Category: Critters

SFH Journal: 2020-11-16 through 11-29 – Thanksgiving?

Hi! Mr. Monte here.

My 23, 417 feline followers will look at this selfie and immediately realize that I am not a happy 21-pound Maine Coon cat. Those initiated and wise in the ways of cats will know that the positioning of my ears is an unmistakable signal of extreme displeasure. – – Why might that be?

I won’t beat around the bush and make you wait in suspense. – – I just had a perfectly miserable Thanksgiving!!

While Ol’ Fuzz Face and Blondie blissfully wandered off to who-knows-where to celebrate this most important holiday of giving thanks, I was left alone at home for innumerable hours, abandoned and virtually orphaned. – So much for the bonds of familial love.

Nevertheless, I am a feline possessing great measures of love, devotion, and forgiveness. Rather than dwell on the indignity of my circumstances, I counted my blessings and gave thanks for them. For example, my dearest Miss Fleur sent a most wonderful Thanksgiving card and thoughtfully included a bag of tasty chicken & turkey treats.

As I wandered through the vast hallways and rooms of Serendipity Farmhouse, I pondered the meaning of loneliness and how my heart was saddened by the absence of my two big cats. It was then that I realized that my situation was no different than Blondie’s not-so-great birthday bash. There was no way that she could be with the whole family all at one time. No, her birthday had been divided and segmented, a little here and a little there. (See details here, here, and here.)

As my mind mulled on these thoughts, I realized Blondie and Fuzzy were needed by others elsewhere on this day of great thanks. They hadn’t left me to be alone, they had gone to another house to be with at least part of the family.

The sun had just set as I heard their car come into the driveway. My ears perked up; I stood up in full anticipation – Fuzzy and Blondie had finally returned. – The door opened and they came in with great smiles on their faces. – They picked me up and there were the most enjoyable ‘family’ smells about them. And there were cousin smells – Cousin Gizmo and Cousin Cosmo!!!

Suddenly, I was no longer sullen and forlorn. My family had returned and I gave great thanks. – – I just had a perfectly wonderful Thanksgiving!!

SFH Security Force Winter Realignment

When one is in charge of a most professional and capable security department as I am, one must be aware of the changing threat-space and particular strengths and weaknesses of security force members. Because I know and uniquely understand the SFH threat-space, I have had to make certain modifications to our defensive alignment. As of December 1st, duty assignments will be as follow:

  1. SFH Security Department Director, yours truly, will perform all necessary management and backup duties;
  2. Bronto the bear will conduct perimeter patrols as breaks in hibernation permit;
  3. Rusty the rat snake is excused from duty until Spring due to cold weather and cold blood; and
  4. Lightning the broad-winged hawk will continue all assigned duties.

My special thanks to Lightning. He persuaded his parents to join in the effort to reduce the exploding subterranean mammal population. The feature picture at the beginning of this post shows that they have already taken on their assignment. These are truly the ‘friendly skies’ of SFH – providing you’re not a small surface or subterranean mammal.

El Camino Del Monte Winter Stand-Down

It was a better than average RVing season. El Camino Del Monte (ECDM) served faithfully, providing SFH staff members five relaxing camping trips. Additionally, ECDM provided comfortable lodging during two delightful stays at Serendipity River RV Park. Thank you to family friends Don and Louise for the very special invites.

So, with a successful RV season sadly at an end, Ol’ Fuzz Face set to the task of washing ECDM one final time. Once the RV had dried, it was time to put on the protective cover to shield ECDM from the harsh Winter winds, snow, and ice.

Fuzzy did a relatively good job. Of course, that was only because of my exceedingly watchful supervision and direction.

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Plans are already being made for RV Season 2021. As you can see, Blondie has made it one of the themes for her Advent decorations.

SFH by the Numbers

The following links will catch you up with what’s come out of our gardens and what has gone into mason jars and the freezer since our last Journal post.:

SFH 2020 Plantings

SFH 2020 Harvest

SFH 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2020-11-16 through 11-22

SFH WX 2020-11-23 through 11-29

SFH Journal: 2020-10-26 through 11-15 – Autumn – All too Brief

Hi! Mr. Monte here.

Ol’ Fuzz Face turned the keyboard over to me today because he and Blondie are a little under the weather. Nope, nothing serious like acute Cagamagas or the dreaded Canguskin disease, but a less deadly and more treatable ailment.

