Category: Mr. Monte

SHF Journal: 2018-08-28

Highlight: Today, our weather history readings are coming from Culpeper, VA with a current “feels like” temperature of 100º. Normally, they come from Luray, VA. The current temperature in Luray is 98º with a feels like of 104º. The temperature and humidity readings are all over the place. The only source we can trust is Mr. Monte. Take a look at today’s feature picture. Notice the placement of the fan and the the cat.

0825181228_HDR_resized.jpgAlso in the midst of all the preparation for the great SFH Birthday Bash, I forgot to tell you that we pickled our first okra of the year. There were too many for three pint jars and not enough for four pint jars. Also, their sizes varied dramatically. The result is not aesthetically pleasing. Hopefully, the taste will be more satisfying.

Weather: Humidity and heat, need I say more?

2018-08-28: (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report

Harvest: The okra is finally coming in high quantity. We have several juvenile okra plants that are just about to flower. Meanwhile, our lone cherry tomato bush is beginning to wain.

2018-08-27: 12 okra pods, 4 cherry tomatoes

El Camino Del Monte: My Side of the Story

Mr. Monte here. I’ve politely told old Fuzz Face to back off from the computer tonight so that I can tell you my side of the story. What story? Well, of course, what really happened on the shakedown cruise of El Camino Del Monte. It’s not at all like Fuzz Face would have you believe. Even his grandchildren will tell you that he wouldn’t recognize the truth even if he stumbled over it – he tends to embellish – if you know what I mean.

As you can see from the featured picture, this RV thing that Fuzz Face and Blondie call El Camino Del Monte was actually payment in tribute to me. It was supposed to be my summer palace. When it arrived at Serendipity Farmhouse, I performed all the required regal ceremonies. I sniffed. I rubbed up against things. I prowled into deep, dark corners and spaces. I even climbed to the highest places and left my scent for all to know – this RV thing was and still is mine.

I noted several deficiencies to old Fuzz Face. My primary concern was that the air conditioning wouldn’t work with anything less than a 30 Amp circuit. He promised me in his usual slavish manner that this would be corrected immediately. To date, no 30 Amp service and no air conditioning.

Despite all the needless problems caused by Fuzz Face and Blondie, I was prepared to spend a quiet and peaceful season in my summer palace. I was prepared, but Fuzz Face and Blondie had something else in mind – a blasted, infernal, ridiculous, and exceedingly dangerous shakedown cruise.

There it was, late morning on the 5th of August. The old guy coerced me to get into my carrier and said we were heading out to the RV. Why should I refuse? I knew that my servants had food, water, and a clean cat pan waiting in the RV. I also knew that the bed had been made and would provide the perfect place for a nap.

All was well with the world, my subjects were seeing to my needs and desires.

Vrroomm! The RV began to make noise and there was a sickening vibration from the floor, through my carrier, and into my very bones. Vrroomm, Vrroom! We were off with a lurch, with a shudder, with no warning, no soothing words, nothing except intense, excruciatingly unpleasant noise and motion.

My palace, my Summer hideaway, began to jerk up and down and sway nauseatingly from side to side. And, we weren’t even out of the driveway yet. Then, we rolled and bounced onto the highway. I heard old Fuzz Face say to Blondie, “Hey, let’s take the long way and drive over Chester Gap into Front Royal.” Traitor to the cat she claimed to adore, she said, “That’s a great idea!”

Friends, I can’t tell you, nor could I ever express completely how much stress was caused to my system over the next hour of driving. Old Fuzz Face was auditioning for a movie to be called “The Cabbie from Hell”. Weaving to and fro, nearly going airborne over small hills just to hear if I would complain. A true sadist was at the wheel and Blondie egged him on.

We pulled into the RV camp, and Fuzz Face shouted with glee that he had backed into a spot successfully. In truth, he almost ran over Blondie who was trying to give him directions. He was a madman, I tell you, a madman. Then came the final lurch as he stopped abruptly, but everything else in the RV kept moving.

Now, Blondie has told people that I hid under the passenger seat for six hours. She almost implies that I am not a catly cat. Let me just explain. Self preservation and survival of the fittest is rule number one in my kingdom. Who knows what other horrors Fuzz Face had planned for me.

