3Splitz Farm, nature

What Rhymes With Orange

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!)

adventure, nature

Purple Mountain Majesty

America the Beautiful

I’ve sung it a million times. It was in our repertoire when I traveled to other countries with a choir in my youth. A lovely melody (and much easier to sing than the national anthem.)

Of course I know the words by heart, but I hadn’t thought much about them much until recently. On a trip to Colorado, I finally understood one line in particular: “for purple mountain majesty.”

Funny, I had never really paused over that line before. Now, I find myself thinking it really doesn’t make much sense…

until it did, when I crested a hill on I-70, motoring my way west from Denver. The sun was going down and the steep slopes of pines had a faint purple cast, especially from the bare trees. I kept wanting to grab a photo. I couldn’t believe it, as I cruised along up and down the road. Purple mountains. Majestic, indeed.

It is such a refreshing joy to go somewhere completely different. To see a place utterly and fascinatingly new. It feels like my brain just grew and grew. New heights, new landscapes, new colors and atmosphere around every turn. Most of the time when we tried to take a picture, we knew it wouldn’t do it justice. It was all almost too enormous, too beautiful, too perfect to believe.

There was so much about Colorado that I marveled at and want to remember. But for now, I just want to honor those awe-inspiring mountains. They were truly a sight to behold. Worth singing about and sharing.

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.

3Splitz Farm, nature

Spring’s Surprises

Hard to believe, but it’s our first Spring season as owners of 3Splitz Farm. We put some of our own plants in the ground, but what’s also been exciting is watching what blooms and emerges that we didn’t even know was there.

So far we’ve had sprinklings of daffodils, clusters of crocus, hills of violets and some beautiful bushes coming to life. But what made me smile most was looking out my bedroom window to see the familiar dapple of white flowers unfurling.

Dogwoods were my mother’s favorite. When I walked the property I counted at least 8 of them lining our drive and flanking the cabin. Each craggy, each unique. I was ready to plant a dogwood there last fall but it wasn’t time to put them in the ground. Every house my family has owned has had a dogwood in the yard. 3Splitz would be no different. Little did I know those beauties were already there. Another symbol that feels like I am on the right path, even if I am surrounded by distractions.

Spring is just beginning at the farm. Things are greening up. I wonder what will blossom next? Azaleas? Iris? Lilies? Who knows. Thanks to the previous owners for these delights. Excited to see what’s next.

nature

Rain, #2

The forecast was rain all weekend. The breaks in the clouds would seem to be at odd times in the midst of the storm(s). It’s the raining season yet the to-do list grows. Off we go to battle the elements.

Day 1 seemed okay. Not too much rain on the humans however the puddles and mud were abundant from the days and hours before. Thank goodness for some mud boots. We put in yard work where we could. We played a little too because we could.

Day 2: 100% rain. How disappointing! We wake early to the sounds of roosters. Off to walk the dog and feed some peppermints to the horses. It’s so cute to hear the horses crunch on the hard candy mints. They may even like the hint of fresh breath in the morning. The mints are just as refreshing to them as they are for me giving them.

I opted to be beat the rain storm from point a to point b. It worked. I was about an hour or so ahead of the eye of the storm. The cute little pup and I decide to take a little nap by the window on this rainy day.

Ah how the rain can just drain even the most energetic pup and say it’s time to nap. Zzzz  zzzzz to the sound of the rain and its anthem. A little thunder. Some big booms. The large drops of rain. Then the fierce and fast rain that goes on for a long time. Reduced to a little soft spit of rain. I watched the storm from my window. Dozing in and out of sleep. Now it’s time to rise.

The sky still appears grey but the sun wants to poke through. The birds are back to chirping. The trees are being quiet although the leaves are on the ground from the winds that just shook them about. My crew snoozed while another crew entertained themselves at the other end of the rain storm.

It’s funny how the rain can hit one’s day. This was my rainy Sunday. Hoping for sunshine and lollipops next Sunday.