Category: SFH Journal

SFH Journal: 2021-08-02 through 08-15 – Back in Business (Almost)

The featured picture is a couple of years old, but it definitely conveys the sense of joy one feels when important, labor-saving equipment is operating as it should. Late this week, after a very long and painful absence, my cherished lawn tractor was returned to its rightful place here at Serendipity Farmhouse. While it was in the “hospital” suffering from an ailment that took over three weeks to diagnose, yours truly was mowing the somewhat less than verdant lawns of the vast SFH Estate with a push mower. To give you an idea of what that was like, consider that eight of the first fifteen days of August were in the 90’s and, during that same period, the average humidity was 82%.

Now that the lawn tractor has returned, I am a much happier man. You might well ask, what was it that caused the lawn tractor to cease functioning? Well, dear Readers, it turns out that the electronic control module, with its embedded computer chip, had its brains scrambled. Consequently, the lawn tractor was almost fatally infected with – Complete Operational loss of Vital and Indispensable Data – i.e., COVID.

If you recall, we listed a rash of problems that beset SFH almost like a plague of locusts in our post SFH Journal: 2021-07-05 through 07-25: Upson Downsof Life Re-Revisited. Now that the lawn tractor has returned, we have resolved almost all of our problems. One problem remains however as a distressing reminder of how we can feel the loss of a modern day convenience. Our 21-year-old dishwasher has neither been repaired nor replaced. The whole affair is a nasty mess reminiscent of the movie Catch-22. I will refrain from boring you with the details, but I will let you know that dear and wondrous Wife is not happy with her dishpan hands and she has discussed the matter with me on numerous occasions. Needless to say, I’ve been on the telephone attempting to untangle this mess.

Canning has been underway for a few weeks now. If you click here, you can see what we’ve put away thus far.

SFH Gardens – By the Numbers

  The following links will catch you up with what has been planted, harvested, and preserved since our last Journal post:

SFH 2021 Plantings

SFH 2021 Harvest

SFH 2021 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2021-08-02 through 08-08

SFH WX 2021-08-09 through 08-15

SFH Journal: 2021-07-26 through 08-01 – Hot & Spicy

Summers in this part of Virginia are renowned for their mild temperatures, cool breezes, and low humidity – a veritable paradise.

WRONG!!! 

Lets take a look at the high temperatures and dew point readings* from the official Serendipity Farmhouse weather station:

26 JUL: 93.9° – 76.5°
27 JUL: 94.8° – 74.5°
28 JUL: 93.6° – 73.6°
29 JUL: 90.9° – 75.9°
30 JUL: 91.6° – 84.6°
31 JUL: 83.8° – 79.2°

Please recall in our post last week that one of our ongoing problems was and still is that my dearly appreciated riding mower/lawn tractor, which I use to mow the vast 1.203 acres of the prestigious SFH Estate died and remains sitting in a repair facility. That means that your humble writer has had to go out into that torrid Virginia summer heat and guide a meager push mower endless miles attempting to tame the monstrously persistent growth of the grasses that were once luxuriant SFH lawns.

This week, it took me three days and the loss of at least five pounds of water weight to accomplish that task. And, as I look out the window of my office, I can see that the .25 inches of rain that fell last night is already fueling the unbridled growth of each and every blade of grass, promising me another week of push mower torture. – Despite all that, I maintain that I shall persist and see this task through until my dearly appreciated riding mower returns.

SFH Spiked Salsa

This last week, we harvested the six pounds of tomatoes needed to make another batch of salsa. We modified our basic recipe to suit our own preference for something spicy. To our Simple Salsa recipe we added two full jalapeno peppers (with seeds) and two Anaheim peppers. To make the mixture more mellow and aromatic, we added four cloves of our own SFH garlic.

But even with the addition of jalapenos and Anaheim peppers, dearest Wife and I wanted to go one step further and my beautiful Bride said, “Let’s go for some real heat.” So, she spiked the salsa mixture with our specially-made concoction of dried, ground SFH hot peppers, containing jalapeno, habanero, and several other varieties of peppers. Please refer to our post Hot Peppers Above & Beyond. – Therefore, this second batch of salsa bears the name – SFH Spiked Salsa.

