3Splitz Farm, hustle

In My Eyes

You can see it in my eyes. You can hear the excitement in my voice. You can smell my desire or maybe it’s the stink of sweat from a day on the farm. You can follow my passion to the north Georgia Mountains.

I love my days on the farm. The time away from the noise of day to day life. A slower pace day in rustic paradise. It doesn’t matter if I’m working in the fields, cleaning the cabin or feeding an animal. It’s all therapeutic. Just as much as I love my chores I am thrilled about writing farming books and sharing farm stories with the world. There are many stories to tell from vantage points many will never experience in person. 

Having the opportunity to share my experiences is something I don’t take lightly. I consider it a huge honor and privilege. Whenever I have a hunger for knowledge I look to books and tools online. Sometimes these tools don’t exist. For me, it’s an opportunity to fill a void from a new set of female farming eyes. 

Amidst a pandemic, it all began in the blink of an eye. When many were frozen in time, my mind was dancing. The mind dance was a competitive chess game, a disco dance off, a game of pac man, and a cloggoff all at once firing away in my mind. When the mind dance was over a launchpad surfaced with two of my favorites. We would in-turn become a trio taking on the farming world in small town USA.

A dream. A vision. A plan. That was just the beginning. Then came the hard work. The dirty jobs. The renovations. The animals. The time. The digging. The negotiations. The sourcing of supplies. The legal crap. The planting. The waiting. The problems. The headaches. The stress. The failures. The redos. The never agains. The road blocks. I mean we did buy 15 acres of possibilities. We didn’t buy an operation already in existence. We bought dirt. The basic of basic. Hence the dirt to dream phrase I may have mentioned before.

A journey. A finely tuned process. A pristine product. A brand. That’s where we are today. Cultivating the land. Building the brand. Telling everyone about it. How much pride is involved in all we do oozes from our pores. We are blossoming and building a strong foundation for the years to come. We have our fan club rooting for us, but we can’t overlook the negatory. The ones who say why? No you can’t! Don’t do it! You’re crazy! Many fear change. Not me. I embrace it. Change is good. It spurs growth.

From day one to now. Pride beams from every item that breathes new life on our land. A flower. A tree. An animal. A vegetable. No matter what it is, we find joy in it all. We are not shy about it either. We share our passions with friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, and anyone who is curious about farm life. Many listen with curiosity. Some pass judgment.

Every product. Every service. Every detail. All designed with purpose. Deeply rooted with family ties, traditions, collaborations, and so much more. We often call it our way. The 3Splitz way. We will Never be perfect at what we do but we will always be perfecting our processes to become better than the year before. 2020 is in our rear view. 2021 is front and center. 2022-2024 is all mapped out.

The picture below is a full circle view of progress. An old picture with the classic flower truck, flowers for sale sign and the barn in background hangs proudly in our farm cabin. Inspiration from near and far. Something old. Something new. Something borrowed. Something blue. We made this just for you! 

Present day blooms hand picked and ready for delivery to some special ladies are angled next to the old photo. Just below the flowers you should note the 1965 Chevy C10 classic delivery vehicle that showcases our beautiful flowers in grand fashion. A fine example of hard work, patience and visualization.

A dream is all it takes to start the motion. Infinite opportunities exist for any soul daring enough to turn their dreams into reality. I call this hope and desire. Add a little elbow grease and a good attitude and you have a winning combination.

Reality begins with a vision. A plan follows. The plan will always take hard work. The plan will always include mistakes. The key to continually moving forward is to always learn from mistakes and celebrate the opportunity to get better.  From here one needs to be persistent and consistent. 

Keep an eye on 3Splitzfarm. It’s blossoming as year two of the project begins to unfold. Bigger. Better. Bolder. Beauty is on the horizon. Blooms of many colors. Blooms as unique the the 3Splitz founders.  

As a visionary I can definitely say the sky is the limit for 3Splitz Farm. Adventures await. Be sure to follow @3Splitzfarm on Instagram to keep up with all the happenings in and around the farm. 

Time to go put on my overalls and boots. It’s snake season. Eeewww!

nature, perspective

Before Time Runs Out

She made it to the finish line. The retirement announcement. The fancy party. The tearful videos and testimonies. Thirty years of service. An increasingly rare achievement these days. Most don’t get to the gold watch anymore, but she did. It was time to go out with style.

