Category: SFH Journal

SFH Journal: 2020-01-13 through 01-19 – What’s our favorite comfort food?

Hi, Blondie here!

As you might have noticed, Hubby and I are foodies. Different seasons bring different foods and the soon-to-be-world-famous Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen is always experimenting with one recipe or another. But, when it’s 3:00 PM on a mid-January day and the temperature is in the mid-30’s, what kind of food do you start thinking about?

Many of us tend to forget about gourmet recipes, filled with sautes and reductions. Nope, that’s not what we think of. Instead, we think about something that Mom used to make or some dish that we developed a liking for over the years. It’s our “go to” food, it’s our favorite comfort food.

Now, Hubby, spent a long time in the Far East and his favorite food on a cold rainy or snowy day is S&B Golden Curry with beef on Japanese-style sticky rice.  And I have to admit I like it, but, no, it’s not my “favorite” comfort food. (Check out the featured picture and see our post here.)

For me, the dish that most means “comfort” is cheese and tuna casserole. It’s easy to make, easy on the budget, and the leftovers are as good as the first serving. What more could a girl like me want on a mid-January day?

This week’s menu is already made and, unfortunately, tuna casserole is not on it. But, just you wait and see what’s on the menu for next week. Dear Hubby, guess what you’re gonna be having for dinner.

So, if you have a chance, please let us know what your favorite comfort food is. Maybe, some day we will experiment with your favorite here in the soon-to-be-world-famous SFH Test Kitchen.

P.S. – – Mr. Monte says his favorite comfort food in the Winter time is a teaspoon of heavy whipping cream. – – Meowwww, purrrrrr!

SFH by the Numbers – Facts & Statistics

SFH Plantings: See SFH 2019 Plantings

SFH Harvest: See SFH 2019 Harvest

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

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

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2020-01-06 through 13-19

 

 

 

 

 

SFH Journal: 2020-01-06 through 01-12

As we told you in our post First Snow – 2020-01-07, Tuesday the 7th we were blessed with a quiet Winter interlude. The days passed by and the snow slowly disappeared. Saturday the 11th and today the 12th were warm and balmy. The contrast between the 7th and the 12th reveal an amazing range of beauty and color. Serendipity Farmhouse is always ready to fascinate one with its charm and nearly infinite variations in personality.

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The unexpectedly warm days provided a perfect opportunity to move some seasonal items to the shed for storage. Happily, there was also some spare time to mount a brand new cast iron rooster bell at the entrance to the back porch. This was a present from dear Daughter #1 and family, intended to provide a means to announce the arrival of welcomed guests. Well done, dear Daughter #1, and thank you.

Stop the presses!! News Bulletin!! – Beautiful Wife just came into the house and made the joyous announcement that several garlic sprouts have made their way to the surface in search of the sun. Yes, Friends, there are great prospects for fresh, homegrown garlic this year.

UntitledSFH by the Numbers – Facts & Statistics

SFH Plantings: See SFH 2019 Plantings

SFH Harvest: See SFH 2019 Harvest

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

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

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2020-01-06 through 01-12

 

 

 

 

First Snow – 2020-01-07

Describing the first real snowfall of the season here at Serendipity Farmhouse doesn’t require many words – just a few pictures, a fresh cup of coffee, and a fire in the wood stove. Here are the pictures, meanwhile, I’ll sit back in a cozy chair to enjoy my coffee and the warmth of the fire.

And, if you prefer an action shot, this is about the best I can do on short notice.

And, if you are a weather geek like me, the stats for the day are here.

SFH Journal: 2019-12-30 through 2020-01-05

My beautiful, highly supportive wife and loving Maine Coon Cat sometimes find it amusing to make sport of yours truly. The photos below illustrate that fact and they also show that my balding head is often the object of their labored attempts at humor. They can’t refrain from adorning the place where a luxuriant head of hair used to reside with various items calculated to raise a belly laugh or hardy guffaw from the huge audience following our adventures here at Serendipity Farmhouse.

Be that as it may, the year 2019 at SFH was filled with technological achievements and successes and I will have you know this balding, geeky object of their scurrilous humor was the mastermind behind them.