In a way, it’s fortunate that I have the reporting duties today because it gives me the opportunity to update all of my 23, 417 feline followers on the health status of my dearest Miss Fleur. As you learned in my post For Want of Winter Warmth, Miss Fleur had visited my very least-loved veterinarian, Dr. Dog-man. Apparently, based upon my threat of bodily harm, Dr. Dog-man sought medical opinions from a total of eight of the country’s most renowned experts in feline medicine. For once in his life, he wisely followed their advice. Now, I can advise all of you that my most cherished Miss Fleur has fully recovered. – Dr. Dog-man may live another day.

Oops! Wrong turn? Dang GPS!

This morning, while I was on security patrol upstairs, Blondie and Fuzzy alerted to yet another home invasion via the wood stove chimney. (See here and here for historical perspective.) This time the invader was an errant bluebird who, sadly for him, depended too much on his internal GPS. Alas, he made a very, very mistaken wrong turn while looking for a secure place to avoid an incoming cold front.

Blondie and Fuzzy have developed a fairly good procedure for responding to cases like this and they handled the situation with great professionalism. In fact, they’ve gotten so good at this they didn’t even call me for assistance. Their after-action report gave me reason for great pride – my SFH security team is well-trained and ever vigilant.

Admittedly, had I partaken in the rescue and release operation, I might have been a little conflicted. After all, it had been over two hours since I had my last meal. In any event, the cute little guy has happily returned to his mate. I strongly recommend that he get that internal GPS adjusted.

Day-by-day, the rapid progression from Autumn to Winter becomes more dramatic. Recently, the sweet and most pleasant female humans whom Blondie calls Daughter #1 and Granddaughter #1 came out for visit. As I watched Granddaughter #1 walking beside the river, it was easy to see that she was most happy to be in the midst of the autumnal beauty to be found here at Serendipity Farmhouse. (See the feature image.)

It’s not just the array of colorful Autumn leaves and plants that captured Granddaughter #1’s interest. Even a creature of questionable value and charm such as the hundreds of Camel crickets that inhabit the SFH well house were a subject of her curiosity. These little guys are also called ‘sprickets’ (spider crickets). As for me, I call them a barrel full of fun. They hop, jump, and generally give me an opportunity to sharpen my unusually well-developed hunting skills.

As I noted earlier, the colors of Autumn are waning. But, even 21 pound Main Coon cats like me know that life is not ending. The so-called Christmas cactus upstairs, which is really more of a Thanksgiving cactus, is blooming as it has for well over a decade, long before I was born. And Fuzzy came running into the house the other day, almost delirious with some strange sort of joy, proclaiming that the garlic plants had already begun to sprout. He and Blondie see hope almost everywhere. I guess that’s just another reason why I’m so happy to call Serendipity Farmhouse my one true home.

SFH by the Numbers

The following links will catch you up with what’s come out of our gardens and what has gone into mason jars and the freezer since our last Journal post.:

SFH 2020 Plantings

SFH 2020 Harvest

SFH 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2020-10-26 through 11-01

SFH WX 2020-11-01 through 11-08

SFH WX 2020-11-09 through 11-015

SFH Journal: 2020-09-20 through 10-04 – The Best Time of Year

—-SFH SECURITY BULLETIN—-

Mr. Monte is excused from post writing duties this week due to an emergency strategy meeting with the SFH Security Department Staff. In addition to the recent rise in malicious pilfering of bird feed by squirrels (click here for details), massive subterranean lawn and garden devastation is evident throughout our vast 1.204 acre estate.

I have been advised that Lightening the hawk and Rusty the rat snake have been overwhelmed by the infestation. Although they are capturing and consuming the moles/voles (species identification remains uncertain) at a record pace, they are unable to keep up with the unusual increase in numbers of the delinquent dirt dwellers.

Lightening and Rusty suggested deputizing several feral cats to assist in staving off the infestation, however, Blondie noted that those ne’er-do-wells are not to be trusted. Mr. Monte wholeheartedly concurred with Blondie’s assessment and nixed the ferals.

—-END OF BULLETIN—-

Red Spider Lilies

With the exception of the crazed critter attacks on lovely Serendipity Farmhouse grounds, Autumn continues to reveal its charm and color. Wherever one’s gaze might wander, there are manifestations of glorious new colors and seasonal changes welcomed by heart and memory. Although we may tend to see Spring as the birth of new life and an awakening, these crisp Autumn days transmit a message of expectation and a promise that, indeed, life will continue and prosper.

