As we told you in our post First Snow – 2020-01-07, Tuesday the 7th we were blessed with a quiet Winter interlude. The days passed by and the snow slowly disappeared. Saturday the 11th and today the 12th were warm and balmy. The contrast between the 7th and the 12th reveal an amazing range of beauty and color. Serendipity Farmhouse is always ready to fascinate one with its charm and nearly infinite variations in personality.
The unexpectedly warm days provided a perfect opportunity to move some seasonal items to the shed for storage. Happily, there was also some spare time to mount a brand new cast iron rooster bell at the entrance to the back porch. This was a present from dear Daughter #1 and family, intended to provide a means to announce the arrival of welcomed guests. Well done, dear Daughter #1, and thank you.
Stop the presses!! News Bulletin!! – Beautiful Wife just came into the house and made the joyous announcement that several garlic sprouts have made their way to the surface in search of the sun. Yes, Friends, there are great prospects for fresh, homegrown garlic this year.
Describing the first real snowfall of the season here at Serendipity Farmhouse doesn’t require many words – just a few pictures, a fresh cup of coffee, and a fire in the wood stove. Here are the pictures, meanwhile, I’ll sit back in a cozy chair to enjoy my coffee and the warmth of the fire.
And, if you prefer an action shot, this is about the best I can do on short notice.
And, if you are a weather geek like me, the stats for the day are here.
I’m not just an interested bystander. No, not me. I’m the guy who gets to document this annual event. And as such, it’s quite important that I observe closely and take detailed mental notes. Why? Well, because there’s nothing, no, not one thing that’s even half as interesting or exciting as watching Annual Yard Trash Day in the Blue Ridge.
Now, let me share with you something that I’ve noticed this year. These two wonderful gals, my beautiful Wife and her best friend Nancy, are truly getting better at this every year. Not only that, they are having more fun. If you need proof, take a look at the pictures below.
On the top-right photo taken in 2017, they had done a good job with the yard trash arrangements but, when it was all done, they were beat, tired, and generally worn out. In the photo on the bottom-right taken in 2018, they were obviously tired, but they at least had their eyes open. That was a sign of improvement.
Finally, in the photo on the left taken yesterday, they’ve worked hard all day and they are still wild-eyed, oops, I mean wide-eyed and bushy tailed. As I said, these gals are getting better every year.
Consider also, how much work has to be done the day before, collecting yard trash, trimming it, and preparing it for the big day – Yard Trash Day. It’s hard work out in the cold wind. Yet, they do it with great expectation.
And, of course, the hard work, the camaraderie, many cups of hot tea, and the intimate discussions about family and preparations for Christmas all lead to the pride of accomplishment in what they’ve created. So, as you will see below, 2019 was a very good year for Annual Yard Trash Day in the Blue Ridge.
When industrious and ever thoughtful Wife asks me to take a day or two of vacation to work on this vast estate known as Serendipity Farmhouse, it’s not a request. It carries a bit more weight than that. So, being sane and sound of mind, I notify the folks at work that I’m off to perform higher priority tasking.
This time of year in the Blue Ridge, however, is so pleasant that I might be found guilty of planting the idea that a thorough Fall cleanup is needed. Dearest Spouse is quite susceptible to the power of suggestion, especially if it suits her purposes and SFH will be the better for it.
So, here it is! The best time of the year when even a little potentially back-breaking work is a welcome diversion from our normal routine.
28 OCT – Monday: A while back, dearest Wife allegedly put away two cords of wood single-handed. (See: SFH Journal: 2019-09-30 through 10-20 – “V” is for “Victory!”) Today, the chimney sweep arrived early to inspect and clean the SFH wood stove. With wood in the shed and a fully functional wood stove, we are now ready to face the cold days that are coming.
After that, it was out to the gardens to remove the okra and pepper plants. One box was specially prepared for planting garlic.
29 OCT – Tuesday: The second half of Monday and most of Tuesday were all about
cleaning out one side of the storage shed and removing fans, air conditioners, and other Summer equipment to the shed. This year, we purchased, assembled, and put into active use a brand new, heavy-duty storage shelf unit. My only comment at this point is: Either the gravitational pull of the earth is increasing making everything heavier, or I am getting older and more feeble. – – Next year, I may call younger and stronger hands to help out Granddad.
Later in the day, beautiful Spouse and I made the walk to the mailbox. I snapped this picture along the way. In the distance you can see Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive. The Autumn colors were just past their peak. Later in the week, we would be up at that spot on Skyline drive taking a picture of SFH and our little part of God’s great creation.
30 OCT – Wednesday: This was a work day for me with a long commute. It was the kind of day that enterprising Wife uses to make multiple additions to the official SFH Honey Do List.
31 OCT – Thursday: This was a notable day because it was Granddaughter #4’s birthday. That being the case, IHOP suddenly becomes one of the most important places in Virginia. Parents and grandparents assisted dear Granddaughter in a splendid celebration.
This was also a day of much-needed rain. The office required some cleaning and I used an hour or two of that time to comprehend, digest, and internally accept all of my dearest Wife’s additions to the official SFH Honey Do List.
