Category: Uncategorized

Blondie, we need to talk!

IMG_20200425_155922618_editedBlondie!! – – We need to talk!!

As you can see by the look on my face, I am not happy. Disturbed perhaps, deeply troubled of course, but most assuredly – NOT HAPPY!

You and I both know what happens at SFH stays at SFH. It is the policy here to keep our deeply private matters, especially those that would undermine the credibility and dignity of our corporate image, out of public view. We don’t advertise our insecurities or immature behaviors.* On May 8th, you violated that policy and have breached our common trust.

Imagine my shock and dismay when your picture popped up on my screen as I was catching up with my feline friends on Facebook. There you were. My dear, sweet Blondie in the midst of your mad and wild ravings about desiring to return to a hair color that caused my inner being to shudder. – – See for yourself!

Ol Red“About sixteen years ago, I had a blonde moment. I decided to have my naturally blonde hair dyed red. And I loved it. But… The upkeep is unreal. Hubby had no problem with the color, but the cost was beyond his patience level (his inner cheap). Now, the pandemic has forced Hubby into his blonde moment – he’s growing a ponytail. – – One blonde moment deserves another. There’s a real chance this blonde is going red again. – – Help me out, Anna!!!!”


Dearest Blondie, this is where I am obliged to save you from yourself. Sit down and listen to the voice of sanity and wisdom. Breathe slowly and deeply; compose yourself and listen to what I have to say.

True, you do have your blonde moments. There’s a reason for that. You are, in fact, a blonde – natural and true. Accept that fact; embrace it. It is what you are and it helps to define who you are. Don’t let this world, filled with all of its current insanity, drive you into trying to be something else.

IMG_20200213_132850189_editedLook at my picture. I am a mackerel Maine Coon cat. I was the enchanting mackerel Maine Coon kitten you brought home. How would you feel if suddenly you found that I had, through a foolish, emotional act, turned myself into an orange Maine Coon. How would you react? – Of course! I wouldn’t be your adorable Mr. Monte.

We both know that Ol’ Fuzz Face is wont to go off the deep end at times. He can’t help himself. Stability and common sense aren’t his strong suits. For example, consider his actions in my post SFH Journal: 2019-12-23-29 – No! Christmas is Not Over Yet!. It was pretty clear that he was in need of professional help.

But you, dearest Blondie, not you. You can find the strength within yourself to avoid making this terrible mistake. If you don’t restrain yourself now, you might follow the  same sorrowful path as Fuzzy. In which case, you might even resort to using some of my wonderfully soft hair to supplement your own. – – Please, please stop now while you still can!! Please stop so I don’t have to call you Ol’ Red!!


*Please note: My revelations about the foolhardiness of my big cat Ol’ Fuzz Face is an exception to the rule. Spotlighting his total buffoonery is most humorous to my 23, 417 feline followers.

SFH Journal: 2020-02-17 through 02-23 – Calamity Averted

As you may recall, due to a great windstorm that blew through the immense Serendipity Farmhouse estate on Friday, February 7th the entire infrastructure of our most fruitful vineyard was totally devastated. (See SFH Journal: 2019-02-03 through 02-09 – Calamity! for the full story.)

We hearty and proud residents of SFH gathered together in council to determine what could be, what should be, and what would be done to restore our dear vineyard to its once great glory. It was decided by my dear, sweet and most level-headed Spouse (see featured picture) that we would rebuild. Not only would we rebuild, we would make our vineyard even more grand than it was before the wind storm.

Lovely Wife would provide the planning and oversee the execution of the plan. Mr. Monte would scour the Internet for the best possible materials. As usual, I would provide the labor and respond, without hesitation, to all commands dictated by my True Love.

Within days the new arbor had been shipped to our door step. Mr. Monte had chosen wisely. I immediately set to the task of dismantling the old arbor; salvaging all usable hardware; and disposing of the debris. Dearest Wife decided that we would celebrate the demolition with a small bonfire and chocolate chip cookies. – – I saw this as a great incentive and motivator to get the work done quickly.

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Using my highly developed multitasking skills, I, almost without error or difficulty, also managed to assemble the new arbor. Now the key to understanding my last statement is to consider that almost no home assembly project is completed smoothly and without mishap. Here are some examples of what novelties this assembly task presented:

1 – Instructions: Unlike many other products, these instructions were written by Americans. For those of us who have adapted to Zhonglish (Chinese-English mistranslations), our ability to comprehend literal and coherent English has diminished. Consequently, it took some time to reacquaint myself with my own native language.

