QR code for the barry farm

check it out…just got a QR code for the barry farm – take a look with me…make sure it works! (hahaaha!)  i’ll be working on integrating this code into the barry farm. but, now i must to take care of a few ducks, 10 turkeys, 57 chickens and prepare for another 60 chickens that i’ll go pick up tomorrow!

scan me with your QR reader to find
our more about THE BARRY FARM

thanks to MY MOM for this is idea! you’re the best mom 🙂 

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apple cake with carmel frosting = perfect for fall!

i made this cake this weekend. i’ve been wanting to make this cake. i LOVE this cake. its moist. its sweet. its super delicious and i have a hard time staying out of it! thankfully i made it, brought it to church to share, and sent the leftovers somewhere else! (hope you enjoyed it rolly!)

i did two things different. i needed more than a 9×13…i wanted a layer cake. i baked two cakes and each fit well in a 10 inch square pan. it could have stood a little more batter but i wasn’t going to fool with the recipe and it turned out great.

the second thing i did different was with the frosting. this carmel frosting is to-die-for! i knew i wouldn’t be able to frost the whole cake with it seeing i wanted layers so i made up one batch. i used most of between the layers but saving a little. maybe 1/2 cup or so. i took the 1/2 cup and make a butter cream frosting but added that in. it gave me a very delicious frosting that covered the whole cake! it was quick and easy.

i have made this cake as the directions call for time and time and again and i am NEVER dissatisfied with the results. 🙂

apple cake

1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup oil
3 eggs
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teas cinnamon
1 teas baking soda
1 teas vanilla
1/2 teas salt
1/4 teas nutmeg
3 cups chopped apples
1 cup chopped nuts (optional) – nut allergies in the family so i’ve never added the nuts

heat oven to 350 degrees. grease and flour a 9×13 pan.

mix sugar, oil and eggs until blended – 1 min. stir in remaining ingredients except for apples and nuts. beat 2 mins or so. stir in apples/nuts. pour in pan and bake 35-40 minutes. note- the batter is very thick. frosted the cooled cake with carmel frosting (below). for carrot cake substitute 3 cups shredded carrots.

carmel frosting

1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups 10x sugar

heat butter in 2 qt saucepan until melted. stir in brown sugar (low heat). heat to boiling, stirring constantly. stir over low heat for 2 mins. stir in milk. heat to boiling- remove from heat. cool to lukewarm. then, gradually stir in 10x. place pan of frosting in bowl/sink of cold water, beat until smooth. if frosting becomes too stiff add a little milk. frost apple cake!

 

 

8 years! boston to houston…

so, as i was doing farm chores at the barry farm a bit ago i smiling to myself. i love october! october in VT was prettier with the changing of the leaves and glorious fall foliage season! fall here is wonderful and finally it has brought some cooler temps and RAIN to this drought stricken state! but, october also marks 8 years in the journey of geoffrey and renee. you see 8 years ago in the middle of october geoffrey and i started talking…hanging out…much to the delight of my father (i love you, dad!) who kept asking me what i thought about geoffrey and maybe calling him to go out and coffee or friendly’s ice cream or something! you see my dad was already friends with geoffrey and had been for some time. my mom would tell my dad, as we sat in the living rooms on sunday afternoons, not to bother me about it and let it be. if he was interested geoffrey would call or ask me out. i love and miss my parents!

you see geoffrey’s dad was the pastor of the church my parents and i attended. i saw him on sundays as he helped with the technology end of our worship services while i was part of the worship team. we had some small talk. one sunday he asked me if i wanted to sit with him in the sound booth at an upcoming event the church was facilitating. i told him yes, but i would be right back. (for those of you who have heard this story many times….listen again :)) you see i had just told a sweet couple i would attend this same event and sit with them! i went back to the wife and told her i changed my mind and told her why….she completely understood and was very happy for me!

i went back to geoffrey and told him i had to tell the gallipo’s i changed my mind and was going to go with him instead of them! we went to said event….and geoffrey held my hand. i was surprised he held my hand being a first date and all….but it was during a prayer so…. i wasn’t scared or put off by it one bit!

