Category: SFH Plantings

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

SFH Journal: 2019-05-01 through 12

Highlight 1: This year’s major garden project was the addition of two, two-section raised garden boxes, dedicated to growing tomatoes. In addition to the boxes, other materials for the project included:

  • 76 feet of wire fence,
  • 6 six-foot fence poles,
  • 7 five-foot fence poles,
  • 2 one-foot bungee cords,
  • 28 cubic feet of garden soil, and
  • 1 five-gallon bucket of seasoned cow manure.

Good things: The project is complete and several tomato plants are already in the garden. Beautiful wife is now happy because Mr. Stripey, who has resided on the porch for two weeks, now has a permanent home. “When Momma’s happy …..”

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Not so good things: As you can see from the picture, several of the fence posts are crooked, especially the one on the far right. That, dear friends, is because one of the primary and most abundant crops in this part of the Piedmont is rocks – big rocks – boulders – bedrock – nay, actually an entire tectonic plate. Yours truly and a three-pound sledge hammer are no match for the rocks that reside on the vast estate known as Serendipity Farmhouse. Despite my desire for perfectly vertical, firmly planted fence posts, I will have to learn to live with the soon-to-be-world famous “leaning fence posts of the Piedmont”.

Highlight 2: With an expression of great gratitude to the previous owners and to my industrious wife, SFH is adorned with the gentle and inspiring beauty of flowers everywhere. Here is some of what I am seeing out the window as I write this post.

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SFH Garden & Harvest Report: Not only are the vegetables growing, we are already bringing the bounty of the harvest to the table. Here’s what we’ve brought in during this period:

  • 04 May – Five asparagus;
  • 06 May – Curly Kale and 2 asparagus;
  • 10 May – Basil for a Mother’s Day lunch.

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SFH WX Station Report: The last couple of days have been cool, but earlier in the month were were looking at temperatures in the high 80’s. Rain has been abundant, perhaps overly so. The gardens, however, seem to be pleased with current conditions. Here are summaries of recent weather statistics.

May 01-11 Summary

May 06-11 Summary

May 06-11 Summary-B

SFH Journal: 2019-04-21 through 30 – First Harvest!!

Highlights: The longer days, the weather, and available free time continue to dictate our daily schedule and routine. We are now at a high point of activity outside, caring for the vast estate known as Serendipity Farmhouse. There is much demand for physical labor and very little time for writing posts. In addition to our first harvest from Vegetable Garden #1, here’s a sample of what we’ve been doing. Continue reading “SFH Journal: 2019-04-21 through 30 – First Harvest!!”

SFH Journal: 2019-03-17 through 31

You can see from the title that this post is long overdue. Preparations for the SFH Godzilla Birthday Bash, readying the gardens for planting, yard cleanup, the first mowing, and making repairs and updates to our trusty El Camino Del Monte for another RV excursion season have taken up our time.

Along with all that, our blog host and provider has changed editing formats and forced yours truly to study and master the new procedures. Once again, I am reminded that, like Winnie the Pooh, “… I am a bear of very little brain, and long words bother me.”

Highlight: The new planting season has arrived. Several of our garden boxes have been made ready. New soil and fertilizer were mixed in with the  soil remaining from last year, the clumps were broken up, and everything was hoed, raked, and leveled.

On March 26th, dear, sweet, industrious wife planted three rows of Tall Top Early Wonder Beets. They are happy to be in cooler weather and early planting is recommended.

Meanwhile, the garlic that was planted in November last year is coming along very nicely. We have been reading up on proper care and ways of determining  the best time for harvesting.

Plantings: This year, we will have a table of all plantings that will include date, item planted, quantity (either number of plants or rows planted), and garden area. You can see the table at SFH 2019 Plantings.

SFH WX Station Report: Due to some technical difficulties with Weather Underground, I’m only able to provide the weekly weather summary for 18-24 March. This little bit of trouble, of course, occurred simultaneously with the arrival of the new editing features. As soon as the problem is resolved, the summary for the following week will be posted.


