Blog Posts

Our Week on the Farm, May 20th -27th

A Recap of our Week May 20th- 27th, in pictures.

This week has been HOT, really HOT!  We found ourselves scrambling to put fans in the chicken coops as the chickens struggled to find any breeze.


Thankfully lots of wonderful kiddos came out to the farm to help spray the pigs with water.  We usually spray them down three times a day but with this heat we have been making it out a couple extra times just to make sure they get enough water to cool down. In addition to the water, mud is extremely necessary to help protect them from sunburn.


On top of all the farm chores Anthony and I participated in a panel for the North Central Extension Risk Management team.  Leaders in the North Central region, agricultural industry, are picked to help give guidance and assist in offering strategies to eliminate risk and increase effectiveness for all NE farms.

risk assesssment

It was really nice seeing Vicki, leader for Intertribal Agricultural Council, again. Our family is excited to plan a trip out to South Dakota to see her families bucking bronco ranch.  The interesting part of working with so many different farmers is hearing how similarly our struggles and challenges are..  Hopefully the information we were able to provide on behalf of all #womanfarmers #hispanicfarmers and #veteranfarmers in Nebraska will help foster more opportunities to work together.

veteran farm tour

A few days later Anthony and I were delighted to host a farm tour for over 40 beginning veteran farmers from all over Nebraska.  The #CenterforRuralAffairs put on this event which included tours of two other Nebraska family farms.  Our goal was to be “real”, even when “real” isn’t glamorous. And from the feedback received I think we did just that. Anthony and I hate debt so instead of taking out $20,000 loans+ we have been building up the barns and coop areas on a budget.  They aren’t magazine “pretty” but they work and I hope each person who came saw that there are different options to growing dreams.

Its not just farming around here but lots of kid activities too.  This weekend the boys participated in a homeschool track & field day in Council Bluffs, IA.  The temperature was intense but they each did a great job. Two moments warmed my heart the most.  The first was watching Garrett run the 800 and seeing how focused he was, giving his absolute all, 110%, through the finish line.  The other was watching Trevor run the 800.  He was the fastest of all the kids in his group, his seven year old legs moving so fast, but he started to slow about 3/4 of the way around the track. Suddenly Anthony (first time he has been able to attend one of these events) races across the field to encourage and run along side Trevor in the infield.  Trevor was so excited to see his dad running with him he found enough energy to give a bit more and finished strong! â¤ï¸

I hope each of you and your families are staying cool and enjoying the start of Summer Vacation! Don’t forget to share your stories from this week.  We love growing with you. ðŸ˜Š

Blessings, Mariel

Always Remember…always Honor.

Kryste Buoniconti and her children pose with a sign and flag honoring her husband, Frank. (Courtesy of Kryste Buoniconti) 28 Nov 2014 By Amy Bushatz

Growing up Memorial Day was one of the most exciting times of year.  It symbolized the start of summer, BBQ’s, camping, water skiing, and marshmallows!  I don’t remember in all of my school years ever learning, from teachers or parents, that there was significance to the day.

Then I married an Army soldier and soon after September 11, 2001 the attack on our World Trade Center, happened.  Memorial Day quickly took on a whole new meaning as Anthony left on his first 12 month deployment and a following 15 months soon after.

We were blessed in both deployments not to loose any of our company soldiers.  But, our Battalion, 101st Airborne Division, did suffer lose.  Memorial Day became real.

In 2009 our family PCS’d (moved) to Fort Irwin, CA.  I HATED being stationed in the middle of the Mojave Desert. I HATED that the biggest store, a grungy-tiny Walmart, was an hour and twenty-four minutes away.  But…I LOVED the wives on the installation.  I LOVED that we were a small post, and close-knit.  This is where I met Frank, Kryste, and their children.  Frank had an infectious laugh, and colorful tattoos!  Kryste was a giver, loving everyone, and our children played together.

In the summer of 2011 we PCS’d to Fort Leavenworth, KS and Kryste and her family PCS’d to Fort Lewis, WA.

