family

Fresh Air, Fresh Hair

Don’t underestimate the value of fresh air or fresh hair. Today I had a little of both. This weekend I had a plan for me and my mom. Normally my weekend involves toting kids to activities or getting to point a, b and c at set times. This weekend was different. No have tos. Only want tos.

First event was sunrise yoga. I got a fresh start on crisp morning with some wonderful gal pals. This step was important. I stepped outside first thing in the morning. I had clarity of the mind. I was all-around peaceful. Ready for the rest of the weekend.

Stop two was a pick up. A kidnapping of sorts. I got to grab the beautiful, one-of-a-kind mother of mine. I was taking her from her home to get some fresh air and a haircut. 12 weeks she had been cooped up thanks to Corona. The opportunity was there and I took it and her. Off we went. The haircut didn’t take long but how she enjoyed the shampoo and the cut. She felt like a million bucks. Even if you can’t go places often feeling good about yourself is important. She needed and wanted the hair cut for that sole purpose: to feel good. I felt amazing for making it a reality.

We didn’t stop there. We packed up for a mountain escape to the amazing cabin in the woods. A short drive but one that yields gorgeous views.  From icicles on the rock formations to mist on the mountains, it’s part of the experience. She doesn’t like to eat in the car but I packed her some sweet treats for the ride and it made for a perfect picnic. No crowds in a restaurant to worry about. Just yumminess to go. 

The weather was perfect. The cool mountain air was just what was needed. Fresh air. No smog. No mask filtering the air. Just fresh, crisp mountain air. Secluded. Peaceful. Surrounded by amazing views. What more could we ask for on our escape?

We baked a chicken. We made a salad fresh from the garden and it was ever so tasty. Fresh bread warmed in the oven topped off our meal on girls weekend. Off we went into the darkness to view holiday lights. First stop was the small town decorations. Then into the hidden homes that each played 20-minute light shows set to music. It was a new, fresh holiday treat for us. Windows were down, fresh air flowing, holiday music was blaring and lights were flashing. A great way to make new memories in a new place away from the crazy of life the dark shadows 2020 had cast on many.

Tomorrow is not guaranteed. I never know how much time I have with my mom. For now, I enjoyed the peacefulness of fresh air and many smiles and giggles with the woman I have adored for years.

Many I know don’t have the luxury I have of still having their mom. I share mine when I can so others can have a sliver of her wisdom, her personality, and her sweetness. Getting to your 80s is a milestone. Still moving about and experiencing new things and places is a gift. Living through a pandemic and bending and flexing to rules and lockdowns is draining. Fresh air and fresh perspective can put the fog of tomorrow in the rear view, even if it’s just temporary.

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.

dare to be different

An Unexpected Reflection

A lot has changed in the last 6 months.

When I’m immersed in these changes, I am often only thinking about the next 6 inches in front of my face. What do I have to do next? And next? And then what next? I can’t or don’t or won’t let myself think much further down the road. This is especially true when I’m doing something so new, the path much further ahead gets murky easily.

With all the immersion in doing the next right thing, I sometimes miss the big shifts in life’s trajectory.

Then facebook of all things reminds me that I am going in a very different direction.

REI

Duluth Trading Company

Orvis

Columbia

Vermont Country Store

L. L. Bean.

Ads for layers of outdoor gear. Blankets. Durable pants. Long underwear. Boots. Bags. Lists of places to go. Seeds. Hikes. Kayaks. Rucks.

All of the sudden (it seems), my timeline is full of ads for everything outdoors. I’m a hiker, an adventurer. I am moving. It’s going to be cold, whatever I’m up to.

Do I click on these? Sure, sometimes. Facebook has me pegged. What was there before? Ads for makeup. Lists of all the great buys on amazon. Who knows. I don’t remember. But it definitely wasn’t backpacks and flannel.

This isn’t some big meaningful profound post. Just a funny observation of the ways social media reflects my life and interests and changes back to me. And it just makes me want to bundle up and go outside to move and play and work and adventure.

nature

Moonlight

It was a cold and dark night after a recent storm. The darkness was pitch black. A dark only a flashlight could brighten outside. What a clear dark and chilly night to gaze at the stars.

