Holy guacamole! How is my garden still producing so many peppers and cherry tomatoes! There has been so much rain this summer that I’ve hardly watered and fully expected my garden to shrivel up by now. What’s a girl to do with such an embarrassment of riches? Well, it’s Tuesday, so I know one of our community food banks is open so I picked what I could, washed my bounty, bagged it, and dropped it off with volunteers at the Elgin Community Cupboard.
Did you know that most local food pantries can accept home-grown produce? Contact them first, but many of your local organizations will gladly accept washed, home-grown produce to offer their clients. Ample Harvest has a Find a Pantry link in the Gardeners Donate Food header in the main menu to help you find a local food bank or soup kitchen that would love to accept your produce and backyard eggs.
Serve this spread with the usual crackers, spread on a sandwich in place of a slice of regular cheddar. I promise it will not disappoint.
Makes 4 Cups (recipe easily halved)
2 cups jalapeño jack, shredded 2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded 1/3 cup chopped pimentos 1/8 cup chopped pickled jalapeños 1/2 cup mayonnaise (Duke’s is my favorite) 1/4 sour cream Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic 1/2 teaspoon granulated onion 1/4 teaspoon cumin 1/2 teaspoon chili powder Pinch of cayenne Pinch of sugar
Combine all ingredients in a standing mixer bowl. Mix thoroughly with the paddle attachment until creamy and the pimentos are well distributed. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.
Pimento cheese will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about a week.
Pro Tip: While you can certainly use pre-shredded cheese (and I have in a pinch) your spread will be creamier and the shreds less separated if you grate your cheese with a box grater.
I can’t beleive it’s been a whole year! This weekend She Creates Union participated as a group in the Elgin Art Studio Tour. This time last year Emma and I were hatching an idea for a group for women makers and artists whose sole function was to fully support each member creatively while helping each other navigate branding, social media, marketing, and general business best practices.
While there are groups like BossBabesATX that organize events and meet-ups in Austin, we were interested in forming a more intimate community in our small town just 19 miles east of Austin and the neighboring towns like Paige, Bastrop, amd Lexington. We particpate here in local events and will be expanding our efforts later this year to markets in Austin and Pflugerville.
Since we formed SCU we have participated in one large festival, an art studio tour, and a couple pop-up shops. We meet once a month and talk about things we’ve been thinking about doing, things we’ve done, and generally cheer eachother on.
Whether at our monthly meeting or via our Slack channel, there is always some nudging, sometimes gently, sometimes not, eachother to raise our prices. We generally suck at pricing our work, but we’re getting better.
I recently saw this quote, “You’re priceless, your work is not.” I cannot find where I saw this yet, but wil link when I do.
To say we’ve all learned a lot in the past year would be an understatement. We are constantly investigating and learning as individuals and bringing our acquired knowledge to the group. Sometimes these fact finding misssions look like sitting in a sales tax class, taking an online course, or visiting a craft market or festival. It’s all learning.
No, I’m not running for city council again, but this photo pops up in my feed each May like a bad penny. It reminds me that I once did this super scary thing which was so out of my comfort zone and the rewards are still being counted. Steve and I had been living here less than 2 years (this timeline may be edited later), so this felt crazy.
I was a write-in candidate for my first election… so obviously unplanned and late. As soon as I sent off my application I was struck with fear and called the city secretary to ask about withdrawing my application. She said it was not possible, but that I could run a really bad election if I really didn’t want to win. Excellent advice.
Later that month I was chatting with some people at an art show or potluck and mentioned I wasn’t sure if I was the best person for the job. A local attorney asked me, “Well, are you the worst?”
My reply, “I hope not.”
So I won my first election as a write-in candidate, ran unopposed for my second election, had my drunk neighbor run against me for my third, and had my ass handed to me my fourth run by a candidate who had more cousins than I had votes.
If I can do this, so can you. All I had to do was show up to serve and listen. A lot. In return I realized I was more brave than I’d thought and gained a host of new friends and a whole new community.
I am often reminded of how great it is to live in a small town. Recently I was able to use my neighbors’ oven when my oven would not light and I had 2 dump cakes* to bake for 2 potlucks. This weekend a local shop offered to wrap my print job and place outside their door for me to pick up after hours, with instructions to just push a check through the mail slot or call Monday with a credit card number. Just would not happen in a large city.
I enjoy working in downtown Austin and coming home to the Sausage Capital of Texas every day. It blows my mind that I can spend a lunch hour at an art museum, shopping at a gourmet shop, or eating ramen, and return home where my friends and neighbors are dancing to a band playing at the gazebo in the center of town. The best of both worlds, I feel very lucky. Still.
Down Home Ranch is a nonprofit working farm community for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities located in Elgin, Texas. The ranchers and their extended community are ever present at Elgin’s many annual festivals, monthly Sip, Shop & Stroll events. Locals look forward to their tomatoes, lettuce, jellies, potted plants, eggs, and cards (like the one above), at the Bastrop 1832 Farmers Market.
In addition to their greenhouse operations and plant sales, Down Home Ranch supports an Etsy shop which sells cards featuring original art by ranchers, embroidered tea towels, and engraved travel tumblers. All proceeds support their mission: Empowering the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities through social, educational, residential and vocational opportunities. I visited DHR a few years ago, you can read my post about the experience here.
In my mind there are 6 different seasons in a calendar year. Winter, Winterspring, Spring, Summer, Summerfall, and Fall. I especially love the misty, froggy, blossomy time of winter just before Spring.
Reminds me of a Joke…
This Fresh Air podcast interview with Mary Pipher about why older women are happier than their mothers were at their age. I love when she shares about how she starts her day with a cup of coffee just watching the morning come alive outside. This reminds me of a long standing practice in our home. I don’t wake crabby, but I do wake up slowly… drinking coffee, watching the bird feeders and the morning light hit all the trees in our back yard. The second cup is often enjoyed outside. https://www.npr.org/2019/02/27/698620524/why-older-women-are-often-the-happiest-demographic-in-america
Oh, the joke?
What’s the difference between a woman in her twenties and a woman in her forties?
The woman in her twenties always wants to know what your thinking, the woman in her forties doesn’t care.
Thank you, I’ll be here all week.
Definition of the Week
These are by far my most favorite pencils of all time. I love the very black lines it makes and the flattened ferrule is cool because it is refillable. I don’t know about you but I always run out of eraser before I run out of ideas.
“GAME OF SCONES” Cheese/Butter Spreader. Photo by Stacey Van Landingham
Also, because I cannot wait for GOT Season 8. C’mon already. Cue the opening credits, jam, and clotted cream.
“OLIVE U” Olive/Pickle Fork. Photo by Stacey Van Landingham
Because OLIVE U… and picking up pickles and olives with your fingers or toothpick is barbaric.
Ready for Hogeye. photo by Stacey Van Landingham
Please come visit our booth at the Hogeye Festival tomorrow, Saturday, October 27th. My crew She Creates Union will be selling original designs and hand made items. Be sure to check out our new website Emma created SheCreatesUnion.org.
Festival attendees who sign up for my email list will be entered into a drawing for a “Mind Your Own Biscuits” Spreader. You don’t have to be present to win, but you do need to to sign up in person. I’ll be drawing for the winner Saturday night at 11pm.