So, I finally ventured out to see what damage had been done to my summer palace. It 0805181539a (2)was then, when I crawled up into the driver’s seat that I saw the alien creatures in the mirror, roaming about us. Not only had Fuzz Face taken me far from Serendipity Farmhouse, I could tell by the looks of these creatures that he had taken all of us to a different planet. They ate grass, if you can imagine that. They had boxy bodies and ugly, bony backs, and were colored with ridiculous black and white patches.

0805181442b (2)Being smarter than Blondie and Fuzz Face, I headed to another hiding place.

And so it went for the first day and late into the second day. I would have stayed in my secure spot, but a cat has to eat. I ventured forth, but there was no longer trust in my heart for Blondie and Fuzz Face. I refused to purr for them. In fact, at one point, to cause them some of the stress that I had been feeling, I even played ‘possum.

Blondie nearly flipped out and began to cry. Fuzz Face, for once in his life, had a worried look on his grizzly face. I lay motionless and limp and let the whites of my eyes show in a sickening way. They freaked! So, rather than cause them all the indignity that I had been made to feel, I finally demonstrated that I was still with them.

I let them rest some during the second night. Blondie wanted to go home. She was worried about me. Fuzz Face, however, was not swayed by Blondie’s words nor did he seem to give a darn about my well being. He simply said, “We’re staying.”

Okay, I had my fun. I gave them back the distress they had given to me. It was time to return to my regal, catly behavior. At precisely 4:02 AM on the third day, I pounced on old Fuzz Face, just as I would do on any day. I nipped him on his forearm, almost drawing blood, and said, “Get up! Feed me! Make some coffee and say your morning prayers.

Being a good servant, He got up, fed me, made some coffee, and said his morning prayers.

No matter what they might try to tell you, that’s really the way it happened. I’m hoping they’ve learned a lesson. And to you, Fuzz Face, see what happens to your arm if you ever try to get me into that carrier again.



SFH Journal: 2018-08-03 & 04 Verdant Pastures?

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This stream is actually part of the SFH lawn

Highlight: In today’s exciting episode of “Serendipity Farmhouse – The Night of the Rain Monster”. Mr. Monte, the World’s most excellent Main Coon cat, successfully defended SFH from creeping vines, mega-worms, river rats, and many other weird and terrifying, rain-spawned monsters. He was fearsome, ferocious, and unrelenting in his labors to protect his kingdom and his two big cats. When the sun finally broke through this morning, he looked across the field of battle, saw his enemies vanquished, and he meowed victoriously.

Now, dispensing with that painful attempt at humor, the featured picture shows the state of what used to be our lawn. It is now now a verdant pasture suitable only for raising a large herd of grass-fed cattle. Meanwhile, the water continues to flow through the yard, making mowing impossible.

Weather: Yes, it rained again this morning, but the sun finally appeared from behind the clouds and shown gloriously for the remainder of the day. Only one problem – the humidity is back to haunt us.

2018-08-03: High – 78º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-08-04: High – 86º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report

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Cherry tomato bush going bad

Harvest: Soon, we will have to make a serious decision – leave the tomatoes in the ground and watch them wither and die, or pull them out and admit defeat. Even our cherry tomatoes, which were doing very well until this week, have begun to succumb to rain-induced maladies. The bottom line is: salsa and pasta sauce canning will be more expensive this year because we will have to buy tomatoes from outside sources rather than use our own.

2018-08-03: nothing to report

2018-08-04: 5 cherry tomatoes

SFH Journal: 2018-07-20

Highlight 1: Yesterday and today, the Resurrection Lilies commenced their annual grand parade of color and elegance across our yard. In the Spring, they were just leaves, green bunches of ho-hum green clumps. As Summer arrived, the leaves died away and there remained nothing to mark the tombs of these strange plants. Then, with glorious hope, they reemerged from their seeming death and in resurrected, glorified beauty they now teach the lesson of life immortal.

Highlight 2: Just when you think there is too much motion and disturbing commotion, a brief period of calm descends upon you. Today, Mr. Monte made another visit to our RV (actually his new bug-out-buggy) and joined us for our first supper in El Camino Del Monte. Although not quite a lavish affair, the meal had its own undeniable joys. Yes, dear, sweet, beautiful, wonderful wife pulled out all the stops and fried up some okra, freshly picked from our vegetable garden.

