Today, we made our fourth annual visit to Sweet Berry Farm, just outside Marble Falls, Texas.
Read about previous trips:
The 2011 trip was marred by extra long drives each way, first due to super-crying baby and then because of a highway accident. The 2012 visit saw RLF cry and fuss about half the time we were there. Last year, had some huge fits during our visit and BWF cried all the way home.
But each time, we had enough fun and made enough supercool photos that we vowed to return. This year, we went early, to avoid the crowds we saw last year. I argued that it would be too hot; my wife countered that it’s been hot every time we’ve gone (just look at the photos of us sweating).
We left our house at 09:56, ate lunch at McDonald’s in Marble Falls, and arrived at Sweet Berry Farm at 11:40. If you subtract the time of our lunch, we made the 62-mile drive in 71 minutes. We left at 14:28, but turned around to get the pumpkin RLF had painted, which we’d forgotten, and left again at 14:36 arriving home at 15:48. That’s 72 minutes for a 63-mile drive back home.
This was our best overall round trip of the four. Neither child cried in the car on the way out. BWF went to sleep within a few minutes, and RLF just talked to us or looked out the window. On the way, home BWF again slept the whole way, while RLF only slept about 40 minutes. Both kids had fun at the farm.
For the first time, RLF didn’t complain at all during the cornfield maze — and in fact she led us through the maze to the bell at the end. (She hasn’t memorized it; they change the paths each year.) She was finally old enough to do sand art and paint a pumpkin, both of which she did with great attention to detail and carefully following instructions. She actually fed a goat this year.
BWF enjoyed playing in the dirt with a stick, eating gravel, running across the wide open spaces. But most of all, he enjoyed petting goats and donkeys. I wasn’t surprised that he wanted to, but was quite impressed/surprised by the way he handled himself around them and they way they reacted to him. He played games with them, bobbing around to watch their eyes follow him. He put his hands on his head to imitate the goat’s horns. He scratched behind their ears — which they really loved — and under their chins. Every time they’d move to lick him, he pulled his head back just in time. I think he would have played with the goats all day, if we’d let him.
It was over 90°F the entire time we were there, with almost no breeze, but we managed to survive.
The hay ride was BWF’s third and RLF’s sixth. It was the same older German man who drove the tractor that we’ve seen each time. This time, much like our first visit in 2011, we were the only people on the hay ride. When we were finished, RLF was slow to get off the trailer and we were all waiting for her. Finally, I said, “See my skin? I can’t just stand in the sun like this.”
My mention of skin color jogged something in the old man. After asking if both of them were our children, he said: “Mulatto children are … [huge pause] … so beautiful. I have always thought so.”
(I’ve posted some more thoughts about this on my other blog.)
My wife noted later that she doesn’t consider it offensive when older people use terms like “colored” or “mulatto”, especially if there is no negative intent. People our age should know better.
I did manage to get out of the day with only minor color changes to my skin (I wouldn’t even call it a sunburn; maybe just a “sun kiss”), while of course my wife and children were not affected by it at all.
Upon arriving home, the children played happily for most of the afternoon and then we had sloppy joes for supper. RLF ate her entire sloppy joe for the first time in a while. BWF ate more than half of one (and he ate that first half faster than RLF ate her first half).
There wasn’t much crying in the evening, and RLF seemed to go quickly to sleep. BWF took more than an hour before sleeping.