Sunday Chat

It is Apple Festival weekend, the start of the fall season for me. Although all is still green outside, my heart is ready for colorful leaves, pumpkins, football games, wearing sweaters on cool days, and warm comfort food. This week I was delighted with the cool mornings, and amazingly was able to capture a visiting hummingbird making the rounds of my scraggly verbena and petunias. Lovely, isn’t she?

She stayed long enough for me to get several photos, most came out blurry but this one was clear enough to see her well enough.

The garden continues to give me more tomatoes than I have ever had in one season my entire life! The little acorn squash got some orange color, so I picked it.

The one I picked a couple of weeks ago continued to ripen, so I thought the two together might be enough for a side dish for a dinner. The larger one is only the size of a tennis ball.

I cut them in half, and they were both indeed ripe.

Next I scooped out the seeds.

They were placed cut side down on a baking dish, and baked at 350º for an hour.

When done, there was a bit of browning, and the squash was soft.

I scooped the squash out of the skins, added a bit of butter and seasoning, then topped them with a bit of Parmesan cheese for the plate. We ate all of it in one meal, alongside some seared pork chops.

I was complaining about this stupid orchid a couple of weeks ago that has buds but refuses to bloom. Reader Cindy suggested I put some banana peels on the roots, and using an ice cube once a week. I am ready to try anything at this point, LOL!! I put the extra peels in the freezer so I could change them out, defrosting one at a time. It’s been two weeks and no progress on the buds. I’ll keep this up until I run out of peels, which will be about a week more. Then I’ll just add some more of the orchid potting mix I have in the supply cabinet and see if that works.

Needing the banana peels meant baking some of my Banana Cinnamon Bread, just a normal banana bread recipe with a tablespoon of cinnamon added. Yes, a tablespoon. My Sweet Babboo loves cinnamon. I doubled the recipe too, so I could get two loaves instead of just one.

Meanwhile, the garden yielded a boatload more tomatoes. I packed up a couple of take-out containers and gave them away in the past few days as I saw friends at meetings. I still have lots more to come, and it is September!

I got my state fair entries together this week. It took four hours for me to make decisions and get the photographs printed and mounted. We are limited to five, and it was really hard as I had two years of photos to consider! You know me, that meant thousands of photos to choose from. I love the bird in the evergreen, which will go into wildlife in natural settings in color. The bird on the top right will be in the same category in black and white. The lady slippers will be in flowers, the apples for agriculture, and the one on the lower right will go into landscapes.

My Kitchen Wreath from Autumn Jubilee of 2019 will go into the wreath entry. It qualifies as it was after the 2019 Fair, and there was no fair in 2020, so the entries can cover two years.

I have my entries for quilting, crafts and senior categories all together. They fill my largest suitcase!! All are quilted, sewn, embroidery, and wool applique from the past two years. All total, I have 23 entries.

I’ll be working the quilt take in table tomorrow morning for the fair, and I am so excited that the fair is on again. I still have to finalize the recipes I will be cooking for the five cooking competitions I plan to enter, and write them up on the proper forms. I can hardly wait to have a corn dog or two and maybe split a funnel cake, see the exhibits, visit the Mooternity ward, see the livestock and the shows, work the heritage log cabin quilting booth, and just drink in the fun of the fair. There is nothing like it.

What are your plans for this week?

34 thoughts on “Sunday Chat

  1. Marsha

    Hi Carole. You might want to try a recipe of yard sauce for your extra tomatoes, especially good with cherry tomatoes. It’s just tomatoes, onions and basil roasted in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes then blended and poured into zip locs and freeze. It’s extremely good and easy. If you google Pricilla Blain and yard sauce you will find the Youtube and her blog post about it. If you have trouble let me know and I’ll send a link. Good luck at the fair. I know you’ll have fun.

  2. Rhonda

    Good luck at the fair! I love your entries! You are an inspiration. I only entered a couple items this year. A quilt that received very nice comments and high marks but no ribbon and a quilt block that received honorable mention. The quilt block competition is my favorite, they limit the number of entries, supply you with the fabric and you make what you want at a specified size. Now that our fair is over they will take those blocks and create a quilt to be raffled off at next years’ fair. The quilt they raffled off this year also contained one of my blocks. It too received a ribbon.