* The dew point is the temperature the air needs to be cooled to (at constant pressure) in order to achieve a relative humidity (RH) of 100%. At this point the air cannot hold more water in the gas form. If the air were to be cooled even more, water vapor would have to come out of the atmosphere in the liquid form, usually as fog or precipitation. – National Weather Service

SFH Gardens by the Numbers

  The following links will catch you up with what has been planted and what has been harvested since our last Journal post:

SFH 2021 Plantings

SFH 2021 Harvest

SFH 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2021-07-26 through 08-01

 

SFH Journal: 2021-07-05 through 07-25: Upson Downsof Life Re-Revisited

Dear Reader: If you have the time, please refer to the opening section of our post SFH Journal: 2020-04-06 through 04-12 – Upson’s Life Revisited. You will find there how I finally came to resign myself to the vagaries of reality and all that they entail:

Many years have passed since I met Upson and worked with Mr. Unlucky. More and more I realize I have become much like them. The day will bring what it brings. It is the best I can hope to get. And, in the end, the best is good enough for me.

And why should I bring this up with you on this particular day? – Well, dear Reader, the last two weeks have forced me to remember my own words and to live by them as I have resolved. Here are but a few misfortunes and calamities that have beset Serendipity Farmhouse in recent days:

  • The 21-year-old dishwasher in the soon to be world-famous SFH test kitchen decided it was time to retire. Repair parts appear to be unavailable. It will likely be replaced by our home warranty service – but that replacement date remains unknown.
  • Cell phones used by my dearest Spouse and me, came to an untimely end this past week. Both had to be replaced.
  • The once reliable lawn tractor I use to mow the vast 1.203 acres of the prestigious SFH Estate died and is now sitting in a repair facility. So far, there is no diagnosis or prognosis. Meanwhile, the finely manicured lawns of SFH are turning into meadows suitable for grazing.
  • Just prior to grilling four beautiful lamb chops, our barely one-year old grill decided to malfunction. For a week it could not be used. Fortunately, I found a way to fix the problem.
  • Worst of all and most troubling to us, our esteemed SFH Chief of Security has been diagnosed with a rare and potentially serious malady afflicting his left ear. This will mean that Mr. Monte will have to travel many miles to see a veterinary specialist and likely undergo surgery. – You can be certain this is not to Mr. Monte’s liking.

Nevertheless, with trust in God, we here at SFH continue to say: The day will bring what it brings. It is the best I can hope to get. And, in the end, the best is good enough for me.

SFH Simple Salsa

We planted three weeks past our normal target date this year out of an overabundance of caution with regard to late freezes. (I detest the phrase “an overabundance of caution”, yet I use it here to castigate myself for my surrender to fear and lack of boldness in carrying out my agrarian duties.) Consequently, our harvest is coming in late. This last Friday, we finally harvested the six pounds of tomatoes needed to can our first six pints of of world-renowned Serendipity Farmhouse Salsa.

While many of our friends and family members prefer our extra spicy salsa, made with a variety of hot peppers from our garden, there are some that have a more sensitive palate. This year we decided that our first batch of salsa would be more mild. Of course our secret blend of spices would remain in our modified recipe, but the hot peppers would be saved for our second batch of salsa. Therefore, the first batch of salsa would bear the name – SFH Simple Salsa.

No doubt you have seen many of our pictures of salsa preparation. And, if it weren’t for the fact that this year’s tomatoes are coming from the garden without blemish, I would not include pictures in this post. Nevertheless, Mr. Monte and Blondie agree these Roma, Big Boy, Better boy, and Bush Goliath tomatoes just have to be seen as they are transformed from garden beauties to magnificent salsa.

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SFH Gardens by the Numbers

  The following links will catch you up with what has been planted and what has been harvested since our last Journal post:

SFH 2021 Plantings

SFH 2021 Harvest

SFH 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2021-06-28 through 07-11

SFH WX 2021-07-12 through 07-18

SFH WX 2021-07-19 through 07-25

 

 

SFH Journal: 2021-06-28 through 07-04 – The “unanimous Declaration”

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

There is a price to be paid for liberty. That price was declared in the “bottom line” of the great document that defined us as an independent people. That document also clearly stated upon Whom we rely for protection.

This most important national holiday is being quietly celebrated here at Serendipity Farmhouse. Our gardens have begun to supply us with abundant returns for our labors. We have eaten sumptuously on a small feast of our garden-fresh green beans and a pin bone sirloin steak, from nearby Reality Farm. Of course, ice cream was served as the fitting dessert.

SFH Gardens by the Numbers

  The following links will catch you up with what has been planted and what has been harvested since our last Journal post:

SFH 2021 Plantings

SFH 2021 Harvest

SFH 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2021-06-28 through 07-04

SFH Journal: 2021-06-21 through 27 – Interloper!

Interloper!

Mr. Monte is on special assignment this week. He has been thoroughly briefed on the following incident report. After viewing the slides and my interviews with our resident Mockingbird and Grey Catbird, he has nothing but high praise for them and their quick response to an imminent threat against the peace and tranquility of Serendipity Farmhouse.

