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.
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.
SFH WX Station Report: The tables and charts tell the story – the seasons are definitely changing.
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.
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.
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.
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 readings 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.
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!”)
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, 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
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.)
The 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 and 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.
Harvest: 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.
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.