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 lives...it 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

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Orchard - Summer 2018

The Lord has graciously continued the 2018 orchard bounty through Summer, with mostly nectarines and pears!

Looking good!

Nectarines


God's gracious bounty!

Buckets of Fruit


Ripening...

Nectarines Ripening

Pears Ripening


And then cut up ready for the solar food drier:

Fruit Pieces


Here they are on the dehydrator:

Fruit Pieces on Solar Food Dehydrator


And showing dried vs. new. Sue did a great job of monitoring this and getting them off the drier before they were too far done...good job, Honey! :D

Dried vs. New Fruit Pieces on Solar Food Dehydrator


These things taste great...it's tough to stop eating them! :D

Dried Fruit in Jars


God was so gracious, we had to pressure can some of the fruit to keep up. And with the pears, because their ripening schedule is difficult to guess (they don't ripen on the tree, and the ripe period of time is a small window and hard to detect), we just canned them as well.


In a more sad note, we lost probably our biggest tree that had lots of peaches on it, but in God's plan, it was time for it to be done. Like last time, it'll go to firewood:

Dead Peach Tree


But, we are so very grateful to the Lord for granting these provisions directly off of the land! It is always our prayer that we bear much spiritual fruit by abiding in Christ deriving nourishment from Him for His graces to grow in us and outwardly for His glory!

-- David

Friday, August 31, 2018

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: 2018 Goat Kids

Back in November last year, we put bucks and nannies together for 2017 goat breeding time.

Sadly, our multi-colored buck Rocky was too injured to do the job, and so eventually we had to put Shakespeare with the younger nannies as well, which ended up spreading out the birthing over a couple of months.

But Shakespeare did the job, and here are some of the results! Interestingly, it was 3 to 1 bucklings to doelings:

Earlier:

2018 Goat Kids

2018 Goat Kids

2018 Goat Kids

2018 Goat Kids

2018 Goat Kids

(What a great picture, IMO: :D ):

2018 Goat Kids

2018 Goat Kids

2018 Goat Kids


And then on the day they went to their new home:

2018 Goat Kids

2018 Goat Kids

2018 Goat Kids

2018 Goat Kids

2018 Goat Kids

2018 Goat Kids

2018 Goat Kids

2018 Goat Kids

2018 Goat Kids


Sadly at the end of one day, one of the little bucklings was stammering around, and couldn't keep his balance. With the extreme heat, we thought maybe he had a sun stroke. We got him into the barn to try to help, but over a few days, he got worse and worse, and eventually, when it sounded like fluid was building up in his lungs and I didn't want him to drown, I gave him the coup de gras. Sigh...that's always hard to do, especially when all your efforts are to try to keep the animal alive. But, death is a reminder of sin, and something I believe should help us understand a little as to how much God hates it.

But, we are thankful also that there were no other issues with mama's giving birth or kids dying...thanks to God!


But, sadly also, over the winter we lost Gracie, and then Winnie. We're not sure what the reasons were, but we are thankful to the Lord for all of the provisions He granted from them.

Winnie started it all way back when. She was always the queen goat...I called her "your highness". :) Goodbye Winnie...

Winnie


And here is Gracie. Goodbye Gracie...

Gracie


And sadly as well, Rocky ended up maybe too injured to do much, and after moving him into the barn to take care of him, he eventually succumbed to something, and we lost him too. We thank the Lord for all of the kids He granted from him as well. Goodbye Rock...

Our Buck Rocky


However, another buck that had been used by others in the fellowship became more available for us to take over care for, and so he and Shakespeare have been pals ever since, and we look forward to him going to work with our younger does this November, Lord willing:

Our Buck Elvis


Finally, here's this year's 2018 kid provisions video:




We are always grateful to God for His provisions, and try to never take them for granted. We deserve none of them, and so every one is a gracious blessing! And we now thank Him for the milk He is supplying from them!

-- David

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Marriage Marker - 15 Years

Fifteen years ago today, the Lord granted Sue and I be married. Our fathers performed the ceremony, we appreciated our family and friends participating with us, and it was a joyous day!

For me, our marriage has been joyous, and Sue has made that possible. She is a godly woman. She is the most considerate person I know. She evidences God's graces in her all the time, and she would be the first to acknowledge those are none of herself, and loathes her own sin.

I marvel at her cheerful and uncomplaining willingness to serve others and me, especially in bringing her out from a life of comfort to something of a wilderness, with mud and poo everywhere, often on us. :) She never complains when hauling a heavy 5-gallon bucket of feed up to the goats to go milk them; she never complains when having to haul four 6-gallon water containers up to them in a wheelbarrow; she never complains when she has to carry two of them by hand from the cistern to the house to fill the Berkey and indoor elevated dishwater tank.

