Category: SFH Plantings

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: 2021-05-02 through 05-16

May 15th, the Feast of St. Isadore

“Dear St. Isidore, you know how normal it is to cultivate the land for you were employed as a farm laborer most of your life. Although you received God’s help materially through Angels in the field, all farmers are aided spiritually to see the wonders God has strewn on this earth.  Encourage all farmers in their labors and help them to feed many people. – Amen”

A report and accounting of our labors at Serendipity Farmhouse.

In 2018, we first posted a Report to St. Isadore. This year, we will resume that custom.

Part I – The Herb Garden

Close to our back door, we have planted herbs to add flavor to our foods. Interestingly, our two parsley plants survived the Winter cold and are going strong. Other herbs are doing well and now there is a new basil plant. This year, we are experimenting with a different variety of cherry tomatoes – Sun Sugar Yellow Cherry Tomato. More herbs will be planted later

Part II-A – Vegetable Garden #1

Not all is going well in Vegetable Garden #1. Only three of our beet seeds germinated. Likewise, our beans have responded less than enthusiastically to sunshine and gentle rains. On the other hand, the arugula and lettuce are producing in abundance. Every clove of garlic planted last Fall has sprouted and all plants are thriving. Four types of hot peppers have been planted and they appear quite happy. There are now seven asparagus plants capable of producing for the dinner table, and all are doing well.

Part II-B – Vegetable Garden #2

Vegetable Garden #2 is reserved for several varieties of tomatoes. So far, we have planted one of each of the following varieties: Better Boy, Big Beef, Bush Goliath, Early Girl, and Pink Brandywine

Part III – Flowers and Plants

We planted grass where the new water line was installed last December. All of the flowering plants and trees have done well this year and small apples are replacing the white blossoms that adorned the yard earlier this Spring. Once again, the magnolia tree is promising many blooms come June.

On the 2nd, we held a May Crowning in our garden dedicated to Mary. Both azalea bushes are filled with flowers and the irises have grown so thick that we had to transplant some elsewhere.

Part V – Vineyard

Our vineyard is having its finest year ever. As you can see in our feature picture, a large number of vine (the number “1” is much larger than “0”) shows the potential to eclipse all past years.

Part V – Critters

St. Isadore, this next item is probably outside your area of patronage. If so, please talk to St. Francis and see if he has any advice. – – It seems that Mr. Monte, our Chief of Security, had to issue an eviction notice to some loony birds that thought that our RV would make a fine nesting place. Blondie and I were commissioned to serve the eviction notice to the squatters. Although those crazy birds weren’t present at the time, we had to move all of their belongings out on the road. — It’s important that you tell St. Francis that we determined that the nest was empty before we executed the eviction.

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That concludes our report, St. Isadore. We have tried to be good stewards of what God has bestowed on Serendipity. The fruits of these labors constantly bring us joy.

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

The First SFH 2021 Harvest

Date: Month - DayItemQTYMeasure
04-27Asparagus5Spears
04-28Asparagus2Spears
05-03Asparagus5Spears
05-04Asparagus3Spears
05-04Parsley1Bunch
05-04Lettuce1Bunch
05-04Arugula1Bunch
05-06Asparagus5Spears
05-06Parsley1Bunch
05-06Lettuce1Bunch
05-06Arugula1Bunch
05-10Asparagus1Spear
05-10Arugula1Bunch
05-10Lettuce1Bunch
05-14Asparagus8Spears
05-16Arugula1Bunch
05-16Lettuce1Bunch
05-19Arugula1Bunch, end of season
05-19Lettuce1Bunch
05-19Asparagus2Spears
05-21Asparagus3Spears
05-23Strawberries7Berries
05-25Aspraragus3Spears
05-29Garlic scapes8Scapes
05-31Garlic Scapes22Scapes
05-31Strawberries3Berries
06-03Strawberries4Berries