2. Adhesive: You will note that the supplied parts included “Fix-All Adhesive”. The instructions also referred to this devilish mixture as “Super Glue”. The reader will note that on several occasions I have worked with this substance. My experiences have not been good ones. Even as I type these words for you, I am trying to remove a large amount of this substance from index fingers and thumbs. – At least this time I didn’t get it on my nose.

3. The “Last” Part: There is always great joy in affixing the last part to your assembly project, stepping back, and viewing your project with great pride. I did so earlier this afternoon. I even called out my wonderful Spouse to see my work. There were no left over parts. – – I celebrated too soon! – – Please note the red circle in the picture below. – It took Dearest Wife and I nearly 25 minutes to find that part and install it properly.


So, here’s a quick review of assembly of the arbor.

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The objective of this project, completed so adeptly by the residents of SFH, was to restore and improve the infrastructure of the vast SFH vineyard. The following pictures show that we accomplished that task in fine fashion.

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In addition to acknowledging beautiful Wife’s unparalleled planning and oversight of this project, I would like to thank Mr. Monte for his fantastic and uncanny ability to search the Internet for project materials. He’s really one smart cat!


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 2020-02-17 through 02-23

SFH Journal: 2020-01-27 through 02-02

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Maine Coons Rule!

Hi! Mr. Monte here.

After that thoroughly shameless display of childish goat gabbing and gibberish yesterday, Ol’ Fuzz Face decided to take a break and let me have the keyboard. Finally, dear readers, you will have the opportunity to partake in the fullness of rational, adult commentary on life and all things of importance. I offer it at no charge, knowing that you will be greatly edified.

As a stealthy and cunning predator, I have disciplined myself to be a careful observer of all things in nature. That’s because so many of those things are edible or at least fun to play with before introducing them to the afterlife.

For example, I watched Fuzz Face closely as he was attempting to get a bag of cat litter to bring into the house. I calculated all of his possible moves and determined that he couldn’t get to the bag without coming into striking range of my deadly claws. – He attempted to get by; he weaved to-and-fro, and then fro-and-to, but he could not pass. I had the best of him and was ready to advance towards the kill. That’s when he spoiled the game and simultaneously revealed his great cowardice. – That’s when he called for Blondie to come and help. That’s when the words “spineless” and “wimp” entered my mind. – Oh well, there will be a next time and I shall prevail.

Now, back to the post. As I said earlier, I am careful observer of all things in nature. If it weren’t for me, Fuzz Face would have never known that a pileated woodpecker was in clear view just outside his window. Even with my early notification, Fuzzy was only able to take a substandard, mediocre photo of that beautiful feathered creature. Despite it’s imperfection, I have made it the featured picture for this post.

Yesterday, before Fuzz Face went out for that silly rendezvous with his funny looking, floppy-eared friends, I advised him that daffodils and resurrection lilies are now making apparent their longing for Spring. In his own, dull sort of manner, he made his way to the river’s edge and snapped a few poorly staged pictures. Nevertheless, I guess they make the point. Some day, Fuzzy will learn to take my artistic advice, but I’m not very confident that will take place during any of my nine lives.

Finally, he came back to the house, camera in hand, with a stupid smile on his face. Once more he had taken substandard photos about which he could not refrain from bragging. “Look, Look!” he said, “Garlic! The garlic is growing and there’s more of it now!”

What a sad and demented creature is Ol’ Fuzz Face, if goats and garlic are the high points in his life. If it weren’t for the fact that he knows my grooming preferences and plays a fairly good game of “Hunt and Kill”, I would have asked Blondie to pack up his things and take him to Reality Farm, where he could play with goats and eat garlic to his heart’s content.

Another useless garlic picture

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 2020-01-27 through 02-02




SFH Journal: 2019-12-23-29 – No! Christmas is Not Over Yet!

As you can see from the feature picture, I’m just about as easy going as anyone can be. For example, look at what Mr. Monte did to me in his last post. (See it here.) That new hairdo shown in the featured picture of this post was just supposed to be a joke. And it would have been if that mischievous Maine Coon cat had not put Gorilla Glue on the double-sided tape when I wasn’t looking. The tape with Monte’s hair attached is likely to be with me for quite some time.  Nevertheless, I can see the humor in that – maybe.

