Category: Mr. Monte

Serendipity Farmhouse Blog Upgrade – What You Need to Know

It’s post-Vernal Equinox and, as it is every year at this time, my two big cats are running around like their hair is on fire. (In Ol’ Fuzz Face’s case, he doesn’t have much left to burn.) While they panic, I am methodically conducting the much-needed SFH Blog Upgrade. – That’s my job, to keep Serendipity Farmhouse running.

In case you’re wondering what’s got into my big cats, here are a few crises that have taken over their age-addled brains.

  • It’s coming on to planting season, and they don’t have a plan;
  • It’s coming on to RV season, and they don’t have a plan;
  • The hot weather is just around the corner, and they’ll have to install air conditioners;
  • They’re trying to make sourdough starter, and they failed their first attempt; and
  • There are about 16 more things that they just realized needed to be done.

Serendipity Farmhouse Blog Upgrade Progress

Now that you understand my current work environment, it’s time to discuss the essential albeit boring technical stuff. I have thoroughly reorganized the SFH Website structure. Hopefully, you will find the new format to be an improvement.

Here are some of the changes. (Feel free to click on items in red.)

I have designated three primary categories for posts and farmhouse information. Each category has several sub-categories. Here are the three primaries:

The Home page is entirely new. All current posts can be found in two ways:

1 – Go to the menu item Blog, or

2 – Select from posts listed in the righthand column section labeled RECENT POSTS

SFH Blog Upgrade

Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway. In making these changes, I have created some temporary untidiness. For example, several of the new pages contain links that aren’t active. Additionally, I intend to add many interesting graphics, but they will have to wait until I have developed the site infrastructure. Consequently, when you land on one of the untidy pages, you will encounter the following notice:

This page is under construction. Some links are not activated. We appreciate your patience. Mr. Monte

Please bear with me. Rome wasn’t built in a day and keeping my humans from getting in the way is, shall we say, like herding cats. Nevertheless, despite my humans in their springtime planning frenzies, I will complete the mission. I will complete the Serendipity Farmhouse Blog Upgrade!

How to Start a Family Tradition

How to Start a Family Tradition

I haven’t spoken to you, my 23,417 feline followers, in a long time. As you know, we cats don’t have any family traditions. We have something far superior – instincts. However, humans both need and enjoy traditions. That is why many years ago, I persuaded Ol’ Fuzz Face and Miss Blondie to have a yearly First Robin of Spring Contest. Since then, I’ve learned that all of us cat should know how to start a family tradition.

But, before you try something like this with your humans, you should take these three tips to heart.

3 Tips on How to Start a Family Tradition

The three tips I have listed below have been compiled and developed here at Serendipity Farmhouse over the course of eight years. They are practical and based on feline common sense. If you follow these tips, you and your humans will bask in the warmth and wonder of family tradition.

Tip 1: Make the Family Tradition Guidelines Clear

First, you should institute a family tradition that has a set of clear and well-defined guidelines. If you fail to do this, the result will be needless squabbles. Here are a three sample guidelines from our contest:

  • There must be a picture of the alleged robin;
  • The bird in the photo must be a real robin; and
  • The picture must be dated on or after March 1st.
How to make a family tradition

This year, Daughter-in-law #1 submitted the winning entry. As you can see, this is an American Robin. The metadata on the photo confirmed the picture was taken on March 2nd.

Congratulations, Daughter-in-law #1

Tip 2: Ensure that Everyone Gets the Message

If your adoptive human family is large, extended, and includes close friends, you should expect some communications problems. Your guidelines should provide an explanation of how to inform all concerned about critical events, like the confirmed sighting of a robin. If some extended family member doesn’t get the message, you can be sure there will be a moment or two of anxiety.

This year, dear friend Miss Nancy got the word late and registered a minor complaint. The communications oversight caused some rather unfortunate use of terminology to be brandished. Apparently, all is well now and there are no more ruffled robin feathers.

How to start a family tradition
Poor Communications and the Robin Grinch

Tip 3: Be Prepared to Start a New Family Tradition

The panel of judges might encounter seemingly insurmountable problems at times. No, I don’t mean problems like the submitted photo is blurred or difficult to view. I mean problems of the type that might disrupt tranquility throughout the entier galaxy. One of those problems occurred on February 25 this year.

