Monday, April 25, 2016

Passover 2016

As we do each year, we gathered together yesterday as a fellowship to commemorate the Passover, studying the types and shadows of the events in the Old Testament, foreshadowing Christ and the salvation of His people!

Here we are gathering:

Gathering for Passover

More Gathering for Passover

This is our seder plate, and we also have a cup of wine/juice. The lamb represents Christ, the Lamb of God; the bitter herbs (horseradish here) represent the bitterness of bondage; the "matzah" is unleavened, representing how quickly the Israelites had to leave Egypt; and the "haroset," a mixture of apples, nuts, grape juice and cinnamon, represents the mortar the Israelites used to build the Egyptian cities, and the sweetness of a better world. And there are four cups -- the cups of sanctification, judgement, redemption, the kingdom; Christ drank only the first two, and we drink only the first and third, skipping the second cup because Christ took God's judgement on Himself, and the fourth cup in waiting for joining with Christ in glory one day, we pray:

Passover Ceder Plate

Here Mrs. Bunker lights the Passover candles as we ask God to bring light into our hearts, and honor and remember Christ, the Light of the world:

Lighting the Passover Candles

Mr. Bunker washes his hands as God commanded Aaron to wash his hands and feet before approaching the alter of the Lord. This is a token of our desire to live a clean life of acceptable service to the Lord God Almighty:

Washing Hands

The "karpas" (parsley here) symbolizes the new life for the Jewish people and the hyssop used to sprinkle the blood on the door posts, and is dipped into salt water representing the tears of slavery:

Dipping Karpas

Here, Elijah reads the four questions that are answered during the seder:
  1. Why do we eat unleavened bread on this night when all other nights we eat leavened bread?
  2. Why do we eat only bitter herbs on this night when all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables?
  3. Why do we dip our vegetables twice on this night when we do not dip our vegetables even once all other nights?
  4. Why do we eat our meals reclining on this night when on all other nights we eat our meals sitting

Child Reading Passover Questions

We dip our fingers in the cup and place a drop on the seder plate, one for each plague brought down on Egypt:

10 Drops for 10 Plagues

This is during the ceremony, where the Passover story is recounted and compared to Christ and His redemptive work. We also sing Psalms 113-118, psalms of praise and thanksgiving referred to as "Hallel":

Passover Ceder

And here are the finely prepared food provisions the Lord granted us for dinner:

Passover Dinner

More Passover Dinner

This is just a sampling of the seder event, but we are thankful for the opportunity to remember these things, together as a group, and we pray the Lord glorify Himself and teach us all, especially the young ones, through this means of grace!

-- David

Friday, April 1, 2016

A House - Update XLI - Kitchen Counter Endcaps, Bedroom/Library Internal Siding & Fellowship Hats

Kitchen Counter Endcaps

After the kitchen counter top was in place, I still needed to finish the endcaps.

They come in a kit, with a couple of wood pieces to attach to fill out the side, and then the laminate pieces with some kind of heat-activated glue on them.

I attached the wood pieces with a finish nailer:

Kitchen Counter Top Endcap Build Up Wood Pieces

And then you're supposed to iron on the laminate pieces, keeping the iron at a certain temperature...a little difficult when the iron you have has to be heated up on a stove. :) :

Ironing on Kitchen Counter Top Endcap

Unable to get a good temperature, I think even too hot to where the glue wouldn't stick, I ended up just tacking them down with pin nails, which at least for me, I can't even see:

Pin Nailing Kitchen Counter Top Endcap

Then, you're supposed to file down the edges flush to the counter top:

Filing Edges of Kitchen Counter Top Endcap

And here they are done! I also caulked around the edges just to make sure moisture is kept out as much as possible:

Kitchen Counter Top Endcap

Another Kitchen Counter Top Endcap

Bedroom/Library Internal Siding

We've also been able to continue with the internal siding. On to the bedroom:

Bedroom Internal Siding West External Wall

Bedroom Internal Siding South External Wall

And then the library:

Library Internal Siding South External Wall

Library Internal Siding East External Wall

We've also found a new place for the piano: out of the summer kitchen and into the library -- hopefully it will be a better temperature environment for it, and hopefully fewer mice will make it a home now :) :

Piano in Library

And now, all of the internal siding on the external walls, except for the two closets, are done!

Fellowship Hats

And finally, one of the major reasons we are out here is for the close Christian fellowship. Here is a pleasing sign of one of those times, as we're gathered together, and we are honored to be able to have those times here:

Hats on Homemade Amish Hat Rack During Fellowship Time

We are always very grateful to the Lord for granting continued progress on the house, and thanks again to those who make that possible, and we are most thankful to be able to live amongst people who seek Christ and desire to be full of His graces!

-- David

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Garden - Spring 2016

With us coming out of Winter heading into Spring, it was time to start getting the gardens in shape for warm-weather planting!

Weeds and Mulching

Lots of weeds this year -- I don't know if it's because of the mild Winter or not, but there are a bunch of them. This was Garden 2:

Garden After Winter

However, it's not all bad! Here is one of several volunteer turnips coming from seeds I planted probably a couple of years ago! I think I'm just going to start throwing down turnip seeds all over the mulch garden beds from now on!

Volunteer Turnip

Sue & I started chopping down the weeds using yo-yos (I looked it up, and apparently that is indeed what they're called) in preparation for laying down a new layer of mulch across the whole garden area:

Chopping Down Weeds

And here is about half of the garden chopped down:

Weeds Chopped

And then the first mulch load laid down and spread out. Looks like probably four loads to cover all of Garden 2:

First New Mulch Section


With the trouble last year getting plants started from seed directly in the mulch beds, I really figured I need to get a composting system running well.

