That’s September for Ya- County Fair, Gomphrenas, and Bundt Cake

September is almost over and you can finally feel it. It’s “cooled off” to only the high nineties most days, no more the 100 degree plus days of July and August, and we’ve finally had some rain.

The plants all look in better shape, with less wilting and more new growth pretty much all around. A couple of rain storms and a couple more “accidentally leaving the sprinkler on all night incidents” will do that for you. Please don’t think I’m blithe about wasting water- though maybe I am a little. I resent the emphasis on residential water restrictions, when commercial, agricultural, and frac operations suffer under no such regulations even during droughts. Two wrongs don’t make a right, I know, but since residential use is only about 8% of the water drawn from the aquifer I don’t feel like the solution lies in restricting residential use either, you know? Besides. it’s not like I’m TRYING to leave the sprinkler on all night. To solve this suddenly recurring issue, the two forty-somethings in the house have discussed and resolved to set alarms when they set the sprinklers out. Now to just remember to set the timers…

In other news the county fair is in town, so we’ve all been indulging in pork chops on a stick, expensive carnival games and rides, and baby chick petting tables the past couple of days.

It is one of my very favorite events of the year. It’s either hot or raining-those are the only two options. So the conditions are always either pretty intense heat and dust or cool and muddy with pouring rain and leaking roofs in the livestock barns- I’ll take it either way, honestly.

I love the homestead barns with arts and crafts and baking and horticulure entries. The livestock barns with animals and all the different kinds of chickens (a personal livestock favorite). And the carnival, with the youngest on the carousel- that brings to the forefront times with all three of my children at the same age, in the same place, and overlaps the memories into a blur of color, lights, and toddler smiles.

Every submission earlier in the week into the Homestead divisions gets you a free entry pass to the fair, so the older girls baked cookie bars, we all painted some paintings, and we entered the ONLY thing blooming around here these days, the ‘Fireworks’ gomphrenea, into the cut flower category.

Sadly, this is not even my picture of the Firework gomphrenas because I denuded the plant for the fair entry. They look just like this though, the non blue ribbon winning bastards.

Back to the cut flower and horticulture division though- I loooove to enter and loooove to bitch about the judging. They awarded a tricolor ribbon to a bird of paradise plant with a FAKE flower stuck in it one time! They seem to have no awareness of the difficulty of growing one plant vs another. Or what is rarer, or… you get the idea. Oh it is up there as one of my favorite things, that righteous indignation at the way ribbons are awarded.

This year I was sputtering- the cut flower tricolor ribbon went to a mixed flower arrangement. And yes, that’s cool and all, but your own rules CLEARLY state no mixed flowers! One type of flower per entry! GAH, what the hell, horticulture judges!

Every year I say I should join the fair and volunteer in that area… but if I do that, I then wouldn’t get to bitch about the judging so I’m conflicted. Maybe next decade.

The master gardeners’ nicely had a booth out with free plants- the toddler picked out a purple fall aster and we got 2 fans of bearded iris- mystery color and unknown name. They’ll go around the shed once we get those beds designed and in. My money is on the irises being purple, though white would be fine too. I’m just really hoping they aren’t that weirdly translucent pink or the “you just grew a brown flower on purpose” bronze. But even if they are… the County Fair irises are here to stay because I truly do love a passalong plant.

In other, not really blog worthy, news I just got a new phone so my pictures for the blog should be improving because the camera on this thing… wow. You got me, Apple. You got me.

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Look at that good boy, I’ll have to bathe him more regularly I guess, if the pictures are going to be this detailed. And a feature that blurs out the dead grass in the background? Sweet.

The calamondin, my-orange-skinned-lime-from-the-Philippines-that’s-desperately-in-need-of-a-better-common-name-but-what-are-you-going-to-do, is setting fruit at a fevered clip. It is probably the easiest and least demanding of all three of the citrus I grow. (The others being the key lime and the Meyer’s lemon.) The giant swallowtail caterpillars seem to prefer it as well- it is favored host plant, followed by the key lime.

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Calamondin unripe fruit, 2 months to go, is my bet
The Ugly Duckling has nothing on the leap from literal bird poop looking caterpillar to Giant Swallowtail butterfly. 

I’ve already been looking up what to do with all of them, because for the first time the toddler hasn’t been picking the plant bare and eating the fruit whole. Turns out the peel is edible, but she surely found that out for herself before google ever told me. The seeds though… Well just count it as fiber maybe? Definitely roughage… Anyway.

There is a marmalade that looks good that I’ve bookmarked, but the one that has me really excited is the calamondin bundt cake. (HELLO adulthood with that sentence, amiright?) Recipe I plan to use.  I also bought the bundt cake pan for it today- something I’ve weirdly been looking into extensively the past week but have months before I’ll actually need- classic. I have some VERY strong feelings on these things, turns out.

Simple one I finally settled on. Removal was a factor I strongly weighed here, but visually I find it pleasing too.
The one I got above I found FAR preferable to this nearly identical one…
…or this weirdly Lord of the Rings Gondorian reminiscent one
… or this one, that I have no real good reason to hate as much as I do

So, in spite of the fact that I kinda hate everything about baking, look at me and a bundt cake pan I have serious preferences about sitting on my counter- just waiting for the calamondin to ripen.

9 thoughts on “That’s September for Ya- County Fair, Gomphrenas, and Bundt Cake

  1. So much new stuff happening with you, from a grand new phone camera to acnew cake tin! I’m with you on the classic bundt shape. If you watch GBBO, contestants seen enamored by the last, swirly pan, though. Weird. I must grow gomphrena, just not sure we get enough heat. YOURS SHOULD HAVE WON!! Ha!

  2. You’ve got my mouth watering for a piece of that calamondin bundt cake. As I read about the fair, I had two thoughts: You should apply to be a judge. That would help get things back on a “fair” track. Don’t you think it’s odd that at a fair, the judging isn’t fair? The other thing is that you said your favourite was the homestead (arts, crafts, horticulture, etc.) and livestock barns. This took me right back to when I was a kid at our fall fair and I loved those places already then. Great post, Lauren.

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