a week or so later he asked me if i wanted to go to boston with him for the day! for the day? with him? i mean i knew him kinda and liked his parents but to boston for a whole day? we weren’t even officially dating! i confirmed like we weren’t needing to spend the night or anything. come to find out he had a job interview at MIT and wanted to know if i wanted to tag along. we would go to the aquarium too. i had a full time job and it was our busy season…wasn’t sure how i was going to get the day off. my father was all for it! (he knew how our relationship would turn out) normally my father would have probably not approved of the situation but i guess when your dad is friends with a guy first, then he asked you out, it’s all good! 🙂 gotta teach layla that one.

so, i kind of timidly asked my boss if it was ok i take the day off on short notice seeing it was a busy time. she was ok with it. yay! i’d never been to boston before so i was kinda excited and sure hoped we liked each other seeing how we would spend over 3 hours one way getting there! we left before sunrise and were home way after sunset. we were a tad early for his interview so we stopped for starbucks and chatted some more. while he interviewed at MIT i wandered around a bit and sat in a waiting room. it was a rather confusing time. i was liking him but he was interviewing for a job in boston…what in the world was going to happen if he got it!?

we went to the aquarium and had a great time. it was a rainy day. (geoffrey, i won’t tell the story how you forgot the umberlla and we had to walk blocks to the restaurant and half of my head…the half my hood didn’t cover…was soaked by the time we got there! i even think my mascara was running a bit!) 🙂 love you honey!

we also went to the imax and something happened there later i realized that i was indeed falling in love this guy. he let me drive home and i remember talking the whole way!

there was a rough few months where i wasn’t quite sure what to do about this boy. did i really love him? did i want to marry him? would we make a great couple? THANKFULLY my dad knew me and kept telling geoffrey to just be patient and wait…i would make up mind, not look back and he would be a happy man! geoffrey, are you still happy??

while i had 57 chickens at my feet today i was thinking to myself…it all started with a trip to boston. by the way, he turned MIT down because he was afraid if he took it he’d loose me. we had talked about it a little but not much. how were either of us to know what would happen? we had just started hanging out. (i don’t really know when we crossed the line to dating…maybe the night he kissed me on hi parents sea green couch??) he is SUCH a great decision maker! we got married about 7 month later. he started nursing school, we had two babies, we moved to houston….and we now run a small farm and our customers are spread across the greater houston area- the 4th largest city in the nation! don’t you just love the way god works?…the way life turns out…not at all how we expect it sometimes! but, from boston to houston and EVERYTHING in the middle….i wouldn’t change one thing! i thought i knew geoffrey. this man who became my husband, my best friend, father to the children we would have, an emergency room nurse who loved hunting and the great outdoors. he turned farmer on me and i love him SO much more than i could have ever dreamed…

happy october my love! i’m looking forward to many, Many, MANY more octobers with you.

 

the packing of school lunches!

i was just finishing up packing the kids lunches and thought i would write a quick blog while the last of the banana oat muffins were baking!

i have been realizing that is mid october and school has been in session for over 6 weeks and i’m doing it! i told myself this summer that with seamus going to school and me having to pack 3 lunches a day (2 kids, 1 husband) that i wanted to move away from plastic baggies. and even though i have been tempted to put it on my shopping list i haven’t! back in the summer i had a mamapedia deal come through my email for re-pac bags, reuseable bags. i bought it! i have 3 of the large ones and 2 of the snack ones. they work great! sandwiches, muffins, fruits, veggies all go in them. i can throw them in the washing machine or i have even washed them in the sink, before i start washing everything else. they dry quick. i would recommend mamapedia/mamasource, i’ve gotten some good deals from them!

i also bought two sets of smaller type tupperware (BPA free) on sale at the grocery store. they are the perfect size for cut up fruit and veggies, for the kids. and the others are good for salads and things for geoffrey’s lunch. i did awhile back invest in a set of two good non leaking containers for things like chili and soup for geoffrey.

