Category: Uncategorized

SFH Journal: 2018-09-06 through 08

Highlight: It’s all about food!

For example, Mr. Monte demanded his favorite grain-free food for dinner tonight. We also ate well, as you will see later in this post. But, some of our neighbors weren’t quite so happy. The cardinal family sat on the bird feeder and glared menacingly at my beautiful spouse because the feeder was empty. She told those cardinals that they can complain as much as they wanted; however, she had no intention whatsoever of filling that bird feeder until the rain stopped.

Yep, it’s all about food. And so it came as no surprise when our friend Bartholomew Bear made his appearance in the yard almost precisely at 6:15 PM this evening. As we were eating the last of the fried okra, Bartholomew (Bart for short) made his rounds from apple tree to apple tree. He muttered a few comments about how the apples weren’t as good as last year, but he informed us that it was worth the trip to SFH, even if the apples were sub-par.

He finally made his departure at a sauntering pace, heading for the North Fork of the Thornton River. He mentioned that he might check out all the country gentry partaking in the local The Taste of Rappahannock charity fest. Since we heard no screams from that direction, we assumed that he changed his mind and went elsewhere.

No matter what he decided, for Mr. Monte, Old Fuzz Face, Blondie, the cardinal family, and Bart the Bear, it’s all about food.

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Weather: The heat wave is gone.

2018-09-06: High – 91º, precipitation 0.02 (Details – click here.)

2018-09-07: High – 86º, precipitation 0.35 (Details – click here.)

2018-09-08: High – 71º, precipitation 0.02 (Details – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report

Harvest: The okra plants are producing full force now.  The picture below shows sixteen okra pods sliced and ready for flash freezing. They will be a great side to some meal in deep winter.

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Fried fresh okra and baked chicken, topped with last year’s salsa, were the featured ingredients for dinner tonight. This is how a vegetable garden pays for itself in flavor and cost savings.

2018-09-06: 1 cherry tomato, 2 jalapenos, 16 okra

2018-09-07: Nothing to report

2018-09-08: 10 okra pods

SHF Journal: 2018-08-28

Highlight: Today, our weather history readings are coming from Culpeper, VA with a current “feels like” temperature of 100º. Normally, they come from Luray, VA. The current temperature in Luray is 98º with a feels like of 104º. The temperature and humidity readings are all over the place. The only source we can trust is Mr. Monte. Take a look at today’s feature picture. Notice the placement of the fan and the the cat.

0825181228_HDR_resized.jpgAlso in the midst of all the preparation for the great SFH Birthday Bash, I forgot to tell you that we pickled our first okra of the year. There were too many for three pint jars and not enough for four pint jars. Also, their sizes varied dramatically. The result is not aesthetically pleasing. Hopefully, the taste will be more satisfying.

Weather: Humidity and heat, need I say more?

2018-08-28: (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report

Harvest: The okra is finally coming in high quantity. We have several juvenile okra plants that are just about to flower. Meanwhile, our lone cherry tomato bush is beginning to wain.

2018-08-27: 12 okra pods, 4 cherry tomatoes

SFH Journal: 2018-08-24 through 27

Highlight: The great Serendipity Farmhouse Birthday Bash of 2018 is now in the record books. Tolerable weather, good food and lots of fun and games were enjoyed by all. Stay tuned for our special post on this memorable event.

Speaking of games, it took me nearly an hour to set up the badminton/volley ball net. It took me nearly as long to take it down and get everything back into the box. Now, would you care to guess how much total time was spent by my children and grandchildren playing badminton and/or volleyball?

I have a proposal for a game for next year’s Birthday Bash. Next year, I will challenge the combined group of party attendees to set up the net in less than half an hour. If they manage to accomplish that task, I will allow them to eat. If they don’t make the deadline, they can watch Monte and me eat all the food. – – – Just sayin’.

You can be sure Granny will never let me get away with that one.

Weather: We had our dry spell and the weather was tolerable for the great SFH Birthday Bash on the 26th. For all that we are thankful. Now the heat and humidity have returned. As I write this on the 28th, the “feels like” temperature is 109º.

2018-08-24: High – 82º, precipitation 0.07 (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-08-25: High – 82º, precipitation 0.0 (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-08-26: High – 88º, precipitation 0.00 (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-08-27: High – 92º, precipitation 0.?? (Detailed Summary – click here.) (Yes it rained, but I don’t have the recorded amount.”

Plantings: Nothing to report


2018-08-24: 12 cherry tomatoes

2018-08-25: 6 cherry tomatoes

2018-08-26: Nothing to report

2018-08-27: 10 okra pods, 9 cherry tomatoes

SFH Journal: 2018-08-20 through 23

Highlight: A drought, a veritable drought has beset Serendipity Farmhouse and the region hereabout. Areas of standing water have begun to recede. I could actually walk to the shed wearing just a pair of rubber boots instead of having to ford the yard in a kayak.

Equally astonishing, on Thursday the 23rd, I saw two strange and awesome sights in the sky. First, there appeared a great, bright orb, dazzling in its intensity. Oh my, what could it be? Then, soon after that orb disappeared in the west, another bright, white spherical object shown through the trees to the east. Certainly, these events are worthy of recording.

Perhaps the receding waters and the two orbs are omens of good things to come. Or perhaps they foretell of imminent doom. How should one interpret these events?