It was just over a year ago when Serendipity Farmhouse Weather Station KVAFLETC4 made its debut. (See SFH Journal: 2019-01-01 through 03 – SFH Weather Station Online for the details.) Each and every day since then the world has been able to monitor the meteorological events here at SFH. This knowledge has become useful to us during the planting, growing, and harvesting of our crops during this best gardening year ever at SFH.

Likewise, the introduction of new appliances for the soon-to-be-world-famous SFH Test Kitchen, such as our new Instant Pot, have markedly improved the way we get things done. Sure, there’s a learning curve, and plugs can become disconnected, but we here at SFH get the job done. And, yes, I’m the geek behind the scenes who eventually  makes things work – sort of. (See SFH Test Kitchen – Hubby Under Pressure for the details.)

So, if you want to call me a Weather Geek from Outer Space or disseminate wildly falsified accounts of what I do to satisfy my vanity, feel free to take your best shot. After all, dear Blondie, you truly are my beautiful, highly supportive wife and, Mr. Monte, you certainly are my loving Maine Coon Cat. You make Serendipity Farmhouse what it was meant to be.

SFH by the Numbers – Facts & Statistics

SFH Plantings: See SFH 2019 Plantings

SFH Harvest: See SFH 2019 Harvest

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

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

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2019-12-30 through 2020-01-05

 

 

 

SFH Journal: 2019-12-16 through 12-22

A Precious Birthday: Today, Daughter #1 celebrates her birthday. And it is no exaggeration to say that this is a day of great joy for those who reside here at Serendipity Farmhouse. That is because dear, sweet Daughter is connected to Serendipity Farmhouse in a singular way.

Though still quite young, her journey to Virginia and perhaps one day to SFH has covered great distances. Her story is one that fills the hearts of her parents with profoundly beautiful memories. She was, is, and always will be our first child. And as such, she came with no set of instructions. She would be the one that would teach us the art of parenting. – The fact that she is now a woman of great grace and beauty with delightful children of her own stands as silent testimony to what she taught us and what she has helped us to become – grandparents.

For that and so much more we thank Daughter #1 on this joyful anniversary of her birth.

Below we can see Daughter #1 when she taught us how to make it through the paperwork necessary to obtain her first passport. She then took us to Japan where she showed us how to raise a child in the understanding and appreciation of a foreign culture. Finally, we see her as she participates at a family gathering here at SFH.

Tonight we will join lovely Daughter #1 as the family comes together to wish her the best of birthdays. And it may come as no surprise that the restaurant where we will meet features her favorite Japanese cuisine.

The End of Bottom Wood: For over a year now, I have chronicled the sad tale and bitter disappointments of bottom wood. Today, I filled the wood cart with the very last load of that disgusting, fungus and mushroom filled firewood onto the wood cart. The feature picture shows how much of that miserable excuse for fuel remained in the woodshed as we started this wood stove season. Within a week or two it will all be gone, burned, incinerated, with only a mere bit of ash to haunt my memories. Farewell, hideous bottom wood – I will miss you not!

SFH by the Numbers – Facts & Statistics

SFH Plantings: See SFH 2019 Plantings

SFH Harvest: See SFH 2019 Harvest

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

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

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2019-12-16 through 12-22

 

 

 

 

 

 

SFH Journal: 2019-12-09 through 12-15

0924191434b-2.jpgHi! Mr. Monte here.

I have the writing duties today. Old Fuzz Face had to take the day off for a couple of reasons.

First, the poor old guy ain’t what he used to be. My speculation is that he never was. Today, he’s complaining about having to write blog posts two days in a row. – – You would think that the way he throws mediocre thoughts on a page and expects people to think that he is writing some kind of inspired prose wouldn’t be very tiring. But, no! Fuzz Face is moaning about how the work of “artistic creativity” drains his physical and mental reserves. – – Poppycock! The old guy is a lazy faker. – – Just sayin’.

