3Splitz Farm

Rain

5:00 am wakeup call. The faint sound…you hear it on the rooftop. Pit pat pit pat or maybe its thrummmmm. Rain. Do I drift back to sleep?

Some may say they hate the rain. For a long time, I was one of them. Rain on marching band performances made our heavy wool uniforms stink. Rain on Disney days had us dragging out the dreaded ponchos. Rain on Halloween meant a raincoat over my costume. Rain is taking things away.

Then the rain took on new meaning.

During my mother’s funeral luncheon an enormous storm came out of nowhere. We were at the Stone Mountain Women’s Club. Picture a series of long foldup tables with every variety of salad: chicken salad with grapes and almonds, macaroni salad with bits of ham and roasted peppers, bean salad with vinegar dressing. Allllllll the mayonnaise. Then the hot dishes…chicken rice casserole with peas and melted cheese, macaroni and cheese with toasty breadcrumbs, pineapple casserole under a blanket of buttery Ritz crackers. And the desserts, oh the desserts. Cookies, bars, bundt cakes, and light green pistachio fluff. A meal fitting for one of the members of the cookbook committee.

We sat at the long tables, all gathered to honor my mother. The old wooden A-frame with the floor-to-two-story-ceiling windows. I looked over with my full plate and plastic silverware.

The trees twisted, branches ready to slip off their bending trunks. Leaves and pinestraw flying. Back and forth with abandon. If we had phones back then I’m sure they’d have all been buzzing with warnings. Summer storms come quickly in the South. We all just watched the sky turn green and the rain pour down on that summer afternoon. Wondering if the windows would shatter. Eventually it calmed down, but the storm stayed with me.

Ever since that time, rain is a comfort. But still an inconvenience. My mother is gone, why shouldn’t the sky cry?

And now today. Rain…

makes traffic worse

is a hazard on the trail

keeps me from having fun outside

makes the dogs antsy

messes up my hair

creates an endless need to sweep and mop the floor

matches the sadness inside

and and and. So while the rain seems appropriate, it still brings its challenges.

Then, a life change brings yet another shift in thinking.

This time it’s…

tulips,

daffodils,

crocus,

ranunculus,

anemones.

We’re on our way to flower farming. We just finished our first bed of spring flowers. Row after row of plump bulbs, tucked into the soil with fertilizer, peat moss, and hope. I don’t see them every day so I find myself wondering about them…are they happy in their new bed? Now my peeks at the weather forecast aren’t so much about what I should wear but about the bulbs. Like babies away at boarding school. Do they have what they need? A bit of sunshine and enough to drink?

Rain is their friend. I think of how thankful they must be for the nourishment. The refreshment. I smile when I look through my windows at work and see the rain coming down. It takes some storms and inconvenience in order to grow. Storms may bend us but not break. Welcome every season and the nourishment it brings. A change in my mind. One of many lessons from the blossoms.

3Splitz Farm, dare to be different

A Doctor Digs in the Dirt

I recently wrote a rant-ish post about being a PhD. How I use my degree maybe not as a professor, but more as a thinker every single day.

I’ve recognized this a lot lately as I’ve waded into the first stages of flower farming. It reminds me of my surprise when I had a baby. When I became pregnant, I was immersed in this whole new universe and language I had no idea about. Pick up a baby magazine and I was surrounded by a new vocabulary. So many debates and decisions. What kind of diapers, how medicalized a birth, co-sleeping, onesies, products galore. It was a whole world I knew nothing about, even though it had been there all along.

Flower farming is much the same way. It has its own calendar, its ebbs and flows. So many special bloom varieties to choose from. Growing zones, soil amendments, succession planting…I am wide-eyed and soaking it all in. Just the photos on insta of all the beauty makes me swoony.

On the calendar side, so far I am playing catchup. I’m learning you have to be thinking at least 6 months ahead, and eventually a year. 3Splitz Farm is not even 6 months old (hard to believe!) so I am giving myself a little grace on that. We wanted tulips, but it took a while to find the right ones. In the mean time, I read in all sorts of places about where to source high- quality bulbs and what they should look like. My lightweight crumbly bulbs from the local mega mart weren’t going to cut it. This is a researcher in action. Most major places were sold out, but I finally found a farm with a great reputation that had the flowers we needed. The first set of bulbs went in the ground on the late side, but I’ve ordered seeds now so they should arrive in plenty of time. Slowly but surely the calendar is spreading forward. Soon we will be on pace.

Planning the land is the next challenge. It’s left me paralyzed at times, thinking that where we plant ______________ (bulbs, seeds, plants, veggies) is some kind of permanent decision. What if the flowers don’t thrive there? What if they can’t be seen the way we want them to? What if animals or pests destroy the crop? We took the step and planted the first set over the last couple of weeks. I was guided by my OLW: DO, and reminded myself that mistakes can be fixed. Of course, that’s only if we have the courage to make them! I am listening to the land and trusting that it will tell me what to do. It’s a wonderful intersection between science, wishes, and hard work.

3Splitz Farm

Salad Days

Salad Days: “Salad days” is a Shakespearean idiomatic expression meaning a youthful time, accompanied by the inexperience, enthusiasm, idealism, innocence, or indiscretion that one associates with a young person (Wikipedia).

What makes a salad? If you grew up in my house, almost anything. All the veggies, sure, but in the 1980’s with the heyday of salad bars, for me it also sometimes meant cottage cheese with shredded cheese, ranch dressing and croutons on top. There’s ambrosia filled with marshmallows. Strawberry Pretzel Salad. Or the classic half of a canned pear with a dollop of mayo, shredded cheddar and half of a maraschino cherry. In looking for recipes, I even learned about Snickers salad. Salads can be a little bit of anything thrown together, it seems.