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 2021-05-03 through 05-09

SFH WX 2021-05-10 through 05-16

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

The First SFH 2021 Harvest

Date: Month - DayItemQTYMeasure
04-27Asparagus5Spears
04-28Asparagus2Spears
05-03Asparagus5Spears
05-04Asparagus3Spears
05-04Parsley1Bunch
05-04Lettuce1Bunch
05-04Arugula1Bunch
05-06Asparagus5Spears
05-06Parsley1Bunch
05-06Lettuce1Bunch
05-06Arugula1Bunch
05-10Asparagus1Spear
05-10Arugula1Bunch
05-10Lettuce1Bunch
05-14Asparagus8Spears
05-16Arugula1Bunch
05-16Lettuce1Bunch
05-19Arugula1Bunch, end of season
05-19Lettuce1Bunch
05-19Asparagus2Spears
05-21Asparagus3Spears
05-23Strawberries7Berries
05-25Aspraragus3Spears
05-29Garlic scapes8Scapes
05-31Garlic Scapes22Scapes
05-31Strawberries3Berries
06-03Strawberries4Berries

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: 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: 2020-07-27 through 08-02

This post is several days overdue. No excuses, we’re just doing what has to be done to keep up with the more important things.

Signs of Hope

DSC_1502_edited

Our premier crops (okra and tomatoes) are finally coming into season. My dear, sweet, and most industrious Spouse has been tending the garden, paying close attention to intrusive weeds, pesky bugs, and need for watering. If all goes well, the coming week will bring the beginning of canning season. Pickled okra and spicy salsa will soon be here.

We have turned the corner on our water shortage, but conservation measures are still in effect. We were worried about canning and pickling and how much water that requires. Now that there has been some rain, it looks like all will go ahead as planned.

With some of our worries behind us, we can take a moment to enjoy the Resurrection Lilies that are blooming everywhere. This is the best year for blossoms in recent memory. Even some of the more shy little guys have decided to come out and add color to the yard.

SFH Homeland Defense Force – Meet My Staff

IMG_20200425_155922618_editedHi! Mr. Monte here.

To my 23, 417 feline followers: Many of you are performing necessary defensive actions where you live. I have cousins in Spotsylvania, Front Royal, and Woodstock who all patrol their assigned areas and protect their humans from nasty vermin.

Here at Serendipity Farmhouse, the job of “homeland defense” is much more demanding. We have various predators, obnoxious critters, and wily rodents that invade and wreak havoc here on our vast 1.24 acre estate.

In order to handle this constant threat, I have enlisted the aid of two formidable security

Digital Camera
Bronto on Patrol

staff members. The first, and possibly most intimidating, is Bronto. He normally works nights and does perimeter patrol. Here is a picture of him right next to the “No Trespassing” sign. Anyone who is too stupid to read the sign, will make acquaintance with Bronto. – – They will only make that mistake once.

 

DSC_1495_editedRecently, we here at SFH have noted that our nearby neighbors, a lovely pair of broad-winged hawks, had fledged a new brood. Sensing a rare opportunity, I talked to the couple and we worked out an agreement based on mutual needs. Their young son, who was in need of employment reported for work with our security forces in mid-June. Below, you will find his picture, taken while he was going through initial training.

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SFH Homeland Security – The Next Generation

At first, we intend to have him go after moles and voles that are causing great damage to our manicured lawns and gardens. Later on, when he has reached full size, keeping watch on this particular long-tailed rodent will be his primary duty.

The new staff member is greatly pleased with the perquisites that come with the job. He can take home anything he catches and may do with it as he pleases.

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 2020-07-27 through 08-02

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_20200628_082919026_edited

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

 

SFH by the Numbers

The following links will catch you up with what’s gone into the gardens and what has come out since our last Journal post. They will also update you on the arrival of the hot, humid days of Summer:

SFH 2020 Plantings

SFH 2020 Harvest

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2020-06-22 through 06-28

SFH Journal: 2020-05-04 through 05-17

The last two weeks have been filled with commotion, disruptions, minor catastrophes, tumult, anxieties – in short, all the usual, run-of-the-mill events that are common for life at Serendipity Farmhouse. There was, however, an oasis of quiet, warmth, and happiness. That day, that oasis of family joy, was, of course, Mother’s Day. All of the children and grandchildren joined together virtually and shared the sentiment of the day. My beautiful Spouse, daughters, daughter-in-law, all of them mothers, were honored.