So, there we were. Mr. Monte exploring curiously and lounging in the RV sink while wife and I sipped adult beverages and feasted on tomato sandwiches and the world’s very best fried okra. There is no end to the joy one can have if only they open their eyes to the blessings around them.

Weather: This is absolutely terrible. How can this happen to me. Here I am, someone who has to have something to complain about and, for these last several days, the weather has been perfect. But, I know it’s coming. I know this is just a giant ruse. When I least expect it, the weather will dump on me and be oppressive, miserable, and intolerable – but, it didn’t happen today.  2018-07-20: High – 82º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report

Harvest: Wonderful wife picked nine jalapeno peppers and three okra pods.

0720181037a (2)Curiosity: This was found in our garden today, hidden among the hostas. I have no idea what it is. Is there anyone out there willing to venture a guess?

SFH Journal: 2018-07-06 through 11

Highlight: Today is the feast day of one of our favorite patrons, St. Benedict of Nursia.

Our apologies for the tardiness of recent posts. There has been much to occupy our time during these last two weeks. We have a new pastor, I have taken on new responsibilities, and work has made demands on my time.

Meanwhile, Mr. Monte has been directing us in outfitting his new bug out bag, the 24 foot Class C RV. For him, cost is no object, just get it done and get it done to his expectations. He is a thankless and unforgiving taskmaster. The reasonable budget that I had allotted for the RV has been overrun in every conceivable way. In his mind’s eye, Mr. Monte sees a Taj Mahal on wheels and even that will be inadequate for his royal needs.

Perhaps by the end of July, we will be able to return to a normal level of activity. We hope to share a spectacular recipe for okra that was given to us by Admiral No. 1 (my dear wife’s most pleasant and capable older sister.) This evening, we were able to enjoy the first okra of the year, and Admiral No. 1’s recipe was an enjoyable and tasty success.

Weather: We have now entered a warm/hot dry period and are forced to water regularly. Too much or too little water, there is seldom an even distribution of sun and rain.

2018-07-06: High – 82º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-07-07: High – 77º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-07-08: High – 81º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-07-09: High – 88º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-07-10: High – 91º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-07-11: High – 86º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: This has been a very bad year for tomatoes at SFH. We have planted some new plants, but we don’t expect to get much from them. We will have to purchase tomatoes for salsa canning this year. My alternative is to sneak into my daughter’s garden and poach some of her tomatoes. Her cat and I are buddies and he won’t tell if he sees anything.

2018-07-06: Planted an Organic Better Bush tomato plant


Harvest: The garden is now providing enough vegetables for side dishes and, in the case of the okra, they will be a featured main dish. However, there are nasty critters competing with us for the harvest. Fearless wife had to kill a monstrous worm on one of the tomato plants.

2018-07-06: Picked a handful of cherry tomatoes

2018-07-09: Picked the last of the green beans, 5 jalapenos, 3 okra, and 3 cherry tomatoes

2018-07-11: Picked 5 cherry tomatoes, 5 okra, 1 asparagus


Mr. Monte’s New Bug Out Bag

Of course, you remember this year’s first bout with heavy rain and potential flooding in early-June. If you don’t, see A Rainy Day – Pray, Prepare, Preserve.) One of Serendipity Farmhouse’s most notable characters, Mr. Monte to be precise, voiced his great displeasure.

0603181618cIt seems that he was not pleased with with the provisions we had made to evacuate him should the need arise. No, he wasn’t the least bit happy. Although, we had a cat pan, litter, and some food ready to go, His Excellency was exceedingly perturbed because he did not have his own personal bug out bag (BOB). While the big cats had taken care of themselves with brand new, well equipped BOBs, there was none at the ready for Mr. Monte.

Lesson Learned: His Highness demands, deserves, and will get a personal BOB for rainy days and other SFH contingencies.

Now, after giving sufficient thought to the problem of how to keep our feline friend happy, no matter what the circumstance, we have hopefully found a way to satisfy, if not all, at least most of the requirements levied by His Royal Highness. Here it is – Mr. Monte’s almost like new bug out bag:

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You will note in the featured picture at the beginning of this post how closely Mr. Monte is inspecting his almost like new BOB. He found two or three minor discrepancies during the first phase of his inspection and demanded that we email the dealer immediately. I meekly did so – and with appropriate haste.

