Category: Mr. Monte

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

 

SFH Journal: 2020-08-24 through 08-30 – The Biggest Blunder

IMG_20200826_194012872_editedHi! Mr. Monte here!

Yep, I’m back again. While Ol’ Fuzz Face is dutifully attending to the details of Blondie’s birthday, I’m temporarily running the day-to-day operations here at Serendipity Farmhouse. – It’s probably better that way. At least you won’t have to put up with Fuzzy’s fake news and inane commentary.

El Camino Del Monte RV Trip 2020-04

As I noted in my last excellent post (Blondie’s Birthday – Part I), the entire SFH staff partook in an almost perfect RV retreat at Shenandoah River State Park. It would have been completely perfect had it not been for Fuzzy’s uncanny ability to capture failure from the jaws of victory.

Yes, the resident SFH buffoon, Ol’ Fuzz Face, managed to damage, demolish, or destroy almost everything he touched. I give you now three examples of Fuzzy’s blunders.

Blunder #1: No sooner than Fuzz Face had pulled into our RV site, he managed to breakBlunder 1 the fastening latch on the center console in the RV cab. He continues to maintain that it was an accident. He said that he merely attempted to open the latch in the usual manner and that it spontaneously fell apart. Well that’s his story, and we’re stuck with it. We’re also stuck with a nearly $40 fee for a replacement latch.

Blunder #2: Would it be too much to say that our esteemed RV driver is prone to unusualIMG_20200826_102700059_edited bouts of clumsiness? No, in fact, that would be an understatement. Ol’ Fuzzy is quite capable of making the same foolish mistake over and over again. In this particular case, we find that he is unable to circumnavigate our RV without hitting his head on the extended rear-view mirrors. On this trip, his mirror of choice was on the driver’s side. He gave it a mighty wallop with that thing which he carries around on his shoulders. He claims there was no pain involved. Nevertheless, he had managed to hit the mirror so hard that the fisheye mirror fell off the main assembly. – It has since been repaired with Gorilla Glue.

Blunder #3: And this brings us to Fuzzy’s biggest blunder of all. This time, there is no doubt at all that it was a true accident. There is no way that he would ever allow such a thing to happen, especially on Blondie’s Birthday – Part I. No, Ol’ Fuzz Face is sincerely remorseful about this particular blunder. It happened as he was washing the morning dishes on the last day of our trip. It happened. It happened to him. And, it can never unhappen. He broke a coffee mug. No, it wasn’t just any coffee mug. It was THE coffee mug – and it can never be fully replaced.

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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 2020-08-24 through 08-30

 

 

 

 

 

Blondie’s Birthday – Part I

IMG_20200826_194012872_editedHi! Mr. Monte here!

Ol’ Fuzz Face and I continue our truce. Although we may glare at each other from time to time, we have to consider higher priorities – namely, Blondie’s Birthday.

Fuzzy was right when he said in his post An SFH Lament:

“Now, I can buy her presents. I can do special things for her. I plan on doing several things that might make her smile. But, the one thing I cannot do this year is provide a world-class SFH Birthday Bash; a party with all the family; a chance to see all the grandchildren together, frolicking on the vast Serendipity Farmhouse estate.”

So, Fuzzy and I had a long talk, and I offered some suggestions. Maybe, just maybe, if we could celebrate Blondie’s birthday in small, but meaningful parts – with a daughter and family here, with a son and family there, with a dear friend on another day – perhaps we could have a series of little world-class SFH birthday bashes that would add up to a magnificent SFH 2020-style birthday bash. – Fuzzy listened intently to me as I purred with anticipation on how it might go. I listened to Fuzz Face as he considered the logistics and timing. This all had to be coordinated and scheduled well in advance.

And so, we settled on a plan. We understood that this could not be and would not be a surprise birthday event. So, Fuzzy filled Blondie in on the details while I worked out the logistics and timing.

