SFH Journal: 2019-11-11 through 11-17 – Abundant Harvest & Great Thanksgiving

0728191156a_HDR (2)Industrious and beautiful Wife, widely known for her fabled “green thumb”, has officially declared the growing season and the harvest of 2019 officially at an end. Using all the expertise at her command, and commanding back-breaking labor from her ever admiring hubby, she has planned and executed all that took place in the vast, expansive (somewhat less than 224 square feet), and fruitful gardens of the Serendipity Farmhouse estate.

The result of her labor and planning is the most bounteous harvest ever achieved sinceIMG_20140713_170722_748 (2) the SFH sign was affixed to the entrance way of our humble abode. Her struggle and sweat through one the hottest and most grueling growing seasons ever recorded in this area were rewarded with fresh vegetables on the dinner table on a daily basis, and with frozen, dehydrated, and canned food stores to brighten our table through the holidays, holy days, and days between now and the next harvest.

Yet, my humble Spouse is the first to say that none of this would have been possible without His help and watchful care. That is a reason to be thankful, that is a reason for giving thanks. That is but one of many reasons why we will pray to Him in thanksgiving on November 28th.

And now, without further ado, Mr. Monte, in his capacity as SFH Chief Statistician, has gathered pictures and compiled statistics to show what Blondie has accomplished in her gardens during Anno Domini MMXIX.

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SFH 2019 Harvest Totals

ItemQTYSeason End
Apples708-27
Arugula9 bunches11-13
Asparagus1605-20
Basil13 bunches08-23
Beans, green stringless19107-07
Beans, Monticello19907-07
Beet greens2 bunches06-06
Beets3306-06
Cucumbers607-18
Garlic heads1807-01
Garlic scapes1805-27
Grapes1608-09
Kale4 bunches05-25
Okra41310-23
Parsley6 bunches08-18
Peppers, Cow Horn3710-18
Peppers, jalapenos22610-18
Peppers, pimento1308-29
Squash, yellow4309-26
Strawberries905-25
Thyme1 bunch07-31
Tomatoes, Big Beef13109-26
Tomatoes, Cherry65411-02
Tomatoes, Golden Jubilee2009-19
Tomatoes, Mr. Stripey11809-26

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SFH 2019 Preserving Totals

ItemQTY
Okra, frozen7 packages
Okra, pickled8 pint jars
Pasta Sauce18 pint jars
Peppers, Cow Horn, dry canned1 pint jar
Peppers, pickled10 1/2 pint jars
Pesto5 4-oz containers
Popcorn, dry canned6 quart jars
Raspberries, frozen1 package
Salsa27 pint jars

Serendipity Farmhouse is not a hobby. Serendipity Farmhouse is our way of life.

Serendipity Farmhouse is where we Pray, Prepare, and Preserve.

 

SFH by the Numbers – Facts & Statistics

SFH Plantings: See SFH 2019 Plantings

SFH Harvest: See SFH 2019 Harvest

SFH Preserving: See SFH 2019 – Preserving – Food for Tomorrow

SFH WX Station Report – Monthly: See SFH Weather Summaries & Statistics

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2019-11-04 through 11-10

 

SFH Journal: 2019-11-04 through 11-10

The blossoming of our Christmas Cactus is another sign of the seasons here at Serendipity Farmhouse – a very welcome sign, indeed.

We woke up on the morning of November 5th to a hard freeze of 29.7°F. Though we have

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A frozen cherry tomato plant

had several frosts earlier, this was the one that finally signaled “end of season” for our ever-faithful cherry tomato plant. Up until the day it was taken by the cold, this little plant produced abundantly. It may be gone now, but it leaves behind the memory of 654 tasty red orbs.  Truly, a great achievement!

Yet, here at Serendipity Farmhouse there is always confidence and hope. That fact is witnessed to by my energetic and resourceful Wife. On the very day of the loss of our cherry tomato plant, she made her way to SFH Vegetable Garden #1 and planted five rows of garlic with six cloves in each row. Buoyed by her success with last year’s planting and this Summer’s harvest of fresh garlic, she decided to increase the numbers. There is no doubt in the author’s mind that we will see a bountiful SFH garlic harvest in 2020. (See: SFH Journal: 2019-07-01 – A Midsummer Day)

The arrival of colder weather dictates that El Camino Del Monte must be winterized. Now, with a year of experience under our belt, we managed the whole affair with a minimum of problems or concerns. It was not so last year. (See: SFH Journal: 2018-11-15 – First Snow & First Fire)

In case you’re wondering what Mr. Monte has been up to, in addition to leaf  and critter watching from the back porch, he has taken up photography. He submitted this photo as a sample of what the quick eye of a Maine Coon cat and the quick shutter of a digital single lens reflex camera can catch. Good job, Mr. Monte!