Mr. Monte also directed Rusty the rat snake to advise his cousin “Bad-news Blacky” to keep his ugly self out of the SFH estate.

The pictures pretty much speak for themselves. Two unrelated species, a Mockingbird and a Grey Catbird showed a fantastic display of Serendipity Farmhouse-style cooperation. Sensing the common threat from Blacky, they devised a well executed tactical plan to evict Blacky from the premises.  Although it appeared that the Mockingbird carried the majority of the action, it must be noted that our fearsome Catbird was the the one that dared to make actual physical contact with Blacky. Both birds deserve maximum credit for their heroic and successful action.

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Garlic!

The slideshow below tells the story. This year’s garlic is in. 100% of the cloves planted developed mature garlic heads. Thank you St. Isadore!

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Bug Control – The Next Generation

Only a half an inch long, but ready to go

 

SFH Gardens by the Numbers

  The following links will catch you up with what has been planted and what has been harvested since our last Journal post:

SFH 2021 Plantings

SFH 2021 Harvest

SFH 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2021-06-21 through 06-27

SFH Journal: 2021-06-07 through 06-20

This post will be short. That’s because there has been a lot going on over the last two weeks here at Serendipity Farmhouse. We will save that story for a post sometime in the future.

Two items are worthy of note – Rain and Grapes.

As you may or may not know, a large portion of the vast SFH estate lies on a flood plane. The North Fork of the Thornton River, while restful and pleasing to the eye most of the time, can quickly become a threat to our safety and property. (See the post Monte’s Bug Out Buggy to the Rescue.) So, it was with great concern we received the National Weather Service flash flood watch alerts on June 10th.

The heavy rain came as predicted. The three of us found it hard to sleep that night as we could hear the pounding of rain on our metal roof. It had been very dry recently ans we knew that the river was running low. We also knew that the ground was extremely dry. But, what we did not know was whether those factors would be enough to keep the river from suffering a flash flood and surrounding the house as it has done before.

At 4:00 AM on the 11th, I ventured outside in the rain with a flashlight. To my great relief there was no water flowing through the driveway. I approached the river cautiously and looked over the bank. To my surprise the river was at a much lower level than I had imagined it might be. – The earlier dry weather had indeed provided us an unusual margin of safety. – Prayers do get answered.

When it was all over we had received a total of 6.66 inches of rain in less than 24 hours. The house was safe and the overly dry garden beds were once again moist and happy.

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As we have noted earlier, SFH is likely to have the largest grape harvest ever. To protect the mass of new grapes, I have set up a temporary fence around our extensive vineyard that contains our single vine. The job was labor intensive but I was compelled to do it with my own two hands. Now all we have to worry about is Japanese beetles.

 

 

 

SFH Gardens by the Numbers

  The following links will catch you up with what has been planted and what has been harvested since our last Journal post:

SFH 2021 Plantings

SFH 2021 Harvest

SFH 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2021-06-07 through 06-13

SFH WX 2021-06-14 through 06-20

SFH Journal: 2021-05-30 through 06-06 – Intensity

———————NOTE——————–

It’s obvious that this post is getting out two days late. Due to the never ending demands of my SFH security enforcement duties, this post was unavoidably delayed. I would express my regrets and apologies but, as you well know by now, cats, especially yours truly, have no shame, sorrow, or regret. You have to admit that life is so much simpler that way. — DelMonte, SFH Chief of Security

———————END OF NOTE——————–

Hi! Mr. Monte here!

To my 23,417 feline followers, especially my many cat cousins residing in Virginia and Ohio, with the exception of tactically advisable ‘catnaps’, we have entered the season where there is no rest for a highly decorated, world-renowned Chief of Security. There is too much at stake for me to allow myself to drop my guard or fall into complacence.

As you can see by this picture, taken by Ol’ Fuzz Face using the Night Vision setting, even after the sun goes down, I am on watch – ever alert. Although no picture can capture the true intensity with which I conduct security affairs here at Serendipity Farmhouse, at least a picture can substantiate the fact that, if anyone dare attempt to penetrate the SFH security perimeter, they will have to deal with me.

Interestingly, this week my powers of observation were called upon to resolve a somewhat trivial dispute between Blondie and Fuzzy concerning the evening of May 28th. On the night in question, Fuzzy declared that he had seen the first firefly of the year. Blondie was somewhat skeptical of his claim and declared that, because she hadn’t seen it, it did not happen.

