SFH Journal: 2021-07-05 through 07-25: Upson Downsof Life Re-Revisited

Dear Reader: If you have the time, please refer to the opening section of our post SFH Journal: 2020-04-06 through 04-12 – Upson’s Life Revisited. You will find there how I finally came to resign myself to the vagaries of reality and all that they entail:

Many years have passed since I met Upson and worked with Mr. Unlucky. More and more I realize I have become much like them. The day will bring what it brings. It is the best I can hope to get. And, in the end, the best is good enough for me.

And why should I bring this up with you on this particular day? – Well, dear Reader, the last two weeks have forced me to remember my own words and to live by them as I have resolved. Here are but a few misfortunes and calamities that have beset Serendipity Farmhouse in recent days:

  • The 21-year-old dishwasher in the soon to be world-famous SFH test kitchen decided it was time to retire. Repair parts appear to be unavailable. It will likely be replaced by our home warranty service – but that replacement date remains unknown.
  • Cell phones used by my dearest Spouse and me, came to an untimely end this past week. Both had to be replaced.
  • The once reliable lawn tractor I use to mow the vast 1.203 acres of the prestigious SFH Estate died and is now sitting in a repair facility. So far, there is no diagnosis or prognosis. Meanwhile, the finely manicured lawns of SFH are turning into meadows suitable for grazing.
  • Just prior to grilling four beautiful lamb chops, our barely one-year old grill decided to malfunction. For a week it could not be used. Fortunately, I found a way to fix the problem.
  • Worst of all and most troubling to us, our esteemed SFH Chief of Security has been diagnosed with a rare and potentially serious malady afflicting his left ear. This will mean that Mr. Monte will have to travel many miles to see a veterinary specialist and likely undergo surgery. – You can be certain this is not to Mr. Monte’s liking.

Nevertheless, with trust in God, we here at SFH continue to say: The day will bring what it brings. It is the best I can hope to get. And, in the end, the best is good enough for me.

SFH Simple Salsa

We planted three weeks past our normal target date this year out of an overabundance of caution with regard to late freezes. (I detest the phrase “an overabundance of caution”, yet I use it here to castigate myself for my surrender to fear and lack of boldness in carrying out my agrarian duties.) Consequently, our harvest is coming in late. This last Friday, we finally harvested the six pounds of tomatoes needed to can our first six pints of of world-renowned Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa.

While many of our friends and family members prefer our extra spicy salsa, made with a variety of hot peppers from our garden, there are some that have a more sensitive palate. This year we decided that our first batch of salsa would be more mild. Of course our secret blend of spices would remain in our modified recipe, but the hot peppers would be saved for our second batch of salsa. Therefore, the first batch of salsa would bear the name – SFH Simple Salsa.

No doubt you have seen many of our pictures of salsa preparation. And, if it weren’t for the fact that this year’s tomatoes are coming from the garden without blemish, I would not include pictures in this post. Nevertheless, Mr. Monte and Blondie agree these Roma, Big Boy, Better boy, and Bush Goliath tomatoes just have to be seen as they are transformed from garden beauties to magnificent salsa.

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SFH Gardens by the Numbers

  The following links will catch you up with what has been planted and what has been harvested since our last Journal post:

SFH 2021 Plantings

SFH 2021 Harvest

SFH 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2021-06-28 through 07-11

SFH WX 2021-07-12 through 07-18

SFH WX 2021-07-19 through 07-25

 

 

RV Trip 2021-02: I Wanna Go Home!

Hi! Mr. Monte here!

To my 23,417 feline followers, especially my many cat cousins residing in Virginia and Ohio, there are clearly defined limits to my ability to tolerate trips in my Class-C RV “El Camino Del Monte” (ECMD). You would think getting out of the hot city and relaxing in a cool woodland setting would be the goal of most intelligent humans.

Obviously, I don’t have two of those. No, I have the kind of humans that think that is fun to go someplace hotter and far less comfortable than Serendipity Farmhouse. Rather than listening to calming classical music, my humans would rather listen to the cacophonous, nerve-shattering noise of an air conditioner running 24/7. – It is my considered opinion that any common sense they may have ever had was baked out of their brains by overexposure to the infernal heat of Virginia in July.