The featured picture of an iris makes an interesting point. At a distance, a flower is beautiful and can be admired. When you come in closer, that is when you see that there are interesting details and remarkable individual patterns. Each of the “Moms” in my life are like that. They certainly deserve a day of their own, an oasis of warmth and love.

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With those thoughts in our minds, Mr. Monte and I were on our best behavior throughout the day. In fact, we went a little further and made some buttery English scones for dear, sweet Wife. She was pleased and bestowed hugs and kisses upon the two chefs. It was a wonderful day – one that we all shall remember.

On the other side of that oasis, the harsh realities of life continued to prevail. Nightly, we would hear the prognosticators, the purveyors of weather lies, announce that frosts and hard freezes were on the way. Why is it that these highly paid, deceitful charlatans are only correct when they predict doom and disaster?

Cautiously, we took them at their word and did our best to prepare for the late freezes and extended cold spell.

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Then came the polar vortex – chilly days and freezing nights. Each night grew colder. By the early morning of May 10th, we saw three hours steady of 28 degrees.

IMG_20200510_114150442_HDR_editedAlthough we had prepared, we had not done enough. Our extensive vineyard took it the hardest, though there are still some signs of life on the vine. We lost a cherry tomato plant. Three pepper plants are on the verge of passing into history. Three basil plants are barely holding their own. – – It was sad and mournful at SFH during the days that followed the “big freeze”. – – No happiness, no joy.

If ever there were a woman with the pioneering IMG_20200516_135112543_HDR_editedspirit, a strong-hearted woman with “true grit”, that woman would by my Wife. Mourning and worries set aside, that industrious Lady of mine has dedicated the past week to restoring life in the gardens. New plants were purchased; cow manure was obtained from a local farm; and all of SFH was mobilized in the effort. So, in addition to restoring the lost plants, Vegetable Garden #2 was filled with new tomato plants.

We will accept the setback, we will cut our losses, but you can be sure of this, we will never give up. Excellent Wife has decreed that it shall be so, and it shall be so here at Serendipity Farmhouse.

Here is what has been done at SFH thus far during 2020: SFH 2020 Plantings and SFH 2020 Harvest.

The following links will catch you up with our up-and-down, troubling weather during the last two weeks:

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2020-04-20 through 04-25

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2020-05-11 through 05-17

SFH Journal: 2020-04-06 through 04-12 – Upson’s Life Revisited

My Friend Upson: Sometime during my junior year in high school I met a quite engaging individual. He lived in a somewhat peculiar manner. I thought at the time that his approach to life was odd and I would never, nor would I ever, want to live as he did. For, you see, he was quite prone to having mistakes, errors, and other minor hardships befall him with little or no advance notice. Yet, no matter what happened to him, Upson would always come out of it with a shrug of the shoulders and a simple smile. His life was no puzzle or oddity to him; he came to expect these things and he was quite content.

Now, Upson was not a one-of-a-kind individual. Since high school, I have met many a man like him. For example, I had an acquaintance whose name, when translated from its original language, was Mr. Unlucky. He too, took the misadventures of his life completely in stride.

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.

By they way did I tell you Upson’s last name? Could it have been anything else? Yes, it was Downsof. So, when I wrote a short biography of my friend, I couldn’t help but call it The Upson Downsof Life.

And all of that written above, dear reader, leads me to a couple of topics for this week’s journal. Yes, for my dear Wife and me, this week has been a chapter from that never published biography The Upson Downsof Life.