Perhaps one can see that in the Red Spider Lily shown here. It rises when other flowers have decided their time is past. And it states quite clearly that it will return next year with new ones beside it. It is more than a passing beauty, it declares a prophecy of Hope.

Okra, peppers, arugula, and beets are finishing off our garden season. Our okra plants have grown tall and have produced abundantly this year. The cooler weather and shorter days have slowed them down considerably. Tonight might be our last chance to have a full portion of fresh fried okra. We will savor it.

Meanwhile, Autumn brings with it the need to complete some strenuous chores. The air conditioners and fans have to be moved from their assigned positions indoors out to the shed for Winter storage. I have no idea how much a BTU weighs, but when you’re lifting 8,000 of them you’re not engaged in lighthearted pleasure.

By the way, BTU’s take many forms. Did you know, there are many BTU’s in each piece of firewood and, in my opinion, that’s what makes it so heavy.  And, sure enough, today my dear, sweet Spouse enlisted me to start moving firewood from the big stack on the lawn to the woodshed and stacking it there in precisely measured rows. So, between air conditioners and firewood, I feel tired and a little weighed down. – – Which is to say, I don’t take heavy labor lightly. – – Please forgive my heavy-handed levity.

Despite my statements about the seasonal chores, Autumn remains our favorite time of year. With that thought in mind, beautiful Spouse and I purchased a new bench and placed it under our maple tree. Next to it, we have placed two pots of pansies to add a dash of color. – – As the day begins to fade and the sun flirts with Skyline Drive, you will find us sitting there viewing Mary’s garden, adorned with the Red Spider Lilies proclaiming their message of Hope.

                                 New garden bench with pansies nearby

SFH by the Numbers

This week we will begin dehydrating peppers. The following links will catch you up with what’s come out of our gardens and what has gone into mason jars and the freezer since our last Journal post.:

SFH 2020 Plantings

SFH 2020 Harvest

SFH 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2020-09-28 through 10-04

SFH Journal: 2020-09-14 through 09-27 – New Condo!

Hi! Mr. Monte here!

Important note to my 23, 417 feline followers: September 24th was my birthday. Greetings and accolades have been pouring in from around the world. For example, the Center for Applied Threat Surveillance (CATS) announced the selection of the Serendipity Farmhouse Security Department, headed by Chief of Security Mr. Monte, as the “Outstanding Security Center of 2020”. The accompanying citation was certainly correct when it stated the “award is well deserved, and Mr. Monte stands as a shining example of what it means to be a dedicated Chief of Security.”

Humility restrains me from listing all of the incredible but true statements made concerning my outstanding achievements over this last year. Likewise, modesty and prudence require me to request (if you haven’t already done so) that you send me only inexpensive tokens of your affection and admiration for my birthday – simple snacks and interactive toys will do just fine.

On the other hand, Blondie and Ol’ Fuzz Face, owing to their complete dependence on my protection of their beloved SFH, are required by contract and conscience to ensure that I receive, high-quality presents as suitable tributes to my invaluable services rendered at Serendipity Farmhouse.

This year, my two big cats met the challenge and ensured domestic tranquility by purchasing a lavish and well-appointed new Cat Condo for me. Although they attempted to keep the present a surprise, they failed miserably. The primary reason for their failure is that I understand everything they say – of course, I just don’t let them know that I do. The second reason for failure is that it is my duty to inspect all incoming boxes and packages. As you, my fellow felines, know there is no way to disguise the distinctive scent of cat tree – the sisal rope is unmistakable. Here are pictures of the “Maestro” performing his inspection.

The big day finally came. Blondie and Fuzzy did their best at paying due homage. They pampered me royally and treated me with the greatest respect – if only they were as thoughtful every day. I showed my appreciation as best I could. I even provided instruction and guidance to Fuzz Face as he assembled the amazing cat condo – he followed my every command flawlessly.

So, dear and faithful followers, I set about the task of testing my birthday condo. My two big cats are to be commended – for once, they got it right.

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But, the new cat condo was not the highlight of the day. No, dear friends. The true highlight was the card and gift from my dear, sweet Miss Fleur. She was so very thoughtful. Those dairy flavor Temptations and her handwritten birthday card made my heart beat faster – it is such a joy when you know your are loved.

