Category: SFH Journal

SFH Journal: 2020-10-05 through 10-25 – The Little Things

This post is long overdue. – We extend our sincere apologies.

Somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind I knew that October is always a busy month, but it was not until the this late point in my life that I was able to really understand why that is. Rather than take up your valuable time with a lengthy explanation, I will merely refer you to the simple and useful moral of the Aesop’s fable The Ant and the Grasshopper. In short, we here at Serendipity Farmhouse turn into ants during October. To illustrate that fact here are but a few of the tasks, chores, and other items we have performed in just the last few weeks:

    • Clear vegetable gardens of old plants
    • Prepare vegetable gardens for next season
    • Plant 30 garlic cloves
    • Clean portion of storage shed
    • Remove 3 air conditioners and store in shed
    • Change out all home water filter
    • Prepare RV for Winter
    • Clear yard of rotting black walnuts
    • Move nearly 2 cords of wood to woodshed
    • Sell an automobile
    • Have 33-year old furnace inspected
    • Have 33-year old furnace replaced
    • Etc., etc., etc.

Even though October turns the entire SFH staff into a veritable colony of ants, we have still been able to learn from the grasshopper that music, art, and love of God’s creation must remain an important part of our SFH culture.

That is how I have come to hold the view that life should not be wasted in waiting for “important” and “big” things to happen. Disappointment will be your likely reward. Rather, one’s time should be invested in enjoying “the little things” that surround you. That is a belief that is shared by the entire staff here at SFH. Even as we busily prepare for the coming Winter, we take time out to enjoy the little things that others might miss. Here are some examples.

Example #1 – Squirrel Chatter:

The beauty of black walnuts is in the eye of the beholder. While industrious Spouse and I were struggling to rid the yard of smelly, rotting black walnuts, the squirrel on the woodpile chattered and laughed at us. He knew that soon I would chop up any remaining walnuts with the lawn tractor. For beautiful Wife and me – a great deal of work. For scoffing squirrel an easy meal.

Example #2 – Clinging to Hope for Life:

A real measure of a life well lived is the extent to which one strives to “be fruitful” and to pass life on to another generation – even when there seems to be no chance for success. Our okra plants illustrate this thought so well. Below we see the beautiful Blossom of Hope despite the chill in the air. Then there is the okra pod that will never mature but has enjoyed its day in the sun. Finally, we have the tiny okra plant that had been overshadowed by all those around it, yet even this diminutive plant brings forth a bud and blossom.

Example #3 – Mr. Stripey:

Then there is our prize example of fortitude and will to survive. One tiny Mr. Stripey tomato plant, grown from seeds we collected in 2015, has stayed with us to this very day. He alone remains after drought, windstorms, heavy rains, near frosts, and a host of other hostile attacks. – Now, he alone stands in the garden bearing fruit.

Example #4 – Promise for Tomorrow:

And the last example of “little things” that are not so little after all is the promise for tomorrow. Our arugula and beets are just now coming into their own. Even into November there will be fresh, homegrown food on the table. And now the the gardens are prepared and lie dormant, yet come next April and May, my beautiful and ever so hopeful Wife will be out in the gardens laboring in love, filled with the greatest hope.

Serendipity Farmhouse is filled with great respect for “the little things” in this life!

SFH by the Numbers

The following links will catch you up with what’s come out of our gardens and what has gone into mason jars and the freezer since our last Journal post.:

SFH 2020 Plantings

SFH 2020 Harvest

SFH 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2020-10-05 through 10-11

SFH WX 2020-10-12 through 10-18

SFH WX 2020-10-19 through 10-25

 

SFH Journal: 2020-09-20 through 10-04 – The Best Time of Year

—-SFH SECURITY BULLETIN—-

Mr. Monte is excused from post writing duties this week due to an emergency strategy meeting with the SFH Security Department Staff. In addition to the recent rise in malicious pilfering of bird feed by squirrels (click here for details), massive subterranean lawn and garden devastation is evident throughout our vast 1.204 acre estate.

I have been advised that Lightening the hawk and Rusty the rat snake have been overwhelmed by the infestation. Although they are capturing and consuming the moles/voles (species identification remains uncertain) at a record pace, they are unable to keep up with the unusual increase in numbers of the delinquent dirt dwellers.

Lightening and Rusty suggested deputizing several feral cats to assist in staving off the infestation, however, Blondie noted that those ne’er-do-wells are not to be trusted. Mr. Monte wholeheartedly concurred with Blondie’s assessment and nixed the ferals.

—-END OF BULLETIN—-

Red Spider Lilies

With the exception of the crazed critter attacks on lovely Serendipity Farmhouse grounds, Autumn continues to reveal its charm and color. Wherever one’s gaze might wander, there are manifestations of glorious new colors and seasonal changes welcomed by heart and memory. Although we may tend to see Spring as the birth of new life and an awakening, these crisp Autumn days transmit a message of expectation and a promise that, indeed, life will continue and prosper.

Perhaps one can see that in the Red Spider Lily shown here. It rises when other flowers have decided their time is past. And it states quite clearly that it will return next year with new ones beside it. It is more than a passing beauty, it declares a prophecy of Hope.

Okra, peppers, arugula, and beets are finishing off our garden season. Our okra plants have grown tall and have produced abundantly this year. The cooler weather and shorter days have slowed them down considerably. Tonight might be our last chance to have a full portion of fresh fried okra. We will savor it.

