Friday, October 21, 2016

A House - Update XLVI - Kitchen, Great Room, Bathroom, Front Closet Cabinets & Fixtures, and Porch Swing

Just a little update on some continued progress on getting the house more livable...

Great Room/Kitchen

Here's a towel rack underneath the kitchen sink:

Kitchen Towel Rack

And a paper towel holder I found laying around here:

Kitchen Paper Towel Holder

These are the cabinets we decided to go with for flatware and cookware. We wanted something enclosed to help keep dust off of it all. We hope to add one or two more:

Kitchen Cabinets

And then something similar for the great room as a utility cabinet. We hope to add one or two more here as well:

Great Room Utility Cabinet


We moved into the bathroom some of the things we've had sitting around just waiting for this time. The sink cabinet we bought at a yard sale, and the water from the red water container that has a spigot just goes into a bucket, much like the kitchen sink:

Bathroom Cabinets & Sink

And a towel rack here too:

Bathroom Towel Rack

Front Closet

This is the front closet between the great room and library, and now we can hang our longer, cold-weather clothing here:

Front Closet Clothes Hanging Rod

Porch Swing

As I mentioned in our blog post on our wood burning cook stove, Sue and my parents have been very supportive of us in living out here, and one set of parents bought us the very nice porch swing! It has gone from being in the barn for years, to being in the bathroom in the house, and with starting to try to get the bathroom in order, rather than just move it to under the house in pieces, I thought I should just put it together. Sadly, I'm not sure why I didn't just put it together sooner. I still can't believe the mice didn't destroy the cushions and pillows while in the barn.

But, here it is in process of being built, with the frame done. It's very well made and solid:

Porch Swing Frame

And then complete!

Porch Swing Complete

And the test run in our work grubbies! :) It's a very nice porch swing, and thank you to the parents again for getting this for us!

David & Susan on Porch Swing

This was a walking stick that decided to hang out with us. Maybe it was waiting for a ride! :)

Walking Stick on Porch Swing

Once again, we are thankful to the Lord for providing these resources, and thanks again to those who are helping make all this possible!

-- David

Friday, October 14, 2016

Garden - Fall 2016

It's been some time since our last garden update, and so we thought we'd post an update on some of the results...

Last Year's Butternut Squash

First, earlier in the year, Sue decided to process our butternut squash from last year that had been stored in the root cellar up until that point.

Here is a basket of it:

Basket of Butternut Squash

She then peeled it:

Peeling Butternut Squash

And cleaned out the innards:

Cleaned Out Butternut Squash

And sliced them up, and then pressure canned them. Nice! Thanks to the Lord for them, and being able to store them all that time in the root cellar to be able to be processed later:

Sliced Up Butternut Squash

Winter Peas & Beets

We did get to enjoy quite a few peas we mentioned in the last blog post, and a few beets, in salads and the like. Given the fact we had laid down a new, thick mulch layer before planting these, we are thankful to God for what we received!

Here are some of the peas:



Fall Garden

Catching up to now, we planted okra during the summer, given how prolific they are and needing warmer soil. I used older seeds, and with the new mulch layer and harder soil underneath, continued to have trouble getting things going.

However, we bought some new seeds, and those worked better, although we got a late start because that was our third iteration of seed planting:

Okra Plants

Here's our best one:

Large Okra Plant

And an okra! Right now with as few as we have, we're just eating them in salads as we receive them:


We had something in our garden slicing off smaller okra plants across the stem, but I took one of the cutoff branches and thought I'd try planting it in the soil, and it's actually still making it, with a little okra on it too!

Planted Okra Branch

This plant in front of this picture grew in a place where I didn't specifically plant something. I'm assuming it's an okra too, but it is a surprise plant!

Surprise Plant

And this is a little okra still struggling away. I continue to water it; I don't want to give up on it as for me there is always hope.

This little plant reminds me of me, and my struggle for spiritual growth and where I see great lack. I pray and hope the Lord continues to water me that I may one day produce the fruit of His graces, and that He doesn't give up on me either:

Tiny, Struggling Okra Plant

Also in garden 1 here, there are a couple of volunteer plants that just sprung up by themselves from seeds of seasons past.

The front one is all one big tomato plant, and the back a zucchini I believe, although we have just not had zucchini or squash work in this garden area. I'm not sure why: the plants grow big and green, but just no fruit. Maybe because it's in the shade? Maybe because there is an odorous wild brush that grows behind it hiding the zucchini flower odors from pollinating insects? I'm just not sure, although there is a little one that has been growing on it, but just isn't healthy:

Volunteer Tomato Plant & Zucchini

And here are some tomatoes!