We arrived at Shenandoah River State Park at 2:25 PM. Fuzzy completed setup in record time. By 3:12 PM, he had the weather station assembled, revealing the severity of our situation. The temperatures at the park had climbed into the mid-90s, so all windows and doors had to be shut and the sound of that miserable AC began to numb my mind. You can see for yourself that my humans had made another marvelous choice of camping dates. – What were they thinking, if they were capable of thinking at all?

Of course, the heat was followed by rain, a torrential downpour that crashed down on the roof of ECMD. The splattering of raindrops the size of golf balls shattered my inner peace and grated on every neuron of my highly tuned feline nervous system. By 8 PM, I was a useless, shivering pile of fur, incapable of reacting in any normal way. It was then that I first heard myself say, “Meoowww! I wanna go home!”

Dinner No. 1: Texas Hash

My humans apparently took no notice of my distress. Their only concern was pleasing their belly and their gut, preparing another “gourmet” meal. Granted, they prepared it to a human standard of perfection, nevertheless, its aroma and presentation aroused no interest whatsoever in my feline appetite. Yet, as the author of this post, I am required to give you details that might help those humans among my readers to recreate this culinary delight. So, here you go. The dish is called Texas Hash. The original recipe appeared in the Betty Crocker Picture Cook Book, 1950. Currently, the recipe can be found in the book Betty Crocker Lost Recipes: Beloved Vintage Recipes for Today’s Kitchen.

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As an interesting sidelight. In a moment of weakness, Ol’ Fuzz Face confessed to me that, when he was young, he thought that Betty Crocker was a real person and was devastated when he found out otherwise. Poor guy, he never learned the real truth, but I did after doing some internet searches. It turns out that Betty Crocker was a shapeshifter. Her true persona was Mamagon (ママゴン) the lovely kaiju (怪獣) of Japanese fame. You can find out more about her at the Ultraman Wiki.

As you can see below, Betty Crocker/Mamagon had nothing at all to do with the meals I was served on this trip. For me, it’s always the same old stuff. Nope, nothing gourmet quality or special for me. Nope, no ice cream or tasty treats, just the same old swill.

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The Case of the Obnoxious Fly

The second day of this misadventure was just as hot and steamy as the first. Fuzzy and Blondie attempted to humor themselves and enjoy their outing as if the weather was perfectly pleasant. It was apparent that they had spent too much time in the sun and were delusional. Blondie went so far as to pose for pictures to prove that she was having a delightful time. But, it wasn’t even a half hour later at lunch when she lost all of her composure.

Let me tell you what happened and what I saw through the kitchen window. At lunchtime, Blondie proclaimed that lunch would be served in her beloved screen tent. She opined that it would be ever so pleasant to dine outside and enjoy the sounds of nature and the gentle breeze. Blondie and Fuzzy carried all the fixings for lunch to the tent. They carefully zipped up the doorway screen and sat down to eat their midday repast. Simultaneously, two things began to happen. First, both of those “nature lovers” began to sweat profusely. They smiled at each other attempting to hide their discomfort, but moisture oozing from beneath their garments betrayed them. Second, it became apparent that the screen tent, when closed, does two things: it locks flies out and it locks flies in. In the case of my two humans, they had locked in with them the single most obnoxious fly in the entire Shenandoah Valley. It landed on their food. It landed on their beverage glasses. It did pirouettes on their ears and their noses. It caused them to swat and flail about, feverishly attempting to smush the intruder. And the obnoxious little fellow would not cease.

It wasn’t long after lunch before Fuzzy, at the bidding of Blondie, was taking the tent down, folding it up, and storing it away for the remainder of our misbegotten RV trip. Once again, I could be heard to say, “Meoowww! I wanna go home!”

Dinner No. 2: Persian Shish Kabob

There’s no real need to go into detail about dinner on the second day. Sure, the smell of the meat used for the shish kabobs was somewhat pleasant, but what cat can eat meat that was soaked in lime juice, garlic, and onion for 24 hours. Anyway, Blondie and Fuzzy exclaimed that the allrecipes Persian Shish Kabob recipe was really good and, of course, their cooking skills exceeded that of most mortals.

