SFH Journal: 2018-07-12

Highlight: Oh, the joys of Summer! Today, the lawn tractor and I explored all the nooks and crannies of the yard seeking out overly exuberant blades of grass. Factually, the lawn consists primarily of an exotic array of well-manicured weeds. Those weeds have the endearing trait of being able to come back every year in great abundance. One cannot expect that from high-priced, fancy grasses that beg for water and fertilizer. Nope, I’ll take my heirloom weeds over expensive grasses anytime. (Unfortunately, wondrous and adorable spouse does not agree.)

Weather: The warm/hot, dry pattern continues. Fortunately the humidity is lower. The dry weather has necessitated extra watering and attention to the condition of the various plants. 2018-07-12: High – 86º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: The okra we had for supper last night was excellent. That wonderful vegetable, properly cooked, has become a staple here at Serendipity Farmhouse.

Now that we have two empty raised garden boxes, we decided to plant seven more okra plants. We learned last year that we could freeze okra and have it throughout the remainder of the year. Although it might be too late in the season for successful planting, the prospect of more okra for us now and for the freezer makes it worth the effort and the violation of common sense.

2018-07-12: Planted two Clemson Spineless okra plants and five Cow’s Horn okra plants.

Harvest: Nothing to report.

SFH Journal: 2018-07-06 through 11

Highlight: Today is the feast day of one of our favorite patrons, St. Benedict of Nursia.

Our apologies for the tardiness of recent posts. There has been much to occupy our time during these last two weeks. We have a new pastor, I have taken on new responsibilities, and work has made demands on my time.

Meanwhile, Mr. Monte has been directing us in outfitting his new bug out bag, the 24 foot Class C RV. For him, cost is no object, just get it done and get it done to his expectations. He is a thankless and unforgiving taskmaster. The reasonable budget that I had allotted for the RV has been overrun in every conceivable way. In his mind’s eye, Mr. Monte sees a Taj Mahal on wheels and even that will be inadequate for his royal needs.

Perhaps by the end of July, we will be able to return to a normal level of activity. We hope to share a spectacular recipe for okra that was given to us by Admiral No. 1 (my dear wife’s most pleasant and capable older sister.) This evening, we were able to enjoy the first okra of the year, and Admiral No. 1’s recipe was an enjoyable and tasty success.

Weather: We have now entered a warm/hot dry period and are forced to water regularly. Too much or too little water, there is seldom an even distribution of sun and rain.

2018-07-06: High – 82º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-07-07: High – 77º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-07-08: High – 81º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-07-09: High – 88º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-07-10: High – 91º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-07-11: High – 86º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: This has been a very bad year for tomatoes at SFH. We have planted some new plants, but we don’t expect to get much from them. We will have to purchase tomatoes for salsa canning this year. My alternative is to sneak into my daughter’s garden and poach some of her tomatoes. Her cat and I are buddies and he won’t tell if he sees anything.

2018-07-06: Planted an Organic Better Bush tomato plant


Harvest: The garden is now providing enough vegetables for side dishes and, in the case of the okra, they will be a featured main dish. However, there are nasty critters competing with us for the harvest. Fearless wife had to kill a monstrous worm on one of the tomato plants.

2018-07-06: Picked a handful of cherry tomatoes

2018-07-09: Picked the last of the green beans, 5 jalapenos, 3 okra, and 3 cherry tomatoes

2018-07-11: Picked 5 cherry tomatoes, 5 okra, 1 asparagus


SFH Journal: 2018-07-04 and 05

Highlight: The 4th of July – Independence Day- it was a gift from God, but our forefathers had to fight and shed their blood to secure that gift for us. We at Serendipity Farmhouse cherish the 4th of July and all that it represents.

Our children do their own things on the 4th – that’s because they have grown, left the nest, and are now themselves independent. Each of them strives to pass on the values that made our country great.

So, our dear friend Nancy came to join us for traditional burgers, watermelon, and ice cream. Despite the heat wave, the meaning of the day and the sacrifices made stood out and gave us pause to reflect on the meaning of “freedom”.

The next day, three generations of the most delightful and charming ladies gathered to enjoy their regular luncheon. Each time they meet, there is a special theme. This time, because of the extreme heat, the theme most naturally had to be fans. So what if it’s 90º, the joy of being together and sharing lunch and laughs at SFH far outweighs the discomforts.

Weather: The heat wave continues. Granny is getting really grumpy now. So is Monte. So are I.

2018-07-04: High – 91º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-07-05: High – 90º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report.

Harvest: Five cherry tomatoes announced that they were ready for picking. Beautiful wife gladly obliged.