If she started teaching right out of college, she could retire in he early 50s. So young! She said she wanted to spend time with her parents, still living. She could now travel to see them whenever she wanted. Her own daughter had started teaching and she would volunteer in her classroom. She would enjoy her grandchildren.

When she retired, she had been my colleague for only one year. We did not see eye to eye on many things, but I respected her. And she will always be the person who helped me get the job that got my daughter into the school she needed to go to. For that I am grateful.

Now it is just a hair more than two years later, and her family is saying goodbye to her in hospice care. Her parents. Her children. Her grandchildren. Her husband. Friends, colleagues, all of them. It was only a few weeks after she retired that we learned she had aggressive cancer. It has been a sometimes slow, sometimes quicker downhill slide ever since.

I can’t say that I knew her very long or very well. I know she loved her family dearly. I know many of my colleagues are deeply grieving the sad decline of a good friend and mentor.

Why do these things happen? Just when she finally made it to the finish line, and the rest of life was just getting started, a new finish line was put before her, much much sooner than anticipated or planned.

The lesson I am reminded of is this: don’t wait for some future benchmark or goal to start living. Don’t put things off that you want to do or be or become. Take the trip of your dreams. Tell the person what you need to say. Dream and dare often.

It’s a lesson that my parents’ early deaths taught me long ago. Just when they got to the time of life for grandchildren and travel, they lost their health and then their lives.

We never know when our time will end. We may hope to live to a ripe old age, but there’s no promise of that. Make each day matter, before time runs out.

adventure

Hitting the Road

I’m about to hit the road for many short trips over the next few months. I plan to take it all in. The views. The time away. The experiences. The people I will meet. 

I feel fortunate to get up and go. Some destinations are more exciting than others this year but I’m just happy to be on the move. Looking ahead to new destinations. Time with friends and family. I don’t care if the car rides are annoying or long. I will be making memories.

I will document some of my destinations or the ones that I feel have merit for a post. I know I have one escape on the water in a tiny house with breathtaking views and great star gazing from a skylight. I won’t share every detail which means I will selfishly keep some adventures to myself. 

I’m on the road to 50. As I approach that milestone I want to see more, do more and explore more. Near and far. I want to stretch myself. I don’t want ordinary. I want once in lifetime experiences.

Some travel may include a hotel. Some may include an excursion. Others might be a one-of-a-kind stay. One might be all about the the play time. Blue skies, sunshine and adventures are on my horizon.

Off I go.

challenges, fitness and nutrition, health

The Verdict

I’ve shared a bit about a recent health challenge I participated in. It was multifaceted, but I mainly focused on cleaning up my nutrition.

After 4 weeks of retooling and refocusing, here’s the verdict.

Balancing my plate:

There were a lot of different choices in this challenge. You decide for yourself what goals and approaches would be worthwhile. For nutrition, I chose what was called the “balanced plate” approach. Every time I ate, I had a protein, a carb, a fat, and a vegetable. And yes, there was a detailed list for each category.

What was different: no more grabbing a handful of almonds over and over again throughout the day. Same with beef jerky. And cheese. All meals were actually meals. This took planning, but I am used to meal prep. Just shopping a bit differently and making sure I had all four components ready to mix and match. I didn’t really attempt recipes combining them. Bags of rice, boiled eggs, cooked chicken or ground turkey with seasoning, lots of veggies both raw and roasted, fruits, bags of nuts or avocado. All pretty simple stuff.

There was a “leveled up” approach where you weigh and measure food but I just didn’t want to get bogged down with that. Making sure I had all four and tipping the balance toward veggies and proteins seemed manageable for this transition. I ate rice or certain kinds of bread almost every day which felt strange as these were carbs I hardly ever chose in my macro-counting heyday (I’d rather have Pringles or Captain Crunch.) I usually only had rice or bread once a day but technically I could have them at every meal.

Honestly, this was a really satisfying way to eat. It was a busy month so I did end up eating while working which in some ways is bad, but on the other hand it meant I was eating more slowly. By the time I was done eating, I often felt full and fine. Plus, three boiled eggs with cucumbers, almonds, and blueberries is a lot more than a 90-calorie low fat yogurt. It felt like I had the fuel I needed so I wasn’t grabbing for snacks in between.

Sometimes this 4-element eating made for some strange bedfellows. I generally ate three meals and a smaller Greek yogurt bowl at night. I learned from the community that frozen riced cauliflower mixed with plain Greek yogurt was largely unnoticeable except for a little crunch. Add some fresh fruit and almond butter and that was maybe the strangest thing I ate on this challenge, but I enjoyed it every day.