Now Fuzz Face’s second reason for bowing out of writing today might be closer to the truth. Why! Well, it seems as though he made a really serious faux pas the other day and is experiencing the wrath of a very perturbed and highly agitated Blondie. – – It seems as though the rapidly aging dunderhead committed the “unspeakable crime”. What crime you may ask? Well, take a look at the featured picture. Yep, you got it! – – – Fuzzy put the little red Elf dude in the refrigerator.

I saw the whole thing. He passed by me while I was trying to take a siesta in the living room. The little red dude was in his hand and he was chuckling to himself with impish glee. I watched as he opened the refrigerator door, still chuckling.

I prefer to live in a peaceful household. And, after all, I am the Serendipity Farmhouse Chief of Security. It was obvious to me that Fuzz Face was about to cross the line of “No Return”. Nothing good could come out of this childish, ill-advised prank. I meowed to him in my loudest most distressed warning, “Fuzz Face, don’t do it! You’re placing yourself in dire peril!” – – My warning was to no avail. The old chucklehead had just signed his own death warrant.

It was an hour or two before the inevitable happened. Blondie was complaining that she couldn’t find her beloved, sweet, little red Elf. Even then you could hear in her voice that she had suspected that Fuzz Face had been up to no good.

Without finding her little red friend, she started to make dinner. And, of course, you can figure out the rest. Yep! She had to open up the refrigerator.

The door opened. Blondie saw her dear, sweet little friend shivering with the cold. His breath wreaked of dill pickles and he was beginning to turn green around the edges. Then came the scream. Several neighbors wondered whether there was cause to call 911. – – – Then there was silence.

Grandchildren read this blog, so I won’t give an accounting of what happened next. – – Suffice it to say, Old Fuzz Face is chuckling no more.

The score is now: Little Red Elf one – Old Fuzz Face none

SFH by the Numbers – Facts & Statistics

SFH Plantings: See SFH 2019 Plantings

SFH Harvest: See SFH 2019 Harvest

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

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

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2019-12-09 through 12-15

 

SFH Journal: 2019-11-25 through 12-01 – Advent: Peace or Panic?

No pictures from Thanksgiving. The reason – we were enjoying our time with Daughter #1 and her family far too much to interrupt with artificial posing or potentially embarrassing snapshots. No, this was family time. Thank you, dear Daughter, Son-in-law #1, Granddaughter #1, and Grandson #3 for joining us here at Serendipity Farmhouse.

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of family.

– – – – –

The left hand column of the SFH blog now features a reminder of the real season that begins today (Advent) and a countdown of the days to Christmas. There is a tension between those two thoughts. Advent makes present the ancient expectancy of the Messiah and should be a time of thoughtful and peaceful preparation. But, the world has constructed alluring fantasies that obscure the true meaning of this season that are filled with emotion akin to panic. The tension grows greater each year.

We at SFH resolve to spend our Advent in thoughtful preparation. And, if there is to be a countdown, it will not be shopping days that we count, it will be days in anticipation of the great feast day that is known as “Christmas”.

It is also resolved by the residents of SFH to encounter this Advent with joy and, this must be said, Advent will be a time of great and good humor. Our SFH traditions will continue – yes, even “Yard Trash Day”. (See “All things have their season” – Even Yard Trash and SFH Journal: 2018-12-08 through 14 “Yard Trash Day”).

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Now there is one seasonal tradition, unfortunately, that might not be observed this Advent – the Elf on the Shelf. (See SFH Journal: 2018-12-04 through 07.)

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Why is that? Well, it seems that in our decorating SFH for Advent, my beautiful Wife has been unable to find the little guy. At least six times whilst I’ve been composing this post, my beloved Spouse has entered the office exclaiming with a slight southern drawl, “I can’t find my Elf on the Shelf, dadgum!”

I consulted with Mr. Monte, our SFH Chief of Security, with regard to our concern over the fact that the aforesaid Elf was apparently AWOL. He quickly responded that his search of the premises had not uncovered anything unusual. His report, however, was a bit less than reassuring because I thought I saw some red velvet fuzz on his upper lip.

Meanwhile the search continues.

SFH by the Numbers – Facts & Statistics

SFH Plantings: See SFH 2019 Plantings

SFH Harvest: See SFH 2019 Harvest

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

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

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2019-11-25 through 12-01

 

SFH Journal: 2019-11-18 through 11-24 – I Love My Paws

Hi, Mr. Monte here!