    I’ve got tomatoes coming out my ears and will be canning diced tomatoes today. My “canning cupboard” is getting full and so is my freezer. Both are really colorful with strawberries, beets, carrots, zucchini, corn and of course tomatoes. I even freeze chopped bell peppers and onions so I have them all year – I go through a lot of those. This year I had so many green onions I decided to freeze them also. On parchment lined cookie sheets and then transferred to freezer bags so they don’t get stuck together in a clump. I added some to stir fry the other night and they were perfect! I grew butternut squash this year and it’s not doing nearly as well as last year when I harvested enough to last until early summer. This year I have only found 2 small ones. You’d think I have a huge garden but I only have a few small beds around the yard.

    I managed to get a picture of one of our hummingbirds in the Rose of Sharon but that picture is not as close as yours. I see them every morning and I think they can see me watching them. Smart little birds. One morning one flew right up to the window and looked at me.

    I have an orchid collection and I have found that patience is a virtue when it comes to waiting for them to bloom. I have a few phalaenopsis like yours and one has a flower stem also. I do not expect to see flowers for quite some time. I have learned a lot from “Miss Orchid Girl” who has a YouTune channel. You might want to check her out. I hate to criticize but using ice on your orchids is really not a very good idea. They are tropical plants and prefer water at room temperature and orchid food. Repotting should be done after they bloom because that’s when they start putting out new roots.

    I’ve been thinking about Autumn Jubilee and excited to join in if you make another quilt. I had so much fun with that last year! I’m finishing up a scrappy quilt with the final scrappy border and then have one more that needs the components sewn into blocks and then assembled. That will give me 5 tops that need quilted and I’ll be taking my sewing machine in for service while I get started on that. These 5 quilts plus a couple more will all be given away. I have not chosen my recipients yet but this is something I do every year. It’s so much fun to surprise someone with a quilt. I know I’m going to regret letting my tops pile up – binding is not my favorite thing to do.

  3. karenfae

    I finally had picked my tiny squash as the plants had died back but they were not ripe but green inside – I don’t know why they failed this year – I have one butternut squash that I picked the other day it too stayed so tiny I hadn’t cut into it yet so I don’t know if it is orange – would be nice if it was but won’t be surprised if it isn’t

  4. I haven’t entered anything in a fair since my youth. I hadn’t ever thought of adding cinnamon to banana bread, so I’m going to keep that in mind. Friends of mine add mini chocolate chips too, which isn’t bad, but I’m a bit of a purist and just like plain banana bread 🙂 I could handle cinnamon though!

  5. Linda B

    Hope you have a great time at the fair…you have a lot of options to win! I seem to be caught up in repair jobs around the house…need to get a handyman out here! But so enjoying the cooler mornings too. Fall is coming!

  6. Our tomatoes have also been abundant. YAY! I have butternut squash this year and have experimented with cooking them in our air fryer (new toy for empty nesters). I peel and chop them into chunks, like home fries. Really tasty on days when a person wants squash but doesn’t want to turn on the oven.

  7. Brenda @ Songbird Designs

    Love the little hummer picture. They are really hard to catch on camera. My you have a lot of entries for the fair!! I do good to get one in and most of the time forget until it’s too late! Oh well. I hope you win bigly!! Your cinnamon banana bread sounds awesome. I’ll be working on block 8 of Sunshine Cove (machine embroidered quilt) this week. I hope to get it finished, but these are 18 ” blocks and require a lot of re-hooping, so, we shall see! Have a great week!

  8. Your hummingbird photo is amazing! We’ve had a few at our feeders this year, but usually just hear their little noise and catch a glimpse of them out the window and then off they go. Have fun with your entries in the fair – sounds like a fun time! I’m hoping to get up in the mountains for a hike and a picnic this week, and will take along my latest quilt finish for some photographs in the wild.