Lastly, here is the only cabbage that has made it since it was planted in the winter, and it's starting to re-grow:


Over in garden 2, as mentioned in the last garden blog post, I scattered turnip seeds there, and here are the results so far! These have grown with zero work or effort on our part, and thanks to the Lord we have greens for our salads from these as well:

Turnip Plants

And some turnips!


As always, we consider all of these things gifts from God, and we try to always be thankful, as we believe these are all granted by Him by His graces and mercies alone. Indeed we thank Him!

-- David

Friday, October 7, 2016

Root Cellar/Storm Shelter - Update IV & Community Work Day

Root Cellar/Storm Shelter West Footer

After the guys helped us get the north footer of the root cellar/storm shelter poured, after some heavy rains earlier this year, we were still getting some water in the root cellar. I had previously added flashing on the west side to temporarily help the water slide away from the structure, but after having to remove it at one point and put it back, undoing the caulking, we had rain still leaking in. And so, it was time to get the west footer poured.

This past Wednesday was our community work day for the month, and so the guys gathered at our place to help do the concrete pour.

Before work day, I had dug out the area about 3-4 inches down and a trench on the outside end about 8 inches down. Then, I added anchor bolts to try to tie the new concrete to old, and re-mesh for concrete strength:

Dug Out West Footer with Remesh

Here are the anchor bolts into the north footer:

Anchor Bolts to North Footer

And a closeup of one into the root cellar structure:

Anchor Bolt to Root Cellar/Storm Shelter

And then it was time for the pour! Here are the guys mixing the concrete by hand:

Mixing Concrete by Hand

More Mixing Concrete by Hand

And then they would pour it into the trench, and I shaped it. And here are the results! It took about 2 1/2 hours and 34 bags of 80-pound Quikrete, with a couple of level-off shovels full of dirt into the mix (to help the concrete go farther, since what we were doing was not really load-bearing). After we were done, I spent the afternoon keeping it sprayed down with water to help slow the drying; and the rest of the men were able to go to Mr. Bunker's for the remainder of the day to help him with other projects:

West Footer Complete

Straight View of West Footer Complete

North View of West Footer Complete

Thanks so much to the guys for the help getting this done! The Lord was merciful in holding off some rain too that had been forecast potentially for Tuesday, and although we never want to have rain withheld, we are thankful it was stayed after the footer was dug out and completed.

Thanks to the Lord for granting the resources and help to be able to do this, the safety during the work, and thanks to the gentlemen for their willingness to serve!

-- David

Sewing Clothes for Sue

This lifestyle is really hard on clothes and we have several ladies in the community who are very good seamstresses.....but I'm not one of them :) I can mend and do very basic stuff but have not yet learned to sew. A couple of the ladies, as well as my wonderful mother-in-law, have sewn for me several beautifully made dresses, for which I am very grateful. But Dave and I agreed that since we were having community work day at our place this month, it was a good opportunity to have the ladies help me by making a few new work aprons and head covers.

I also am experimenting with simple curtain ideas. Here is one of the young ladies helping with sewing one of them.

Sewing On Community Work Day

One of the great things about sewing our own plain/simple/modest clothes is that you can make these work aprons very economically with quality sheets bought at the thrift store. Here is one of the women making one of the aprons:

More Sewing On Community Work Day

I have learned over the years that pockets are so helpful and handy but most of my work aprons didn't have them. So I'm thrilled to have pockets being sewn into these new aprons!

Even More Sewing On Community Work Day

One of the ladies had given me a sewing machine several years ago and I have used it many times but in the process of transitioning into the house it has stayed in storage for a long time. Another one of the ladies painstakingly cleaned and oiled it up yesterday and she did a great job.

At the end of the day these wonderful ladies had made me four aprons, a head covering and helped me sew a set of curtains! Here are three of the four aprons and a head covering.

New Canning Aprons and Capp

I am so blessed to be part of a church community with these ladies and am very thankful for their help yesterday. I am very excited to have these new aprons!! Now I can burn a couple of the ones I have been wearing wayyyyyy too long. :))


Friday, September 30, 2016

David's Digest: It's Not Salvific!

I've heard this before, in the context of how one lives their life. For example, "Oh, you don't have to live such and such's not salvific!"

I agree it does not merit anything for salvation. However, salvation is a process. It starts with God's sovereign act of changing the dead heart to a living one, a passive act on man's part, and it continues throughout the life of the person, ending in glory. That time in the middle is the sanctification process, something the Holy Spirit does in the life of the individual by making them more holy, or Christ-like, which is by giving the person Christ's graces, the fruit of the Spirit:

Gal 5:22-23 - "22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

Faith and love are the main drivers of the Christian, and with those comes obedience to God in His direction in the Bible, and the Bible would have Christians not love the world and not be conformed to it:

1 John 2:15 - "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

Rom 12:2 - "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

Using the example of how one dresses, the Bible would have Christians dress modestly. And in that modesty, given the world in its view on life and how to live it is one of a Christian's main enemies (along with Satan and a person's own carnal man), why would a Christian want to be as close to the way the world dresses, without supposedly stepping over the line, and not be as far away from the way the world does things, like Lot and his family escaping Sodom, not looking back desiring to be closer to Lot's wife?

