All is well with the world! My beautiful and highly skilled spouse has made all things right – she made biscuits for breakfast. No, they still weren’t quite up to par with her Mom’s, but she’s getting closer. She has sworn to keep that goal in sight. There is no doubt that breakfasts at Serendipity Farmhouse will become even more enjoyable as time goes by. Continue reading “Blondie’s Biscuits – Yes!”
Hi! Mr. Monte here.
Let me set the scene for you. Old Fuzz Face is in hiding. He’s afraid he might be caught laughing. Blondie is gnashing her teeth. And I, Mr. Monte, am trying to get this post out before she catches me at the keyboard.
What happened? Well, it all started last night with Blondie’s post Biscuits and Mom’s Birthday. Blondie had said that she was going to make some of her mom’s biscuits for breakfast. Fuzz Face was delighted with the prospect. And I, a true lover of buttered biscuits, ran into the bedroom and moved the alarm clock a full hour ahead. The entirety of Serendipity Farmhouse was poised and ready for biscuits in the morning. Continue reading “Blondie’s Biscuits?”
When we were young, my big sister and I would hang around the kitchen watching how Mom would do what she would do. Many mornings our eyes were fixed on a ritual that seemed so simple and so certain. Virtually no words were said. We knew that too many questions in the kitchen would only lengthen the wait for breakfast. But, we watched – we watched every measurement and every move. Our thinking was, “Someday, someday in the far, far away, we would be able to make biscuits just like Mom’s. Continue reading “Biscuits and Mom’s Birthday”
Highlight: Without a doubt, the highlight for this period was Valentine’s Day. Our own soon to be world famous Chef Monte prepared a Valentine Cherry Pie for us that was, shall we say, the “cat’s meow”. (See How to make Valentine Pie, by Mr. Monte) Continue reading “SFH Journal: 2019-02-08 through 16”
This post is dedicated to my “Sweet Babboo” on Valentine’s day – she is “… the butter to my bread, and the breath to my life.”
The pleasant years in Idaho were made even brighter in our memories by our frequent trips to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We “three” would make the trip together during the slow periods between winter skiing and summer tourist seasons. Fine hotel rooms, equipped with kitchens, were readily available at reasonable rates.
I say “we three” and you may ask, “Who was the third?” Since you couldn’t see from the title or from our previous posts, the answer is – Julia Child and her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Continue reading “Sauté de Boeuf à la Parisienne – SFH Style”
Hi, Mr. Monte here.
Old Fuzz Face and Blondie were totally obnoxious today. Their behavior was quite unspeakable. They started out with numerous public displays of affection (PDA). They were constantly looking into each others eyes and making unbelievably and sickeningly sweet remarks about each other. I’ve noted this behavior is regularly recurring, usually during the middle of February. Continue reading “How to make Valentine Pie, by Mr. Monte”
This month marks one year since the Serendipity Farmhouse blog became a fully functioning reality. Today marks one year since we at SFH dedicated ourselves and this blog to our patrons St. Benedict and St. Scholastica. (See Dedication to Our Patrons – St. Scholastica & St. Benedict.)
Today is the feast of St. Scholastica, the sister of St. Benedict and our dear patroness. So, today, as we do every day, we re-dedicate the Serendipity Farmhouse blog to her and her brother St. Benedict.
To all of our readers and followers, thank you for staying with us and referring us to your friends. Feel free to comment on how we are doing and what you might like to see in the way of new content, recipes, and stories.
Hi! Mr. Monte here. – – Look at me. Anyone can see that I’m a perfectly adorable, huggable, captivatingly beautiful specimen of a pure bred, registered Maine Coon cat. There are no two ways about it – to see me is to love me.
So, what is it with my vet?
How is it that I, the fascinating, pacific creature you see here, could be so quickly transformed into the fanged, snarling monster you see in the featured picture? There is but one answer that fully explains how this Jekyll and Hyde display could come about.
My vet is unfortunately yet undeniably a “dog person”. This malady, this genetic defect, resides deep within his DNA, and it will eventually be his undoing. It influences his emotions and is evident in his human odors – he wreaks of “dog”. Subconsciously, he fears me, the quintessential alpha cat. He, like the canine beasts he so loves, is overly domesticated and can only tremble and quake with fear when my untameable majesty graces his presence.
He tries to counter and overcome his weakness, his fear, by inflicting pain and using any number of tactics of intimidation to humiliate the exalted feline species which he is incapable of understanding. Perhaps I can best illustrate this behavior by briefly recapping my visit to his office this week.