Fuzzy asked me to intervene and provide my expert opinion. Being the all-seeing Chief of Security that I am, I advised Blondie that she should take Fuzzy’s claim seriously because my surveillance network had recorded an airborne intruder sporadically emitting low-level light flashes that evening. (When you think of my surveillance network, imagine something on the same scale as the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).) Upon listening to my testimony, Blondie backtracked a bit and stated that perhaps Fuzzy had seen something, but she still had to see it for herself.

For the remainder of the week, Blondie would sneak outside after sunset, and then return declaring there were no fireflies active on the SFH estate. It wasn’t until last evening (June 5th) that all three of us were sitting on the porch and a myriad of fireflies made their presence manifest. It was at this point that Blondie finally admitted that firefly season had indeed arrived at SFH. Fuzzy and I, recognizing that reminding Blondie of her earlier skepticism might bring about serious consequences for both of us, decided to say nothing except, “Yes dear, my what beautiful fireflies!” – Then Fuzzy and I winked at each other in a quiet moment of male bonding.

SFH Gardens by the Numbers

The vegetable gardens are doing very well this year. As you can see in the feature picture, the SFH vineyard is on its way to producing a record crop of grapes this year. We are taking measures to ensure that deer and other varmints are kept far distant from the maturing grapes.

  The following links will catch you up with what has been planted and what has been harvested since our last Journal post:

SFH 2021 Plantings

SFH 2021 Harvest

SFH 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2021-05-31 through 06-06

SFH Journal: 2021-05-17 through 05-30 – Remember

Each person enlisting in an armed force shall take the following oath:

“I, __________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

Would Serendipity Farmhouse and the free exercise of our Faith exist if it were not for the brave and dedicated souls who have lived and died upholding this solemn oath? – – Remembering and thanking those who have sworn this oath is the rightful way to celebrate this national holiday.

We here at SFH have made a special effort to prepare for this weekend that marks the unofficial start of Summer. It was a truly grueling effort to clean up garden beds, trim and manicure our broad and extensive lawns, plant seeds and young plants in our herb garden and two vegetable gardens, repair or replace aging outside furnishings, install four heavy window air conditioners, and clean everything covered by pollen and dust. And that was just the beginning. We called on outside help to paint the front porch and to add two coats of stain to our deck and railings.

It was a quite ambitious plan. My ever resourceful and highly zealous Spouse was responsible for motivating all the workers involved. Although one could never accuse her of being ruthless, one might describe her leadership style as relentless and unwavering. She enlisted Mr. Monte to act as overseer and work inspector. In his case, one might describe his approach to be less forgiving than my dear and beautiful Wife. In fact, one might say his approach to leadership was on the vicious side of ruthless, or so it seemed to the majority of the work force under his command.

Despite all that, I, the work force, survived the effects of Mr. Monte’s management style. And, to her great credit, the inspired vision of a beautified Serendipity Farmhouse conceived by my most beloved Spouse, resulted in the most pleasant improvements. For example, see what she had done to the front porch.

Newly painted porch & new decorative bench

Dearest Spouse recognized that the deck needed to be brightened up and made more comfortable. So here it is with an eye-catching Cape Cod Red stain and some new deck furniture.

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So, with SFH cleaned up for the unofficial start of Summer, the residents of SFH will take some time off from work and celebrate Memorial Day in fitting ways. I will take time to pray for close friends who died while serving our Country. Beautiful Wife and I will call to mind what it was like starting our family and raising children while stationed overseas. There will be memories of sacrifices and there will be memories of great adventures. After all, SFH is about Faith, Family, & Country.

SFH Cleaned up and ready to celebrate Memorial Day

SFH by the Numbers

The following links will catch you up with what has been planted and what has been harvested since our last Journal post:

SFH 2021 Plantings

SFH 2021 Harvest

SFH 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2021-05-17 through 05-23

SFH WX 2021-05-24 through 05-30

SFH Journal: 2021-03-29 through 05-02 – Whew!

Hi! Mr. Monte here!

To my 23,417 feline followers, especially my many cat cousins residing in Virginia and Ohio, “I’m late, I’m late for. A very important date. No time to say hello, good-bye, I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.”

This post is long overdue. It should have been published last Sunday. Obviously, it wasn’t. Blondie and Ol’ Fuzz Face haven’t had time to sit for even a moment. That means that they’ve dumped many of their tasks onto good old reliable “FELINE PRODUCTIVE.” And now I haven’t had time to sit for even a moment.

Suffice it to say there are not sufficient time nor words to suffice. So, major insufficiency will have to suffice.

