Monday, August 4, 2008

Frying Pan Farm Park

There were so many good reasons to go out this weekend. The weather was wonderful and it was time to celebrate the First Harvest. Many of our friends gathered to celebrate Lammas (Wikipedia & Cyber Witch), the first harvest. I decided the most appropriate way of having a 2 and 4 year-olds to connect to their agricultural roots and the seasons was to take them to a farm. Now you may wonder where I was going to find a working farm in a county of over a million people. That part was easy thanks to some forward thinking farmers who donated their land to the county to be maintained as a working farm and a park.

Frying Pan Farm Park is now a part of the Fairfax County Park Authority. This beautiful park is in the western part of the county (far side from Washington DC).The property has a working farm which portrays a typical area farm of the 1920’s through the 1950’s. Prior to the development boom since, Fairfax County was the largest dairy farming county in the state of Virginia.

The plan was to visit the park and walk around to see the fields, animals and take a ride on the wagon. Well to our surprise there was an annual 4-H fair and an antique car show. There was so much going on we didn’t even get near the antique cars. We did check out the animals that normally live on the farm but we also saw lots of horses, rabbits, sheep, goats and cows who were visiting and being shown by their 4-H owners. The kids politely asked each owner if they could pet their animals. They were a bit intimidated by the horses but the bunnies were the perfect petting size. The kids weren’t interested in all of the flower arrangements or science projects but the honey bees were fascinating. The kids were fearless watching honey bees in their glass display case.

The park’s playground was a big hit. So were the pens of animals especially the ones with babies. Pigs are okay but piglets are so cute. We went on a wagon ride pas some of the animal pens and around the feed fields. The farm had just harvested the barley and rye but still had small crops of other things typically grown in Virginia. The feed corn field was doing well and would help feed the animals through the winter. Selena fell in love with the early century dresses the women were wearing. The men’s uniforms didn’t do much for William.

I believe both kids would agree one of the highlights was getting to milk a pretend cow. The park has set up a life-size ply-wood cow with a contraption to simulate milking a cow. They both want to go back and milk a real one. Actually the both just want to go back. So we’ll have to find a day we can go back in time to let them milk a real cow… Yes, they will let suburbanites milk a real cow under supervision.

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