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

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

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

Mother’s Day Musing

Hi! Mr. Monte here!

To my 23,417 feline followers, especially my many cat cousins residing in Virginia and Ohio, Mother’s Day is different for cats than it is for humans. I was reminded of that just yesterday when Daughter #1 and Daughter #2 came for lunch to visit Blondie. These lovely young ladies made the trek to Serendipity Farmhouse with the sole intent of letting Blondie know how much they love her. It was such a heartwarming sight – it made me all purrful inside.

At the same time, it made me think back of that wonderful and magical short time I had with my dear Mother – Malala. I was one of the eight siblings who were in her first litter. It was unusual for a Maine Coon to have such a large first litter and Mom was very young. But she was so very good to us, giving each of us affection and care as only a mother cat can do. Many of us in the litter took after Dad. We were, indeed, a mischievous bunch. Mom was firm, but tender in her discipline.

She spent much time showing us the Maine Coon way of life. We would be hunters; we would be brave; we would be resourceful; and we would, as Maine Coons rightly must be, independent. All of those things were necessary because cats by nature must all too soon leave their feline families. And so it was with me. It has been many years since I’ve seen Mom, and, in my own Maine Coonly way, I miss her on this Mother’s day.

Malala of Makanacoon

You know how good I am at research on the computer. Recently, I did some searches to find out more about my Mom. Here are a couple of things I found. (By the way thank you to Makanacoon, whose picture of Mom I borrowed to show you.)

First, I found Mom’s biography. If you read it closely, you will find that “She is our lookout kitty who sits in a cat tree in front of a window that looks out into our front yard.” Does that sound familiar? Now I know why I came to be the world-renowned Chief of Security that I am.

From what I remember and from what others have told me, Mom never put on airs. She always put family first. She was a model of humility and motherhood. You would have never known, except by her obvious beauty and charm, that she was a true champion of the Maine coon breed. If you get a chance, you might take a look at Pedigree Of Champion MAKANACOON’S MALALA.

For various reasons, Mom had to retire early. I’m told that she has a new human family of her own. They are taking good care of her, and she is loved.

And that brings me to the point of my Mother’s Day Musing. – Just like my dear Mom, I have a human family of my own. Every day, Blondie makes time for me and my few needs. Her warm and tender hands have taken the place of my Mom’s paws and have made every day a day of happiness. I may not be human like Daughters #1 and #2, but I am a Maine Coon who knows how a Mother’s love can make me feel warm and purrful deep down inside. – – Happy Mother’s Day Malala and Happy Mother’s Day Blondie!

My first day at SFH

SFH Journal: 2021-03-29 through 05-02 – Whew!

Hi! Mr. Monte here!

To my 23,417 feline followers, especially my many cat cousins residing in Virginia and Ohio, “I’m late, I’m late for. A very important date. No time to say hello, good-bye, I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.”

This post is long overdue. It should have been published last Sunday. Obviously, it wasn’t. Blondie and Ol’ Fuzz Face haven’t had time to sit for even a moment. That means that they’ve dumped many of their tasks onto good old reliable “FELINE PRODUCTIVE.” And now I haven’t had time to sit for even a moment.

Suffice it to say there are not sufficient time nor words to suffice. So, major insufficiency will have to suffice.

Here’s just a small sampling of what was going on through May 2nd:

04 April – Easter: See post Resurrexit Sicut Dixit, Alleluia.

10 April – Grandson #7: See post Breaking News: Grandson #7!!

12-14 April – RV Trip 2021-01: See posts RV Trip 2021-01: A Very Tent Situation and RV Trip 2021-01: Project Sausage

23-24 April – Tree Removal: From the SFH treasurer – “To the person who planted those four willow trees on the now vast SFH Estate: You owe us over $10,000 for the removal of those ghastly, hideous, dangerous, menacing, destructive willows.”

25 April – Godzilla v. King Kong: Fuzzy tells me he had a glorious three hours respite from the cares of this world when highly cherished Daughter #1 and her family took him to see his hero in action. As he always says: “Godzilla is real, everything else is fake!” See post: SFH Godzilla Birthday Bash

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28-29 April – Masked Marauder: A major breach to SFH security took place on these dates. Blondie was horrified. Our friendly avian residents were distraught. Fuzzy came up with an almost a good solution. He sprayed WD-40 on the pole. Unfortunately, it dried too quickly, so we intend to use Vaseline in the future.