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Now if you remember, one of our very first posts (see: WWWT? #1 – What a Lovely Wood Stove!) detailed all the problems we encountered when we first attempted to use our wood stove. Now that we’ve been here for a while and had time to learn from our past mistakes, starting the first fire of the year was without incident and blessed by warmth throughout Serendipity Farmhouse on the afternoon of Thursday, November 7th.

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All-in-all, a very good week at SFH!

SFH by the Numbers – Facts & Statistics

SFH Plantings: See SFH 2019 Plantings

SFH Harvest: See SFH 2019 Harvest

SFH Preserving: See SFH 2019 – Preserving – Food for Tomorrow

SFH WX Station Report – Monthly: See SFH Weather Summaries & Statistics

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2019-11-04 through 11-10

SFH Journal: 2019-10-28 through 11-03 – Fall Comes to SFH

When industrious and ever thoughtful Wife asks me to take a day or two of vacation to work on this vast estate known as Serendipity Farmhouse, it’s not a request. It carries a bit more weight than that. So, being sane and sound of mind, I notify the folks at work that I’m off to perform higher priority tasking.

This time of year in the Blue Ridge, however, is so pleasant that I might be found guilty of planting the idea that a thorough Fall cleanup is needed. Dearest Spouse is quite susceptible to the power of suggestion, especially if it suits her purposes and SFH will be the better for it.

So, here it is! The best time of the year when even a little potentially back-breaking work is a welcome diversion from our normal routine.

28 OCT – Monday: A while back, dearest Wife allegedly put away two cords of wood single-handed. (See: SFH Journal: 2019-09-30 through 10-20 – “V” is for “Victory!”) Today, the chimney sweep arrived early to inspect and clean the SFH wood stove. With wood in the shed and a fully functional wood stove, we are now ready to face the cold days that are coming.

After that, it was out to the gardens to remove the okra and pepper plants. One box was specially prepared for planting garlic.

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Three of the nine boxes now ready for next season

29 OCT – Tuesday: The second half of Monday and most of Tuesday were all about

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New shelves with AC units & fans

cleaning out one side of the storage shed and removing fans, air conditioners, and other Summer equipment to the shed. This year, we purchased, assembled, and put into active use a brand new, heavy-duty storage shelf unit. My only comment at this point is: Either the gravitational pull of the earth is increasing making everything heavier, or I am getting older and more feeble. – – Next year, I may call younger and stronger hands to help out Granddad.

Later in the day, beautiful Spouse and I made the walk to the mailbox. I snapped this picture along the way. In the distance you can see Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive. The Autumn colors were just past their peak. Later in the week, we would be up at that spot on Skyline drive taking a picture of SFH and our little part of God’s great creation.

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A view of the Blue Ridge & Skyline Drive as we walk to the mail box

30 OCT – Wednesday: This was a work  day for me with a long commute. It was the kind of day that enterprising Wife uses to make multiple additions to the official SFH Honey Do List.

31 OCT – Thursday: This was a notable day because it was Granddaughter #4’s birthday. That being the case, IHOP suddenly becomes one of the most important places in Virginia. Parents and grandparents assisted dear Granddaughter in a splendid celebration.

This was also a day of much-needed rain. The office required some cleaning and I used an hour or two of that time to comprehend, digest, and internally accept all of my dearest Wife’s additions to the official SFH Honey Do List.

01 NOV – Friday – All Saints Day: As the storm system moved northward, much cooler temperatures set in. Autumn in the Blue Ridge had turned the corner towards Winter. With the lower temperatures came the clearest blue sky one can imagine. Just the perfect day to celebrate our dear friend Nancy’s birthday with lunch and picture taking on Skyline Drive.

This picture of dear Wife and Nancy has some hidden meaning that even I find difficult to discern. You will note that I have enlarged the sign pointing to sweet Wife and Nancy. I suppose I will be puzzling over its true significance for some time to come, or at least until most thoughtful Wife requires that I excise the offending photo of the “Farm Fresh Pumpkins” sign.

