lower bedroom:

Bedroom Lower Windows Inside Sills

And upper kitchen. During one of our recent cold fronts, Sue could see the cobwebs moving, and so it was important to get them done, especially on these upper north-facing ones:

Kitchen Upper Windows Inside Sills

Here is lower great room:

Great Room Lower Windows Inside Sills

And finally, upper great room:

Great Room Upper Windows Inside Sills

As always, we are very thankful to the Lord for granting the provisions to be able to continue on the house. We always pray it's a place of worship and a nice gathering place for His Church.

-- David

Friday, January 12, 2018

Song - Jehovah is His Name!

Some years ago, I thought I should learn the names of God -- what He calls Himself in His word -- so that I could acknowledge Him as He has declared Himself to be acknowledged. I believe in the regulative principle of worship, in that, the Bible, and thus God Himself, declares how He will be worshiped, and that is to be our sole guide. Since He has given Himself many names, a few of them I knew already, like Jehovah-Jirah (our provider -- I even wrote a blog post on that one), and Jehovah-Rapha (our healer), but I wanted to be able to know more of them so I could call Him those in my prayers.

Well, I did a search, and I'm not sure if this is the exact page I found that first time, and I don't think it is, but it does have the names I learned way back then: Redemptive Names of God and What They Mean, and here is another site that has a similar listing: Names of God (I am not vouching for the rest of the content on these sites):

Jehovah-Jirehthe LORD our provider (Genesis 22:14)
Jehovah-Raphathe LORD our healer (Exodus 15:26)
Jehovah-Nissithe LORD our banner (Exodus 17:15)
Jehovah-Shalomthe LORD our peace (Judges 6:24)
Jehovah-Sabaoththe LORD of hosts (Psalm 46:7)
Jehovah-Raahthe LORD our shepherd (Psalm 23:1)
Jehovah-Tsid-Kenuthe LORD our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6)
Jehovah-Shammahthe LORD is there (omnipresent) (Ezekiel 48:35)

While these have manifestations in the temporal world, they really are more about the spiritual relationship of God toward His people.

Also often used in the Bible:
Yahweh (Jehovah, the LORD capitalized in many Bibles)God is eternal, unchangeable, in covenant relationship
ElohimGod, strong/mighty one
Adonaithe Lord, master

Fast forward until late last year. If you've been following our blog, you'll have seen I've written some hymns or lullabies that were based on little tunes I came up with about our animals, which you can read about here under our blog's music label.

One I've had for a while is for our dogs Brodey and Nessa, and the words went like this:

Brodey so-squody, he is not a grody toady


Nessa bo-bessa, walla walla professah Nessa

(I often call Brodey "Brodey so-squodey" and Nessa "Nessa bo-bessa" :) )

Those covered the first two measures, but with some tweaks to the 2-measure melody, I eventually filled out the whole tune into a song. I "sang" it for Sue and she thought it would make a good song in the round. Hmmm.....

I struggled to come up with lyrics. But one day, I was thinking about the names of God I had learned, and since there were eight of them, which goes into music evenly, I wondered if I might make that fit into the song -- the Jehovah names of God and their meanings, and with that, it would be easier for others to learn them. It might just work...

And so, I started trying to work it out, and God granted I was able to indeed work the lyrics into the tune with some tweaking of the music -- Jehovah is His Name! And it worked nicely in the round too!

Here is the sheet music:

Jehovah is His Name

And a PDF:
Jehovah is His Name (PDF)

And an instrumental audio version:
Jehovah is His Name (MP3)

Here, Sue and I sing it with the accompaniment:
Jehovah is His Name - Vocal (MP3)

And here we are acapella, in a four-part round starting every two measures:
Jehovah is His Name - 4 Part Round (MP3)

I think it worked out fairly nicely, and thanks to the Lord for granting this to be able to learn His names and acknowledge His greatness, mightiness, love and care!

In trying to find the original website that had the eight names I learned, I have since discovered there are many other names of God in the Bible (again, I cannot vouch for the site's content), but it was nice to be able to take these I had learned and put them into something perhaps usable for God to glorify Himself maybe in some way. :)

May His name be praised forever; blessed be the name of the LORD!

-- David

Friday, January 5, 2018

Garden - Fall & Winter 2017-2018

We thought we would catch you up on how the garden ended up in Fall of last year, including our foray into the adventure of sweet potato growing, and where we are today!

Here are the final days of the 2017 garden before the freezes started to hit...

This is the one plant, a broccoli, that grew from the first Spring planting. I have picked off a few broccoli heads and have eaten them as I've walked by :) :

Broccoli Plant

Here is our gogi berry plant:

Gogi Berry

And these are our blackberry plants:

Blackberry Plants

Here are the okra plants third week in October:


But then the freeze was coming, and so we covered them. They looked a little creepy like this actually... :)

Okra Covered with Blankets

And sadly, they still didn't fare well, and so that was about the end of them for the year:

Okra After Freeze

But before that, we thought we would try to save some okra seeds this year to plant next year as part of our continued effort to get sustaining here. We pray God might grant this to work!

Saving Okra Seeds

Sweet Potatoes

I mentioned in our last real garden update that we planted sweet potato slips this year. This is our second attempt, with the first one in our raised beds only yielding a few small ones.

Sweet Potatoes Plants

Again of Sweet Potatoes Plants

This year however, and I think it has a lot to do with that we're using the forest bed mulching technique we've discussed before, God graciously granted some quite nice ones!

We harvested the beginning of October. The first one I pulled out was half rotted, very mushy, and I was worried they all would be like that, but most were thankfully just fine! You're supposed to be very careful pulling them out so as to not damage the tender skin, which hardens later.

Harvesting a Sweet Potato

Here's a stack of them:

Stack of Sweet Potatoes

And Sue with an American football-sized one:

More of Sweet Potatoes

And this is just to give a size perspective:

Sizing Sweet Potatoes

Here they are in the wheelbarrow being taken to the house for curing. Using the information from a website about curing sweet potatoes, we let them open-air cure just on the ground in a couple places in the house for probably about three weeks:

Sweet Potatoes in Wheel Barrow

And then wrapped them up individually in newspaper to go into the root cellar for another six weeks. Apparently the longer you can wait to harvest, even just after the first light frost, and giving them that long to cure allows the sugars to form in them, which gives them a good taste, and without which they apparently taste very bland:

Wrapped Sweet Potatoes

And finally, last week, we started pulling them out of the root cellar, and they appear to be still ok....yea, and thank the Lord!

Here, Sue is putting them into a meal:

Cutting Sweet Potatoes

And into the pan (although there is one store-bought mixed in). But, they do indeed taste great, and again we are very thankful to God for these provisions off of the land!

Cut Sweet Potatoes


Since we have larger garden areas with which to be able to plant both for Winter and Spring, we are attempting garlic again this year, planting cloves the Stongers graciously gave us. This is just this week after the big freeze we went through here:


And the wild lettuce, which I believe is the prickly lettuce I mentioned before, is coming back too!

Prickly Lettuce

As always and again, we are very thankful to the Lord for His providence in granting sustenance from the gardens! We pray He might continue to, as He will, and that He guide us into more and better ways to live off of the land in direct dependence on Him!

-- David