This past Wednesday, we ThorpeWoodians took over Staley Park with our army of horses and flock of chickens. This southern migration to Frederick was made for Head Start’s End of Year Celebration picnic. To supplement the picnic food in the pavilion and the music playing over the speakers, our animals star as main entertainers for this event. Normally, we bring the horses for pony rides and the goats for petting, but this year our three month old therapy chickens made their debut in lieu of the goats.
During our rides, I often quiz our Head Start ‘friends’ about their memories of the farm. So often we wonder what they remember after they board the bus at the end of the day. So, the questioning begins “What do you remember about the farm?” “What kinds of animals live there?” “What was your favorite thing we did there?” Some kids have wonderful memories, like exploring in the woods, riding the horses, and the chickens free ranging around them. Others have trouble remembering much and can only remember that the horses live there. “But what kind of other animals live there?…Do we have porcupines (no)…alligators (no)…Octupi (no)…goats (YES!)” The conversation continues, equally ridiculous.
Meanwhile, in the shade of the wonderful Oak tree nearby, our four therapy chickens fluffed and pecked until they were picked up and put down on a loop. The visiting humans sometimes wondered if they were in fact chickens (“they don’t look like chickens…”) but mostly loved them in all their white fluffiness. The chickens bore it well, having practiced their socializing skills these last seven weeks of Head Start visits to the farm. They are great conversationalists too, as they cluck and growl and chortle.
By the end of the picnic, the horses and chickens had been repaid in full for their efforts with the endless clover of Staley Park. Each animal spent every spare second, muzzle or beak to the ground, grazing. Our horses and chickens thus celebrated the end of the school year alongside 250 of their favorite humans and their families.