Category: SFH Journal

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

 

 

 

 

 

SFH Journal: 2020-08-17 through 08-23 – An SFH Lament

It is harvest time and canning season continues here at SFH. We have planted and cultivated, watered and nourished, and now the fruits of our labors have been made manifest. As it has been with our gardens, so it has been with our family. Our young ones have come into their season and they are watching their young ones mature. – It brings parents and grandparents great joy and peace to the spirit.

Yet, this year, there is something lacking – it is a feeling that can’t be put aside or hidden from thought. And with that feeling comes an SFH lament. – To understand the nature of this lament, reach back with me to read a post written two years ago – The Great SFH Birthday Bash of 2018.

Frolicking fun, intense sporting rivalries, plenty of good food, family sharing, and a host of wonderful experiences highlighted the great, stupendous, magnificent, unforgettable Serendipity Farmhouse Birthday Bash of 2018.

There will be no such post this year. There can be no Great Birthday Bash of 2020. Oh, there will be little gatherings. Presents and greetings will be exchanged, but it will not be the family assembled as a whole. The four “birthday banditos” have to celebrate separately.

The most lamentable aspect, the part that brings the greatest sense of sorrow is DSC_1018-2this. For my dear and most loving Wife, 2020 was to be the year for a very, very special birthday, a once-in-a-lifetime birthday. It was to be as grand and as memorable as the SFH Godzilla Birthday Bash that she had planned and superbly executed for me last year.

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. – Dear readers, that inability to provide something that is truly meaningful to the love of my life is what I most lament.

As a family we remain united in spirit and in love. These times will pass and our family will reunite physically and there will be magnificent SFH birthday bashes. In good times and in those that are not so good we will adhere most firmly to the SFH motto “Pray, Prepare, Preserve.” And it is important to celebrate birthdays. They are meant to be shared by families and preserved in family tradition.

So, for each of those whose birthday was to be celebrated at the SFH 2020 Birthday Bash, especially the most important person in my life –

Happy Birthday!!! May God continue to bless you greatly!

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 2020-08-10 through 08-23

 

 

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: 2020-07-13 through 07-26

The Good

Allow me to start on a good note. Despite near drought conditions, high heat and humidity, the gardens of the vast 1.24 acre estate known as Serendipity Farmhouse (SFH) have begun to yield a bounty of tomatoes, okra, and peppers. As followers of this blog well know, these three crops constitute the primary focus of our yearly canning, pickling, and preserving efforts.

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A key ingredient for pickled okra and peppers is the addition of fresh garlic cloves. This year’s crop of 30 heads of garlic has been dried and cleaned, and is now in waiting to be used during canning. These lovely garlic cloves will also be the highlight of many dishes to be created in the soon-to-be-world-famous SFH Test Kitchen. (Please click here to see what has been harvested to date.)

On another note, a severe deficiency here at SFH has finally been remedied. Until this week, to support such an extensive array of gardens and other estate holdings, needed supplies had to be transported in our two small passenger vehicles. At last, SFH can boast a truly worthy support vehicle. Yes, the massive SFH parking lot and utility area is now the home the high-quality, used pickup truck known as “Crockett”. Co-op and hardware stores, here we come.

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“Crockett” – King of the wild Frontier

The Bad – But Getting Better

In Mr. Monte’s post SFH Journal: 2020-07-06 through 07-12, you learned of our ongoing water shortage. Beautiful Wife and I considered our circumstances and drew up a plan to make it through the Summer. We realized that using our well water for watering our extensive assortment of gardens had to stop. We also understood that our conservation effort would have to extend to limiting shower time, loads of clothes to be washed, and even toilet flushing.

Eventually, rain would come (and so it did this last week), but we needed a good way to get water to the gardens, otherwise we would lose them altogether. Carrying buckets of water from the river was out of the question – too many gardens and too much of a risk for yours truly.

Eventually, we decided to buy a small water pump and use two 5-gallon, two 6-gallon, and one 15-gallon water tanks we had purchased over a decade ago. To make a long story short, the pump arrived and it worked. Over a two week period, we refined our techniques and now we can say the gardens will have more than adequate water for the remainder of the Summer. To supplement our conservation efforts for well water, the 5- and 6-gall water tanks are being used for flushing.