Early on the day in question, I had held court. My dutiful and sometimes loyal subjects, Blondie and Old Fuzz Face, had groomed me, played with me, fed me, and obligingly discharged their duties as they rightly should. It is unfortunate but true that they are bound by human laws requiring that pets be immunized against certain diseases. I have often heard them say that, if it were in their power, I would never have to undergo the savage rituals that take place at the veterinary clinic. Yet, they are compelled to transport me to the clinic and turn me over to the hands of dog-loving practitioners of the dark arts.
So it was that day. I was brought into the “torture chamber” and unceremoniously pulled from the safety and protection of my carrier and immediately thrust onto the “scales”. I could see the thumb of the clinic technician resting on the scale as it registered 19.09 pounds. – – I knew then that the game was rigged against me and there would be no justice delivered today.
During the dreadfully long waiting period, I gazed about the torture chamber. Every wall contained ridiculous pictures of dogs, with the bones and innards open for all to see. Some of the innards were crawling with heart worms and hook worms and other ghastly parasites. Yet, in all the pictures, the dumb dogs were smiling and slobbering as they are wont to do.
Then, the vet timidly made his entrance. Inwardly, I smiled – I could see his fear was already showing – he remembered me. He asked Old Fuzz Face to hold me while he performed his examination. He made quite a show of rubbing my abdomen. I knew what he was up to. That is when my transformation began – I hissed at him and bared my teeth. Fuzz Face fully understood what was going on. He suggested, somewhat facetiously, that now, while my mouth was open, it would be a good time to check my teeth. The vet, not catching the humor, did just that – my teeth were fine.
The vet said, to no one’s great surprise, that I was trending towards overweight. He went so far as to say that I had “no waist”. He then recommended a curtailment of my rations. There it was. Body shaming – “no waist”, indeed! For that remark I responded with both a hiss and a growl.
Next came the injection. Dr. Dog-man, as I now refer to him, called upon an assistant. Once again, it became clear – there was fear in the air – he needed help. The first attempt was an utter failure. Even with Fuzz Face, Dr. Dog-man, and his assistant holding me, I was able to throw off their restraints and slashed menacingly with my right paw. The vet and the assistant retreated to a safe distance. Having established my utter and complete dominance, I allowed them to inject me. – – They knew who was the real winner of this round.
In the aftermath, while the assistant was scurrying out to safety, the vet suggested, recommended, urged, and repeatedly asked Fuzz Face and Blondie to strongly consider “drugging” me with a medication to decrease anxiety two hours before my next visit. He, of course, would be more than willing to write up the prescription immediately.
Blondie and Fuzz Face could see that I was truly the master of the moment. They, however, feared for the emotional and physical well being of the entire clinic staff, so they reluctantly accepted the prescribed tablets. They said they would administer one prior to the next visit.
I fully understood what was said. I have my strategy prepared. For those of you who have ever attempted to give a cat a pill, you know that even though it looks like it has been swallowed, it often shows up days later under a chair or couch.
My next round with Dr. Dog-man comes in two weeks. Watch the local papers to find out what can happen to a body-shaming, dog-loving vet when confronted by a quintessential alpha cat.
Highlight 1: A walk along the bank of the river here at Serendipity Farmhouse brings us two signs of seasonal change. Daffodils have broken through searching for sunshine and warmth. Meanwhile, wild chives have emerged to give company to the daffodils.
And, although most of you have shown no interest, several more garlic sprouts have pushed away their blanket of soil. They appear to be gauging the temperature and angle of the sun. They will know when the time is right to make their move. – – Yours truly, an inveterate garlic lover awaits. I am expectant.
Highlight 2: The Serendipity Farmhouse roving photographer recently made an excursion to the streets of Washington, D.C. It’s quite amazing what sights can be captured on the streets of our nation’s capitol.
The picture to the left has three points of interest. The first is a large propane bottle next to the driver’s side door. The second is a warning sign that clearly state: “DANGER – PROPANE – NO SMOKING – NO OPEN FLAMES“. The third point of interest is the lit cigarette in the left hand of the driver, directly above the propane bottle. – – – It is quite appropriate that enormous flames are pictured on the side of the truck.
(Please note: we changed the phone number on the side of the truck, otherwise the photo is untouched.)
SFH WX Station: The best you can say for the period is – changeable. The cold weather is coming back. The daffodils, chives, and garlic will be watching conditions closely.