SFH Journal: 2018-07-01 through 03

Highlight: The new (used) Class C RV, work, and some other items are all competing for our time. Nevertheless, we have set to the task of outfitting Monte’s bug out bag (the RV). His Royal Highness has demanded a new set of Corelle dishes, new knives, decorative pillows, and, of course, new bowls for his food and water. Mr. Monte also indicated where he wants his portrait to hang – obviously, in the most conspicuous place.

As you cat owners (or you who are owned by cats) well know, there was no need to buy new sheets, pillows, or spreads. Cats prefer to be surrounded by bedding that has already been used and accepted by the cat. Smell is important to a cat, especially when it comes to selecting a place to sleep.

There was one other alternative on the table for bedding. I suggested that we just throw sleeping bags on the bed. That would save all the hassle of making a bed in cramped spaces. Wonderful, adorable spouse quickly put a damper on that idea. She emphatically stated that we are “glamping” not camping. – – – So much for the sleeping bag idea.

Weather: Yes, it’s a heat wave. Yes, we’re hot and miserable. Yes, we’re complaining. No, we don’t feel guilty. If we’re living the way grandma did, then we can understand why she was so crabby in the summer time.

2018-07-01: High – 91º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-07-02: High – 95º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-07-03: High – 91º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report.

Harvest: On July 2nd, beautiful wife braved the heat and picked enough green beans for two meals. Perhaps begrudgingly, but certainly wisely she de-stringed this batch. The result was much more palatable.

SFH Journal: 2018-06-30

Highlight: The highly accurate, official Serendipity Farmhouse Critter Cam Surveillance Station #1 (CCSS #1) noted Miss Tiffany Turkey at 11:58:25 AM on June 25th. This is the last recorded sighting of our SFH visitor.

Mr. Monte has reviewed the photographic evidence and has given us his professional assessment. According to him, Miss Tiffany has likely moved on to another foraging area. Based on her direction of movement, he speculates that she was headed towards the eastern side of the North Fork of the Thornton River.

As a personal addendum to his report, Mr. Monte hopes for her return because, as you might suspect, she really knows how to “talk turkey”.*

* Discuss something frankly and straightforwardly


Weather: The anticipated July heat wave is here. Evening temperatures inside our non-air conditioned farmhouse are now in the mid- to high-80s. (Yep, we get to live just like Grandma did.) (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report.

Harvest: Nothing to report.

SFH Journal: 2018-06-28 & 29

Highlight: Despite the hectic rush of events, beautiful spouse and I took time to grill a New York strip steak for supper. Beets from our vegetable garden were sliced, seasoned, and thrown on the grill in an aluminum foil packet. Everything was cooked to perfection. I can say that because adorable spouse gave her thumbs up. Also, Mr. Monte gave a claws up on small morsels of steak provided to him.

It is, indeed, a happy day when wife and cat are pleased with my cooking.

Weather: We are now entering an extended July heat wave. Both the temperature and humidity will rise placing stress on the gardens and the residents of SFH.

2018-06-28 (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-06-29 (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: We are on alert and watching the gardens closely as the heat wave begins.

Harvest: Nothing to report.

Mr. Monte’s New Bug Out Bag

Of course, you remember this year’s first bout with heavy rain and potential flooding in early-June. If you don’t, see A Rainy Day – Pray, Prepare, Preserve.) One of Serendipity Farmhouse’s most notable characters, Mr. Monte to be precise, voiced his great displeasure.

0603181618cIt seems that he was not pleased with with the provisions we had made to evacuate him should the need arise. No, he wasn’t the least bit happy. Although, we had a cat pan, litter, and some food ready to go, His Excellency was exceedingly perturbed because he did not have his own personal bug out bag (BOB). While the big cats had taken care of themselves with brand new, well equipped BOBs, there was none at the ready for Mr. Monte.

Lesson Learned: His Highness demands, deserves, and will get a personal BOB for rainy days and other SFH contingencies.

Now, after giving sufficient thought to the problem of how to keep our feline friend happy, no matter what the circumstance, we have hopefully found a way to satisfy, if not all, at least most of the requirements levied by His Royal Highness. Here it is – Mr. Monte’s almost like new bug out bag:

0627181215b_HDR (2)

You will note in the featured picture at the beginning of this post how closely Mr. Monte is inspecting his almost like new BOB. He found two or three minor discrepancies during the first phase of his inspection and demanded that we email the dealer immediately. I meekly did so – and with appropriate haste.

Yes, our quest for this Class C RV, all along, was the result of demands made by SFH’s one and only Mr. Monte. As you might think, there will be many more episodes to this adventure.