Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: 2017's First Three Chick Hatchings

Spring time generally means new life time, and the Lord has graciously granted our first three hatchings of chickens this year!

This is group #1, 9 hatched and 9 still going!

First Chicks of 2017

And this is group #2 in the mini chicken tractor, 7 hatched here and all still healthy!

Second Chicks of 2017

And this is group #3. This was a more interesting one, in that, the first mommy sat a whole brooding cycle and nothing hatched out. And so, we put under her another dozen eggs. She made it two weeks (out of the three-week cycle), became unbroody, and chicken-scratched her eggs all over. Well, we got her out of there and put on the eggs another broody hen we had, and she's the one that finished them out. She hatched out 4 in total, but sadly the 4th little tiny one I think got stepped on as it looked like its little belly was opened up. Even more sadly for me was when I got out to bury it, after me closing its eyes, it opened them -- oh no! It was still alive, gasping ever so slightly for air. But I figured it was too far injured and gone, so I decided I should give it the coup de gras (act of grace). It's still always difficult for me to take the life of a gift from God that we try very hard to take care of. It's apparently part of animal husbandry though at times.

But, the other 3 are still doing well!

Third Chicks of 2017

And here is a video of all 3 groups:

As always, we are thankful to God that He grants the chicken flock to continue in this perpetuating manner. May they be used for His glory and the benefit of His Church!

-- David

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Community Singing - May 2017

Last Lord's Day we gathered together to record our next set of Psalms from the psalter we use! We thank the Lord for this continued opportunity, and to be able to sing prayers and praises to Him!

(If you would like to save any of the files locally to your computer, you can right click on Download and click Save As in the popup menu.)

Psalms 54A-59B

Previous Psalms singings:

Psalms 50A-53

Psalms 1A-12B (minus 4B)

Psalms 4B & 13-18L

Psalms 19A-22E

Psalms 22F-24C

Psalms 25A-27F

Psalms 28A-31G

Psalms 32A-34D

Psalms 35A-37F

Psalms 38B-40F

Psalms 41A-44F

Psalms 45A-49C

We pray the Lord glorify Himself through these, and through us always in whatever way He desires!

-- David

Monday, May 8, 2017

Goodbye Augie

We introduced Augie our gander late in 2011 when we paired him up with Gigi our goose after Gary died. He was named after the divine Augustine (Au-goose-tine). :)

Sadly, they were never able to make goslings, and even more sad now, this past week, Augie died. He had been struggling with his legs for some time; I had been trying to give him joint supplements in case that helped, and we're not sure exactly what happened, but after several days of more labored breathing last week, he was gone.

Here is a video of him and Gigi from way back:

Goodbye Augie...

Augie Grave

We will miss and think fondly of you!

Augie Our Gander

We thank the Lord for allowing us this time with him! And maybe He will grant Gigi another mate...

-- David

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Providence's Perennial Provisions: Re-Id: Curly Dock to Prickly Lettuce

Well, since our blog post on curly dock, a humanly-edible weed, we've discovered that it appears what I thought was curly dock is actually prickly lettuce, a species of wild lettuce. So, it was actually more "lettuce" than I thought. :) I originally went with curly dock because when I did an internet search for weeds that look like lettuce, that came up and wild lettuce didn't that I saw; and also because in the Texas weed book we have, curly dock was the closest match. Thankfully it ends up being an edible too. :O

At any rate, to me they do look similar, but the lettuce we have growing fits closer to the prickly lettuce description. Here is the Texas Foraging site on prickly lettuce. It has vitamin A & B, and minerals, and apparently doesn't have the oxalic acid problem, although it says if you eat too much it can upset your stomach.

From what I've experienced, their taste varies -- sometimes a little bitter, sometimes not at all. But it all goes well in a salad!

Here are some more pictures, that look much more like this type of wild lettuce:

Prickly Lettuce Plant

Prickly Lettuce Leaf Showing Pricklies

As I'm eating them raw, to get rid of the little pricklies, I just run my finger down the leaf spine, and that pretty much takes them out.

As before, we are grateful to the Lord for granting this provision directly off the land!

-- David

Thursday, April 20, 2017

David's Digest: It's Not Easy Being Saved, Part 8 - Going from Strength to Strength

This is Part 8 of a series of writings from Puritan Thomas Manton's excellent case showing that it is no easy thing to be saved. This part comes from his sermon on Psalm 84:7. While this is a different sermon than the original discussed in the first six parts, as with the last part, I came across this one and thought it was relevant to the topic of how difficult is the path to salvation. This is the final planned part of this series.

These sections below are only part of the sermon, so I hope you will take the time to read the entire thing, as the whole sermon is beneficial, and you can find it here:

And here are the previous blog posts:
Part 1 - Astonishment at Rich Men's Difficulty
Part 2 - Doubt at Difficulty, but Generally Proved
Part 3 - Human Nature & the Habit of Worldliness
Part 4 - The Power of Worldliness
Part 5 - Why This Is Important
Part 6 - How to Use This Information
Part 7 - Living for Worthless Shadows

From Thomas Manton:

Psalm 84:7 - "They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God."