Meanwhile, Autumn brings with it the need to complete some strenuous chores. The air conditioners and fans have to be moved from their assigned positions indoors out to the shed for Winter storage. I have no idea how much a BTU weighs, but when you’re lifting 8,000 of them you’re not engaged in lighthearted pleasure.

By the way, BTU’s take many forms. Did you know, there are many BTU’s in each piece of firewood and, in my opinion, that’s what makes it so heavy.  And, sure enough, today my dear, sweet Spouse enlisted me to start moving firewood from the big stack on the lawn to the woodshed and stacking it there in precisely measured rows. So, between air conditioners and firewood, I feel tired and a little weighed down. – – Which is to say, I don’t take heavy labor lightly. – – Please forgive my heavy-handed levity.

Despite my statements about the seasonal chores, Autumn remains our favorite time of year. With that thought in mind, beautiful Spouse and I purchased a new bench and placed it under our maple tree. Next to it, we have placed two pots of pansies to add a dash of color. – – As the day begins to fade and the sun flirts with Skyline Drive, you will find us sitting there viewing Mary’s garden, adorned with the Red Spider Lilies proclaiming their message of Hope.

                                 New garden bench with pansies nearby

SFH by the Numbers

This week we will begin dehydrating peppers. The following links will catch you up with what’s come out of our gardens and what has gone into mason jars and the freezer since our last Journal post.:

SFH 2020 Plantings

SFH 2020 Harvest

SFH 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2020-09-28 through 10-04

SFH Journal: 2020-09-14 through 09-27 – New Condo!

Hi! Mr. Monte here!

Important note to my 23, 417 feline followers: September 24th was my birthday. Greetings and accolades have been pouring in from around the world. For example, the Center for Applied Threat Surveillance (CATS) announced the selection of the Serendipity Farmhouse Security Department, headed by Chief of Security Mr. Monte, as the “Outstanding Security Center of 2020”. The accompanying citation was certainly correct when it stated the “award is well deserved, and Mr. Monte stands as a shining example of what it means to be a dedicated Chief of Security.”

Humility restrains me from listing all of the incredible but true statements made concerning my outstanding achievements over this last year. Likewise, modesty and prudence require me to request (if you haven’t already done so) that you send me only inexpensive tokens of your affection and admiration for my birthday – simple snacks and interactive toys will do just fine.

On the other hand, Blondie and Ol’ Fuzz Face, owing to their complete dependence on my protection of their beloved SFH, are required by contract and conscience to ensure that I receive, high-quality presents as suitable tributes to my invaluable services rendered at Serendipity Farmhouse.

This year, my two big cats met the challenge and ensured domestic tranquility by purchasing a lavish and well-appointed new Cat Condo for me. Although they attempted to keep the present a surprise, they failed miserably. The primary reason for their failure is that I understand everything they say – of course, I just don’t let them know that I do. The second reason for failure is that it is my duty to inspect all incoming boxes and packages. As you, my fellow felines, know there is no way to disguise the distinctive scent of cat tree – the sisal rope is unmistakable. Here are pictures of the “Maestro” performing his inspection.

The big day finally came. Blondie and Fuzzy did their best at paying due homage. They pampered me royally and treated me with the greatest respect – if only they were as thoughtful every day. I showed my appreciation as best I could. I even provided instruction and guidance to Fuzz Face as he assembled the amazing cat condo – he followed my every command flawlessly.

So, dear and faithful followers, I set about the task of testing my birthday condo. My two big cats are to be commended – for once, they got it right.

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But, the new cat condo was not the highlight of the day. No, dear friends. The true highlight was the card and gift from my dear, sweet Miss Fleur. She was so very thoughtful. Those dairy flavor Temptations and her handwritten birthday card made my heart beat faster – it is such a joy when you know your are loved.

With cat treats in hand, Blondie did her best to perform a trick I taught her. Upon my request she will shake my paw and then give me a treat. She has almost mastered this trick – some day she will learn how to shake with her right paw rather than her left.

Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, Blondie and Fuzz Face did attempt to provide a birthday celebration equal to my stature, prowess, and fundamentally outstanding feline nature. Though their attempt may have been somewhat lacking in its execution, they are nevertheless to be commended. And, no matter what their failings, they did manage to remember to have a fresh, tasty half gallon of ice cream ready for a perfect end to a memorable birthday bash.

Unfortunately, the short but enjoyable respite from my normal duties came to an end and it was necessary to return to the work of maintaining security here at Serendipity Farmhouse. And this week, a new critter problem has reared its ugly head. My SFH Security Department staff and I are meeting in the morning to develop a strategy to bring an immediate halt to the malicious activity pictured below.

SFH by the Numbers

Canning season has almost come to an end. This week we will begin dehydrating peppers. The following links will catch you up with what’s come out of our gardens and what has gone into mason jars and the freezer since our last Journal post.:

SFH 2020 Plantings

SFH 2020 Harvest

SFH 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2020-09-14 through 09-20

SFH WX 2020-09-20 through 09-27

 

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.

———————————————————————————————————————-

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.

IMG_20200806_133545682_edited
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.

IMG_20200714_162921343_edited

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.

IMG_20200723_122403107_HDR_edited
“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

IMG_20200425_155922618_edited

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.

0701-0712

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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