Immediately after photographing the “Pumpkins”, errh, I mean dearest Spouse and Nancy, we were off for more enjoyment of the Autumnal color display.  And this is just some of what we saw.

By the way, you can see some white buildings in the upper third of the bottom photo. Yes, gentle Reader, that is Serendipity Farmhouse just to the left.

02 NOV – Saturday: This was a typical day for strenuous and demanding chores at SFH.

03 NOV – Sunday: This was a day of rest and a day for doing the Lord’s work. All in all, one very fine Autumn week at SFH.

SFH by the Numbers – Facts & Statistics

SFH Plantings: See SFH 2019 Plantings

SFH Harvest: See SFH 2019 Harvest

SFH Preserving: See SFH 2019 – Preserving – Food for Tomorrow

SFH WX Station Report – Monthly: See SFH Weather Summaries & Statistics

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2019-10-27 through 11-03

Walnut Whacking

WW-01Watch out! – Here it comes!

Drop!

Whoooosh!!

Wwhhaacckk!!!

Breathless silence …

Ker-plunk!!!!

Woo-hooo!!!!!

That, Dear Friends, was the sound of my most beautiful, imaginative, and exceedingly innovative Wife as she introduced the new sport of Walnut Whacking to Serendipity Farmhouse – and, dare I say it, to the World.

Origin & History: Although various forms of walnut whacking can be traced to Hungary and other parts of Europe, there is no doubt that the primitive American form was an independent invention of enterprising and inventive American youths.

There are few records of the discovery or development of this sport. Yet, the traditions of schoolyards and family farms throughout the building of this country are filled with similar cases. Consider, for example, “tag”, “keep away”, and “dodge-ball”. In that great kingdom of imagination which is childhood, these games are part of the natural order.

We who are fortunate enough to be grandparents are blessed in many ways. Often we think that grandparents are meant to pass on family traditions. Verily, that is one important role, but grandparents must also stand ready to learn great truths and mysteries from their grandchildren –  and, the primitive form of “walnut whacking” is one of those mysterious truths.

For in that primitive form, clever Wife saw the answer to a serious, perennial SFH problem – mounds of rotting black walnuts. The hideous little beasties fall randomly about our vast estate, often bouncing of roofs, automobiles, and occasionally, even unsuspecting heads. They are dangerous and create a perfectly terrible mess. Besides that, as they rot, they stink!!

IMG_20191027_114813140-2.jpgAnd so it was when my clever wife encountered the new-found pastime of her beloved grandsons. She was inspired by them. So inspired, in fact, that she immediately set out to develop the once primitive form of “walnut whacking” into a great family sport that someday might even surpass the ever-popular “cornhole.” And, at the same time, the magnificent grounds of SFH would be cleansed of the offensive rotting walnuts.

Rules & Order of Play: There are two variations to SFH Walnut Whacking “River Rules” & “Pasture Rules”.

  • River Rules apply to SFH and similar grand estates that have natural rivers or creeks. (Please don’t use River Rules with swimming pools.)
    • Whacksman – the person in possession of the whacking racket and performing the walnut whacking
    • Whacking Mound – a 3-5 inch elevated mound where a Whacksman does his/her walnut whacking; usually over 60 feet from the edge of the river or creek
    • Whacksman rotation – the same as cornhole
    • Grumpire – the large Maine Coon cat that interprets the rules and maintains discipline and decorum on the Walnut Whacking playing field
    • Ker-plunk (KP) – the whacked walnut can be heard clearly to land in the water without ever having bounced along the ground – Score: 3 points
    • Woo-hooo!!!!! – The term that must be exclaimed after making a KP, if not said, you lose your points
    • Bounce-plunk (BP) – the whacked walnut bounced on the ground prior to landing in the water – Score: 2 points
    • No-plunk (NP) – the ball goes over the edge of the river, but there is no “plunk – Score: 1 point
    • Short Game: The game is played for less than one hour
    • Long Game: The game is played until the supply of black walnuts is exhausted
  • Pasture Rules apply to grand estates that have no natural water features. All that is needed is a fence and a pasture. Scoring is modified as follows.
    • Ker-plop (KP) – the whacked walnut can be heard clearly to land in a 20-foot diameter circle in a pasture without ever having bounced along the ground – Score: 3 points
    • Bounce-plop (BP) – the whacked walnut bounced on the ground prior to stopping within the 20-foot diameter circle – Score: 2 points
    • No-plop (NP) – the ball goes over the pasture fence, but does not make it to the circle – Score: 1 point
  • Walnut Whacking World Series:
    • Two games are played, one with River Rules and one with Pasture rules. The team with the highest combined point total is the Walnut Whacking World Champion.

