Category: Uncategorized

SFH Journal: 2018-06-16 & 17

Highlight: Many things are coming together all at once here at Serendipity Farmhouse. Rather than give you skimpy, watered down posts because of lack of time, we will save the information and write the posts in the proper manner.

So, for the next week or two, all we’ll be reporting is the weather. Come the early part of July, we will get back into the swing of things – perhaps from our new mobile, soon to be world famous test kitchen aboard our new RV El Camino Del Monte.


2018-06-16  (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-06-17  (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report.

Harvest: Nothing to report.

SFH Journal: 2018-06-04

Highlight: Sunshine, finally!!

All children and grand children are safe and secure after the storms. One of the children has a basement that leaks and floods. This is never a happy thing.

Weather:  It started off foggy, damp, and cool this morning. This afternoon brought the first sunshine we’ve seen in days. (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: The vegetable gardens made it through the storm. Mr. Stripey looks a little out of sorts and some leaves don’t appear to be happy. We’ll keep an eye on him.

Harvest: Nothing to report.

‘Ruffles & Flourishes’

In previous posts I said that I would explain our recent flurry of cleaning and other preparations. Now, I am going to tell you the background story on all this activity. But, before I do that, let me explain ‘ruffles & flourishes’:

Ruffles and Flourishes are sounded to render personal honors and precede prescribed music for personnel being honored. Ruffles (played by the drums) and Flourishes (played by bugle or selected brass instruments) are played simultaneously.

(To learn more about ‘ruffles & flourishes’ and to hear what they sound like, click here.)

Background Story: In October 1973, I discovered I was married to an ‘Admiral’. It was during the Navy Day Ball at Goodfellow Air Base in San Angelo, Texas. I was just a lowly Petty Officer and the events of that night caused me to think that I would never be promoted again. It’s a great story, but for brevity’s sake, I will spare you the details.

As I was saying, it was at that Navy Day Ball that I realized that I was married to an ‘Admiral’. To be sure, she’s never been in the Navy – yet, in terms of ‘authority’ my sweet wife is, indeed, the equivalent to any ‘Admiral’. Although I retired at a relatively high enlisted rank, the fact remains – I will never outrank my wife.

Yesterday, my wife’s sister arrived for a visit to Serendipity Farmhouse. Experience has shown me that my sister-in-law is also an ‘Admiral’. Her date of rank is earlier than my wife’s. That technically means she has precedence over my wife. Consequently, her arrival was observed with full honors and proper protocol. The official SFH marching band rendered the traditional four ruffles and flourishes. (In case you were wondering, our Maine Coon cat, Mr. Monte, is the band leader and the chief of the ceremonial guard. It is my job to carry out his instructions immediately and precisely during these ceremonial events.)

Now, there is another, far more important factor that motivates us to greet visitors to SFH with ‘ruffles & flourishes’. As we said when we started this blog, we are Oblates of St. Benedict and, to the extent to which it is possible in our married state of life, we try to live according to the Rule of St. Benedict.

Achieving true Benedictine hospitality as it is described in Chapter 53 of the Rule is a lofty but worthwhile goal. (See: Chapter 53 On the Reception of Guests.) Two quotes from that chapter sum up what we are really trying to do:

Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ, for He is going to say,
“I came as a guest, and you received Me” (Matt. 25:35). And to all let due honor be shown, especially to the domestics of the faith and to pilgrims.


In the salutation of all guests, whether arriving or departing, let all humility be shown. Let the head be bowed or the whole body prostrated on the ground
in adoration of Christ, who indeed is received in their persons.

So, if you are a guest coming to visit at Serendipity Farmhouse, you can expect us to greet you with open arms and prayers of welcome in our hearts, just as we did my sister-in-law. Yes, you can expect to be greeted with what we would call a series of spiritual “ruffles and flourishes”.

SFH Journal: 2018-05-01

Weather: A pleasant day with lots of sun. There were many errands and the weather cooperated perfectly. (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Daily Highlight: No, Serendipity Farmhouse is not Shangri-La. When we leave our house on errands, we won’t start aging dramatically. Yet, every time we leave the safe confines of SFH, we do encounter things that are either too sad or too humorous to bear. Today was no exception.

We watched a lady buy two enormous plants at Wegmans. Because she was parked near our car, we were behind her as she approached the parking lot. My beautiful spouse and I speculated that she must have either a pickup truck or a large SUV. Certainly, there was no way she could get those plants into a sedan.

We were totally wrong. The lady in question was, in fact,the proud owner of a small Honda Acura. We watched as she circled her car. She scratched her chin and tilted her head, she measured and pondered, she was determined that those two plants would go home with her.

The front door was opened and the seat went down. The trunk was opened and other things happened. Then the first plant disappeared into the bowels of the Acura. As we were leaving the lot, I could see that the second plant was going to follow the first.

We suspect that lady was successful in her mission and returned home happily with her new plants. We also suspect her unsuspecting husband had to clean up all the dirt that fell out of those pots and was scattered from one end of that Acura to the other. – Ah, the lovely month of May!

All Hands on Deck: Every free moment is filled with frenzied preparations. There’s very little time for reflection. As I said yesterday, we will explain everything in an upcoming post called “Ruffles & Flourishes”.

Plantings: Nothing to report.

Harvest: Nothing to report.

SFH Journal: 2018-04-29

Weather: It was partly cloudy and very windy most of the day. The high temperature was a chilly 55º. (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Sunday: This was a (needed) day of rest. All centered around Mass, Communion, and family. Of course, we did our simple chores. The gardens were watered. Because a ‘Freeze Warning’ was issued for our area, we covered the cherry tomato plant in the herb garden.

Plantings: Nothing to report

Harvest: Nothing to report

Daily Highlight: Washing dishes has strangely become one of my favorite things. In Hawaii, rainbows were always in view as I performed this chore. In Idaho, I was treated to magnificent sunsets.

So, when we moved to Serendipity Farmhouse I wondered what visual delights would accompany evening kitchen cleanup. I soon learned that grazing steers and sheep, along with the view of surging waters in our river would be a common scene.

This evening was not so common. I spotted the unique signature image of a bald eagle emerging from behind a large sycamore tree and circling upwards on the center of a thermal. The evening sun highlighted the sharp contrast between its black body and white head and tail. It was a majestic display of power and peace in ascent.

Upcoming Posts & Items of Interest – 2018-01

Sometime very soon, we intend to test a new theme. Hopefully, it will be more crisp, informative, and user friendly. We want to make it easier for you to find information of interest and navigate from page-to-page rapidly. We will do our best to avoid any disruptions or glitches during the transition and we look to you to provide constructive criticism and helpful comments to improve this site.

Meanwhile, a lot has been happening here at SFH and we have a backlog of news, pictures, and commentary. Here is some of what you can expect to see in the coming weeks:

  • Bluebirds make SFH their home,
  • Making goat milk cheese,
  • Clearing the south 40,
  • The vegetable garden is ready for planting,
  • First harvest of asparagus,
  • The herb garden has color as well as flavor, and
  • At least two blog reviews.