Category: SFH Plantings

SFH Journal: 2018-06-06

Highlight: Today was a study in multitasking and many highs and lows in emotions. The ongoing items included:

  • A full workday and a long commute;
  • Multiple phone calls and emails related to our Class-C RV quest;
  • Shopping and other preparations for the Annual Serendipity Farmhouse Tea Party;
  • Checking the health of Mr. Stripey and our other tomato plants;
  • Attending a wake for a very dear friend.

Obviously, the final item was the most important. It dominated our day with thoughts about the meaning of life and what comes to those who have lived it in God’s grace. This particular friend had given us great support and encouragement during some very difficult times. We will continue as friends in a common bond Christian love.

Weather:  The day was cool, dry and a bit breezy. (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Mr. Stripey and his garden friends appear to a bit happier now that the drier weather has arrived.

Harvest: Nothing to report.

SFH Journal: 2018-06-05


Beautiful spouse will be adorned with the finest of hats for the tea party – UPS delivered it today!!

Preparations for the Annual Serendipity Farmhouse Tea Party are in full swing. We make most what is served, but a few specialty items come from local bakeries. This year, finding the right pastries is becoming a real problem. – If we must, we’ll make them ourselves.

Weather:  Last night was chilly. The day was dry and a bit breezy. (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Not only Mr. Stripey, but all the tomato bushes are showing signs of too much water. All the other plants seem to be doing well. But, canning season is no fun without lots of tomatoes. It’s time to pray.

Harvest: Nothing to report.

SFH Journal: 2018-05-27

Highlight: Two things are worthy of note today. First a good friend, who has experience in owning and operating a Class C RV, has offered to help us in our new quest for what we will call “El Camino del Monte”. We greatly appreciate his offer and will consult with him as we move through this labyrinthine process. (See SFH Journal: 2018-05-26 for details.)

DSC_0245The dear, dear friend of my most wonderful spouse has given us a thistle seed bag filled with seed for the local birds to enjoy. As requested, I have hung the bag from a limb of our magnolia tree. We now await the coming of some new flying critter friends

Weather: Hot and sticky. We worked for an hour in the gardens and by the time we finished, we had to clean ourselves up and change clothes. An extended afternoon thunderstorm cooled things off and ended in time to watch lightning bugs. (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Our featured photo for today shows the first tomatoes developing on our Husky Red Cherry tomato plant. In June, these little guys will be part of our fresh garden salads.

In the past, Mr. Stripey has been our best producer of tomatoes for salsa andDSC_0249 pasta sauce. He requires great care. Because he is an “indeterminate” variety he will continue to grow until the end of the season, perhaps to 8 – 10 feet tall. As the season progresses, you will see how we have to extend this initial group of stakes to support his size and weight.

DSC_0234Harvest: Previous owners had planted strawberries near the well house. Beautiful spouse found that some were already ripe. She washed them off immediately and gave them to me. They were consumed before a picture could be taken. So, you get to see a picture of the plant with two unripened strawberries. Yes, they tasted great.

SFH Journal: 2018-05-21


Highlight: [The following is from Mr. Monte, the official SFH Security Guard.]

One can post as many PRIVATE PROPERTY – NO TRESPASSING signs as they like, some critters just don’t get the message. The young bear on the right side of this photo has already completed his unlawful entry and is now making his escape. See how closely and boldly he approaches our official warning sign.

It’s an outright case of arrogant disregard for the law and private property. If only Old Fuzz Face would let me out, I would make that bear pay for his transgression. I can find no mercy in my heart for blatant law breakers.

Weather:  Clear enough in the morning to mow the part of the lawn that isn’t still under water. There’s much work left to accomplish. (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: We didn’t plant the apple trees at SFH, but we certainly know how to enjoy them. As you can see in the picture, the blossoms we showed you in SFH Journal: 2018-04-27 have now turned to small apples.

Harvest: Two more asparagus spears emerged from the rain drenched soil.

SFH Journal: 2018-05-03

Weather: The warm weather continues. The official high was 89º, but our unofficial reading here once again was 91º.  Lower humidity prevailed and that made for tolerable conditions while we finished off our Spring planting. Weather Underground predicts a high of 90º for tomorrow. If we make that mark, we will have our first unofficial ‘heat wave’ of the year. (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Daily Highlight: Early Spring planting is complete! After a day of general yard work, beautiful spouse and I headed for the vegetable garden, trowels, seeds, and seedlings in hand. Here is what we accomplished:

Mr. Stripey Tomato         1 plant

Bonnie Hybrid Tomato  1 plant

Jalapeno Peppers             2 plants

Serrano Pepper                1 plant

Habanero Pepper            1 plant

Cow’s Horn Okra              8 seeds

Refugee Beans                 13 seeds

Plantings: We have now planted all four types of seeds we purchased from Monticello. So far, the Georgia Southern Collards are doing very well. Most of the Early Blood Turnip-Rooted Beets have germinated, but they seem to be struggling. We’ll have to keep an eye on them.

