SFH Journal: 2018-05-26

Highlight: The quest has begun in earnest. Today, we started the research phase of our plan to acquire a small Class C recreational vehicle (RV).

220px-Class-Super-C-Motorhomes-Diesel-Class-C-RVClass C RVs are somewhere between Class A and Class B. They are often built on a truck or van chassis that is specifically designed for a motorhome. They have an attached cab and most have an overhang that extends over the cab. This area is usually used as sleeping quarters but may also be used for storage.

This is, to say the least, a somewhat daunting task – more difficult than buying a car and perhaps as difficult as buying a house. Our visits to various dealerships presented us with two lessons learned:

Lesson Learned: This family cannot, in any manner, way, shape, or form, afford a new Class C RV.

Lesson Learned: The purchase of a used Class C RV is fraught with a frustratingly long list of unhappy and seemingly unacceptable tradeoffs.

Despite the sobering impact of the two lessons learned today, we shall press onward in our quest. As can be expected, Mr. Monte has been advising us on his requirements pertaining to creature comforts and freedom of movement. He has also suggested a name for the new RV – “El Camino del Monte”.

We shall give his requests and requirements the attention they deserve.

Weather:  It was a very warm day that cooled in the wake of an afternoon thunderstorm. (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report.

Harvest: Nothing to report.

SFH Journal: 2018-05-25

Highlight: A day or so ago, dear, sweet spouse called her long time friend (over 32 years) claiming she was ailing and in need of the therapeutic benefits of homemade chicken soup. I overheard the whole sad story when they were talking on the phone – it surely brought tears to my eyes.

Cherished and loving long-time friend immediately responded by solemnly promising that the “required medicinal chicken soup” would be prepared with great haste. Today, yours truly, the highly paid chauffeur of Serendipity Farmhouse, took dear, sweet spouse to the home of said cherished and loving long-time friend. Hugs and a large container of the remarkably healing chicken soup were exchanged.

Observation: Friendship between two long-time friends has it rituals, rewards, and heartwarming moments.

Weather:  The weather allowed for shrub trimming and mowing. It seems like a thousand maple seeds took root in our raised garden beds. Fortunately, they are easier to remove than the black walnuts that Super Squirrel planted in the gardens. (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report.

Harvest: Nothing to report.

SFH Journal: 2018-05-24

Highlight: So much time was spent on chores and yard work, there was no time to take pictures and record highlights for you. However, almost exactly one year ago, we did have an interesting event that’s worth revisiting.

The featured picture shows a female, turtle.

Question: How did I know it was a female?

Answer: This picture caught her in the midst of laying eggs and covering them up. That’s a relatively good indication the turtle was a she.

We were fairly confident she was a snapping turtle. Unfortunately, neither my adorable spouse nor Mr. Monte took my suggestion to offer the laboring lady turtle a morsel of food on their bare finger or paw. It’s really hard to verify a theory when the helping hands are so timid.

After our turtle friend departed, we watched the area very closely for about three months (incubation takes 55 – 95 days depending on geographic location), but we were never able to determine if the eggs hatched and the little snappers made it to safety in the river. Right now we are on the lookout for our turtle friend or one of her young ones to return. It’s not likely to happen, but Mr. Monte is standing sentinel duty in the kitchen window. His dedication to duty is inspiring.

Weather: Finally catching  up with mowing and trimming. I tried to get most of it done early in the day. (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report.

Harvest: We harvested one asparagus spear. The season is hanging on.

SFH Journal: 2018-05-23

Highlight: Our Magnolia tree is evergreen. It drops old leaves all year round,  but, in springtime, we see many more leaves coming down than during other seasons. New leaves initially appear as narrow pods that slowly open to reveal their fresh, bright green contents. Larger and thicker pods can be seen in May. They are the buds for flowers that will blossom in June.