i went through my tupperware/storage containers and weeded out a few that no longer had lids. i keep the sets together and usually have enough clean in the cupboard when i need them. its made a big difference. i have a few that are hard to get the lid off and have learned they aren’t the best for my kindergartener seeing he told me he spilled his snack everywhere trying to get it open. my next step is probably linen napkins around here. i want to be done with paper napkins and i seldom buy paper towels.

i used to try and make the lunches at night after supper but, that just didn’t work. between getting home just before 4 from school, homework for two kids, supper prep, showers, daddy coming home in the mix…it didn’t work well. now, seeing i get up with geoffrey about 5:15AM everyday i do them in the morning. works much better. what will happen when geoffrey stops working 7am and starts at 11am….i do not know! i guess i’ll still get up early but not at 5:15. that’s only worth it cause i get to see him and kiss him before he leaves for work! 🙂

so, i wasn’t sure i could do this no plastic baggie thing for the packing of 3 lunches daily and i was sure i would cave so…i’m patting myself on my back!

things i pack the kids for lunch….

sandwiches (homemade bread)
apples cut up, brushed with lemon juice
carrots
celery
pretzels
muffins
greek yogurt
bananas
canned local pears/peaches
raisins
cheese
oranges (cut up, bite size)
larabar (for layla ocassionally)

 

maple syrup. homework. dust mites. seminar. wildfires. ducks. rain!

a recap of september…

beginning of the month we took a road rip to rowlett, tx see visit our friends who just moved to the dallas area. they took a road trip to vermont over the summer and brought us back pure VT maple syrup! we have missed the real stuff and i’ve been sick of buying the “close” to real stuff that’s expensive. we have been enjoying it so much! i remember sugaring time and collecting sap. i remember being in the sugar house while the sap was boiling and becoming maple syrup. such a heavenly smell. geoffrey and i discovered that a tablespoon of maple syrup in our iced lattes is the bomb! not overly sweet. provides that maple flavor…just delicious!

sometime during the month geoffrey switched to working 4 ten hour days which means he doesn’t get home until about 6:30 pm. so, any help i got with homework went away. we have settled into a better routine for which i am thankful. its still a rushed a evening but i do my best. seamus is catching on and learning and its fun too see! he asked me recently (i’m paraphrasing) “if 3 and 2 more equaled 5?” i love him!! they expect a lot of the kindergarteners and i think he is on track. reports come out this week! we struggled a bit with a reader one last week. he wasn’t really focusing and i knew if he did he could read the whole book on his own. (about 6 pages, each page had 3-6 sentences) i pushed him through the whining and in the end he read it and was so proud. he just wants to read!

we discovered this month that our layla has a pretty bad allergy to dust and dust mites. ugh… surprisingly, it was the ONLY thing she was allergic to out of maybe the 30ish things they tested her for. its uncommon that someone is allergic to only one thing. i’ve been doing what i can here as far as cleaning and we’ve covered her mattress, box spring and pillow. hoping we can keep on top of it. she wasn’t happy about taking most of the stuffed animals off her bed 😦

i took a day trip to bastrop, TX for an “empowering texas women in agriculture” seminar. it was put on by HMI which is an organization geoffrey and i found out about while at the “texas organic farmers workshop” in austin a while back. HMI’s mission is “to educate people to manage land for sustainable future”.  one of the programs they are going to rolling out in early 2012, i think, is a “beginning farmers nd ranchers program”. the seminar i went to was an introduction to that program that they hope to offer for free! they are a great resource. i came home with a bunch of resources and felt like we’ve been doing pretty good at this farming in texas so far!

it was sad driving through bastrop as they had a massive deadly wildfire rage through the area maybe 1-2 weeks before i went. we have been to bastrop a few times and LOVE the state park there…it was burned. while driving the divided highway you could see where the fire dumped the divided highway that leads through bastrop. i have heard of others driving through residential neighborhoods were the devastation is just so much worse. in some places in the area they were literally restoring power home by home… we had wildfire spark up just a mile or two away this month. my stomach sank as i looked outside over our house when a friend called me to go look. this is what i saw!