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In the meantime, we gathered the SFH Security Staff, including Fuzzy. We all confronted this felonious, masked bandit and I made it quite clear to that maleficent marauder what would happen to him should he violate our security perimeter again. The last time we saw him, he was hightailing it off the property.

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30 April – Deck, Porch, Furnace & Dinner Guest: It is difficult enough when one contractor or handyman must do work on our soon-to-be-famous, historic mansion. Schedules must be adjusted; parking space must be made available; and, the SFH Security Staff must be alerted. But, April 30th, the potential for schedule conflict went over the top. First, SFH was visited by contractors to prepare the front porch and rear deck for painting and staining. Next came the contractor who maintains our newly installed furnace to perform seasonal maintenance. And, if that wasn’t enough, the entire, soon-to-be-world famous SFH Test Kitchen staff was engaged in a maximum effort to prepare a delicious meal for a highly esteemed dinner guest. – – Fuzzy and Blondie, under my close direction, rose to the occasion. All workmen visits went without incident and there was no mutual interference. – – Our dinner guest was happy with the SFH Test Kitchen’s latest experiment and he went back for seconds. As a Russian Blue cat friend of mine once told me” Всё хорошо́, что хорошо́ конча́ется. (All’s well that ends well.)

In the midst of and intermingled with all of the above, Blondie spent many, many hours in the vegetable gardens. She is really good at directing Ol’ Fuzz Face at moving bags of dirt, turning over soil, weeding, trimming, and bringing those gardens to the highest quality level possible. Because of her efforts, the SFH gardens stand out as among the finest in all of  Rappahannock County. And also to her credit, Spring planting is underway and the first fruits of the 2021 growing season have already been harvested.

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

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

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-April

 

RV Trip 2021-01: Project Sausage

I will not lower myself to respond to the grossly erroneous and highly embellished statements made by Mr. Monte in last week’s post RV Trip 2021-01: A Very Tent Situation. Besides that, I’m not at liberty to discuss the screen tent incident due to current ongoing libel proceedings in the case of Fuzzy v. Monte.

Nevertheless, I must note that the erection of the screen tent was closely tied to a nearly month-long joint effort by the soon-to-be-world-famous Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen staff and the intrepid crew of the Class-C RV, El Camino Del Monte. This ambitious effort was conducted under the once secret code name: Project Sausage.

It all started more than a half year ago when a fellow Ohioan named Tom raised the exciting possibility of gathering a group of friends for a day of sausage making and mirth-filled camaraderie. I had no sausage making experience and Tom had very little, so it would be necessary to test the feasibility of his plan with a two-man experimental run. – It was agreed, March 20th would be the day.

While waiting for the big day, I consulted with the entire staff of the SFH Test Kitchen and we planned for a broad-based endeavor that went far beyond just the making of sausage. Project Sausage would bring together several cooking disciplines to include: sausage making, long-term storage, at-home preparation, and ultimately, RV cooking in the soon-to-be-world-famous SFH Mobile Test Kitchen.

The big day finally came. Tom was so kind as to provide the necessary equipment (grinder and stuffer). He also procured the pork butt and the hog casings. His well-appointed kitchen became both a cooking laboratory and a playground for two Ohio boys who grew up with a great appreciation for East European sausages. – It wasn’t a pretty sight (no one ever describes sausage making as that), but, oh my, it was fun!

The pictures below show some of the highlights of the day.

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At the end of this post you will find the recipe I adapted for this venture. Tom made his own adaptation. Once we had completed step number six, just before stuffing, we cooked up a small sample from each batch. That was our lunch and our chance to determine if changes to spices were needed. – We were both happy with what we had done. Our break was over and we stuffed the casings, cleaned up the mess, and each ended up with over eight pounds of homemade sausage.

The SFH Test Kitchen is no stranger to preparing foods for long-term storage. On March 24th, the Staff assembled for a quick session with the Food Saver and bagged and froze the sausages. That day, seven packs of links and two packs of unstuffed sausage were stored away in the freezer. Two links were reserved for a taste test after grilling. The taste test resulted in a thumbs-up from Blondie.

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Now that brings us to the true goal of Project Sausage. The objective was to turn our homemade sausage into a staple food for RV expeditions. We wanted to take the simple product and turn it into a fine food, suitable for Blondie’s notion of high-end glamping. In so doing, we manged to transform this humble SFH Hungarian Sausage into a dinner delight and a breakfast treasure. And to all that, we added the ambiance of eating in the bug-free comfort of our new screen tent. It was an ambitious pursuit, but, despite my minor tangle (tango) with the screen tent, it was both successful and rewarding.

