SFH Journal: 2019-01-01 through 03 – SFH Weather Station Online

sfh station

Highlight: It was and remains a not-so-simple New Year’s Resolution – Get Serendipity Farmhouse Weather Station up and running. Here are the not-so-simple steps and progress so far:

0103190934 (2)2019-01-01 – Eat black eyed peas and collard greens while simultaneously planning to overcome all physical and technological problems. The mind works well when it is fueled by this great Southern traditional meal.

2019-01-02 – Erect six-foot iron pipe mounting pole along fence line, in the open and away from obstructions. Prepare beautiful wife for the potential for technical failures during the next day’s work. Also prepare her for the unusually spicy language that is often uttered when yours truly encounters technical failures.

2019-01-03 – Assemble Weather WiFi OSPREY station; mount and activate device; activate monitor panel; enable WiFi connection; activate Weather Underground account for Serendipity Farmhouse Station. —- As expected, it was an eight hour job; many technical problems were encountered; workarounds and solutions were developed; and, as you can see, Serendipity Farmhouse Station is now active on Weather Underground. Beautiful spouse maintained her faith in me and prayed for me; and I, rather uncharacteristically, did not utter any unusually spicy language.

There is more to come, but let’s save that for another day.

How to Make Japanese Gyoza


Happy New Year!

What dish did you have on New Year’s Eve that might be special to you and your family? For us, it was a simple choice – an all time family favorite – Japanese Gyoza (餃子).


Japan, the land of the rising sun, was also the land of our rising family. Beautiful (wife) and I were married in Japan and we spent nearly a decade together there. Our children hold on to memories of Japanese festivals and customs. Perhaps our fondest memory of Japan is our dear friend Reiko. She shared with us the mysteries and magic of Japanese cuisine.

I would be at work. Beautiful wife would call. “Reiko’s here. She’s making gyoza.” Five minutes flat – I was home. Children gathered round. Grace was prayed. Chopsticks (お箸) would dart to the gyoza-filled plate. Five minutes flat – 40 gyoza gone. “Reiko, are there any more?” – – Yes, we loved this treat.

Skilled and wondrous wife watched Reiko prepare the gyoza. She made mental notes. She practiced. In time, the understudy mastered the art. Then, she passed the skill on to her daughters.

Now, every New Year’s Eve, and on special days in between, Japanese gyoza makes its way to the dining table at Serendipity Farmhouse and to tables in the homes of Daughters #1 and #2.

In case you might ask, yes, and even I your humble chronicler of SFH customs and lore, have learned:

How to make Japanese Gyoza

Continue reading “How to Make Japanese Gyoza”

SFH Journal: 2018-12-26 through 31 – SFH Weather Coming Soon

As we approach the beginning of a new year, the large, efficient, extremely qualified, totally dedicated, and highly motivated staff at Serendipity Farmhouse has been working a relaxed holiday schedule. Which is to say, we’re taking some time off and living in the Christmas season rather than just talking about it.

Highlight 1: The coming months will brings some reorganization and upgrades to the SFH blog. When completed, readers should be able to find their way to topics of interest in an easier and more rapid fashion. Despite the advice from my “inner cheap”, we will upgrade our blog plan and introduce new features, bells, and whistles. Continue reading “SFH Journal: 2018-12-26 through 31 – SFH Weather Coming Soon”

SFH Journal: 2018-12-15 through 25 – BAD CAT – GOOD CAT

Highlight: Since his arrival, Mr. Monte has done his best to ensure that Serendipity Farmhouse would be able to enjoy “domestic tranquility” only according to his terms. As you leaned in the recent post Dear Little House, an indoor Christmas tree was not allowed in the house for four years until Mr. Monte permitted it to be so.

We were so emboldened when he sanctioned the presence of a tree that we then thought we could once again hang Christmas stockings on the stairway banister as we had done before. No more would we have to hang them high on a door frame where none of us, or even Santa, could reach them without climbing a footstool – – How did that work out for us?