We have a ton in common, in beliefs and principles, and even had similar life paths growing up. For instance, we both had sung in barbershop quartets before. What are the "odds" of that happening? (100% when it's part of God's plan! :D ). We even grew up in the same general area, and attended the same church but at different times. We often wonder if we had ever crossed paths at any time. And then God brought us together in His perfect timing. By God's graces, we get along extraordinarily well, and she makes our relationship easy.

She has forebeared much with me, and has been a great help. I am ever thankful to God for her, and other than having been given God-fearing parents, she is the best temporal gift I have received in my entire life. If God could have designed a wife/help-meet in perfection for me, she was it!

We have always viewed each other as gifts from the Lord to each other, and in fact, this was the theme of our wedding:
Jam 1:17 - "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

It is how I felt when I asked her to marry me, and still do today.

I considered it so much so in late 2002, with anticipation of asking her for her hand in marriage (after graciously receiving permission from her parents), that I wrote for her a song to God about her as that -- a great gift from Him!

After the one time of singing it to her, the song has just been in my head all of these years, with a little help from some handwritten notes and the lyrics saved on the computer, and so for this fifteen year anniversary, I wanted to surprise her with having recorded it and putting it out in a blog post with my thoughts about her.

But, then I thought, you know, she's the only person who has ever heard this song before, and perhaps she would like to keep it as special only to her. And so, I surprised her with it the other day, and asked what her thoughts were about sharing it as part of our fifteenth anniversary blog post, and she agreed.


To get to that point though, we thought we'd share a little about the engagement day on February 8, 2003...

We spent the day in Carmel, CA, visiting the shops and then planning to end up at the beach later. Little did she know that two of my best friends at the time, Bob and Jeff, were running around purchasing dinner, and getting a table and chairs and table cloths and flowers and a cooler of food and a piano-type keyboard set up on the beach for us...

A couple of funny anecdotes:

At one point, Sue and I went into a shop that had mood rings. She's like, let's try them on. Well, hers was all blue, which means relaxed and emotional, and mine was black, which mean nervous and anxious. I thought, ahhh, this stupid ring is going to blow the whole surprise! :D Sue did wonder why I wasn't relaxed and romantic like she was. :)

And then, it was time to get down to the beach. Once there, Sue went into the restroom, and right then my friends came out of their restroom and said "It's not set up...we need more time!" I was like, ok, I'll try to stall her, and they disappeared before Sue came out. Whew!

And so, Sue and I walked down the beach the "wrong" way for a bit, and then started moseying back the "correct" direction, slowly as much as I could.

Well, as we got closer to the spot, I spied that my friends had completed their covert operations, and we headed toward the dinner table.

My friends video-recorded basically the whole event, and we took a few stills from the video:

Dinner time:

Engagement Dinner


Song time:

Engagement Song


Proposal time:

Engagement Proposal


Putting the ring on her finger after her saying "yes":

Engagement Ring


And right about then, we turned around to face the sun, and this is what it looked like, setting over the ocean! Wow wow wow! What a gift of timing from God!

Engagement Sunset


Then, Sue and I hung out on the beach for a while drinking sparkling cider, and left when it was darker, and my gracious friends, besides setting up everything and filming it, sat there until we were done and cleaned up everything. It was a wonderful time, and we thank the Lord for it!


To Bob and Jeff: I will forever have a debt of gratitude to you both for what you did that day, handling all of that, filming it, and just waiting there until we left, and cleaning up everything. A guy couldn't have asked for better friends!


What follows is the song I believe God specially granted me to write (besides that we can do nothing without Christ, I have never written a song with those kinds of chord progressions before). In it, I wanted to acknowledge God as God, thank Him for His many gifts, and then for the gift of Sue (my Love) specifically, my prayer for myself toward her, specific ways He used her to help me in bringing her to me, my prayer for us as a couple, and then bringing all to God's glory in the end.

These are our continued prayers. May God glorify Himself through us, and may we be godly servants of His and others! I am forever grateful to the Lord for granting me the gift of my Love, Sue!


(Click the play button on the inline player right below the title to listen to it. It was only recorded using the laptop sitting on a pillow on the piano, and I have a slight verbal fumble at the end which I wasn't going to re-do the whole song over after many takes, but you should still get the idea. :) If you don't see the inline audio player, you can listed to it by clicking this link.)

