Thursday, September 28, 2017

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: Chicken Hatchings of 2017 6th-8th

The Lord graciously granted another three chicken hatchings of 2017, the 6th, 7th and 8th!

Here's group 6. I believe the hen hatched out 8:

2017 6th Group of Chicken Hatchlings


In this group, there was one that had trouble with one of its legs, and would stick it out straight back -- you can get a good look at it how it was in the video below. Well, in our experience, a good way to try to help with that is to put binders on its legs, where you use a thin piece of duct tape and wrap each end around each leg, which helps keep the legs together, with the idea that the good leg will help guide the bad one into what it's supposed to do correctly (like us being yoked to Christ! Matt. 11:29 - "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.").

At first, it was too small for the good leg to overpower the bad one, but as the good leg strengthened, I was able to attach the binder, and it did seem to help. You can see the binders on it in the video as well.

Today, she (which is what it appears it turned out to be) is still going, and able to get around fairly well, which we also show in the video.


And then, here is group 7. The mama was a hatchling from I believe a couple of years ago, and she originally hatched out 11. But...

I can't remember exactly how this went, one day I did a count, and only saw 10, but thought perhaps I had just miscounted originally. Some time later, I walked in, and there was one dead, and only 7 alive, which means another 2 were missing. What was going on? I looked around in the summer kitchen pantry there, and sure enough, I found a snake in the corner, picked it up, and there was a chick-sized lump in its belly. Arg! And bummer. I don't know how it got in there, as I had been purposefully keeping the main doors of the summer kitchen closed just because of this snake issue (we've had trouble like that before) -- maybe it got in through a small hole in external OSB, but it seems it would have had to do that when it was smaller.

Anyway, after getting the snake out of there, the other 7 are still going strong!

2017 7th Group of Chicken Hatchlings


And this is group 8. 6 or 7 hatched out, 1 or 2 died, but the other 5 are still also doing well!

2017 8th Group of Chicken Hatchlings


And here is a video of all 3 groups:




Once again, we are very grateful to the Lord for granting these provisions, and for His mercy on the ones He allowed us to keep. They are all His chickens to do with as He pleases, and we are just thankful He has allowed us any. May they be used for His glory!

-- David

Thursday, September 21, 2017

How to Pressure Can Bacon Pieces

Back in June we took in our large pig boar, Ardy, to the meat processor. I still have a wrist strain injury from browning all of the ground meat, but that's another story...... :)

While we here are always looking to learn ways to preserve food without freezing or canning, in the mean time, I learned how to pressure can bacon several years ago and, since it is so easy, I thought I would share it with you in case it might be helpful to anyone. The price of bacon has seemed to skyrocket over the years (at least in actual prices). Wouldn't you love to "pounce" on a good bacon sale and be able to preserve it in bulk without using up freezer space or risking freezer burn? AND, it would already be pre-cooked! Real bacon! Well, below is a simple tutorial as to how I process and pressure can bacon pieces. (Sorry, if you want to can entire pieces there are other tutorials on line). Investing in a canner and some jars/lids is really not very expensive at all compared to the savings over time when you find great sales. You can pressure can just about anything.

Okay, let's go!

Here is how the bacon comes from the processor:

Shrink-wrapped Bacon


So, I just take it out of the package and lay it on a cutting board with my preferred knife ready to cut it into strips. REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure the bacon is still partially frozen for nice, clean cutting. As it thaws, the fat gets greasy and slippery and becomes increasingly difficult and more dangerous to cut. You may as well put it back in the freezer at that point:

Bacon Ready for Cutting


I cut it into approximately 1/2" strips. If you want smaller pieces, cut to your preferred width:

Bacon Cut in Cross Strips


Then I cut the strips cross-wise into several small sections, again, approx. 1/2" (cut to your preferred size). Don't worry about trying to separate each layer; it will all separate in the cooking:

Bacon Cut Into Pieces


Yeah, Ardy was a big boy.....

Bowls of Bacon Pieces


Okay, then I just lightly cooked the bacon in frying pans, about half-way or more cooked, and the fat is released from the meat:

Pan Cooking Bacon Pieces


I then strained out the meat with a slotted spoon. If you want less bacon grease in your jar, use a colander or more thorough straining method:

Straining Out the Bacon Grease


Here is the big bowl of bacon grease I strained, which will be canned in separate jars along with the bacon. This way, the grease will be preserved indefinitely until I'm ready to use it, and it won't become rancid:

Bowl of Bacon Grease to Pressure Can


The yield: 22 pints of delicious bacon pieces!!!

Jars of Bacon Ready for Pressure Canning


I strained the bacon grease to get out the little remnants of bacon for a clean, clear lard result:

Straining the Bacon Grease


Four and a half pints of bacon grease - not bad!

Jars of Bacon Grease Ready for Pressure Canning


I processed the bacon and grease in pint jars at 15 lbs. pressure for 75 minutes in my trusty pressure canner (don't be intimidated, if I can do it, anyone "can" :D ), dutifully following the canning book instructions. We live about 1,100 feet above sea level so please can according to your own altitude and guidelines:

Jars of Bacon Pieces in Pressure Canner


And the finished product! It may not look that appetizing, but here is delicious pre-cooked bacon, ready to be poured out of the jar and used in your recipe of choice. You can heat it up and get all of the grease out of it, or include the grease to fry with, etc. When bacon is called for in recipes, it usually takes time and planning. This way, it's all ready right away!

