It’s Fall Y’all!

Its Fall and half of the month of October is nearly gone !!! I would love to say I don’t know where it went, but I do!

The Markers of Fall

Just like any other season, I seem to have a full plate this fall. Mentally September always signals that fall is here, for me. Of course, because I am of a certain age Labor Day indicates the end of summer and the start of the school year, and therefore the start of fall weather. I grew up in the northern wine country of California (Sonoma) and this time of year the fog and onshore breezes start to blow with just a hint of the cooler temperatures just around the corner. Kentucky is nothing like northern California. In September the temperatures are generally still very summer-like outside. The trees are turning, but nothing with any real color. Just this maple in the front yard with a little bit of fall color at the top.

colorful maple with beginning color
The best fall color maple in the yard


In September the full extent of ‘Real Life’ came roaring back. The first quilt show since March of 2020 happened. The Elizabethtown guild has an annual fall quilt show in September. This year the Heartland of Kentucky Quilt Show was back on. When the USA shut down for COVID-19 on March 12th, 2020, I was on my way up to Chicagoland to have a booth at a quilt show. I was en route when I got the call. I turned around and came home and put everything away for the next 20 months.

booth fall view left side
the Heartland of Kentucky Quilt Show, fall 2021

Preparing for the Heartland of Kentucky Quilt Show felt very much like starting over! It took a good chunk of September to work it all out and to look things over, make plans, and pack. There were a couple of slight complications too. The show would be at a new venue and the booth spaces would be a different size, so I had to take that into account as well.

booth fall center view
The booth at the fall Heartland of Kentucky Quilt Show 2021 center view.

The show was a success. We asked everyone to wear a mask inside the building and all the comments were good and everyone enjoyed the quilts and the vendors. The new location was also very nice, especially since it was brand new.

booth fall center view
The booth at the fall Heartland of Kentucky Quilt Show 2021 center view.


During the first half of October, I prepared for another annual fall event. This time it is the Bluegrass One Stop Shop Hop, in Shepherdsville Kentucky. Because I just had a booth at the Quilt Show, I don’t need to think too much about how to get ready for it. The packing is done and I am getting the last-minute things together.

biscotti on a plate
left white drizzle ‘Cinnamon Bun’, chocolate drizzle traditional ‘Anise’ and center ‘Cranberry Orange’

In addition to the regular fall events above, I have started my seasonal baking. I am early this year and it begins with biscotti and will end with biscotti!!! In the middle will be some pies and other desserts for the Thanksgiving holiday. Fortunately, biscotti is essentially already stale the minute it cools, so it keeps for a very long time! So far I have 3 flavors made, the traditional “Italian anise” (licorice flavor), an original Cranberry Orange flavor, and my own take on a ‘Cinnamon Roll’ flavor, also known as ‘crack’ around here! I hope to get a few more made next week starting with a Christmas favorite “Peppermint”. Personally, I don’t even need to have coffee with it.

Do you enjoy fall? What’s your favorite fall thing? Tell us in a comment!

More later-Beth

The Fair and Food

The fair is one of my favorite summer activities. Some are better than others for different reasons. The large county fairs in Califonia were bigger than many big State Fairs in some of the states I have lived in. I think how our communities are changing and the weather may have something to do with the lower turnout at all the fairs. Also, we have forgotten that the fair was not just the rides, but a great big party where you could catch up with neighbors or see a new trend for living, or a wholesome way for folks to cut loose and have some fun.

Fair Ferris Wheel
What some think the fair means- rides

Since moving to the midwest from California in 2002, I have tried to participate in the local fair. Not for the possibility of a ribbon, but to be a part of my community. To share with others some of what I love to do and if time permits go and see what others like to do too. Last year with COVID, the whole fair thing was canceled in Kentucky, (I’m sure it was pretty much the same everywhere, not just Kentucky). In 2019 we were in the throes of moving and remodeling; I just didn’t have the energy to find quilts or the fairgrounds in a new county!

Because the move took us to a new county, I was not able to participate in the county fair of the old address. However, I did help to set up that County Fair quilt exhibit. I still belong to the guild that sets it up. It is always fun to see the many quilts from quilters that do not belong to a ‘guild’. Since moving to Kentucky I say every year, I should exhibit a quilt at the State Fair too. This year I made that happen. The Kentucky State Fair is held in Louisville in the second half of August. I entered 3 small pieces and to my surprise, one was sporting a ribbon! It is a postcard and is 4″ x 6″! I think the ribbon has a larger surface area than the entry!

A fair ribbon
Entered a postcard at the State Fair. Won a red ribbon

This has nothing to do with the fair, but when I am not sewing I find myself in the kitchen. Recently I did a little dehydrating. The garden produced lots of tomatoes, onions, and garlic. I just peeled and chopped the garlic, and then dehydrated it. For the onions, I cooked them and then dehydrated them. I will grind them into a powder. Powdered food is super concentrated so a little bit goes a long way. When I process tomatoes I save the tomato skins to dehydrate and then powder. It adds a really big punch of tomato flavor by the tablespoon. We had a fair amount of cherry tomatoes so I also dehydrated many of those, which I also powdered. In addition, I also dried some basil. This summer I canned 2 kinds of pickles, bread and butter and dills too!