Needless to say, because of my meticulous planning, it will come as no great shock that Part I of our master plan was faultlessly executed during El Camino Del Monte RV Trip 2020-04 at the Shenandoah River State Park this last week.

Let’s take a look at how Fuzzy and I made it all work. First, there was camp setup and preparations for the arrival of Daughter #1 and her family.

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When the party guests arrived, there was more than an ample supply of tasty foods and cold beverages. Of course, we made provisions for site seeing and relaxation.

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Now, I have to say, RVing is not my favorite thing. My work as SFH Chief of Security is far more fulfilling than rumbling around in a huge, noisy white box with windows. I am a master predator and I need the constant challenge of the hunt. But, there is a soft spot in my heart for Blondie. If it means that I have to spend two nights away from my most beloved and important security duties, and there is a chance that I can see Blondie smile during her birthday week – so be it!

Fuzz Face and I are not above claiming credit for something that we didn’t do. Blondie probably knows that. But, that sweet and wonderful lady that we both love so dearly, was willing to say thank you when we told her that we had arranged this sunset to celebrate her birthday.

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There’s just nobody in the world like our Blondie!

 

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: 2020-08-03 through 08-16 – Let the Canning Season Begin!

Hi! Mr. Monte here.

Starting early this week, Blondie has been suffering from a chronic ailment. She’s been in some pain, but she still gets up, does her chores, and tries her best to keep Serendipity Farmhouse the warm, happy place it is meant to be. There are hopeful signs that she’s on the mend. 0924191726a (2)

Until she’s back to her old self, Ol’ Fuzz Face and I have called a truce and are working together to keep up with this year’s bountiful harvest and all the seasonal canning and pickling. I’ve put Blondie on a special diet designed to aid in her speedy recovery. Dearest friend Nancy has been advised and is coming over today with her legendary chicken soup, widely known for its curative powers. As you can see, I’m doing my best to encourage Blondie to eat and regain her strength.

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Thank you, Mr. Monte. Despite our frequent disagreements and physical clashes, you have a big heart when it comes to my dear sweet Spouse.

Yes! It seems that the plants in the vegetable gardens are ripening all at the same time. The tomatoes are firm, healthy, and plentiful. The okra plants, both the purple and the Cow Horn, are successfully handling the Summer weather extremes and are yielding several pods each day. Meanwhile, multiple varieties of peppers are presenting themselves in quantities large enough for pickling and joining us at our evening meals.

With the abundance, however, comes the need to practice the fine arts of preparation and preserving at a rapid pace. There is a penalty for delay – tomatoes, okra, and peppers demand processing on their own time schedule. Thus far, the soon-to-be-world-famous Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen has kept up with the demand and our pantry is filling up with the fruits of this year’s harvest.

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Boiling, steamy pots sanitizing, cooking, and processing

From Tomatoes to Salsa

The SFH vegetable gardens are not meant to break records on size and quantity. Rather, they are carefully planned to produce quality and flavor. The pictures below show that we have been successful. If a Mr. Stripey tomato should weigh in at almost 1 lb. 5 oz, well, that’s a good thing too.

Each batch of salsa produced by the SFH Test Kitchen is unique in its blend of spices and peppers. The first batch this year is called “SFH Howlin’ Coyote Salsa”. This batch is spiced up with 1 jalapeno, 1 serrano, and 1 cayenne pepper.

The second batch is called “Some Like it Hot Salsa”. Here, we increased the heat by adding 1 jalapeno, 1 large salsa, 2 serrano, and 2 cayenne peppers. Taste testing confirms that this mixture, although relatively spicy, leaves one with a mellow, rewarding afterglow of flavor.

Okra the Magnificent

My True Love and I are most delighted with all the wonderful ways in which one can enjoy homegrown okra. Perhaps our favorite flavor treat is when the okra is properly pickled. We use a very simple brine, pickling spice, and highlight the mix with fresh lemon and our own homegrown garlic.