There is one thing that can make me very grumpy. Although I can handle Maine Coon cats making fun of me. It’s a little bit more difficult to watch what the world outside Serendipity Farmhouse has done to Christmas. Saying that Christmas is “over” on December 26th is just about the saddest thing that one can hear. Yet, I’ve heard that statement so many times this week. For the folks that think like that, Christmas for them was sometime between the so called “Black Friday” and about 12 Noon on December 25th. Everything after that was an anticlimax. How sad, how very sad!

Click on this picture to see an expanded version of this calendar

If you click on the picture above, you will find out that Christmas, or what we call the “Christmas Season” is still just beginning. Christmas is a “season” not just a day. And here at Serendipity Farmhouse, it’s always going to be that way.

And the same goes for all 11 grandchildren. The reports from Daughters #1 and #2, as well as Son #1 all attest to that fact. None of them, no not even one of them is going to let this Christmas Season slip away without making the most out of every minute. Every day from December 25th through January 12th has been, is, and will be filled with true Christmas cheer and joy.

No, dear friends, Christmas is Not Over Yet!

So, on this the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, from all of the residents of Serendipity Farmhouse, and all the children, children-in-law, and grandchildren –

Merry Christmas!!!


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 2019-12-23 through 12-29



SFH Journal: 2019-12-03 through 12-09: Found!!!

Long ago we said that Serendipity Farmhouse is not the house of our dreams, but the house of our realities. This week a friend died and we attended his funeral on Friday. He will be sorely missed. We pray for him and his family.

Long ago we said that Serendipity Farmhouse is not the house of our dreams, but the house of our realities. This week our car suffered the ill effects of 143K miles of Washington, D.C. commuting. After nearly $6K worth of repairs, it is now back in service.

Long ago we said that Serendipity Farmhouse is not the house of our dreams, but the house of our realities. That is how it is, and that is how it is meant to be.

Flash Precedence News Bulletin: The elf has been found!!!!!!! Sweet, beautiful Spouse found his Summer hiding place and now he has returned to plague us with his foolishness.

Dear, sweet, and gentle Wife has taken to the adventure with great glee.

I am somewhat more restrained.

Mr. Monte would gladly put him out of his misery.

So, as all the seasonal decorations are being set in there appointed places, that little red fellow keeps slipping out of sight, defying us to find him. I just might take Mr. Monte up on his offer.

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People (or elves) that live in glass houses …
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Evidence that the little red dude is not so smart


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His last known hiding place


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 2019-12-02 through 12-08



Walnut Whacking

WW-01Watch out! – Here it comes!




Breathless silence …



That, Dear Friends, was the sound of my most beautiful, imaginative, and exceedingly innovative Wife as she introduced the new sport of Walnut Whacking to Serendipity Farmhouse – and, dare I say it, to the World.

Origin & History: Although various forms of walnut whacking can be traced to Hungary and other parts of Europe, there is no doubt that the primitive American form was an independent invention of enterprising and inventive American youths.

There are few records of the discovery or development of this sport. Yet, the traditions of schoolyards and family farms throughout the building of this country are filled with similar cases. Consider, for example, “tag”, “keep away”, and “dodge-ball”. In that great kingdom of imagination which is childhood, these games are part of the natural order.

We who are fortunate enough to be grandparents are blessed in many ways. Often we think that grandparents are meant to pass on family traditions. Verily, that is one important role, but grandparents must also stand ready to learn great truths and mysteries from their grandchildren –  and, the primitive form of “walnut whacking” is one of those mysterious truths.

For in that primitive form, clever Wife saw the answer to a serious, perennial SFH problem – mounds of rotting black walnuts. The hideous little beasties fall randomly about our vast estate, often bouncing of roofs, automobiles, and occasionally, even unsuspecting heads. They are dangerous and create a perfectly terrible mess. Besides that, as they rot, they stink!!

IMG_20191027_114813140-2.jpgAnd so it was when my clever wife encountered the new-found pastime of her beloved grandsons. She was inspired by them. So inspired, in fact, that she immediately set out to develop the once primitive form of “walnut whacking” into a great family sport that someday might even surpass the ever-popular “cornhole.” And, at the same time, the magnificent grounds of SFH would be cleansed of the offensive rotting walnuts.

Rules & Order of Play: There are two variations to SFH Walnut Whacking “River Rules” & “Pasture Rules”.