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As a side note, we have had to replace the tires on our utility cart twice over the last fourIMG_20200719_142937628_HDR_edited years. The tires were cheaply made and would go flat even under minimal loads. All four tires have now been replaced with a foam-filled type wheel that is guaranteed not to go flat.

 

The Ugly

IMG_20200425_155922618_editedHi! Mr. Monte here.

Warning to my 23, 417 feline followers: If you have a weak stomach please don’t read the next paragraph.

Ol’ Fuzz Face is a seemingly “intelligent” human being. He is, for the most part, hard working and occasionally even inventive. His efforts to obtain a supply of water from the river tends to support that conclusion. But, as you saw in my last post, his offer to quit taking showers in order to conserve water was not what one would consider to be “intelligent”. After Blondie and I voiced our disapproval, Fuzzie moped around for a while. Oddly, he kept watching me, especially when I was grooming my luxuriant feline coat. Last night, when I noticed that his shower was unusually short, I stuck my head into the shower stall and saw him licking his forearms and hands and then rubbing his balding head with them. – – Even for me, that was toooooooo much. – – I intend to keep my distance from now on and groom only in private.

SFH by the Numbers

Hot & Humid

July

Heat

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 2020-07-03 through 07-26

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: 2020-06-30 through 07-05 – Happy 4th of July!!

Nothing but high 80’s and mid-90’s in sight. July is here. Our featured picture clearly portrays what life is like here at Serendipity Farmhouse when July arrives. In the foreground of the picture you will note the pleasant and eye appealing arrangement of  Tiger Lilies and ferns made by beautiful Spouse. In the background, however, something quite different is taking place on this hot July 4th afternoon.

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Friendly Fan & Feverous Feline

There is no end to the list of merits to be found in the wondrous vegetable* known as garlic. Here at SFH it is a highly prized commodity. Garlic and butter are featured prominently in many of our favorite dishes. This is the second year we have grown our own. We increased the size of our harvest by over a third to 30 heads. At minimum of six and up to 10 cloves per head, we are coming close to being self sufficient in this precious vegetable. – – Two weeks of drying in the woodshed and this year’s crop will be ready for use.

– – The soon-to-be-world-famous SFH Test Kitchen rejoices!! – –

*Botanically, garlic (Allium sativum) is considered a vegetable. It shows characteristics of a vegetable as it has a bulb, tall stem, and long leaves.

In Congress, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. …

To celebrate this wonderful day in our history, the entire week was spent in the enjoyment of the Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness that was won for us on the field of battle and secured in our Constitution. We made use of our RV El Camino Del Monte (a post is forthcoming) and our new six-burner gas grill. Baby back ribs, corn on the cob, and Blondie’s spectacular transformation of our home grown green beans into a dish of culinary perfection – it was an Independence Day to remember.

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To add to the holiday festivities, my charming Sweetheart and I roasted marshmallows over an open fire. That was soon followed by the traditional SFH Annual Fireworks Display. Expense was no object in this magnificent show of patriotic emotion.

To one and all, Happy 4th of July and may God Bless these United States!!

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 2020-06-30 through 07-05

SFH Journal: 2020-06-22 through 06-28 – A Study in Green

Preparing fantastic foods, planning and making trips in our RV El Camino Del Monte, keeping pace with an unusually brilliant and wily Maine Coon cat, and harvesting vegetables from our plenitude of gardens  – it’s hard to maintain and care for all. But, that’s what we do here at Serendipity Farmhouse.

Now, with Summer firmly settled in, we are focused on the gardens. As with any preceding growing season, there are highs and lows. The beet crop was underwhelming and the basil plants were a total disappointment. On the other hand, our vast vineyard has recovered from the late frost and is now prospering.

We have staggered our okra plantings and added purple okra to the mix. There is hope for an extended and abundant harvest. This year, we intend to pickle twice as many jars as last year.

