Thursday, November 29, 2018

Garden - Fall 2018

Since our last garden update, we thought we'd show how the garden has progressed through a difficult drought. With lots of heat and little rain in the Summer, the plants struggled, but coming into Fall, the Lord graciously granted some good rains, to Whom we are thankful.

Here's a recap of the garden goings-on...


Okra always does very well:


But even this year, they struggled, and dropped their leaves early, which is quite unusual. Normally, they stop producing when the freezes come, but it was different this year:

Dried Up Okra Plants

But we are thankful to God for what He granted! And here are some of them preserved in apple cider vinegar:

Okra Preserved in Apple Cider Vinegar

Sweet Potatoes

This year, I planted them in our original garden area. Between the rains, and with hard freezes coming, it was time to get them out of the ground. Here are the main plants the day of:

Sweet Potato Plants

And some volunteer ones from last year:

Volunteer Sweet Potato Plant

Another Volunteer Sweet Potato Plant

Here's Sue helping dig them out:

Harvesting Sweet Potatoes

The uncollected harvest:

Harvested Sweet Potatoes

And then what the Lord graciously granted! It seems less than last year and they are quite a bit smaller, but I put them in a garden that has had only one mulch layer put down, and we went through one of our worst heat spells and droughts this year, so besides the fact that God doesn't have to grant anything if He doesn't want to, we are thankful for what He did, with food coming directly from Him!

Bucket of Sweet Potatoes

Now it's 3 weeks of hardening out in the open, and then 6 weeks into the root cellar, each individually wrapped in newspaper for sweetening! Yum!


Since we had a garlic harvest last season, we saved some for planting this year, and completed that process recently too. I believe this is our first time of replanting our own!

Here is the beautiful soil the Lord composted over the last year, into which we planted the garlic cloves:

Compost Pile

Composted Soil

And a newer pile we had started:

Newer Compost Pile

And here are the garlic plants starting to sprout up!

Garlic Plants

We pray for God's provisions from these next year, as He wills.

Around the Garden

Here are some other things currently growing in the garden...

The Goji berry plant:

Gogi Berry Plant

The blackberries, which died back, but started growing from the roots again:

Blackberry Plant

Another Blackberry Plant

Our little volunteer squash plant. I cover it with double blankets most nights :) :

Volunteer Squash Plant

A volunteer tomato plant. It had little flowers on it, but sadly,even covered with blankets, didn't make it because of the cold:

Volunteer Tomato Plant

Free prickly lettuce:

Volunteer Prickly Lettuce

And a volunteer turnip:

Volunteer Turnip Plant

And finally, I thought I would include here the last from the orchard, this year's pecans. Once again, I think the drought really made things struggle:


But, as always, we are very thankful to the Lord for granting all these provisions! May we be humbled He even considers giving these things at all, and may we be satisfied with, and thankful for, what He does. And may He grant us to be fruitful followers of Him as well!

-- David

Monday, November 12, 2018

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: 5th & Surprise 6th Round of 2018 Chicks

The Lord graciously granted another hen get broody this 2018, and she hatched out our 5th set of the year! She hatched out 4 with 1 sadly not making it more than a day, but the other 3 are still doing well as of today!

5th Set of 2018 Chicks

And then one day, Sue was taking the dogs up to their goat field for their evening running around, and lo and behold, there was a hen walking around with 5 chicks following her! Wow! We eventually tracked down that she had been sitting in a pecan tree fenced-in area. Thanks to God for allowing her to sit out there for at least 3 weeks without being eaten herself!

We gathered them up and got them into the summer kitchen brooder building, and here they are. She had 5 with her, and they also are still all going as of today!

6th Set of 2018 Chicks

And here is the video for both groups:

As always, we are grateful to the Lord for granting these provisions, and His extra graciousness in preserving the mama and eggs outdoors for all that time!

-- David

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Goodbye Gigi

This one's a little rough, and extraordinarily sad for me...

We had to say goodbye to Gigi, our almost 10-year resident goose here on the homestead. It wasn't necessarily that she had died, it was how...

Sue went into the barn one morning to get the dogs out of the kennel to take them up to one of the goat fields for their morning time up there, and when she opened the back door to the barn, the dogs met her there.