December 2011, right before Christmas, we got the most heart-wrenching call I’ve ever answered. Frank had died in a mission.

Memorial Day matters.  The day, the weekend, has a significance.

Memorial Day is a remembrance of all those who gave their life for our freedom.  And a time to honor those spouses and children that they left behind.

Teach your children the importance of the day.  Celebrate with camping and bonfires but don’t neglect to honor those who defend our country and our freedoms with the ultimate sacrifice.

Romans 12:10

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

If you are in the Omaha area, join our family at Memorial Park, 56th Street and Underwood Avenue, on Monday May 28th,  11 a.m. to noon. Service with 21-gun salute, speakers and music sponsored by Heroes of the Heartland or check out many of the other observances in the area.



Our Week on the Farm, May 13th-20th

A Recap of our Week May 13th-20th, in pictures.

WOW! This week has flown by!  First we were given a sweet little potbelly pig who we named Stella.  Her first outing was at Tractor Supply Company when Trevor and Garrett helped me showcase our farm for their Farmer Market Day.  It was so much fun meeting many new kiddos and being able to give away 4 free weeks of farm camp!!

The grass grew soooooooo fast, waiting for Anthony to get home and cut it wasn’t going to happen.  So my stylish little princess helped me…well, she did for about 10 minutes before the hum of the ZMaster put her to sleep. And yes, I FINALLY put the snow boots away. 😂

Even with the rain we enjoyed lots of new families out at the farm. And one little girl who has come back multiple times to bottle feed the baby goats.  Ms. Charlotte is a natural goat whisperer. ❤️ I’m so thankful for all the families sharing their pictures on our Facebook page.

With all the racing around and working with the boys Anthony finally got back from a mission and I was able to find some down time.  How did I spend it?  Laying in the grass, enjoying one of my favorite flowers (or weed) and listening to all the kids giggle and wrestle in the sprinkler.  It was perfect. ❤️

And then… it was off again starting another task and making yet another trip to Menards!  The chickens are very happy with their new windows.  Soon we will have new cover to protect them from owls as well as special roof vets to increase the amount of fresh air circulating in the coop.  More to come this week as we finish the projects.






❤️ nothing happens without purpose, God works in mysterious ways.


Two weeks ago: we got a late night emergency call and plea for goats colostrum and milk. A foal was born and wasn’t eating, wasn’t taking any of the formulas, and the vet said there wasn’t any hope for it.

A friend, of a friend, of a friend told them about our farm and they rushed over. We gave them the last of the colostrum we had and hurried them on their way. From the moment of the call to the moment I fell asleep I prayed for that little foal and for their hands working on her.

They were strangers, who came in the middle of the night. I was hoping to hear if the little one had lived but never got a call.

(Colostrum is a thick, sticky, vitamin packed pre-milk that every mamma gives for the first three days after giving birth.  We try to save some from every goat we have just in case there would be an emergency.)

Last night: We have been calling farms all over NE and IA to get more alfalfa for our goats. After 3 days and still no hay Anthony pulled one more number off of Craigslist.

When we arrived at the farm, there were a number of horses and a little foal in a round pen. The man did not seem familiar but something in my spirit said, ASK.  So out of the blue I asked if a couple of weeks ago they had bought goats milk for a foal.

The man jumped back! Paused, blown away that I would know that. It was the same people who had come for the milk!! And the baby had survived!!! Both of us were close to tears and they shared the whole story.


I can’t wait to go back for hay and watch the little one, who they named June Bug, grow. More to this than I can share but to sum it up God is good, all the time! We were able to bless them and they were a blessing to us.

Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. 

So much hope and peace flows daily knowing that our family is never walking alone or without purpose.

Do you know Jesus and have this same hope? If you want to know more we are always open to share, just ask. ❤️

The GOOD, the BAD, and the BEAUTIFUL

I don’t really like the question- Do you want the good news or the bad news first? But if forced to decide I would choose the GOOD first, so then I can pull that back up after hearing any BAD.

