Category: SFH Journal

SFH Journal: 2019-05-26 through 06-14

Hi! Mr. Monte here.

You certainly would be justified to ask why there have been so few posts over the last three weeks. Don’t look at me. I am a highly organized and methodical Maine Coon cat. I live according to a rigid schedule and leave nothing to chance.

No, as usual, Old Fuzz Face is the problem. He blames it on work. He blames it on all the yard maintenance here at SFH. He blames it on family and social commitments. He blames it on just about everything. – – The truth is he has some sort weird attachment to my namesake, our Class C RV El Camino Del Monte (ECDM). Yup, he spends every waking moment working on problems with ECDM when he should be paying attention to me and this blog. He’s also been noted using some vocabulary words with which I am not quite familiar – nor do I desire to be.

Oh well, he is as he is and someone has to write this post. So, sit back and relax while I make up for his laziness, incompetence, and negligence.

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There’s been a lot going on here at SFH, but I guess the biggest news is our vast, extensive, enormous, and generally huge vineyard has scored its first major success in its nearly five year history. Let me tell you, though, that success had nothing to do with our first vintner, Hector. In the picture above, you will notice that Hector started off on the wrong foot and things only got worse as time went on.

His first big mistake was trying to get the grapevine to attach itself to and grow on a black metal arbor. Wrong!!! When the sun came out that arbor would heat up and fry the little tendrils and cause the entire plant to scream in agony.

Hector wasn’t much of a planner and had no sense for return on investment. At the pace he was moving, we expected to be bottling a fine vintage wine by 2053 or so.

Just like Fuzz Face, Hector made excuses for his mistakes. He told us us that working conditions would be a little more pleasant if that cat weren’t watching so closely. When Fuzz Face told us about Hector’s complaint, I merely said, “Mmmmmmm yummy, what a tasty morsel he’d be.”

Hector’s poor performance was too much even for Fuzz Face and Blondie. He was given his walking papers and a poor recommendation. I’ll never know how he would have tasted – too bad.

Well, there’s big news here this year. Upon Hector’s departure, Blondie took over all vintner duties. She got rid of the murderous metal arbor and had Fuzz Face erect a wooden one in its place. During the intervening years, she has watered the vineyard, trimmed the vines, and battled the Japanese beetles. This year, her hard work finally paid off. Just look at the amazing bumper crop of grapes that is now growing on our vines. There are at least 16 of those beautiful darlings just waiting to be stomped by a joyous group of bare-footed stompers.

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Considering that it takes roughly 2.6 pounds of grapes to make a bottle of wine, I figure that we will need to get at least seven, 59-gallon oak casks for this years vintage. Of course, math is not my strong suit.

Someday, yes someday, the Serendipity Farmhouse label will become the hallmark of fine wines.

Enough for now. Once Old Fuzz Face can break away from fixing the problems he caused in El Camino Del Monte, I will have him post all the weather statistics since May 26. Until then, save your money so that you can be the first to buy a (very little) bottle of Serendipity Farmhouse Chardonnay.  – – Cheers!

 

 

 

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: 2019-05-01 through 12

Highlight 1: This year’s major garden project was the addition of two, two-section raised garden boxes, dedicated to growing tomatoes. In addition to the boxes, other materials for the project included:

  • 76 feet of wire fence,
  • 6 six-foot fence poles,
  • 7 five-foot fence poles,
  • 2 one-foot bungee cords,
  • 28 cubic feet of garden soil, and
  • 1 five-gallon bucket of seasoned cow manure.

Good things: The project is complete and several tomato plants are already in the garden. Beautiful wife is now happy because Mr. Stripey, who has resided on the porch for two weeks, now has a permanent home. “When Momma’s happy …..”

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Not so good things: As you can see from the picture, several of the fence posts are crooked, especially the one on the far right. That, dear friends, is because one of the primary and most abundant crops in this part of the Piedmont is rocks – big rocks – boulders – bedrock – nay, actually an entire tectonic plate. Yours truly and a three-pound sledge hammer are no match for the rocks that reside on the vast estate known as Serendipity Farmhouse. Despite my desire for perfectly vertical, firmly planted fence posts, I will have to learn to live with the soon-to-be-world famous “leaning fence posts of the Piedmont”.

Highlight 2: With an expression of great gratitude to the previous owners and to my industrious wife, SFH is adorned with the gentle and inspiring beauty of flowers everywhere. Here is some of what I am seeing out the window as I write this post.

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SFH Garden & Harvest Report: Not only are the vegetables growing, we are already bringing the bounty of the harvest to the table. Here’s what we’ve brought in during this period:

  • 04 May – Five asparagus;
  • 06 May – Curly Kale and 2 asparagus;
  • 10 May – Basil for a Mother’s Day lunch.

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SFH WX Station Report: The last couple of days have been cool, but earlier in the month were were looking at temperatures in the high 80’s. Rain has been abundant, perhaps overly so. The gardens, however, seem to be pleased with current conditions. Here are summaries of recent weather statistics.

May 01-11 Summary

May 06-11 Summary

May 06-11 Summary-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”

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

 

 

SFH Journal: 2019-03-03 through 09 – Winter Wood – Winter White

 

Highlight 1: As Winter’s end draws near, the provisions stored for the long season dwindle. Blessings to be counted: There was enough; the bottom wood dried and burned well; and Serendipity Farmhouse kept warm and cozy. God is good!

Highlight 2: Winter visited SFH for perhaps its last time this year. It was not overly cold, nor was it a visit with a bluster. It left a beautiful reminder, painted with a single brush of white. God is very good!

Take a walk with me and see what memories Winter left behind last night. Continue reading “SFH Journal: 2019-03-03 through 09 – Winter Wood – Winter White”

SFH Journal: 2019-02-22 through 2019-03-02

Highlight 1: This has been the most hectic week since Christmas. The days have been nonstop, go-go-go, do this, do that, do it again. But, beautiful wife and I have survived. Now, we come to a wonderful time of year. It’s a season, it’s a state of mind, it’s an oasis. March 6th will be Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. There is no way to over estimate the value of these coming days. Continue reading “SFH Journal: 2019-02-22 through 2019-03-02”