Category: SFH Weather

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: 2019-02-03 through 02-09 – Calamity!

Dear Reader, please forgive me if this post is relatively short and devoid of humor and hope. As you will see in the weather graphic below, in the wake of a sizable rainfall, a great windstorm blew through the immense Serendipity Farmhouse estate on Friday, February 7th. Although the highest recorded gust was only 26.2 mph, you must understand that the SFH Weather Station is mounted on a pole only seven feet high and is blocked by trees. That means that wind gusts were actually much greater.

Whatever the wind speed was, it was sufficient to totally wipe out the infrastructure of our most fruitful vineyard. Only time will tell if we will be able to restore the vineyard to its once great glory.

Big Wind

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Here we see the true devastation wrought by this calamity.

After we celebrated our joyous harvest of grapes last August, we were looking forward with great expectations as a larger local winery offered to process our grapes and turn them into a great vintage wine. We found that our grapes would be mixed with grapes from other vineyards. The vintner said that he had come up with a rare and distinctive blend. To match the quality of the product, the winery created an equally rare and distinctive label.

The next time you visit Serendipity Farmhouse, we will be glad to invite you in for a quality tasting.

SFH Box Wine

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 2020-02-02 through 02-09

SFH Journal: 2020-01-06 through 01-12

As we told you in our post First Snow – 2020-01-07, Tuesday the 7th we were blessed with a quiet Winter interlude. The days passed by and the snow slowly disappeared. Saturday the 11th and today the 12th were warm and balmy. The contrast between the 7th and the 12th reveal an amazing range of beauty and color. Serendipity Farmhouse is always ready to fascinate one with its charm and nearly infinite variations in personality.

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The unexpectedly warm days provided a perfect opportunity to move some seasonal items to the shed for storage. Happily, there was also some spare time to mount a brand new cast iron rooster bell at the entrance to the back porch. This was a present from dear Daughter #1 and family, intended to provide a means to announce the arrival of welcomed guests. Well done, dear Daughter #1, and thank you.

Stop the presses!! News Bulletin!! – Beautiful Wife just came into the house and made the joyous announcement that several garlic sprouts have made their way to the surface in search of the sun. Yes, Friends, there are great prospects for fresh, homegrown garlic this year.

UntitledSFH 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 2020-01-06 through 01-12

 

 

 

 

First Snow – 2020-01-07

Describing the first real snowfall of the season here at Serendipity Farmhouse doesn’t require many words – just a few pictures, a fresh cup of coffee, and a fire in the wood stove. Here are the pictures, meanwhile, I’ll sit back in a cozy chair to enjoy my coffee and the warmth of the fire.

And, if you prefer an action shot, this is about the best I can do on short notice.

And, if you are a weather geek like me, the stats for the day are here.

SFH Journal: 2019-12-30 through 2020-01-05

My beautiful, highly supportive wife and loving Maine Coon Cat sometimes find it amusing to make sport of yours truly. The photos below illustrate that fact and they also show that my balding head is often the object of their labored attempts at humor. They can’t refrain from adorning the place where a luxuriant head of hair used to reside with various items calculated to raise a belly laugh or hardy guffaw from the huge audience following our adventures here at Serendipity Farmhouse.

Be that as it may, the year 2019 at SFH was filled with technological achievements and successes and I will have you know this balding, geeky object of their scurrilous humor was the mastermind behind them.

It was just over a year ago when Serendipity Farmhouse Weather Station KVAFLETC4 made its debut. (See SFH Journal: 2019-01-01 through 03 – SFH Weather Station Online for the details.) Each and every day since then the world has been able to monitor the meteorological events here at SFH. This knowledge has become useful to us during the planting, growing, and harvesting of our crops during this best gardening year ever at SFH.

Likewise, the introduction of new appliances for the soon-to-be-world-famous SFH Test Kitchen, such as our new Instant Pot, have markedly improved the way we get things done. Sure, there’s a learning curve, and plugs can become disconnected, but we here at SFH get the job done. And, yes, I’m the geek behind the scenes who eventually  makes things work – sort of. (See SFH Test Kitchen – Hubby Under Pressure for the details.)

So, if you want to call me a Weather Geek from Outer Space or disseminate wildly falsified accounts of what I do to satisfy my vanity, feel free to take your best shot. After all, dear Blondie, you truly are my beautiful, highly supportive wife and, Mr. Monte, you certainly are my loving Maine Coon Cat. You make Serendipity Farmhouse what it was meant to be.

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 2019-12-30 through 2020-01-05

 

 

 

SFH Journal: 2019-07-15 through 21 – Hot!

Why waste words? We at SFH all know what Summer in Virginia can be like. Here’s the simple summary for the past week. – – – Please note that today is not over yet and the temperature could go even higher than the 98º our weather station is reporting.

Yikes! As of 3:19 PM, we are showing a temperature of 100º with a “feels like” temperature of 119º.

Hot-04

Lest you think all we have to say is negative. Please take a look at our harvest statistics below. The gardens are doing very well.

SFH by the Numbers – Facts & Statistics

SFH Plantings: See SFH 2019 Plantings

SFH Harvest: See SFH 2019 Harvest

SFH WX Station Report: See SFH Weather Summaries & Statistics

 

 

 

 

SFH Journal: 2019-05-13 through 25

Highlight #1: Spring is rapidly moving into Summer here at Serendipity Farmhouse. Daffodils and irises are giving way to roses and magnolias. The wild chives are on the wane, but strawberry plants around the yard are bearing their sweet red fruits. The colors and smells are changing in accord to the dictates of the length of days and rising temperatures. So be it and let it be so.

Highlight #2: The promise of a harvest, perhaps a very bountiful harvest, is being announced in all our gardens and on our trees. If one were to walk through our vast, nearly 1.25 acre estate as I did yesterday, you would have seen some of these signs of promise.

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DSC_1151 (2)Highlight #3: This is our first year growing garlic and we are learning as we go. We planted 17 garlic cloves in Autumn last year. The first garlic sprouts bravely emerged in mid-January this year. One sign that the plants are beginning to mature is the appearance of “scapes” (the flower bud of the garlic plant). We let them grow, but not flower. If they flower, it will retard the growth of the garlic cloves. Scapes are edible and tasty. They can be prepared in several different ways and make a welcome addition to salads.

Harvest: Here’s a brief recap of what came from the garden to our table over the last two weeks:

05-17: 1 large bunch of curly kale & 2 asparagus spears
05-18: 6 strawberries
05-20: 5 asparagus
05-21: 1 bunch of curly kale
05-24: Parsley, basil, 2 garlic scapes (all went into a pasta salad)
05-25: Last harvest of curly kale

SFH WX Station Report: For right now, we have settled into what appears to be a normal Spring weather pattern. The gardens are responding quite well. So far, the rain has come at regular intervals and has been adequate in quantity. Hopefully, this pattern will stay with us over the growing season. For the sake of brevity and clarity, I am only showing the running, monthly summaries.

WX-A

WX-B

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.