Frost Warning: As I wrote last week, clever and industrious Spouse, has filled several garden boxes with early season plantings. A couple of the young plants were not quite as strong as the others. Then our usually unreliable weather prognosticators made their first correct call of the season – “There will be frost.” Of course, that call had to be correct because they were announcing impending doom to the plantings at SFH.  So, when the two weak, young plants were exposed to a chilly low temperature of 32.2° F, they sank low in their beds never to recover. – Upson would have seen this coming.

DSC_1472_editedBirdie and the Battery: As you can see in the feature picture at the top of the post, our bluebirds have returned to take up temporary shelter in the safe surroundings of Serendipity Farmhouse. Now, yours truly, has been waiting for quite a while to take a picture of our temporary lodgers that is something more than just a snapshot. To be sure, I couldn’t complain about the feature picture with Mr. Bluebird all puffed up trying to stay warm. Even this picture of Mr. & Mrs. Bluebird on the fence next to their home is in the category of “okay.” But I wanted something better. There I was perched on the deck, camera in hand, when the perfect shot arrived. I pressed the button and awaited the reassuring “click”. – – No, no, no! – No “Click”! – – The battery was dead. – Mr. Unlucky would have seen this coming.

As you can imagine, I thought of Upson and Mr. Unlucky. Such is life for such as we. I shrugged it all off and charged up my camera battery. – – Easter Sunday arrived and all things have been made new. (See our Easter post here.) Even my camera battery. And the following picture will explain why it is easy for me 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.”

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Mr. Bluebird building a nest

Mr. Monte is taking the day off, but he reports that all here at Serendipity Farmhouse is safe and secure. Beautiful Wife and I will spend this Easter Sunday enjoying the life God has given us. – – Indeed, the best is good enough for me.

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SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2020-04-06 through 04-12

SFH Journal: 2020-03-30 through 04-05 – Spring Planting Underway

0924191434b (2)Hi! Mr. Monte here. – – As the Serendipity Farmhouse Chief of Security, I am required to ensure that, during these troubled times, my big cats (they prefer to be called humans), Blondie and Fuzz Face, remain free of undue anxiety and worry. It’s a difficult job herding big cats, but that’s what I do.

Often, they tend to stray and veer away from what is logical and practical. Additionally, as distasteful as it might seem, I am considered by them to be a kind of emotional support animal. Should it be any wonder that, when Ol’ Fuzz Face tries too much of that male bonding schmaltz, I give him a wake up call and bite his arm. I think he’s beginning to understand that affection is a good thing, but don’t overdo it, Buddy.

The big cats are pretty much sticking to routine and life goes on here at SFH. All physical security and health/sanitation Standard Operating Procedures are now being implemented and enforced. Once again, for my Situation Status Report I can say:

SFH – All Secure!

Thank you, Mr. Monte. I doubt that I could be convicted of any “schmaltz” with you, but I guess you see the world differently than I do, Buddy.

Here in our mountain retreat, Spring continues to settle in. Beautiful Wife and I now have the time and the freedom to stroll about our vast 1.24 acre estate and enjoy all the new life that is emerging around us. When we keep our minds focused on the gifts we receive daily, our spirits remain calm and our strength grows. And to make this sense of abundant life even more real, we are in the midst of an SFH birthday season. Grandson #1, Grandson #5, and Grandson #3 all celebrate birthdays in April. Indeed, God is good!

As this post’s title would suggest, we have also come into planting season. Industrious Spouse, with great foresight and good fortune, has gathered seedlings, seeds, and plants for planting. Each is being started and planted according to its own individual time and need. The pictures below show some of what’s already in the ground and the table that follows the pictures gives details on planting dates and locations. – – It won’t be long until there are fresh SFH greens for use in salads and for garnishing.