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Radicalized!!!

My dear feline friends, the second night was just as hot as the first. The air conditioner kept running, and running, and running. One could not hear oneself think. Of course that meant nothing to my humans because, obviously, they weren’t thinking. I mistakenly thought that it could get no worse. That was when Fuzzy and Blondie decided to add to the noise by watching a horrid British detective show. Because they couldn’t understand the British accents, they cranked the volume up to an intolerable setting. I was in pain. I was in agony. I had finally reached the point where I could stand no more. And that is when I devised my radical solution – there would be no sleep for anyone in ECMD until this cat was returned to his rightful place in the most peaceful and tranquil Serendipity Farmhouse.

I won’t burden you with the details of my actions, but you can be certain that all of the following tactics were employed: nudging, bumping, nibbling, biting, scratching, jumping, endless meowing, and repeatedly exclaiming, “Meoowww! I wanna go home!”

Let me emphasize that point by showing you how I expressed my feelings to those two insensitive humans: “Meoowww! I wanna go home!” “Meoowww! I wanna go home!” “Meoowww! I wanna go home!” “Meoowww! I wanna go home!” “Meoowww! I wanna go home!” “Meoowww! I wanna go home!” “Meoowww! I wanna go home!” “Meoowww! I wanna go home!” “Meoowww! I wanna go home!” “Meoowww! I wanna go home!” “Meoowww! I wanna go home!” “Meoowww! I wanna go home!”

Despite all that, Fuzzy and Blondie continued to act as if they didn’t understand. Finally at 2 AM, out of desperation, I went to the corner where the metal door to my carrier was stored. I clawed at it and dislodged it. I dragged it out to where Fuzzy could see what I had. Then I jumped into my carrier and looked at him and bellowed, “Meoowww! Listen you jerk, Meoowww! I wanna go home!”

But it was all to no avail. Even though they could not sleep, they insisted on ignoring my pleas. It wasn’t until the sun had risen and they drank their coffee, that they would begin preparing for the trip home. Meanwhile, I was sleepless and a wreck from my encounter with their ignorant behavior. I rolled over in front of my carrier, feet up in the air, and played dead. And so I remained until Fuzzy said I should get into the carrier. I immediately did as he said, all the time wanting to take a pound of his flesh, but I didn’t want to delay our departure. Forty-five minutes later, we were home. I quietly flopped on the floor in front of the fan and refused to interact with either of them for the remainder of the day. – May it ever be so humble there’s no place like Serendipity Farmhouse!

 

SFH Journal: 2021-06-28 through 07-04 – The “unanimous Declaration”

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

There is a price to be paid for liberty. That price was declared in the “bottom line” of the great document that defined us as an independent people. That document also clearly stated upon Whom we rely for protection.

This most important national holiday is being quietly celebrated here at Serendipity Farmhouse. Our gardens have begun to supply us with abundant returns for our labors. We have eaten sumptuously on a small feast of our garden-fresh green beans and a pin bone sirloin steak, from nearby Reality Farm. Of course, ice cream was served as the fitting dessert.

SFH Gardens by the Numbers

  The following links will catch you up with what has been planted and what has been harvested since our last Journal post:

SFH 2021 Plantings

SFH 2021 Harvest

SFH 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2021-06-28 through 07-04

SFH Journal: 2021-06-21 through 27 – Interloper!

Interloper!

Mr. Monte is on special assignment this week. He has been thoroughly briefed on the following incident report. After viewing the slides and my interviews with our resident Mockingbird and Grey Catbird, he has nothing but high praise for them and their quick response to an imminent threat against the peace and tranquility of Serendipity Farmhouse.

Mr. Monte also directed Rusty the rat snake to advise his cousin “Bad-news Blacky” to keep his ugly self out of the SFH estate.

The pictures pretty much speak for themselves. Two unrelated species, a Mockingbird and a Grey Catbird showed a fantastic display of Serendipity Farmhouse-style cooperation. Sensing the common threat from Blacky, they devised a well executed tactical plan to evict Blacky from the premises.  Although it appeared that the Mockingbird carried the majority of the action, it must be noted that our fearsome Catbird was the the one that dared to make actual physical contact with Blacky. Both birds deserve maximum credit for their heroic and successful action.