Our garlic crop, which is almost ready for harvest, will be 30% larger than last year and we have, once again, added new varieties of peppers. Enough green beans have been picked already to serve with at least two meals.

We planted fewer tomato plants than last year and have staggered the plantings. We also are experimenting with different varieties. Interestingly, we are successfully growing young Mr. Stripey plants that came from seeds we saved from our first Mr. Stripey plant five years ago.

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The one mature asparagus plant and the seven new plants in their second season are resting now. There is the promise of a relatively large harvest come next Spring. We already have the recipes ready to go. We’ll let you know how it all turns out.

 

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 2020-06-22 through 06-28

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

SFH Journal: 2020-05-18 through 06-07 – Summer Arrives

Meteorological Summer: There are several conventions for what constitutes “summer.” Here at Serendipity Farmhouse we use the meteorological convention, that is, “summer” is comprised of the months of June, July, and August. That being said, we can now declare that Summer has arrived at SFH.

I didn’t need an encyclopedia to understand that Summer was here. There are literally hundreds of obvious clues and indicators to make the point. For example, the first blossom on our magnolia tree tells the story. It is surrounded by a myriad of buds, each ready to burst open in their magnificent seasonal display.

There is one exceedingly unavoidable sign proving that the hot, humid days of Summer have arrived. Observe the following pictures.

– Can there be any doubt left in your mind? – One rather overheated kitty has retreated to his favorite place – a place of warmth in the Winter and coolness in the Summer. – Mr. Monte’s one smart feline.

The Great Scape!

No, not the 1963 American epic war film starring Steve McQueen “The Great Escape.” I’m talking about the stalk and flower that grow directly from the center of a garlic plant. With garlic you get two harvests. The familiar head, made up of a number of cloves, is the second harvest. The first harvest is the scape. It can be used in much the same way as garlic, and it can go directly into salads or be sauteed with other vegetables. For a quick description of garlic scapes and their uses, click here.

IMG_20200530_144937657_HDR_editedHere you see this year’s harvest of 30 garlic scapes. They’ve just been cleaned and resourceful wife is planning to use them in a number of dishes. But, before she dares use them in any of our food, they must pass a very strict inspection by the soon-to-be-world-famous SFH Test Kitchen’s Chief of Food Quality. The following sequence of pictures shows the inspection process. As you will see, our inspector determined beyond any reasonable doubt that the scapes were high quality, clean, completely organic, and that they unquestionably meet the high standards we maintain here at SFH. You will also note that he considers scapes to be among his most favored vegetables.

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Today, we are going to gift all of our dear readers with a basic recipe for a simple cilantro pesto, featuring fresh garlic scapes. I must, however, confess that this recipe has only received one and a half stars from the SFH Test Kitchen judging staff. Nevertheless, it is our job to keep you apprised of all tests conducted in our highly esteemed test kitchen. We are committed to exposing the truth and let it stand on its own merits. So, without further ado here is:

"Not So" Fabulous Cilantro Pesto

When your Spring garden is overproducing garlic scapes and your community supported agriculture (CSA) farm has just handed you a half ton of cilantro, which your beautiful Spouse detests, this is how you modify a basic recipe from allrecipes to make it somewhat palitable. For the slightly atypical family that resides at and cares for Serendipity Farmhouse, this dish guaranteed that half the family would go to bed hungry.
Prep Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian

Equipment

  • Food processor

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 3 each garlic scapes substitute for 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 taplespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan chees
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts substitute for walnuts or pecans
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil extra virgin

Instructions
 

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, and return water to a boil. Cook pasta for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain well. Reserve 1/2 cup water.
  • In an electric food processor or blender, blend cilantro, garlic, vinegar, Parmesan cheese, cayenne pepper, nuts, and salt. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil, and blend the pesto. Add more olive oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency.
  • Pour pesto in a small saucepan and warm over low heat, stirring constantly, until pesto begins to simmer. Pour over cooked pasta and toss. Add reserved water to thin as desired.

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 2020-05-18 through 05-24

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2020-05-25 through 05-31

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2020-06-01 through 06-07