Peter’s Pickled Peppers

My most creative and innovative Spouse decided that this would be the year that she would attempt to grow banana peppers. Erring on the side of caution we limited ourselves to a single plant. Happily, it thrived and produced enough peppers to be pickled in a single jar.

Meanwhile, we made sure that we had a good selection of other pepper varieties for salsa experimentation and for pickling. This year’s first batch of Peter’s Pickled Peppers looks like it will be excellent. Here again, the flavor of the peppers is enlivened and enhanced by the addition of one homegrown garlic clove per jar.

So, here is the result of the first two weeks of the SFH 2020 Canning Season.

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God is good! He watches over us and cares for us!

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 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2020-08-03 through 08-09

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2020-08-10 through 08-16

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.

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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: 2020-07-06 through 07-12

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Hi! Mr. Monte here.

Warning to my 23, 417 feline followers: If you don’t live in Virginia and you can’t handle heat and high humidity, do not, I repeat, do not venture to this Commonwealth during July or August. Don’t question me on this point and don’t disregard my warning – you will be very sorry if you do.

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Ol’ Fuzz Face has taken the day off to drink iced coffee and huddle alongside the air conditioner. He is not a native Virginian like I am and he literally wilts in the heat. Poor guy, his brain gets addled when he has to mow or perform the other outside chores I assign to him. Add to that the current concern that many of Fuzzie’s “little grey cells” are migrating to the few hairs remaining on his head. The poor guy just isn’t what he used to be. In fact, I’m beginning to question whether he ever really was.

However, Blondie and Fuzz Face do have a legitimate concern about the long string of hot days with virtually no rain. As you can see below in the stats for July, we are working our way towards drought conditions. Just yesterday, my two big cats realized that they could no longer water the vegetable, herb, and flower gardens as liberally as they had been doing. While watering the Coneflowers and strawberries, the water pressure dropped to nearly zero.

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Fuzzie checked the pump and it was operating normally. The filter was relatively clean and showing no signs of sediment buildup. After he, Blondie and I talked the problem through, we determined that the problem, simply put, is the well is not refreshing itself rapidly enough to keep up with the demand.

The SFH well is old, relatively shallow (less than 60 feet) and has always been considered low-yielding. Now that water tables are dropping, Blondie and Fuzz Face are going to have to moderate their water usage. For example, only food producing plants are going to be watered regularly. Flower gardens are going to have wait for rain or an occasional dousing from a watering can.

I love Blondie and Fuzzie because they were smart enough to bring me into their lives and because they are willing to sacrifice for their family and for the well-being of Serendipity Farmhouse. – – Sometimes, their willingness to sacrifice goes a little too far. Blondie and I both had to stop Fuzz Face from going ahead with his own personal list of sacrifices. Right at the top of his list was only taking a shower every two weeks. – – Blondie and I both vetoed that offer immediately. – – I suspect this was another manifestation of his migrating “little grey cells”.

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 2020-07-06 through 07-12

SFH Journal: 2020-06-08 through 06-21 – Father’s Day

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Hi! Mr. Monte here.

It’s Father’s Day and for some strange reason I felt compelled to give Ol’ Fuzz Face the day off. He’s been getting calls from his kids and grandkids. I guess it’s important to him. – More on that later,

As you might have guessed from the feature picture, Fuzzie and Blondie took me out for another adventure in El Camino Del Monte (ECDM). For record purposes this was RV Trip 2020-02.

The trip itself was a technical success – no breakdowns, no water leaks, no bad meals. Fuzz Face is finally getting the hang of things and as usual, Blondie again confirmed her status as the Master Chef of ECDM. Fuzzie was so impressed with the two main meals, he intends to put out special posts with recipes, pictures, and instructions.

