dare to be different

New Ink

Fresh.

Colorful.

Memorable.

Designed with detail.

My body is a temple. A place of art. Unique as the person living under the skin. My ink tells a story or many stories. Some inked pieces are linked or overlapped while others stand alone in their storyline. Some are colored some are not.  Some fade while others stand firm. Some hurt more than others.

Tattoos are interesting. For some tattoos carry judgment on the person adorning them while others are curious about tattoos. Did that hurt? Why would you get that? You do know that is permanent? If god wanted you to have markings he would have gifted them at birth. I have heard them all. I have also shared my tattoo stories to many time and time again. Some show excitement. Some say now I get it. Others say no way. Some conversations ignite a passion to finally get a tattoo. A first for so many.

My body, my choice. My temple, my art. This newest piece is symbolic. I’ve been waiting for a while post-pandemic to get an appointment first of all. Then the timing just fell into place. An anniversary date. A symbol of growth. A unique piece of art. Plastered on my arm. Worn with pride. A reminder of so much. I just love my newest ink piece.

I was lucky enough to share my ink experience with a few gals. We laughed. We took pictures. We marked the spot so to speak.  We met some cool people. I should mention that all walks of life get tattoos and just visiting a tattoo shop is an experience that I encourage. From couples to moms and daughters to those celebrating another’s life are all at the shop for a unique piece of art. The tattoo artist creating that perfect image.

Years of inspiration will be drawn from this inked art as I push through life’s ups and downs. When I am old and wrinkled I will know I have lived my life to the fullest and captured moments or highlights on my canvas to share with others. These memories of life have value to me. The perfect keepsake.

I wasn’t even five minutes from the tattoo parlor when I was asked about my fresh ink. The placement was perfect. The design was just what I wanted. The coloring was spot on. The timing was right. My story continues. My ink will continue to evolve just like me.

3Splitz Farm, giving

Quilted Pieces

The spring plants on the farm have done their work. Now we are barreling full bore into summer. Veggies are coming along. Zinnias and sunnies are sprouting. It’s all very exciting.

One of the truly interesting things I’ve discovered this year as a new farmer is how generous plant people can be. I’ve learned so much from being involved in farming communities online. From instagram to facebook and beyond, plant people are always sharing their successes and shortfalls. How to pinch certain flowers and why. What kind of spacing and setup to use in a garden. Arranging irrigation. Protecting against pests. So many people just lay it all out there and it’s wonderful. I read. I learn. I bookmark. We’ve bought tubers and seeds and seedlings from so many of these farmers. We grow from them, in our minds and in our soil. In turn, we pour what we are doing back into the community, hoping someone else is inspired or aided by the ups and downs of our farm’s development.

Another unexpected surprise is, the more I talk about the farm to friends and colleagues, the more people share stories, tidbits, and even actual plants with me. So many people have life stories about farming – summer at grandma’s farm, shelling peas on the porch. Farms and gardens bring up so many memories. Then there are friends at work who walk up to me and just hand me a bag of bulbs. “Here’s some elephant ears from my garden.” “I divided my iris this weekend and thought of you.” All these beauties are now growing in our ground, from the gardens of friends, family, and other farms from all over the country.

In my foray into self-taught art as a teen, I fell in love with quilts. I wanted to learn to quilt for a while but never did. I still admire the beauty and artistry in a well-made hand woven quilt. And although I appreciate a symmetrical pattern, my eye and heart is always drawn to the crazy quilts. All kinds of colors, mismatched pieces, not at all perfect. Instead, perfectly imperfect and unique. Little pieces all stitched together to make a beautiful whole.

I think of our farm as a crazy quilt on land. Pieces from all over. A little here a little there. Colorful, a little wild. Interesting. Unexpected. We have several patches of sunnies that are measured and in straight lines, but I’ve also put in a patch where I kind of just put things every which way. No measuring. Mixing seeds together. Maybe it will look like a terrible wreck. Or maybe it will be the wild, textured abundance that we are hoping for. It’s all coming together in a place that is distinctly ours. Nowhere else in the world quite like it.

author moments

Redneck Sweetheart

This is a funny little story with an even more interesting name: redneck sweetheart.