Did you know your every day, run of the mill domestic cat has a total of 18 toes, with five toes on each fore paw, and four toes on each hind paw? – – – Ahem!!! I am not your every day, run of the mill domestic cat. – – – I am a highly prized, certified, documented, polydactyl Main Coon cat. Here’s what I mean. Study the following pictures closely – pay attention to my snow prints.

In the pictures above, you see my hind paw print with five very well defined toe indentations. So, that means I have one more toe than your average cat on each hind paw. But, dear readers, that is only part of the story. As you can see in this selfie of my hind paw, the true story is each of my hind paws actually has six toes (and, of course, six terrifyingly sharp and lethal claws). The sixth toe is somewhat obscured by exceptionally beautiful, shiny fur.

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But, dear readers, that is still only part of the story. When we get to my fore paws, there are even more fascinating facts concerning how I am distinguished from your every day, run of the mill domestic cat.

Each of my fore paws is also endowed with six majestic and lethal claws. The sixth toe on each paw gives me an extra catly “thumb”. Because of the breadth of each paw, I am able to accomplish feats impossible to everyday cats. These “thumbs” mimic the human hand and allow me to grasp objects – my paw is a “prehensile” organ.

Other polydactyl cats can open doors, pick up objects, etc. My extra toes, however, are even more capable. For example, all of the closeup shots above were selfies I took using Old Fuzz Face’s smart phone.

Once I got the hang of how the smart phone worked. It wasn’t long before I learned how to text. If you think some humans are fast at texting using two thumbs, imagine how quickly I can send a text using four thumbs.

Although I compose most of my world renowned posts on a regular keyboard using a “hunt and kill” erhh, I mean “hunt and peck” typing method, often I use the smart phone keyboard and type with my four magnificent thumbs.

Now that I have educated you on the joys of being a highly prized, certified, documented, polydactyl Main Coon cat, I guess I should let you know about this past week at Serendipity Farmhouse – it wasn’t so good.

The week started with Blondie enduring sickness. That was complicated by a reaction to medication that had consequences that should not be mentioned here. Just as she was improving and enjoying her first day out of the house, she and Fuzz Face encountered a rather serious problem with their family car.

After being inspected and examined by the dealership, they were told the cost for repair. Both of my big cats (Blondie and Fuzz Face) reacted in somewhat predictable ways. Blondie saw immediate doom coming to all aspects of her life from that moment extending all the way to the grave and beyond.

Old Fuzz Face, reacted to the estimate as if an arrow had just pierced the very heart of his “inner cheap”. The reaction was immediate and severe. But, I couldn’t keep from laughing because, as the picture shows, he has probably been living too long with yours truly.

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SFH by the Numbers – Facts & Statistics

SFH Plantings: See SFH 2019 Plantings

SFH Harvest: See SFH 2019 Harvest

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

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

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2019-11-18 through 11-24

 

 

SFH Journal: 2019-11-11 through 11-17 – Abundant Harvest & Great Thanksgiving

0728191156a_HDR (2)Industrious and beautiful Wife, widely known for her fabled “green thumb”, has officially declared the growing season and the harvest of 2019 officially at an end. Using all the expertise at her command, and commanding back-breaking labor from her ever admiring hubby, she has planned and executed all that took place in the vast, expansive (somewhat less than 224 square feet), and fruitful gardens of the Serendipity Farmhouse estate.

The result of her labor and planning is the most bounteous harvest ever achieved sinceIMG_20140713_170722_748 (2) the SFH sign was affixed to the entrance way of our humble abode. Her struggle and sweat through one the hottest and most grueling growing seasons ever recorded in this area were rewarded with fresh vegetables on the dinner table on a daily basis, and with frozen, dehydrated, and canned food stores to brighten our table through the holidays, holy days, and days between now and the next harvest.

Yet, my humble Spouse is the first to say that none of this would have been possible without His help and watchful care. That is a reason to be thankful, that is a reason for giving thanks. That is but one of many reasons why we will pray to Him in thanksgiving on November 28th.