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Garlic!

The slideshow below tells the story. This year’s garlic is in. 100% of the cloves planted developed mature garlic heads. Thank you St. Isadore!

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Bug Control – The Next Generation

Only a half an inch long, but ready to go

 

SFH Gardens by the Numbers

  The following links will catch you up with what has been planted and what has been harvested since our last Journal post:

SFH 2021 Plantings

SFH 2021 Harvest

SFH 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2021-06-21 through 06-27

SFH Journal: 2021-06-07 through 06-20

This post will be short. That’s because there has been a lot going on over the last two weeks here at Serendipity Farmhouse. We will save that story for a post sometime in the future.

Two items are worthy of note – Rain and Grapes.

As you may or may not know, a large portion of the vast SFH estate lies on a flood plane. The North Fork of the Thornton River, while restful and pleasing to the eye most of the time, can quickly become a threat to our safety and property. (See the post Monte’s Bug Out Buggy to the Rescue.) So, it was with great concern we received the National Weather Service flash flood watch alerts on June 10th.

The heavy rain came as predicted. The three of us found it hard to sleep that night as we could hear the pounding of rain on our metal roof. It had been very dry recently ans we knew that the river was running low. We also knew that the ground was extremely dry. But, what we did not know was whether those factors would be enough to keep the river from suffering a flash flood and surrounding the house as it has done before.

At 4:00 AM on the 11th, I ventured outside in the rain with a flashlight. To my great relief there was no water flowing through the driveway. I approached the river cautiously and looked over the bank. To my surprise the river was at a much lower level than I had imagined it might be. – The earlier dry weather had indeed provided us an unusual margin of safety. – Prayers do get answered.

When it was all over we had received a total of 6.66 inches of rain in less than 24 hours. The house was safe and the overly dry garden beds were once again moist and happy.

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As we have noted earlier, SFH is likely to have the largest grape harvest ever. To protect the mass of new grapes, I have set up a temporary fence around our extensive vineyard that contains our single vine. The job was labor intensive but I was compelled to do it with my own two hands. Now all we have to worry about is Japanese beetles.

 

 

 

SFH Gardens by the Numbers

  The following links will catch you up with what has been planted and what has been harvested since our last Journal post:

SFH 2021 Plantings

SFH 2021 Harvest

SFH 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2021-06-07 through 06-13

SFH WX 2021-06-14 through 06-20

Feline Medical Security

Hi! Mr. Monte here!

To my 23,417 feline followers, especially my many cat cousins residing in Virginia and Ohio, I have an extremely important and serious topic to discuss, you need to pay close attention. As the Serendipity Farmhouse Chief of Security, it is my sworn duty to ensure that all SFH residents remain physically safe and secure. I do my utmost to fulfill that oath. Both day and night, I repeatedly check on Blondie and Ol’ Fuzz Face to ensure their safety and monitor their health. If there were something wrong with either of my big cats, I would sound the alarm. – – I would encourage each of you to be as caring with your humans.

But what about moi? Who looks after me to ensure that I’m in perfect health and medical shape? For once, I must admit that my big cats have done their very best to make sure I stay fit. Yet, if you remember in my post Indignity – Mr. Monte’s Day with the Vet things did not get off to a very good start. – – That’s because they took me to Dr. Dog-man – a veterinarian who is irredeemably lost to an irrational love of canines and an equally irrational fear of large, cuddly, and lovable felines like me.

No, our meetings were not pleasant.  One of the most excruciating indignities I endured was the day he body shamed me, suggesting that I was becoming obese. – – He’s lucky he still has any skin on his arms.

Things improved greatly, however when Blondie finally recognized that modern veterinary science could do better for felines than forcing them into cold, colorless examining rooms where they would be subjected to nerve rattling noises and terrible, noxious odors. She actually found a civilized veterinary clinic staffed by cat-loving technicians and an extremely learned and competent vet. You can read about my first encounter with the clinic here – Blondie Comes Through – Guilt Assuaged.

