Pig Tales

Our language reflects a time when we lived close to the land. Agricultural terms are pervasive in our language. Since I live in Cincinnati, lovingly known at one time as “Porkopolis,” it seems appropriate to consider words and idioms (a word with a figurative meaning) that come from the pig!

February is filled with holidays. On Valentine’s Day, my husband and I earmarked the calendar for a night out. We discussed where to eat without going hog wild. My date was pigheaded and wanted to eat at an expensive restaurant. I thought to myself, “that will happen when pigs fly.” But to my surprise, he went whole hog and we dined high on the hog and pigged out. We were in hog heaven!

At dinner we reminisced about our childhood, and our dads giving piggyback rides and hogging the TV to watch their football games (during which they really napped, and were given away by calling the hogs). The football games led to a discussion of deflated pigskins, which I thought was all hogwash, since they’re made of cow hide.

After such an extravagant evening, it was back to bringing home the bacon and putting pennies in our piggy bank. With the February holidays are over, we look forward to visiting the pigs at Parky’s Farm to celebrate National Pig Day on March 1.

Did you know the meaning of each bolded pig word or idiom above? Use the pig in a poke mini-guide below to see if you were correct…


•    Earmark – A method of identifying something (to identify a pig, the ears are notched)
•    Hog wild – Out of control
•    Pigheaded – Stubborn
•    When pigs fly –Something that is unlikely to happen
•    Whole hog – Go all out
•    High on the hog – Live well and eat good food
•    Pig out – Eat too much
•    Hog heaven – Very happy
•    Piggyback – Being carried on someone’s back or shoulders
•    Hog – Not share
•    Calling the hogs – Snoring
•    Pigskin – Football (pioneers used the bladder of a pig to make balls or balloon)
•    Hogwash – An untruthful statement
•    Bringing home the bacon – Earnings, enough to support the family
•    Piggybank – A pig-shaped container a pig with a slot on the top where money can be saved
•    Pig in a poke – Doing something without inspecting it first (literally, the piglet was in a bag and could not been seen before purchasing it)

Randi Greathouse, Manager, Parky’s Farm

Lift Up Your Voice & Sing!

Some of my favorite memories of outdoor adventures are remembered through songs learned at different events. Every time I think of “Tough as a pine knot, tall as a Hemlock, we’re the gang from… Miami!” I think back to my summer camp experience in 1973.

Have you ever heard the song that goes, “I love to go a wandering along the mountain track?” It’s called “The Happy Wanderer” and it’s a great song.

I used to know all kinds of camp songs when I was working in Great Parks’ outdoor education department in 1986 and 1987. That number has dwindled now to only a couple of songs. There’s the “Beaver” song and “Froggy.” They’re simple little tunes that I still pull out during teachable moments. The memory of the frog sitting under the black willow may fade, but the catchy little tune may stay in your memory for a lifetime.  It may bring you back to a simpler time, when the only challenge was being outside and getting a glimpse of a bullfrog.

I began this year’s Luminary Hike at Glenwood Gardens by singing a rousing rendition of “Way Down Yonder in the Pawpaw Patch” with verses including “Where, oh, where, is dear little Daniel?” and “Where, oh, where, is sweet little Nelly?”

You don’t have to be a potential candidate for “The Voice.”  It’s not a talent show. Songs are another way of celebrating the great outdoors, so try lifting up your voice and singing!

Eric King, InReach Teacher, Parky’s Farm

The Benefits of a Barn Cat

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