And now, without further ado, Mr. Monte, in his capacity as SFH Chief Statistician, has gathered pictures and compiled statistics to show what Blondie has accomplished in her gardens during Anno Domini MMXIX.

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SFH 2019 Harvest Totals

ItemQTYSeason End
Apples708-27
Arugula9 bunches11-13
Asparagus1605-20
Basil13 bunches08-23
Beans, green stringless19107-07
Beans, Monticello19907-07
Beet greens2 bunches06-06
Beets3306-06
Cucumbers607-18
Garlic heads1807-01
Garlic scapes1805-27
Grapes1608-09
Kale4 bunches05-25
Okra41310-23
Parsley6 bunches08-18
Peppers, Cow Horn3710-18
Peppers, jalapenos22610-18
Peppers, pimento1308-29
Squash, yellow4309-26
Strawberries905-25
Thyme1 bunch07-31
Tomatoes, Big Beef13109-26
Tomatoes, Cherry65411-02
Tomatoes, Golden Jubilee2009-19
Tomatoes, Mr. Stripey11809-26

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SFH 2019 Preserving Totals

ItemQTY
Okra, frozen7 packages
Okra, pickled8 pint jars
Pasta Sauce18 pint jars
Peppers, Cow Horn, dry canned1 pint jar
Peppers, pickled10 1/2 pint jars
Pesto5 4-oz containers
Popcorn, dry canned6 quart jars
Raspberries, frozen1 package
Salsa27 pint jars

Serendipity Farmhouse is not a hobby. Serendipity Farmhouse is our way of life.

Serendipity Farmhouse is where we Pray, Prepare, and Preserve.

 

SFH by the Numbers – Facts & Statistics

SFH Plantings: See SFH 2019 Plantings

SFH Harvest: See SFH 2019 Harvest

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

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

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2019-11-04 through 11-10

 

SFH Journal: 2019-11-04 through 11-10

The blossoming of our Christmas Cactus is another sign of the seasons here at Serendipity Farmhouse – a very welcome sign, indeed.

We woke up on the morning of November 5th to a hard freeze of 29.7°F. Though we have

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A frozen cherry tomato plant

had several frosts earlier, this was the one that finally signaled “end of season” for our ever-faithful cherry tomato plant. Up until the day it was taken by the cold, this little plant produced abundantly. It may be gone now, but it leaves behind the memory of 654 tasty red orbs.  Truly, a great achievement!

Yet, here at Serendipity Farmhouse there is always confidence and hope. That fact is witnessed to by my energetic and resourceful Wife. On the very day of the loss of our cherry tomato plant, she made her way to SFH Vegetable Garden #1 and planted five rows of garlic with six cloves in each row. Buoyed by her success with last year’s planting and this Summer’s harvest of fresh garlic, she decided to increase the numbers. There is no doubt in the author’s mind that we will see a bountiful SFH garlic harvest in 2020. (See: SFH Journal: 2019-07-01 – A Midsummer Day)

The arrival of colder weather dictates that El Camino Del Monte must be winterized. Now, with a year of experience under our belt, we managed the whole affair with a minimum of problems or concerns. It was not so last year. (See: SFH Journal: 2018-11-15 – First Snow & First Fire)

In case you’re wondering what Mr. Monte has been up to, in addition to leaf  and critter watching from the back porch, he has taken up photography. He submitted this photo as a sample of what the quick eye of a Maine Coon cat and the quick shutter of a digital single lens reflex camera can catch. Good job, Mr. Monte!

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Now if you remember, one of our very first posts (see: WWWT? #1 – What a Lovely Wood Stove!) detailed all the problems we encountered when we first attempted to use our wood stove. Now that we’ve been here for a while and had time to learn from our past mistakes, starting the first fire of the year was without incident and blessed by warmth throughout Serendipity Farmhouse on the afternoon of Thursday, November 7th.

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All-in-all, a very good week at SFH!

SFH by the Numbers – Facts & Statistics

SFH Plantings: See SFH 2019 Plantings

SFH Harvest: See SFH 2019 Harvest

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

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

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2019-11-04 through 11-10