The past two years have found me working and traveling...in fact, I pretty much work to travel.
I just returned from an exciting trip to Mexico City and Oaxaca and can't wait to share my pictures and travel notes.
My friend's recent post about Rain Africa's beauty products and their business profile made me think back to my visit a few years ago to South Africa.
Truly I had never imagined it to be a country of such incredible diversity. Humid tropics to the east, mountainous areas that almost rival the Alps, stunning coastal regions, rolling hills covered in vineyards....but the people, their smiles and easygoing nature are what I remember the most...and sadly, the incredible poverty of the cities. Most people just want to have the opportunity to work.
Hout Bay is a small fishing village south of Cape Town. Jill Heyes, a transplanted Brit, witnessed the poverty and sense of hopelessness in the surrounding area. Understanding the people's desire to work, she along with the help of a local decoupage artist Christine Sadler, were able to turn used tea bags into works of art. Now Jill, known as the t-bag lady, runs a company employing local women and men all involved in a labor of love.
"An environment that has thrived on determination, co-operation, give and take, support and friendship, has created in reality confidence, pride, responsibility and perseverance where it previously didn’t exist. Lives have been picked up and nurtured, each one an asset and contribution to the success of T-Bag Designs today. As each tea – leaf is crucial to a perfect brew, so each individual at Original T-Bag Deisigns is indispensable to a business that has become a family."
Time didn't allow me and my family to actually tour their workshop, but I purchased many of their products as gifts to bring back to the States.
They make the most unique Christmas ornaments as well as wall plaques, note cards, etc.
If you are interested in purchasing any of their items, and helping this community, check out their website:
One of the first greens to pop their little leaves up, ramps have been a source of sustenance for years for people in the southern mountains of Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and lucky for me...Ohio! A cross somewhere between garlic and spring onions (scallions), ramps have their own taste..so much so that nothing else really tastes like a ramp.
I crave them.
Ramps were well known in all the mountains communities but have, in the past few years, been "found out" by chefs on both coasts and in between. They are now, seemingly, everywhere. So much so, that our national parks and forests have banned the harvesting of ramps. So I have my own little patch I've been nurturing for years. Just enough to keep me in ramp butter all year long. I dole it out in the most parsimonious way...if I like you, you just might get a taste!
Ramps come out of the ground with dirt clinging to their roots and little papery bits protecting the lovely white bulb. And that means cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning.
One of my most favorite ways to eat ramps is with potatoes. Fried potatoes and ramps is just about heaven. Add some eggs, and here comes breakfast, lunch and/or dinner!
I will share with you my pictorial recipe for making a quick, easy and delicious meal
Fry up a mess of potatoes and add chopped ramps.
For one person 1 large potato and 5 ramps, including both the green and white parts.
Add 2 scrambled eggs to the pan and let set over low heat.
Allow the eggs to set into large curds and then scramble it all together
Visiting my BIL's relatives in Africa, I can say how much these small businesses are vital to pulling people out of poverty. So many people live desperate lives and companies like this one are a win/win. Allowing people the dignity of honest work and creating such lovely, organic products. I'm in