It was on that date, that the panel of judges (Ol’ Fuzz Face, Persnickety Pierre, and myself) received a contest submission photo from Miss Blondie. Obviously, the photo should be automatically disqualified because it was submitted days before the start of meteorological Spring. As you will see below, there was another problem with the photo.

How to Start a Family Tradition
Miss Blondie’s Submission

According to the article Vultures in Virginia (All You Need To Know) the photograph that Miss Blondie submitted was not an American Robin. In reality, it was a Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus). – This forced the judges to go into an extended huddle.

Miss Blondie is Never Wrong!

Under normal circumstances, the panel of judges would have just laughed at the submission. These were not normal circumstances. By definition, here at Serendipity Farmhouse, Miss Blondie is NEVER WRONG. – This was when the huddle began. We were two desperate men and a Maine Coon cat. Heads would roll if we couldn’t find a solution.

Huddle Results – A New Family Tradition

It took several hours. Fuzzy lost more hair than usual. Pierre said things in French that probably shouldn’t be translated. And I felt my skin crawl as if I had been attacked by a thousand fleas.

Then the answer came. We were trying to solve the wrong problem. The problem wasn’t that Miss Blondie was wrong – because Miss Blondie is NEVER WRONG. Rather, the problem was that the family tradition was wrong.

In a flash, the panel of judges instituted a brand new family tradition – The Last Vulture of Winter Contest. We immediately wrote clear set of guidelines; set up communications protocols; and complimented ourselves on our ability to be prepared to start a new family tradition.

From 2023 forward, Serendipity Farmhouse has two wonderful family traditions;

  • The First Robin of Spring Contest, and
  • The Last Vulture of Winter Contest.

So you see, my dear feline followers, if you follow these three tips, your adoptive human families can also bask in the warmth and wonder of a new family tradition.

Serendipity Revival – It Has Begun!

Maine Coon

Reviving the Serendipity Farmhouse blog is a job for a cyber master. The portrait you see honors me as a cyber kitten prodigy. Now, I have grown to be the only Maine Coon cat capable of saving this farmhouse blog.

It has begun! I have been on this job for a bit more than two weeks and already we have increased subscribers and views. We have a long way to go, but with your help, this blog will become the best farmhouse blog ever.

Serendipity Farmhouse Blog Staff Reorganization

Immediately upon taking on my new roles as SFH blog Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technical Officer, I reorganized the blog staff as follows.

Lead Editor – Creative Content

Ol’ Fuzz Face can write. He can tell a story. He can even embellish it and turn it into an entertaining tall tale. Unfortunately, he has no grasp of the concept of running a business or how to manage the technical details of the SFH blog. His writing and creative talents are considerable. He is now assigned the duty of Lead Editor and developer of creative content. – Because this work requires the use of no sharp tools or blunt objects, Fuzzy and the remainder of the staff should remain relatively safe.

Test Kitchen & Cultural Coordinator

Miss Blondie is as technically inept as Fuzzy. Nevertheless, she has more than proven her prowess in the Test Kitchen. Additionally, she is among the most knowledgeable humans I know when it comes to Southern life and the full range of accomplishments epitomized by a Girl Raised In The South (GRITS). – She promises that you will be delighted with all the recipes she’s going to publish for you. – For an example of what to expect, see Pimento Cheese IHO Mom.

Lead Food Editor & Chief Financial Officer

My dear friend, Monsieur Pierre LeChat, is the quintessential French gourmand. He is unequaled in his knowledge of all things food. So, it was only natural that he would be assigned as our Lead Food Editor. What most of us did not know is that he a business management genius. So, to him I have delegated the position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO). – One of Pierre’s recent posts revealed the high level expertise achieved by our soon-to-be-world-famous Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen. That expertise was demonstrated by the masterful execution of a Jacques Pépin recipe – Jacques’ Lamb Stew.

What’s Coming for this Farmhouse Blog?

Folks, there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes. If you’re viewing this site on your PC or laptop, you may notice that we’ve gone to two-column format instead of three. We’ve changed some of the fonts. And a massive restructuring of menus and pages is underway. Cruise around the site and see the difference. Remember this is: The Serendipity Revival – It Has Begun!