With cat treats in hand, Blondie did her best to perform a trick I taught her. Upon my request she will shake my paw and then give me a treat. She has almost mastered this trick – some day she will learn how to shake with her right paw rather than her left.

Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, Blondie and Fuzz Face did attempt to provide a birthday celebration equal to my stature, prowess, and fundamentally outstanding feline nature. Though their attempt may have been somewhat lacking in its execution, they are nevertheless to be commended. And, no matter what their failings, they did manage to remember to have a fresh, tasty half gallon of ice cream ready for a perfect end to a memorable birthday bash.

Unfortunately, the short but enjoyable respite from my normal duties came to an end and it was necessary to return to the work of maintaining security here at Serendipity Farmhouse. And this week, a new critter problem has reared its ugly head. My SFH Security Department staff and I are meeting in the morning to develop a strategy to bring an immediate halt to the malicious activity pictured below.

SFH by the Numbers

Canning season has almost come to an end. This week we will begin dehydrating peppers. The following links will catch you up with what’s come out of our gardens and what has gone into mason jars and the freezer since our last Journal post.:

SFH 2020 Plantings

SFH 2020 Harvest

SFH 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2020-09-14 through 09-20

SFH WX 2020-09-20 through 09-27

 

SFH Journal: 2020-08-31 through 09-13 – New Hire

IMG_20200826_194012872_editedHi! Mr. Monte here!

To all my followers and ardent fans, as another sign of my dedication to duty and fervent desire to maintain security, good order, and peaceful tranquility here at Serendipity Farmhouse, in my capacity as SFH Chief of Security, I have taken on a new member to join the SFH Security Department. Our new hire, Rusty the Rat Snake comes with an impressive resume. He is adept at controlling destructive rodents and other pesky critters, especially subterranean dwellers.

Rusty rounds out our Security Department with his ability to identify and engage security threats at ground level and below. Meanwhile, Lightning, our broad-winged hawk, has secured the skies over SFH and Bronto the bear has ensured the integrity of our perimeter areas. Now, with no further ado, here is the official SFH Security Department staff picture for 2020.

Harvest and Preserving

Old Fuzz Face is our official SFH statistician. He maintains the planting, harvest and preserving tables. Because he’s currently tied up with other pressing matters, all I intend to do at this point is give you the latest preserving table. When he gets a chance he will tell you about the end of the tomato season and other changes as we move into Autumn. You will see from the table that, even though Blondie and Fuzzy were engaged in the great 2020 Birthday Bash, they still found time to harvest and preserve the bounty.

Date: Month/DayItemQuantityType of PreservationComments
08-04Okra4 pint jarsPickling
08-06Salsa6 pint jarsCanningHowlin' Coyote
1 Jalapeno, 1 Serrano, 1 Cayenne
08-13Banana Peppers1 1/2 pint jarPickling
08-13Jalapeno Pepper Mix3 1/2 pint jarsPicklingJalapeno, serrano, cayenne peppers
08/14Salsa6 pint jarsCanningSome Like It Hot
1 Jalapeno, 1 large Salsa, 2 Serrano, 2 Cayenne
08-18Popcorn7 quart jarsDry Canning
08-19Pasta Sauce5 pint jarsCanning1 clove garlic, dried basil
08-20Okra4 pint jarsPickling
08-23Salsa6 pint jarsCanningMax Karl's Bad
1 Habanero, 2 Jalapeno, 2 Cayenne
09-01Okra3 bagsFreezing
09-07Okra4 pint jarsPickling
09-07Banana Peppers1 1/2 pint jarPickling
09-07Jalapeno Pepper Mix3 1/2 pint jarsPicklingJalapeno, serrano, cayenne peppers

SFH by the Numbers

Canning season continues. The following links will catch you up with what’s come out of our gardens and what has gone into mason jars since our last Journal post.:

SFH 2020 Plantings

SFH 2020 Harvest

SFH 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2020-08-31 through 09-06

SFH WX 2020-09-07 through 09-13

 

I Know Something You Don’t Know!

IMG_20200425_155922618_editedHi! Mr. Monte here.

To my 23, 417 feline followers: This post is to be shared just among us cats. I wouldn’t want any humans to find out what happened at Serendipity Farmhouse this morning. Although it was a high point of hilarity for me, it might cause Blondie and Ol’ Fuzz Face some embarrassment. Fuzzy could do with some humor at his expense, but Blondie is still ailing and deserves her privacy.