  • River Rules apply to SFH and similar grand estates that have natural rivers or creeks. (Please don’t use River Rules with swimming pools.)
    • Whacksman – the person in possession of the whacking racket and performing the walnut whacking
    • Whacking Mound – a 3-5 inch elevated mound where a Whacksman does his/her walnut whacking; usually over 60 feet from the edge of the river or creek
    • Whacksman rotation – the same as cornhole
    • Grumpire – the large Maine Coon cat that interprets the rules and maintains discipline and decorum on the Walnut Whacking playing field
    • Ker-plunk (KP) – the whacked walnut can be heard clearly to land in the water without ever having bounced along the ground – Score: 3 points
    • Woo-hooo!!!!! – The term that must be exclaimed after making a KP, if not said, you lose your points
    • Bounce-plunk (BP) – the whacked walnut bounced on the ground prior to landing in the water – Score: 2 points
    • No-plunk (NP) – the ball goes over the edge of the river, but there is no “plunk – Score: 1 point
    • Short Game: The game is played for less than one hour
    • Long Game: The game is played until the supply of black walnuts is exhausted
  • Pasture Rules apply to grand estates that have no natural water features. All that is needed is a fence and a pasture. Scoring is modified as follows.
    • Ker-plop (KP) – the whacked walnut can be heard clearly to land in a 20-foot diameter circle in a pasture without ever having bounced along the ground – Score: 3 points
    • Bounce-plop (BP) – the whacked walnut bounced on the ground prior to stopping within the 20-foot diameter circle – Score: 2 points
    • No-plop (NP) – the ball goes over the pasture fence, but does not make it to the circle – Score: 1 point
  • Walnut Whacking World Series:
    • Two games are played, one with River Rules and one with Pasture rules. The team with the highest combined point total is the Walnut Whacking World Champion.

Guide to Perfect Form: Beautiful Wife has prepared this series of pictures to show you how you can attain the whacking form that will help you to become a world champion whacksman.

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Equipment: The most important piece of equipment for a great whacksman is a quality racket. Dear, sweet Wife was a bit of a tennis champion while we lived in Japan. She prefers to use her 1978 vintage Shin Nippon Racket. Very few have ever won a match when she had that racket in her hand. (In a follow-on article, we will explore other equipment such as gloves and shoes.)

Potential Problems: Some black walnuts appear to be green and ready for whacking but they have already started to rot inside. The black ooze that emerges when being whacked makes a positively horrific mess of a quality racket. Whacksmen, beware of rotting walnuts!


Challenge: There is a rumor that lovely Wife desires to challenge various children and grandchildren to a Walnut Whacking match. Mind you, that’s only a rumor and you never heard it from me.




¡Basta! – A Justifiable Cat Rant

Hi! Mr. Monte here.

¡Basta! That’s enough – no more!

Even as I begin to take paw to keyboard, I can see that Serendipity Farmhouse is on the verge of falling apart. Am I the only one who can see it? Is everyone else here blind?

Consider: There hasn’t been a post from this blog for nearly two weeks.

Consider: Not one good recipe from Julia has been tested in the SFH Test Kitchen in ages.

Consider: The lawn is shaggy, overgrown, and in great need of trimming.

Consider: The pantry is growing low on food essentials.

What’s going on with my big cats?? Have they lost any sense of priorities??

It all began two weeks ago when Ol’ Fuzz Face pulled out his big green suitcase and started packing. He was constantly checking his reservations and fretting over what clothes to take to windy, cold, and snowy Idaho. During all of this, he took short cuts with my grooming, shortened our play times, and failed to show me the attention that is my due.

Meanwhile, Blondie puttered around aimlessly. Occasionally, she would ask Fuzzy if he needed a shirt ironed or needed some more fattening snacks to pack in his brief case. She was (I am understating), she was less observant of and responsive to my needs than she is required to be. On a scale of 1-10, her interest in my interests had dropped to an all-time low of “2”.

When the old man finally got into his car and headed to the airport, Blondie wandered about SFH aimlessly. She grabbed a book and read for 5-10 minutes. Then she was up bouncing about, looking for something to do. – – – She found it alright, there she was on-line purchasing this-and-that, that-and-this, this-and-this, and that-and-that from Amazon. Fuzzy’s pungent foot odor had barely vacated the room and Blondie had already charged several hundred buckaroos to the SFH credit card. ///Blondie takes issue with my statements – I report, you decide!///

Oh, she wasn’t totally forgetful of her duties. After all, I’ve trained her well in the preparation and serving of my meals. But, it was a lack luster presentation, just barely meeting the lowest level of reasonable expectations. – – The dear, sweet lady wasn’t really with it.