Here’s just a small sampling of what was going on through May 2nd:

04 April – Easter: See post Resurrexit Sicut Dixit, Alleluia.

10 April – Grandson #7: See post Breaking News: Grandson #7!!

12-14 April – RV Trip 2021-01: See posts RV Trip 2021-01: A Very Tent Situation and RV Trip 2021-01: Project Sausage

23-24 April – Tree Removal: From the SFH treasurer – “To the person who planted those four willow trees on the now vast SFH Estate: You owe us over $10,000 for the removal of those ghastly, hideous, dangerous, menacing, destructive willows.”

25 April – Godzilla v. King Kong: Fuzzy tells me he had a glorious three hours respite from the cares of this world when highly cherished Daughter #1 and her family took him to see his hero in action. As he always says: “Godzilla is real, everything else is fake!” See post: SFH Godzilla Birthday Bash

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28-29 April – Masked Marauder: A major breach to SFH security took place on these dates. Blondie was horrified. Our friendly avian residents were distraught. Fuzzy came up with an almost a good solution. He sprayed WD-40 on the pole. Unfortunately, it dried too quickly, so we intend to use Vaseline in the future.

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In the meantime, we gathered the SFH Security Staff, including Fuzzy. We all confronted this felonious, masked bandit and I made it quite clear to that maleficent marauder what would happen to him should he violate our security perimeter again. The last time we saw him, he was hightailing it off the property.

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30 April – Deck, Porch, Furnace & Dinner Guest: It is difficult enough when one contractor or handyman must do work on our soon-to-be-famous, historic mansion. Schedules must be adjusted; parking space must be made available; and, the SFH Security Staff must be alerted. But, April 30th, the potential for schedule conflict went over the top. First, SFH was visited by contractors to prepare the front porch and rear deck for painting and staining. Next came the contractor who maintains our newly installed furnace to perform seasonal maintenance. And, if that wasn’t enough, the entire, soon-to-be-world famous SFH Test Kitchen staff was engaged in a maximum effort to prepare a delicious meal for a highly esteemed dinner guest. – – Fuzzy and Blondie, under my close direction, rose to the occasion. All workmen visits went without incident and there was no mutual interference. – – Our dinner guest was happy with the SFH Test Kitchen’s latest experiment and he went back for seconds. As a Russian Blue cat friend of mine once told me” Всё хорошо́, что хорошо́ конча́ется. (All’s well that ends well.)

In the midst of and intermingled with all of the above, Blondie spent many, many hours in the vegetable gardens. She is really good at directing Ol’ Fuzz Face at moving bags of dirt, turning over soil, weeding, trimming, and bringing those gardens to the highest quality level possible. Because of her efforts, the SFH gardens stand out as among the finest in all of  Rappahannock County. And also to her credit, Spring planting is underway and the first fruits of the 2021 growing season have already been harvested.

The First SFH 2021 Plantings

Date: Month-DayItemQTYGarden
03-15Red Beets20 seedsVegetable #1
03-27Arugula 4 rowsVegetable #1
03-27Lettuce4 rowsVegetable #1
04-18Italian green beans25 seedsVegetable #1
05-02Better Boy tomato1 plantVegetable #2
05-02Pink Brandywine tomato1 plantVegetable #2
05-02Big Beef1 plantVegetable #2
05-02Sun Sugar Yellow tomato1 plantHerb
05-02Mammoth jalapeno pepper1 plantVegetable #1
05-02Jalapeno pepper1 plantVegetable #1
05-02Anaheim pepper1 plantVegetable #1
05-21Italian green beans21 seedsVegetable #1
05-15Basil1 plantHerb
05-15Bush Goliath tomato1 plantVegetable #2
05-15Early Girl tomato1 plantVegetable #2
05-15Roma1 plantVegetable #2
05-30Cow's Horn okra23 seedVegetable #1
05-31Burgandy okra10Vegetable #1
06-07Heat Master tomato1 plantVegetable #2
06-09Cow's horn okra1 seedVegetable #1
06-09Burgandy okra1 seedVegetable #1

