Manage Stress with a Staycation
In my part of Texas, people love to talk, especially in small towns, so I welcome conversations with strangers who want to tell you about their families and their life's story. Don't tell anyone I said this, but I can be somewhat of an introvert. However, I'm not shy about kicking out the functioning extrovert when I'm curious about people I think would make interesting characters in my stories, lol, so I can get pretty chatty with strangers I find intriguing. Visiting small towns grants me that opportunity.
Sweet Berry Farm
Sweet Berry Farm is in Marble, Texas, a surrounding small town northeast of Austin, Texas. Marble, Texas is surrounded by limestone rock, rolling hills, beautiful falls, a stone quarry, and the LBJ State park, which is next on our bucket list of places to visit. The farm has several acres of open strawberry and blackberry fields where you can pick your own berries. One of the staff members was kind enough to warn us that picking blackberries was akin to warfare, ha, because of their thorns, so we stayed away from that batch. Should you decide to brave that field, make sure you take garden gloves, long sleeves, and pants.
Another nice aspect of this farm was that they also have a gift shop, two large bouncing air-filled tarps; a Texas maze, which we did not have time for; a concession stand where they sell their own homemade, strawberry ice cream, popsicles, and strawberry lemonade. I highly recommend the lemonade, by the way, so delicious!
I know some of you are probably wondering, is this an organic farm? Although I prefer that, it is not. The person I spoke to said that they do use a method where they spray as needed in order to minimize their use of pesticides. They claim that their method is safe enough that you can even eat the berries right off the vine, but they do recommend washing them first. When we went, the last time they treated their field was three weeks before, but I made sure I thoroughly washed mine before I ate them. I didn't want to take a chance.
My husband and daughter collected 5 lbs. and we really had a great time sitting on their picnic benches, enjoying their homemade strawberry lemonade and ice cream. It really was like we were transported to another world. With the explosion of population growth in the near future, I can't help but wonder how much longer we'll get to enjoy this beautiful, natural landscape set in an old wild west backdrop that is continuously shrinking and changing with the encroachment of civilization. These are the memories that are buried deep within my heart that I think I will look back on and recall the most. As my daughter gets older, and my husband and I age, this is time I know I'm not going to get back, and although some may disagree, my priority is to chase and capture those memories more than the almighty dollar. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of the free market, success, making money, and climbing as high as you can. This country still affords us those opportunities, but I've done my time out in the rat race. Having children and a loving, supportive husband changed that for me, and I yearn for those moments that will bring us together as a family. And speaking of bringing us together, the strawberries we collected, yielded us some delicious, part protein, strawberry muffins that I made with Einkorn flour and protein powder. You can follow the recipe below if you'd like to make some for your family. Please note, this is a special, eat in moderation, type of recipe. If you're trying to drop weight or looking for paleo, fat-free muffins, this is not it, but I'm sure you can substitute the ingredients with your own flour and sugar substitute. If you try the recipe, let me know if you enjoyed it.
1/2 cup of Orgain protein powder (feel free to experiment with your own, but this powder has a good rating on the best and worst protein shakes list, and it's one I buy for my family)
Yields about 12-16 cupcakes