The reason I’m recounting this to you, my dear feline followers, is to let you know that during the long period that humans throughout the world have been dealing with a rather nasty disease, their vets (doctors) have not allowed them to come into close contact with one another. That raised the question of ‘What if my pet gets sick?’ – – Well, for a while, there was complete lock down and none of us could be seen. But, as soon as they could, my beloved vet at The Cat Cottage and her staff made it possible for cats like me to come inside for examinations. Unfortunately, Blondie and Fuzzy had to remain in their car and monitor the appointments on their phones. At least they could talk to me and let me know they were still close by.

This last week was the first time that we could all go in for a visit together. It was like a reunion. There was an excellent selection of classical music on the sound system and birds were clearly in view just outside the window. It was all very restful.

Since the body shaming incident with Dr. Dog-man, I have hated scales. My weight is my business. However, in the picture below you can see that I am rather content lounging on Dr. Myers’ scale. Don’t be jealous when I tell you this, my dear feline friends, but I weighed in at a mere 20.9 pounds. That makes me a rather slim, healthy, and most formidable Main Coon cat. – – Now, having said all that, it’s once again time to check on my two big cats. Their medical security is important to me.

All this attention and classical music too!

SFH Journal: 2021-05-30 through 06-06 – Intensity

———————NOTE——————–

It’s obvious that this post is getting out two days late. Due to the never ending demands of my SFH security enforcement duties, this post was unavoidably delayed. I would express my regrets and apologies but, as you well know by now, cats, especially yours truly, have no shame, sorrow, or regret. You have to admit that life is so much simpler that way. — DelMonte, SFH Chief of Security

———————END OF NOTE——————–

Hi! Mr. Monte here!

To my 23,417 feline followers, especially my many cat cousins residing in Virginia and Ohio, with the exception of tactically advisable ‘catnaps’, we have entered the season where there is no rest for a highly decorated, world-renowned Chief of Security. There is too much at stake for me to allow myself to drop my guard or fall into complacence.

As you can see by this picture, taken by Ol’ Fuzz Face using the Night Vision setting, even after the sun goes down, I am on watch – ever alert. Although no picture can capture the true intensity with which I conduct security affairs here at Serendipity Farmhouse, at least a picture can substantiate the fact that, if anyone dare attempt to penetrate the SFH security perimeter, they will have to deal with me.

Interestingly, this week my powers of observation were called upon to resolve a somewhat trivial dispute between Blondie and Fuzzy concerning the evening of May 28th. On the night in question, Fuzzy declared that he had seen the first firefly of the year. Blondie was somewhat skeptical of his claim and declared that, because she hadn’t seen it, it did not happen.

Fuzzy asked me to intervene and provide my expert opinion. Being the all-seeing Chief of Security that I am, I advised Blondie that she should take Fuzzy’s claim seriously because my surveillance network had recorded an airborne intruder sporadically emitting low-level light flashes that evening. (When you think of my surveillance network, imagine something on the same scale as the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).) Upon listening to my testimony, Blondie backtracked a bit and stated that perhaps Fuzzy had seen something, but she still had to see it for herself.

For the remainder of the week, Blondie would sneak outside after sunset, and then return declaring there were no fireflies active on the SFH estate. It wasn’t until last evening (June 5th) that all three of us were sitting on the porch and a myriad of fireflies made their presence manifest. It was at this point that Blondie finally admitted that firefly season had indeed arrived at SFH. Fuzzy and I, recognizing that reminding Blondie of her earlier skepticism might bring about serious consequences for both of us, decided to say nothing except, “Yes dear, my what beautiful fireflies!” – Then Fuzzy and I winked at each other in a quiet moment of male bonding.

SFH Gardens by the Numbers

The vegetable gardens are doing very well this year. As you can see in the feature picture, the SFH vineyard is on its way to producing a record crop of grapes this year. We are taking measures to ensure that deer and other varmints are kept far distant from the maturing grapes.