Guide to Perfect Form: Beautiful Wife has prepared this series of pictures to show you how you can attain the whacking form that will help you to become a world champion whacksman.

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Equipment: The most important piece of equipment for a great whacksman is a quality racket. Dear, sweet Wife was a bit of a tennis champion while we lived in Japan. She prefers to use her 1978 vintage Shin Nippon Racket. Very few have ever won a match when she had that racket in her hand. (In a follow-on article, we will explore other equipment such as gloves and shoes.)

Potential Problems: Some black walnuts appear to be green and ready for whacking but they have already started to rot inside. The black ooze that emerges when being whacked makes a positively horrific mess of a quality racket. Whacksmen, beware of rotting walnuts!

WW-09

Challenge: There is a rumor that lovely Wife desires to challenge various children and grandchildren to a Walnut Whacking match. Mind you, that’s only a rumor and you never heard it from me.

 

 

 

SFH Journal: 2019-10-21 through 27 – Vet the Vet

Hi! Mr. Monte here.

Cats know, perhaps even better than humans, the meaning of the adage: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Now you may recall how pleased I was with my introduction to a new veterinary clinic about a month ago. (See Blondie Comes Through – Guilt Assuaged.) At the time, that visit to the new vet left me in a state of relative catly euphoria. But! Cats, especially cats like me who possess notable intellect and shrewd understanding of the real world, must be aware that humans are basically dishonest. They often speak with soothing words, but their real intent is not benign. Blondie and Fuzz Face are no exceptions.

I had mulled over this thought through the intervening weeks. It was inevitable that another visit to the vet would happen. Thursday was the day of reckoning. My two big cats quietly pulled out my carrier and gently urged me to enter, all the while speaking those soothing words. – – My catly senses suddenly alarmed a shrill – Uh-oh!

Within 20 minutes we were once again in the quiet room in the clinic. Once again, classical music was heard in the background. An array of tasty treats were strewn about my paws. I knew, I just knew, they were laying a trap. Then, the Vet came in and spoke softly to my two big cats. I heard the human words “rabies vaccine” and “inspect his ears”.  Uh-oh! Uh-oh! Uh-oh! Uh-oh!

I shan’t bore you with the details. It was not as I expected. The Vet and the Tech quietly, gently, calmly, and professionally did what they had to do. Surely, it was not pleasant, but it was not painful or traumatizing either. It was merely doing what had to be done. In addition to administering the vaccine and probing both ears with cotton swabs, they also administered more tasty treats. In fact, by the time the visit was done, I had almost overdosed on those tender morsels.

Okay, for once Blondie and Fuzz Face spoke the truth when they told me that I have nothing to fear. Perhaps they really are concerned with my better interests. So, for now, I have only two things to say:

  1. I have now vetted the Vet and she is the best Vet yet!
  2. Blondie and Fuzz Face better go out and buy a case of the same treats the Vet gave me or else there are no more amazing tricks by me.

Yes, dear readers, I really did end this post with a seasonal pun – instead of “trick or treat” it is “treats for tricks”!

SFH by the Numbers – Facts & Statistics

SFH Plantings: See SFH 2019 Plantings

SFH Harvest: See SFH 2019 Harvest

SFH Preserving: See SFH 2019 – Preserving – Food for Tomorrow

SFH WX Station Report – Monthly: See SFH Weather Summaries & Statistics

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2019-10-21 through 09-27

 

SFH Journal: 2019-09-30 through 10-20 – “V” is for “Victory!”

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I’m sure you remember that picture of me in late September. (See SFH Journal: 2019-09-23 through 29.) The wood for the coming Winter had just arrived and dear Hubby made a plea for family to come and help move two cords of wood to the shed behind me.

Well, schedules are schedules and often they don’t coincide. Likewise, families have obligations and, as much as they want to help, they cannot leave their obligations and commitments behind.