Ah, back at Ft. Leavenworth, KS. Were we really that young?!

Anthony and I have been looking for new, bigger farm property for over a year and a half.  We have found only a handful that fit within our beginning farmer budget and that would work into our dreams for the farm.  We have an absolutely amazing realtor (Amanda Sway) whose professionalism and vivacious youthfulness make everything involved in hunting and purchasing a home enjoyable. Recently Anthony and I found a quaint house with a pond and over 30 acres.  The couple who own this house have done an amazing job keeping everything in top working order.  You can see the love in every aspect of their property.

Our family doesn’t do anything without prayer first, middle, and last.  With Anthony gone so often, it is rare we get to physically pray together, but even with miles apart we stand united in our desires, hopes and dreams. We have prayed for a place with water, all of our children and myself are little fish, craving all things water! We want a place where I can once again have a flower garden, one that I won’t have to leave- no more having the Army tells us to go.  A place we can finally put down deep roots and grow.  For all the things we don’t care for about Nebraska (the lack of National Parks, lack of public property, its poor recycling habits, and lack of the Pacific Ocean) we ABSOLUTELY LOVE the people and our church.

12 oaks blog

The property we are praying for will not only have enough land for our farm operation, but also, the right layout so we can continue to mentor Veteran Farmers as well as begin a deep desire of ours, to work with the wonderful Hispanic population in this area.   Last but not least, it will have an area where we can build a bathroom for our farm family! (I love being hospitable and opening our home to you and yours, but I would love to give you your own private farm bathroom). (heart).

We have spent over a month negotiating on this particular property.  At first we were excited, then with three counters and two changes with new/different information we began to lose focus.  There was one brief day were both Anthony and I even became ANGRY. (I don’t know anyone who likes to feel judged based on either their last name, or their supposed financial status, or any other number of things-satan is a master of planting doubt and stirring up dissension).  Our hearts were heavy and we almost broke.

Then we remembered something, something BEAUTIFUL.  Jesus promises us HOPE and a FUTURE (Jeremiah 29:11).  He promises EXCEEDING BLESSINGS (Ephesians 3:20) and He promises to DIRECT our path (Proverbs 3:5-6).  We also remembered that it didn’t matter what was going on behind closed doors, He-the CREATOR of this universe, the Alpha and Omega- He LOVES US with an everlasting LOVE (Jeremiah 31:3)….if we will put Him first and seek Him with ALL our hearts.  So, we began to pray for the owners.  We did not pray that they would sell the house to us.  Instead we prayed EPHESIANS 1:16-19 for them.

Two weeks more have past, there are so many working pieces to moving our family and our farm that today we again became discouraged. We had worked out all details with this couple, gave in to all their demands, signed the final purchase agreement, and drove out of our way to bring the title company our earnest deposit and still they didn’t get back to us with their signatures.  At Walmart today, I was at peace and full of joyful hope. While waiting for their signatures I had the chance to talk with Anthony and we both realized we don’t NEED to move, or NEED to move right now.  Is the farm a bit, more than a bit, cramped- Yes, but can we manage, most definitely! So I just began praying out loud, running through all the scriptures I could bring to remembrance and then finally binding satan from meddling. We needed to know His plan for us.  We had done everything in our physical power but there is so much more than the physical involved (Ephesians 6).  So I ended my out-loud Walmart prayer with, “Lord make it be very clear if this is not for us. THANK YOU for being our rock and fortress (Psalm 18:1-3)”.  Literally 35 minutes later Amanda called with what she thought was bad news.  Oh, the joy in hearing that this couple was not going to sell to us.

Instead of focusing on the time and effort invested into this 45+ day process and all the negative back-and-forth, the first thing that came to mind was that either the timing is off or He has something even greater for us!!!   The beautiful part is Jesus loves us and He loves them just as much.  He is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11, Acts 10:34).   So….we will continue to wait with GREAT expectations (Psalm 5:3) and continue to grow our dream of serving more families.  Thank you for dreaming with us! (heart).