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So much for the introductory notes, let’s get on with most recent “Fuzzie Fiasco.” Although RV Trip 2020-02 was a technical success, Fuzzie proved that the Three Stooges were mere amateurs compared to him. Here’s the scenario: One of the last steps in RV departure procedures is unhooking shore power (30 Amp, 120V AC). Blondie had confirmed that the breaker was in the “off” position. Fuzzie approached the shore power box with due care and caution. I watched him closely from the porch. The old guy reached for the power box and ever so carefully lifted the cover.  – –  And then it happened. – –  There was a loud, blood curdling shriek. Fuzzie’s right hand lifted high into the air and he began to hop and jump and bounce away from the power box, shaking his right hand violently. – – Slowly, ever so slowly, the old man began to recover his composure. He checked his hand. There was no sign of damage, no blood, no burns. He had not been electrocuted as he had first thought. No, it was something else that caused his most humorous dance around the power box.

The gray tree frog is native to this part of Virginia. It is by nature a reclusive creature, seeking no contact with humans. The shore power box offered this particular tree frog aIMG_20200616_145519104_HDR_edited most comfortable dwelling place. At least it did until Fuzz Face disturbed its day by rudely opening the power box cover. In his attempt to retreat from the scene, the frog had jumped onto Fuzzie’s unsuspecting hand. Though not electrical, it was a most shocking experience to the old guy. For me, it was the highlight of my day.

IMG_20200616_174001340_HDR_editedThis RV trip was blessed with unusually cool weather for this time in June. For all involved, that meant that the noisy air conditioner would not be needed. It took us just a short time to set up and assume our duties as assigned by the “Watch, Quarter, and Station Bill.” (If you don’t know what that is, either you’ve never been on a Navy ship, or you never lived with Ol’ Fuzz Face.)

As ECDM Chief of Security, I quickly reported to that area of the RV where I could IMG_20200616_201158574_editedmonitor areas of primary security concern. Since the main door was opened, I knew that position was most vulnerable to intruders. Our RV was now in my safekeeping. I reported to the Skipper – “All secure!”

IMG_20200617_072613514_editedThe second day of our trip was even cooler than when we arrived. But, for me, this is when things began to go down hill. If my primary job is to provide security, what threats are there on a rainy day? And that’s what it was, it was a very rainy day. No lizard, no squirrel, no bear, there wasn’t a sign of anything threatening anywhere.

Blondie and Fuzz Face watched movies, read books and magazines, planned dinners, and quite often came back to talk about the coming Father’s Day. Fuzzie, speculated about what interesting presents he might receive. Meanwhile, all I had was a view of a rainy world and the unrequested opportunity to ponder what is the meaning of Father’s Day.

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There is a great divide between humans and Main Coons when it comes to fathers. I never really met my Dad. Mom told me his name was Rocky Top and that he was brave, fearsome, and proud. She said I was a lot like him. But, I never got to see him or play with him.

I know that Fuzzie taught me how to play, how to stalk, how to attack. He sometimes gives me snacks and almost every day he grooms me. Sometimes, when Blondie goes to bed early, he and I watch TV together and occasionally he’ll give me a piece of my favorite cheese.

Yet, I know Fuzz Face can never be Rocky Top. I also know I’ll never know what it would have been like if I had grown up with my real Dad. – – So there it was on the second day of our RV trip. All I had was a view of a rainy world and the unrequested opportunity to ponder what is the meaning of Father’s Day.

I guess I will have to adopt the Serendipity Farmhouse philosophy, especially on rainy days: “I am not living the life of my dreams. I am living the life of my realities. And, because I have Fuzzie and Blondie, that will be good enough for me.”

Oh, and before I forget, Happy Father’s Day, Fuzz Face, and Happy Father’s Day, Rocky Top, wherever you are!

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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 arrival of the hot, humid days of Summer:

SFH 2020 Plantings

SFH 2020 Harvest

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2020-06-08 through 06-14

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2020-06-15 through 06-21

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eye of the Monte

It’s been quite a while since the cover came off of Mr. Monte’s soon-to-be-world-famous personal RV El Camino Del Monte (ECDM). (See SFH Journal: 2020-03-09 through 03-15 – Truckin’ On.) We haven’t said much about our preparations for this RV season. That doesn’t mean that nothing’s being done; that just means we’ve been busy.