Even sweet Hubby had a serious business commitment and had to travel to Idaho. He wouldn’t and couldn’t be around to move the wood. So, to make a long story short, I resolved that this pioneer wife, this homemaker and founder of Serendipity Farmhouse would do what many women have done in the past. Just like the days when dear Hubby had to deploy for months at a time, I would rise once more to the challenge and move the wood all by myself.

I saddled up the lawn tractor and hitched the work cart behind it. Slowly at a measured pace, I loaded the cart and moved the many loads of wood to the shed. Then marshaling uncommon strength and stamina I carried logs, two and three at a time, into the shed and stacked them as high as I could reach. It was a marvelously neat and tidy job and I feel justly proud.

Over several days, it all came together. It was a success. No, rather, it was a victory. And as you can see dear friends I signaled with a “V” for “Victory”!

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Fake

Well, I guess the SFH Chief of Security found me out and caught me red-handed. No, dear friends, it was dearest Hubby and I who did the job together and we enjoyed every minute of it. What better way to spend a cool, crisp Autumn day?

Growing/Preserving Season Coming to an End

Almost Frost

There it is. Almost the first frost. When we heard the warning, we quickly harvested anything that looked even remotely ready. There were so many jalapeno peppers that today (Sunday) we had to pickle five jars of the spicy little rascals.

We still have arugula and romaine coming in. Even the little cherry tomato bush is still trying. We look forward to the coming winter days, enjoying the fruits of our harvest while sitting near the warmth of the wood stove.

SFH by the Numbers – Facts & Statistics

SFH Plantings: See SFH 2019 Plantings

SFH Harvest: See SFH 2019 Harvest

SFH Preserving: See SFH 2019 – Preserving – Food for Tomorrow

SFH WX Station Report – Monthly: See SFH Weather Summaries & Statistics

Days for Faith & Family

A large, faith-filled family is more than the sum of its parts – it is the sum of its hearts.

You don’t get to be grandparents in good standing by just standing by. You must actively take part in all that makes a family. You must realize also that, as your children marry and have children, your extended family increases exponentially and becomes lovingly intertwined with in-laws, uncles, aunts, and many, many cousins.

So it was this week. My beautiful Spouse had the great honor and privilege to sponsor dearest Granddaughter #3 in the Holy Sacrament of Confirmation. It was for my sweet Wife an awesome and humbling experience accompanied by solemn responsibility and commitment. Though pictures were taken, they could not capture the radiance and peace that shown on our Granddaughter’s face that evening.

We then journeyed through time from the singular joy of Tuesday evening at the Cathedral to a raucous and jovial gathering of the clans on Saturday afternoon. Slightly less than 40 souls bound by family ties and friendship joined together in rural Virginia to celebrate the Confirmation. Three essential elements of the gathering of a true family set the theme for the day – prayer, food, and baseball.

Prayer: It was not and could not be forgotten why we were assembled in that loving home – Granddaughter #3’s Confirmation. All gifts, greetings, and actions centered around our common faith. No food would be eaten until thankful prayer was said. That is what we do in our family.

Food: The dining room and kitchen were both filled with an array of the tastiest assortment of party food. No one, not one single person could say that there wasn’t something there on those tables that wasn’t a special delight for him or her. Many brought special dishes or treats with them. For example Serendipity Farmhouse provided a fantastic banana nut bread, a jar of G&G’s Serendipitous Salsa, a jar of G&G’s Nick of Thyme Salsa, and a jar of Pete’s Pickled Jalapeno Peppers (the jars within the yellow circle). Unfortunately, yours Truly didn’t take a picture until the hungry hoard had made their first pass through the food line.

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Baseball: It must be explained that all in this wonderful extended family are great baseball fans. Many have roots in Houston, Texas. So, it goes without saying that enthusiasm was running higher than usual. All were convinced that the Astros were going to the World Series and that, once there at the Series, they would promptly trounce the Nationals. With that background in mind and understanding that the party venue was blessed with enough acreage for a full sized baseball field, it is no wonder that balls, bats, helmets, and gloves quickly made their appearance and – the game was on.

Some families have feuds. That is unfortunate. Our family has friendly rivalries. This is how parents can challenge children and teach them to grow into adulthood. So, the match up of a father against a son on a baseball diamond is a priceless moment. It speaks to the meaning of a family – a place where children are nurtured and brought to maturity.

