SFH Journal: 2021-08-02 through 08-15 – Back in Business (Almost)

The featured picture is a couple of years old, but it definitely conveys the sense of joy one feels when important, labor-saving equipment is operating as it should. Late this week, after a very long and painful absence, my cherished lawn tractor was returned to its rightful place here at Serendipity Farmhouse. While it was in the “hospital” suffering from an ailment that took over three weeks to diagnose, yours truly was mowing the somewhat less than verdant lawns of the vast SFH Estate with a push mower. To give you an idea of what that was like, consider that eight of the first fifteen days of August were in the 90’s and, during that same period, the average humidity was 82%.

Now that the lawn tractor has returned, I am a much happier man. You might well ask, what was it that caused the lawn tractor to cease functioning? Well, dear Readers, it turns out that the electronic control module, with its embedded computer chip, had its brains scrambled. Consequently, the lawn tractor was almost fatally infected with – Complete Operational loss of Vital and Indispensable Data – i.e., COVID.

If you recall, we listed a rash of problems that beset SFH almost like a plague of locusts in our post SFH Journal: 2021-07-05 through 07-25: Upson Downsof Life Re-Revisited. Now that the lawn tractor has returned, we have resolved almost all of our problems. One problem remains however as a distressing reminder of how we can feel the loss of a modern day convenience. Our 21-year-old dishwasher has neither been repaired nor replaced. The whole affair is a nasty mess reminiscent of the movie Catch-22. I will refrain from boring you with the details, but I will let you know that dear and wondrous Wife is not happy with her dishpan hands and she has discussed the matter with me on numerous occasions. Needless to say, I’ve been on the telephone attempting to untangle this mess.

Canning has been underway for a few weeks now. If you click here, you can see what we’ve put away thus far.

SFH Gardens – By the Numbers

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

SFH 2021 Plantings

SFH 2021 Harvest

SFH 2021 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2021-08-02 through 08-08

SFH WX 2021-08-09 through 08-15

SFH Heatwave Chicken

Hi! Mr. Monte here.

To my 23,417 feline followers, especially my many cat cousins residing in Virginia and Ohio, this has been and continues to be a very hot and dry Summer here at Serendipity Farmhouse. (Please refer to Ol’ Fuzz Face’s comments on the matter in his post SFH Journal: 2021-07-26 through 08-01 – Hot & Spicy.) As you can see by this candid photo of me, I have taken the appropriate feline approach to ensure that I remain cool and comfortable.

Blondie and Fuzzy, on the other hand, see things in an different way and have chosen to make a period of what should be a time for rest and relaxation into an unnecessarily frustrating time of tension, and drama. Rather than try to make sense of their heat-induced delirium, I will turn the writing of this post over to Fuzzy while I resume my nap.

——————————————————————-

Despite Mr. Monte’s less than flattering remarks, the staff of the soon-to-be-world-famous SFH Test Kitchen had a remarkable and noteworthy week. No, I wouldn’t say it was our best week ever, but I would say it demonstrates our unique ability to bounce back from an apparent failure and turn it into a resounding success. Here’s the story.

On August 5th, our weekly menu called for us to use our Sun Oven to prepare Barbecued Chicken according to a recipe in the Solar Chef cookbook by Rose Marie Kern. But my most perceptive Wife noted that tomatoes harvested over the past few days had reached their prime and had to be canned immediately. So, we changed our plans and spent the day preparing a “new and improved” (N&I) version of our long-time favorite SFH Pasta Sauce.

All went well with the initial stage of canning of our “SFH N&I Pasta Sauce.” To our basic recipe we added homegrown garlic, Italian spice and a couple of other twists. The wonderful aroma of the simmering pasta sauce filled the house. Then we performed the required processing of the five pint jars of sauce. We retrieved the jars from the boiling water at the 40-minute mark and waited for the five pings from the cooling jars. Within seconds, we had ping numbers one, two, and three. Number four took a little longer. … … Unfortunately, ping number five never came – the jar had failed to seal. – – Dang!

Then, simultaneously, resourceful Wife and I stumbled across the same idea. – – Tomorrow, we shall use the un-pinged jar of N&I Pasta Sauce in an entirely new SFH Test Kitchen creation – “SFH Heatwave Chicken”! (Providing there is sunshine …)

Background

We purchased our Sun Oven in Idaho. We only used it once, but that was a great success because we lived in high desert with virtually no trees nearby. More often than not, the sky was very clear and our home sat on a point that was nearly a mile high. – With these perfect conditions for solar cooking, we could get that Sun Oven up to over 400°.