So, Christianity requires OBEDIENCE to these commands, which (obedience) stems from love for Christ, which is a fruit of the Spirit, which brings sanctification, in the process of SALVATION!

Further, as I mentioned, a Christian's enemy is his carnal man, which I believe is a person's greatest enemy:

1 Pet 2:11 - "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts [desires], which war against the soul;"

Our carnal man is at war with the soul. Part of our duty in our Christian walk is to war against our spiritual enemies.

As graces grow, the carnal man is brought lower and lower in the mortification (death-bringing) process of that carnal man. The means of denying the carnal man we have been talking about can help in that process. Again with dress, dressing modestly can help curb pride and vanity, things contrary to God, His nature and holiness. Mortification is a duty of ourselves, and as with graces, it is a work of the Spirit in the sanctification process, for which He uses means. And then, why wouldn't a Christian want to dress in a way that brings the most mortification of pride and vanity, coming against sin in the strongest way possible?

Why would a Christian feed its enemy? A Christian should not, and ignoring this can be eternally dangerous:

Gal 6:8 - "For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."

And so, while nothing we do in our lives merits salvation, there are means of sanctification in the salvation process, and it is important for a professing Christian to consider how he/she live their life in light of the Bible's directions and how Christ lived His.

-- David

Friday, September 23, 2016

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: Turkey Surprise!

After what we believe is a Spanish black heritage female turkey just showed up on our farm one day, and after finding a local heritage turkey breeder and fetching a tom for her, and after not really seeing much go on between them, something happened the other day...

Trina, our turkey hen, was prone to sitting on her eggs. She tried once in the orchard, but we got her out of there as that's just a situation for her to get eaten up. She also had sat on eggs on our hay stack in the barn, but we had problems with a big snake that was eating her eggs. And then once more, she started sitting on her eggs in the hay manger we have in the barn stall. She also had a little chicken hen helper who would take her eggs and sit on them, and then Sue would move them back under Trina.

Well, what do you know! About 25 days later...little cheep, cheeps coming out from underneath Trina! Ha! How neat is that? What a nice and gracious gift from God!

I figured it was time to get her and them out of the barn as 1) they're snake bait, and 2) once she goes mobile they're cat bait. I didn't really know where to put her other than the summer kitchen, but all we had were the little chicken cage-pens. So, I took a couple apart and strung them together to make a larger pen, and it created a nice area! And then we moved them -- we had found one dead next to her, and we believe there were another two that didn't make it out of the egg, but she had 3 live ones under her, which Sue scooped up as I grabbed Trina, and now they're all in there very nicely, all still alive! How neat!

Here is a picture of them:

Our First Turkey Chicks

And a video of the adventure!

We are thankful to the Lord for this very nice, gracious and unexpected gift! May they go to good use, so God would glorify Himself in some way, and that maybe His people might benefit!

-- David

Friday, September 16, 2016

A House - Update XLV - Bedroom Closet Clothes Hanging Rods & Pantry Shelves

The Lord has granted some more progress on the house, more internal furnishings to be able to continue the "move in" process!

Here are some clothes hanging rods for the bedroom closet. I used adjustable-length metal rods, and double stacked them for my clothes:

Bedroom Closet Clothes Hanging Rods

Clothes Hanging Double Stacked in the Bedroom Closet

And then extended the top rod to allow for Sue's dresses:

Dresses Hanging in the Bedroom Closet

Also, we put up our first shelves in the pantry!

First Shelves in the Pantry

Once again, we are thankful to God for allowing these things. We always pray the house will be a place where His glory is brought forth, in our lives and through those in the community.

-- David

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Orchard - Summer 2016 - Plums & Pears

It was a very light winter this past one. While I'm not a cold-weather person, it also appears to perhaps have affected the productivity of the orchard. By God's graces, we almost always get peaches and nectarines, but nothing really this year. And we willingly submit to God's providence in these things.

However, we did get quite a few plums earlier in the year! Several buckets-full like this, which we just ate on the fly:

2016 Orchard Plums

And for the first time I think, other than maybe an odd one or two over the years, God granted a few pears! Yea!

2016 Orchard Pears

We are always thankful to the Lord for whatever He grants. We deserve to receive nothing, anything granted is by His graciousness, and we submit, agree with, and are thankful for His perfect will in this and all things.

-- David