family

Small Town USA

On an extended road trip, I had the pleasure of staying in one of my family’s heritage hometowns, Bemus Point, New York. Perched on Lake Chatauqua in western New York state, Bemus Point has a population of about 350 people. This population swells a bit in the summer and drops in the harsh northern winter, I’d suspect. Far removed from my densely populated life in suburban Atlanta.

Small towns are fascinating, so very different from my suburban life. I immediately noticed the banners on every light pole with photos of all the graduates from the local high school. Each student had their own banner, their own celebration. There were maybe 50-60 banners. My daughter’s graduating class is almost 1,000 in number. It was impossible to imagine how many miles of light poles her class would cover! Above each was an American flag.

Little woodchucks scampered everywhere on my morning runs. Numerous deer leaped for cover as I approached. Many of them were just out by the roadway nibbling when I startled them. So many creatures without that many people stirring at all hours. I smiled driving through the country side seeing all the different “heads up” signs for drivers. I’m used to seeing signs to watch for deer, but we also saw signs for tractors, bears, moose or elk (maybe?) and snowmobiles. We were way out in the northern sticks, sharing the road with many other creatures, not just cushy suburban SUVs.

Speaking of sticks, there were so many roadside pickups for firewood just out in people’s front yards. Hand painted signs…$5.00, $4.00, pay what you can. The honor system in full effect. (I also wondered if there was a price war between neighbors!)

My mother once lived in this town, and her parents spent decades living here. My family road tripped here many summers in my youth. Several downtown shops I visited as a child were still there. A local grocery store. A general store turned souvenir shop. The wing place near the dock. Each had a rocky road through the years but made it.

When we went out for dinner, many other parties that came in dropped by to say hello. Everyone knows everyone’s business. Driving around town with my aunt and uncle was a parade of small town dramas. Stories would tumble out as we passed houses of friends and family. Where someone had worked for the summer. Which person had sold their house for too much or too little. Who broke rules that brought them in front of the town council. Who didn’t keep their property up well or planted trees to block someone else’s view of the lake on purpose. Small town charm as well as small-minded petty. Little room to forget when the stories are so narrow and intertwined. Grudges and alliances last across generations.

Small town life has its ups and downs. A pleasant place to visit and remember.

3Splitz Farm, hustle

In My Eyes

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!

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.

3Splitz Farm

A Little Sunshine

This cute little mason jar full of freshly picked flowers has so much meaning. It’s fresh from the farm to my table.

Planted, sprouted, trimmed and packages to-go by my farmily at 3Splitzfarm. A new farm that is sprouting in many ways.

The garden. The livestock. The visitors, the flowers. All designed and labored by the farm family. So much pride. So much love goes into each delivery.

As days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months and months turn into years. Our farm story is evolving. Some years our corn will be plentiful. Other years another crop may struggle. We never know what nature holds for our little farm.

What we do know is we have dreams. We don’t mind hard work. We live to see the fruits of our labor in whichever form it produces. We love sharing our story with the world as well.

From how to start to how to maintain to how to survive all that gets thrown your way. We document it all to share virtually as well as in books. A benefit of 2 Chicks also being 2 farm girls.

Sometimes we have a pen in hand. Other times it’s a tractor or pruning tool. You never know what adventures we shall share with you.

From our farm to you. Enjoy this virtual flower arrangement. We will be soon selling flower subscriptions and delivering special treats through your community to make others smile.

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.