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IMG_20200520_210718412_editedMr. Monte watches me. He watches everything I do. No matter how hard I try, I can’t get away from his watchful eye. – – I call this “The Eye of the Tiger Monte.”

I suppose I could live with that, but unlike other cats, as he watches me, he frequently criticizes me. Name the topic, name the action, name the circumstance, name anything I do and he criticizes me. Most recently, the topic of his criticism is how poorly I plan for our RV trips. He is especially critical of how I pack things haphazardly and make poor use of space.

OK, perhaps he has a point there. I haven’t really paid much attention to how we stow our gear. Quite often, beautiful Wife and I are more concerned with making the menu and planning for gourmet feasts. Obviously, Mr. Monte, as the SFH Chief of Security, thinks that we should focus on safety and economy.

To quiet the criticism, at least on this topic, I developed a storage plan that identifies all storage units on ECDM. The plan specifies what items are to be stored in each unit.

In rather uncharacteristic form, Mr. Monte readily approved of the plan. Unfortunately for me however, the approval was conditional. He demanded that I spend a whole night alone with him in ECDM. Ostensibly, I would make use of the time to explain and demonstrate the merits of my stowage plan.

His real plan was really quite different.

Wednesday night was his chosen date for the event. Without his usual complaints, he jumped into his carrier, welcoming the walk through the yard and arrival inside the RV. Once the carrier door was opened, he purrrred. He walked about the RV, inspecting everything and purrrring. He jumped into the upper bunk and purrrred. He rubbed past my legs and purrrred. – – He moved like a shark circling his prey – but this shark purrrred.

Beautiful Wife returned to the house just after 7 PM. As soon as the door was shut, Mr. Monte looked at me. His purrrring intensified. And then he said quite distinctly, “Well, Fuzz Face, it’s time for a little sport. Are you ready to play?”

How can a cat make a question sound like a command? How can a furry, large Maine Coon strike fear in your heart when he is purrrring so loudly?

“Are you ready to play?” That’s what a cat says to a mouse.

No, this wasn’t about my RV storage plan. This was about a night of cat play. We were alone. I was trapped. – – And there was no mistaking the fact, the “eye of the Monte” was focused on me.

Round 1: If there had been a bell, it would have rung at 8 PM. That was when the purrrring grew even louder. I was being watched. Then, without warning, he was on the couch and attacked my arm.

Round 2: The purrrring seemed to come from everywhere as he circled me. He decided to stalk my toes. He came close. He sat and stared at my left foot. He purrrred. Then he struck. I tried to distract him with burlap fish toy. – – The ploy worked. He grabbed at the fish, pulled it towards himself, and “killed” it.

And so it went throughout the remainder of the evening and late into the night. Each hour brought another round of “play.” It was clear to the referee and judges, I was already losing by many points. Despite my size and weight advantage, I was outfought. I was totally outclassed by that fearsome Maine Coon with the “eye of the Monte.”

There was a slight respite in the onslaught of attacks. I tried to grab some sleep. Even as I slept, I couldn’t help but be aware of the incessant purrrring and the knowledge that I was being watched. The “eye of the Monte” was on me.

It seemed like such a short sleep. I certainly didn’t feel rested. But there it was, the alarm clock was beeping and demanding that I get up. So I did.

I dressed. I folded up blankets and restored ECDM to some semblance of order. Mr. Monte was immediately at my feet, purrrring. He was in an unusually friendly and happy mood. I knew not why.

Mr. Monte cheerfully jumped into his carrier. He purrrred the entire way to the house. When released from his carrier, he circled my legs, purrrring as he did, and demanded a morning snack. As I was getting his food, my wondrous Spouse came out and questioned, “Is there something wrong? Why are you boys in so early?”