  The following links will catch you up with what has been planted and what has been harvested since our last Journal post:

SFH 2021 Plantings

SFH 2021 Harvest

SFH 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2021-05-31 through 06-06

SFH Journal: 2021-05-17 through 05-30 – Remember

Each person enlisting in an armed force shall take the following oath:

“I, __________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

Would Serendipity Farmhouse and the free exercise of our Faith exist if it were not for the brave and dedicated souls who have lived and died upholding this solemn oath? – – Remembering and thanking those who have sworn this oath is the rightful way to celebrate this national holiday.

We here at SFH have made a special effort to prepare for this weekend that marks the unofficial start of Summer. It was a truly grueling effort to clean up garden beds, trim and manicure our broad and extensive lawns, plant seeds and young plants in our herb garden and two vegetable gardens, repair or replace aging outside furnishings, install four heavy window air conditioners, and clean everything covered by pollen and dust. And that was just the beginning. We called on outside help to paint the front porch and to add two coats of stain to our deck and railings.

It was a quite ambitious plan. My ever resourceful and highly zealous Spouse was responsible for motivating all the workers involved. Although one could never accuse her of being ruthless, one might describe her leadership style as relentless and unwavering. She enlisted Mr. Monte to act as overseer and work inspector. In his case, one might describe his approach to be less forgiving than my dear and beautiful Wife. In fact, one might say his approach to leadership was on the vicious side of ruthless, or so it seemed to the majority of the work force under his command.

Despite all that, I, the work force, survived the effects of Mr. Monte’s management style. And, to her great credit, the inspired vision of a beautified Serendipity Farmhouse conceived by my most beloved Spouse, resulted in the most pleasant improvements. For example, see what she had done to the front porch.

Newly painted porch & new decorative bench

Dearest Spouse recognized that the deck needed to be brightened up and made more comfortable. So here it is with an eye-catching Cape Cod Red stain and some new deck furniture.

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So, with SFH cleaned up for the unofficial start of Summer, the residents of SFH will take some time off from work and celebrate Memorial Day in fitting ways. I will take time to pray for close friends who died while serving our Country. Beautiful Wife and I will call to mind what it was like starting our family and raising children while stationed overseas. There will be memories of sacrifices and there will be memories of great adventures. After all, SFH is about Faith, Family, & Country.

SFH Cleaned up and ready to celebrate Memorial Day

SFH by the Numbers

The following links will catch you up with what has been planted and what has been harvested since our last Journal post:

SFH 2021 Plantings

SFH 2021 Harvest

SFH 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2021-05-17 through 05-23

SFH WX 2021-05-24 through 05-30

Together Again!!

Although there is some minor dispute on the date, several sources record that, in 1427, São Miguel became the second of the islands discovered by Gonçalo Velho Cabral to be settled by colonists from continental Portugal. There is, however, no dispute as to Whom the island was dedicated. The picture above is a painting by Domingo Rebelo entitled Descoberta da ilha de São Miguel (Discovery of the island of São Miguel). It depicts how families from São Miguel understand their beginnings – their beginnings were in thanksgiving to God.

And why should any of this matter?

Here at Serendipity Farmhouse Faith and Family come first. For many, many months, our family has not had the opportunity to come together as a group, either to pray or to play. Last Saturday, that painful separation came to an end. It was Grandson #7 who made our reunion a reality. At 1030AM, he was Baptized and was born again “… of water and the Holy Spirit.”

Just as my grandparents, born on São Miguel, had my father Baptized; just as my parents had me Baptized, just as my beloved Wife and I had our children Baptized; so on that Saturday morning, dearest Daughter #2 and her beloved husband, had Grandson #7 Baptized. Son #1 and his beloved Spouse were proud to take on the responsibility as Godparents. – – And so there it was. Our family witnessed and was blessed to see another new beginning in the Spirit, and it was truly a beginning in thanksgiving to God.

Does this all sound too serious?

This is not just a family tradition or custom – this is something sacred and solemn – this is a family living every day in Faith. And with the solemnity of this precious moment there also comes joy, family humor, and great celebration. And celebration is something this family does quite well, especially when it has been so long denied to us.