Yes, our quest for this Class C RV, all along, was the result of demands made by SFH’s one and only Mr. Monte. As you might think, there will be many more episodes to this adventure.

Ruffles & Flourishes – Admiral Departing

Dear Reader, please note that I submitted this report to Old Fuzz Face within 24 hours of Admiral Sister-in-law’s departure. He, however has been malingering, lollygagging, and skylarking and missed his publishing deadline by several days. Also note, that he frequently alters my reports and adds pictures that are demeaning to my character and dignity. I can only hope that you understand my work is normally flawless, and often even better than that. Fuzz Face has a way of making me look bad. Despite all that, I miss Admiral Sister-in-law and hope that she will return soon. – Mr. Monte
Memorandum for the Record: I, Mr. Monte, Chief Security Guard and Master of Protocol and Ceremonies for Serendipity Farmhouse, hereby submit my formal report on the departure of Admiral Sister-in-law on May 12, 2018. In accordance with OPNAVINST 1710.7A, 15 Jun 2001 and subsequent changes, I directed and/or personally rendered “The honors prescribed for an official visit … on departure as follows:”
 a. The rail shall be manned, if required.
Because Old Fuzz Face was too busy eating his grits and making small talk, I personally “felined” the rail.
b. “Attention” shall be sounded as the visitor arrives on the quarterdeck.
I not only called “attention”, I also rubbed Admiral Sister-in-law’s legs and let her pet me.
c. At the end of leave taking, the guard shall present arms, all persons on the quarterdeck shall salute and the ruffles and flourishes, followed by the music, shall be rendered. As the visitor enters the line of side boys, he or she shall be piped over the side.
This was the most elaborate part of the ceremony. My actions were:
  • In presenting arms, I fully extended all 24 of my claws (specially sharpened and polished for this occasion), and opened my jaws, displaying a mouthful of teeth. I must admit, it was an impressive display.
  • All members of SFH did render salutes, although Fuzz Face was rather slovenly dressed and incapable of saluting in proper fashion.
  • SFH lacks a formal marching band, so I purred four times and followed that with the requisite number of meows. (It was readily apparent, that Admiral Sister-in-law took note of my performance. I’m certain that, immediately upon return to her command, she started the paperwork for a medal and letter of commendation for me.)
  • Once again, I have to state for the record that Old Fuzz Face’s idea of being a “side boy” is akin to a bunch of school boys waiting in line for the lavatory and acting up when teacher isn’t looking. He needs to be “squared away”.
  •  I “piped” Admiral Sister-in-law “over the side” by performing an amazing feline vocalization filled with heartfelt sentiment.
After my excellent performance rendering honors and Admiral Sister-in-law’s departure, I was finally able to stand at ease and take a well-deserved rest.

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Visit Discrepancies: Upon review of the recent Admiral Sister-in-law visit, a number of unpardonable discrepancies were noted. I hereby request that the culpable parties take immediate measures to ensure that these offenses are never repeated.
  • Demeanor & Decorum: In my view, Fuzz Face and the big female cat did not render honors with the care and demeanor required. I strongly recommend that they be reprimanded for their weakness in understanding and adherence to protocol.
  • Precedence: While it is understood that Admiral Sister-in-law has seniority over the big female cat, she was not the highest ranking officer on board SFH. That honor is vested in me and me alone. Therefore, it was absolutely unforgivable that Admiral Sister-in-law was given MY bedroom during her visit.
  • Practices Dangerous to Security: Based on my rank and my duties as Chief Security Guard, there is no reason whatsoever that any compartment or room in SFH should be “off limits” to me. It is essential that I have universal access to all spaces in order to ensure safety. During Admiral Sister-in-law’s visit there were several times when I was not granted access to bedrooms and bathrooms. – This must be corrected prior to her next visit.

I take personal pride in keeping things “ship shape” here at Serendipity Farmhouse. So, you can well understand why I was so deeply shamed by the poor performance of the two big cats upon Admiral Sister-in-law’s departure. These pictures give some sense of my shock and mortification.

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