The First SFH 2021 Harvest

Date: Month - DayItemQTYMeasure
04-27Asparagus5Spears
04-28Asparagus2Spears
05-03Asparagus5Spears
05-04Arugula1Bunch
05-04Asparagus3Spears
05-04Lettuce1Bunch
05-04Parsley1Bunch
05-06Arugula1Bunch
05-06Asparagus5Spears
05-06Lettuce1Bunch
05-06Parsley1Bunch
05-10Arugula1Bunch
05-10Asparagus1Spear
05-10Lettuce1Bunch
05-14Asparagus8Spears
05-16Arugula1Bunch
05-16Lettuce1Bunch
05-19Arugula1Bunch, end of season
05-19Asparagus2Spears
05-19Lettuce1Bunch
05-21Asparagus3Spears
05-23Strawberries7Berries
05-25Aspraragus3Spears
05-29Garlic scapes8Scapes
05-31Garlic Scapes22Scapes
05-31Strawberries3Berries
06-03Strawberries4Berries
06-17Beets5Beets
06-23Garlic30Heads
07-02Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow 2Tomatoes; 1st of season
07-03Green beans, Italian 28Bean pods; 1st of season
07-03Pepper, Jalapeno1Pepper; 1st of season
07-03Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow5Tomatoes
07-04Green beans, Italian 9Bean pods
07-06Green beans, Italian 24bean pods
07-06Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow3Tomatoes
07-07Basil1Bunch
07-07Green beans, Italian21Bean pods
07-07Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow2Tomatoes
07-09Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow2Tomatoes
07-10Green beans, Italian14Bean pods
07-10Pepper, Jalapeno1Jalapeno
07-10Strawberries1Berry
07-10Tomato, Early Girl3Tomatoes, 1st of season
07-11Green beans, Italian4Bean pods
07-14Pepper, Jalapeno, Mammoth4Jalapenos
07-14Tomato, Big Beef2Tomatoes
07-14Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow8Tomatoes
07-15Green beans, Italian26Bean pods
07-15Tomato, Big Beef1Tomato
07-15Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow4Tomatoes
07-17Green beans, Italian2Bean pods
07-17Tomato, Roma1Tomato
07-17Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow9Tomatoes
07-18Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow11Tomatoes
07-19Tomato, Better Boy1Tomato
07-19Tomato, Big Boy1Tomato
07-19Tomato, Bush Goliath1Tomato
07-19Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow2Tomatoes
07-20Tomato, Better Boy1Tomato
07-20Tomato, Big Boy2Tomatoes
07-20Tomato, Early Girl3Tomatoes
07-20Tomato, Roma1Tomato
07-20Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow8Tomatoes
07-22Tomato, Better Boy2Tomatoes
07-22Tomato, Big Boy1Tomato
07-22Tomato, Bush Goliath1Tomato
07-22Tomato, Early Girl3Tomatoes
07-22Tomato, Roma1Tomato
07-22Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow9Tomatoes
07-23Tomato, Better Boy2Tomatoes
07-23Tomato, Big Boy1Tomato
07-23Tomato, Early Girl1Tomato
07-24Tomato, Early Girl1Tomato
07-24Tomato, Roma3Tomatoes
07-24Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow12Tomatoes
07-25Tomato, Better Boy1Tomato
07-25Tomato, Bush Goliath1Tomato
07-25Tomato, Pink Brandywine1Tomato
07-26Tomato, Better Boy4Tomatoes
07-26Tomato, Big Boy2Tomatoes
07-26Tomato, Early Girl3Tomatoes
07-27Green beans, Italian2Bean pods
07-27Pepper, Jalapeno6Jalapenos
07-27Tomato, Better Boy3Tomatoes
07-27Tomato, Big Beef1Tomato
07-27Tomato, Early Girl1Tomato
07-27Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow8Tomatoes
07-29Pepper, Anaheim2Peppers
07-29Tomato, Bush Goliath2Tomatoes
07-29Tomato, Early Girl1Tomato
07-29Tomato, Pink Brandywine3Tomatoes
07-29Tomato, Roma1Tomato
07-30Tomato, Big Beef1Tomato
07-30Tomato, Big Boy3Tomatoes
07-30Tomato, Early Girl4Tomatoes
07-30Tomato, Pink Brandywine2Tomatoes
07-30Tomato, Roma1Tomato
07-30Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow7Tomatoes
07-31Okra, Cowhorn2Pod, 1st of season