Although I have 23,417 faithful, feline followers, for some reason, our blog host suppresses tabulation of my followers’ views, clicks, and comments. – I know it sounds like censorship, but perhaps our blog host has a valid reason. – I suspect our host thinks my followers only had this type thing to say (click if you dare): Meow, Meow, etc.

Please help us out here at Serendipity Farmhouse. If you like a post, take the time to click on the ‘Like’ button. Share your thoughts with us and make a comment. Suppose you don’t like something, make a comment. If you think that a post or recipe might interest a friend, send them the link to the post. –

Bottom Line:

You too can take part in the Serendipity Revival! – Thank you.

Valentine Pie, Mr. Monte’s Way

Valentine pie

On Valentine’s Day 2019, I baked a most delicious cat-themed pie to surprise my two humans, Blondie and Fuzzy. To this day, they recall the joy my gesture of affection brought to their hearts. They loved my Valentine Pie and they loved me for what I did.

I must confess, the original inspiration came from Samantha Meyers and her recipe in my favorite magazine, Catster. As one might suspect, I made my own changes to the recipe. Today, I will share my revised recipe with you.

Continue reading “Valentine Pie, Mr. Monte’s Way”

Imagine the Possibilities

Hi! Mr. Monte Here.

To my 23,417 feline followers, especially my many cat cousins residing in Virginia and Ohio, Winter is not over yet. We know that because we have instincts and highly advanced feline intellects. Nevertheless, a warm, sunny day like today informs us that Spring will come. Days like this make the mind leap ahead and think of what Spring will bring and cause the heart to imagine the possibilities.

Continue reading “Imagine the Possibilities”

Call to Action!

It’s worse than I thought!

When Ol’ Fuzz Face posted his admission of gross failure here, I thought he was merely in a state of depression. Little did I realize the he had left this blog in state of complete ruin and that Serendipity Farmhouse was speeding along on the road to the intersection of Doom and Destruction.

Continue reading “Call to Action!”

Under Construction!

To my 23,417 feline followers, especially my many cat cousins residing in Virginia and Ohio, after a rather heated discussion by the Serendipity Farmhouse board of directors, it was determined that I, due to my extensive electronic media expertise, would replace Ol’ Fuzz Face as Senior Blog Editor and assume control over all content creation on the SFH Blog.

Continue reading “Under Construction!”

Airing Soggy Laundry

Hi! Mr. Monte here!

To my 23,417 feline followers, especially my many cat cousins residing in Virginia and Ohio, I have some words of wisdom to pass along to you. Please note that none of this will make any sense whatsoever to John the Hiker, one of my less than ardent human followers.

Now, on with my story. Whether he knows it or not, Ol’ Fuzz Face has given me carte blanche to make full use of my feline sense of honesty to air all the dirty laundry from Serendipity Farmhouse. In this particular case, the laundry is not so much dirty as it is soggy.

Perhaps a little background will help you understand. In his last post, The Wake-up Call, Fuzzy made the grave mistake of saying, “To be sure, Mr. Monte will have a word or two to put Fuzzy in his proper place and to correct all of our human failings.” – Well if that’s what Fuzzy expects, then that’s what Fuzzy and Blondie will get. As an observant and enlightened feline, it is so very easy to see how fraught with failings are my two humans. And, as we move into the season they call Advent, their failings are amplified and multiplied as they go through their frenzied Advent rituals.

If you’ve been following the weather closely on Serendipity Farmhouse – KVAFLETC4, you will know that November 26th was a beautiful day with a high of 65.7 °F. Blondie determined that it was the perfect day to clean her bathroom carpets. These carpets are especially favored by me because they keep my underside warm when I spend my time in contemplation and rest. Perhaps out of affection for me, knowing that I so love the fresh smells of clothes dried outside, she hung the carpets on the clothesline to let them dry. Then, off she trotted to do a myriad of her hurried, ritual tasks. (In Blondie’s case perhaps trotted is a poor choice of terms. Ambled might work, although sometimes it’s more like hobbled.)

The morning of the 27th was wet and dreary, very wet indeed. As I made my security rounds, I observed two very sad and soggy carpets hanging on the line. It was my duty, of course, to tell one of the so-called SFH authorities. So, I went to Fuzzy and reported my finding. In his usual cowardly way, he decided he didn’t want to be the bearer of bad news. He told me it would be better to let Blondie figure it out on her own. – – She did, and Fuzzy and I played dumb.