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And that, gentle Reader, is just a part of how we spent our week – how we spent our days for Faith and Family.

 

 

¡Basta! – A Justifiable Cat Rant

Hi! Mr. Monte here.

¡Basta! That’s enough – no more!

Even as I begin to take paw to keyboard, I can see that Serendipity Farmhouse is on the verge of falling apart. Am I the only one who can see it? Is everyone else here blind?

Consider: There hasn’t been a post from this blog for nearly two weeks.

Consider: Not one good recipe from Julia has been tested in the SFH Test Kitchen in ages.

Consider: The lawn is shaggy, overgrown, and in great need of trimming.

Consider: The pantry is growing low on food essentials.

What’s going on with my big cats?? Have they lost any sense of priorities??

It all began two weeks ago when Ol’ Fuzz Face pulled out his big green suitcase and started packing. He was constantly checking his reservations and fretting over what clothes to take to windy, cold, and snowy Idaho. During all of this, he took short cuts with my grooming, shortened our play times, and failed to show me the attention that is my due.

Meanwhile, Blondie puttered around aimlessly. Occasionally, she would ask Fuzzy if he needed a shirt ironed or needed some more fattening snacks to pack in his brief case. She was (I am understating), she was less observant of and responsive to my needs than she is required to be. On a scale of 1-10, her interest in my interests had dropped to an all-time low of “2”.

When the old man finally got into his car and headed to the airport, Blondie wandered about SFH aimlessly. She grabbed a book and read for 5-10 minutes. Then she was up bouncing about, looking for something to do. – – – She found it alright, there she was on-line purchasing this-and-that, that-and-this, this-and-this, and that-and-that from Amazon. Fuzzy’s pungent foot odor had barely vacated the room and Blondie had already charged several hundred buckaroos to the SFH credit card. ///Blondie takes issue with my statements – I report, you decide!///

Oh, she wasn’t totally forgetful of her duties. After all, I’ve trained her well in the preparation and serving of my meals. But, it was a lack luster presentation, just barely meeting the lowest level of reasonable expectations. – – The dear, sweet lady wasn’t really with it.

On Tuesday, good friend Nancy visited. She’s a fairly consistent and convivial guest. She’s knows how to show me proper respect and courtesy upon arrival. In that regard, she could teach Blondie a few things.

One morning was the worst in my recent recollection. Blondie made the nearly disastrous decision to perform my required daily grooming. She has little or no training in that most important of rituals. It almost cost her her life, or at least a large quantity of hemoglobin. – – To her credit, Blondie is a gentle and loving human. That was what almost cost her dearly.

She approached me with the stainless steel grooming comb. She uttered sweet, loving, and tender words. She smiled timidly and muttered that this would be an excellent experience. – – What’s the matter with her? Doesn’t she realize I am a full-grown, mature, male, Maine Coon cat with six long, sharp claws on each of my four paws. I also have big teeth. I don’t necessarily respond well to sweet, loving, and tender words.

She approached. I held my ground. She continued to approach. I responded with hissing and a low, unmistakably ominous growl. She still continued to approach and extend the comb. My paw quickly flew in her direction, flashing gleaming white claws. You could hear the swish as the claws slashed through the air. – – Blondie got the message.

For all reading this, Ol’ Fuzz Face, for all his weaknesses and lunacies, is the only human whom I allow to groom me. It may be that he’s not real smart, but he does not fear my grooming time temper tantrums. Whatever the case might be, the pictures you’ve seen of me with my shiny mackerel pattern coat are a reflection of his stupid, ill-informed fearlessness.

And so it was while Fuzz Face was gone. I loved Blondie with purrs and leg rubs while she was feeding me and gave me treats. But, she never ever approached me again with that stainless steel grooming comb.

Oh, by the way, Fuzz Face is good for one other thing – hunting. He is the prey – I am the fierce predator. It’s our game and he suffers greatly if he ever underestimates my abilities. This last week, I found out that Blondie is rather fearful of being the hunted one. – – She knows I don’t appreciate being sprayed with the water bottle. Maybe that’s why she resorted to sleeping with the water bottle all week.

Well, that’s my story. Fuzzy is now home again and he and Blondie (at my urging) are doing their best to get SFH back in running order. It may take a while.

If Fuzzy really loves his dear, sweet, lovable spouse, I counsel him strongly not to take any more business trips. It takes the three of us to run SFH. That’s the way it is and that’s the way it’s meant to be.

