3Splitz Farm

Flowers Don’t Care

The first summer season as a flower farmer. The triumphs. The trials. (I’m looking at you, weeds!) The lessons.

Flowers have their own time. On the back of each seed pack, it tells me about how long I’ll be waiting to see their blooms. For so many, it’s weeks and weeks, even months, before the blooms begin to peek out. Seems like forever I’m just waiting and waiting, thinking they’ll never get here.

Then, driving in through the trees, into the wide valley, I crane my neck and finally see…

color.

Red, pink, yellow, orange, purple, white, and more. Color after color exploding in the middle of the wide green field. The flowers are here!

And from that point on, every time I make that crossing into the valley, I hold my breath. Will they still be here? Are they still coming? And every time, the answer is a bright, explosive YES!

Yes, we are here. Yes, we are growing. Yes, it’s time to cut us so we can make more more more more more.

It’s a lot of work, the whole process of growing and cutting flowers. It may seem simple but it isn’t. So many steps from dream to plan to ground to stem to vase to the recipient’s smile. It’s worth it in the end, but the middle parts can be wearisome.

But, no matter how tired or busy I am, the flowers don’t care.

They are driven. They have a mission. They bloom and bloom and bloom.

If it’s raining? Bloom. Sunny? Bloom. Come wind or any other weather.

If I have a busy social calendar? They don’t care. Bloom. If I’m tired? Bloom. If a family member is sick? Bloom. They must.

It’s kind of a beautiful thing, with all the ugliness in the news, the poison and pandemic and pessimism, they just keep on blooming, totally unaffected by the goings on. Their whole job is to make the farm and faces light up with color. And next year we will have even more of them.

When I don’t feel like making the trip, I remind myself that the day will come when I will crane my neck coming into the valley and the color won’t be there. I’ll miss them when they are gone. So I continue on, enjoying the blooms.

adventure

Damn Near Perfect

I was aiming for a damn near perfect day away. Okay is there such a thing? Probably not but I’m going to make today a priority.

I’m going to see if I focus on the day if I can make it damn near perfect. I’m not sure what I will do yet. But I’ll write about it. I also know if it’s not perfect I’m going try again the next day. I’m on vacation. Why not try to aim for a near perfect day. I have time. I have a break from the chaos. I don’t have any have-tos on my list today.

The funny part about thinking about this is I have nothing to model my perfect day after. It’s what I make of it. It’s what I decide is near perfect. No benchmark for this stats girl. I guess I’ll just throw shit on the wall or the mountains and see what happens. 

I was struggling with altitude adjustments in the Rocky Mountains on this day. Too many quirky “offs” to list them all but I was off in many ways. With such a rough start to how I feel today, could I even aim for perfect? 

I hit the local village coffee shop first thing. I wasn’t expecting much as I had never been nor had I previewed the menu. What I did know is I was starting out local. I got a smile just by the name of my drink. Milky Way was a mix of coffee, chocolate and caramel. A hot treat on a cool and drizzly morning. A little local paper tucked in the corner to read while sipping and enjoying the coffee shop vibe.

I was slowly dusting off my morning crud. The tired eyes. The chilled body. The day’s adventure called for an outdoor activity. Miles away by car. Rain rain go away is all I could say in my mind. We were going to raft the Arkansas River and it was raining. Well I guess it wasn’t going to be perfect but I was going to get wet anyway so I wasn’t going to let the rain sour my outlook for the day.

The ride was amazing. More than I could have expected. From fog to clouds to misty air, the scenery was illuminated. A blink of sunshine. A fierce downpour. A spurt of hail. The mountains are full of mystery. So much beauty right in front of me.

Just before the Continental Divide I spotted a mountain camp or town around a factory. It was spray painted and desolate. I wondered about its history. What once lived there. Why did it shut down? Will it ever be reborn? So much to think about for my curious mind.

A quick pit stop in a quaint town with the oldest saloon I ever did see. The floors creaked. There were many old-time artifacts within. The saloon was bustling with locals and tourists. A cool sight to observe. So much fun to shop in the town stores. From the thrift store to the local homemade good store. The experience was one of a kind. New people. New places. Off the beaten path. My kind of perfect. Leadville, CO was the stop. Home of the Leadville 500 race. Another first experience for me. A race across the sky.

The road was empty yet mystical form of nature. My road to nowhere or somewhere. Just around the bend I would land at my destination. This is where I would meet my guide. His name was Joaquin and he was from Chile. His accent was cool and so was he. Joaquin spends his off seasons working in other countries while his homeland isn’t at peak season. Away from his wife and family. So fun to learn about his adventures. He has worked the rivers in California, Chile, Colorado and Italy to name a few. I felt honored to meet him. I enjoyed my time on the raft drifting and exchanging stories. Oh how we laughed. Oh how we paddled hard. Left forward. Right back. Paddle fast. We even rocked and rolled in the harsh rapids. A few rock jumps. Picnic by the waterside. Views of an abandoned railroad on the river side. So much history. A great experience for all.