Let’s get started by laying the ground work. A new acquaintance asked if I’m from around this area? Should I take offense? Should I be flattered? So much to think about.

It got me thinking about the south. I’m originally from the north but spent more than half my life in the south. If majority rules I’m technically more southern based on time vested. Who would guess? I talk fast to most. I’m blunt and I don’t pussy foot around most topics like a nice southern lady. To put it lightly, I can talk about poop.

Keeping with this thought I have heard a million times over all the redneck jokes. All the dumb southern jokes. The list goes on and on. So today I thought I’d write about being a redneck sweetheart. I’d classify more as a redneck than a fine southern lady. 

My first redneck self portrait will be of my yard. What would this sweetheart’s yard look like if you were a neighbor of mine:

I think I have a big yard. Maybe even a pasture or two. I’d find some junk at the local swap meet or antique store to decorate my yard. I would of course call it yard art.

As part of my yard art, I’d go on Facebook marketplace to find me an old school outhouse. I’ve always fancied those cool pieces of history so I’d have to have one in my yard. I may even have a commode in it. Non-working of course. Wouldn’t want to seep the sewage into my yard.

I like bacon so maybe I’d have a pet pig. If I did I’d name him Hank. Hopefully the stink wouldn’t be too bad for my neighbors who have a nice view of my yard.  I use a lot of eggs since I eat healthy so you would definitely have some chickens running around. Maybe even a cock to add to the noise or ambiance. They might be a little noisy and stinky but I’m sure there are worse things to have in your yard.

I like old cars a lot and I’ve seen many people collect old trucks and use the beds for flowers or just yard junk. I guess you’d see a car or two in my yard. If I’m collecting cars I might put out an old tractor because they look cool too.

Whenever my friends get together for a day at the house we usually light fireworks or shoot guns. Things with lots of bangs, booms, pops and stuff. Might make the neighbor’s dog jump, but I can do what I want in my yard.

What redneck sweetheart doesn’t like to ride a dirt bike or four wheeler up down and around the yard? Well that’s me. So I guess if we were neighbors you would see me out and about living my best redneck life on my cool toys. I’m revving the engine in my mind now. The sounds just get me pumped up. The louder the better.

I have a little hill in part of my yard too. When it snows you will see me sledding but when it’s super hot you will me rigging up my own slip n’ slide. Redneck style of course. That means large sheets of plastic with dish soap loaded and ready to go. Lots of screams, laughs and maybe some curse words would be heard if you were my neighbor. If you were my neighbor you’d probably want to hang out but I only invite friends over so you might just have to be a spectator. Sucks for you.

I love entertaining especially in my big yard. Frying turkeys outside on Thanksgiving. Fireworks for the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and any other time I feel like it. Seafood boil a couple times a year for my crazy Cajun friends. Big family parties in yard. There could be jumpy things, kegs of beer, games and so much chaos at any time. Celebrating life is always a hoot.

As a redneck sweetheart, I have lots of stories to share. One perspective of life. Not good or bad, just one perspective. Now the question is would you judge me if you were my neighbor? Would you give this redneck sweetheart a chance or would you put up a wall? A do not disturb sign?

I really thought about it. If I didn’t like my neighbor would I put up a wall? Maybe. I guess if somebody bothered me enough I’d go through great lengths to make them miserable but just because I could doesn’t mean I should. That’s where this this redneck sweetheart comes into play. I play nice inside my fence. Well for the most part.

I had so much fun writing this redneck post that I think I will continue my redneck stories as a series. Watch for more silly stories to come. I may even ask cousin sally to write as she is a fine southern lady. Guess you’ll have to wait to see.