Kitchen Goodies canned
There are some unusual foods displayed here. 2 kinds of pickles. Dehydrated Garlic, tomato skins, and a jar with dehydrated cherry tomatoes, 2 tomato powers, basil, and caramelized onions

This summer the garden produced an abundance of different things. Cucumbers, onions, and garlic were the surprising leaders. However, butternut squash will come in at the top this year. We learned while living in South Africa, that the butternut squash is a pumpkin. They did not seem to have a variety of the gourd we call a pumpkin. I liked it every way I had it served! I plan to put some in the dehydrator this year too! Thinking ahead, maybe there is a dehydrated category in the Culinary Division at the fair.

All for now. More later. Beth

On the Farm: Visitors, Animals, and Food!

Summertime Farm Visitors

On our little farm along with the animals, there was food and several visitors. All of the visitors were family. After moving out here, the remodeling started… and the inside of the house was a jumble. Having any guests was completely out of the question, especially if they were staying overnight. Next came COVID and traveling and overnights were also not a good idea. Not the that I need to tell you, that lasted more than a year! Now that travel is less restrictive, some family has finally managed a visit and we thoroughly enjoy each one. It has sure made the summertime go faster than usual.

Visitors to the farm included my Nephew and his daughter, Miss A visited for several days again, on the way home from Missouri. Miss A came with a desire to sew and visit with the animals. We fulfilled both. Her dad thought a Distillery tour would be fun. One of the kids, the son, his spouse, and the grandkids came to visit as well. We did lots of investigating everything we could do here, and a visit to the Slugger Bat Factory (many baseball fans in the family). Lastly, the hub’s sister and spouse came too. We stayed home, but we sure did lots of stuff, along with fishing and target practice! Different types of activities for each group!

Farm Animals and Food

This years pigs are not nearly as cute or friendly as Piggy Ann and Iggy Piggy were. These 2 porcine animals were a little younger and a bit slower off the starting line, but the weather warmed up they settled in. These 2 are really are more like farm pigs and all about the food!!! With the summertime heat, they really like the mud wallow and this year they actually had a pool we had so much rain in one day.

This years pigs
These 2 pigs like everything from the kitchen!

I have mentioned this before, this year we have 3 cows in the farm pasture. Only ‘Sir Loin’ is ours. They are all steers and I call them ‘the Cow Boys’ when they are all in a group. I have discovered that cows like lots of different foods from the garden. The cows now have their own scrap bucket, (yep I save all kinds of scraps), they get the carrot, zucchini, cucumber, lettuce bits, and apple cores. The pigs get everything else, except meat and coffee grounds. The chickens get whatever treat I have the most of. They all came to the fence because they thought I had a treat for them.

The 'Cow Boys'
This year’s cows, which I call the “Cow Boys”

Summertime Garden Food

We of course planted a garden again. The spring started off a little cool and the summer started off with a lot of rain. So the plants grew… but the fruiting was slow. Then one day it was summertime, the sun came out and stayed. The cucumbers took off and who knew there could be so many? The corn came in, but so did the corn worms and silk beetles. We got 4 ears and we let the cows have the rest. And then the tomatoes!!! Look at all these tomatoes. Only 4 days worth! There are more on the window sill. I will turn them in a sauce or soup and freeze. The cherry tomatoes are for grazing, but realistically we can’t eat that many, so I dehydrate several hundred every couple of days. I will grind them into a powder, and by adding a bit of water I get instant tomato sauce or tomato soup.

4 days of tomato harvest
Getting ready to peel, seed, cook or dehydrate some tomatoes.

Those little yellow orbs are not tomatoes. They are ‘lemon cucumbers’ and are food from my childhood in California. I call them a west coast treat because it seems the only people that are familiar with them appear to be from the west. I have introduced many Kentuckians to these sweet crispy little gems. No, they don’t taste like a lemon, they get their name from the shape and color. On the left are butternut squash… hundreds of those too… but that is for an entirely different reason than prolific plants. With the heat of August, the summertime garden is just about done!!!

Cooking with Gas

Somewhere between the rain and the sunshine, we decided that the glass-topped electric stove needed to go. While they say it is possible to can food with a glass-top range, it takes forever. A gas range is a much better option. We had to order the new range and wait for the arrival. In the meantime, I had a new gas line to the kitchen installed. Since the stove was installed I have preserved a few things. Mostly pickles, dill, bread and butter, and a jar of refrigerator pickles. (we had hundreds of cucumbers from 4 plants. Next year I will try my hand at preserving more of the farm products.

Busy Bees

Not only is the kitchen humming this summer, but most of the groups and guilds are back to meetings. It is fun to be back in a room with so many other like-minded folks. One quilt guild sponsors a fall quilt show so I am preparing to have a booth and doing something I avoided. Since moving I had not set up a new photo studio. The natural lighting was not optimal. That issue was solved by adding some softbox lighting. I now have a real photo studio, but as you can see it is not huge!!!

the new photo stuido
The new photo studio. Zero natural light

I have added new stock to the store… Pin Cups, BladeSavers, and Magic Pins are all the rage… They are all game-changers for the sewing room. They make whatever they do so much easier or better than the predecessor!!! There is still more to come… but unfortunately, I need to sleep… but I’m getting it done as fast as I can!!!

More Later and thanks for sticking with me… even if I am not as regular as I need to be.