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. 

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.

adventure

Hitting the Road

I’m about to hit the road for many short trips over the next few months. I plan to take it all in. The views. The time away. The experiences. The people I will meet. 

I feel fortunate to get up and go. Some destinations are more exciting than others this year but I’m just happy to be on the move. Looking ahead to new destinations. Time with friends and family. I don’t care if the car rides are annoying or long. I will be making memories.

I will document some of my destinations or the ones that I feel have merit for a post. I know I have one escape on the water in a tiny house with breathtaking views and great star gazing from a skylight. I won’t share every detail which means I will selfishly keep some adventures to myself. 

I’m on the road to 50. As I approach that milestone I want to see more, do more and explore more. Near and far. I want to stretch myself. I don’t want ordinary. I want once in lifetime experiences.

Some travel may include a hotel. Some may include an excursion. Others might be a one-of-a-kind stay. One might be all about the the play time. Blue skies, sunshine and adventures are on my horizon.

Off I go.

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.