Continue reading “SFH Journal: 2018-12-15 through 25 – BAD CAT – GOOD CAT”

“All things have their season” – Even Yard Trash

“All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

There are many ways to prepare for Christmas. By living Advent fully as a time of preparation and prayer, you can find a deeper meaning in the mystery of Christmas. My beautiful wife and her close friend give expression to that sentiment in their yearly tradition of making Advent/Christmas arrangements.

Continue reading ““All things have their season” – Even Yard Trash”

SFH Journal: 2018-12-08 through 14 “Yard Trash Day”

Highlight: Yard Trash Day Is Here! – This year, Annual Yard Trash Day – 2018 was observed on Friday, December 14th. “Yard Trash Day” is a tradition where we go through our yards and gather all kinds of evergreens, magnolia branches, and assorted greens adorned with colorful berries. Then, adorable spouse and her best friend turn what I call “yard trash” into festive, seasonal works of beauty.

Continue reading “SFH Journal: 2018-12-08 through 14 “Yard Trash Day””

Dear Little House

Hi all you cat lovers out there, Mr. Monte here. Old Fuzz Face let me at the keyboard tonight without a fight, a fuss, or any deep, painful scratches. It seems he and I have declared a truce for Advent. I guess it’s because of that “naughty or nice” thing imposed by St. Nicholas. More likely, it’s because that pointy-headed twerp, Clyde the Elf, is a lowdown snitch and blabbermouth. (See SFH Journal: 2018-12-04 through 07.)

Speaking of Clyde, I keep hearing sighs, moans, whines, and complaining noises because Blondie can’t find him. Fuzz Face is up here with me laughing quietly to himself. Poor guy, his turn is next and Blondie is better at this silly game than he is.

So, the two of them, after four years of cowardice, finally got the nerve and gumption to bring a Christmas tree into Serendipity Farmhouse. Since I entered their lives, bringing untold sunshine and happiness, they have assumed that I, the most intelligent and well-behaved of Maine Coon cats, could not be trusted. Just because I love to play with things that are round, things that hang down, things that sparkle, and things that shine, they thought that I would cause some type of damage.

They also have this fear that I will eat things I shouldn’t. They think that I would chew on branches, or climb into the tree, or some other, perhaps unspeakable, cat-like thing to a real tree. Oh, they have so little faith. But, I digress.

Today, Fuzz Face assembled (with Blondie’s guidance) the most hideous replica of fir tree any right-minded person or cat could imagine. They reasoned (if humans are truly capable of conscious thought) that I would be less likely to approach or harm an artificial tree.

1208181539b (2)Then they stared at the tree. They fluffed up the stupid looking bottle brush branches. Then they stared again. They tried to say nice things about that mutant, green creation and bring themselves to imagine that it wasn’t really that ghastly. Sometimes, I wish I could protect them from their follies.

Pictures were taken. Blondie, dressed in a very strange looking hat, made great sport of hanging a single decoration high up, where it was thought that I would not be able to get to it. I love Blondie a lot. She looked happy. That helped my heart to soften a bit. Perhaps that tree has some merits. Even Fuzz Face appeared to be taken by the thought of having a tree in the house once again.

Now it was time to allow me to make my required examination of the strangely lit faux fir.1208181546a (2) Intriguing as the thing was to my catly curiosity, it seemed oddly out of place and its odor was so synthetic and unnatural. Blondie was smart enough to see my displeasure and she brought out her old remedy – feline pheromone spray. —- That did it! True it was artificial and unnatural, but my sides began to buzz with purring and, before I knew what was happening, I was rolling on the floor and rubbing against the tree – we were friends. Yeah, I might have made a couple of attacks on one of the branches and taken a few bites at it but, in the end, the tree and I are on good terms now.

Serendipity Farmhouse History: It has been our family tradition to set up the Christmas tree every year on December 8th, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. This year, even though it is faux, the tree is again inside in it’s rightful place.

Directly behind the tree is small sewing sampler that says a lot about our family and Serendipity:

1208181538 (2)DEAR HOUSE

You’re really very small

Just big enough for


That’s All