2. As it is a duty.

Use 1: It showeth the folly of them who count an earnest pursuance of eternal life to be more than needs, and that a little holiness will serve the turn. Oh no! A christian should always be growing and always improving, still pressing nearer and nearer towards the mark, going on from strength to strength. There is no nimium [too much] in holiness; you cannot have too much holiness, or too much of the love of God, nor of the fear of God, nor of faith in him.

There are many that come near and never enter: Luke xiii. 24, 'Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.' Certainly he that knoweth what was lost in Adam, and must be recovered in Christ, cannot think he can do enough or too much.

How hard a matter is it to keep what we have! Such is the vanity, lightness, and inconstancy of our hearts in good, and so furious are the assaults of sundry temptations, and so great is our impotency to resist them; our proneness to turn from the ways of God so great; so strong, subtle and assiduous are our spiritual adversaries; so many are these difficulties, discouragements, diversions, and hindrances which we have to wrestle with and overcome in the way to heaven, that it concerneth us to give all diligence to advance in our christian course.

Once more, there is so much promised, that certainly a man knoweth not what christianity meaneth if he striveth not to be more holy. So exact is our rule, and strict, so holy is our God, so great are our obligations from all the means and providences of God, that such a vain [useless] conceit cannot possess the soul of a serious christian.

Use 2: It reproveth those who, if they have gotten such a measure of grace, whereby they think they may be assured they are in a state of grace, they never look further, but set up their rest, and think hereafter Christ will make them perfect when they die. Consider—

1. They hazard their claim of sincerity that do not aim at perfection; for where there is true grace, there will be a desire of the greatest perfection; as a small seed will seek to grow up into a tree. He that is truly good will be growing from good to better, and so is best at last; the more his light and love is increased, the more he is troubled about the relics of sin, and grieved at his heart that he can serve God no more perfectly.

2. All promises are accomplished by degrees; and so far as we hope for anything, we will be endeavouring it: 1 John iii. 3, 'Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he is pure.'

3. According to the degrees of grace so will our glory be. The vessel is filled according to its capacity. They that are growing here have more in heaven. He that improved ten talents hath a reward proportionable, and so he that improved five, Matt. xxv. As our measures of grace are, so will our measures of glory be, all according to their size and receptivity. As there are degrees of punishments in hell, so of rewards in heaven. He that loved God more on earth has more of his love in heaven.

Use 3: It showeth the miserable estate of them that do not go strength to strength, but from weakness to weakness; that waste their strength by sin, that are fallen back, and have lost the savouriness of their spirits, and their delight in communion with God, and grow more careless and neglectful of holy things, weak in faith, impatient under the cross, formal in holy duties; their heart is not watched, their tongue is not bridled, their conversation is more vain [useless], they wax worse and worse. Oh! take heed of such a declining estate. When men fall from their first love: Rev. ii. 4, 'I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.' First faith: 1 Tim. v .12, 'Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.' Or first obedience: 2 Chron. xvii. 3, 'The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David.' David in his later time fell into scandalous crimes.

Use 4: Is to persuade you to go on from strength to strength. It is the gift of God's free grace, and the work of the Spirit: Eph. iii. 16, 'That he would grant you to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.' By maintaining and actuating grace, notwithstanding all difficulties.

May the Lord grant us a desire to be more like Him in His holiness; that He grant us to daily grow in His graces and never grow slack; to be troubled about the relics of sin and grieved we cannot serve Him better; may we continuously pray for these things; and may He see us through to the end in His faith, with patience and thankfulness, through all the difficulties of being saved!

-- David

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Providence's Perennial Provisions: Curly Dock

Please see our update regarding re-identifying these plants as prickly lettuce. While curly dock is close, it appears what we are showing below is much closer to being prickly lettuce.

Since we desire to live more under God's direct provision for food, it's important to us to see if there are any things growing here on the land natively that are humanly edible.

Well, at the beginning of Spring, I was in the garden and noticed something that to me looked an awful lot like lettuce. With land perennials on the mind, I thought that I should really try to discover if this was something we could eat.

After going through our Texas weed book and not finding anything obvious, I started searching the internet looking for perennial lettuces or something like that, and then looked at images in the search. Eventually I came across a web page from Foraging Texas that had a picture that looked very much like our plants -- curly dock!

And with some further study, I've come to believe that indeed what we have is curly dock or some other very close relative of it!

How wonderfully great is that?! Free, native lettuce growing!

Apparently it has vitamins A & C, and the roots can be medicinal too! And the seeds can be eaten! The only thing is the leaves are apparently much like spinach with oxalic acid, which is especially of concern to those who get kidney stones.

