Category: Faith, Family, & Country

The Great SFH Birthday Bash of 2018

Frolicking fun, intense sporting rivalries, plenty of good food, family sharing, and a host of wonderful experiences highlighted the great, stupendous, magnificent, unforgettable Serendipity Farmhouse Birthday Bash of 2018. The only downside of the day was that four grandchildren and one lovable daughter-in-law were unable to attend due to a minor sickness that had visited members of the family.

Before we get to the good stuff, let’s provide a little background and a few statistics. The purpose of the party was to bring the family together to celebrate the birthdays of respected son-in-law #2, honorable son, loving and adorable wife, and growing grandson #2. (Be it known that grandson #2 could have been born on his doting grandmother’s birthday, but, instead, chose to reveal himself to the world one day later. His ranking in the will, however, was not changed due to this nearly unforgivable error.)


Attendees: 13 (including cherished best friend)

Weather:   Temperature: 86º   Humidity: 62º   Precipitation: 0.0 inches

There was some sweat and some red faces, but no major sunburns, heat exhaustion, or other undesirable weather-related complications. And for once, the mosquitoes and gnats decided not to make a picnic of us.

Menu:  Hot dogs, hamburgers, brats, veggies, strawberries, blueberries, several types of salad, cherished friend’s fantastic baked beans, ice tea, assorted cold drinks, etc.

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Dessert:   The best gluten-free cake we have ever tasted, cupcakes, and a huge chocolate cookie cake

The best gluten-free birthday cake ever. Yes, those are real flowers.

Games: Corn hole, charades, bubble catching, bubble biting, footraces, and assorted kick ball games. (Of course you remember, all attendees studiously avoided playing volley ball or badminton despite the fact that I had done such a perfect job of erecting the net.)

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And what would a birthday bash be without presents for the birthday people. Here’s a sampling of how that went.

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So, as is only right we did what was fitting for our birthday people. We lined them up and then …..

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We took a picture of the Birthday Banditos before handing out the blindfolds … I mean giving them all hugs, kisses, and/or handshakes.




SFH Journal: 2018-08-09 and 10

Highlight: In our post El Camino Del Monte – Water Works? or Waterworks?, I confessed my sad relationship with any system that has water in it. In this world, water does not belong in pipes, in tanks, or in water towers, not even in swimming pools. For me, water rightly belongs in oceans, lakes, rivers, and ponds. Why is that?

The answer to that profound question is quite simple. Water rightly belongs in all of those places so that there might be fish. Fish to catch, fish to eat, fish that put up a good fight and provide sport to a man’s life. Fish and water in their rightful places can bring a family together with bonds built on a common love and pursuit.

And so it was today. Son-in-law No. 2 and I were able to carve out a few small hours in our busy schedules to go to a local pond – a pond where water rightly belonged. In that pond were fish awaiting our arrival, ready to play the game that has brought men together for ages of ages, since the first net was thrown and the first line was cast. The game was afoot!

Son-in-law had his first catch within a minute or two. Several minutes later, he had a second fish in hand. Meanwhile, old Fuzz Face had tangled lines, lost a lure, and almost hooked himself.

On the other side of the pond, things began to slow for Son-in-law. My new, unscientifically chosen, guaranteed to be a bad choice lure, was cast into the water. Bingo! Shazam! Yahoo! Yippeee! It was the big one of the day. It was only a small pond, one couldn’t expect anything bigger. There he was, on my hook, pulling my line left and right, putting up a fight. He knew the game and he was playing it for all it was worth.

I finally, landed the worthy creature. We stared at each other for quite a while. Then he reminded me of the rules – catch and release. I carefully removed the hook, complemented him on the great fight, and returned him to the pond where water and fish are meant to be.

There was no rivalry between Son-in-law and old Fuzz Face today. By the time we called it quits, we each had landed three fish. The game was over. Everyone and every fish had won.

When it comes to water, fish and men with a love for the sport, this ranks among the very finest of days.

Weather: The lawn is mowed. The trimming is done. Beautiful spouse is happy. All things are good with the universe

2018-08-09: High – 87º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-08-10: High – 86º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report


2018-08-09: 10 cherry tomatoes

2018-08-10: 8 cherry tomatoes, 4 okra pods, 14 jalapenos


“Thank you for your service”

Yes, I served for 21 years. I hear the words “Thank you for your service” and I acknowledge them with pride and humility at the same time. But, sometimes I hesitate. I hesitate because I remember Phil Sundby, who was my best buddy for three years. I hesitate because I remember Chief “Snuffy” Smith, who was my Division Chief.

I hesitate because I am saying a prayerful “Thank you for your service” in their honor. So, when you say these words to a veteran today or any day and they hesitate before responding, you might now have an idea what is in their hearts. – Please, don’t ever stop taking the time to thank a veteran.


SFH Journal: 2018-05-11

Daily Highlight: This is the last full day of the visit. We’ve decided to keep it quiet and private. Skyline Drive and the Shenandoah National Forest are just part of our backyard at Serendipity Farmhouse. So, we went to the Shenandoah Skyland Resort for lunch. The clock might be ticking and saying Sister-in-law’s visit is coming to a close, but the view from Skyline Drive is timeless and enchanting. We’ll worry about tomorrow when it comes. For now, let’s just be family.


Weather: Today, was a little warmer and the humidity is beginning to climb. Yet, it was five degrees cooler on Skyline Drive – absolutely perfect for a quiet drive and lunch. (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report.

Harvest: One more asparagus spear was ready for harvest today. It’s been a good first season so far. (You can learn more about harvesting asparagus here.)

SFH Journal: 2018-05-09

Daily Highlight: Today, we (beautiful wife, dear sister-in-law, and I) made the hour-plus drive to Daughter #2’s new home. The ladies had tea and/or coffee and shared in plentiful conversation. Lunch consisted of of sandwiches, chips, and more conversation. Following tradition, and in accord with my better male instincts, I concentrated on my food and let the ladies talk.

For me, the visit also included playing peekaboo and other important games with Granddaughter #4. Today, she invited me to join her on a walking/running tour of the whole first floor – six laps were enough for yours truly. And, when the house tour was complete, there was an obligatory viewing of at least three episodes of “My Little Pony”. Although I personally prefer Winnie the Pooh, My Little Pony is perfectly acceptable for the purpose of grandfather – granddaughter bonding.

Weather:  This has been a week for good weather. The high of 78º and sunshine invited outdoor activities. My body did take notice that the humidity was somewhat elevated. (Be forewarned – I will complain and whine profusely as the heat and humidity increase.) (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report.

Harvest: A few more asparagus spears emerged this week and grew rapidly. Today, they were ready for harvest. Friday’s menu will certainly include fresh asparagus in some form. (You can learn more about harvesting asparagus here.)

SFH Journal: 2018-05-08

Daily Highlight: They are sisters. They shared in their childhood. They have shared throughout their lives. So, in this visit by my sister-in-law I once again see them sharing. They share in ways that I can see and they share in ways that can’t be seen.

Today, we we toured Jefferson’s Monticello. I followed them as they walked down Mulberry Row. I watched as they viewed gardens and toured Jefferson’s home. There were moments of cherished silence, followed by episodes of wit and levity.

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All in all, it was a beautiful day. Why? Because they are sisters.

Weather:  It was partly cloudy with a high of 77º. (Detailed Summary – click here.)

For the Garden: While at Monticello, we had the opportunity to purchase more seeds for our vegetable and flower gardens:

Plantings: Nothing to report.

Harvest: Nothing to report.