It was a creepy night walk with the pup. The blackness after a storm. Halloween lurking. The late night howls from displaced animals after the storm added to the creepy factor. A chilly reminder of the cold nights to come in the season.

As the morning hours creep in so did the moonlight. The dark light I see. The greyish sky that you can now see off into the distance. From pitch black to grey skies around 5 am. Just an eerie reminder of what you can observe when you watch the spookiness of nature. The grey sky was a peaceful sky to me. No rain. No heavy wind. Just the chilly grey air.

As the sun rises a slight fog appears as does the shimmer from the sun poking through the last bit of night. A slight warmth but not much in the air. The fall air is crisp almost to freezing but not quite. Winter is on the horizon.

A brisk walk before bed and another early in the am. Some benefits of pet ownership or annoyance I suppose. I often escape to my day-to-day grind in the mountains. The nights are simply quiet, breathtaking and full of variety. As the nights call you to bed early the morning rises are equally surprising and breathtaking. Each one different. Each one special whether it be fog, dew or sunshine that highlights the morning. Mornings in the mountains call for early rising when most others want to sleep.

A cup of coffee, a warm blanket and my pups is a great way to start the day. Wishing you a happy and healthy week ahead.

adventure, friendship

The Tale of the Pizza Shop

I was craving pizza. A loaded pizza. Full of amazing toppings. Pepperoni that was crisp and curled. Onions that were cut just right. Green peppers for some color. Mushroom for flair. And I can’t forget the best meatball slices on the planet. That’s the pizza I’m craving. A pizza from a cozy mountain pizza spot named Twisted.

Twisted pizza is such a fitting name. Twisted with any toppings you desire. Twisting your tastebuds as you devour the pizza. Mmmmmm I wish you could smell the cheese and yummy toppings.

Twisted.

Twisted is how this story came about. The twisted tale of the pizza and a coke. A fountain coke no less. Oh the adventures we have. 2 chicks. 2 flipping cokes. A damn pizza and some sticky fingers. That’s all I got. No really, it gets so much better.

My cohort started this nightmarish episode on a frightful October night in a scary part of town that just happens to have the best pizza in town. It’s takeout only because of covid. She asked do I want a drink at the checkout? No I’m taking the pizza to go. We wait in the car for the pizza man to deliver the pizza. It seems like a long time because mountain time is like beach time….Sloooow.

A revelation hits her or she decides to speak about her annoyance. You know we don’t have any coke, she exclaims. If I’m having pizza I need a coke. What? I need a coke. You said no to coke. I really need a coke. Okay let me get a coke. No they only have bottled coke and I don’t drink bottled coke. Is this for real?

Do I need to get a fountain coke for you? Yup! Okay I’m waiting in the car for the pizza so off she goes to the inferior pizza place a few doors down in the same strip center…. yes it’s smart to have two pizza joints fighting for clients within 500 ft of each other, right? That might even sound a bit twisted.

Well the other joint has fountain cokes so there you have it. She is happy. I’m happy. But that’s not where the story ends…

She gets the coke. The lid is not quite the right size. The coke spills all over. Hence the sticky fingers noted above. A millions giggles later, she shakes her head at the price of the Dixie cup full of coke ($4) but that’s because you get free refills… but we don’t get any refills in the parking lot. Again that’s so twisted. 

Then she says geez, that place was a buffet. It’s the place the pandemic forgot. A salad bar with cottage cheese. So many items free for all. And it’s open to the public. Guess they missed the rules memo from covid. I just entered a petri dish of pizza establishments and and and. All for a damn coke she said. I sighed and said a flat ass diet coke at that with zero fizz. What the what.

Did I mention she actually got a diet coke? A flat flat ass, no tasting diet coke. All that effort for such a little return. And so we decided to eat the pizza in the car. It was that kind of night. A parking lot pizza party with no music and lots of chomping and a coke to wash it down.

How the evening ended up of a parking lot pizza party with a coke. Don’t you wished you lived the extravagant and twisted life of two chicks? And had the balls to write about it? I mean the meatballs since we are clearly 2 Chicks with endless ink in our pen.