07-31Okra, Purple1Pod, 1st of season
07-31Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow1Tomato
08-01Green beans, Italian7Bean pods
08-01Okra, Cowhorn1Pod
08-01Okra, Purple1Pod
08-01Tomato, Better Boy3Tomatoes
08-01Tomato, Bush Goliath3Tomatoes
08-01Tomato, Early Girl7Tomatoes
08-01Tomato, Roma3Tomatoes
08-02Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow5Tomatoes
08-03Green beans, Italian1Bean pod
08-03Okra, Cowhorn1Pod
08-03Okra, Purple1Pod
08-03Tomato, Big Beef1Tomato
08-03Tomato, Bush Goliath2Tomatoes
08-03Tomato, Early Girl2Tomatoes
08-03Tomato, Roma1Tomato
08-05Okra, Cowhorn3Pods
08-05Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow7Tomatoes
08-06Tomato, Bush Goliath2Tomatoes
08-06Tomato, Heatmaster1Tomato
08-06Tomato, Roma2Tomatoes
08-07Green beans, Italian5Bean pods
08-07Okra, Cowhorn3Pods
08-07Okra, Purple2Pods
08-08Tomato, Bush Goliath1Tomato
08-08Tomato, Roma4Tomatoes
08-08Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow8Tomatoes
08-09Okra, Cowhorn6Pods
08-09Okra, Purple1Pod
08-09Tomato, Better Boy1Tomato
08-09Tomato, Bush Goliath2Tomatoes
08-09Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow3Tomatoes
08-12Okra, Cowhorn4Pods
08-12Okra, Purple1Pod
08-12Tomato, Early Girl2Tomatoes
08-12Tomato, Pink Brandywine1Tomato
08-12Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow9Tomatoes
08-15Basil2Bunches
08-15Green beans, Italian35Bean pods, end of season
08-15Okra, Cowhorn4Pods
08-15Okra, Purple5Pods
08-15Tomato, Bush Goliath1Tomatoes
08-15Tomato, Pink Brandywine4Tomatoes
08-15Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow1Tomato
08-17Okra, Cowhorn5Pods
08-17Okra, Purple1Pod
08-17Tomato, Pink Brandywine5Tomatoes
08-21Apple, Staymen3Apples
08-21Okra, Cowhorn8Pods
08-21Okra, Purple1Pod
08-21Pepper, Jalapeno11Peppers
08-21Tomato, Bush Goliath2Tomatoes
08-21Tomato, Pink Brandywine2Tomatoes
08-21Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow2Tomatoes
08-24Okra, Cowhorn3Pods
08-24Okra, Purple1Pod
08-24Tomato, Big Beef2Tomatoes
08-24Tomato, Early Girl2Tomatoes
08-24Tomato, Heatmaster1Tomato, end of season
08-24Tomato, Roma2Tomatoes
08-24Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow1Tomato
08-27Tomato, Big Beef1Tomato
08-27Tomato, Pink Brandywine4Tomatoes
08-27Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow3Tomatoes
08-28Apple, Staymen2Apples
08-28Grape, Catawba 1.5Pounds
08-28Okra, Cowhorn1Pod
08-28Pepper, Jalapeno1Pepper
08-31Okra, Cowhorn4Pods
08-31Okra, Purple1Pod
08-31Tomato, Better Boy1Tomato
08-31Tomato, Big Beef2Tomatoes
08-31Tomato, Early Girl2Tomatoes
08-31Tomato, Pink Brandywine3Tomatoes
08-31Tomato, Sun Sugar Yellow2Tomatoes, end of season
09-01Pepper, Jalapeno17Peppers
09-04Okra, Cowhorn1Pod
09-04Tomato, Better Boy1Tomato, end of season
09-04Tomato, Big Beef8Tomatoes, end of season
09-07Okra, Cowhorn1Pod
09-07Pepper, Anaheim1Pepper
09-07Pepper, Jalapeno6Peppers
09-07Tomato, Roma1Tomato
09-10Okra, Cowhorn3Pods
09-10Okra, Purple1Pod
09-10Tomato, Pink Brandywine1Tomato
09-10Tomato, Roma2Tomatoes
09-15Okra, Cowhorn4Pod
09-15Okra, Purple3Pod
09-15Pepper, Anaheim2Peppers
09-15Pepper, Jalapeno1Pepper
09-15Tomato, Early Girl3Tomatoes
09-15Tomato, Pink Brandywine1Tomatoes, end of season
09-18Okra, Cowhorn9Pods
09-18Okra, Purple1Pod
09-18Pepper, Jalapeno8Peppers
09-18Tomato, Early Girl2Tomatoes
09-21Okra, Cowhorn2Pods
09-21Okra, Purple1Pod
09-23Okra, Cowhorn4Pods
09-23Okra, Purple2Pods
09-23Pepper, Jalapeno7Peppers
09-24Tomato, Bush Goliath6Tomatoes, end of season
09-24Tomato, Early Girl2Tomatoes, end of season