My day was unknown at the start. My day could have been altered many times. I had a positive outlook amidst the bad weather and other variables. My attitude reflected my outcome.
The road back was another rainy one but we stopped in the towns along the way to catch a glimpse of local life. I’m pretty sure I was in bed by 8pm. I would say this was a near perfect day for me.

3Splitz Farm, adventure

Zowie

Zinnias. I’ve shared my affection for them before.

I’ve loved them for years. I still have two huge patches of them at my house that expand every year.

Now I’m a flower farmer. Zinnias are beautiful and fairly easy to grow, so we have many of them this first season. I had done my research on kinds, choosing some Benary’s Giants, Oklahomas, and Queen Red Lime, Orange, and Blush. As I browsed the seed catalogs, several that I hadn’t heard of captured my attention. Seeds aren’t very expensive, so I grabbed a couple of those offbeat varieties just to see how they turned out.

A few months later, I met Zowie! Yellow Flame (seemed a silly silly name) and whew, she took my breath away! I used to roll my eyes when people said they were “obsessed” with a flower, but this one fit the bill.

The yellow flame is a perfect name. Orange and red in the middle part of each petal with a flame yellow tip that just screams “happy!” Then the wondrous crown of stars in the center. But the real surprise is that little whisper of hot pink just on the part of each petal right near the center. What a show this girl puts on. She looks amazing with pretty much anything on her arm! I’m sure you see her front and center in this bunch.

I’ve already started scoping out more unusual zinnias for 3Splitz Farm’s next season. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon anyone? Should be a knockout!

author moments

What I Know for Sure, 2021 Edition

A group of friends recently shared their thoughts on “What I Know for Sure.” This task, based on Oprah’s essays and so on, was a pleasant challenge.

I jotted mine down in quick scribbles. Nothing really took too much thought. I just did 20 in no particular order. Most of them are pretty basic. There was some head-nodding as we shared at the dinner table. Here’s the list I shared:

1.) The most important approval in my life is my own.

2.) I feel better when I move first thing in the morning.

3.) I can do without way more than I imagined (e.g., cheese)

4.) The main thing I can control is my own choices.

5.) Focusing on what I can control eases my anxiety.

6.) Bring food, a book, and something to do with you.

7.) I can provide guidance, but walking the walk and being an example is the most powerful, grounding thing I can do for others and myself.

8.) I can’t expect anyone else to prioritize my physical, mental, and emotional health – that’s my job. They also may not understand what prioritizing those things look like. That’s also not my problem.

9.) Garbage in, garbage out – reading, media, food, all of it.

10.) Most people are doing the best they can based on what they know and are capable of at a given time.

11.) Play is important at every age. Laughter is, too.

12.) Local places beat chains.

13.) If it’s worth it, go for it.

14.) Nature heals, redeems, centers and grounds.

15.) Writing matters.

16.) Dogs are amazing and make most of the people in my life happier than other people do.

17.) Most things that seem like a big deal really aren’t that serious.

18.) To be on time, leave at least 15 minutes before you think you should. Always leave a buffer.

19.) Time and attention are the most precious gifts we can give other people.

20.) Thank people often for things big and small.

Most of this stuff is not groundbreaking. What I marvel at is how my list would have changed from even 5 years ago. I didn’t work out in the morning. I was beset with anxiety most of the time. I didn’t spend much time outdoors. I didn’t write for myself. I didn’t like dogs. Life is changing. I am changing. If my list stays the same, have I really learned or grown? What will the next 5 years bring?

I have a number of friends who are on the cusp of this time of great change with me. It’s wonderful to share such an exciting and transformational time with people. Instead of a stumbling, fumbling block it can be a launch pad.

What do you know for sure, right now?

adventure, nature

Purple Mountain Majesty

America the Beautiful

I’ve sung it a million times. It was in our repertoire when I traveled to other countries with a choir in my youth. A lovely melody (and much easier to sing than the national anthem.)

Of course I know the words by heart, but I hadn’t thought much about them much until recently. On a trip to Colorado, I finally understood one line in particular: “for purple mountain majesty.”

Funny, I had never really paused over that line before. Now, I find myself thinking it really doesn’t make much sense…

until it did, when I crested a hill on I-70, motoring my way west from Denver. The sun was going down and the steep slopes of pines had a faint purple cast, especially from the bare trees. I kept wanting to grab a photo. I couldn’t believe it, as I cruised along up and down the road. Purple mountains. Majestic, indeed.

It is such a refreshing joy to go somewhere completely different. To see a place utterly and fascinatingly new. It feels like my brain just grew and grew. New heights, new landscapes, new colors and atmosphere around every turn. Most of the time when we tried to take a picture, we knew it wouldn’t do it justice. It was all almost too enormous, too beautiful, too perfect to believe.

There was so much about Colorado that I marveled at and want to remember. But for now, I just want to honor those awe-inspiring mountains. They were truly a sight to behold. Worth singing about and sharing.