Unlike me, beautiful wife has no problem understanding what it all means. She immediately informed me, it’s time to prepare for the great, spectacular, and totally magnificent SFH Birthday Bash scheduled for this Sunday. Her intuition and ability to see the future clearly stimulated a series of gentle requests (read that as edicts) for me to trim the shrubs, mow the lawn, spray for mosquitoes, reinstall outside lighting, clean the pantry, clear the porch of unneeded and unsightly debris, and a myriad of other tasks.

“Oh yes, dear, let’s also pickle some okra before it spoils.”

And so it was, and so it was meant to be – the sun rose and set soon followed by the moon. And before the day was done the majority of those gentle request were fulfilled. And, as this day begins, I am content in the knowledge that that which has not yet been done will be done before Sunday morning and the great SFH Birthday Bash.

Weather: The rain has decreased in quantity and the temperatures and humidity have diminished. There is another heat wave coming, but for now we can enjoy some Summer days.

2018-08-20: High – 78º, precipitation 0.03 (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-08-21: High – 84º, precipitation 0.19 (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-08-22: High – 80º, precipitation 0.03 (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-08-23: High – 77º, precipitation 0.0 (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report


2018-08-20: 2 okra pods, 7 cherry tomatoes, 1 Jalapeno, 1 serrano pepper, 5 habaneros

2018-08-21: 13 cherry tomatoes

2018-08-22: 6 okra pods, 10 cherry tomatoes, 2 Jalapenos, 6 serrano peppers

2018-08-23: 3 okra pods, 12 cherry tomatoes

SFH Journal: 2018-07-19

Highlight: There is still some semblance of normalcy to our overly hectic life. Thursday, at 11:30 AM, like almost every Thursday during the growing season, we went to collect our half share of vegetables at Waterpenny Farm, our local community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm. This ritual includes an exchange of gardening information with Rachel. She has the insight and experience to advise on how to improve our garden and avoid common mistakes. There is also small talk about the community and updates on what our families are doing. It is an altogether enjoyable and satisfying ritual.

Rachel also grows an array of flowers and makes up bouquets for those who might want them. Today, we splurged and bought a bouquet for Daughter No. 1 and Granddaughter No. 1. So, count this as a peaceful and rewarding Thursday.

Weather: The good weather pattern featuring low humidity and moderate temperatures continues.  2018-07-18: High – 82º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report

Harvest: Beautiful spouse picked about nine okra pods and at least four cherry tomatoes. We now have an overabundance of basil. So, we’re looking for some good pesto recipes. We’ll keep you posted on what we find.

SFH Journal: 2018-07-01 through 03

Highlight: The new (used) Class C RV, work, and some other items are all competing for our time. Nevertheless, we have set to the task of outfitting Monte’s bug out bag (the RV). His Royal Highness has demanded a new set of Corelle dishes, new knives, decorative pillows, and, of course, new bowls for his food and water. Mr. Monte also indicated where he wants his portrait to hang – obviously, in the most conspicuous place.

As you cat owners (or you who are owned by cats) well know, there was no need to buy new sheets, pillows, or spreads. Cats prefer to be surrounded by bedding that has already been used and accepted by the cat. Smell is important to a cat, especially when it comes to selecting a place to sleep.

There was one other alternative on the table for bedding. I suggested that we just throw sleeping bags on the bed. That would save all the hassle of making a bed in cramped spaces. Wonderful, adorable spouse quickly put a damper on that idea. She emphatically stated that we are “glamping” not camping. – – – So much for the sleeping bag idea.

Weather: Yes, it’s a heat wave. Yes, we’re hot and miserable. Yes, we’re complaining. No, we don’t feel guilty. If we’re living the way grandma did, then we can understand why she was so crabby in the summer time.

2018-07-01: High – 91º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-07-02: High – 95º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-07-03: High – 91º (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report.

Harvest: On July 2nd, beautiful wife braved the heat and picked enough green beans for two meals. Perhaps begrudgingly, but certainly wisely she de-stringed this batch. The result was much more palatable.

SFH Journal: 2018-06-30

Highlight: The highly accurate, official Serendipity Farmhouse Critter Cam Surveillance Station #1 (CCSS #1) noted Miss Tiffany Turkey at 11:58:25 AM on June 25th. This is the last recorded sighting of our SFH visitor.

Mr. Monte has reviewed the photographic evidence and has given us his professional assessment. According to him, Miss Tiffany has likely moved on to another foraging area. Based on her direction of movement, he speculates that she was headed towards the eastern side of the North Fork of the Thornton River.

As a personal addendum to his report, Mr. Monte hopes for her return because, as you might suspect, she really knows how to “talk turkey”.*

* Discuss something frankly and straightforwardly


Weather: The anticipated July heat wave is here. Evening temperatures inside our non-air conditioned farmhouse are now in the mid- to high-80s. (Yep, we get to live just like Grandma did.) (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: Nothing to report.

Harvest: Nothing to report.

SFH Journal: 2018-06-28 & 29

Highlight: Despite the hectic rush of events, beautiful spouse and I took time to grill a New York strip steak for supper. Beets from our vegetable garden were sliced, seasoned, and thrown on the grill in an aluminum foil packet. Everything was cooked to perfection. I can say that because adorable spouse gave her thumbs up. Also, Mr. Monte gave a claws up on small morsels of steak provided to him.

It is, indeed, a happy day when wife and cat are pleased with my cooking.

Weather: We are now entering an extended July heat wave. Both the temperature and humidity will rise placing stress on the gardens and the residents of SFH.

2018-06-28 (Detailed Summary – click here.)

2018-06-29 (Detailed Summary – click here.)

Plantings: We are on alert and watching the gardens closely as the heat wave begins.

Harvest: Nothing to report.

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.