the fire was contained overnight and last i heard they were investigating arson. (sigh)

here are a few pictures i snapped on my iphone while driving through bastrop.

here you can see the divided highway and the scored earth on both sides.

there were sections where the earth was covered in ash…ugh…heartbreaking!

during some wildfires that were closer to us than bastrop we were following blue heron farm, who we knew about. their opened up their goat farm to a couple other goat farms near them that had to evacuate. blue heron farms about 30ish goats (if i remember right) and they look in maybe 100 other. they were close to evacuating a few times but thankfully that never happened. we saw that they were wanting to sell some baby ducks. after they began getting things back in order once the wildfire were contained and goats returned to their own farms they discovered another duck had a pile of eggs she was sitting on and they already had 5 babies. so, we told them we would take them! we had been telling the kids we would get ducks soon. here was our chance. so, on a sunday afternoon after egg delivery and farm chores at the barry farm we headed to fieldstore, texas to pick up ducks. we all had to help catch them, which the kids loved 🙂  they also enjoyed meeting the goats as lisa walked us out to the pasture where they were, exploring the farm and seeing where they make their cheese. layla and seamus LOVE goat cheese and will eat it plain! i luv them! of course seamus kept asking if we could have get some goat cheese. they had just been to market and sold out. but, lisa looked a little further and she found a sample of their “fieldstore fire chevre”. it was like gold and we were so appreciate that they let us have it! you see during the wildfires all those goats they housed needed to be milked. they didn’t have enough refrigeration to handle all the milk so, they decided to combine it and make a special chevre. the three farms spilt the money. ingenious! we had a great visit with lisa and christian and love what they do. they are great people and we hope to see them again soon. thanks blue heron farm!

we got some rain the end of the month too! a couple good down pours. doesn’t put a dent in the drought but it sure did help the barry farm! one huge benefit of us moving those chickens (& pigs) around the land on a regular basis is the glorious natural fertilizer their poop/manure/dung makes! if we get just a bit of rain at the land….followed by a nice warm/hot sun green stuff emerges!! we moved the chickens yesterday to some tall green grass stuff and they were in heaven! the turkeys also have been loving the new green grass. we keep praying for more rain!

life is busy, busy around here as usual and october is shaping up to be crazy i think! the pigs will be going to slaughter and that couldn’t make me happier! our truck as nice new shiny hitch and once we get out hands on a trailer we’ll be even happier! i took it upon myself to search craigslist AND go pick up a used freezer…while geoffrey was AWAY last week! (oh yeah, geoffrey attended a “vegetable specialist training” through master gardener last week!) so, i found a freezer we agreed, via email, we should get. so, off i went with our dolly moving blanket and ratchet straps. i told them i would either need help loading or asked if they would mind waiting until i could bring help. they said they would help. thankfully the husband and the son did most of the work, although i certainly could have! the freezer was much bigger in person and i found myself thinking that i was “nuts”! i had to drive major freeways and go through ez-passes with the monster in the bed of my truck! it was a bit nerve racking but i just kept looking the rear view mirror to be sure the ratchet straps were tight! oh, and there was the over pass at I10 and the beltway…geez… here she is…safe and sound at home! a neighbor gathered that i might need help…i think he saw me standing outside looking at the freezer still in the truck and the impending storm clouds i was looking at! thanks blane and CD!

this weekend geoffrey rearranged the garage to make room for the freezer. he did an excellent job because we have even more room now! we’ve made this promise to one another that we will ALWAYS park the truck in the garage. its common here in TX that people just fill their garage with stuff. not us!

its feeling like fall has arrived here and we are loving it! 55 this morning at 7am…glorious! no more days of high 90’s-100 temps in the near future and that makes us happy. i made an apple pie on friday with macintosh apples from NY. it was amazing! i also made baked beans with that maple syrup and they were delicious! our trees are even turning different colors but unfortunately, its not a good thing. its a thing of nature but its the cause of the record breaking drought that making trees die.

looking forward to october and praying we can keep up with all it will be throwing at us! its a busy, exciting, nerve-racking time for us and we’ll be sharing more as it all unfolds.