Here are some pictures of the plants:

Perennial Prickly Lettuce of 2017

Another Perennial Prickly Lettuce of 2017

And just how much is growing in our gardens:

Garden 1 Full of Prickly Lettuce Plants

Garden 2 Full of Prickly Lettuce Plants

And these are a couple of other links to some information about docks, eating them, and their nutrition:

How exciting! At least to me. :) They don't taste too badly raw, but go very nicely in a salad! We plan to see if we can lacto-ferment some as well, for longer-term storage.

We are very grateful to the Lord in His mercies and graces for granting this perennial provision, and we pray He might continue to show us other things available on the land that He has graciously provided!

-- David

Friday, April 7, 2017

David's Digest: It's Not Easy Being Saved, Part 7 - Living for Worthless Shadows

This is Part 7 of a series of writings from Puritan Thomas Manton's excellent case showing that it is no easy thing to be saved. This part comes from his sermon on 2 Cor. 4:18. While this is a different sermon than the original discussed in the first six parts, I came across this one and thought it was relevant to the topic of how difficult is the path to salvation.

These sections below are only part of the sermon, so I hope you will take the time to read the entire thing, as the whole sermon is beneficial, and you can find it here:

And here are the previous blog posts:
Part 1 - Astonishment at Rich Men's Difficulty
Part 2 - Doubt at Difficulty, but Generally Proved
Part 3 - Human Nature & the Habit of Worldliness
Part 4 - The Power of Worldliness
Part 5 - Why This Is Important
Part 6 - How to Use This Information

From Thomas Manton:

2 Cor. 4:18 - "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."

3. To negligent and sensual worldlings, who wholly busy themselves about the matters of this life, and are hurried hither and thither: Ps. xxxix. 6, 'Surely every man walketh in a vain show; they are disquieted in vain.' Our life is but a picture, image, shadow, or dream of life; it vanisheth in a trice. All must be suddenly parted with here, all the riches and honours; and yet we cark and labour and turmoil to get these transitory things, as if they would continue with us to all eternity, and had some durable satisfaction in them. Present pleasures and profits cloud our minds, and till we can get this veil drawn aside, this cloud scattered, we do not discern our mistake. Oh, consider who "would redeem the short pleasure of a dream with the torment of many days!

Our days upon earth are as a shadow, and yet this shadow do we cleave to instead of the substance, and though earthly things be short in their continuance, and uncomfortable in their end, yet these take up our life, and love, and care, and thoughts. Just as those that want children take pleasure in keeping little dogs and cats, so do they embrace the shadow for the substance, vainglory for eternal glory, a little pelf for the true riches, a little paltry business for the great work and end of our lives; and when all is done, it is but a spider's web, Job viii. 14. The trust of the carnal man shall be but as the spider's web. As the spider out of his own bowels weaveth a web to catch flies, and frameth it with a great deal of art, but it is gone with the turn of the besom [a broom made of twigs tied around a stick], so is the fruit of all their plots, and cares, and labours, and running up and down, when in the meantime we are unmindful of eternity.

Oh, when will these distracting worldlings find a time for God and everlasting happiness? Childhood is not serious enough, youth must take their pleasure, manly age is too full of business, and old age is too feeble.

4. It reproveth God's children, who are too lazy, and have not that life and seriousness in a spiritual business which they have in an earthly. If eternity be your aim, why are you so dead and dull in a course of holiness? The apostle biddeth Timothy to follow after holiness: 'To fight the good fight, to lay hold on eternal life,' 1 Tim. vi. 12; implying if the one were his aim, he would do the other.

If we press towards the mark, why are we so frozen and cold in our zeal for God, so inclinable to every motion of sin, so easily overcome by temptations? Alas! making eternal things our scope is but a notion, unless we provide forthwith with greater care, exactness, and diligence. There should be a suitableness and proportion between the exactness of our conversation [behavior] and the greatness of our hopes: 1 Thes. ii. 12, 'Walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.' That worthiness is the worthiness of condignity [as if our reward for works was heaven], congruity [appropriateness], and condecency [the decency of living a holy life].

But alas! do we labour as for eternity? so follow after righteousness, so fight the good fight of faith, so despise the world, deny ourselves, run through all straits, triumph over all difficulties, mortify and subdue our own carnal inclinations? Alas! we are so bold in sinning, so cold in holy things, and do so little exercise ourselves unto godliness, as if we had no such great matters in view and chase; and carry it so as if our hopes were only in this world, and not as if the eternal God had promised these eternal things to us. Surely if our belief of them were stronger we should be other persons than we are, in all holy conversation and godliness, 2 Peter iii. 11.

May the Lord grant us a desire and help to spend our time, instead of building our treasures of earthly, worthless shadows, following after righteousness, fighting the good fight of faith, despising the world, denying ourselves, running through all straits, triumphing over all difficulties, and mortifying and subduing our own carnal inclinations!

Stay tuned for part 8, if the Lord wills!

-- David