I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:1-4

Our Week on the Farm,April 29th-May 6th

A Recap of our Week April 29th-May 6th, in pictures.



The asparagus is prolific and we spent a full day putting in our new garden boxes. We are trying to be patient, holding off on planting, but waiting for our Garden Farmers Summer Camp is tough.  The kiddos in camp that week are going to have a blast learning about organic farming, planning out their gardens, and taking strawberry plants home to grow on their own.

The first group of families taking part in our Parent & Me classes arrived and did a wonderful job making homemade bunny treats. We sent the kiddos home with some of the extra treats so they can keep them in the freezer to bring back the next time they come.

With the extremely drawn out winter we had this year, we are almost a month behind on our cleaning projects.  Thankful for beautiful weather and being able to get the whole chicken coop cleaned and sanitized. The chickens were not very happy having us in their space most of the day but they are definitely enjoying it now.

While Emily and I cleaned the coop the boys worked on sharpening all the blades on the lawn mowers, changing spark plugs, and other spring mechanical maintenance. And at the end of all the work!, they got to enjoy mowing the yard. Are your boys just as excited to do yard work?! Now I just need to teach one of them how to use the trimmer.  🙂

Our Week on the Farm, April 22-29th

A Recap of our Week April 22nd-29th, in pictures.

tours begin

Spring is finally here!  And with it has begun our tour season.  This is one of our families favorite things about farming, sharing what we have learned with others. It is wonderful being able to meet different families from the area and see the excitement our animals bring to kids and adults alike.

The piggies continue to grow and enjoyed some fun rolling in the mud while the chickens have been enjoying wondering further and further away from the coop in search of bugs and new dusting areas.

We are wrapping up our school week with reading about Corrie Ten Boom and WWII. Garrett is moving along in his multiplication tables and Emily…well, she just enjoys tagging along for all the fun.

With spring comes many new farm projects.  This week we worked on cross fencing the pasture in preparation for the new cows that will be coming soon.  Anthony and the boys strung a 1/4 mile of barb wire and put up two 12 foot gates. Emily, Pickles and I enjoyed riding in daddy’s truck and the little boys and I played in the pasture with the cows.  This has been a beautiful week!

trevor and taco


Paw Paw- North American Mango

Our family braved the chest high stinging nettle, poison ivy, and mosquitoes this past Sunday after church to trudge deep into the Nebraska forest and harvest Paw Paws.


What is a Pawpaw?
The pawpaw is a tropical-like fruit native to the forest fringes of the Midwest and parts of the South. The fruit looks a little like a mango, with large, brown seeds surrounded by a lemon yellow, creamy flesh the consistency of a firm custard. The pawpaw has a tropical flavor, which is often described as a combination of mango, pineapple, and banana.

Most enthusiasts agree that the best way to enjoy  a pawpaw is to eat them raw after they are picked and are perfectly ripe. A perfectly ripe pawpaw will be soft to the touch. The skin may be green, yellowish-green, or even brownish and bruised looking. As long as the outside is soft to the touch, your pawpaw is ready to eat. A ripe pawpaw will only last a few days at room temperature, but you can store them in the refrigerator for up to a week after they are picked.

pawpaw2The flesh of the pawpaw will be a beautiful lemon yellow to orange-yellow color. You just slice them open the long way and use a spoon to scoop out the yellow pulp. Never eat the skin or seeds. The pawpaw pulp can also be used in ice-cream, breads, muffins, smoothies, and sauces. There are many recipes online, and we will send you a few pawpaw recipes with your order.

Think you might want to try these tropical treats?!  The harvest is limited so order yours soon.  We also sell the seeds so you and your kiddos can enjoy planting a Paw Paw tree of your very own.   Hurry, Order Before We are Sold Out!

Nutritional Information

In comparison with banana, apple, and orange, pawpaws have a higher protein and fat content. Banana exceeds pawpaw in food energy and carbohydrate content. There is little difference among these fruits in dietary fiber content. Pawpaw is most similar to banana in overall composition. Apple is especially low in protein, orange is low in fat, and both are lower than pawpaw or banana in food energy. See Table 2 and Table 3 for details.