Salad. One of the most delightful parts of farming so far has been walking out to the field, seeing what might be ready, harvesting it, and making it into a salad. Most of what we’ve pulled out so far is lettuce. I made a huge salad with our tender buttercrunch lettuce, then topped it with extras from the grocery: fresh mozzarella pearls and pomegranate seeds. The lettuce was the star and so deeply satisfying to savor. A hint of bitterness. Little touches of wilt that I knew had come from that one night of hard freeze. Our history in a bowl and I ate it right up.

The next week, it was more of our buttercrunch lettuce topped with grocery goodies: celery, tomatoes, carrots, cheese, and dressing. Delicious.

The new challenge was the kale I cut. Looking around, I had to see what ingredients we had on hand that would match up with it. We were working from a limited stock, but I came up with a kale salad with fresh Georgia satsumas (purchased out of curiosity from the Peach Truck), mozzarella, and a lemon vinaigrette. It was good, but had me dreaming of what some sunflower seeds and goat cheese would have added.

It’s a shift in thinking from the grocery store to the garden, from the food mart to the farmer’s market. To trust what the earth will provide to lead what you eat, and build the rest of your food around it. We are transitioning to being more self-reliant and making do with what we have invested in the ground. Betting on ourselves nutritionally, little by little.

For a person who goes to the store with a list and has every ingredient on hand, it’s a lesson in adaptability. A beautiful one. One that appreciates what the earth can give back for our efforts.

Our youthful salad days of gardening, growing, and enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of our efforts have been sweet indeed. Figuring out which direction to grow next is the exciting challenge.

3Splitz Farm

The Barn Door

There is so much beauty in observing something via a new lens. A new perspective on the same place, task, situation and so on. An outsider looking in. Such an opportunity to learn through observation.

Today I got to view a piece of property I own from a new lens. A stranger’s view gave me a new appreciation of what I look at often. Same coordinates but different appearance. A cracked barn door is all it took. Below is just one of the pictures that inspired me.

A different angle. A little misty fog. A different elevation. An artistic view. A fresh look. I was swept away by its beauty and mystery. How can the same place look so different while being the exact same?

We all have a unique vision of life, land, people and tasks. One’s trash can be another’s treasure. One’s obstacles can be another’s perfect play place. I’m a curious person. A constant observer. A life learner. I enjoy seeing the lens of others. It keeps me sane, motivated and engaged.

Today I looked at a lens on land as a reflection of life. The slightly cracked door opened to many possibilities. The fog was so representative of today’s masked world. The fog of 2020. My reflection of how I can paint my picture one way yet theirs may look much different. My barn picture is very peaceful but also thought provoking.  

When coaching others I am using my lens to give my perspective. Often the outsider looking in. Normally I don’t get to see the beauty of another lens. I’m normally bogged down with sorting out chaos. Today I saw beauty through the barn door. Now it’s my chance to seize opportunities through the fog. 

I appreciated every bit of the beauty. The learning experience. The smiles and the journey of others which inadvertently becomes part of my journey.

Life full circle. When you are in a creative space that allows you to observe, you can move mountains or obstacles in life with ease.

Find yourself that barn door to refresh your outlook. Better yet, you can use mine. 3Splitz Farm is a magical place in the north Georgia mountains offering many breathtaking views. Check it out for yourself. 

3Splitz Farm

Dirt to Dreams

Some folks wonder what dreams are made of. For me my current dream is made of dirt. Or it at least starts with dirt or land but there is a vision behind the layers of dust, dirt, grass, rock and critters.
Today’s dream is agricultural at its roots with the seeds planted for future development over the long haul. It’s hard to explain but to just jot down the CliffsNotes of the vision without giving away the finish line is a great way to show a glimpse to others who maybe can’t see the path on their own. My motto has always been dream big and this is a great example to showcase.
Just a chick on her tractor with her faithful sidekick moving dirt in one way or another. A whole different level of badassery than you see on the weekdays but equally satisfying. How could that be? I’m working on my dream. I’m using my own blood, sweat and tears to build something that matters. The depth and breadth of the project is hard to quantify today but the process in itself of building/assembling the dream is priceless.
The people on the journey near and far who see the value of the dream and even participate in one way or another is magical. Sharing smiles is ever so treasured when on or around my dirt pile I call rustic paradise. This past weekend we had a family gathering. The memories made on the land, in the dirt were irreplaceable. My 80+ years young mom got to share in our country festivities and see a simple side of life. No hustle, no bustle, no TV, but somehow time goes by so fast.
Three generations of women sharing stories, memories, experiences on the dirt / land I incorporate in the big dream. For now this is just one example of the value within the land. There are many more from virtual connections, friend connectivity, farmily traditions and overall growth as people within this environment.
This weekend I dealt with snakes, ducks, rabbits, dogs and other critters. I came out unscathed and enjoyed every last minute. Even the frightful moment dealing with a venomous snake. And the irony of the snake picture is I stopped to get video proof of this snake to identify it. Now it appears to be a copperhead yet last time I wrote about a snake I noted I screamed dramatically. This time I didn’t but probably should have given the type of snake!
The good news is I lived to tell another story and hope that somewhere in the world somebody is enjoy my dream big stories. Signing off as a farm girl for now before I strap on my heels for the day job. Until next time.