For a complete list of SFH plantings this season, click here.

Harvest: Nothing to report.

SFH Journal: 2018-04-28

Weather: There wasn’t a cloud in the sky at sunrise, but soon after the noon hour the clouds rolled in. By 5 PM, there were some sprinkles of rain and the temperature began to drop. Nevertheless, reaching a high of  75º, it was a great day for being outside and cooking supper on the grill.  (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Rappahannock Plant Sale: My wondrous spouse has been looking forward to this day for some time. When springtime comes to our county, the Rappahannock Plant Sale held at Waterpenny Farm is the place to be. This is where you can find almost anything you need for your vegetable and flower gardens. (For details, click here.)

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Although the particular type of tree we were hoping to buy wasn’t available through any of the vendors, we did purchase some other items. They included:

  • 3 Nursturtiums,
  • 1 Basil plant,
  • 1 Jalapeno plant, and
  • 1 Italian pepper plant.

South 40 Cleanup: Greg Williams Tree Service sent a crew of four to clear out two large brush piles and do some tree trimming. This is all a part of the ‘South 40 Cleanup’ that has been underway for some time. Someday soon, there will be a special post with pictures to explain why my life was in dire peril if this project had not been completed successfully.

Plantings: Nothing to report

Harvest: Nothing to report

Daily Highlight: While my sweet and loving wife greatly enjoyed the Rappahannock Plant Sale and considered it her ‘Daily Highlight’, I found more satisfaction in viewing the mini cattle drive on the adjacent farm this morning.

One of the many reasons why we chose to live here at Serendipity Farmhouse, is because it is situated in Virginia cattle country. In fact, there is a large herd of cattle that grazes on the farm on the other side of our river. Those steers remind me of Idaho and the view I had of a herd of beef cattle just outside my kitchen window.

Watching the herd as it was moved to a different pasture, I was reminded of my childhood when I learned how to ride horses western style. I competed in events in county fairs and showed off an assortment of riding tricks. In learning all those skills, I convinced myself that I could be a cowboy.

So, what you see in the featured picture at the top of this post should tell you something about how I think life should be – peaceful and with a purpose, but always open to a spirit of adventure.



SFH Journal: 2018-04-27

Weather: It was rainy in the morning. The rain moved out during the early afternoon and it was partly cloudy for the remainder of the day – perfect for picking asparagus and making for a daily highlight. (Detailed Summary – click here)

Plantings: Now that the weather is warming, we purchased:

  • 2x Mr. Stripey heirloom tomato plants,
  • 1x Basil plant,
  • 1x Jalapeno plant, and
  • 1x Habanero plant.

Harvest: The asparagus are in their third year and now we are enjoying the reward for our patience. We cut two spears a week ago and sauteed them with squash – a taste treat. Today, we doubled the number picked. The spears are thick, juicy, and surprisingly tender. See our daily highlight for what we did with them.

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Beets: We planted 28 Early Blood Turnip-rooted Beet seeds ten days ago. Two have germinated and are seeking sunlight.

1st Beet
The first beet makes its debut

Collards: We planted 20 Georgia Southern Collard seeds on the same day we planted the beets. Several have germinated and are happy with the recent rain.

Apple Trees: We have six apple trees. All are in blossom. Two look like they will produce abundantly this year. The remaining four are not doing as well. With proper conditions, there will be plenty of apple juice, apple sauce, and apple butter for the holidays.

Daring Dairy: We made butter in the evening. It took nearly 25 minutes of churning, which is unusually long. Perhaps the problem was that we used a different brand of heavy whipping cream. (Click here to see how we make butter.)

Daily Highlight: My amazingly talented wife took those four asparagus spears she picked and used them in an Asparagus Risotto recipe from Simply Recipes.* It made for one great meal. She has experimented with this recipe on several occasions and has made it much better. Here are the changes she made to the original:

  • olive oil instead of unsalted butter,
  • 1/2 onion instead of chopped shallots,
  • Calrose Japanese style rice instead of arborio rice, and
  • vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

*To see the original Asparagus Risotto recipe click here.