Wait...what??!! she thought. That's impossible...the dogs are in the kennel!

It was true; they were out, and the worst fear had come to pass...

Being Border Collies, they have an extremely strong instinct to chase down animals, and sadly with birds, eat them. And sure enough, Sue found Gigi dead. She took up the dogs, and came and got me, and it was true. Interestingly, Gigi didn't seem to have too many injuries to her, only torn open a little in her chest, but maybe the whole experience was too much physically, or something happened to her neck, or the injuries were just worse than they looked, but she was gone. We pray she didn't really suffer and that it was quick and painless.

The chain link fencing at the bottom of the kennel door had been pulled up some, and the dogs had apparently squeezed through. Brodey at times past has become scared or something, usually in thunderstorms, and will bite on the kennel door fencing and pull on it. He's even broken a lower canine of his, we figure from doing that. Well, we assume this is what happened and how they got out.

It's so heart wrenching, because it was easily preventable. And needless to say, we are much more aware of the conditions of the kennels now.

But, before the world was even created, God planned in His wisdom and goodness to grant us just 5 days short of 10 years to take care of His gift Gigi, who brought pleasantness to the homestead. And we thank the Lord that no other animals were killed with the dogs free like that -- a great grace and mercy!

Here is Gigi with each of her mates, including videos of their introductions:

When Gary met her:

And when she met Augie:

And finally, when she met Gustav:

And here's a final video of she and Gustav, after Gustav had got a watermelon rind stuck on him. We hope God grants us another female at some point so Gustav will not be alone:

We thank the Lord for allowing us to have Gigi and the blessing she was, and thanks again to the folks that gave her to us!

Goodbye, Gigi...

Our Goose Gigi

Gigi Nesting

Gigi's Grave

Gigi's Headstone

-- David

Monday, October 22, 2018

Bye to Penelope, Hello to Ham

For many, many years we have been breeding pigs, keeping an offspring to perpetuate for the next round, and then selling the rest.

Well, the Lord in His wisdom decided the line would come to an end. The last one we kept was Penelope from back in 2013. In 2014, we bought a pig we named Odysseus, and put them together. Sadly, this produced no offspring.

So we tried again with a young one from the neighbors, but he got out and ran back to their pig pen. And so we tried again, and this one ended up being one we named Ardy in 2016.

By around mid-2017, I decided that he either had done the job or hadn't, and so we took him in to the processor.

Well, after 4 months, there was nothing. I debated about what to do, with such a nice line, and being somewhat sentimental to all of the years and generations. But eventually figured it was time to call it "end of the line."

However, that wasn't the quite the end. The processor was busy, so we needed to make an appointment in the future.

And we tried to get her loaded, and she would just not go in, even with the cattle trailer backed up to an opening in the paneled fences right at her normal feeding area. She had lost her appetite because of the heat I figure, so she wasn't very motivated. And so we had to cancel the processor reservation a couple of times.

Well, we tried one more time, with the trailer parked there for 5-6 days before, and the day before really worked it, even by building a temporary fence around the loading area. It was rough at points, where she tried to lift up the panel and get away (she was a big girl and not pleased at all!), and then I had to put in t-posts, but finally, but God's graces, we got her into the trailer:

Our Pig Penelope

Another of Our Pig Penelope

Penelope's Loading Area

And here she is her last morning. She tore up the cross pieces in the trailer, and then getting her out of the trailer and into the processor was again something of a chore, but thankfully we were able to say goodbye and bring her to her final place where she would, Lord willing, become our daily bread:

Penelope Lying in the Trailer

Here is a video recapping the 1 1/2 to 2-hour loading adventure, and a goodbye the next morning:

And finally, here are some of the provisions God has granted from her:


Penelope Ham


Penelope Bacon

And lard:

Penelope Fat

Penelope Lard

We've also had pork steaks, which are very tender, including for one of our Lord's day's fellowship meal -- very yummy, and a real treat!

We are grateful to the Lord for the granting of the provisions from Penelope and all of the generations before her. We are thankful no one has been hurt by the pigs over the years, and we pray for direction for next steps.

