change

The Next Chapter

As I began to put this post together the month of August was fast approaching. A turning point. A new chapter for many stories in my life.

A new school year. A fresh start for my youngest but sort of a restart to high school post-pandemic. So many emotions around a this particular subject after the past year and a half. New computer to get ready for the scheduled digital days and a proactive plan for any sporadic shutdowns. Imaginary pom poms for all the moments I want to cheer loud and proud for….but of course when you have a teen you would know that isn’t cool. To make myself feel good, I’ll use my imaginary poms!

Year 2 as a farmer begins without hesitation. Year one was fun. Full of learning, adventures and many firsts. Visions and dreams collided. Hard work was done. So much planning for now and the future. Broke the piggy bank a few times but you have to spend something if you want to build something. Off I go to leverage the earth to see what it will allow me to produce on the farm. I’ll say a few prayers and engage a few resources along the way. Forward progress on the farm is what farm life is about. And of course I want to tell everyone about it. Check out the last batch of flowers from the farm. They are absolutely gorgeous. See for yourself. #3splitzfarm

A new fitness regimen. August 1st marks a new venture for me. A slight step away from CrossFit, the sport I have enjoyed for many years. Taking a little break to do some customized programming to see how my body reacts. Maybe tone a bit. Maybe strengthen different muscle groups. Going to take 6 months to see how I do. I figure I have a 50/50 chance of being successful during this time. A coin toss basically. Will I decide I miss my sport? Will I miss my specific routine? Will I like my new environment? Will I train hard enough away from the constantly varied workouts of CrossFitting 5-6 days a week? Many unknowns for sure. One thing I know for sure is I’m responsible for my progress thus I need to kick my own ass at times.

I am sure I will share updates on my next chapters. Obviously, my life story has more than three chapters. This is just the three that I decided to highlight in this post. Those who know me know change is really the only constant in my life. While many fear change, I embrace change.
New year on the farm. 365 days of growth ahead. New school year for the youngest. 365 days of what should be amazing memory making opportunities. New fitness year. Half the year I will try something new. The other half will be planned based on my first half performance. The beauty of mapping your world. hundred points customizable by me, for me. 

Change fuels my soul. Change of reasons or seasons in a nutshell. Both reasons and seasons keep me chasing my dreams. Many won’t understand how change makes me tick harder faster stronger. Adaptation. Sitting in status quo anything is not my style. Onward. Upward. Forward. My choice is always bold never old. 

3Splitz Farm, celebrations

Sprouting

I have said a million times a picture is worth a thousand words. This I do believe. For purposes of this post I will limit my words, emphasize my photos and celebrate how all things sprout in our little world.

Lettuce didn’t surprise us but we saw it in abundance. We ate. We shared. We smiled.

The flowers bloomed. So pretty. So bright. Mother’s Day was full of blooms instead of gloom this year. A big step up from 2020.

Sunflowers, dahlias, zinnias and so much more are soaking up the sun and the rain day by day in the mountains. From seed or tuber to blooms. Fresh picks to make everyone smile. So much happiness around us.

We even got to feeling corny when our second round of corn showed signs of life. We did the happy dance when the berries spurred growth. Our first tree planted showed so much development in the past year. Such a whirlwind but a reflection point. The tree grew along with us. In nature. Beaming with pride.

Cucumbers, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, herbs in abundance. So fresh. So healthy. All home grown by us. From farm chores to commutes to dirty jobs and planning galore. We struck it rich in more ways than one.

Progress is measured by many. Progress measurements can be one’s perception or another’s reality. For us, reality is we are growing. Sprouting. Blooming. Oh we have had failures, annoyances, messes and down right shit storms but in the end, the rain, the sun and the hard work has yielded so much.

Fresh flowers from the field to the end user. A prideful role we play in today’s crazy world. Did you know visitors are still limited at Assisted Living facilities? How would you like to know your loved one is still missing human interactions and love of all kinds?

We wanted to make a difference. Our flowers made it to some local elderly stuck in those four walls to put a smile on their faces and to let them know sometimes the world isn’t a bad place. Flowers have power. We share our power with others vs. worrying about who sneaks a peek in our flower field when one passes by the beauty of it.

Kindness is simple to duplicate. When we grow we ignite the passion for smiles, healing, happiness and so much more. A trio of new farmers. Learning, living, doing life on their terms.

Seeing our flowers shine on kitchen tables and in businesses show how bright our future is. Hang tight as we expand production into greenhouses, visit farmers markets with our blooms and just deliver smiles near and far without hesitation.  2022 planning has been underway for some time. Hopefully nature will be on our side.

We didn’t just plant. We erected. We used hammer and nails too. We created a space in our field to be one with nature. Fancy camping to some. glamping to others. Visitors can come enjoy a slice of our paradise to see what farm life is like. We know it’s not for everyone but it’s an experience. From couples to families to scouting groups. There is an outdoor experience for everyone.

Today’s post is to honor 3Splitz Farm. A sister organization of sorts. Supported by many. Don’t forget to do your part to support local. Think about your local farmer when you shop at the big box grocery store or a local farm stand. Buying local is great choice when one can make it.

adventure

Activities on the Road

It’s been a summer of travel so far. Short hops, long hauls, flights, drives, and everything in between. Not too long ago I wrote about how I like to experience places through local food and drink. In recent years, experiences have become as much of my joy in travel as the snacks and sips.

