Winds of change in the victory garden | The Enterprise
The Enterprise


Winds of change in the victory garden

Posted on May 13, 2022

Updated on May 15, 2022


DeeAnn Rivera

DeeAnn Rivera

Spring is in full force with its blustery winds and window rattling storms. Just like most things, too much of anything can be bad. A gentle breeze on a hot sunny day is welcomed while the same wind with too much force can cause destruction. 

My daughter, who is in Wyoming, is often coping with 50 to 90 mile an hour winds with 18-wheeled trucks frequently toppled and the highway shut down because it’s not safe to travel on it.

A few weeks ago, I was able to visit my cousin in St. Jo, Texas. I haven’t seen him in a decade, and I had a morning that we were both free to catch up. It turns out he’s become a much more acclaimed artist that I realized. He’s even invented a watercolor technique that is named after him, “Meador Black.”

Of course, we were interested in hearing how a businessman completely reinvented himself into a successful and widely known artist without painting much until in his 50s. It seems he took part in the great resignation before it was popular. After a particularly bad day at work, he decided that his mental health was more valuable than his business, so he fired all his clients and bought some paints.

This would be highly romantic if, at the time, he didn’t have a family to support, bills to pay and maybe he’d had some paintings that had already sold. My cousin Randy laughed as he told the story, “Looking back at what seemed completely ludicrous ended up saving my life.”

He and I share the grandmother who gardened. She was also an artist, although never achieved fame. She created clothes without patterns using discarded clothes. She researched and painted family crests without the invention of the internet. She made beautiful quilts by hand with intricate stitching that grace my home and have covered my children. Treasures created with me in mind that I hold dear.

But what if the winds of change never happened? What if Randy Meador continued to drudge to work, making a decent living but never explored his desire to make the world more beautiful? Fortunately, he did not let his desire and talent continue to lie dormant. It took a lot of work, but he now supports his family, with most of his work being commissioned.

Interestingly, the town of St. Jo, Texas, (where my cousin lives) looks a lot like Spring Hope. At one time it was a very prosperous town, but little by little it became run down and worn, with downtown buildings vacant and needing maintenance.

He is on a committee that is helping bring in the winds of change to St. Jo. While not all the residences like everything that is changing, the change is reviving the town. An art gallery is thriving, as well as festivals and open-air music venues. Vacant buildings are beginning to be filled with boutique businesses, and one of the best burgers you can get in Texas are made there.

When I walked on the sidewalks of St. Jo, I could envision seeing change gently blowing into Spring Hope, too. We don’t need a hurricane, but we do need a brisk breeze to blow out the cobwebs and resuscitate the beauty that is lying dormant.

I’d like to share a recipe that is one of my favorites. It’s an old-fashioned jelly roll that comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, “All About Home Baking,” published in 1933 by the General Foods Corporation.

You’ll see I’ve added to it and made it better (a little powdered sugar will do that) without losing the original goodness.

Don’t forget that adding in a little extra love doesn’t add calories — it just adds richness — which is what we all deserve.

Old-Fashioned Jelly Roll 

Pro tip: If you only have all-purpose flour, you can take 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons. Then add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Sift together well and use what amount you need.

¾ cup cake flour 

¾ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

4 eggs

¾ cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup of jelly, any flavor (apricot, strawberry, apple butter, even that jalapeno raspberry that is sweet and spicy — go wild!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a 15x10-inch pan and line with greased paper.

Special way of beating eggs with baking powder (here’s where the love added). Combine baking powder, salt and eggs in a bowl set over (not in) another, smaller bowl of hot water, with the bottom of the top bowl not quite touching the water. Beat with a rotary egg-beater (or low speed on mixer) until the first froth changes to a true foam. Then add sugar gradually, beating vigorously (or medium speed with a mixer) until a spongy, fluffy, golden mixture piles up in the bowl (looks like love now). Remove bowl from over hot water. The flour is then gently folded in.

How to prepare sheet pan for baking sponge roll: The batter is baked in a sheet pan, 15X10 inches. The pan first is greased, then lined to within ½ inch of the edge with waxed paper and greased again — a triple protection that keeps the bottom of the cake soft and smooth, makes it easy to remove and roll. The light, fluffy batter is poured carefully into the pan and spread evenly with a spatula.

How to cut crisp edges off:  While the cake is still in the pan, cut off crisp edges quickly. Use a gentle sawing motion that does not tear the cake. Then invert the pan on a clean cloth which has been dusted with confectioners’ sugar and coax the cake out with a spatula. Remove paper at once.

Add jelly: Spread with jelly, spreading almost to the edge. Roll quickly while warm.

How to roll jelly cake (adding the hugs): Turn up the edge of the cake about 1 inch; lift up the cloth high enough to raise the turned edge of the cake off the table. This starts the cake rolling. Rolling continues as cloth is lifted higher and higher. Roll with one hand and lift with the other. When the cake is entirely rolled, wrap the cloth around the cake tightly enough to keep it rolled; cool on a rack. Cake will stay rolled once cooled. 

If you’re feeling “extra” you can sprinkle powdered sugar on the outside as well (not part of the original recipe- but I like it.)

You can slice once cooled and put on a fancy plate or box or wrap the beauty and give the whole roll. A lovely gift to give or receive. 

Gentle winds will help pollinate seeds that can be sown. Sowing seeds of kindness is a blessing to harvest.

Happy planting!

DeeAnn Rivera is a Spring Hope resident who blogs at Email her at

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