Bye bye, friends:

There were some things in this challenge that I knew were going to be hard to give up. First, all added sugar and artificial sugar. When I first read this rule about sugars, I was really unsure how much I could do. And, like the plate approach above, I could be as serious as I chose to be about it. Some people just reduced one or two sweetened items from their diets. I decided to go big on this one and see how much I could get rid of.

Telescoping back and getting a sense of the sugars in my diet was eye-opening. From that 90-calorie yogurt in the morning to my dark chocolate chips each night, both regular and artificial sweeteners were a staple in my daily habits. Diet Cokes had crept in a couple of times a week, or coffees with sugar free creamer. I had a pretty ridiculous (and kind of nasty) sugar-free gum habit, chomping on piece after piece every day. Of course now I had to read labels in the grocery store and cabinet and realized that even my flavored almonds and Greek chicken seasoning had sweeteners hidden inside. I knew sugar was everywhere but seeing new places where it was hiding was eye-opening. Going from the macro breakdown to the ingredient list made a big difference. This month, most of what I ate didn’t have an ingredient list at all.

Dairy was going to be another hard thing to give up. The only dairy items permitted were heavy cream and fat free Greek yogurt.

I’m taking a moment to just honor my love of cheese. Cheese is a way of life for me. It’s almost like a hobby or a lifelong friend. An entire food group. I eat cheese all the time! But life went on without it. In a big salad, avocado and egg gave me the creaminess I needed. Seasonings took the place of a pinch of parmesan (ok, I usually had many pinches, often eclipsing the vegetables it was supposed to add flavor to.) While many in this challenge enjoyed a few drinks the day before saying a temporary farewell to alcohol, I went out of my way to eat a lot of cheese. At the other side of the challenge, there were several times I missed it. But, life went on without it.

And how did it all turn out?

In my workouts, I honestly didn’t have some of the power I feel I often do. My energy was different. I noticed I felt tired or had to take breaks. But like an engine that is switching to a new kind of fuel, I don’t think it’s uncommon to have some sputters. I also dropped quite a bit of weight this month, (over 13 pounds) so I had to remind myself that I was at a calorie deficit. It shouldn’t surprise me to be a little tired. Overall, though, I felt better throughout the day. My gut was a lot happier.

I am pleased with the changes I can see in the mirror. I am definitely fitting better in my clothes. Less bloating and fluff. I didn’t take pictures but of course I wish I had. (This is a broken record story). A friend told me she could tell the difference. I wonder if others notice, but as I was reminded recently, it may not be good to comment on other people’s body changes unless you know what they are up to. Maybe it’s illness or something else going on that isn’t necessarily needing a compliment. In the end it only really matters what I think, anyway.

I think I will retain a lot of what I have learned. I can do without things that seem hard to give up. I can pick and choose what to indulge in. I need to eat vegetables a LOT. And carbs aren’t the enemy, but I do better when I am focusing on less processed, less sweetened stuff. I have a lot of travel in the coming weeks, so that will present some challenges and opportunities to eat some amazing things that I don’t want to miss. With that in mind, I don’t plan to be strict with this way of eating going forward, but an 80/20 balance would be good. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of most of my meals. Now the challenge is to learn how to prepare differently and on the go.

All in all, a successful challenge. Lots of learning and a step forward.

inspire, perspective

Curiosity

I remember an old saying of curiosity killed the cat. Yet I feel curiosity inspires so much learning.

I often tell people to listen with curiosity. Intentionally listening to others is important. Not in the nosy sense but rather In the loyal and trusting sense when dealing with human interactions.

Listening with curiosity when learning new things is smart. Traveling to new places, one should always listen with curiosity. Maybe it’s a restaurant review or even a tourist stop off the beaten path. Just listening to the sounds around you. Sounds could be peaceful in nature such as bird chirping, cow mooing amongst others. Sounds of a big city may tell a different story. Cars, trucks, buses or even trains are part of city sounds. Listen closely. Listen with a curious ear.

Staying curious in life has helped me so much. Asking why many times. Or maybe asking why not in other situations. Staying curious is a way of life for me.

Curiosity has inspired me many times and I’m sure it will in the future as well.

What are you curious about?

What will you do next to listen with curiosity?

Get inspired. I know I am just writing this.