My neighbor offered these up this morning as a trade for some of our plums. Deal! So now I will be making both plummy and peachy things during my staycation. Speaking of which, I have now compiled a list of things I'd like to do next week, but may just opt for numbers 8 & 12.
There are many reasons to love my adopted hometown... notably the local artisans, volunteers, warriors, and pit masters that make Elgin a better place. In the next few months, on a semi-regular basis, I plan to spotlight anything and everything that inspires me and makes me proud to call Elgin My New Hometown.
In the spirit of full disclosure... I was born in Detroit.
INSPIRATION & CREATION I recently had the opportunity to visit with Jerry and Judy Horton of Down Home Ranch, a working farm and ranch community for people with special needs. The Hortons' daughter, Kelly, was born in 1984 with Down Syndrome, and they soon found themselves wondering about her future, and ultimately the adult lives of others with intellectual disabilities. As educators, their quest for knowledge and understanding drove them to learn all they could about Down Syndrome. Among their inspirations were L’Arche communities, founded in 1964 by Jean Vanier in France. The Hortons dreamed of a working ranch where adults with intellectual disabilities could work and live in a community of love, support and opportunity.
Staff member Travis Luker and Alaina haul bags of mulch
Many of the community members commute on the many bikes and adult-size trikes found around Down Home Ranch.
A small cove of community group homes nestled in the trees.
Volunteers working at one of eleven greenhouses
TODAY Down Home Ranch is a working farm and ranch community of about 40 adults and children, with and without intellectual disabilities, live and work together in their many greenhouses, gardens and pastures growing food, raising livestock and the daily chores that this requires of everyone. The Horton's are working toward this being a self sustaining community... feeding themselves and others.
Plant label reads, "Grown with love at Down Home Ranch.
Locally, seasonal poinsettia sales are a source of revenue for DHR, as are year-round plant sales.
Volunteers tending to a few of the many drought tolerant species DHR grows for central Texas.
Yesterday a couple friends and I visited a local goat ranch that is days away from opening their dairy facilities to the public...
but first we needed to maneuver our way past the front line of terriers. Initially, they will be selling milk and possibly feta, kefir and yogurt in the future. Apparently they cannot sell chevre because of the pasteurization required, so they will be selling chevre making kits to interested customers. Yay. They plan to teach cheese making classes in their commercial kitchen.
Tomorrow marks the start of the 4th annual Hill Country Yarn Crawl! There are 11 participatng shops in the Hill County area, from teeny Paige to San Antonio! I'm hopping on the Sunday bus that is meeting Hill Country Weavers in Austin then going to San Antonio, Comfort, Fredericksburg, Boerne and Horsehoe Bay. Need to decide on next sock project for bus ride.
One of our local organic farmers has recently decided to start a CSA. My husband and I are the first subscribers. One of the amazing benefits of this intimate relationship between farmer and consumer is the ability to communicate with each other. This can only help him when he's ready to grow his subscriber base.
I went out to visit the farm on Saturday... after a whole lot of rain happened Friday night.
I am still savoring the Southern Food Issue of Oxford American. It's so good I'm afraid if I gobble it up, there'll be no more. I mean where else are you going to read an article about eating dirt? Yes, you heard me, dirt? Beth Ann Fennelly's story about Geophagy is fascinating.
beans and squash will be ready to pick soon.
Since I don't use pesticides... I must be sure to wash off all spiders and dirt.
Yesterday I delivered a donation from an other home gardener along with
spinach, chard & lettuce from my own garden, to the Community
Cupboard. I was lucky enough to be working from home and was able to visit with the volunteers for while and watch as the two arm loads of home-grown produce went home with happy recipients.
Ruth, a longtime volunteer helps bag the groceries for clients
Venison donated by hunters
Eggs and tortillas...this is Texas after all
A few weeks ago I cooked up and idea, not an original idea, but a good one none the less. I wanted to encourage local residents to simply plant a little extra in their gardens and donate the food to the Community Cupboard. I've called this A Row to Share and have started a blog about the program. I have a couple contributors now, but hope it grows into a larger project that I can let someone else take over. I inquired at the high school to see if any of the agriculture science classes would be interested in planting a garden and donate the harvest. Becky Maass's 4th period Horticulture class was game. They planted their garden with okra, peppers, strawberries, tomatoes and corn. I had the pleasure of visiting them yesterday. See their peppers below.