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.

awareness

The Chance Encounter

I met a girl.

Her name was Val for short.

Life had her down on her luck.

Valentine was sad. Mascara running down her face from her bloodshot eyes. Disheveled attire. Jittery all around. I could see her emotional pain from head to toe.

She spilled some of her story. Sad to hear. She was ready for a fresh start. Fate brought us together. A chance interaction.

I listened. I didn’t pass judgment. I passed a smile or two. I thought about my recent journal entry I wrote challenging myself to meet new people this summer. I did just that. A chance encounter. As random as it gets. I made conversation. I listened. I learned.

Today I thought about my chance encounter when I sweated a heart at the gym. Made me reflect on Valentine. Hoping her days ahead were going to be on the upswing. May sound corny but I took the sweaty heart as a sign that our paths were meant to cross on a chance encounter. As random as the heart on my shirt made from sweat.

Before the final proof read on this post, I had another chance encounter. I was making a purchase off an online marketplace. I met a cool dude. His name was Eric. He had a husband. He collected interesting items. One of which I wanted!  An old timey outhouse. I’ve been fascinated with having an outhouse for yard art. I’ve been waiting for the best looking yet vintage one I could find.

Can’t wait to put it to use. To think my chance encounter led me straight to the crapper. What are the odds?

I love meeting new people. Hearing their stories. Living my best life includes chance encounters. Loving my day today and the randomness it involved. 

fitness and nutrition

Taking the Plunge

One of 2020 goals was to complete a triathlon. I registered and started training and then, you guessed it, COVID. Postponed until 2021.

A lot of life changed between mid-2020 and now. Still, I kept that race on my calendar and wondered at times if I should still give it a go. The swim was the weakest of my weak spots and I had not really done anything to train it. I happened to be at a lake the week before the race and swam for 20 minutes without touching bottom. It was slow, but I did it. I also completed a 10K successfully the week before the triathlon was scheduled. With those things in mind, I decided to give it a go.

A triathlon is a strange race. So much different than a show-up-and-lace-up-and-get-running 10K. There’s so much equipment, so many rules (a 24-page rule book!) There’s transitions to think about and plan for. There are referees, penalties, even disqualification. All this made me incredibly nervous. I read, made lists, planned, packed, and off I went. Brought my precious facebook marketplace bike in from my car and tucked it in. I was up half the night wondering if my decades-old helmet would meet the standards. Finally, 5:00 am came.

I double checked my list, had some hotel room coffee and off I went. Transition is such a madhouse. By the time I arrived there were already hundreds of bikes hung from racks. A lady saw me in my confusion, forcefully grabbed my bike and told me where to put my towel and transition setup. Everything was tight. You get about 12 x 18 inches to lay out your running shoes, socks, running belt, clothes, and anything else you need. If your space is too big or you block someone else it’s a penalty. Nerve wracking. Timing chip on my left ankle. Race number in permanent ink on both my biceps. My race age on the back of my leg. Now the long wait to start.

One of the reasons I chose this race was the waterslide start. Yes, you waterslide one at a time into a river then start the swim. This made for about a 30 minute wait after the first person started. But, it is better than the scary start-in-a-pack situations I have read about. There were maybe 50 people behind me. I met a couple of other first-time-tri-ers as we waited. We shared out nerves, our whys, and our training for the race. Finally, it was time for me to jump in and hit the course.

I confess, I can move in the water but I only kinda know how to swim in any systematic stroke. I can’t freestyle so I alternated between a sort of breaststroke and backstroke. People passed me many times as I made my way down the course, passing one buoy then another. Just keep going. I finally got out of the water and made my way to transition, being careful not to get hit by bikes on their way out.

I was one of the last to pick up my bike, so it wasn’t very crazy. The first people were already returning from the 14 mile bike. Helmet on almost first thing (that’s a disqualification if you get on your bike with no helmet.) Shirt, shoes, race belt with energy chews, water bottle, etc. etc. Finally I cross the mount line and I am off.

Bike riding is a peace place for me. Just gliding along. Had some energy blocks and hydration. Tried to keep it around 12 miles an hour which is a good pace for me. Looked around. Thanked police and security. Glide glide glide. I missed having my phone but taking pics would have slowed me down. Playing music or having headphones in is cause for disqualification – this was one of the hardest parts!

Finally, the run. This transition was much simpler. Just hang the bike and helmet, grab a water and go. Seeing people who had already finished was sort of hard but also motivating. Just keep going and it will be me, too.

Well, this second transition was logistically simpler, but physically this transition is rough rough rough. Trading the speed and relative ease of biking for the slow plod of running is a shock to the system. I just had to pace it out and keep going. This was hillier than I had anticipated and I just walked up the hills and didn’t worry over it. I met several people who were just walking the whole 5K. It was an out-and-back so I cheered on every one who was still on the course. I passed my two friends from the start line on my way back to the finish. We were going to do it!

