ImageHere at Dave's Garden we have a very active cooking community. We exchange recipes, offer tips for planning parties, barbeques and weddings. Whole threads are dedicated to soups, casseroles, appetizers, or sandwich spreads. Cooking is a natural extension to our gardens and along with some fabulous gardeners, we have some very talented cooks here as well. Most of us love to cook and are eager to experiment with recipes and techniques suggested by other members.

We are also a creative bunch. Many of us have developed ways of making extra income with our talents and have even turned hobbies into full-time businesses. We share ideas and success stories, hoping to inspire others to find ways to turn something that they love to do, into a money-making opportunity.

The tasty grilled cheese sandwich that inspired this article is just such an interesting story. It was served in an old converted one room schoolhouse in Eddyville, Kentucky by a woman who drives a school bus.

ImagePam Reed gets up at 4 in the morning to make the necessary preparations for her restaurant. She needs to have everything done and in place, before she takes off to do her daily duties of driving one of the Lyon County school busses. When her bus driving duties are done, she returns to her tiny six table restaurant, nestled between some giant oak trees in the town of Eddyville and prepares to open Tea, Thyme, And Toast for the day's business. Hungry folks start arriving and the tables fill quickly. People know that to get some of Pam's tasty food, they have to be swift. You see Tea, Thyme, And Toast is only open from 10am to 2pm. Pam has to be back on bus-driving duty in the afternoon.

ImageTea, Thyme, And Toast sprang from Pam's desire to bake and cook and the availability of the little one room school sitting empty in the town of Eddyville. The modest wooden building was known as the Moulton School and once stood near Confederate, Kentucky. Founded in 1840, the first school was a log cabin. It was upgraded to a frame building in 1870, but fire destroyed the little school in 1920. The hardy west Kentucky folks soon rebuilt it and that building is the one that now houses the quaint little lunch shop known as Tea, Thyme, And Toast.

In 1980, the school was moved to its present location and the Chamber of Commerce used it briefly for their offices. Soon, the need for modern conveniences and more room, had them looking for more suitable accommodations and the tiny school fell empty once again.

Pam had always loved baking and longed to open her own restaurant. The little empty schoolhouse was in a great location to take advantage of hungry office workers in downtown Eddyville. Eddyville sports a population of almost 2500 residents, so a large restaurant with high overhead and lots of staff did not make much sense. The little lonely schoolhouse, that was smaller than most family garages was perfect for the task, so three years ago, Tea, Thyme, And Toast opened.

ImagePam started out with baked goods, fancy teas, and coffee, but the requests for "real food" were often and persistent. She soon branched out with a lunch menu that changed with the seasons and the availability of ingredients. Not only does she bake all of her own bread and pastries, but roasts and carves the different meats used in the sandwiches. No pre-packaged deli stuff here, she does it all from scratch. That includes the home-made soups flavored with fresh herbs, and delightful mustards and mayos with the zippy tang of horseradish or garlic.

Food can be ordered "to go," or one can sit back at one of the little tables and enjoy the décor that still includes blackboards on the walls with maps rolled up nearby. The portrait of George Washington still hangs above the front door, and an interesting mixture of modern paintings and 1930's glassware grace the walls and shelves.

She has succeeded in the difficult restaurant industry by offering delicious food made with quality ingredients. The added charm of the little schoolhouse only adds to the already delightful experience.

Many of us here at Dave's Garden share her spirit of entrepreneurship and have developed ways of adding to our incomes while doing something that we love to do. It just goes to show us that if we have a dream and a bit of creativity, we can successfully blend a hobby and a job. Her story should inspire us to take the plunge into whatever business that we have a love for. Whether it is home-made herbal soaps, gourmet jams and jellies, a daylily nursery, or something else entirely, it can be done. With good planning, carefully chosen ingredients and a bit of luck, there are success stories all over this world. It is still a place where one person and hard work can make a difference, we just have to believe in our dreams.

Pam's Gourmet Grilled Cheese SandwichImage

Home-made bread sliced thick

Slice of Cheddar cheese

Slice of Swiss cheese

A few strips of roasted red pepper

A few strips of caramelized onion

Put sandwich together and spread bread with real butter

Grill on medium heat until cheese melts