hello september!

well, there is really only one word to describe the month of august. if you live here (houston/texas) you know what word i am going to use! it was just downright blazing H.O.T.! the hottest on record. its so sad that we are breaking heat and drought records at the same time. not a good mix. not a good mix at all! and the wildfires…its heartbreaking.

in august we took a quick weekend trip to see our friends, the austins, who moved from way north texas (witchita falls) to the dallas area. they had taken a road trip to vermont during the summer and picked us up two gallons of pure vermont maple syrup! growing up in vermont myself and geoffrey living there for over 5 years we have missed not having regular access to it. regular access to the REAL stuff! we’ve been enjoying it! mostly right now in our iced lattes…super yumo! i think its about time for waffles again 🙂

other than that quick trip we stayed home and tried to stay to cool. i bet the kids were glad to get to school so they didn’t see the inside of this house so much…or have to go to the land (the barry farm) while it was 108 degrees but felt like 115!!

School

in the middle to end of august the kids and i worked on their school supply list. they had fun shopping and hunting for the things we needed! layla is now a 2nd grader 🙂 and seamus a kindergartner!!! 🙂 they are both doing well and enjoy school and i hope it stays that way! this year i am on the PTA board serving as secretary. its gets me in the school more which i, geoffrey and the kids love! today while in a board meeting i saw layla walk down the hall…she waved at me excitedly. 🙂

i love hearing the kids talk about their day to one another. its so precious. they both happen to have the same schedule of specials – PE, art, music. its fun hearing layla ask seamus if he knows a certain song or has done something she had. so far seamus has only gotten one mark on his daily conduct chart. it was a day i picked them both up early and as soon as he saw me he confessed…”i accidently got a yellow!” yellow isn’t terrible it just means the teacher spoke to him more than few times for the same thing. that “same thing” being playing in the bathroom. filling up the sink with water or something… hahaha! it was kind of cute and he knew he did wrong.

i love seeing them get out of the truck in the morning and walking into school together. i wish i could stay in front of the school until i can’t see them anymore but then i would hold up the line and would have a lot of upset parents! of course before they get out i get multiple kisses…from each of them! 🙂

so, my days are much quieter. i haven’t been so alone in…well, i can’t remember! thankfully bestie and i have been hanging out some and making things like pot stickers and raviolis for our freezers! now on my days i have to go the barry farm i am alone. so thankful that rabbi and pablo take turns going on tuesdays and thursday when they are available. geoffrey also goes with just the kids on some weekend days that both of us aren’t needed to move animals or something. that’s nice!

i’ve been working on us getting into a routine around here. the evenings are a bit packed with all of us getting home between 4-4:15. then, there are two kids that need to do homework, catching up with daddy about his day and ours, supper to make and eat, 3 lunches to pack and then the kids start getting ready for bed about 7. this is pretty normal but for most of lay’s schooling geoffrey has worked the evenings/nights so getting all those things done was no problem and i took the nights as they went. but, now i don’t want to be doing stuff all night long…he’s home! last week lay and i were at the doctors two days right after school and not home until 5-5:30 so we were really cramming! hoping this week is easier and we can all get in a routine. now that the weather is cooler it would be nice to go out for walks or bike rides but i just don’t know how to do it! maybe the kids will start going to bed a bit later but for now, they go right to sleep after being tucked in about 7:30. do you realize they are at school for over 7 hours??

Farming

we are very thankful that despite the extreme heat  and the drought the barry farm is still going well. we did loose a bee hive which is a big loss for us! but, thankfully its harvest of honey, whenever that would have been was only planned for our family. no customers were counting on honey. we did get probably a little over 2 quarts of honey and i have beeswax that i’d like to do something with. i’ve been researching a little. we are praying the other hive will make it. if you are curious about what happened to the hive you can read about it HERE.

we kept the animals in the most shade possible  and went twice a day for pigs a few days the end of august when our highs were about 107-109. pigs don’t sweat so we’d give them plenty of mud to roll around and lay in. pretty sure we are their best friends now! they are getting big and might be in our freezers a little sooner than expected!