Finally, I came up the hill and saw the finish line, so I broke my rule and jogged in. I jumped and slid down the finish slide and got my medal. After a minute to regroup, I went and waited for my new friends at the finish. I cheered them in. What a great feeling, to be a triathlete!

Did I place? No. Do I care? No. I didn’t specifically train, although I am active…but I was still just thankful to have made it through. Completion was the goal. I cheered for the winners. I gathered my things and slowly made my way back to the car.

I have never smelled as bad after a race as I did after this triathlon. It was a long 4 hour drive to the farm. Everyone who saw me in town and on the road seemed to know what I had done. Was it the medal? The numbers on my arms? (The smell?) Who knows. But lots of congratulations. Lots of reasons to smile and feel accomplished.

I would definitely do another one. I’d even train for it. Maybe even take swimming lessons. I have some people I’d like to do one with so that gives me something to look forward to. It was amazing and strange and memorable all in one. And I’ll always be able to say I have done it.

fitness and nutrition, friendship

Six Miles of Smiles

I wasn’t even sure I wanted to do it this year. The Peachtree Road Race. An Atlanta tradition on the Fourth of July. It would be my seventh in a row. I do like streaks but I still wasn’t sure.

It would be different, of course, just like most of life these days. They spread the event over two days. Much smaller crowds. Vaccination checks or virus screenings. I did it last year solo (virtual) and it was not so fun. But I had a friend ask me to join her so I jumped in. I chose July 3 since I figured it would be different anyways, and it worked better with my travel schedule.

The day-before number pickup event was a disappointment. The usual convention hall of shoe and running pouch vendors, waffle samples, music, and ebullience was just a handful of folks with official merch and the public transportation folks to ease race day travels. I left feeling sort of glum.

Waking on race morning is always hard. It often follows a night of broken sleep, anticipating the event and challenge to come. I made it to parking and on to the train. It was so much easier to park and ride, but I did miss the usual crowd of runners we participate with. I made it to the start line and saw my friend, a ray of light! I took my traditional start line pics and we were off and running.

I hadn’t trained in running much so I had no expectations for my performance. The energy was totally different in the race with dramatically fewer people on the course. But it didn’t take long for me to start feeling lifted. The people on the side of the course seemed especially excited. I made eye contact with many of them and smiled. It was more personal this time around.

And then I smiled for the next six miles. My friend was often ahead of me but we still connected a few times. It was surprisingly cool out. With fewer runners there was far less of the usual bobbing and weaving around the different paces. Smooth sailing throughout, really.

It actually felt a little emotional to be there, running and smiling after the grueling mental marathon of Covid-19. I nearly cried at times, but I still never stopped smiling. I thanked the police, the volunteers, the people who came out to hand us water, even all the trash collectors who line their trucks up across the cross streets to keep the runners from being plowed down by anyone who would wish harm on the runners of the World’s Largest 10K.

I watched the miles and milestones tick by. My legs ached. I thought to myself, I am creating the future. I am putting my steps in and my votes in for hope. For health. For persistence. For triumph.

I crossed the line just under 4 minutes faster of my time two years ago. I felt so great for having done it. The one Coke I allow myself each year tasted as sweet as it ever has. It is wonderful to be out challenging myself and participating again. May the miles we still have to go be as joyful.

fitness and nutrition

Streaks

I had a goal. It was a goal I didn’t even set for myself until I was well into working on it. Maybe 200 days into it, I guess, I realized I was within striking distance. A long streak. An unexpected one. And then I wondered, is it even possible? Thinkable? An entire year?

It kept coming closer. 65 days. 30 days. 2 more weeks. And finally, just last week, I reached it. A buzz on my watch on Friday afternoon. And a smile that only I knew the cause for.

To think, I started this in the throes of Corona. Way back when we had no idea what was going on or how long it would last. Gyms shut down. Stay at home orders. Working from home most days. What could I do?

I couldn’t do much, but I could MOVE. And move I did.

Some running, some walking, some hiking, some biking, some farming, some CrossFit, too many burpees and not enough yoga. Every day different. But it was at least 710 calories worth of movement for 365 straight days. No misses. No changing the calories, either. There were a handful of days (maybe 30) when I didn’t complete an official workout, but most days I did. Even still, accumulating calories means moving throughout the day. Hard to do when your work is mostly on zoom.

Were there days I didn’t want to? Sure. Days when I was doing burpees at 9:30 pm to get over that finish line? Yes, there were a few of those too. Some days were easier than others. Every day is another day to move and be successful.

I also know I’ve had a fair amount of luck. I haven’t been sick or injured this year, which means fewer excuses and obstacles. I’ve been able to choose myself, and choose I have, every day.

Consistency is key, as many people I admire and emulate say. I have been consistent. It has shored up my mental well being as much as my physical health. Most days I’ve taken a whack at the stress monster before the sun even dreams of coming up. On the many days this past year when I felt like life was out of control, I could at least control this.

A thankful post. The streak keeps going. Who knows for how long? Every day is an opportunity. To breathe, to move, to live.