“So early?” said I. “It’s after 4 AM, the time I always get up, what do you mean “early”?

She looked at me oddly. Then she asked me to look at the clock. I looked at the clock. The clock looked at me. Then, the clock told me, “It’s only 3:15 AM, Dummy!”

I then looked at Mr. Monte. He looked at me. Then, he told me, “It’s only 3:15 AM, Dummy!” Then he purrrred as he cast his gaze on me with that unnerving “eye of the Monte.”

Round 10: The referee ruled that Mr. Monte’s changing of the time on the alarm clock was absolutely fair. The decision had to go in favor of Mr. Monte. He remains the uncontested champion at SFH. Meanwhile, I remain under the watchful gaze of the “eye of the Monte.”*

“It’s the eye of the tiger Monte, it’s the thrill of the fight
Risin’ up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he’s watchin’ us all with the eye of the tiger Monte”**

For the video and song “Eye of the tiger Monte” click here.

* The events related in this post are based on a true story. No humans were harmed during the night in the RV.
**Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Frank Sullivan / Jim Peterik
Eye of the Tiger lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc

Blondie, we need to talk!

IMG_20200425_155922618_editedBlondie!! – – We need to talk!!

As you can see by the look on my face, I am not happy. Disturbed perhaps, deeply troubled of course, but most assuredly – NOT HAPPY!

You and I both know what happens at SFH stays at SFH. It is the policy here to keep our deeply private matters, especially those that would undermine the credibility and dignity of our corporate image, out of public view. We don’t advertise our insecurities or immature behaviors.* On May 8th, you violated that policy and have breached our common trust.

Imagine my shock and dismay when your picture popped up on my screen as I was catching up with my feline friends on Facebook. There you were. My dear, sweet Blondie in the midst of your mad and wild ravings about desiring to return to a hair color that caused my inner being to shudder. – – See for yourself!

Ol Red“About sixteen years ago, I had a blonde moment. I decided to have my naturally blonde hair dyed red. And I loved it. But… The upkeep is unreal. Hubby had no problem with the color, but the cost was beyond his patience level (his inner cheap). Now, the pandemic has forced Hubby into his blonde moment – he’s growing a ponytail. – – One blonde moment deserves another. There’s a real chance this blonde is going red again. – – Help me out, Anna!!!!”

 

Dearest Blondie, this is where I am obliged to save you from yourself. Sit down and listen to the voice of sanity and wisdom. Breathe slowly and deeply; compose yourself and listen to what I have to say.

True, you do have your blonde moments. There’s a reason for that. You are, in fact, a blonde – natural and true. Accept that fact; embrace it. It is what you are and it helps to define who you are. Don’t let this world, filled with all of its current insanity, drive you into trying to be something else.

IMG_20200213_132850189_editedLook at my picture. I am a mackerel Maine Coon cat. I was the enchanting mackerel Maine Coon kitten you brought home. How would you feel if suddenly you found that I had, through a foolish, emotional act, turned myself into an orange Maine Coon. How would you react? – Of course! I wouldn’t be your adorable Mr. Monte.

We both know that Ol’ Fuzz Face is wont to go off the deep end at times. He can’t help himself. Stability and common sense aren’t his strong suits. For example, consider his actions in my post SFH Journal: 2019-12-23-29 – No! Christmas is Not Over Yet!. It was pretty clear that he was in need of professional help.

But you, dearest Blondie, not you. You can find the strength within yourself to avoid making this terrible mistake. If you don’t restrain yourself now, you might follow the  same sorrowful path as Fuzzy. In which case, you might even resort to using some of my wonderfully soft hair to supplement your own. – – Please, please stop now while you still can!! Please stop so I don’t have to call you Ol’ Red!!

 

*Please note: My revelations about the foolhardiness of my big cat Ol’ Fuzz Face is an exception to the rule. Spotlighting his total buffoonery is most humorous to my 23, 417 feline followers.