Gardening

the weather has certainly changed and we are hoping it stays this way!! it felt chilly this morning.. high 50’s. just last week our overnight lows were 77-79. welcomed relief. geoffrey and seamus planted some fall seeds sunday morning. we are gradually doing the fall/winter planting as these next few months come around. so many things to plant down here during this glorious time of year!

hoping your september is a great one!

 

a thank you

well, some of you know that school has started here in houston! lay is a bit confused why its still so hot but everyone refers to school ‘starting in the fall’! 🙂 i love her! we are still in them middle of a horrid drought and are in day 23 i think of triple digit temps…all in a row! seamus’ recess falls in the afternoon and they haven’t been allowed outside due to the high heat index (105+ degrees)

i want to thank those of you who have been praying for this start of school. i know some of you but not all. while the past few days haven’t been easy i have had a peace that i know is only coming god and the prayers! seriously…i can’t describe it. my phone did ring, while i was at the land (the barry farm) during the kindergarten lunch hour and i panicked a bit. about 8 seconds in to the call i realized the woman was calling about the work order they recieved to fix the dryer! i exhaled.

i really hate food allergies. and i don’t think i use the word hate much! it brings such an added stress. until you have to deal with it there is really now way to know what its like.

i had a few moments of fear and tears one weekend before school started. my mind kept going to the thing that keeps a mom’s (a parent’s) eye on all the details regarding food that is near or going to go into my son’s mouth. i scan playgrounds and people walking around the zoo to see if anyone is eating anything. i remember the first time i brought the kids to the library and child was snacking on whatever that peanut cereal is!! “REALLY?”, i thought to myself…can’t we just be safe at the library??

and now, i was finding myself constantly thinking about the fact that i had to send my precious baby, my 5 year to school. he was ready. kindergarten had arrived. it took me a few days to get all my questions and concerns answered by the school as to how they were going to handle lunch, who was going to help him get a seat away from kids with packed lunches from home.

the day i went to the school, before it started, to meet the new staff in the nurses office and bring the epi pen & benadryl, i was sick to my stomach. i was nervous. i didn’t want to go.

through my tears of fear one night i told geoffrey that seamus has been my sole responsibility pretty much his entire life. yes, he had some sleep overs with grammy and baby sitters (our neighbors across the street), children’s church but that was mostly with his grammy anyway, special dates with daddy, or a stay at bestie’s house who has a peanut allergy son of her own… but, now i was going to have to give that up for over 7 hours a day, 5 days a week!  i felt like i was loosing control….not sure there is a more watchful eye than a mom’s! control i had for the past 4 years since discovering his allergy. the biggest thing with food allergies is getting others, especially those who will care for your son, to realize how serious it is! how would i know his teachers and lunch staff really got it?? he’s not the first kid there to have a severe allergy. i knew that. i also am pretty sure they’ve never had an emergency related to food allergies there either. but, we are talking about my baby! (i know there a lot of “I’s” in this post and i want you all to know geoffrey is just as watchful as i but, i am the stay at home mom. if he was the stay at home dad i would have complete confidence in him!)

seamus’ teacher called me first thing one morning after i sent her a very early morning email voicing my confusion/concerns about who was going to help seamus with lunch time the first week of school. who is going to teach him to sit at the end of the table so all the kids with purchased lunches will sit around him and not those with packed. who will talk with the lunch aides? she finally said what i needed to hear…she told me she had it. she would do all that! (i will be following up with her the end of the week to see how things are going 🙂 )

while seamus did go to pre-k 2 days a week for a few hours, it was a private school. smaller. the kids ate in the classroom with their two teachers and maybe 15 other students. not hundreds of kids in cafeteria with a few aides walking around to monitor. i saw his teachers at drop off and pick up. we talked peanuts now and then…things i needed to hear. things they were asking, seeing and taking care of.

the 5 days a week, 7 hours a day away from me is rough. as a stay at home mom this has been a big deal for me. seamus is our last kid at home starting school! i was sure this day wouldn’t come this fast. (i know ya’ll told me it would….) he was excited to start but if he wasn’t, i know it would  be a lot harder on me!