The Gift of My Love



Verse 1
Father, may You be praised
Here and now and in the heavens
Father, exalt Your name
Here and now and forever

We bow before You, holy Lord
Singing praise and worship at Your throne
Be magnified, oh Holy Lord
Praying humbly before Your throne


Verse 2
Father, I want to thank You
For Your many blessings to me
Father, Your endless love
Is shown each day to me

You give so generously
Beyond any of my dreams
You give so ever freely
Above all of our dreams


Chorus
And so I thank You, Lord, for the gift of my Love
I thank You, Lord, for her
I thank You, Lord, for the gift of my love
Please bind our hearts together

She's beautiful, gentle, wonderful, so special
A blessed gift of grace from You


Verse 3
Father, You gave a love,
A gift who sets my heart afire
Father, she's far beyond
My deepest hope and desires

Her beauty's endless as the sky
I melt when I gaze into her eyes
Her smile's as bright as the sun
She's come to me from above


Chorus

Break
May I cherish her, this Love of mine
May I honor her through the end of time
May I love her as You love your own
Thank You for this Love, from love You have shown
She's my Love, thank You for my Love

Who's helped break through the pain
Of hurt and sorrow, a broken heart
You've mended me back together
With her You have restored me

And set me free
To love again
Thank You for this love
May it never, ever, ever, ever end


Verse 4
Father, be glorified
By us, the two of us together
Father, our lives are Yours
May we worship You forever

We bow before You, holy Lord
Be magnified, oh Lord
Singing praise and worship at Your throne
Our love eternally before Your throne


Chorus

Chorus

Fine
For Your glory forever
Be glorified forever
Through us be glorified forever
Praise your holy name forever

Amen

© 2003

Amen!

-- David

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Garden - Spring & Summer 2018

I meant to post a blog post about our garden goings-on earlier in the year, but didn't get to it, so here is a catchup blog post about the Lord's provisions from the gardens from Spring and Summer so far this 2018!

Spring

In our last garden blog post, we mentioned we planted garlic last year:

Garlic Plants


Well, back in May it was harvest time! Thanks to the Stonger boys for the help!

Garlic Harvesting

Garlic Harvested


Time to dry them out for a couple of days, and then I hung them in the meat dryer to cure:

Hanging Garlic To Dry

Drying Garlic


And here are the final results, with those ready for next year, Lord willing, on the left, and the ones for use this year on the right!

Garlic Harvest Ready to Use


Then, it was to time for the main spring garden. It needed some weeding first, and thanks again to the Stonger boys:

Garden Weeding


And then we planted beans, squash, and spaghetti squash:

Bean Plants

Squash Plants

Spaghetti Squash Plants


And here they are about a month later:

Bean Plants Growing

Squash Plants Growing

Squash

More Squash

Spaghetti Squash Plants Growing

Spaghetti Squash


And here are some of the results!

First Squash 2018


Squash chips! Yum! (see recipe here):

Squash Chips


Here's a freebee turnip plant from seed thrown down in previous years (more on this in the Summer part):

Freebee Turnip Plant


And then it was time to plant okra, which usually works very well around here:

Okra Sprouts


Here I tried throwing a bunch in rows, just to see how it worked:

Okra Sprouts


We also wanted to do sweet potatoes again this year after good success, thanks to God, from last year (see last garden update in the link above).

In fact, here's a freebee from last year's planting!

Freebee Sweet Potato


We tried to start our own slips, but they sadly just never grew:

Trying to Grow Sweet Potato Slips


And so we purchased some:

Sweet Potato Slips


And here's the area we cleared and where they have gone:

Sweet Potato Cleared Planting Area


Summer

Sue got to processing the spaghetti squash by this time, and here are the results! Yum again!

Spaghetti Squash Fruit


She roasted some:

Spaghetti Squash Fruit Prepared for Roasting

Cut Spaghetti Squash Fruit

Roasted Spaghetti Squash


And made "pasta" from the "spaghetti":

Spaghetti Squash Pasta


And here's part of the squash haul, and them cut and preserved in apple cider vinegar:

Squash Harvest

Squash Preserved in Apple Cider Vinegar


Here's the freebee turnip -- nice!

Freebee Turnip


Thanks to inspector Mimi for allowing it to pass inspection! ;)

Mimi Inspecting the Turnip


Finally, here we are catching up to today. We've had a very hot spring and summer, and drought conditions, so some things are barely hanging on, although we do have rain percentages this week, during which we pray the Lord grants rain. But, here are the beans:

Bean Plants


Separated okra plant (many which got razed by something early on):

Okra Plants


And in rows:

Okra Plants in Rows


And okra fruit:

Okra Fruit


Here's the freebee sweet potato from above:

Freebee Sweet Potato Plant


And another one that grew by itself:

Another Freebee Sweet Potato Plant


And the sweet potato bed:

Sweet Potato Bed


We are extremely grateful to the Lord for Him granting the provisions from the gardens this year so far, and we ask for those continued as He might will. We thank Him for the spots of rain He has provided to keep things going, and we always pray He grant spiritual rains of nourishment in our hearts so that we may thrive and grow spiritually for His glory in obedience to and more like Christ Jesus!

-- David