Three days passed, each was wet and inclement. The carpets remained on the line. Blondie wandered about the house muttering about how wet the carpets were, how dirty they were getting, and how upsetting this was to her peace. I considered needling her about this and add to her list of woes by advising her of how this must look to the neighbors. I dismissed that thought however and merely asked her, “Mom, where are my nice, warm, cozy carpets? I really miss them.” That question was more than sufficient to cause her to fret even more.

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During all of this, Fuzzy laid low. He knew any comments to Blondie about the sad state of the soggy carpets would trigger an entirely unpleasant response. At this point, Fuzzy should have been a little more concerned about his own glass house. He too should have been watching the weather forecasts. At 638 AM EST on the 30th, the National Weather Service issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook bulletin reading in part: “Breezy, with a south wind 15 to 24 mph becoming west in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 40 mph.

Monument to a Failed Plan

Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, that bulletin contained the stone that would break his little glass house. Why and how? Think back to the SFH post SFH Journal: 2020-02-24 through 03-01 – Drat!!!. In Fuzzy’s words, “… wind gusts exceeding 20 mph toppled our newly erected arbor early on the morning of February 26 [2020].” So the great engineer devised what he thought was a clever way to anchor the arbor securely. This picture clearly shows that one of his anchors failed the test and that his clever little plan was an abject failure. – – Great job, Fuzzy!!

So there it is! I am now living with a pair of humbled humans with a great many failings. To be sure, they’re lovable in their own ways and I feel very much a necessary part of the Serendipity Farmhouse family. But also be sure that living with their failings, soothing their feelings of humiliation, and keeping them on the right track is a full-time job.

So, look again at the featured picture at the beginning of this post. – – Their laundry isn’t dirty, but it is soggy. And I will continue to air it whenever the need arises.

Aunt Pat & No Drat

Le Chat – the Feline in Command

Hi! Mr. Monte here!

To my 23,417 feline followers, especially my many cat cousins residing in Virginia and Ohio, at 3:49 AM this morning I plopped myself down precisely at the center of Ol’ Fuzz Face’s chest. After ensuring that I had elicited a suitable groan from Fuzzy, I began to purr loudly in a most endearing fashion. Because he had not yet awakened fully, I then stroked his bearded chin with my left paw. Acknowledging my loving attention, Fuzzy pulled his left hand from under the covers and patted me on the head but showed no sign that he was ready get up and feed me. Alas, at that point my patience had waned and I was forced to gently but convincingly bite his left wrist. Recognizing that there was no alternative, Fuzzy surrendered to my will and crawled out of bed.

As the old guy and I ate breakfast together, I reminded him that he and I had to draft a post highlighting the visit by the Big Admiral and her jovial, guitar-pickin’ husband. (See: Oh, Drat! More Turmoil for the Cat!) As usual, Fuzzy had been slow in editing pictures for the post. As usual, his tardiness was due to late-life mind fog and essential laziness. As usual, Blondie and I have had to kick-start him to get the job done. So, after a long delay, here is Ol’ Fuzz Face with the post you have been eagerly anticipating.

—- Ol’ Fuzz Face Tells the Tale —-

There are rumors that these two lovely sisters were originally from a cabbage patch somewhere in northeastern Georgia. After visiting the BabyLand General Hospital in Cleveland, GA, I am inclined to believe the rumors are true.

Needless to say, though I will say it anyway, the beautiful lady on the left is my most dear and lovable spouse Blondie, who is also known as ‘the Admiral’. To her right, is her equally dear and lovable sister, whom we know as ‘Aunt Pat’ or ‘the Big Admiral’. – – Let there be no mistake, both of them are impressive and formidable forces in the family, demanding great respect. When the two of them are together, every one in the family knows that they must toe the line; to do otherwise would be a grave mistake. – – Even Mr. Monte acknowledges that fact.

Early on, a third person came into the picture. That would be ‘Uncle Larry’ who used his innate charm, clever wit, and guitar-pickin’ skill to win the heart of Aunt Pat. Although it took Blondie a while to warm up to this erstwhile interloper, eventually she too recognized that he would be a good fit into the family. Some years later, I came along to make this a family foursome. Now, after all these years, it’s easy to see that this was all as it was meant to be.

