When I became a University of Georgia fan, I was taught to hate orange.
Why hate a color? So many of UGA’s rivals have orange as one of their team colors…Florida, Clemson, Auburn, Tennessee: orange, orange, orange, and orange. My older brother and parents had been fans long before I was, so up until then I had hardly noticed that orange wasn’t really something we wore or decorated with. We are all about red.
I took this to heart. I don’t have orange clothes. Orange cars. Orange anything, really. I hate orange. Even in the fall, I am drawn to white and green pumpkins. Red and brown leaves. Orange leaves me cold.
Enter flower farming. I somehow managed to order seeds for orange flowers without really realizing it. I ordered mixes of zinnias. Zowie had a bit of orange. And then, just recently, the queen orange lime brought her full glory.
Don’t throw dog biscuits at me, UGA fans, but these flowers have made me warm to orange a bit. A friend asked us to make an arrangement of pink and orange flowers and it just screamed happiness. I’ve gone from thinking orange belongs exactly nowhere to thinking maybe, just maybe, it belongs in a bunch or a vase sometimes. I’ll be ordering more next year (although don’t look for me to wear orange anytime soon!)
The first summer season as a flower farmer. The triumphs. The trials. (I’m looking at you, weeds!) The lessons.
Flowers have their own time. On the back of each seed pack, it tells me about how long I’ll be waiting to see their blooms. For so many, it’s weeks and weeks, even months, before the blooms begin to peek out. Seems like forever I’m just waiting and waiting, thinking they’ll never get here.
Then, driving in through the trees, into the wide valley, I crane my neck and finally see…
Red, pink, yellow, orange, purple, white, and more. Color after color exploding in the middle of the wide green field. The flowers are here!
And from that point on, every time I make that crossing into the valley, I hold my breath. Will they still be here? Are they still coming? And every time, the answer is a bright, explosive YES!
Yes, we are here. Yes, we are growing. Yes, it’s time to cut us so we can make more more more more more.
It’s a lot of work, the whole process of growing and cutting flowers. It may seem simple but it isn’t. So many steps from dream to plan to ground to stem to vase to the recipient’s smile. It’s worth it in the end, but the middle parts can be wearisome.
But, no matter how tired or busy I am, the flowers don’t care.
They are driven. They have a mission. They bloom and bloom and bloom.
If it’s raining? Bloom. Sunny? Bloom. Come wind or any other weather.
If I have a busy social calendar? They don’t care. Bloom. If I’m tired? Bloom. If a family member is sick? Bloom. They must.
It’s kind of a beautiful thing, with all the ugliness in the news, the poison and pandemic and pessimism, they just keep on blooming, totally unaffected by the goings on. Their whole job is to make the farm and faces light up with color. And next year we will have even more of them.
When I don’t feel like making the trip, I remind myself that the day will come when I will crane my neck coming into the valley and the color won’t be there. I’ll miss them when they are gone. So I continue on, enjoying the blooms.
I’ve loved them for years. I still have two huge patches of them at my house that expand every year.
Now I’m a flower farmer. Zinnias are beautiful and fairly easy to grow, so we have many of them this first season. I had done my research on kinds, choosing some Benary’s Giants, Oklahomas, and Queen Red Lime, Orange, and Blush. As I browsed the seed catalogs, several that I hadn’t heard of captured my attention. Seeds aren’t very expensive, so I grabbed a couple of those offbeat varieties just to see how they turned out.
A few months later, I met Zowie! Yellow Flame (seemed a silly silly name) and whew, she took my breath away! I used to roll my eyes when people said they were “obsessed” with a flower, but this one fit the bill.
The yellow flame is a perfect name. Orange and red in the middle part of each petal with a flame yellow tip that just screams “happy!” Then the wondrous crown of stars in the center. But the real surprise is that little whisper of hot pink just on the part of each petal right near the center. What a show this girl puts on. She looks amazing with pretty much anything on her arm! I’m sure you see her front and center in this bunch.
I’ve already started scoping out more unusual zinnias for 3Splitz Farm’s next season. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon anyone? Should be a knockout!
I have said a million times a picture is worth a thousand words. This I do believe. For purposes of this post I will limit my words, emphasize my photos and celebrate how all things sprout in our little world.
Lettuce didn’t surprise us but we saw it in abundance. We ate. We shared. We smiled.
The flowers bloomed. So pretty. So bright. Mother’s Day was full of blooms instead of gloom this year. A big step up from 2020.
Sunflowers, dahlias, zinnias and so much more are soaking up the sun and the rain day by day in the mountains. From seed or tuber to blooms. Fresh picks to make everyone smile. So much happiness around us.
We even got to feeling corny when our second round of corn showed signs of life. We did the happy dance when the berries spurred growth. Our first tree planted showed so much development in the past year. Such a whirlwind but a reflection point. The tree grew along with us. In nature. Beaming with pride.
Cucumbers, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, herbs in abundance. So fresh. So healthy. All home grown by us. From farm chores to commutes to dirty jobs and planning galore. We struck it rich in more ways than one.
Progress is measured by many. Progress measurements can be one’s perception or another’s reality. For us, reality is we are growing. Sprouting. Blooming. Oh we have had failures, annoyances, messes and down right shit storms but in the end, the rain, the sun and the hard work has yielded so much.
Fresh flowers from the field to the end user. A prideful role we play in today’s crazy world. Did you know visitors are still limited at Assisted Living facilities? How would you like to know your loved one is still missing human interactions and love of all kinds?
We wanted to make a difference. Our flowers made it to some local elderly stuck in those four walls to put a smile on their faces and to let them know sometimes the world isn’t a bad place. Flowers have power. We share our power with others vs. worrying about who sneaks a peek in our flower field when one passes by the beauty of it.
Kindness is simple to duplicate. When we grow we ignite the passion for smiles, healing, happiness and so much more. A trio of new farmers. Learning, living, doing life on their terms.
Seeing our flowers shine on kitchen tables and in businesses show how bright our future is. Hang tight as we expand production into greenhouses, visit farmers markets with our blooms and just deliver smiles near and far without hesitation. 2022 planning has been underway for some time. Hopefully nature will be on our side.
We didn’t just plant. We erected. We used hammer and nails too. We created a space in our field to be one with nature. Fancy camping to some. glamping to others. Visitors can come enjoy a slice of our paradise to see what farm life is like. We know it’s not for everyone but it’s an experience. From couples to families to scouting groups. There is an outdoor experience for everyone.
Today’s post is to honor 3Splitz Farm. A sister organization of sorts. Supported by many. Don’t forget to do your part to support local. Think about your local farmer when you shop at the big box grocery store or a local farm stand. Buying local is great choice when one can make it.
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!