Friday, December 26, 2008

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: New Calf "Leandro"

The Lord most graciously allowed yet another calf to be born to one of our cows. Introducing Leandro, which means "lion-man"; of course he's not a man though :). Rosa gave birth to him this past Monday, and he is our first bull (male) calf:




Here is another picture of him:




And here is a video (which was shot Wednesday):

video


God is very gracious and merciful, and we are thankful for Him granting perpetuation provisions.

--David

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: New Calf "Sarita"

The Lord in His graces and mercies granted a new little heifer (female) calf be born this past Sabbath (Saturday) to one of our cows, Amistosa. The calf has a little "dot" of white fur on her otherwise red (brown) head, and that reminded us of a East Indian princess, which apparently is not what the dot means and was just an improper perception we had; but we decided to go with it anyway, so please meet Sarita, which means "princess" in Spanish. She was up and about following her mother in just about 6 hours, we figure.

Her mother's name means "friendly" (because she has been from the moment we got her), and it appears this little one picked up the gene, because she walked right up to us, which allowed us these pictures:






And this video:

video




We are very grateful once again to God and His many provisions.

-- David

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Summer Kitchen Update

The Lord is gracious in allowing more homestead improvements and fellowship with the brethren, one of those for us being what we have planned to be a summer kitchen project. With me being a rookie building designer, things "ended up" being a little different than the original plan.

In including windows but desiring them to be horizontally sliding, I purchased some from the local home improvement store that were typically used as vertically sliding windows thinking I could simply spin them sideways and thus make them horizontal windows. Well, it worked ok, sort of, but not, because I discovered that, not only was there a spring line attached which is meant to help in opening the windows up against gravity, but since mine were tilted over 90 degrees, that resistance made it difficult to close them. Further, when it rained, water puddled in and leaked over the lower sliding area. Something was amiss.

I soon found out that vertically sliding windows are not designed to be installed as horizontally sliding windows, and that there were indeed windows specifically designed to be horizontally sliding.

Sigh.

So, after understanding a little more about windows, I ordered the proper, left-right sliding windows. When they had arrived, I began the replacement operation.

The biggest obstacle was that the open space I had built into the window frames was horizontally too short for the new windows. However, in thanks to God for how I originally constructed it and for the idea, I was able to just cut out with a reciprocating saw one of the side 2x4s of the window frame and replace it with a 1x4, thus allowing for the needed space and therefore resolving that, quite possibly complicated, issue.

When replacing the first window, which I had silicone-caulked originally, I thought I would sort of "work" the window loose. When I did that, I apparently twisted the window beyond capacity, and the outer pane of glass shattered. Sigh, again. Ok, so then, when installing the new window, after setting it in the window frame, as I was trying to screw it in place, the top of it fell forward, hitting my head (which took off a nickel-sized piece of skin), and the screw that I had been planning to use to secure it was now found to be buried in the screening of the new window. Sigh, again, again.

Anyway, I learned very quickly that what I had been doing was apparently not, at a minimum, the best way to proceed. I figured then that I should spend more time prying the old windows' edges from the caulking before trying to remove them. Wonder of wonders, this worked much better. :)


And so with all of that, here are a couple of pictures of where we are with the summer kitchen, which includes screen doors, hopefully allowing maximum ventilation:





It has been a bit disheartening and sometimes frustrating, but during these situations hopefully the Lord is graciously granting us more meekness (Part 1, Part 2) and contentment, which are some of the graces for which we try to daily pray; and difficult times certainly offer the opportunity to examine ourselves (especially right at the moment) and then continue to seek Him for His graces.


We are ever grateful to God for His provisions, spiritual and temporal.

-- David

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Garden 2008 II Update


With water provisions graciously granted by the Lord, and with His graciousness in allowing us to store quite a bit of it, we were able to keep the garden going. Some of it didn't make it so well, I believe partially because of how the double-dug beds are sloped and still only have original top soil, which at this point forms a hard layer after drying. Lord willing, over the winter in preparation for next Spring, we hope to build up the soil on top of the beds with compost, vermiculite and peat moss.


Despite that, God has granted us some provisions off of the land from the current garden. Besides the one shown above, here are some pictures of the growth:





And here is a bowl of green beans and bell peppers:




And one of squash and broccoli:




And her are some carrots, which were planted in the Spring and survived the drought:




Here is some of it being prepared for long-term storage:




And then canned:




Here is a watermelon. Interestingly, we didn't plant watermelon seeds this year at all!




There were some logistic issues to the fall garden. I did try to time our planting based on the noted harvest times of the plants with the theoretical first freeze for this area (which for us is Nov 15). The Lord has been gracious in not permitting a hard freeze to come through here as of yet, and so that has allowed us to gather from the garden even beyond the predicted harvest times.

During the last few weeks, on freezing or near-there nights, we have covered the garden with 10' wide, 6mm thick, white plastic, so the sensitive plants wouldn't be directly exposed to the cold; and that appears, by God's graces and mercies, to have helped on those nights. However, it seems there is a point with some temperature-sensitive plants where, even though they are covered and temperatures don't reach hard-freeze levels, they are still affected and essentially stop growing their "fruit." But, the vegetables themselves were not destroyed, and we were thankfully able to still cull them.

Right now, we have collected all of the above-ground vegetables. Sue's next job with the garden is to pull the carrots (planted in the Spring!, but which are root crops, therefore below ground, and thus more protected from colder temperature) and then process the cabbage, which we are probably going to try to store as sauerkraut, as that is a common agrarian method of long-term storage.


All thanks be to God for His graces, mercies and provisions in allowing us food off of the land.

-- David