  9. Good luck with your fair entries! I’m sure fair goers will enjoy! Hope you do well!

    Saw a deer pick a good size squash out of my garden this week! We promptly harvested the squash so we would get some too.

    I thrive in cool temperatures and waking up to 60 degrees was refreshing and welcome!

  10. Have fun at the fair! I love hearing about your entries and adventures there! I have such fond memories of fairs as a kid; loved the quilts and tablescapes then, both of which are still interests. Good luck with your terrific entries!

  11. You have SO many beautiful projects to share with your entries at the State Fair. I wish you luck with the judges and lots of ribbons. Happy to see your Autumn Jubilee 2020 in there. It was by far my favorite project! Labor day weekend sounds busy for you and all your readers who have commented before me! we had a nice turn in the weather following Hurricane/Tropical Storm Ida passing by, mostly north of us. So nice I turned off the a/c, opened windows and doors, and actually went out to the flower bed and worked a few hours. Sigh…to little to late with the weeding. Exploring the “hour a day” idea in the early morning to bring some order to the mess. Our grandson gave a hand on Friday while we were tackling some of the out of control overgrowth. I am working on a bag for a walker for my friend, adding two machine embroidery blocks to the project, and making it up as I go along. I’m at the stop and think point with it. Today is family day when the kids all come for a swim and supper, so I better get busy and get the vacuuming done before they roll in.

  12. 23 entries?!?! That is very impressive!
    I did not do a single thing for the fall fairs this year… no judging or entering. Most fairs were cancelled for the second time.
    Loved seeing the photos of the hummingbird… that is a rare sight indeed!

  13. Rebecca Pike

    I cut my banana peels in to 1″ segments and cover with water in a small container with a lid. Let soak a few days and then use the water on my tomato plant. This is new for me this year and my tomato is lush and producing like crazy.

  14. Sharon F

    Oh, I’m so envious of your tomato harvest! They look delicious. I only got a few handfuls from my cherry tomato plants, enough for some snacks. Our night time temperatures are already down in the 40’s, so they won’t bloom or set fruit any more. Love all your fair entries! You will probably get a lot of ribbons, all well deserved. Our fair was two weeks ago. I didn’t enter anything, but really enjoyed seeing all the beautiful quilts that were entered. Plans for this week are to work on machine quilting a crib size quilt to donate to the guild’s community service committee. It will be practice and skill building for me, as I’m only beginning to learn to do free motion quilting on my domestic sewing machine.

  15. lois92346

    How I would LOVE to attend your fair. You are, hands down, the busiest, most talented woman I know of. Good luck to you!

  16. Joan Sheppard

    Haven’t been to a county fair in 50 + years. Used to take a bunch of stuff when I was in 4-H but never as an adult. My grandmother brought flowers, quilts and canned foods (?) years ago. Good memories. Looks like you might need an extra suitcase for your ribbons! The hummingbird picture looks like a winner to me! Next year? Enjoy the food, the comradery, the food…

  17. Julie

    Will everybody bring as much to fair as you are?! You’re a one woman fair all on your own! I hope you win lots of ribbons. Your entries sure look like prize winners.

  18. Maye

    I do enjoy reading about your part of the world. I have had great success with orchids on my north facing kitchen window sill in Scotland. Haven’t anything to add to the advice that Rhonda gave. Plenty of patience required and I find they thrive on neglect. Not too much water and they will flower.
    Love seeing photos of your garden and particularly the birds. Thank you for giving me a glimpse of your life

  19. I have great memories of the Apple festival when my man was alive. Now, raising my grands, we have discovered that the 11 year old is allergic to apples…unbelievable!! But, only raw cooking them is just fine and fun!! Your Sunday post today was delightful…Thank you xo