 

 

 

 

SFH Journal: 2019-09-23 through 29

Dear Children, Children-in-law, and Grandchildren,

This wonderfully beautiful and ever so sweet woman you see before you, your Mother, Mother-in-law, and Grandmother, is in desperate need of your help. This week, two cords of firewood were delivered to Serendipity Farmhouse. It represents the warmth that will be needed to sustain this loving caretaker of SFH during the cold, harsh, and long Winter to come. She is willing to carry every log herself to the dry safety of the woodshed you see behind her.

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If you can find it in your hearts to spare this dear lady from this drudgery and back-breaking task, please send an email or call us directly to offer your assistance. I’m certain that your work of charity will not go unrewarded here at SFH or in Heaven.

Highlights of the Week:

0924191434b (2)09-24 Tuesday: Without a doubt, the highlight for this week was the birthday of Serendipity Farmhouse’s Chief Security Agent and Master Chef – Mr. Monte. You can view his remarks about the festive anniversary here: My Birthday – 2019!

09-25 Wednesday: Our local tree and yard maintenance service delivered two cords of firewood. Compared to last year’s waterlogged stack of mushroom-filled bottom wood, this year’s wood is dry, well-seasoned and ready to go. – Count this as a blessing. (See:  SFH Journal: 2019-01-26 through 31 – Gourmet Recipes for the Wood Stove)

09-26 Thursday: Perhaps prematurely, we called an end to the growing season for our 0927191347b (2)tomato garden. Sustained dry weather and infestations of bugs were causing unacceptable losses to our late-season tomatoes. So, Yours Truly harvested the last few ripening tomatoes and a relatively large number of green tomatoes and then pulled out the plants.

Final tally on full-sized, usable tomatoes this season:

Golden Jubilee x 1 plant = 20
Mr. Stripey x 4 plants = 113, average of 28 per plant
Big Beef x 1 plant = 131

Despite the losses to weather and pests, 164 tomatoes is a lot of tomatoes. So, I can say unreservedly, this was the best year for tomatoes ever here at SFH. – Count this as a blessing.

Of course there was another highlight this day – Mr. Monte finally has found a feline-loving veterinarian to call his own. You can read about it here: Blondie Comes Through – Guilt Assuaged

09-27 Friday: Meanwhile, back at our second main vegetable garden there are other reflections of the change in seasons. Although still producing, the yellow squash have not been growing as large as a few weeks ago. They also were beginning to be more fragile while on the vine. For that reason, I had to end the season and remove the squash plant. That single plant produced a total of 43 yellow squash for our dinner table. – Count this as a blessing.

As of today, the garden now looks like this:

The arugula is prospering. The new asparagus plants have taken hold. The jalapeno and Cow Horn peppers continue to produce in abundance. And, as you can see below there is the prospect of many more servings of okra at our dinner table. – Count this as a blessing.

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Oh, and you might be wondering about the cherry tomato plant. So far this season, it has given us 609 little red tomatoes filled with garden fresh taste. And there are more coming.

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Count each and every thing shown or stated here in this post as a great blessing!

SFH by the Numbers – Facts & Statistics

SFH Plantings: See SFH 2019 Plantings

SFH Harvest: See SFH 2019 Harvest

SFH Preserving: See SFH 2019 – Preserving – Food for Tomorrow

SFH WX Station Report – Monthly: See SFH Weather Summaries & Statistics

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2019-09-23 through 09-29

Blondie Comes Through – Guilt Assuaged

Hi, Mr. Monte here!

Note 1: This post is only to be read by my 23, 417 feline followers. Do Not! I repeat, Do Not! allow your humans to view the TOPCAT SECRET content herein.

Note 2: This post should not be read without first referring to my post Indignity – Mr. Monte’s Day with the Vet

Yesterday, September 26, stands alongside my birthday two days earlier as a truly great day! Blondie came through! – – No more Dr. Dog-man!!! – – Happy days are here again!

It all began mid-morning. Ol’ Fuzz Face went through his hilarious routine of trying to round me up and get me inside my cat carrier. First, he tries to distract me. Then, he goes into his stealth mode, sneaking up on me. Foolish, foolish human! Once I tire of his manifest idiocy, I just walk over to the carrier – all the time he’s thinking he’s outwitted me.