Weekly WX Summary 01-07 FEB:
|Temperature||76.8 °F||1.2 °F||38.2 °F|
|Dew Point||52.3 °F||-14.1 °F||28.8 °F|
|Wind Speed||6.7 mph||—||0.3 mph|
|Wind Gust||9.2 mph||—||—|
|Pressure||30.36 in||29.82 in||—|
Highlight: The title for this post might be just a little misleading. Upon first reading, one might think that the staff of the soon to be world famous Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen have been laboring over the wood stove, concocting amazingly delicious culinary masterpieces, pioneer style, using the most simple cast iron utensils and an assortment of basic, home grown herbs and spices. Perhaps someday we should do that.
But, no, that’s not what we’ve been up too. Rather we have instead been laboring intensely trying to keep the wood stove working during a vicious polar vortex using a substandard load of “bottom wood”. Refer back to our post My Big Cats Got it Done! In that post, I noted, “Granddaughter #1 found fascinating fungus and mushroom growths on the wood. Avoiding spiders and centipedes, she found other critters in the midst of the wood pile that aroused great interest and awe.”
Well folks, that was the first clue that, due to the unusually wet year, the two cords of wood we received were overly damp and would take a long time to dry out and season properly. Although I didn’t mention it at the time, much of the wood was covered with mud, indicating that it had come from the bottom of the stack; ergo, it was “bottom wood”.
Fast forward to this last week when a large part of the nation, including our beloved Rappahannock County, was in the grips of a bitterly cold polar vortex. Yes, here at SFH, when temperatures were dipping to 1.2 °F, this would be the week we ran out of last year’s good wood and had to begin feeding the wood stove the new “bottom wood”.
Fires were hard to start and difficult to keep burning. There was an increased amount of smoke while burning and, every time I inserted a new log, that smoke would escape, filling the house with an acrid stench. On two occasions, the smoke was so voluminous that it activated the smoke detector in the kitchen.
The bottom line and last straw for yours truly, was that beautiful and almost always patient wife lost her patience. She lost her patience with me. She lost her patience with the wood stove. She almost lost her patience with our beloved Serendipity Farmhouse. – – – Needless to say in a situation like this, Mr. Monte took her side and blamed the loss of calm and tranquility in SFH entirely and completely on me.
I won’t bore you with tedious details of all my experiments to improve the situation. Suffice it to say, I worked with the wood stove. I talked to it. I read the manual. I put myself into the mindset of a wood stove that had suddenly had its diet changed from well seasoned wood to miserable, damp “bottom wood”.
Then I came upon the solution. While in deep conversation with the wood stove, I introduced the notion that I wasn’t depriving it of it’s favorite food. Oh no, not at all. What I was doing was merely treating the wood stove to a series of wonderful “gourmet delights”. Where else would a wood stove be able to get the exotic mushrooms and flavorful fungus that I was offering? The wood stove began to “warm” to the notion.
Then, in keeping with current dietary trends, I explained to the wood stove. That all of the “bottom wood” was gluten free. And, although I couldn’t claim that it was also “low carb”, I could assert emphatically, that all the wood had been seasoned in a new process that was similar to cheese being aged in caves.
And, by golly, it worked! Soon, the wood stove and I had found just the right way to set vent and flue settings so that the new dietary delights were not just palatable, but were eagerly accepted. I had discovered how to make gourmet treats for my wood stove!
The polar vortex came and brought its stinging chill, but Serendipity Farmhouse was warm inside thanks to another astounding success by the SFH Test Kitchen.
SFH WX Station Report: Because I’ve already described the arrival of the polar vortex, let me just give you the weekly and monthly weather summaries. For more details and graphics click here and play with the settings where it says “Weather History for Fletcher Mill, VA [KVAFLETC4]”.
January 24, 2019 – January 31, 2019
|Temperature||57.2 °F||1.2 °F||28.9 °F|
|Dew Point||56.1 °F||-14.1 °F||17.4 °F|
|Wind Speed||11.6 mph||—||0.7 mph|
|Wind Gust||18.3 mph||—||—|
|Pressure||30.36 in||29.35 in||—|
January 1, 2019 – January 31, 2019
|Temperature||62.2 °F||1.2 °F||32.4 °F|
|Dew Point||56.1 °F||-14.1 °F||22.5 °F|
|Wind Speed||16.6 mph||—||1 mph|
|Wind Gust||25.1 mph||—||—|
|Pressure||30.61 in||29.24 in||—|