Well this Thanksgiving was a bit unusual when I think about the guest list or maybe I should say the uninvited guest list.
Let’s just take a look at this slithering shiny black snake who decided it would be great to join the Thanksgiving festivities at our little mountain cabin. Rustic paradise may be how I refer to the cabin but that doesn’t include snakes of any kind. It you consider the counter height, the kink in the snake in the photo and how it wraps along the baseboard, I’d guess this sucker to be 6 foot or more!
This big, long and creepy-looking thing greeted our guests as soon as they opened the door. Had it have been me, I might have let out a scream that would have sounded as if someone was bludgeoned to death in the valley. This creeper made its way to a cozy spot right behind the coffee maker nestled between the wall and the countertop. A space I didn’t think would hold such a big snake, yet it did. I’m still in disbelief to an extent.
Enter a friend who somehow got voluntold to be a snake wrestler for the day. She was a trooper and I have video to prove it. That snake was not happy we interrupted it’s Thanksgiving field trip inside! He or she was a little nippy. See the below photo. Attempting to nip at the wrestler’s hand on more than one occasion. Although the snake is not venomous, nobody wanted to get bit! Thanksgiving is about feasting not being the feast. I of course added being marked safe from snake to my thankful list this year.
Before the festivities even began, rustic paradise was a little creepy in my mind. I’m glad thanksgiving wasn’t ruined by the uninvited guest. For now this is just a story for our memory book. One I hope never resurfaces again. Hoping my uninvited snake decided my neighbor’s house was warmer this Thanksgiving after being evicted from our cabin!
As I wrap up this post I’ll leave you with this parting goodbye photo. Even with a humane goodbye the snake was staring down the snake wrestler who took him/her out of the warmth of the cabin with determination. A death stare of sorts even when hanging by thread 50 foot in the air.
How hard is it to find good help these days? For me the answer is: it’s pretty hard. Nobody wants to really work hard to prove their worth. They just want to get a hand out or slide by or just mooch off others.
I’m fascinated by this subject. Recently I had a need for a laborer. The pay was good and there were not many expectations. Well the basics of work hard, neat appearance, adhere to safety rules and be okay with physical labor. Now mind you, I’m a woman and met the qualifications and was capable of doing the work yet I was looking to provide an opportunity to another.
No takers. Tired from a trip I heard from more than one prospect. No answer from a couple, as in no interest. Too long of a drive for another. Have to get off by x for another. So many reasons that were just excuses of sorts. I’d rather hear no thanks I’ll pass rather than the lame excuses folks make up.
I’ll also remember the opportunity offer for when one asks for support. I’ll share “I offered it but you had to work for it.” Funny the tune will be different then. I’d like to play the recording of their voices when they cry poor me later. I work hard for everything I have. I almost never pass up an opportunity unless it just doesn’t make sense. I see so many now hiring signs but how many actually want to work?
I hustle but stay humble. I was taught a great work ethic. I honestly feel today’s younger workers expect more to do less and if anything extra is ever asked the answer is a fast NO. Many seem to lack foresight or are incapable of the big picture thinking limiting their long-term potential or this is how I see things today.
I can’t recall a time where I ever felt this way pre-pandemic. There used to be kids hustling to mow lawns or do other odd jobs. Today I just don’t see it. Maybe it’s just my environment. Maybe not. Just a ponder post of sorts.
I’m choosing to end this post on a positive with a photo of a fresh spring bloom from the family farm. Enjoy.
Flower blooming season has wound down. But the work of flowers goes on year round. Every season has its special brand of planning, reaping, and sowing.
I had never really even heard of dahlias until we dove in head first to flower farming. They were prissy. Expensive. Fussy. Temperamental. But oh, what beauties. One of my partners wanted dahlias, so off we went into the world of tubers. Why tubers? Some plants grow from bulbs, but dahlias emerge from tubers. We ordered them from several US growers. I’m a sucker for a good name, so I ordered some based on their clever names…Chick-a-dee for the 2 Chicks, for example. Others I ordered based on interesting photos or descriptions. And Cafe au Lait, the “Queen of Dahlias,” seemed like a must-have.
We put them in the ground according to the specific directions. Waited to water them. Watched and watched. The zinnias were already well on their way, for months even, when the dahlias first started to bloom. They were just as promised, unusual and exquisite. Colorful and intricate. They were worth the wait. Even the Queen lived up to her royal hype.
Their fussiness doesn’t end when they stop blooming. If you want to keep multiplying your plants, you can dig up the tubers and, with a little luck, they can be divided into multiple tubers which will each grow into a new plant the following year.
I waited until after frost, cut them back, then held my breath as I tried to dig up the tubers. Tubers are delicate things so it was a bit of a process to find and lift them without breaking them.
Voila! I was pretty giddy as I lifted the earth attached to each stem. Up came clump after clump after clump of tubers. From 22 plants last year to maybe 50 or 60 next year, plus new varieties we will add. It’s so exciting! Each clump felt like a small victory.
Keeping the tubers healthy is another stage of tricky. Right now they are air drying before we will move them to more permanent storage. Then we will wait a few months before we divide and plant again.
Another example of learning in action from the flower field.
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!
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.