It all started a couple of days ago. As has happened in the past, I heard the telltale sounds of an intruder attempting to enter SFH via the wood stove chimney. (You should check out the post What Were They Thinking? to get some background on a break-in attempt in 2018.)

Being the SFH Chief of Security and having a great deal of practical experience in this type of incident, I immediately alerted on the wood stove and got Fuzz Face’s attention. But, rather than reacting as he should in matters like this, he just continued on with his daily routine. Oh yeah, later he casually informed Blondie, but she was feeling poorly and left the matter in Fuzzy’s less than capable hands.

Now, fast forward to this morning at about 7:00 AM. I was pretending to be asleep in the hallway. Blondie had started her morning chores and I knew she would soon be cleaning up Fuzzy’s bathroom. Then, suddenly but not unexpectedly, I heard a loud, high-pitched shriek from the bathroom. That was followed by Fuzz Face being urgently summoned from the upstairs office.

Sensing the note of terror in Blondie’s voice, Fuzzy came down the stairs at a run, wearing only his pajama shorts and a t-shirt. He bounded into the bathroom and Blondie directed his attention to a small, dark object in the corner of the shower. Fuzzy looked, but could not identify the thing in front of him because it was dark and in a shadow.

He grabbed for a flashlight and trained the beam on whatever it was. – – It had the shape of a small toad, but it had hair. He said, “No, Blondie its not a toad, it has hair, but it’s not a mouse – – I don’t know what it is.”

His statement was not convincing. I could hear from my place in the hallway that there was a hint in the way he spoke that he had a pretty good idea of what it was. Perhaps he knew if he said what he really thought, that it might increase Blondie’s already excessively high anxiety level.

Of course, dear cat friends, you know by now that I already knew what confronted Fuzz Face in that shower. I already knew that he would have to step up to this situation and be a hero in Blondie’s eyes. In fact, friends, I knew in my “little grey cells” two days ago that this moment would arrive.

Fuzz Face immediately went and found a pair of long, heavy duty rubber gloves and marched back into the bathroom, feigning courage and calm. – – Imagine the sight of an older man wearing pajama shorts, a t-shirt, and big black heavy gloves striding courageously into a shower to confront a poor, helpless bat, weighing less than an ounce.

Oh! How I was enjoying this moment.

The great battle soon followed, our courageous SFH Hercules manfully grabbed that vicious beast and whisked it out the doorway. In his mind he was Godzilla defeating the winged monster Rodan. The harmless bat flew away. – – Once back in the safety of his office, that Godzilla of man, that SFH Hercules collapsed in his chair and went comatose for at least fifteen minutes. Meanwhile, Blondie is now totally paranoid and knows that bats are hiding in every corner of the house.

So, my dear feline followers there is a moral to this story – Never, ever disregard a warning presented by the SFH Chief of Security.

 

SFH Journal: 2020-07-27 through 08-02

This post is several days overdue. No excuses, we’re just doing what has to be done to keep up with the more important things.

Signs of Hope

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Our premier crops (okra and tomatoes) are finally coming into season. My dear, sweet, and most industrious Spouse has been tending the garden, paying close attention to intrusive weeds, pesky bugs, and need for watering. If all goes well, the coming week will bring the beginning of canning season. Pickled okra and spicy salsa will soon be here.

We have turned the corner on our water shortage, but conservation measures are still in effect. We were worried about canning and pickling and how much water that requires. Now that there has been some rain, it looks like all will go ahead as planned.

With some of our worries behind us, we can take a moment to enjoy the Resurrection Lilies that are blooming everywhere. This is the best year for blossoms in recent memory. Even some of the more shy little guys have decided to come out and add color to the yard.

SFH Homeland Defense Force – Meet My Staff

IMG_20200425_155922618_editedHi! Mr. Monte here.

To my 23, 417 feline followers: Many of you are performing necessary defensive actions where you live. I have cousins in Spotsylvania, Front Royal, and Woodstock who all patrol their assigned areas and protect their humans from nasty vermin.

Here at Serendipity Farmhouse, the job of “homeland defense” is much more demanding. We have various predators, obnoxious critters, and wily rodents that invade and wreak havoc here on our vast 1.24 acre estate.

In order to handle this constant threat, I have enlisted the aid of two formidable security

Digital Camera
Bronto on Patrol

staff members. The first, and possibly most intimidating, is Bronto. He normally works nights and does perimeter patrol. Here is a picture of him right next to the “No Trespassing” sign. Anyone who is too stupid to read the sign, will make acquaintance with Bronto. – – They will only make that mistake once.