On Tuesday, good friend Nancy visited. She’s a fairly consistent and convivial guest. She’s knows how to show me proper respect and courtesy upon arrival. In that regard, she could teach Blondie a few things.

One morning was the worst in my recent recollection. Blondie made the nearly disastrous decision to perform my required daily grooming. She has little or no training in that most important of rituals. It almost cost her her life, or at least a large quantity of hemoglobin. – – To her credit, Blondie is a gentle and loving human. That was what almost cost her dearly.

She approached me with the stainless steel grooming comb. She uttered sweet, loving, and tender words. She smiled timidly and muttered that this would be an excellent experience. – – What’s the matter with her? Doesn’t she realize I am a full-grown, mature, male, Maine Coon cat with six long, sharp claws on each of my four paws. I also have big teeth. I don’t necessarily respond well to sweet, loving, and tender words.

She approached. I held my ground. She continued to approach. I responded with hissing and a low, unmistakably ominous growl. She still continued to approach and extend the comb. My paw quickly flew in her direction, flashing gleaming white claws. You could hear the swish as the claws slashed through the air. – – Blondie got the message.

For all reading this, Ol’ Fuzz Face, for all his weaknesses and lunacies, is the only human whom I allow to groom me. It may be that he’s not real smart, but he does not fear my grooming time temper tantrums. Whatever the case might be, the pictures you’ve seen of me with my shiny mackerel pattern coat are a reflection of his stupid, ill-informed fearlessness.

And so it was while Fuzz Face was gone. I loved Blondie with purrs and leg rubs while she was feeding me and gave me treats. But, she never ever approached me again with that stainless steel grooming comb.

Oh, by the way, Fuzz Face is good for one other thing – hunting. He is the prey – I am the fierce predator. It’s our game and he suffers greatly if he ever underestimates my abilities. This last week, I found out that Blondie is rather fearful of being the hunted one. – – She knows I don’t appreciate being sprayed with the water bottle. Maybe that’s why she resorted to sleeping with the water bottle all week.

Well, that’s my story. Fuzzy is now home again and he and Blondie (at my urging) are doing their best to get SFH back in running order. It may take a while.

If Fuzzy really loves his dear, sweet, lovable spouse, I counsel him strongly not to take any more business trips. It takes the three of us to run SFH. That’s the way it is and that’s the way it’s meant to be.





Blondie Comes Through – Guilt Assuaged

Hi, Mr. Monte here!

Note 1: This post is only to be read by my 23, 417 feline followers. Do Not! I repeat, Do Not! allow your humans to view the TOPCAT SECRET content herein.

Note 2: This post should not be read without first referring to my post Indignity – Mr. Monte’s Day with the Vet

Yesterday, September 26, stands alongside my birthday two days earlier as a truly great day! Blondie came through! – – No more Dr. Dog-man!!! – – Happy days are here again!

It all began mid-morning. Ol’ Fuzz Face went through his hilarious routine of trying to round me up and get me inside my cat carrier. First, he tries to distract me. Then, he goes into his stealth mode, sneaking up on me. Foolish, foolish human! Once I tire of his manifest idiocy, I just walk over to the carrier – all the time he’s thinking he’s outwitted me.

I must say that I experienced some anxiety when we got into the car instead of the RV. There are only two places they take me for rides – the dump (I’ve never figured that one out) or to Dr. Dog-man’s veterinary practice. – But, to my ever so minor dismay, we passed both places by. – Blondie & Fuzz Face had managed to capture my attention – where were we going???

The ride took about 25 minutes. Blondie rode in the back to attend to my needs. Then we arrived at what looked like a common residential home. The waiting room was definitely that of a veterinary clinic, but it was unusual. The air was filled with the smell of humans and cat, but no other animals whatsoever. I did my best to relax in this entirely new environment.

Suddenly, there were two human females with a juvenile feline in their hands. – My interest was immediately piqued. There was a question concerning the gender of this fuzzy black juvenile. One human gently lifted the tale of the juvenile feline. Her head leaned to the left, then to the right, then back again. She, not so confidently, announced that this was a “girl”.