Below are pictures of our evening meal served in a romantic yet adventurous way. Next you will see a simple brunch featuring SFH Hungarian Sausage (leftover from the night before) with delightfully seasoned scrambled eggs. – – Two meals, one featured item, and great taste all around. – – Project Sausage was a success!!

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Note: This SFH Test Kitchen recipe was adapted from Hungarian Homemade Sausage (Hazi Kolbasz), written by Barbara Rolek

Serendipity Hungarian Sausage

Prep Time 1 hr 45 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Breakfast, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Meat grinder, manual or electric
  • Sausage stuffer, manual

Ingredients
  

  • 6 pounds well-marbled pork butt
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 4+ garlic cloves crushed
  • 2 ½ tbsp salt
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • tbsp paprika
  • 1 cup water
  • 14+ feet hog casings (rinsed three times)

Instructions
 

  • Gather the ingredients.
  • Rinse hog casings and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • In a small bowl, mix garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, and water, and set aside.
  • Slice pork into strips small enough to fit in meat grinder. Coarsely grind the meat in a hand-cranked or electric grinder. Place meat in a large container.
  • Add ground beef to ground pork and mix thoroughly.
  • Combine water-spice mixture with meat until thoroughly incorporated. To ensure the seasonings are just right, fry a small patty and taste. If desired, refrigerate the meat mixture, covered, overnight before stuffing so it flavors.
  • Remove casings from refrigerator and knot one end. Lightly coat the stuffing funnel with cooking spray or some leftover fat from the pork. Slip the other end of the casing over the mouth of the funnel. Continue to push the remainder of casing up onto funnel until you have reached the knot.
  • Begin to force the meat into the casing with one hand while using the other hand to control the thickness of the sausage as it is extruded. - The sausage will shrink when it cooks, so you want a nice plump sausage. But be careful you don't overstuff or the casing will burst.
  • Keep extruding until the casing is used up. Tie a knot in that end. You can either leave the sausage in a large coil or twist it at 6-inch intervals to make links. Use immediately or store sausage refrigerated and covered up to two days until ready to cook.
  • For long-term storage, freeze sausage in suitable freezer bags. The SFH Test Kitchen packs four sausage links in single Food Saver vacuum sealed bags. - You can also freeze un-stuffed sausage for other cooking purposes.

RV Trip 2021-01: A Very Tent Situation

To my 23,417 feline followers, especially my many cat cousins residing in Virginia and Ohio, immediately above the picture of yours truly, providing that your browser is properly configured, you will see the latest addition to the El Camino Del Monte (ECDM) glamping experience – a 15 x 13 FT INSTANT SCREENHOUSE. The purchase of this newest piece of glamping equipment was politely requested (read as: ‘ordered’ or ‘commanded’) by my big cat Blondie. As you can see, it can be set up adjacent to the ECDM covered lounge and relaxation area. It is large enough to cover an extended length picnic table and it protects glampers from sun, rain, and bugs. Blondie insists the screen tent is the perfect solution for comfortable outdoor activities.

Whatever! If it makes Blondie happy, Fuzzy and I are well advised to support her quest for glamping excellence. And that brings me to the question of whether Ol’ Fuzz Face is really up to the task. It’s well understood in the Serendipity Farmhouse community that Fuzzy can be quite methodical and analytical. In fact he lives by what he calls his ‘Fundamental Laws of Analysis.’ In fact, he does have a fairly good professional record of following his own rules. But … …

There are some days when Fuzzy gets out of bed that it’s obvious that he has been taken over and possessed by his inner-dork.* Monday April 12th was one of those days. It was apparent from the time we rolled out of the SFH estate in our Class-C RV that he was supercharged with grandiose visions of what a great trip this would be. When we arrived at Shenandoah River State Park and finished setting up, he could no longer contain his excitement. This would be the day he would have his chance to instantly set up the new 15 x 13 FT INSTANT SCREENHOUSE.

He sprang into action. He pulled the INSTANT SCREENHOUSE from the ECDM storage bay and immediately removed it from its carrying case. He hollered to Blondie, “Get the camera! The world has to see a real expert at work!” Meanwhile, I sat at the screen door awaiting the inevitably inevitable to happen – and so it did.