SFH Journal: 2018-03-10 through 17 – A Sunbeam for Mr. Monte

Highlight 1: Warmer weather has arrived, bringing an extended period of dry air and clear skies. Mr. Monte has found his long-awaited sunbeam. The flowers have begun to blossom, the trees are coming to life, and beautiful wife’s herb garden is coming alive with sprouting garlic.

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Highlight 2: With the change in seasons, warmer temperatures, and a shift to Daylight Saving Time, I have moved some items out to the wood shed and reset the sundial. You will note the sundial reads precisely 1:13 PM EDT.

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SFH WX Station Report: The tables and charts tell the story – the seasons are definitely changing.

WX Summary 20190310 to 20190317A

WX Summary 20190310 to 20190317B

 

 

SFH Journal: 2019-02-01 through 07 – Expectant

Highlight 1: A walk along the bank of the river here at Serendipity Farmhouse brings us two signs of seasonal change. Daffodils have broken through searching for sunshine and warmth. Meanwhile, wild chives have emerged to give company to the daffodils.

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And, although most of you have shown no interest, several more garlic sprouts have pushed away their blanket of soil. They appear to be gauging the temperature and angle of the sun. They will know when the time is right to make their move. – – Yours truly, an inveterate garlic lover awaits. I am expectant.

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安全第一 – Safety First

Highlight 2: The Serendipity Farmhouse roving photographer recently made an excursion to the streets of Washington, D.C. It’s quite amazing what sights can be captured on the streets of our nation’s capitol.

The picture to the left has three points of interest. The first is a large propane bottle next to the driver’s side door. The second is a warning sign that clearly state: “DANGER – PROPANE – NO SMOKING – NO OPEN FLAMES“. The third point of interest is the lit cigarette in the left hand of the driver, directly above the propane bottle. – – – It is quite appropriate that enormous flames are pictured on the side of the truck.

(Please note: we changed the phone number on the side of the truck, otherwise the photo is untouched.)

SFH WX Station: The best you can say for the period is – changeable. The cold weather is coming back. The daffodils, chives, and garlic will be watching conditions closely.

Weekly WX Summary 01-07 FEB:

High Low Average
Temperature 76.8 °F 1.2 °F 38.2 °F
Dew Point 52.3 °F -14.1 °F 28.8 °F
Humidity 99% 23% 77%
Precipitation 0.09 in
High Low Average
Wind Speed 6.7 mph 0.3 mph
Wind Gust 9.2 mph
Wind Direction SSE
Pressure 30.36 in 29.82 in

Weekly

 

 

SFH Journal: 2019-01-25 Garlic!

Highlight: In early November last year, beautiful wife decided that Serendipity Farmhouse will become “garlic self sufficient”.  (See SFH Journal: 2018-11-04 through 07 for details.) Oh, she didn’t say it in exactly those words, but I could see it in her determination as she was planting. Her “garlic independence” was set to begin from the moment she had planted the several garlic cloves we had remaining from our local community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm.  Enterprising wife was ready to be the “captain of her fate” – at least so far as garlic goes.

It remains to be seen whether her quest for self sufficiency will be rewarded with an abundance of that most delightful of nature’s garden herbs and spices. But, on this day, January 25th, 2019, at least three sprouts of garlic, enthusiastic about life and sunshine, have shown they are waiting to make dear wife’s dream come to fruition this coming Spring. – – – There is great hope that the soon to be famous SFH Test Kitchen will be filled with the joyfully delicious aroma of garlic tops, and cloves of fresh garlic will follow in early Summer!

SFH WX Station: The day has finally come! The SFH WX Station near real-time weather SFH WX Stationreadings feature is now installed on the blog. The feature shows up as a widget on the far right hand column of the home page. It will look like the picture to the right of this paragraph.

Starting with our next SFH Journal post, we will discontinue the daily weather summary. Now we will provide an end of month summary. We will also provide a summary for any week that has been unusual or extreme.

2019-01-25 Full details here.

