Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Goat Breeding Time 2020!

It was that time of year again, to put our male goats and females together for mating season. We wait until now to try to get any offspring being born in April, when most of the cold weather is typically over.

This year, we had kept two of our female goat kids in order to increase the herd, but didn't want to breed them this year as we feel they are just a little too small still.

And so, we moved them to their own field, and put the billies and nannies together, and here's the video of all that fun and frolicking adventure!



We thank the Lord for His continued provisions, and pray He might grant the offspring next year, according to His will!

-- David

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Garden - Spring, Summer & Fall 2020

Just catching up on the garden this 2020, after our Spring-time update. The Lord has been very, very gracious in what He has granted this year...

The zucchinis were coming in fast and furious, and we needed a way to preserve them, so we decided to lacto-ferment as much as we could. That meant lots of shredding, so to help Sue out so she didn't have to hand-grate everything, we got this nifty contraption that worked just great!
Handcrank Vegetable Shredder

And here are some results!
Grating Zucchini
Stored Grated Zucchini
More Zucchini
Still More Zucchini

We had some help from the neighbor children too!
Neighbor Children Helping Grate Zucchini

And Sue made some yummies from it all too!

Zucchini muffins:
Zucchini Bread Cupcakes

Breaded zucchini:
Breaded Zucchini

Zucchini cake:
Zucchini Cake

Here's some okra. We did get a few beans, but those just didn't work out:
Okra & Green Beans

For the okra, we're storing them in cheap apple cider vinegar. This works great, even over a long period of time. Before we eat them, Sue soaks them in a bowl of water to remove some of the tartness, and that works well too.
Preserved Okra

Here was the garden back in early August:
Garden August 2020

And then October before our first potential freezes. We tried to get the zucchinis and okra through (a little spooky on the okra :) ):
Garden October 2020
Zucchini Plants Covered for Freeze
Okra Plants Covered for Freeze

And here are the Goji berry plants, with a bunch of berries!
Goji Berry Plants October 2020

And this is the garden after the freeze. After we took off the blankets, we ended up getting hit with a freeze on a night that it wasn't supposed to. It did hurt the zucchinis:
Garden After Freeze
More Garden After Freeze

But, with a freeze, it was time to go get any sweet potatoes out of the ground God might have granted, and here they are, including supervisor William making sure everything is copacetic!
Harvesting Sweet Potatoes
More Harvesting Sweet Potatoes

And the final haul inside for curing, and then eventually wrapping in newspaper for long-term storage:
Curing Sweet Potatoes

Finally, this is the garden as of today. Not much left:
Garden November 2020

But, some of the zucchini plants actually started to recover from the freeze, grow new leaves, and one put out it looks like one more zucchini for the road!
Last Zucchini Growing

As I said, the Lord was very gracious this year. Here are the final jars of preserved zucchini and okra. The jar on the left is the top-numbered pint jar, the counting of quart jars in the middle picked up after that number, and then the jar on the right is our final-count okra jar:
Final Preserved Zucchini & Okra Jars

We are humblingly thankful to God for His most gracious provisions. It's such a blessing to see Him work His direct providence in the garden, watching Him apply the water and nutrients to plants to produce fruit. We pray He do the same in our hearts, producing the fruit of the Spirit, for His glory and maybe the benefit of others!

-- David

Thursday, October 29, 2020

David's Digest: The Godliness of Music

I took piano lessons from age 5-15, and so music has been a good part of my life. But if you think about it, what is music actually? We all sort of know about it, understand it exists, participate in it when we sing or hear a song, but what's going on "under the covers", so to speak?

I would suggest that it is all God's specific doing, and that it is inherent and literally built in to creation by the Creator. Let me try to explain...

Sound is based on waves of vibrations in the air, like a Sine wave, where the wave starts at a mid point, goes up to a point, and goes down below the midpoint an equal distance, and this repeats over and over. The characteristics of the wave give the distinctions of the sounds: the higher the wave apexes from the middle, the louder the sound is, which is called amplitude, where we get "amplify", or make louder; the closer together each wave is to the next one in the cycle, the higher the sound, which is called frequency (ie. how many times a wave happens per unit of time). If we were to pipe sounds into an oscilloscope, you could see these represented, and watch the changes as the sound changed.