In a previous blog post almost three years ago, I mentioned the compost container we have been trying to use. It's been sitting there full of all of the stuff I gathered I think from the chicken tractor and maybe goat fields for probably a couple of years. Well, I planned to take what was in it and move it to inside Garden 1 so I could start turning it more, as I picked up from a local friend that he turns his piles apparently after each rain; and when I opened the lid, there was barely anything in there! I was quite puzzled -- where did it all go?

Cylinder Container Compost Pile

But, in looking close at the bottom, lo and behold, there was nice deep, rich looking soil! Wow! And very nice!

New Composted Soil

Here's a wheelbarrow full of it, clumped because it's wet:

Wheelbarrow of New Composted Soil

Excellent! I also have a pretty big pile of chicken droppings/hay and wood ashes going in Garden 1 that I hope now by turning it over it will compost better.

Thanks to the Lord for granting the new soil, and we pray for continued guidance always. And may He help us in continuing to prepare the gardens, and we pray He might grant food from them this year!

-- David

Monday, March 14, 2016

A House - Update XL - Kitchen Counter & Sink, & Birdhouse 2

With the kitchen siding in place, it was time to install the kitchen counter and sink.

Kitchen Counter Top

I decided to go with a pre-formed laminate one as it was going to be easier, more cost effective, and I believed better quality than if I were to try to make one myself.

Sue had decided she didn't want permanent cupboards below the counter top, so my plan was to build bracing that attached to the wall studs, and this is what I came up with. There is a cross 2x4 attached to the wall studs, then the counter top braces extending from the wall on top of that, and then diagonal braces from the top brace to the wall stud:

Kitchen Counter Bracing

For the corner, I just put braces across from back board to back board:

Kitchen Counter Corner Bracing

Once the bracing was completed, I tied the corners together with glue and the provided nuts and bolts in the pre-cut areas:

Kitchen Counter Corner Tied Together with Bolts

Here are the screws I decided to use to tie down the counter top to the top braces. They have a larger, flat head that I hoped would help pull the counter to the brace:

Screws to Tie Down Kitchen Counter to Bracing

I had Sue sit on the counter and push down to get the counter to set against the top braces while I screwed it down, and here is the counter tied down to a brace:

Kitchen Counter Tied Down to Bracing

And here is the counter top installed!

Kitchen Counter Right Side

Kitchen Counter Left Side

Kitchen Sink

We decided to go with a stainless steel kitchen sink, to be placed between two braces. When I initially measured, it appeared it was going to fit nicely, but I eventually ran into some issues...

When cutting on a laminate top, you're apparently supposed to put tape down to help keep the laminate from cracking as you cut:

Tape Laid Out for Kitchen Sink

Then, you lay the sink down upside down, trace around it, then draw a cut line inside the trace line, the width according to the instructions that come with the sink:

Kitchen Sink Cutting Marks on Tape

I used a jig saw with laminate blade to cut out the main section:

Kitchen Sink Main Cutout

Then used a coping saw for the back part as I couldn't get close enough with the jig saw to the back cut line:

Coping Saw Cutting Back of Kitchen Sink Cutout

One issue I ran into was the sides of the hole ended up going over the bracing, and so I used a skill saw set to counter-top depth to make the initial cut of the sides, and then needed to chisel out the rest:

Chiseling Out Kitchen Counter on Top of Bracking

And here is a side completed:

Kitchen Sink Side Chiseled Out

Sadly though, on the right side, I apparently didn't chisel down far enough in the corner, and it slightly cracked up the laminate. I ended up just gluing it and caulking it, which appears to have worked ok:

Laminate Crack

Another problem I ran into was that the sink tubs wouldn't fit completely between the braces, so I needed to cut off a little of the brace siding:

Kitchen Counter Trimmed Bracing

And then, another issue was how to clamp the sides of the sink to the counter top. For that, I drilled holes and chiseled out a hole in the brace, and enough underneath to reveal some of the counter top so the clamp would have something to grab on to. You can see here at the top of the hole a little of the counter top exposed. Given the design of the brace, I could only really use one clamp on the sides even though you're supposed to use two -- I just hope that ends up being enough :) :

Kitchen Sink Clamp Cutout in Counter Brace

Once all cutting, etc. was complete, I put down the caulk bead:

Kitchen Sink Caulk Bead

And then placed the sink in place, and clamped it down in a star-like pattern, starting from the inside clamps outward according to the directions:

Kitchen Sink Counter Clamps

And then I added more caulking from the outside, stuffing it under any slight gaps between the sink and counter top, and then tried to smooth it all out. And I put a couple of jugs of water to try to help keep pressing it down with the caulking cures:

Kitchen Sink Installed

To finish, I put in caps with caulking to plug the faucet holes:

Kitchen Sink Installed

And added the plumbing, which we plan to run into a bucket, at least for now:

Kitchen Sink Installed

So far after several days of the caulk around the sink curing, without using it yet, it seems to have sealed up. I guess we'll know more over time and usage. :)

Birdhouse 2

Last but not least, young Abram Stonger made us another birdhouse, and here it is in place. Thanks to you, Abram, and a fine job!

New Birdhouse

And both birdhouses from the boys:

Both Birdhouses

As always, we are grateful to the Lord for granting the resources, designs and abilities to continue to work on the house! We always pray our place will be one of worship to Him!

-- David