When you think of a farm, you probably imagine scenes involving rolling pastures of green grass, cows mooing, chickens clucking and a happy farmer tending to his crops. What you probably didn’t notice when you were imagining your happy farmer was one of the most important aspects of the farm, sitting and purring at his feet…the barn cat!
Barn cats have been a popular staple of farm life and have helped farms succeed throughout history. Barn cats not only provide companionship for the farmer, his family and sometimes other farm animals, but they also earn their keep controlling the rodent population. Field mice find livestock feed and crops on farms an easy meal. Having a barn cat helps scare the mice away! Even if the barn cat is not a skilled hunter, his mere presence is enough to scare most rodents into finding another food source.
At Parky’s Farm in Winton Woods, we have our very own barn cat named Finnigan (Finn for short). Our guests have come to know Finn and look forward to seeing him on their farm visits. Finn spends his mornings rounding the farm, checking on the livestock and patrolling his home turf. In the afternoon, he likes to relax and cat nap on a bale of straw. He’s always eager to accept a pat of thanks from the public for a job well done.
With Pumpkin Patch, Halloween Nights and Holiday Affaire programs coming up, the fall and winter months are a great time to stop by the farm. And, while you’re here, keep an eye out for our fiesty feline friend, Finnigan, the barn cat!
Carolyn Denton, Inreach Teacher, Parky’s Farm
Last year, Parky’s Farm acquired two Welsh Harlequin ducks: a drake (male) and a hen (female). The Welsh Harlequin is a domestic breed that was developed in Wales in 1949 and is different from the Harlequin sea duck, which is a wild animal.
After making friends with the resident Peking duck, both ducks were very content swimming in the baby pool and hanging out with the chickens. One day, they discovered they could go under fences and out into the wetland, which is full of baby insects and water-plant growth that they love to eat! Here, you can see just make out their rear ends, which they put up in the air and out of the water in a behavior called “dabbling.”
When unable to get to the wetland, they like to hang out with their new turkey friends.
Next time you’re at Parky’s Farm, be sure to stop and tell them “hi!”
Ellen Meehan, InReach Teacher, Parky’s Farm
Working on Parky’s Farm in November, you’d probably think I’d write all about turkeys! However, the month of November doesn’t mean turkey time for the staff at Parky’s Farm. Instead, it’s all about a mysterious creature called a PFamboozle.
This creature has been leaving all sorts of evidence around the farm: footprints, scat and piles of sticks, which Parky’s Farm experts believe that the PFamboozle is using to communicate. There are only a few eye-witness accounts of this creature dating as far back as October of last year. The staff at Parky’s Farm is so stumped as to what this creature is that they have requested help from third graders in Hamilton County. All month, third graders will spend the day at Parky’s Farm attending three different training sessions – honing their skills in classification, adaptations and soil composition in hopes to hunt and catch the PFamboozle during a hike in the woods.
To this day, the PFamboozle has found a way to sneak out of every trick laid to trap it Anyone can try their luck at hunting and catching this mysterious creature by attending the training sessions held on Monday, November 11, from 9:30–11:30 a.m. or 12:30–2:30 p.m. Lots of people are looking or the PFamboozle, so online pre-registration by November 7 is required to participate.
Meanwhile, keep an eye open… the PFamboozle is among us!
Sara Schneider, Teacher, Parky’s Farm