Of course, by this time my body had gone rigid and my gaze was locked onto the juvenile feline – Friend or Foe? – Playmate or threat? – But, beyond those simple instinctual questions, I had to ask – how can you not be sure if it’s a girl. All they had to do was ask me. – – Humans, I just can’t figure them out. They get paid even if they don’t know the most basic things – like girl or boy?

Then I was taken to a room – a room about the size of a bedroom – a room not unlike a human child’s room. Fuzz Face put my carrier down and opened the door. As he was doing that, a human female walked in and did the strangest thing – she sat on the floor. Despite her sitting position, I knew that she was a veterinary technician. In my usual response to all in the veterinary profession, I hissed and bared my teeth. That’ll show her who’s in charge.

Rather than lurch back in mortal terror, she merely sat in place and smiled at me. Huh? I had to investigate. So, I left the security of my carrier and circled the room two or three times. She continued to smile and talk with my humans. “What’s up here?”

In a short while, another human female entered the room, and she too sat on the floor, right on my level. She also smiled at me and addressed me in a very pleasant low tone. After a while, she attempted to have me play with some cat toys – I was too smart for that ploy. But it wasn’t a ploy. She was willing to play.

Oh, and before I forget, both of the human females offered me yummy cat treats. I knew that had to be a ploy. But, no, that wasn’t a ploy either. The just left them on the floor. I could have any or all that I wanted, no strings attached. Again I said, “What’s up here?”

After a long while (no one seemed to be in a rush), I got the idea that I should check out the second human. To my surprise, I discovered that she was a veterinarian, but not like Dr. Dog-man – she had cat skills, very well developed cat skills. So, as I sidled up alongside her, she stroked me gently and sincerely. “Could this really be?”

In the background, I could even hear classical music just like Fuzz Face plays when he’s at work or writing a post. – It was like being home.

She let me smell a metal disc thing connected to a tube. I sniffed and felt no threat. Slowly she put the disc near my heart and listened – she smiled at what she heard. After that she looked at me as if asking “May I?” Then she looked at my teeth, just a simple look.

Then I was urged to get onto the thing I dread most – the weight scale. The numbers went round and round, up and down and finally stopped at 19.  She smiled approvingly. There were no words of reproof.

I ate some more snacks while the humans talked about my favorite subject – me.

All too quickly the visit had come to an end. I had been to my first visit at a veterinary practice that understands cats – important cats like me.

I don’t remember the ride home. I was in cat heaven, and in my memory I have been there all day. And, had you come to Serendipity Farmhouse today this what you might have seen.

Now, to my 23, 417 feline followers, here is the lesson to be learned about human behavior. Humans have something we cats don’t have and would consider a weakness if we did – GUILT.

(Be advised, dogs, because of their long, subservient relationship with humans, also have guilt.)

When we left Dr. Dog-man and his chamber of catly horrors, Blondie saw that I was in the midst of a near nervous breakdown. She saw me tremble with pain from the injections, poking, and prodding. She visibly winced when Dog-man body shamed me due to my weight.

To some extent, Blondie made her decision to seek a new veterinary practice, out of love. But, be assured, she was even more strongly motivated by severe GUILT. She had put me in this position; it was her duty to make it better by finding a “cat friendly practice” where I could be fear-free.

No matter whether it was GUILT or LOVE or both, she finally did the right thing. She went the extra mile. Sleep well tonight, Dearest Blondie, with guilt assuaged and me snuggling close to you.




SFH Journal: 2019-09-16 through 22

It is the last day of Summer. The autumnal equinox will take place at 3:50 AM on Monday, September 23. Today, in anticipation of Fall, the first magnolia seed pod has burst open and the bright red red berries have made their debut.

We at SFH will not be dancing around a fire Druid fashion tomorrow in the early morning or any other such thing. We will, however, begin our preparations for the coming Winter. The chimney must be cleaned. Firewood must be purchased. And, one-by-one, the vegetable gardens will be prepared for the next growing season.

This last week has been among the best of the year. You can read about some of what went on in our post Three Grand Time Travelers.

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Another great high point was celebrating Daughter #2’s birthday at Montpelier, the home of James Madison. Soon, I hope to have a post with many pictures from the day. For now, here is a view of Daughter #2, her family, and beautiful Spouse strolling through the gardens.