Jars of Pressure Canned Bacon Pieces


Here is a closer look:

Closeup of Jar of Canned Bacon Pieces


We are so very thankful to God for these provisions and a way at this time to preserve and be good stewards of them. Bon appetit!

Susan

Thursday, September 14, 2017

David's Digest: Sins of the Heart

Some time ago I had come across someone giving the example that as long as someone who desires homosexual relations doesn't act on them, they are okay in God's eyes, the idea being that if someone abstains from an outward manifestation of sin, they are keeping themselves from actual sin. This idea is what prompted this blog post.

The Bible speaks otherwise of this idea, and calls this concupiscence.

Webster's 1828 dictionary defines this as:
Lust; unlawful or irregular desire of sexual pleasure. In a more general sense, the coveting of carnal things, or an irregular appetite for worldly good; inclination for unlawful enjoyments.

This is not just in the sexual realm -- it covers all carnal desires of the heart.


Here is where concupiscence is mentioned in the Bible:

Rom 7:8 - "But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead."

Puritan commentator John Gill says of the concupiscence here:
"The law forbidding every unclean thought, and covetous desire of unlawful objects, sin took an occasion through these prohibitions to work in him, stir up and excite concupiscence, evil desire after all manner of things forbidden by the law; hence it is clear that not the law, but sin, is exceeding sinful."

Col 3:5 - "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:"

Here Dr. Gill says it
"includes every fleshly lust and inordinate desire, or every desire after that which is not lawful, or does not belong to a man; as what is another's property, his wife, or goods, or anything that is his."

1 Thess 4:3-5 - "3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: 4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:"

Again Dr. Gill, regarding fulfilling the lust of concupiscence:
"for a man so to possess his vessel, is to cherish the sin of concupiscence, the first motions of sin in the heart, by which a man is drawn away, and enticed."

Acts of sin are only the outward workings of the evil—yes, sinful—desires of the heart. In fact, sin starts in the heart:

Prov 4:23 - "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."

Luke 6:45 - "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.


And here are scriptures talking about the sins of the heart, which is by nature sinful:

Gen 6:5 - "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."

Psa 28:3 - "Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts."

Psa 58:2 - "Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth."

Psa 101:4 - "A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person."

Prov 6:18 - "An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,"

Prov 10:20 - "The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth."

Prov 21:4 - "An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin."

Jer 4:14 - "O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?"

Matt 15:18-20 - "18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man."

Acts 8:22 - "Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee."

1 John 3:15 - "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him."


Finally, Puritan Thomas Manton has some words in regards to heart sin:

This is from Manton, vol xviii, sermons upon Proverbs x 20, sermon II, the full text which can be read here:
(4.) That we must make conscience not only of our words, but thoughts. Men are cautious in their speeches and how they discover themselves; but they think thoughts are free. No; heart-sins are sins as well as the sins of the tongue and life : Prov. xxiv. 9, 'The thought of foolishness is sin'; they are contrary to the law of God. Therefore David saith, Ps. cxix. 113, 'I hate vain thoughts.' Usually we take more liberty in our thoughts than in our words and actions. Men will not rob, steal, murder, or assault the chastity of a neighbour's wife; but let their hearts run riot in coveting, and that is theft in the heart; or lusting, and that is adultery in the heart: Mat. v. 28, 'Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart'; or malice and revenge, and that is killing in the heart.

And this is from Manton, vol xviii, sermons upon John i 29, sermons II, the full text which can be read here:
Others, if they would be freed from sin, they respect only the preventing the outward act, but you must abstain from the lust [desire] : 1 Peter ii. 11, 'I beseech you, as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts [desires], which war against the soul.' If they look after the heart and inward man, it is some branch of sin, not the root, or the change of the heart, and so die impenitent. Evil practices do not flow from a present temptation, but an evil nature. All these lose their labour; they neither get rid of trouble nor prevent the act, nor are free from the breach of God's law, but Christ would make a thorough cure.

May God change our heart to ones desiring Christ, His righteousness and holiness; may He keep our hearts pure, removing sinful desires; and may He grant us the desire and strength to pray and fight against the sinful desires of the heart!

-- David

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Gigi the Goose Gets Gustav the Gander

With the loss of our gander Augie, I figured it's just not right for Gigi our goose to be alone. Plus, they cost basically nothing to maintain, and can sometimes alert when some things are not status quo around the farm.

And so we kept an eye out for a mate for her on one of the internet lists.

And recently, the Lord granted we find one fairly close by! Yea!

Apparently a young Chinese-breed gander, we went and picked him up and introduced the two, and they quickly became "an item"! Yea again, and thanks to God for both!

And we decided to name him Gustav (Goose-tav :D ). He reminds me somewhat of Gary, in the way he looks and sounds. Fond memories of Gary. :)

Anyway, here are a couple pictures of Gustav and Gigi, with him on the right:

Gustav Our Gander & Gigi Our Goose

More of Gustav Our Gander & Gigi Our Goose


And then a video of their introduction and them getting to know each other:




They continue to do very well, hang out all day together, and we've even seen Gustav act in a way that looks like he's protecting her. :)


Again, we are thankful to the Lord for granting Gigi a mate so she won't be alone, and that they were very quickly like old friends! We pray they might benefit the Church and perhaps the farm in some way.

-- David