The feature picture for this post captures three events occurring simultaneously – the old brown leaves ready to drop, the new leaves breaking forth, and the development of the magnolia flower bud. It’s a process that is pleasant to watch and it adds greatly to our appreciation of the natural order of life here at Serendipity.

Late Entry: Another natural process commenced its splendid springtime revelation. On the evening of May 22nd, Serendipity Farmhouse witnessed the first fireflies (or lightening bugs if you prefer) of the season. By the way, the terms “fire fly” and “lightening bug” are regional. The article Regional Breakdown of “Firefly” Vs. “Lightning Bug” illustrates which term predominates in various regions of the U.S.

Which term do you use?

Weather: Finally, a day without rain. The same is predicted for tomorrow. Perhaps I can finally catch up with mowing and trimming. (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report.

Harvest: Nothing to report.

SFH Journal: 2018-05-22

Highlight: Our featured picture of the first rose of the year comes with a short story. Dear Daughter #2 moved into her first home last year. In the backyard was a long neglected and almost leafless rosebush. Beautiful wife and I could hear it weeping. Dearest daughter had plans for the area surrounding the rose and the sad little bush was not part of the plan. Beautiful Spouse, heart opened wide, offered to give the bush a home. Last Autumn, we tended and nurtured our new charge in hopes that Spring would bring renewed health and vigor. Look for yourself. Our efforts have been repaid many times over by our Rescue Rose.

Weather:   The day started with unexpected rain. This meant that I would have to delay some long overdue trimming and mowing. It cleared in the early afternoon and later thunderstorms briefly disrupted power. Today, I installed a new Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) so that we would not lose our WiFi and phone service during power outages. The brief power outage confirmed that the new UPS works as advertised. (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report.

Harvest: Nothing to report.

SFH Journal: 2018-05-21

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Highlight: [The following is from Mr. Monte, the official SFH Security Guard.]

One can post as many PRIVATE PROPERTY – NO TRESPASSING signs as they like, some critters just don’t get the message. The young bear on the right side of this photo has already completed his unlawful entry and is now making his escape. See how closely and boldly he approaches our official warning sign.

It’s an outright case of arrogant disregard for the law and private property. If only Old Fuzz Face would let me out, I would make that bear pay for his transgression. I can find no mercy in my heart for blatant law breakers.

Weather:  Clear enough in the morning to mow the part of the lawn that isn’t still under water. There’s much work left to accomplish. (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: We didn’t plant the apple trees at SFH, but we certainly know how to enjoy them. As you can see in the picture, the blossoms we showed you in SFH Journal: 2018-04-27 have now turned to small apples.

Harvest: Two more asparagus spears emerged from the rain drenched soil.

SFH Journal: 2018-09-20

Highlight: There is a reason this is called Serendipity Farmhouse. When a very kindly and neighborly neighbor has an excess of fresh oysters in the shell and she offers you 20-30 of them, that, my dear friend, is “serendipity”.

0520181632Now, I’ve been to many New England clambakes, and I’ve had my share of stuffed quahogs. We have made oyster stew and eaten raw, fried, and smoked oysters. But, never ever in our lives have we grilled or shucked fresh oysters. So, we did a little reading and research and found out it’s quite simple. Someday, we will run a feature article and show you how it’s done.

We did have one rather unexpected and interesting surprise during this cooking adventure. We found a strange reddish creature inside one of the oysters. Even though it was quite small, it looked, if not menacing, at least ominous. We extracted the oyster from its shell and examined the creature. It looked like a small crab. What manner of beast was this?

Once again, we did a little reading and research and were happy to learn that this little guy was – an edible delicacy. To quote one article, “It’s called an oyster crab, or pea crab, and if you speak Latin it goes by the name Zaops Ostreum.” (Check out The Edible Ocean: The Crab Inside Your Oyster)

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Edible serendipity – the ‘oyster crab’

Weather: Yes, there was some rain, but there was enough clear weather to grill some oysters.  (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report.

Harvest: Nothing to report.