Within minutes, it was apparent that Fuzz Face was on the path to defeat. His impatience and ill-conceived confidence had got the best of him. His first mistake was that he didn’t follow his fundamental laws – he had not read the traffic, he had not read the directions. And that brought on the near disaster we see below. He had no clue of what he was doing. First he tried working from the outside, but nothing seemed right. He could be heard muttering to himself, talking to himself, reasoning with himself, and, all the time, never going back to consult the instructions.

Then it happened! The monster he had made lured him inside, swallowing him whole, and threatened to consume him entirely. He battled with this ravenous creature. He struggled and pulled tent legs. He grunted and groaned. He let out gasps. He had started to sweat and their was true panic and terror in his face. The monster had him almost completely entrapped.

Guardian angels exist. Fuzzy’s angel was well aware that Fuzzy needed saving, but …. only after he had learned his lesson. At the right moment, Fuzzy was inspired to withdraw from the jaws of the beast. He finally considered that it was time to read the instructions. Once he had done that, it was only three minutes until the INSTANT SCREENHOUSE was fully erected. It is beyond me why Ol’ Fuzz Face seemed so satisfied with himself once the tent was set up. His inner-dork was still there and presented a dorky smile on that fuzzy face.

Now, Fuzzy wasn’t the only one to commit a grave blunder that day. While Blondie was taking pictures of this most ridiculous affair, she made the mistake of laughing at Fuzzy and asking that question that husbands never want to hear, “Why don’t you read the instructions?

Maybe I shouldn’t have laughed at him, he looks a little annoyed!

Fortunately for Blondie, I interceded on her behalf and persuaded him to reconsider. He took my advice, recognizing that his sweet Wife is the heart and soul of Serendipity Farmhouse. – – And at that moment of truth, Fuzzy’s inner-dork departed and never reappeared for the remainder of the trip. As you can see below, Ol’ Fuzz Face did a much better job of taking down the screen tent and storing it in its carrying case.

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My Last Digs: I like Ol’ Fuzz Face, but when that inner-dork overcomes him, he loses all common sense. Even if he hadn’t read the instructions, he should have at least seen that the picture on the carrying case clearly showed what the screen tent should look like when erected. Also, just prior to him being swallowed by the tent beast, he should have seen that the tent was inside-out. The logo and other writing was backwards.

*Dork: a silly, out-of-touch person who tends to look odd or behave ridiculously around others; a social misfit

 

Breaking News: Grandson #7!!

Mr. Monte

To my 23,417 feline followers, especially my many cat cousins residing in Virginia and Ohio, Saturday 10 April will forever stand as a great day of joy and celebration here at Serendipity Farmhouse. At roughly 8 PM last night, my highly esteemed cat cousins Gizmo and Cosmo texted me to share their excitement over the birth of Grandson #7. They told me that Daughter #2, after a very long day-and-half, although tired, was doing well. Later that night, they forwarded me a beautiful picture of mother and child.

The backstory on this wonderful event will never be fully revealed, but Gizmo and Cosmo provided some illuminating insights. While Daughter #2 and Son-in-law #2 were dealing with the labor and the whole hospital “thing,” the invariably incompetent and inept Ol’ Fuzz Face was called upon to sit with and entertain Granddaughter #4. If it weren’t for his bumbling, mumbling, and generally ridiculous accomplishments, he would have no accomplishments at all. From the very beginning of his time with Granddaughter #4, Giz and Cos had to help him stay pointed in the right direction. They even had to show him how to use the remote controls for the TV and Blue Ray player.

As the story from my cat cousins goes, while some granddaughters can wrap a doting grandfather around their little finger, Granddaughter #4 had Ol’ Fuzzy completely hogtied around hers. They played bounce ball. They “cooked” meals for each other. Fuzzy read books to her and she read books to him. When the poor old guy returned home last night, he even tried to talk Blondie into watching a Tinkerbell movie with him. Realizing that the old man had to be brought back to his senses, after his shower, I cornered him in the bathroom and bit him. – – Although a little stunned at first, he realized my good intent and thanked me with a snack.

As I said, the rest of the backstory will never be published. Just between us cats, human grandparents are strange creatures, not subject to the laws of reason and common sense. – – – Nevertheless, Serendipity Farmhouse and the entire extended family are truly joyful this day.

Welcome to the family, Grandson #7!