  20. Phyllis Smith

    Good afternoon, You can tell I’m a bit slow today, been catching up on my sleep so got a late start today, Got some chicken in the Oven to make a salad and some chicken and biscuits to snack on later on in the week, getting to where I don’t want to cook as much but after looking at your post today those tomatoes look great. I’ve never had any of the squashes you showed, mama never made any of those, she just stuck with the regular ole yellow crooked neck variety, never used mushroom, which I love and like to sautéed and use over baked or mashed potatoes with a side of seasoned and baked asparagus. I am going to buying a verbena plant to keep on my porch to enjoy the hummingbirds that come to my feeders, I have a poker plant on the back patio to attract them there. Like you I’m ready for fall and the pretty sweaters I have, didn’t get to wear them much last year ya know. Since my mama never made this kind of squash I want to try it so thanks for telling us how you cooked it. You didn’t mention if you had any water or broth when it was cooking or did you just pam spray the pan. Have a safe Memorial with your family, Phyllis

  21. It is making me excited too with all your entries. Love the quilts and the wreath. Cannot wait to hear how you did. And the touch of cinnamon in the banana bread sounds tasty, Good luck with the orchid. Have you tried any orchid food. Sure you have, just curious. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Cindy

    What a lovely group of entries for the fair! Surely there are a few blue ribbon winners in that group. It sounds like a lot of fun – enjoy it and best of luck to you!

  23. Mary

    Your Country Fair sounds like great fun and I would love to go to one – maybe one day…….😳
    Your entries are going to WOW the judges so I’m sure you will come home with the prizes. Oh Yes!!
    Have a wonderful time at the Fair. 🎉😀

  24. Carole, your productivity never ceases to amaze me! I can’t wait to find out how many ribbons you’ve won.

    It’s been years since I’ve been to a state fair or even our little local one. I used to go when I lived in Michigan but I mostly go to the plant fairs here. Of course Covid has put a monkey wrench into so many activities anymore. Our state is pretty strict about canceling them out when the numbers rise.

    I’m slogging away on my delightful Fig Tree & Company Pumpkins and Cream quilt. For what looks like a very simple quilt, there were a gazillion pieces, far more than her Little House in the Woods Christmas quilt that I made last year. But I’m down to the last two borders and then the worst part: putting the quilt sandwich together. Because I want it on my wall by October 1, I will probably use my trusty Winding Way ruler for an all over design. It’s fast, easy, and always looks just fine. I’m also working my way to the end of an English Paper Pieced quilt called Sweet Sunday. I alternate that with knitting in the evenings while “watching” TV with my husband. It’s made of Liberty Tana Lawn and is a scrap quilt which is probably sacrilegious to Liberty of London, you think? It’s my first EPP quilt and until I have all 100 pieces completed (six designs that make up 3 inch hexagons), I have no idea what it’s going to look like. Wish me luck.

    Can’t wait for your report on the Fair and the haul of ribbons that you’re sure to bring back. You inspire me.

  25. Rita C.

    Best wishes for all your entries into the fair! The squash as a side dish could easily be my main – so yummy!
    We’re walking to our capitol building today, where there’ll be a display of quilts of valor on the steps. It should be good! They said there should be 150 quilts displayed!

  26. Good luck at the Fair Carole, wow, you have so many great entries!I Your bird photos are amazing. I have been craving acorn squash lately, I like it roasted with butter and maple and topped with bleu cheese and pecans, yum. So glad the Fair is on this year, it sounds like so much fun

  27. I’m so impressed with your garden yield! I see lots of wonderful meals coming from that! And the state fair — you’re rocking it with the entries. I just know you’ll do very well. That must be loads of fun. All good wishes! Happy Labor Day (don’t labor too hard!)

  28. Best of luck with your entries. They look wonderful to me. Have a wonderful time. I haven’t been to a fair since Paul died in 2010. We used to hit little fairs as we traveled and they were all so much fun.

  29. Jan

    I suggest you check out the excellent YouTube channel Miss Orchid Girl for advice on reblooming your orchid. She has a great series on all aspects of orchid care. I know she has said blooms are temperature dependent, requiring cool temperatures for blooms, so now is not the time of year to expect blooming, and the plant needs several sets of leaves as well. And ice cubes are never good for orchids despite the popularity of using them. My orchids are doing great since following her advice!

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