01 NOV – Friday – All Saints Day: As the storm system moved northward, much cooler temperatures set in. Autumn in the Blue Ridge had turned the corner towards Winter. With the lower temperatures came the clearest blue sky one can imagine. Just the perfect day to celebrate our dear friend Nancy’s birthday with lunch and picture taking on Skyline Drive.
This picture of dear Wife and Nancy has some hidden meaning that even I find difficult to discern. You will note that I have enlarged the sign pointing to sweet Wife and Nancy. I suppose I will be puzzling over its true significance for some time to come, or at least until most thoughtful Wife requires that I excise the offending photo of the “Farm Fresh Pumpkins” sign.
Immediately after photographing the “Pumpkins”, errh, I mean dearest Spouse and Nancy, we were off for more enjoyment of the Autumnal color display. And this is just some of what we saw.
By the way, you can see some white buildings in the upper third of the bottom photo. Yes, gentle Reader, that is Serendipity Farmhouse just to the left.
02 NOV – Saturday: This was a typical day for strenuous and demanding chores at SFH.
03 NOV – Sunday: This was a day of rest and a day for doing the Lord’s work. All in all, one very fine Autumn week at SFH.
Highlight #1: Spring is rapidly moving into Summer here at Serendipity Farmhouse. Daffodils and irises are giving way to roses and magnolias. The wild chives are on the wane, but strawberry plants around the yard are bearing their sweet red fruits. The colors and smells are changing in accord to the dictates of the length of days and rising temperatures. So be it and let it be so.
Highlight #2: The promise of a harvest, perhaps a very bountiful harvest, is being announced in all our gardens and on our trees. If one were to walk through our vast, nearly 1.25 acre estate as I did yesterday, you would have seen some of these signs of promise.
Highlight #3: This is our first year growing garlic and we are learning as we go. We planted 17 garlic cloves in Autumn last year. The first garlic sprouts bravely emerged in mid-January this year. One sign that the plants are beginning to mature is the appearance of “scapes” (the flower bud of the garlic plant). We let them grow, but not flower. If they flower, it will retard the growth of the garlic cloves. Scapes are edible and tasty. They can be prepared in several different ways and make a welcome addition to salads.
Harvest: Here’s a brief recap of what came from the garden to our table over the last two weeks:
05-17: 1 large bunch of curly kale & 2 asparagus spears
05-18: 6 strawberries
05-20: 5 asparagus
05-21: 1 bunch of curly kale
05-24: Parsley, basil, 2 garlic scapes (all went into a pasta salad)
05-25: Last harvest of curly kale
SFH WX Station Report: For right now, we have settled into what appears to be a normal Spring weather pattern. The gardens are responding quite well. So far, the rain has come at regular intervals and has been adequate in quantity. Hopefully, this pattern will stay with us over the growing season. For the sake of brevity and clarity, I am only showing the running, monthly summaries.
Highlights: The longer days, the weather, and available free time continue to dictate our daily schedule and routine. We are now at a high point of activity outside, caring for the vast estate known as Serendipity Farmhouse. There is much demand for physical labor and very little time for writing posts. In addition to our first harvest from Vegetable Garden #1, here’s a sample of what we’ve been doing. Continue reading “SFH Journal: 2019-04-21 through 30 – First Harvest!!”→
Question: Why have there been no posts over the last two weeks?
Answer: Life at Serendipity Farmhouse requires a balance between activity and time for reflection; conversation and silence, work and rest; and spiritual and physical endeavors. That is why Holy Week and the Octave of Easter are so very important to us. – We don’t take a “Spring break” – We take an Easter Vacation.
Beautiful wife and I started the week by listing tasks to ready Serendipity Farmhouse for planting season and the changeover to warm weather routine. More than 35 tasks emerged from this session. Many of these are non-trivial and labor intensive.
When the list was complete, sweet and loving wife looked at me, smiled at the thought of how beautiful SFH would be once the tasks were accomplished, and then looked at me with a stern expression that said: “Well, what are you waiting for? Get to work.” And so I did, and so I have been doing all week. But, I must add, my industrious spouse has been working just as hard as I have.
Highlights: Here are just two recollections of this week’s many memorable events.
Highlight: Spring has given Serendipity Farmhouse a wake up call. It’s time to shift gears from the reflective and peaceful calm afforded by Winter to the active and physical preparation of SFH for yard and building maintenance, gardening, canning, and RV touring. So, here’s a day-by-day list of just a few of things we accomplished this past week. Continue reading “SFH Journal: 2019-04-01 through 06”→
Camera in hand, I took a walk along the river – I found bits of springtime in splendid array and was given a vision of what Spring should mean to me and my life at Serendipity.
Highlight 1 – The Real Meaning of a Cherry Tree: Above you see a common everyday photo of a cherry tree at peak blossom. The photo is in no way different from others you may have seen. It will never win a prize and it is too cluttered with background distractions to be worthy to frame or hang on a wall. This is an example of the random way we look upon things of beauty – so much remains unexamined. The following pictures reveal how our cherry tree has a much deeper meaning and purpose than I had ever supposed.
Highlight 2 – Along the Riverside: The water in the river has receded to a more acceptable level. The trout aren’t waiting in plain view – they know how to hide. Despite their evasion and deception, however, we now have good evidence that they are hungry and willing to strike at the proper lure.