Thus, this October reunion at Serendipity Farmhouse was a time of great joy and merriment. Old times and current family events were discussed. Fine food was shared. And there was music, lots and lots of music and foot-thumping entertainment. – – Son #1, Daughter-in-Law #1, and eight grandchildren came to SFH and spent most of a Saturday visiting with Aunt Pat & Uncle Larry. Uncle Larry’s music rocked the house. Everyone joined in the fun and sang along. Grandson #1 was even invited perform his interpretation of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s ‘Sixteen Tons.”

On Sunday, Daughter #2 entertained Aunt Pat and Uncle Larry with a fine meal and enthusiastic conversation. Son-in-Law #2 and the grandchildren talked over old times and listened intently as Uncle Larry told stories about heart-stopping visits by SWAT teams and other such unusual events. Yes, it was another day to remember.

A most unusual friendship developed over the course of the several-day visit. In a totally unexpected and uncharacteristic manner, Mr. Monte decided that Aunt Pat was to be his new found friend. He would stay as close to her as he normally would with Blondie. To the surprise and astonishment of all, Mr. Monte even made time to teach Aunt Pat how to shake his paw and give him tasty treats. – – We had all expected that Mr. Monte would retire to the bedroom for the entire visit. Instead, He decided to make this 50+ year foursome into a brand new family ‘quintet’.

So, the moral of the story certainly must be: Where there is love, there’s always room for one more in the family.

Now, Mr. Monte thinks of his dear Aunt Pat, and never more will he think ‘Oh, Drat!’.


Feline Fiesta Siesta

Hi! Ol’ Fuzz Face here.

To Mr. Monte’s alleged 23,417 feline followers, especially his many cat cousins residing in Virginia and Ohio, Mr. Monte’s birthday was yesterday and, due to somewhat excessive partying on his part, my beautiful, kindhearted spouse Blondie has granted him some time off from his normal duties. It’s sort of a siesta after the big fiesta.

Mr. Monte leads a well-ordered life. We know quite well that should his routine be upset, he will be upset. We scrupulously adhere to his desire to do all things according to his schedule. Consequently, his birthday has its own unique ritual. Of course, he has the run of SFH for the entire day. The announcement board in the dining room has the greeting: Happy Birthday, Mr. Monte!!!

After his morning meal, he received a full brushing and grooming. On this particular birthday, he rolled over on his back and requested a thorough brushing of his underside. That was followed by a quick nail trimming and a light snack.

While this was all going on, Mr. Monte’s new found close friend, Miss Suki had a birthday bag delivered to the front door. The pictures below show the story of how truly he was moved by this display of affection. Good friends like Miss Suki are worth more than any words or even meows could describe.

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Throughout the day, Mr. Monte made his birthday requests known to me and my dear Blondie. He was totally surprised by Blondie’s unexpected gift of three bags of Lean Treats (his favorite). He was not surprised by the bowl of ice cream he received after dinner. After all, that is the most important part of his birthday ritual.

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Despite what you might be thinking now, Mr. Monte is not a spoiled cat. You must remember he is the the SFH Chief of Security. He does play an important role in the running of the soon-to-be-world-famous SFH Test Kitchen. He is the Commander of El Camino Del Monte when we are on the road. He does provide companionship and devotion to Blondie and me. And, even if he does sometimes badmouth me in his posts, we are buddies and we have each other’s back. It doesn’t matter if he’s worth his weight in gold because he is worth his weight in ice cream.

Official 8th Birthday Photo

Today is my Mom’s birthday. I could write a book about her and her exploits and adventures. If it weren’t for her I would have never rode a horse, traveled throughout the country and the world, or found my Faith again. Tonight Blondie and I will be studying the facts and legends concerning one of my Mom’s favorite Scottish folklore heroes – Rob Roy. God bless you, Mom – have the best of heavenly birthdays. We love you!

SFH Gardens – By the Numbers

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

SFH 2022 Plantings

SFH 2022 Harvest

SFH 2022 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Monthly: 

SFH WX 2022-09-01 through 09-30