Category: Seasons

SFH Journal: 2019-10-28 through 11-03 – Fall Comes to SFH

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.

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Three of the nine boxes now ready for next season

29 OCT – Tuesday: The second half of Monday and most of Tuesday were all about

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New shelves with AC units & fans

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.

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A view of the Blue Ridge & Skyline Drive as we walk to the mail box

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.

SFH by the Numbers – Facts & Statistics

SFH Plantings: See SFH 2019 Plantings

SFH Harvest: See SFH 2019 Harvest

SFH Preserving: See SFH 2019 – Preserving – Food for Tomorrow

SFH WX Station Report – Monthly: See SFH Weather Summaries & Statistics

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2019-10-27 through 11-03

SFH Journal: 2019-05-13 through 25

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.

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DSC_1151 (2)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.

WX-A

WX-B

SFH Journal: 2019-04-21 through 30 – First Harvest!!

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!!”

SFH Journal: 2019-04-14 through 20 – Easter Vacation

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.

That is not to say that nothing has been happening here at SFH. To the contrary, much has been going on. But instead of cluttering this post with words, let me show you some pictures so you can see for yourself. Continue reading “SFH Journal: 2019-04-14 through 20 – Easter Vacation”

SFH Journal: 2019-04-07 through 13 – Things You Never Expected!

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.

Continue reading “SFH Journal: 2019-04-07 through 13 – Things You Never Expected!”

SFH Journal: 2019-04-01 through 06

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”

Busy as a Bee

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.

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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.

 

 

SFH Journal: 2019-03-17 through 31

You can see from the title that this post is long overdue. Preparations for the SFH Godzilla Birthday Bash, readying the gardens for planting, yard cleanup, the first mowing, and making repairs and updates to our trusty El Camino Del Monte for another RV excursion season have taken up our time.

Along with all that, our blog host and provider has changed editing formats and forced yours truly to study and master the new procedures. Once again, I am reminded that, like Winnie the Pooh, “… I am a bear of very little brain, and long words bother me.”

Highlight: The new planting season has arrived. Several of our garden boxes have been made ready. New soil and fertilizer were mixed in with the  soil remaining from last year, the clumps were broken up, and everything was hoed, raked, and leveled.

On March 26th, dear, sweet, industrious wife planted three rows of Tall Top Early Wonder Beets. They are happy to be in cooler weather and early planting is recommended.

Meanwhile, the garlic that was planted in November last year is coming along very nicely. We have been reading up on proper care and ways of determining  the best time for harvesting.

Plantings: This year, we will have a table of all plantings that will include date, item planted, quantity (either number of plants or rows planted), and garden area. You can see the table at SFH 2019 Plantings.

SFH WX Station Report: Due to some technical difficulties with Weather Underground, I’m only able to provide the weekly weather summary for 18-24 March. This little bit of trouble, of course, occurred simultaneously with the arrival of the new editing features. As soon as the problem is resolved, the summary for the following week will be posted.


Reflections on Spring at Serendipity Farmhouse

Science or ArtIt will happen in 58 minutes – the Spring Equinox. It happens in an instant of time. It is defined by science, yet, it is the key that opens the artist’s mind to beautiful paintings and it is the muse of the playful poet. Most people, with the exception of meteorologists, will call this the first day of Spring. Religions use this event to fix their liturgical seasons. And, this year, there is the awe inspired by a “super moon”. But, for those of us at Serendipity Farmhouse, all of that is merely the backdrop to events that have even greater meaning.

There are two major cycles to life at SFH. The first is our motto, the way we approach each day – Pray, Prepare, Preserve. The second is the underpinning of our relationships – Faith, Family & Country. Following are some reflections of Spring that evoke those themes. Continue reading “Reflections on Spring at Serendipity Farmhouse”

SFH Journal: 2018-03-10 through 17 – A Sunbeam for Mr. Monte

Highlight 1: Warmer weather has arrived, bringing an extended period of dry air and clear skies. Mr. Monte has found his long-awaited sunbeam. The flowers have begun to blossom, the trees are coming to life, and beautiful wife’s herb garden is coming alive with sprouting garlic.

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Highlight 2: With the change in seasons, warmer temperatures, and a shift to Daylight Saving Time, I have moved some items out to the wood shed and reset the sundial. You will note the sundial reads precisely 1:13 PM EDT.

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SFH WX Station Report: The tables and charts tell the story – the seasons are definitely changing.

WX Summary 20190310 to 20190317A

WX Summary 20190310 to 20190317B