Category: SFH- Upkeep & Improvements

SFH Journal: 2021-03-08 through 03-14 – Spring into Action

SFH Unwritten Rule (until just now): No matter what the calendar says, when the warm weather comes, make use of it.

And this week that is just what we did. Daytime highs ranged from the upper 60s to a high of 80.4° F on Thursday the 11th. With no high winds and no precipitation, there was no excuse. This was an early window of opportunity that called us to Spring into Action. Chronicled below are just a few of the tasks accomplished here at SFH this past week.

08 MAR – Bread Making: Early in the day, my most resourceful Spouse performed another test with the new official SFH Test Kitchen bread maker. This time she made Scandinavian Light Rye using a recipe by Beth Hensberger as found in The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook. The result was PERFECTION. The success was based on the combination of a great recipe, a properly functioning bread machine, and masterful execution by the love of my life. – One note: Dearest wife has an aversion to caraway seeds, but the flavor of truly well made rye bread is not diminished by the absence of the little black seeds that tend to plant themselves firmly between one’s teeth.

09 MAR – RV Uncovering: Despite the countdown posted on the left hand panel on the blog for the last several weeks, the SFH Unwritten Rule and lack of patience dictated that the cover would come off the RV on this day. No one told me that I would have to become a parachute packer if I bought an RV. But as you can see below, getting a 26-foot long RV cover back into its storage bag is not an easy job. My only regret is that Mr. Monte decided not to allow us to post the picture of beautiful Wife and me both sitting on the folded cover in an attempt to reduce its bulk.

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10 MAR – Gardening: Never ever put off prepping your garden for Spring planting. Get it done while the suns shines. Raking out dry dirt is much easier than working in the mud. ‘Nuf said!

11 MAR – Maintenance & Repair: (SFH Saying: Anything a man can make, either time, another man, or both can break.) For the record, RV hot water tank drain plugs were not designed to last more than a couple seasons. Even when using the proper tools, that plug will wear out quickly. As you can see, I will have to work on a corrosion problem with my propane water heater.

Of course, lawn mowing season is only weeks away. On this day, my lawn tractor was returned after full service maintenance. The expansive meadows, fields, and lawns of the SFH estate shall receive the very best of care this year.

12 MAR – Grass Seeding: Speaking of the expansive meadows, fields, and lawns of the SFH estate, the damage caused by the pre-Christmas water line repair required the purchase of some seed, some hard work with the garden rake, and daily watering.

 

13 MAR – Car Washing: Winter road salt, a muddy lane, dust, dirt, and collateral damage by rude avian creatures require that the entire stable of SFH vehicles receive a thorough cleaning. Industrious Spouse was up to the task. In addition to these pictures, please refer to the footnote at the end of this post.

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14 MAR Day of Rest: Sunday truly is a day of rest at SFH. So it was, so it is, and so it always shall be.

Footnote: All serious works of non-fiction should include footnotes. Beautiful Wife is now ready for Spring with her robin egg blue nail color.

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 2021-03-08 through 03-14

SFH Journal: 2019-04-07 through 13 – Things You Never Expected!

Beautiful wife and I started the week by listing tasks to ready Serendipity Farmhouse for planting season and the changeover to warm weather routine. More than 35 tasks emerged from this session. Many of these are non-trivial and labor intensive.

When the list was complete, sweet and loving wife looked at me, smiled at the thought of how beautiful SFH would be once the tasks were accomplished, and then looked at me with a stern expression that said: “Well, what are you waiting for? Get to work.” And so I did, and so I have been doing all week. But, I must add, my industrious spouse has been working just as hard as I have.

Highlights: Here are just two recollections of this week’s many memorable events.

Continue reading “SFH Journal: 2019-04-07 through 13 – Things You Never Expected!”

SFH Journal: 2018-11-29 through 2018-12-03 – 200 Amp Service!!!

Highlight: When Serendipity Farmhouse was built, circa 1927, electrical wiring was of little concern. In fact, it appears that, along with indoor plumbing, electricity was of no concern at all. As time moved on, and two extensions were added to the original house, plumbing made its way into the extensions and electricity made it into the entire house.

In the minds of those who made the additions, everything seemed fit and proper. A circuit here, a circuit there, no more wood stove for cooking, electric heat in the bathroom – everybody was happy.  Right?

In October 2013, the eyes of one beholder, our home inspector, the picture (or pictures) of the state of the SFH electrical system were not so rosy. Nope, here is some of what she saw and some of what she thought.

Old box-1

“6.1 (1) Main panel does not have a main shut off breaker for entire panel–only a breaker (60 amp) labeled as “lighting main”. Also, other lighting circuits have been added — this could be confusing if someone trying to work on lights / switches thinks that power off to all those circuits if “lighting main” breaker is off. Suggest upgrade panel to include panel main breaker.”

Old box-2

“Note wire coming up in bottom of panel through knockout hole — but grommet missing. This protects wire from damage.”

Then, of course, there was the problem that SFH only had (barely had) 100 Amp service. That is why you heard me whine all Summer about the heat – attempting to run even two small air conditioners at the same time could have dire consequences.

1202181116b (2)So, that is why the last two months have been filled with the sounds of electricians tearing out old wires, installing conduit, running new wire, drilling holes, etc., etc., etc. Needless to say, Mr. Monte was not happy with the noise. Yet, despite the noise and strange humans wandering through the house, Mr. Monte frequently made forays into the work areas in order to assess the quality of the work. He let us know when he thought there was something amiss.

 

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Then finally, just as we readied to roll the calendar over from November to December, the work was done. Serendipity Farmhouse now has modern, legal, and safe 200 Amp service. Come next Summer, we will be able to run air conditioners in the house, wherever and whenever we want.

1202181118 (2)As a wonderful side benefit, we now have a special 30 Amp circuit for our Class C RV “El Camino Del Monte”. And that, dear readers, signals the opportunity for the next big upgrade at SFH – an updated kitchen. Yup, either in 2019 or 2020 we will update the SFH Test Kitchen. And, when we do, we can move into the RV and live comfortably there. With the new 30 Amp service, we will be able to run the RV air conditioner, watch TV, listen to music, and prepare Julia Child meals while the workers are performing their magic on the “new and improved” SFH Test Kitchen.

Weather:  Chilly and damp; rain, mist, fog on Saturday the 1st. (For details of Sperryville, VA weather in November 2018 – click here.)

2018-11-29: High/Low -39º/27º

2018-11-30: High/Low – 43º/32º

2018-12-01: High/Low – 37º/30º

2018-12-02: High/Low – 59º/37º

2018-12-03: High/Low – 57º/39º

Plantings: Reporting suspended until the first planting of 2019.

Harvest: Reporting suspended until the first harvest of 2019.