the last two days i have walked him to class being sure he knew how to find his room on his own but…tomorrow (wed), i’ll just drop them off. out the truck door they will go… i still remember the first day i did that when lay started kinder. as i pulled away i kept watching her (and road) to see her as long as i could… it was rough! i sent her off to the big school i had only been in once before a few days before to meet her teacher.  i’m thinking tomorrow will be easier because i’ve done this before. because i am familiar with the school. i have been there many times walking the halls, volunteering…it feels safe.

i am SO thankful there is ONE who holds the weight of the world in his hands but seamus doesn’t slip through the cracks! (thank you, peter furler, for those lyrices i’ve been holding on to!)

my prayers of protection will continue. my peace will continue too. of this…i am sure! thank you, lord.

busy. hot. dry.

its been a bit since i blogged last.

we’ve been busy around here. let’s see…. what have i (we) done in the past few weeks?

i had about 27 pounds of local (katy) pears that i was working on perserving. most of them i dried in the dehydrator for the kids lunches. i did can 4 quart jars – seamus likes canned pears. they are sitting in the cupboard with the canned peaches. i also made a delicious cardamom scented oatmeal crisp…geoffrey kept looking at the pears on the counter and asked why i wasn’t BAKING with them! it was very yummy but if i made a again i would a) put a little more cardamom in and b) make more! we also ate a bunch of delicious juicy pears 🙂 the last one went in geoffrey lunch today.

the kids and i have been gathering school supplies. we go meet the teacher tonight! we might go this morning beacause i have to drop off seamy’s epi pen and benadryl to the school nurse along with the medical forms. we are hoping to stop by and see seamy’s teacher while we are there. we’ll go back later in the afternoon to help set up for “meet the teacher night”. daddy will meet us there when he gets home from work so he can meet the teachers as well. all in all i am looking forward to school but the stress of seamus’ peanut allergy looms about. its rough. i don’t like it. it changes everything….but, i’ve already cried twice about it so i’m not writing about it now!

of course we have been busy with farming as well. it is SO very dry! record breaking drought and record breaking heat (every day of august has been at least 100 degrees) are NOT a good mix at all! mandatory water restrictions have begun. its very sad and heart breaking. we don’t have much grass left to move the pigs, turkeys and chickens to so, we are just keeping them in the shade as much as we can. we are making plans for the next round of meat birds (chickens).

well, i need to go make the most of this early morning and get a big batch of homemade wheat tortillas done.

july’s gone!

oh july…why did you go so quickly?

july was good. busy, busy around here but that the norm lately.

we didn’t do much for the 4th. we all went to the land and i think we moved animals. i think we got some local grassfed burgers and cooked them on the grill…or was that memorial day? no i think memorial was brisket. anyway…we spent the day together. that night we drove to katy mills mall and parked to watch fireworks. we found a great spot along with about 10 other vehicles then were told my a cop we had to leave. ugh… that wasn’t the worse part though. the kids had fun. people were passing our glow sticks so the kids had fun with those. we saw the ISS pass over! i was checking twitter and saw tim heller posted to watch for it. it was pretty neat. the kids even got to see it. when the fireworks display was over we sat in traffic! i’m not really sure what the problem was but we seriously didn’t move even a 1/4 mile in an hour!! the kids weren’t too happy as they were pretty tired! its the price you pay sometimes for going to events like that…of course we tried to explain that to them 🙂

geoffrey started a new job the second week in july. he is now a CATH lab nurse and working for st. lukes downtown. its a much needed break from emergency nursing for him (and us). he is still working through orientation and liking it! the CATH lab is were patients go for heart catheterizations and such. the like hiring skilled ER nurses. his orientation hours are 7a-3p and we are certainly loving those! one day we met him at the zoo after work. we’ve been swimming and biking some evenings too!

we got 13 baby turkeys this month. we are pleased that we only lost one! they’ve been out to the land in their temporary field pen for 1-2 weeks now and are doing wonderful! the barry farm is proud to be offering local pastured turkeys for thanksgiving! a few are taken and if you are interested you should contact us at thebarryfarm@yahoo.com for more details.

our friend rosie who is working on starting up her photography business, rosemary elizabeth photography came to the barry farm to take pictures! she did such a great job!  check out this picture of the kids she took…i love it!