-- David

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: Olivia's 2018 Turkey Chick

With us not really having a great way to manage the turkey flock we have now, after a rogue Black Turkey heritage breed hen just showed up at our homestead one day, it becomes difficult when the females start getting broody. They often find quite remote places to nest, and sometimes just hide in the grass somewhere in a field. Although we have lost one to that situation, the Lord's been gracious to allow us to usually track them down as they perhaps come back in the morning to eat or drink or what have you before returning to their nest, and then we can follow them.

Now though, we try to make sure to collect any turkey eggs we find, and then, if we find a turkey on a nest, haul her in and any eggs in the nest, and put them in the summer kitchen, and add any other eggs we have.

Well, we did that this year with Olivia, the female from last year's hatching, who had quite a few of her own eggs.

And while she had 5-6 under her, only one hatched out, but by God's graciousness, this little turklet (I call them "turklets", like "chicklets") ;) made it all along, is still going today, and is almost adult size! We believe now it is a "she" turkey, and she is our first grand-turklet!

Here she is with her mommy back in August, obviously a little older than just a hatchling by this time:

Olivia & Her 2018 Turkey Chick

As you can see, the turklet liked to walk all over Olivia :) :

Another of Olivia & Her 2018 Turkey Chick

One sad note: we did the same "grab and put in the summer kitchen" with one of our other hens, Tasha, and she hatched out 2 turklets, but not long after they were born, each disappeared. We assume a snake got them, but I never found the culprit in there, and often we do. It's still a mystery, but it was not the Lord's will they continue, and we agree whole-heartedly with Him in His sovereignty, wisdom, and goodness!

Tasha & a 2018 Turkey Chick

And here is the video of Olivia and her hatchling, which progresses from the pictures above to when we permanently let them out of the summer kitchen to just this week! The video does include the other mama and one tiny little turklet that was left at the time:

And as always, we are very thankful to the Lord for His graces and mercies and the perpetuation of the animals!

-- David

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Community Singing - September 2018

This past Lord's day we gathered together to record the next set of Psalms from the psalter we use. It is our prayer we learn His word better, and that perhaps others might be able to participate in Psalms singing as well with these.

Here are the latest:

(If the above player doesn't work, you can click the Listen link below; or if you would like to save any of the files locally to your computer, you can right click on Download and click Save As in the popup menu.)

Psalms 69A-71D

Previous Psalms singings:

Psalms 1A-12B (minus 4B)

Psalms 4B & 13-18L

Psalms 19A-22E

Psalms 22F-24C

Psalms 25A-27F

Psalms 28A-31G

Psalms 32A-34D

Psalms 35A-37F

Psalms 38B-40F

Psalms 41A-44F

Psalms 45A-49C

Psalms 50A-53

Psalms 54A-59B

Psalms 60A-65B

Psalms 66A-68E

We always pray the Lord glorify Himself through His word, and may He mold us in the image of the Lord Christ Jesus through these things!

-- David

Monday, September 24, 2018

David's Digest: A Test of Uprightness

I believe Christianity -- following Christ -- is not a part of our is our life. I believe Christianity doesn't fit into our lives with everything else -- everything else fits around our Christianity and should be a part of our lives or not based on that.

The Bible indicates that it is possible to claim to be a Christian and yet not be one. For instance, in the parable of the wheat and tares, the tares look like wheat until fruition; and in the parable of the sower, some seed falls on rocky and thorny soil, both sprout (look like good fruit will grow), but eventually die.

Puritan Thomas Manton discusses an upright Christian walk in a sermon on Psalm 19:13, which you can read in full here.

How do we compare to the following?

From Thomas Manton:

Secondly, Positively. He that is upright may be known and tried by these four things - (1.) His principles; (2.) His conversation [behavior]; (3.) His ends; (4.) The fruits and effects of his constant endeavours.

1. His principles, which are -

[1.] The new nature fitting and suiting his heart to the things of God, so that he loveth them not only out of interest, but inclination: Ps. cxix. 140, 'Thy word is very pure, therefore thy servant loveth it.' Surely he is upright that is thus naturally carried to the things of God. In some measure the man is restored to that frame of heart which mankind had in innocency; his heart inclined him to God. God made man upright; grace giveth somewhat of this: Heh. viii. 10, 'I will put my laws into their minds, and write them in their hearts.'