I must say that I experienced some anxiety when we got into the car instead of the RV. There are only two places they take me for rides – the dump (I’ve never figured that one out) or to Dr. Dog-man’s veterinary practice. – But, to my ever so minor dismay, we passed both places by. – Blondie & Fuzz Face had managed to capture my attention – where were we going???

The ride took about 25 minutes. Blondie rode in the back to attend to my needs. Then we arrived at what looked like a common residential home. The waiting room was definitely that of a veterinary clinic, but it was unusual. The air was filled with the smell of humans and cat, but no other animals whatsoever. I did my best to relax in this entirely new environment.

Suddenly, there were two human females with a juvenile feline in their hands. – My interest was immediately piqued. There was a question concerning the gender of this fuzzy black juvenile. One human gently lifted the tale of the juvenile feline. Her head leaned to the left, then to the right, then back again. She, not so confidently, announced that this was a “girl”.

Of course, by this time my body had gone rigid and my gaze was locked onto the juvenile feline – Friend or Foe? – Playmate or threat? – But, beyond those simple instinctual questions, I had to ask – how can you not be sure if it’s a girl. All they had to do was ask me. – – Humans, I just can’t figure them out. They get paid even if they don’t know the most basic things – like girl or boy?

Then I was taken to a room – a room about the size of a bedroom – a room not unlike a human child’s room. Fuzz Face put my carrier down and opened the door. As he was doing that, a human female walked in and did the strangest thing – she sat on the floor. Despite her sitting position, I knew that she was a veterinary technician. In my usual response to all in the veterinary profession, I hissed and bared my teeth. That’ll show her who’s in charge.

Rather than lurch back in mortal terror, she merely sat in place and smiled at me. Huh? I had to investigate. So, I left the security of my carrier and circled the room two or three times. She continued to smile and talk with my humans. “What’s up here?”

In a short while, another human female entered the room, and she too sat on the floor, right on my level. She also smiled at me and addressed me in a very pleasant low tone. After a while, she attempted to have me play with some cat toys – I was too smart for that ploy. But it wasn’t a ploy. She was willing to play.

Oh, and before I forget, both of the human females offered me yummy cat treats. I knew that had to be a ploy. But, no, that wasn’t a ploy either. The just left them on the floor. I could have any or all that I wanted, no strings attached. Again I said, “What’s up here?”

After a long while (no one seemed to be in a rush), I got the idea that I should check out the second human. To my surprise, I discovered that she was a veterinarian, but not like Dr. Dog-man – she had cat skills, very well developed cat skills. So, as I sidled up alongside her, she stroked me gently and sincerely. “Could this really be?”

In the background, I could even hear classical music just like Fuzz Face plays when he’s at work or writing a post. – It was like being home.

She let me smell a metal disc thing connected to a tube. I sniffed and felt no threat. Slowly she put the disc near my heart and listened – she smiled at what she heard. After that she looked at me as if asking “May I?” Then she looked at my teeth, just a simple look.

Then I was urged to get onto the thing I dread most – the weight scale. The numbers went round and round, up and down and finally stopped at 19.  She smiled approvingly. There were no words of reproof.

I ate some more snacks while the humans talked about my favorite subject – me.

All too quickly the visit had come to an end. I had been to my first visit at a veterinary practice that understands cats – important cats like me.

I don’t remember the ride home. I was in cat heaven, and in my memory I have been there all day. And, had you come to Serendipity Farmhouse today this what you might have seen.

Now, to my 23, 417 feline followers, here is the lesson to be learned about human behavior. Humans have something we cats don’t have and would consider a weakness if we did – GUILT.

(Be advised, dogs, because of their long, subservient relationship with humans, also have guilt.)

When we left Dr. Dog-man and his chamber of catly horrors, Blondie saw that I was in the midst of a near nervous breakdown. She saw me tremble with pain from the injections, poking, and prodding. She visibly winced when Dog-man body shamed me due to my weight.

To some extent, Blondie made her decision to seek a new veterinary practice, out of love. But, be assured, she was even more strongly motivated by severe GUILT. She had put me in this position; it was her duty to make it better by finding a “cat friendly practice” where I could be fear-free.

No matter whether it was GUILT or LOVE or both, she finally did the right thing. She went the extra mile. Sleep well tonight, Dearest Blondie, with guilt assuaged and me snuggling close to you.