****Justin is out of town this week in Cupertino, California for Apple's annual kick-off event. So, once again I am left alone with the kids during the busy last week of October. Apple has these same meetings during this same week each year. Luckily the dates have never interfered with the actual day of Halloween, but in the past Justin has missed field trips, ward Halloween parties, and other such festive activities. I mention his absence as a preface to this blog entry only because it is nearly midnight here and I am beat from my several days of flying solo so I am unsure how coherent this will be---I promised my sister pictures tonight so I am dedicated to getting this done!****
We finally got around to taking our kids to the pumpkin patch...or at least a place to get pumpkins. While I was at The Cheesecake Factory last month with some friends after Women's Conference I was warned by Angela V. that "pumpkin patch's" here in Texas are nothing like the ones back home. Angela is from Virginia also and said that she was beyond disappointed last year when she joined her preschooler on his field trip to the "pumpkin patch" which was really a parking lot with pumpkins spread around for the kids to choose from. I agreed that that would not do and could not compare to the fabulous experience (minus the rain) that we have had each year in Va at Great Country Farms---a real farm where the kids take a hay ride out to the pumpkin patch where they could pick their perfect pumpkin straight out of the field where it had grown.
She, and some other women at the table, recommended that we take our kids to a farm nearly an hour away in Marble Falls, Tx. so that they could experience something more like what we had back home. So, we loaded our crew into the car last weekend and headed out for our adventure to Sweetberry Farms. It was a beautiful drive, though I was disappointed (but not surprised) that there were no colorful leaves. It did take us about an hour to get there and by the time we arrived the kids were beyond anxious to see what was awaiting their arrival. Let me say, it was no Virginia---first of all, some of my kids were in shorts (not a possibility in Va at this time of year), the pumpkins are not grown on-site but are transported in, and the hayride was all around a dusty unattractive ranch road (though we did see a penned longhorn). However, I must admit, the kids didn't seem to even notice any difference between this new place and farms from years past.
Sweetberry had just that, fields and fields of strawberry plants that will be ready for harvest early next spring. They are famous for their homemade popsicles, which they make out of their hand-picked strawberries. The older kids each got one and they were delicious---everyone always has to share with mom!
Well, crated in or not, the kids each loved choosing their own special pumpkin. Ruby was more interested in using them to balance and then stopping to lick them, and Tate kept choosing ones that were prefect to him but way too heavy for him to carry---it must be very frustrating to be two. Eventually we each had one that we felt happy with.
The kids also had a great time with the animals they got to see at the farm. Unfortunately the huge goat pen was located very near the picnic tables so the kids didn't care much about eating their lunches and instead wanted to watch the goats climb the trees. Yes, they were climbing the trees in their enclosure. Who knew goats were such good climbers (actually I guess they climb cliffs and mountains and stuff, right?)? There was one large tree that had grown straight out of the ground but then had veered toward the sun (I'm guessing) and toward the open field, it is because of this horizontal growth that the goats were able to use it as a bridge from one side of their pen to the other. Each of the kids were fascinated and would laugh and laugh as the goats would jump down and head over towards them hoping for some food. Tate loved them and even tried on multiple occasions to climb in with them. I was able to finally lure him away with food, he was like my own little goat! In fact all of the kids were hungry because they had been too interested in the animals to eat, though Ruby was very resourceful and somehow nabbed a bag of Frito's with her foot and strained down to reach chips out of the bag, it was so funny that I included the picture!
All in all it was a very fun outing and we were glad to have made the trek. However, right before we got in the car to head home I noticed how dirty and dusty each of the kids were and I began to wish that I could pull the kids home in a horse trailer like the one they so eagerly climbed into on the farm (see picture above)!
I will be sure to post pictures of how our Sweetberry Farm pumpkins transform into Jack-o-lanterns this friday!