Summary High Low Average
Temperature 41.5 °F 21 °F 31.2 °F
Dew Point 23.9 °F 5.7 °F 18.1 °F
Humidity 88% 27% 58%
Precipitation 0 in

 

 

SFH Journal: 2018-11-04 through 07

Highlight 1: Recently, beautiful spouse and I had a painfully disappointing experience. We completely “destroyed” a wonderful piece of beef and some expensive fine, red wine by using a miserable excuse of a recipe that claimed that it would produce a delicious  “boeuf bourguignon”. We had planned to prepare this supposed delight while on our last RV trip. But, due to unforeseen circumstances did not prepare it until a week ago.  (See “Serendipity, we have a problem!”)

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Certified disaster on a plate

I won’t bother you with extraneous detail. Let me merely say that three absolutely essential ingredients were absent from the recipe: butter, bacon, and garlic. Butter starts my day, bacon lifts my spirits, and garlic makes life worth living! That wretched recipe has left me traumatized. (Julia Child would have wept.)

Motivated by pure indignation and outrage, I vowed that, 1104181410 (2)henceforward, butter, bacon, and most importantly garlic would always be available at SFH to add to recipes of this type. To that end, industrious and forward thinking wife planted nearly 20 cloves of garlic in our herb garden.

Highlight 2: I’m tired! I’m very tired. Over the last several days and two exceedingly long nights, I felt compelled to answer the call of civic duty and responsibility. I’ve gone to meetings concerning local issues, and with my dear sweet wife, I went to the polls at o-dark-thirty to vote in the national election. Last evening, we watched the news for hours as the election results rolled in. Here at SFH and at the homes of our children we hold fast to fulfilling our important civic obligation:

“Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay to taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country.” CCC 2240

1104181617a (2)Highlight 3: Oh, yes! Exceedingly thoughtful neighbors shared their bounty in oysters. Twenty-two tasty morsels from the Chesapeake Bay made their way to our grill and then to our table on  the 4th. Good neighbors are a blessing from God!

Weather: Alternating rain, sun, clouds. The yard is full of standing water again.

2018-11-04: High/Low – 57º/32º (Details – click here.)

2018-11-05: High/Low – 51º/46º (Details – click here.)

2018-11-06: High/Low – 62º/55º (Details – click here.)

2018-11-07: High/Low – 62º/41º (Details – click here.)

Plantings: Mark the date – November 4th – garlic, wonderful, delightful, versatile, essential garlic was planted.

Harvest: Reporting suspended until the first harvest of 2019.

SFH Journal: 2018-07-12

Highlight: Oh, the joys of Summer! Today, the lawn tractor and I explored all the nooks and crannies of the yard seeking out overly exuberant blades of grass. Factually, the lawn consists primarily of an exotic array of well-manicured weeds. Those weeds have the endearing trait of being able to come back every year in great abundance. One cannot expect that from high-priced, fancy grasses that beg for water and fertilizer. Nope, I’ll take my heirloom weeds over expensive grasses anytime. (Unfortunately, wondrous and adorable spouse does not agree.)

Weather: The warm/hot, dry pattern continues. Fortunately the humidity is lower. The dry weather has necessitated extra watering and attention to the condition of the various plants. 2018-07-12: High – 86º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: The okra we had for supper last night was excellent. That wonderful vegetable, properly cooked, has become a staple here at Serendipity Farmhouse.

Now that we have two empty raised garden boxes, we decided to plant seven more okra plants. We learned last year that we could freeze okra and have it throughout the remainder of the year. Although it might be too late in the season for successful planting, the prospect of more okra for us now and for the freezer makes it worth the effort and the violation of common sense.

2018-07-12: Planted two Clemson Spineless okra plants and five Cow’s Horn okra plants.

Harvest: Nothing to report.

SFH Journal: 2018-06-25 through 27

Highlight: Two events dominated the last three days. Both are worthy of separate posts. One will be about an orphaned fawn who visited us for three days. The second will come with the first pictures of our new (used) Class C RV – El Camino Del Monte.

Weather:

2018-06-25  (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-06-26  (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-06-27  (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report.

Harvest: 2018-06-26 – Industrious and dedicated wife harvested enough green beans for supper. Unfortunately, she was not happy because the beans were stringy. Although the flavor was good, the texture was not up to par. She also harvested dozens of beets and five jalapenos (the first of the year).