Category: Pray, Prepare, Preserve

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.

Threat from the North Fork

Once again the North Fork of the Thornton River has threatened Serendipity Farmhouse. Once again Serendipity Farmhouse has weathered the storm safely.

The year 2018 will go down in the SFH  journal as a “weather year”. Weather has been the dominant factor in almost all of our many undertakings this year. A severe cold spell caused damage to plants and shrubs in January. High winds in March took down trees, forcing us to modify our garden landscaping – and our budget as well. And if you have been following our journal closely, you know how our vegetable garden has suffered the effects of too much water in May and June.

The most recent challenge to SFH was the threat that the North Fork of the Thornton River would overflow its banks and cause flooding in our yard. Heavy rains on the 21st and 22nd of June brought the river to the highest point we have ever seen it. Simultaneously, heavy runoff from higher ground filled our yard and driveway and was approaching Serendipity Farmhouse itself.

Beautiful and courageous wife had to face the challenge alone. Yours truly was nearly 2,000 miles away and could only lend support through prayer and advice. We had to determine our reaction to this event over the phone and through email as I made my way through three airports, running to catch flights.

We decided that our car was in jeopardy and valiant spouse piloted the vehicle to higher ground. Armed with only an umbrella and a pair of rubber boots, she forded the rising waters and and made the perilous trek. Of course, the faithful bugout bag and supplies for Mr. Monte were at the ready should an evacuation be required. Brave wife, however, declared to me on the phone that she had no intention of abandoning our beloved Serendipity Farmhouse.

By the time I made my way home, the danger had passed and the waters were receding. Sweet, dear wife and I embraced and Mr. Monte rubbed against my leg and characteristically meowed, “Where the heck have you been, Fuzz Face?”

As I write this Sunday morning, our yard still has abundant standing water. Although the garden appears to have weathered the storm, we are concerned that we will lose this year’s tomato crop.

In the end, we must be thankful to God. The house is safe and more importantly beautiful wife and I are together again. The saga of SFH continues.


A Rainy Day – Pray, Prepare, Preserve

There’s no reason to dwell on the obvious. When you live in an old farmhouse next to a river you must be aware and take care. Serendipity Farmhouse is technically on the 100 year flood plain. Any given year, that gives us a 1% chance of flooding. Yes – We do have flood insurance.

Having said all that, when weather events such as the last three weeks of rain, come our way, we:

  • pray for safety and protection;
  • prepare to limit damage and make a graceful retreat; and
  • preserve our collective calm and peace.

The bug out bags shown here are one measure we take to be prepared.


Mr. Monte, however, was not pleased with today’s events for one very good reason. Although, we have a cat pan, litter, and some food ready to go, His Excellency was exceedingly perturbed because he does not have a personal bug out bag.

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

We at SFH hope you have given sufficient thought to the problem of how to keep your feline friends happy no matter what the circumstance.



SFH Journal: 2018-05-17

Daily Highlight: The steady rains are continuing and it is becoming worrisome. Daughters #1 and #2 both have had water related incidents at their homes. Meanwhile our river continues to rise. I took some video two days ago and even then the volume and rate of flow were increasing. Below is some video we took in May of 2017 that shows what it looks like when the river is almost overflowing.

One might say that, with the forecasts for much heavy rain tonight and tomorrow, it’s time to prepare our “bug out bags” and extra kitty litter just in case we need to perform a minor evacuation to higher ground.

Prayers for the safety and security for all in the family are requested.

Weather: The rain continues and it is becoming worrisome.  (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report.

Harvest: Nothing to report.

Report to St. Isadore

May 15th, the Feast of St. Isadore – A report and accounting of our labors at Serendipity Farmhouse.


St. Isadore, because we have asked you to be our patron for all things agricultural, horticultural, and in all efforts involving physical labor, it is proper that on the day of your Feast that we make this report.


Part I – The Herb Garden

Close to our back door, we have planted herbs to add flavor to our foods. A small cherry tomato bush will provide color for our salads. Loving Spouse has added several flowers because they are pleasant to the eye and for the practical reason to keep insects away. Although there was damage due to frost, the herb garden is now flourishing.

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Part II – The Vegetable Garden

Not all is going well in the vegetable garden. Recent heavy rains have beaten down the collards and beets. More rain is predicted this week. On the other hand, the okra and beans are sprouting quite nicely. Three different types of hot peppers are thriving. It was the first season for the asparagus. They have done well and they are tasty. Next year looks to be even better.

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Part III – Flowers and Plants

Today, we planted a new lilac bush in the place where a holly tree was taken down by strong winds. We also planted new grass in several areas. Yes, we even planted grass where our world-famous dirt pile used to be. Meanwhile, the rhododendrons near the shed are in full bloom, as are the small irises near the wellhead in the front. Our magnolia tree is promising many blooms come June.

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That concludes our report, St. Isadore. We have tried to be good stewards of what God has bestowed on Serendipity. The fruits of these labors constantly bring us joy.

Finally, today we held a belated May Crowning in our special garden.

May Crowning

Living by Chapter 49 – Lent

Saint_Benedict_Medal1 The life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent. 2 Since few, however, have the strength for this, we urge the entire community during these days of Lent to keep its manner of life most pure 3 and to wash away in this holy season the negligences of other times. (Excerpt from the Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 49)

We said on day one of this blog: “He [God] has led us and guided us through the years and He has given us aid and sustenance all along the way. One very important gift was the grace to become Oblates of St. Benedict and to live in that calling.”

We have passed the midpoint in Lent. Our observance has not been perfect. St. Benedict knew that few “have the strength for this.” Yet, we do our best to deny ourselves “some food, drink, sleep, needless talking and idle jesting, and look forward to holy Easter with joy and spiritual longing.”

At the very top of the obverse side of the medal of St. Benedict is the simple word “Pax” – “Peace”. Here at  Serendipity Farmhouse, our simple observance of Lent – the quiet of the evening meals together, the moving of dirt and preparation for planting, and blossoming daffodils – brings us to that Peace.

Just thought you might like to know.