A couple of years ago, we attempted to use the Sun Oven to make a pot roast here at SFH. For many reasons, that was an abysmal failure. Virginia has trees and many of them reside right here on our vast estate. Even when the rare sunny day comes, those trees are dedicated to a single cause – – blocking the Sun Oven. There is one Sycamore tree that is particularly nasty and vicious because it knows it commands access to the precious southern exposure. It is a bully of a tree and I have often thought of having our local tree service remove it.

Day of Reckoning

On August 6th, the sun rose and there was some haze in the sky. The forecast indicated that clouds would move in later in the day. Our chances of success were diminishing rapidly and we knew we wouldn’t be free to start cooking until nearly 1 PM. Nevertheless, Blondie and I were committed – we were going to make this work. So, at about 12:10 I set up the oven and began preheating it. By 12:31 it had reached 275°.

Blondie took charge of preparing the chicken by adding some salt and pepper and then the layering the chicken in our untested, untried, and untasted, brand new “N&I Pasta Sauce. When she finished, I carefully took the pot to the oven and placed it on the leveling rack. The glass door was closed and sealed at 12:51 – this cooking game was now afoot.

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The red arrow in the graphic taken from the official SFH Weather Station shows that, when we began cooking our SFH Heatwave Chicken, we were already past the prime conditions we had earlier in the day. We decided we would let the chicken cook for four hours at about 325°. The question was would that work? Would we be able to get to the desired 180° internal temperature required for poultry? Only time – four full hours – would tell.

The picture above answers that big question. When the picture was taken, the gauge was still climbing and we knew our chicken was fully cooked. Later, when we sat down to eat. We found that it was not only fully cooked, but it was at the point where the meat just fell off the bone; we didn’t even need our knives to cut the meat.

So, on this 92°+ day, we sat down inside the cool SFH dining room and ate a wonderful meal of solar oven cooked SFH Heatwave Chicken, which was resting on a layer of couscous that readily absorbed the savory flavor of our own SFH New & Improved Pasta Sauce.

There are few failures in the SFH Test Kitchen, but there many ways to find paths to new successes!

 

SFH Journal: 2021-07-26 through 08-01 – Hot & Spicy

Summers in this part of Virginia are renowned for their mild temperatures, cool breezes, and low humidity – a veritable paradise.

WRONG!!! 

Lets take a look at the high temperatures and dew point readings* from the official Serendipity Farmhouse weather station:

26 JUL: 93.9° – 76.5°
27 JUL: 94.8° – 74.5°
28 JUL: 93.6° – 73.6°
29 JUL: 90.9° – 75.9°
30 JUL: 91.6° – 84.6°
31 JUL: 83.8° – 79.2°

Please recall in our post last week that one of our ongoing problems was and still is that my dearly appreciated riding mower/lawn tractor, which I use to mow the vast 1.203 acres of the prestigious SFH Estate died and remains sitting in a repair facility. That means that your humble writer has had to go out into that torrid Virginia summer heat and guide a meager push mower endless miles attempting to tame the monstrously persistent growth of the grasses that were once luxuriant SFH lawns.

This week, it took me three days and the loss of at least five pounds of water weight to accomplish that task. And, as I look out the window of my office, I can see that the .25 inches of rain that fell last night is already fueling the unbridled growth of each and every blade of grass, promising me another week of push mower torture. – Despite all that, I maintain that I shall persist and see this task through until my dearly appreciated riding mower returns.

SFH Spiked Salsa

This last week, we harvested the six pounds of tomatoes needed to make another batch of salsa. We modified our basic recipe to suit our own preference for something spicy. To our Simple Salsa recipe we added two full jalapeno peppers (with seeds) and two Anaheim peppers. To make the mixture more mellow and aromatic, we added four cloves of our own SFH garlic.

But even with the addition of jalapenos and Anaheim peppers, dearest Wife and I wanted to go one step further and my beautiful Bride said, “Let’s go for some real heat.” So, she spiked the salsa mixture with our specially-made concoction of dried, ground SFH hot peppers, containing jalapeno, habanero, and several other varieties of peppers. Please refer to our post Hot Peppers Above & Beyond. – Therefore, this second batch of salsa bears the name – SFH Spiked Salsa.

* The dew point is the temperature the air needs to be cooled to (at constant pressure) in order to achieve a relative humidity (RH) of 100%. At this point the air cannot hold more water in the gas form. If the air were to be cooled even more, water vapor would have to come out of the atmosphere in the liquid form, usually as fog or precipitation. – National Weather Service

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 2021-07-26 through 08-01

 

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