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DateItemQTYGarden
03-10Beets, Early Wonder3 rowsVegetable #1
03-10Tulip bulbs6Mary's Garden
03-11Tulip bulbs27Pine Tree Stump
03-20Lettuce, Romaine6Vegetable #1
03-29Basil2Herb garden
03-30Arugula4 rowsVegetable #1
03-29Parsley1Herb
04-02Kale, curly6Herb
04-02Kale, purple6Herb
04-02Lettuce, Romaine4Vegetable #1
04-02Lettuce, butter leaf4Vegetable #1
04-02Kale, curly2Vegetable #1
04-02Lettuce, red leaf6Herb
04-19Beans, garden green3 rowsVegetable #1
04-19Beets, Early Tall Top2 rowsVegetable #1
04-24Kale, purple2Herb garden
04-24Parsley2Herb garden
04-24Lettuce, red leaf1Herb garden
04-25Cherry tomatoes, black1Herb garden
05-01Basil3Herb garden
05-01Pepper, jalapeno2Vegetable #1
05-01Pepper, salsa1Vegetable #1
05-01Pepper, banana1Vegetable #1
05-01Pepper, cayenne1Vegetable #1
05-13Beans, garden green2 rowsVegetable #1
05-13Tomato, Mr. Stripey1Vegetable #2
05-13Tomato, Beef Master1Vegetable #2
05-13Tomato, Park's Whopper2Vegetable #2
05-16Basil3Herb garden
05-16Tomato, black cherry2Herb garden
05-16Pepper, serrano2Vegetable #1
05-16Pepper, Jalapeno2Vegetable #1
05-18Okra, Cow horn12Vegetable #1
05-18Okra, purple12Vegetable #1
05-30Okra, Cow horn9Vegetable #1
06-01Tomato, organic red2Vegetable #2
06-07Basil1Herb garden
06-09Okra, purple1Vegetable #1
06-12Tomato, organic red3Vegetable #2
06-12Tomato, Mr. Stripey2Vegetable #2
06-20Cherry tomatoes, Sweet 1001Herb garden
06-20Okra8Vegetable #1
07-02Basil1Vegetable #1
07-02Tomato1Vegetable #2, moved
09-08TurnipsVegetable #2
09-08BeetsVegetable #2
09-15Arugula3 rowsVegetable #2
10-20Garlic30 clovesVegetable #1

 

SFH WX Station Report – Weekly:  SFH WX 2020-03-30 through 04-05

 

SFH Journal: 2020-03-16 through 03-22

0924191434b (2)

Hi! Mr. Monte here. – – As the Serendipity Farmhouse Chief of Security, I am required to ensure that, during these troubled times, all physical security and health/sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are implemented and enforced. For the sake of brevity, I will make my first Situation Status Report (SSR) very short:

SFH – All Secure!

Thank you, Mr. Monte, for your report. Now, I will move on to more routine matters and report on events of the last week here at SFH.

IMG_20200320_100212849_HDR_edited

As can been seen in the photo at the head of this post, March, the month of variable weather and temperature, is making its mark in a good way on SFH. Many flowers are in bloom and our cherry tree will reach peak sometime this week. Here you can see my ever so industrious Wife preparing some cut daffodils to brighten up the house.

IMG_20200321_151508524_editedAnd what better reason to adorn the house with flowers than on the occasion of Granddaughter #1’s birthday. On the other hand though, those daffodils, as pretty as they are, can not compare to the beauty brought to SFH by Granddaughter #1.

IMG_20200320_100036424_HDR_edited

There was some spring planting done this week. I will provide a summary in an upcoming post. Meanwhile, it brings great joy to my heart and great anticipation to my taste buds to see the garlic prospering.

IMG_20200320_150210613_edited

Just about the time you think you have set forward every single clock, watch and timepiece for daylight saving time; just about the time you think that job is complete, then you find one more timepiece that must be reset. Yes, even the sundial must be adjusted to account for this somewhat ridiculous, artificial manipulation of our daily lives. So, I adjusted the sundial and it is accurate to within a minute or two. But please, please, if it should slow down, please don’t ask me to wind it up. I don’t think even Atlas knows how to do that.

It was with great joy that my dear, wonderful Spouse announced to me that a flower that she had thought was with us no longer had reappeared. It is so very fitting that it has come to life and blossomed during this season, this Lenten season. After all this member of the genus Helleborus is, among other things, called the Lenten Rose.

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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 2020-03-16 through 03-22