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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 2019-09-16 through 09-22

Three Grand Time Travelers

The featured picture shows the Cleveland skyline from the East Side. As a view of Cleveland today, it makes a bold statement about growth and new prosperity for a city that used to be called “the mistake on the lake”. Yet, in a way, this picture obscures the past, making it more difficult to understand. Where we now see the Key Tower as the most prominent feature, we cannot see what is hidden behind – the Terminal Tower and what it meant to Cleveland in its time. And that, Dear Reader, is why we have grandfathers.

Before I move any further into this tale of the Three Grand Time Travelers, let me confess, there would be no grandfathers, if there were not children and grandchildren. Therefore, you must understand this story belongs as much to them as to me. Consequently, it was my honor to serve as guide during this journey in time – yes, a distinct honor and a great joy.

The journey began at 4:00 AM with the call to reveille. Two grandsons, now both adults, rose to the call, wiping sleep from their eyes. My beautiful Spouse had made ready scrambled eggs, ham, and coffee, all in great quantities. Plates were emptied rapidly, packing was completed, and all took their seats in the family car. Then, we prayed for safety along our way.

The very first stop, the visit that would set the tone for discussion of bygone times, was at All Souls Cemetery in Chardon, Ohio. There lie my Dad, my Mom, and my Sister. There we enjoyed the opportunity to think and speak of important things.

The central point for one growing up in northeastern Ohio during the 1950s was Lake Erie. It was fitting and proper to stop at Headlands Beach State Park and view some scenery that has not yet been ravaged by all that is “new”. It was a perfect day for enjoying the breeze off the Lake and taking pictures of seagulls and the Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Lighthouse. Being two young men who have only seen the ocean, they thought that like most other lakes they would see the other side of Lake Erie. They were wrong – and, in that error, there was a lesson to be learned.

Day One continued with many other stops, including a visit to Crown Hill Cemetery to visit my brother Tim. We spoke of him. When you are the last in your family, there is a responsibility to pass on the family lore and legends.

That evening, there was a family gathering. Grandsons #1 & #2 had the opportunity to meet family they had never known and family whom I love and cherish. The discussion was of travel, food, baseball and football. Who could ask for better topics to enrich the bonds of family?

There has been an ugly rumor in the family that Granddad tells tall tales and embellishes on his stories. The second day of travel for the Three Grand Time Travelers tended to show that perhaps Granddad’s tales were not quite so tall nor quite so embellished. As we visited my grade school, we had the good fortune to be allowed to view halls and rooms not often seen by the public.

It was there that I could confirm there really was a hallway with a down ramp. Milk really was delivered on a cart from room-to-room. But, most of all, it was confirmed that there really was a likelihood that a young student, after delivering milk, went cruising down the hallway at high speed down the ramp and ran into Sister at the bottom.

The world could have ended that day for the young student – but, it didn’t. Though it is only speculation, one might suspect that Sister secretly wished that she too could speed down the hallway on that milk cart.

We visited many, many other places on Day Two of our journey and much more was done than there is space or time to relate. It is essential to understand that, as they saw old baseball fields, high schools, and even electric power plants, Grandsons #1 and #2 were not mere spectators. For them, this was a grand adventure and there were questions about everything. They not only saw that there had been change over time, they also saw what might have been lost or gained through that change.

The evening ended with another visit with family. Thank you, Caroline and all, for taking the time to spend with us. Be assured it was greatly appreciated and will be a topic of stories for years to come.

So, Day Three arrived and we had to put Cleveland in our rear view mirror. Our destination was the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, PA. Though the Grandsons knew that this memorial spoke of a defining moment during their early lives, they never had the opportunity to encounter that moment so closely and personally as they stepped back to September 11, 2001.   –  Here is some of what they saw.

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Yet, even during their solemn reflection, they did not lose their sense of humor, their love for life, or their sense of imagination. That is why we took time to speak of the future, to speak of a project we are working on together for this Christmas. And though the next two pictures will mean nothing to those outside the family, one can see that our DD&D Christmas story is now on the story board.

The day ended with the world’s best chicken wings made by Granny in the soon to be famous Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen. There was no shortage of wings, conversation, or humor.

Thank you to my adorable Spouse, my family in Ohio, to Grandson #1 and Grandson #2, and to all who made this story possible.

We all journey through time. That journey is more meaningful, if we understand it for what it is. – “… seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you…”