Here are my favorite resources for finding cool things to do on the road:

1.) TripAdvisor – This is, hands down, my favorite guide for activities and attractions. TripAdvisor is especially great for finding guided tours. Recently, in Colorado, we wanted to do a whitewater rafting trip. I looked at TripAdvisor first for reviews of the companies. After narrowing it down to a few top-rated and reviewed services, we went to their websites to check out schedules, pricing, and more. We ended up finding a great company with a skilled, friendly guide (and a top-notch riverside catered lunch!)

2.) Ask someone who knows – My daughter was recently in Colorado and had some great adventures. She’s also a travel professional at Ellie’s Travel Bug. She was quick to offer suggestions for our time in Colorado with a suggestion to visit Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. We customized our trip with something new and fun, E-Bikes. I loved that we could make it as strenuous or chill as we wanted. Without Ellie, I wouldn’t have thought to head that direction. Another idea: if you’re at an air bnb, be sure to check out their suggestions or ask the host. We found a great swimming hole on a recent trip from a host’s tip.

3.) Take a Hike (or a Bike) – Hitting the trails is one of my favorite ways to experience a place. I use AllTrails for hiking and TrailLink for bikes. The reviews are priceless, especially the recent ones. Be sure to screenshot or download information about trails before you head out. Sometimes you won’t have service on the trail!

4.) Get Lucky – I’ve found great things through Only In Your State and other travel sites. Not surprisingly, when I start looking for cool things to do in a destination, the internet knows to send me all kinds of ads and resources. Sometimes those random ads pay off.

No matter what, get off the beaten path and do some interesting things on you travels. Even a day trip from home can leave you refreshed and renewed. What resources do you use when planning an adventure?

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!

challenges, fitness and nutrition

Duathlon DIY-Style, and 2021’s OLW

One of my goals last year was to challenge myself to a duathlon. I ended up registering for a summer triathlon which was pushed back until next year.

I had all but given up on this goal at the end of the summer. After the race was postponed, I lost my excitement and drive to train and learn for the event. It wasn’t until a friend rallied a group of gym women around an engine building cardio challenge that I found the will to run and bike again with any kind of regularity.

I knew I wouldn’t tri this year, but a duathlon wasn’t out of the question. I decided not to register for an official race at year end. But I wanted to at least complete a “ceremonial” sprint duathlon to have a benchmark and a check mark. So I went for it one frigid December morning just after sunrise. Just me, my playlist, my essentials and my mileage counters. On my mark, get set, go.

3.1 mile run. The mist was rising off the lake. Bridges were still slippery from the chill and the dew. Three loops, making my way along. Not too fast, but not too bad

Transition to the bike. Fleece hat off, helmet on. Legs adjusting to the pedals. Skittering along. Ups, downs, loops. The sting of the cold on my face. Losing feeling in my hands as I watch the miles tick, tick, tick away. Singing along while avoiding potholes and traffic. I finally found a quarter mile loop for a soccer field off the beaten path. Rode it again and again and again for about 8 miles. Only a quick stop for a carb boost in the middle. Then back to dancing on the pedals. Saddle soreness set in at mile 8. Toe cramps began at 10. I held on to finish the 12.4 mile stretch. Ended this leg averaging 10.9 mph which is actually a decent pace. If I had been on flats the whole time it would have been quicker. Lifting and loading my bike with frozen hands was a challenge all its own.

Then the final crunch. The one you train for. The one that hurts. Off the bike and into the last run. When I trained for the tri early this year, I read about this transition and how brutal it is. The quick pace of the bike makes that last mile grueling at best. I started pretty well then it quickly deteriorated. As the mile wore on, I just willed myself forward. I passed a committee of vultures. Keep singing. Dodged piles of goose poop on the path. Keep moving. Step after step. One at a time. No stopping. Knees hurting. No breaks. Just all ahead as much as I can.

I finished. No crowds no medals no beers or cokes. No parades or high fives. No banana no T-shirt. But I checked it off. I don’t need festivities to know what I have done. Didn’t quite make it under my two hour goal, but sometimes completion is the victory in that moment. I will get that goal next time. I’ll take my imaginary participation ribbon thankyouverymuch.

A DIY-duathlon gives you a lot of time to think. My mind couldn’t help but wander as I looped around and around. As much discomfort as I felt, I thanked my body for carrying me through those 17-plus miles. My mental and physical stamina made it a successful effort. A year like this one makes me realize all the more how much these different types of health are worth.

I’ve shared many times how much I love words and wordplay here on the blog. In those bike miles, I found my mind playing with the word duathlon. I bet many people didn’t even know that was a word. Then I broke it into do-athlon. Which led to a good long think about the word “DO.” I am such a thinker, often an overthinker, and not always such a do-er. I decided in those miles that my word of 2021 will be DO. It will be my year to jump in and get things done. I’m still settling into this word and what it will mean for me. I hope you’ll read along wherever the path leads.