After the ceremony, we all made our way to the Daughter #2’s charming hideaway, nestled as it is amidst the beauty of the world-renowned Shenandoah Valley.  No corner was cut and no expense was spared. The grill was filled with burgers and dogs, the kitchen  was replete with the finest fruits, snacks, and hors d’oeuvres. The yard was instantly filled with cousins dashing about, celebrating their first meeting with Cousin #12. And whether adult or child, not one soul was left untouched by the joy of being together again!

And, dear Reader, if you read Mr. Monte’s post RV Trip 2021-01: A Very Tent Situation, you will be happy to know that last Saturday there was also a type of redemption that took place. In the picture below you will see Son #1 checking his phone. Directly behind him you will see a beautifully erected screen tent. Unlike the terrible experience recounted in Mr. Monte’s post, my son confirmed that I had indeed set a new world’s record in erecting that tent. – I’m still waiting for Mr. Monte’s sincere apology and congratulations.

 

 

 

SFH Journal: 2021-05-02 through 05-16

May 15th, the Feast of St. Isadore

“Dear St. Isidore, you know how normal it is to cultivate the land for you were employed as a farm laborer most of your life. Although you received God’s help materially through Angels in the field, all farmers are aided spiritually to see the wonders God has strewn on this earth.  Encourage all farmers in their labors and help them to feed many people. – Amen”

A report and accounting of our labors at Serendipity Farmhouse.

In 2018, we first posted a Report to St. Isadore. This year, we will resume that custom.

Part I – The Herb Garden

Close to our back door, we have planted herbs to add flavor to our foods. Interestingly, our two parsley plants survived the Winter cold and are going strong. Other herbs are doing well and now there is a new basil plant. This year, we are experimenting with a different variety of cherry tomatoes – Sun Sugar Yellow Cherry Tomato. More herbs will be planted later

Part II-A – Vegetable Garden #1

Not all is going well in Vegetable Garden #1. Only three of our beet seeds germinated. Likewise, our beans have responded less than enthusiastically to sunshine and gentle rains. On the other hand, the arugula and lettuce are producing in abundance. Every clove of garlic planted last Fall has sprouted and all plants are thriving. Four types of hot peppers have been planted and they appear quite happy. There are now seven asparagus plants capable of producing for the dinner table, and all are doing well.

Part II-B – Vegetable Garden #2

Vegetable Garden #2 is reserved for several varieties of tomatoes. So far, we have planted one of each of the following varieties: Better Boy, Big Beef, Bush Goliath, Early Girl, and Pink Brandywine

Part III – Flowers and Plants

We planted grass where the new water line was installed last December. All of the flowering plants and trees have done well this year and small apples are replacing the white blossoms that adorned the yard earlier this Spring. Once again, the magnolia tree is promising many blooms come June.

On the 2nd, we held a May Crowning in our garden dedicated to Mary. Both azalea bushes are filled with flowers and the irises have grown so thick that we had to transplant some elsewhere.

Part V – Vineyard

Our vineyard is having its finest year ever. As you can see in our feature picture, a large number of vine (the number “1” is much larger than “0”) shows the potential to eclipse all past years.

Part V – Critters

St. Isadore, this next item is probably outside your area of patronage. If so, please talk to St. Francis and see if he has any advice. – – It seems that Mr. Monte, our Chief of Security, had to issue an eviction notice to some loony birds that thought that our RV would make a fine nesting place. Blondie and I were commissioned to serve the eviction notice to the squatters. Although those crazy birds weren’t present at the time, we had to move all of their belongings out on the road. — It’s important that you tell St. Francis that we determined that the nest was empty before we executed the eviction.

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That concludes our report, St. Isadore. We have tried to be good stewards of what God has bestowed on Serendipity. The fruits of these labors constantly bring us joy.