[2.] By his love to Christ: 2 Cor. v. 14, 'The love of Christ constraineth us.' That cureth his self-love, which maketh us act crookedly and perversely. Self is his principle, self his business, self his end; his own contentment and satisfaction is all that he looketh at. But the love of Christ maketh him readily go about those things which are pleasing to Christ, and hath a mighty force and efficacy upon the soul to overrule our self-love, that we may not live to ourselves, but unto God, and obey his will.

2. By his conversation [behavior], wherein he betrayeth [shows] a constant care -

[1.] To avoid all known sin; to weaken the lusts, to suppress the acts: 1 Peter ii. 11, 'Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.' But especially he is most careful to avoid his own personal sin: Ps. xviii. 23, 'I was upright before thee, and kept myself from mine iniquity;' which the affections of his own heart might most transport him into. He can sacrifice his Isaac, cut off his right hand, pluck out his right eye, laboureth to subdue his particular corrupt inclinations, useth no guile to cloak and extenuate them before God: Ps. xxxii. 2, 'Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and
in whose spirit there is no guile.' This is the man who may comfort himself with God's acceptance, and the comforts and privileges of the new covenant.

[2.] As to the other part of his conversation, his way and the constant tenor of his walk is to please God, and he maketh conscience of obeying the will of God in all his actions: Phil. i. 10, 11, 'That ye may approve things that are excellent, and ye may be sincere and without offence' till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the praise and glory of God.' His aim is at the constant practice of every thing that is good: 'And having learned how to walk and to please God, so you would abound therein more and more,' 1 Thes. iv. 1.

3. By his ends, which are the pleasing and glorifying of God. This is his main fixed scope: 2 Cor. v. 9, 'Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him;' 1 Cor. x. 31, 'Whether ye eat or drink, or whatever ye do, do all to the glory of God;' Col. i. 10, 'That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.' There is no corrupt design of vainglory, credit, or by-respect, but [so] what he doth for God it is to God [and not for these previously mentioned reasons, because those corrupt designs are not there].

4. The effects and fruits, which is not an exemption from sin altogether, but a growth of the contrary principle, and the flesh is brought every day more and more into a subjection to the Spirit, and Christ's interest prevaileth in the soul. The Spirit gets above the flesh, and the prevailing bent of the heart is set and fixed towards God.

Either sin reigneth or grace must reign; something must be in solio, in the throne. That which is in the throne showeth the state of the heart, be it sin or grace, and that which generally and mostly commandeth and influenceth our conversations, that is in the throne. As the sun in the midst of heaven sendeth abroad his influences on every side, so doth that which is seated in the heart, as a sovereign governs all the parts of our lives.

Well, then, here the mark must be fixed. There is no man so good and spiritual that hath not something in him bad and carnal, nor so fully addicted to God but the creature or some inferior good hath an interest in his heart. On the other side, there is no man so addicted to worldly and sensual lusts, that God hath no manner of interest in him at all. Carnal men, if they have not renounced all conscience, and outgrown the heart of a man, have some good [in terms of morals, not true spiritual goodness, which only comes from God] thing in them, and a renewed man hath much of the old tang yet left.

When, then, is a man sincere? Why, when grace gets the upper hand; not for a fit, but habitually. When the soul is more for God than against him; more against sin than for it; more for obeying, loving, serving, and pleasing God, than for gratifying and pleasing the flesh, and your inclination and love to the ways of God is greater than your dislike.

But on the other side, they that love any inferior thing above God are not sincere and upright with him; as those that love pleasure more than God: 2 Tim. iii. 4; John xii. 43, 'They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God;' and the profits of the world more than grace: Luke xii. 21, 'So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich towards God.'

These are the great sins which do more directly fight against the sovereignty of God, Therefore these we must look after to see whether they get ground or strength, yea or no, and encroach upon Christ's interest in our hearts, or the interest of Christ gets ground upon them.

May God grant us so great a love for Him that nothing else in this world matters. May He be everything to us, and may He remove all things from our hearts that are not Him.

-- David