Celebrate fall in the country at Pigeon Roost Farm

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Several years ago when my youngest grandson, Evan, was 3 years old, I took him to Pigeon Roost Farm in Kirkersville. Michael, his older brother, had been there on two previous occasions and was excited about Evan seeing it for the first time.

The lively conversation between the two car seats ended when Michael shouted, "There it is!" He had spotted the pumpkin flagpole, a Christmas tree-shaped tower of pumpkins with an American flag as its star.

Owners Janice and Ralph Jutte greeted us. I introduced Evan to them and as we talked a bit, a large turkey--its feathers in full display mode--strolled up to Evan. He immediately darted behind me and asked me to make it go away. I explained that all the animals at Pigeon Roost are friendly and love to meet new friends. Evan wasn't buying it.

It took awhile for Evan to become comfortable with the goats nuzzling him and the chickens pecking around his feet, but at last he settled down. It was a good thing, because the farm's resident pigeon suddenly landed on his shoulder. I started to shoo it away, but Evan was laughing so I quickly took his picture. It's one of my favorite photos.

When I visited Ralph and Janice a few weeks ago, they remembered Evan and the pigeon and we had a good laugh about it. Preparations for the biggest pumpkin festival in the farm's history were well under way. Ralph took me on a bouncy truck ride to show me all the new additions. An Enchanted Forest has trails through the woods leading to a tree house. It reminded me of Bridge to Terabithia, one of my favorite Disney movies. There was even a big green caterpillar made out of tractor tires.

The Great Pumpkin Fun Center is a wonderful place to enjoy a little family time as you visit the animals, look through the sales barn, taste some of the great October treats and try your luck at the corn maze, which this year is shaped like a traditional English trimmed hedge maze. There are many slides, tunnels, swings, a giant corn "sand" box and a wooden train.

Be sure to visit the Bath House where the Juttes' daughter has fragrant, hand-made soaps. Arts and crafts are everywhere. On weekends craftspeople are hard at work demonstrating their skills.

New this year is Fort Spence, a hay wagon with a slide, an airplane seesaw, a tepee with a cornstalk tunnel, a twisty snake seesaw and a gigantic Paul Bunyan chair. Also new is a pick-your-own pumpkin patch where hundreds of pumpkins, squashes and gourds are yours for the choosing.

Weekends are special at Pigeon Roost Farm. There are tractor-drawn wagon rides and kids can ride on Sadie, the farm's miniature donkey. A big attraction is the Mitchell family's camels. Get up close and personal with a camel, and even take a ride. It's an experience you won't forget.

Rabbits and turkeys and all kinds of animals are on hand, plus lots of geese and ducks on the pond. More than 100 animals are on the farm, and you'll be on a first-name basis with all of them before the day is done.

So take the Juttes' and my advice: celebrate fall in the country.

Mildred Moss has been in journalism for 19 years. A mother and grandmother, Mildred has been writing for Columbus Parent Magazine for two years and is the publication's travel writer.

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