SFH by the Numbers

The following links will catch you up with what has been planted and what has been harvested since our last Journal post:

SFH 2020 Plantings

SFH 2020 Harvest

SFH 2020 Preserving

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly: 

SFH WX 2021-April

 

SFH Journal: 2021-03-15 through 03-28 – Obsessions

Hi! Mr. Monte here!

To my 23,417 feline followers, especially my many cat cousins residing in Virginia and Ohio, Blondie and Ol’ Fuzz Face have been exceedingly busy over the last two weeks. And I, the officially proclaimed “FELINE PRODUCTIVE,” have had to take on more and more editing duties for the Serendipity Farmhouse Blog. It is both a duty and an honor. Besides that, I’m far more capable, honest, and objective than Fuzzy is.

Lately, my two big cats have been preoccupied by two competing obsessions – food and Spring gardening. Frankly, I have to admit that I share the food obsession and the gardening thing affords me added time out on the back porch.

St. Patrick & St. Joseph: If you view the featured photo at the top of the page very closely, you will see that culinary delights created in the soon-to-be-world-famous Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen were a centerpiece at a dinner party honoring the great St. Patrick and St. Joseph. First there was a simple fruit salad. Then, Blondie outdid herself by baking not one, but two delicious loaves of bread. One was Scandinavian Light Rye Bread and the other was Irish Potato Brown Bread. The breads were SFH variations of recipes by Beth Hensberger as found in The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook.

Fuzzy’s Follies: Fuzzy added a finishing touch to the bread concept with homemade butter. In so doing, he set a new SFH and personal record – from start of process to end of cleanup, less than 20 minutes. Unfortunately, he was unable to even come close to that record time later in the week.

Normally, the old guy uses store-bought heavy cream to make butter. Ten ounces of cream will give you a quarter pound of butter and six ounces of buttermilk. When that type of cream is at room temperature, it only takes Fuzzy about 5-7 minutes to churn up a quarter pound of my favorite licking butter. His record time is three minutes and forty seconds. But, on this recent occasion, he desired to show that he was a true purist and decided to use cream skimmed off the top of a half gallon of raw milk directly from the dairy farm.

Well, Fuzzy was able to skim off the requisite 10 ounces, leaving about a quarter inch of cream still in the jar. He poured the cream into his churn and began to turn and turn … churn and churn … turn and turn … churn and churn … I think you get the picture. Some fifty minutes later, a tired, panting, moaning and groaning old guy finally threw his hands up in the air and confessed he could turn and churn no more. He ended up with about two-thirds of what he usually produces. – – For the record, though: It was probably some of best butter this feline connoisseur has ever tasted.

Lesson Learned: If it’s butter you’re making, consider the time it will be taking. Because if it’s raw milk you’re using, a great deal of time you’ll be losing, not to mention, though it was not your intention, you’re going to turn and churn until your arms begin to  ache and burn. – – So sayeth Mencius (孟子) Maine Coon

Foodies’ Preview: Both my big cats are foodies. These last two weeks they have been deep into the creativity thing. For years they have been making pizzas, but they’ve always made the crust from store-bought mixes. A few days ago, they finally said that the soon-to-be-world-famous SFH Test Kitchen could not be entirely authentic and true to its founding principles so long as store-bought mixes were to be used. That is when they created this beauty of a three-cheese pizza. But, sad to say, my dear friends, you’ll never be able to reproduce it yourselves because you don’t have the secret SFH cheese ingredient.

Meanwhile, Ol’ Fuzz Face, while a partial failure at raw-milk butter, scored a great success with homemade sausage. He and a friend, who has the needed tools, spent a Saturday, each making eight pounds of pork and beef sausage.

In the coming weeks, there will be special posts describing the intricacies and ins and outs of how the SFH Three-Cheese Pizza and the SFH Special Sausage were conceived and how they became truly masterful culinary delights. – – Yes, I got to taste them.

Gardening: Blondie is the SFH Master Gardener. She has already started Spring planting. The raw intensity of garden is in the air. If you are around Blondie, never ever make the mistake of joking about her gardens. She takes them very seriously and she does not abide by humor about such an important undertaking. SFH is nothing if it is not about its bountiful gardens and the food that comes from them. – – It is what brings the family together – children, grandchildren, and good food to share – all bound together with a prayer. – – Yes, of course, this Maine Coon does join in family prayer.

More of Fuzzy’s Follies: Ol’ Fuzzface has a well-developed and abiding appreciation for maintaining the “perfectly manicured lawn.” Often, he can be heard happily chatting to himself about how beautiful and verdant are the many lawns spread about the vast 1.204 acres of the Serendipity Farmhouse estate. This week, he has been almost ecstatic because of the great success he has had in cultivating one of his favorite winter annual ground covers – Corn Speedwell (Veronica arvensis).

After doing some research, Blondie and I are less enthused. After all, Corn Speedwell is a weed!

This is not a lawn! These are weeds!

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 2021-03-15 through 03-21

SFH WX 2021-03-21 through 03-28