 

DSC_1495_editedRecently, we here at SFH have noted that our nearby neighbors, a lovely pair of broad-winged hawks, had fledged a new brood. Sensing a rare opportunity, I talked to the couple and we worked out an agreement based on mutual needs. Their young son, who was in need of employment reported for work with our security forces in mid-June. Below, you will find his picture, taken while he was going through initial training.

Digital Camera
SFH Homeland Security – The Next Generation

At first, we intend to have him go after moles and voles that are causing great damage to our manicured lawns and gardens. Later on, when he has reached full size, keeping watch on this particular long-tailed rodent will be his primary duty.

The new staff member is greatly pleased with the perquisites that come with the job. He can take home anything he catches and may do with it as he pleases.

SFH by the Numbers

The following links will catch you up with what’s gone into the gardens and what has come out since our last Journal post. They will also update you on the hazy, hot, and humid days of Summer:

SFH 2020 Plantings

SFH 2020 Harvest

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2020-07-27 through 08-02

 

 

SFH Journal: 2020-01-27 through 02-02

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Maine Coons Rule!

Hi! Mr. Monte here.

After that thoroughly shameless display of childish goat gabbing and gibberish yesterday, Ol’ Fuzz Face decided to take a break and let me have the keyboard. Finally, dear readers, you will have the opportunity to partake in the fullness of rational, adult commentary on life and all things of importance. I offer it at no charge, knowing that you will be greatly edified.

As a stealthy and cunning predator, I have disciplined myself to be a careful observer of all things in nature. That’s because so many of those things are edible or at least fun to play with before introducing them to the afterlife.

For example, I watched Fuzz Face closely as he was attempting to get a bag of cat litter to bring into the house. I calculated all of his possible moves and determined that he couldn’t get to the bag without coming into striking range of my deadly claws. – He attempted to get by; he weaved to-and-fro, and then fro-and-to, but he could not pass. I had the best of him and was ready to advance towards the kill. That’s when he spoiled the game and simultaneously revealed his great cowardice. – That’s when he called for Blondie to come and help. That’s when the words “spineless” and “wimp” entered my mind. – Oh well, there will be a next time and I shall prevail.

Now, back to the post. As I said earlier, I am careful observer of all things in nature. If it weren’t for me, Fuzz Face would have never known that a pileated woodpecker was in clear view just outside his window. Even with my early notification, Fuzzy was only able to take a substandard, mediocre photo of that beautiful feathered creature. Despite it’s imperfection, I have made it the featured picture for this post.

Yesterday, before Fuzz Face went out for that silly rendezvous with his funny looking, floppy-eared friends, I advised him that daffodils and resurrection lilies are now making apparent their longing for Spring. In his own, dull sort of manner, he made his way to the river’s edge and snapped a few poorly staged pictures. Nevertheless, I guess they make the point. Some day, Fuzzy will learn to take my artistic advice, but I’m not very confident that will take place during any of my nine lives.

Finally, he came back to the house, camera in hand, with a stupid smile on his face. Once more he had taken substandard photos about which he could not refrain from bragging. “Look, Look!” he said, “Garlic! The garlic is growing and there’s more of it now!”

What a sad and demented creature is Ol’ Fuzz Face, if goats and garlic are the high points in his life. If it weren’t for the fact that he knows my grooming preferences and plays a fairly good game of “Hunt and Kill”, I would have asked Blondie to pack up his things and take him to Reality Farm, where he could play with goats and eat garlic to his heart’s content.

DSC_1383_edited
Another useless garlic picture

SFH by the Numbers – Facts & Statistics

SFH Plantings: See SFH 2019 Plantings

SFH Harvest: See SFH 2019 Harvest

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

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

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2020-01-27 through 02-02

 

 

 

Goats & Reality

DSC_1392_edited
Hidden somewhere in the midst of Reality

In my life, it has always been better to seek reality than to hide from it. Here in Rappahannock County, reality exists with both a small and a capital ‘R’. For example, in this blog, you have heard us say about Serendipity Farmhouse, “This is not the house of our dreams; this is the house is the house of our realities.”

In our post Goat milk cheese? – No, not just yet. we introduced you to Reality Farm in Washington, VA. And that farm is an SFH “Reality” deserving of a capital ‘R’. This is not a show farm, this is a working farm. And in the midst of that Reality are large gatherings of my favorite farm animal – goats. And, other than my 20-pound Maine Coon cat, Mr. Monte, there is no animal with which I would rather spend my time.

