Tessa McDonald: The Five Question Interview

Tessa McDonald hails from the great state of Alaska. After serving in the U.S. Army she relocated to Texas. She owns and lives on Green Woman Farm amid an edible forest she is cultivating with her husband. With the aid of their sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, guineas, and turkeys they are regenerating the land without pesticides. Tessa’s interest in studying best practices in harvesting and preserving herbs led her to create hand rolled Incense, blended herbal teas, herbal extracts, and dried herbs grown on the farm. 

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

I found my love for gardening quickly outgrew my backyard and wanted to start a farm with an lots of animals and an edible forest. I fell in love with Elgin’s downtown and how close knit everyone was like back home. After we settled, we quickly noticed we made the right choice with our community and don’t plan on ever leaving.

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

The need to discover is what got me on my journey of gardening, herbal remedies, & tea brewing. Many people don’t know how much one herb can help with so many problems, so I started to explore this and the many methods of preservation. I wanted to be able to take a small seed, and make that plant into natural cleaning supplies, dried herbs, soaps, extracts, anything my imagination could make. I take time to study, fertilize, and grow my plants. I put them to good use, and surprise myself a lot with the things I make and what can survive here.

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

I think my biggest lesson is learning when to stop. Farming is a nonstop job, but the need to slow down and rest is also just as important.

My second thing would be stuff doesn’t happen on my time. Mother nature will send us winter storms, spring hail, and sometimes drought and we have to move with it, not against it.

My third would be to let go, sometimes a plant or project cant be saved and you just need to yeet it & start from scratch and that’s just the circle of life.

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

So my current thing to do is binge watch tv at night while I roll incense. I just watched Ink Master and I’ve moved on to watching Greys Anatomy. I’m harvesting my collection of culinary and medicinal herbs to dry out and putting them to use in incense, oils, vinegars, teas, & extracts. As for music, I constantly have some blasting on the farm while I work, so mostly Electronic Dance music so my goats get a mini rave. My current favorite songs are My Best Life by KSHMR and Legacy by the Sidh. As for what I’m nose deep in reading, I got this new book the Lost Book of Herbal Remedies that’s inspiring me to expand the herb garden once again.

5. Cake or Pie?

Pie… and I know this won’t win me southern points but I love pumpkin.

Learn more about Tessa and Green Woman Farm…

Instagram @greenwomanfarm20

Website greenwomanfarm


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Charly Rowe: The Five Question Interview

Charly Rowe is the creator and force of nature behind Irish Tulip Designs. Her energy and humor shine through in both her blog and the pieces she designs and crochets. She lives in Elgin with her two children and husband.

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

My family moved to Elgin because of my husband’s high school teaching/football coaching job at  ELGIN ISD. To be completely honest, I was not happy with the move because it was in the opposite direction of any of our family and I wouldn’t know anyone. With that being said, over the last 2 years Elgin has become home for us and the community has embraced my family with so much love and compassion that I can’t imagine us ever leaving! 

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

I feel like I have always had an eye for what something CAN BE. The feeling of starting with something rejected or even nothing…that I can turn into something that could potentially bring a smile to someone’s face is absolutely euphoric to me. I honestly feel like my brain never stops and is always searching to make something better. Basically, I don’t sit still very well. Working in the medical field the last 10 years, though not all bad, can take you to dark places, especially this past year with working on a COVID ICU in downtown ATX. My job brought me face to face with more death and heartache than I had ever been faced with and I just got to a place where I just felt only failure and fear.  Creating/ crocheting is a safe place for me to run where I can express what I need to and never fail because it’s just me creating what I want. 

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

Only 3? I feel like I’m learning something new everyday but if I had to choose the most important 3 it would be…

1. It’s ok to be the real you even if it’s not all perfect. I’ve always felt a need to make a room feel happy even if I wasn’t. I would neglect my reality to make others’ reality better and honestly they weren’t getting the real me. Transparency is freeing because you have nothing to hide. 

2. Laughter truly is the best medicine, laughing while crying is apparently my new favorite emotion. HA

3. Make sure to tell people in the little moments what they mean to you. It truly could change their day and you have no idea the impact you make.

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

Reading: A book on sign language (ASL)

Watching: I’ve been stuck on John Wayne movies (The Quiet Man) and I feel like I’m always stuck on The Office… ALWAYS.

Listening to: Right now I am in a Linda Ronstadt/ Lorretta Lynn phase but if you ask me next week then it will probably be Harry Belafonte or The Killers… My love for music truly encompasses all genres and changes with what kinds of mood i’m in. 

Making: Is it just me or do all makers have multiple projects going at once? One of my favs right now has to do with my passion for transparency and bringing laughter into reality. A new cozy with sarcastic patches to bring a smile to your day! I’m also working on a blanket right now that I have been itching to make for about a year.  

5. Cake or Pie?

“Pie, pie, me oh my,
Nothing tastes better, wet, salty and dry,
all at once – oh, well it’s pie.
Apple and pumpkin and mince and black bottom,
I’ll come to your place every day if you’ve got ’em.
Pie, me oh my, I love piiiiieeeeeee”

-Pie Song from the movie Michael-

Definitely Pie!!!

irishtulipdesigns.com

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Sonia Browder: The Five Question Interview

Sonia Browder is a photographer, designer, and owner of Lordnidesign. She is a busy portrait photographer and loves taking photos of Elgin.

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

Paul and I were living in south Austin when we started looking for a home in the country. We wanted land big enough to settle a couple of families—ours and my sister and hers. We found enough acres to raise our kids in the country just outside of Elgin. Soon after, my parents and brother with his family moved out here, too. It’s our retreat!

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

I’ve always enjoyed making and creating. I’m sure I picked up this idea that I could from my mom and her ability to make and create. When I was growing up, we didn’t have much money for extras but we still never did without. If we saw something we liked to wear, my mom would sew it, crochet it or knit it —for us AND for our dolls! It’s always been good therapy for me to create something—it’s a good feeling to make a family portrait, a plate of enchiladas, a hand-lettered sign for a friend, or a T-shirt for a much loved small town festival! It’s art to share!

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

1. Gardening: Water regularly.

2. Jesus went INTO the fire with  Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego (Daniel 6.) We need to invite Him into our tough situations. It’s better to go through life with Him than without Him.

3. Spanish was my first language, but when I don’t use it, I lose it! Im glad for the many opportunities I’ve had in recent years to speak more Spanish. The practice has helped me. I am able to translate and communicate in Spanish more and

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

Making:  I just finished working on the Western Days 2020 Commemorative T-shirt. The printed shirt just delivered. I am also working on a couple of logos; one for Evergreen Farms and another for Nanny Goat Salsa and have an engagement photo session planned for the weekend.

Reading/Listening to: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Watching: Just started watching Outlander—I’ve got a very long way to go!

5. Cake or Pie?

Pie —coconut cream, cherry, pecan & millionaire pies for starters!

Instagram @lordnidesign
Facebook @lordnidesign
Website enyecreative.com