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.

challenges, nature

Stowaway

It had been a rough day.  The kind of day where you’re shuffling online files, trimming, uploading, then re-editing, reuploading in different places, and so on. I spent the afternoon chasing my tail, making no progress.

Finally, I walked away from a project that I had spent hours trying to figure out.  I was just too frustrated to finish.  It could wait until morning.

I gathered my things and loaded my shoulders with all my bags and other stuff, ready for the relief of an afternoon bike ride, then looked down. 

W.  T.   F.

I looked closer.  

?!?!?!

A scaly knot on my floor.  Curled up.  I touched it with my boot and sure enough it slithered.

Again, W T ACTUAL F. 

SQUEAL. 

Mind starts pinballing. Heart racing.  How do I get it out of here?  

Custodians are gone for the day.  Don’t have access to a broom and dustpan.  I can’t just leave it here.  IT’S. IN. MY. OFFICE.

I find a bowl and set it on top of the slithering striped shoelace.  Then I walk calmly down to see if a couple of my “country”-type colleagues are still here.  Nope, already headed home.
So, it’s just me.  And the scaly shoelace IN MY OFFICE.

I had to pace to gather my courage.  I finally picked up the bowl and there it was, my little sworn enemy.  And just like that I 

STOMPED

STOMPED

STOMPED

And screamed DIE.

DIE.

DIE.

Stop.  Was it dead?  (Poke).

NO.

STOMPSTOMPSTOMPSTOMPSTOMPSTOMP.

DIEDIEDIEDIEDIEDIE.

And finally, I stopped, looked, and it was still.

Scooped it up with a file folder and dumped it in the woods. I was hyperventilating-ugly-crying-nose-running awful. So hard to calm down.

Then the what ifs? crept in.  I was in my office with a snake for who knows how long.  What if I had been bitten?  Or someone else?  Too much to think about.  Just be grateful it wasn’t worse.

You might be surprised to read that I like snakes.  Well “like” might be too strong…I’ll just say as I’ve gotten older I understand their role.  I know many of them are good and I just work around them when I see them on the farm.  It’s me living in their habitat not the other way around.  

Maybe that’s why it was so upsetting to find one IN. MY. OFFICE.

It can’t just slither under the rocks and disappear.  It was a showdown. She or me. 

Yes, I killed it and it made me sort of sad on top of the other huge knot of emotions.  I was a little less sad when I found out it was poisonous, but again relieved it had not been worse. 
I wondered, how did it get here?  Was it born here?  Are there more around the corner?  Or is a farm varmint trying to stowaway for a quick vacation? More under the car seat? I’m still on the lookout.

Thank goodness I chose boots over Birkenstocks that day.    

Just another animal adventure to add to the growing list. 

3Splitz Farm, working women

City Girl 2 Farm Girl

The title says it all. How do you take a city girl and drop her in the country and get her doing stuff? Farm stuff to be exact. Chores, using a knife, hauling trash and other non-city-girl things.

The easiest way to get her to produce is tell her she can’t and she will do everything in her power to prove you wrong. So to those who said you can’t, you shouldn’t, you won’t, it’s not for you, it’s hard work, and so on I’m toasting you right now. I am ever so thankful for your encouragement and motivation. 

The new flavor of this girl is country. It might be country on the weekend and city on the weekday but that’s okay. It’s what works right now. In life we all make sacrifices. If you have a dream and you want to put it into action you need to sacrifice, hustle and do what needs to be done.

That’s where progress and growth comes. You grow when you test your limits. You gain confidence when you push yourself beyond what you think you can do. Some things may take more practice than others but you will never know until you try. Try as much as you can as often as you can until you find what you love.

For me I’m one month into my new farm girl role. Oddly I found out I enjoy mowing the lawn. Mowing acres upon acres. It’s a mindless task but one that is physical, especially if your tool is a push mower. I guess I just drift away when mowing. No time clocks. No requirements to report to anyone. Just me and the mower having some quality time. I may also be daydreaming about getting abs from all my farm chores. A girl can dream, right?

I also enjoy the task of making trash hauls to the dumpster or burn pile. Maybe it’s that I get to hook up different trailers or wagons to my four wheeler and zoom off. Who knows. I just enjoy being a little worker bee. 

Speaking of quality time there isn’t anything much more rewarding than enjoying the outdoors, spending time with family / friends and just experiencing the great outdoors in many different ways. I’ve been an avid boater for years. One could say I enjoyed the same quality time but it’s lounge time which is not the same as creating, working and living on your homestead.

Arts / crafts, game nights, home cooking, barbecuing, and so much more. I even have a new farm chick shirt to honor the farm girl and author in me. I have the best of both worlds right now. I get to experience farming and tell the world about right here on this blog. My kids are seeing my shift and challenge of myself. It is my hope that it will inspire them to venture out in their own ways as they adult. The serene views of wildlife and historic barn will never get old because each day brings a different view. On most days it seems we have our own little climate in the mountains.

And for those of you out there who think farming is a lost skill, think again. Meat, veggies and other things are produced by farmers. Having direct access to farm items to my table is a compliment to my fitness and health journey. Fresh, quality and affordability. 

Hope you enjoy my farm sampling one month in. I even met some new critters this weekend. A skink, a snake and a giant spider. No picture of the snake because I was screaming while kicking my feet up as it slithered by. It was a black snake not venomous so the screams were not needed but seemed applicable at the time. There were many other creatures but those are just a few that had me on my toes.

Until next time, picture me honing my farming skills in one way or another.

business

A Numbers Game

I work in a profession where numbers are king. Pre-post data. Year over year growth. People love numbers. But not me, at least not always.

I have a love-hate relationship with numbers. I like the scale when the numbers go down. I’m not happy when the number goes up. Ever since I started Weight Watchers for the first time at the ripe old age of 12, I’ve watched that number on the scale with trepidation.

In my last round of weight loss, I learned that the scale can sometimes be a damn liar. There are all kinds of reasons for the scale to go up or down, some of which have little to do with what I did or didn’t eat. Maybe it means muscles are growing. Still, sometimes, I forget and get all tied up in what the scale tells me each morning. It becomes more than data and sometimes inches in to my judgment of self-worth.

Perhaps the number I fear the most has a dollar sign in front of it. For a long time, I have held on to a number as a symbol of my security, my prosperity, my future. That number meant a lot to me. So much that I refused to change it except when I was forced to.

It took a push from a dear friend and the universe to finally change that number from something that just appears on a screen to something real. Yup, I doubled down on my dollar sign and transformed that number into grass, soil, and timber. I changed in what I thought was the security of being a passenger and put myself in a driver’s seat.

So, the digits after my dollar sign may be smaller now. It’s what I have always feared. I have to look at it with a deep breath sometimes and remember…instead of disappearing, I am taking that number and transforming it into something new. Betting on my sweat and effort instead of just watching the screen, crossing my fingers and hoping it goes up. I’m taking the reins, moving in new directions, from the ground up.  Using my roots to create something new, beyond numbers.

Watch it grow.