So, it was with great joy and jubilation that I received word from our dear friends at Reality Farm that the new kids were being born and were arriving in great numbers. Dearest Spouse understood how important this was to me and she released me early from my chores today so that I could talk with my old friends and meet with the brand new young ones.

DSC_1391_edited
Hi, Fuzz Face! Where have you been?

After 140+ days of gestation through late Autumn and well into Winter, the does/nannies had carried their young ones. Now, almost as if they were waiting for this temporary warm spell, the young ones are making their appearance.

Though somewhat shaky at first, they gain their footing, and begin to do what naturally comes to young kids – they romp. For a young goat this is a most joyful reality.

And each nanny and young kid finds a natural bond; and, this too, is a most joyful reality.

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With hunger satisfied and love bestowed, it is time to explore.

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An afternoon stroll to meet our neighbors

For my new found friends, the joyful realities multiply with each hour and day. Curiosity and discovery far exceed the limitations of mere imagination. These kids are comfortably at home in their new realities.

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Don’t worry, Mom, we’re just playing.

Today, at least for a brief time, I was able to step out of this world’s foolish fantasies and walk in a small part of  God’s great Reality. And there will always be much more to see.

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One last look at Reality

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SFH Journal: 2019-05-26 through 06-14

Hi! Mr. Monte here.

You certainly would be justified to ask why there have been so few posts over the last three weeks. Don’t look at me. I am a highly organized and methodical Maine Coon cat. I live according to a rigid schedule and leave nothing to chance.

No, as usual, Old Fuzz Face is the problem. He blames it on work. He blames it on all the yard maintenance here at SFH. He blames it on family and social commitments. He blames it on just about everything. – – The truth is he has some sort weird attachment to my namesake, our Class C RV El Camino Del Monte (ECDM). Yup, he spends every waking moment working on problems with ECDM when he should be paying attention to me and this blog. He’s also been noted using some vocabulary words with which I am not quite familiar – nor do I desire to be.

Oh well, he is as he is and someone has to write this post. So, sit back and relax while I make up for his laziness, incompetence, and negligence.

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There’s been a lot going on here at SFH, but I guess the biggest news is our vast, extensive, enormous, and generally huge vineyard has scored its first major success in its nearly five year history. Let me tell you, though, that success had nothing to do with our first vintner, Hector. In the picture above, you will notice that Hector started off on the wrong foot and things only got worse as time went on.

His first big mistake was trying to get the grapevine to attach itself to and grow on a black metal arbor. Wrong!!! When the sun came out that arbor would heat up and fry the little tendrils and cause the entire plant to scream in agony.

Hector wasn’t much of a planner and had no sense for return on investment. At the pace he was moving, we expected to be bottling a fine vintage wine by 2053 or so.

Just like Fuzz Face, Hector made excuses for his mistakes. He told us us that working conditions would be a little more pleasant if that cat weren’t watching so closely. When Fuzz Face told us about Hector’s complaint, I merely said, “Mmmmmmm yummy, what a tasty morsel he’d be.”

Hector’s poor performance was too much even for Fuzz Face and Blondie. He was given his walking papers and a poor recommendation. I’ll never know how he would have tasted – too bad.

Well, there’s big news here this year. Upon Hector’s departure, Blondie took over all vintner duties. She got rid of the murderous metal arbor and had Fuzz Face erect a wooden one in its place. During the intervening years, she has watered the vineyard, trimmed the vines, and battled the Japanese beetles. This year, her hard work finally paid off. Just look at the amazing bumper crop of grapes that is now growing on our vines. There are at least 16 of those beautiful darlings just waiting to be stomped by a joyous group of bare-footed stompers.

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Considering that it takes roughly 2.6 pounds of grapes to make a bottle of wine, I figure that we will need to get at least seven, 59-gallon oak casks for this years vintage. Of course, math is not my strong suit.

Someday, yes someday, the Serendipity Farmhouse label will become the hallmark of fine wines.

Enough for now. Once Old Fuzz Face can break away from fixing the problems he caused in El Camino Del Monte, I will have him post all the weather statistics since May 26. Until then, save your money so that you can be the first to buy a (very little) bottle of Serendipity Farmhouse Chardonnay.  – – Cheers!