 

 

they crack me up!!

i think she and geoffrey & i learned how photogenic red wattle pigs are. you know when i see them i am always looking down on them…like this photo…

but when she there with her camera and getting right on their level she got images such as this…

and of course our favorite…hog heaven…

that’s one happy pig 🙂

the kids and started school shopping. we’ve got some more to do.

i started making homemade mayo a few weeks ago. i flub a few batches but got it now! this is the recipe i use. be sure you have a nice light olive oil. light in color means light in flavor…learned that! and of course i use the barry farm eggs 🙂

last weekned was layla’s birthday and she had a fun few days! the day before her birthday she and seamus went to grammy and tata’s (geoff’s parents) overnight. she wanted a day off at the farm…and she got it! geoffrey picked them up on friday after he got out of work. i was home in the kitchen making bread and supper. geoffrey and i had gotten and set up a 10 gallon aquarium for her, she had no idea! they stopped of for a few fish on the way home 🙂 after we ate we told them it was time to go! we all went and saw smurf’s in 3D. thankfully we got into the 2nd theatre we went to! hahaa! they had fun and were super tired on the way home. earlier in the week we drove down to kemah to go to the bommin’ by the bay free concert that the local christian radio station sponsors. layla kept hearing about it and really wanted to go! last week was their last concert so after geoffrey got home from work…we drove to the bay! she was so cute and loved it!

now august has arrived… three full weeks left of summer! sigh…then school begins… that reminds me, i need to order seamus his llbean backpack, he wants green 🙂 did you know llean has free shipping now?

so, that’s what happened here in july.

 

it’s a girl!

seven years ago today i was probably working and  the sweet ladies in my office were guessing if i would deliver over the weekend or not! i miss those ladies…

we didn’t know what we were having. would it be a boy or a girl?

we had names picked out. names we loved and didn’t tell our family! (they loved that! haha!)

during the night i had a backache that gradually got worse. i finally realized it must be contractions but they were all in my back.

when they got closer together we headed to the hospital.

we called parents. brothers. sisters. some met us there.

i labored for about 6 hours.

i tried bouncing on the yoga ball which was too small for my tall self.

my mom & geoffrey took turns rubbing & massaging my back while i was in the hot shower.

i had back labor the entire time.

i labored in the tub.

then…

it was time! i wondered if i would know when it was time…when it was time to push. yup! i sure did!

my normal doctor wasn’t on shift, which i was sad about and i got the doctor that some would say is not so nice.

great!

but then she commented on my beautiful freshly pedicured toes!

i liked her.

then she yelled at me for screaming…it hurt, what was i suppose to do?

thankfully a sweet nurse explained my yelling and screaming would wear me out quicker.

then…

i knew it was over.

i knew my baby was born.

i could hear the doctor talking but what did she say?

girl?

boy?

i had to ask if it was a girl or a boy. i missed it!

it was a girl….

i am sure geoffrey and i were thinking at the same time – layla bree.

we had a beautiful girl named layla bree!

the miracle of life that was created and grew inside my body was now in our arms.

we could touch her. see her. hold her. smell her. kiss her.

those moments following her birth i was so glad we didn’t find out if she was girl. it was simply magical.

she was just perfect!

we brought her home to the small apartment we were living in…a one bedroom. it was right across the street from geoffrey’s parents. geoffrey often tells layla how he would carry her over to visit in a laundry basket! 🙂

i remembered when we got home being worried about being a mom. being a parent. could i really do this? would i know when she was hungry, tired, sick…i was in charge of this little life!

geoffrey and i thought it would be a great idea to have babies and be parents and …. here we were with our first child!

and look at her today…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

she is going to be 7 tomorrow.

s.e.v.e.n.

she is wonderful!

simply lovely and wonderful and we love her to the moon and back 5 billion times!

 

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