The First SFH 2021 Plantings

Date: Month-DayItemQTYGarden
03-15Red Beets20 seedsVegetable #1
03-27Arugula 4 rowsVegetable #1
03-27Lettuce4 rowsVegetable #1
04-18Italian green beans25 seedsVegetable #1
05-02Better Boy tomato1 plantVegetable #2
05-02Pink Brandywine tomato1 plantVegetable #2
05-02Big Beef1 plantVegetable #2
05-02Sun Sugar Yellow tomato1 plantHerb
05-02Mammoth jalapeno pepper1 plantVegetable #1
05-02Jalapeno pepper1 plantVegetable #1
05-02Anaheim pepper1 plantVegetable #1
05-21Italian green beans21 seedsVegetable #1
05-15Basil1 plantHerb
05-15Bush Goliath tomato1 plantVegetable #2
05-15Early Girl tomato1 plantVegetable #2
05-15Roma1 plantVegetable #2
05-30Cow's Horn okra23 seedVegetable #1
05-31Burgandy okra10Vegetable #1
06-07Heat Master tomato1 plantVegetable #2
06-09Cow's horn okra1 seedVegetable #1
06-09Burgandy okra1 seedVegetable #1

The First SFH 2021 Harvest

Date: Month - DayItemQTYMeasure
04-27Asparagus5Spears
04-28Asparagus2Spears
05-03Asparagus5Spears
05-04Asparagus3Spears
05-04Parsley1Bunch
05-04Lettuce1Bunch
05-04Arugula1Bunch
05-06Asparagus5Spears
05-06Parsley1Bunch
05-06Lettuce1Bunch
05-06Arugula1Bunch
05-10Asparagus1Spear
05-10Arugula1Bunch
05-10Lettuce1Bunch
05-14Asparagus8Spears
05-16Arugula1Bunch
05-16Lettuce1Bunch
05-19Arugula1Bunch, end of season
05-19Lettuce1Bunch
05-19Asparagus2Spears
05-21Asparagus3Spears
05-23Strawberries7Berries
05-25Aspraragus3Spears
05-29Garlic scapes8Scapes
05-31Garlic Scapes22Scapes
05-31Strawberries3Berries
06-03Strawberries4Berries
06-17Beets5Beets
06-23Garlic30Heads
07-02Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow 2Tomatoes; 1st of season
07-03Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow5Tomatoes
07-03Jalapeno1Pepper; 1st of season
07-03Green beans, Italian 28Bean pods; 1st of season
07-04Green beans, Italian 9Bean pods
07-06Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow3Tomatoes
07-06Green beans, Italian 24bean pods
07-07Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow2Tomatoes
07-07Basil1Bunch
07-07Green beans, Italian21Bean pods
07-09Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow2Tomatoes
07-10Strawberries1Berry
07-10Tomato, Early Girl3Tomatoes, 1st of season
07-10Jalapeno1Jalapeno
07-10Green beans, Italian14Bean pods
07-11Green beans, Italian4Bean pods
07-14Tomato, Big Beef2Tomatoes
07-14Jalapeno, Mammoth4Jalapenos
07-14Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow8Tomatoes
07-15Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow4Tomatoes
07-15Green beans, Italian26Bean pods
07-15Tomato, Big Beef1Tomato
07-17Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow9Tomatoes
07-17Tomato, Roma1Tomato
07-17Green beans, Italian2Bean pods
07-18Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow11Tomatoes
07-19Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow2Tomatoes
07-19Tomato, Better Boy1Tomato
07-19Tomato, Big Boy1Tomato
07-19Tomato, Bush Goliath1Tomato
07-20Tomato, Early Girl3Tomatoes
07-20Tomato, Roma1Tomato
07-20Tomato, Big Boy2Tomatoes
07-20Tomato, Better Boy1Tomato
07-20Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow8Tomatoes
07-22Tomato, Big Boy1Tomato
07-22Tomato, Roma1Tomato
07-22Tomato, Bush Goliath1Tomato
07-22Tomato, Early Girl3Tomatoes
07-22Tomato, Better Boy2Tomatoes
07-22Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow9Tomatoes
07-23Tomato, Early Girl1Tomato
07-23Tomato, Better Boy2Tomatoes
07-23Tomato, Big Boy1Tomato
07-24Tomato, Early Girl1Tomato
07-24Tomato, Roma3Tomatoes
07-24Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow12Tomatoes

SFH by the Numbers

The following links will catch you up with what has been planted and what has been harvested since our last Journal post:

SFH 2020 Plantings

SFH 2020 Harvest

SFH 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2021-05-03 through 05-09

SFH WX 2021-05-10 through 05-16