Pawpaw has three times as much vitamin C as apple, twice as much as banana, and one third as much as orange. Pawpaw has six times as much riboflavin as apple, and twice as much as orange. Niacin content of pawpaw is twice as high as banana, fourteen times as high as apple, and four times as high as orange. See Table 2 and Table 3 for details.


Pawpaw and banana are both high in potassium, having about twice as much as orange and three times as much as apple. Pawpaw has one and a half times as much calcium as orange, and about ten times as much as banana or apple. Pawpaw has two to seven times as much phosphorus, four to twenty times as much magnesium, twenty to seventy times as much iron, five to twenty times as much zinc, five to twelve times as much copper, and sixteen to one hundred times as much manganese, as do banana, apple, or orange. See Table 2 and Table 3 for details. Sodium content has not yet been determined.

Amino acids

The protein in pawpaw contains all of the essential amino acids. Pawpaw exceeds apple in all of the essential amino acids, and it exceeds or equals banana and orange in most of them. See Table 2 and Table 3 for details.


The profile of fatty acids in pawpaw is preferable to that in banana. Pawpaw has 32% saturated, 40% monounsaturated, and 28% polyunsaturated fatty acids. Banana has 52% saturated, 15% monounsaturated, and 34% polyunsaturated fatty acids.

The nutrients are also known for fighting cancer cells. Cancer Fighting Agents

So what can you do with a Paw Paw fruit?!  What can you do with a banana or mango?  Cookies, popsicles, and other sweet deserts come to mind as well as making breakfast smoothies and adding to a steaming bowl of oatmeal.


NPR article and Ice Cream Recipe

Kentucky State University Recipes

7 Was to use and preserve your Paw Paws

Paw Paw and Coconut popsicles

Think you might want to try these tropical treats?!  The harvest is limited so order yours soon.  We also sell the seeds so you and your kiddos can enjoy planting a Paw Paw tree of your very own.   Hurry, Order Before We are Sold Out!

Military Spouse Appreciation Day, Friday May 12th 2017

Military spouses are known by those that have and do serve, as the foundation for a strong military family. This foundation allows the service member to focus on the task-at-hand, to accomplish the mission. The military spouse provides the glue and often the energy to keep the family moving forward; pets and kids wrangled during the many moves and the support after a long day at the office, field exercise or deployment.

As much as we as service members rely on our spouses a simple thank you, hug or otherphoto compliment never seems to fit the bill. That is why President Reagan enacted Proclamation 5184 on 17 April 1984 to recognize the importance of the military spouse and their unwavering dedication to family, their spouse, and commitment to service. Congress officially made Military Spouse Appreciation Day part of National Military Appreciation Month in 1999 and the standardized date of the Friday before Mother’s Day every year by the Department of Defense.

Our military spouses may not wear the uniform but it is with their undying support that we are able to fully dedicate ourselves to the profession of arms at home and abroad.

I will admit that when I think of special days in May, the first thing that comes to mind is Cinco De Mayo, just kidding, it would be Mother’s Day. Mariel is an amazing woman who takes care of us and teaches our kids via homeschooling and manages the operation of a non-profit organization, HSAMF. However, what makes me the proudest is what an amazing mother she is and for that Mother’s Day comes to mind first.

With that being said she is so much more than a mother, she is a friend and mentor to other military spouses, willing to drop everything to take care of another family. Military Spouse Appreciation Day recognizes the million other things our spouses do to support us, the service member, come rain or shine, multiple deployments, constant moves, missed holidays, missed birthdays and all the days when they must be both parents.

We at the Barreras Family Farm, being a veteran established farm, wanted to show the Military Spouses their contributions are appreciated by hosting an event at the farm that focuses on the family. It may not be a day at the spa but our hope is that you will walk away knowing we thank you for your service and dedication to our country and our service members.

-Anthony Barreras