This in itself shows a constant in creation. But there's more...

Most believe it was Pythagoras (yes, that Pythagoras) that discovered an interesting "phenomenon". Two different tones together could be categorized mathematically in 2:1 ratios (ie. the frequency of the upper tone being 2 times that of the lower tone) and 3:2 ratios (the frequency of the upper tone making 3 vibrations in the same amount of time that the lower tone makes 2). Then, if you crawl up tones using the 3:2 ratio, on the 12th iteration, you land basically, with some slight mathematical variance, on the 7th iteration if you had crawled up using the 2:1 ratio, thus ending the cycles of each before starting a new round (this is where we get the 7-note scales and the 12-note chromatic scale, for you musically-inclined folks).

(More details are in lots of places on the internet, but here's a starting place if you would like: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagorean_tuning. And for anyone interested, the handling of the mathematical variance mentioned above in tuning instruments in more modern times is discussed in equal temperament or well temperament.)

Notice anything about the numbers in the above description? 12 and 7? In the Bible, 12 represents God's power and authority, or governmental foundation, or the number of completion; and 7 is the number representing completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual).

Coincidence? These are mathematically built in to nature, and shows an extraordinary degree of order. If I had nothing else, for me personally, this would show some intelligence put nature together. This is absolutely amazing to me!

Further, the base structure when notes are played together is called a "chord", and the base structure of that consists of 3 notes, and 3 in the Bible also represents completeness.


But now, looking beyond that, I believe there are many spiritual representations in music, and how it's used.

First, God would have us sing to Him. Many, many verses, but here are a couple:
Ps 105:2 - "Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works."

Ps 135:3 - "Praise the Lord; for the Lord is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant."

In fact, the Psalms are really songs. Sue and I sing them each night in family worship, using a Psalter (here's the last set of Psalms we recorded to help people learn them: Psalm Singing - August 2020).

Usually in any song, there is the melody, or the tune we might all know, and the other parts sung with the melody that form chords which sound good together, which are called harmony parts, all working together to make the music, and to make it sound better. I think one can glean a couple things from this:
  • This is similar to the body of Christ, His people, working together in...wait for it...harmony (see this definition). :)
    1 Cor 12:12-14 - "12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many."
  • Not everyone in the Church has the same function, and yet they are all important for the complete picture:
    1 Cor 12:15-20 - "15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20 But now are they many members, yet but one body."

Another thing that I think can be observed: when an orchestra with multiple kinds of instruments, and multiples of those, play together, there is usually a conductor. His job is:
  • To help lead and keep everyone together as they make their way in unity and not chaotically to the end, and the orchestra follows the conductor's lead
  • To help with the interpretation of the original composer's intent
  • To set the speed (or "tempo") of how fast the music is played, with the idea it's not about how quickly you get to the end, but how you get there

To me, this is similar to the Church, where:
  • Pastors and leaders help guide Christ's flock through their earthly pilgrimage to the end, helping keep away from chaos and instead in unity, and the people follow their lead as it conforms to scripture:
    Heb 13:17 - "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."
  • Pastors and leaders should rightly divide God's word (the composition) as to how God would have it interpreted:
    2 Tim 2:15 - "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
  • Our Christian walk is not about how quickly we get to the end, but how our pilgrims' progress in this life is to be travelled as the Lord would have for us, in the manner in which He would have us get there:
    1 Cor 9:24 - "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain."

    Heb 12:1 - "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,"

All in all, I believe music is a gift architected into creation by the Lord, thus revealing Himself in nature, and is to be used for His glory and means by which we worship Him, and which is also graciously something we can enjoy as we praise and give thanksgiving to so great a God!

-- David

Monday, October 19, 2020

Pesky 2nd Law of Thermodynamics: Outside Wood Boxes Refurbish Time

As built into the natural order, things decay over time. I believe this is a type or a picture of death, which entered the world through sin:
Rom 6:23 - "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
And so, we can learn to see God's hand in all things, and be reminded of sin and what its due is -- death: physical, spiritual and eternal, and then be reminded of Christ Jesus, the only savior from spiritual and eternal death! Thank the Lord for so great a gift! And for designing these things in the physical realm to teach us spiritual realities!

We see lots of decaying things around here, and some end up being beneficial, as in a compost pile. But other things aren't as helpful as that, and one of those are wood-structures. Through time, they start to fall apart, and recently I went through and refurbished several items around the homestead...


Well Box

We actually did have a well dug on our place not long after arriving. It actually still does push out water, although we need a generator to use it, and it has a lot of, I believe, nitrates or nitrites in it. And so, we stick to our catch water systems.

In order to try to keep the well hose that comes out of the well head from freezing, I built an insulated box to put over it. Well, it's been a while, and here is where we were with it:
Decayed Well Box Covered with Blanket

Cats would come and go through the blanket holes; chickens would get in there sometimes too. And so, it was time to reconstruct the box.

Here it is uncovered:
Decayed Well Box

And then disassembled:
Disassembled Old Well Box

Here's what was underneath. Remember about the chickens? :) (Actually, this is a re-stage of the eggs, because I forgot to take a picture initially, but it was basically like this.)
Eggs in Well Box Area
Well Box Area

And then cleaned up, ready for the new box:
Well Box Area Cleaned

Here's the well box frame. Last time, I had different heights on the ends to allow for water runoff, but with enough of a slant on the ground, I decided to just make it square this time. Also, I shorted dimensions to allow for overlapping the plywood siding at the corners, and also to have the top overlap the side plywood pieces:
New Well Box Frame

I also decided to tack on what was left of the old footer to the new footer to let that rot on the ground instead of the new footer, hopefully buying us a little more time with the new box:
New Well Box with Old Footer

Then, it was caulk the frame before putting on the plywood siding:
New Well Box Frame with Caulking

And then add the siding:
New Well Box with Siding On

And the insulation:
New Well Box Insulated

Put the box in place, ready to lower down:
New Well Box in Place Ready to Lower

And then set it in place over the well head, and caulk the corners, ready for painting:
New Well Box in Place

And then paint it, and then it's done and ready for hopefully another 10 or 12 years!
New Well Box Painted

Well Hose End Box

Most of the well hose I buried way back when, but we of course needed part of it to stick out of the ground to attach a normal hose for the actual use of it. For that, I also built an insulated box, only just a mini version.

Here is what was left (this is a re-stage too, but it was basically like this, although not quite as cleaned out as here):
Decayed Well Hose Box

And so, here's little brother -- basically the same design:
New Well Hose Box

And painted, and in place:
New Well Hose Box in Place

Generator Box

Once again, here's what was left:
Old Generator Box
More of Old Generator Box

And the new box. I decided to forego the flat-board insulation I had used last time, to try to help sound proof it. Most if it was gone because the chickens like to peck at it :), and we really don't need the sound proofing:
New Generator Box

Here's the lid:
New Generator Box Lid

And the new box and lid ready to go!
New Generator Box in Place

We thank the Lord for granting the resources and know-how to do these types of things! Again, may we learn to see and contemplate God and spiritual things from all the temporal things around us!

-- David

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: 6th & 7th 2020 Chick Hatchings

The Lord in His graces and mercies granted another two chicken chick hatchings this 2020 -- the 6th and 7th!

Here's group 6. No interesting stories, just a broody mama and her 9 new youngin's!
6th 2020 Chick Hatching
More of 6th 2020 Chick Hatching

And group 7. This hen has been around a while, and I believe this is her first, hatching 8 new little ones!
7th 2020 Chick Hatching
More of 7th 2020 Chick Hatching

And here's their video. Watching them here reminds me of this verse:
Matt 23:37 - "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"
May we gather as the saints of God in praise to Father, Son, and Spirit, and especially for the Lord Christ Jesus, who He is as well as what He has done!



As always, we are very thankful to God for the new chicks, and the miracle of new life; and we ask Him for continued health and safety for them, and perhaps for them to be a benefit to the farm and others some day, according to His will!

-- David