Wednesday Outing: Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park

by Heligirl on August 4, 2010

in Daily Ramblings,Parenting Tidbits,Positive Discipline

It’s been three weeks since my commitment to do something special with the kids once a week before Labor Day. On July, 20, I researched and wrote a list of the things I really wanted to do. Today we checked yet another one off the list.

This morning, as rush hour was coming to an end, we piled into the car with hats, suntan lotion, camera and snacks in preparation for Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park.

photo

Looking up from the trail.

This park, located near the main campus of Microsoft in Redmond, Wash., has a unique history. The property was homesteaded in 1890 by the Charles W. Hutcheson family, who journeyed from Tennessee to Seattle, then to Redmond. At the turn of the century, the land was host to the Peterson Sawmill, one of the largest in the area. Millstones and notched stumps remain as evidence of the site’s logging history. During the 1930’s, the McWhirter family of Seattle purchased the property for use as a summer home. Mrs. McWhirter was an avid horsewoman who raised and trained her horses here.

In 1971, Elise Farrel-McWhirter gave the City of Redmond the 68-acre parcel of land for a park in her will.

Today the park includes a children’s animal farm, a horse arena with trailer parking, covered picnic shelters with electricity and running water, multi-use trails connecting to the Puget Power/City of Redmond Trail, orienteering course, and tire swings.

Sweetness tells Mr. Man about the goats.

We arrived around 9:30 a.m. The place was already bustling with young kids enjoying day camp. Sweetness immediately saw the barns across the field from the parking lot and lead me straight to the animals. We saw goats, chickens, rabbits, ponies, sheep, rosters, turkeys, a pig and a cow. We had to circle the main barn and outside enclosures twice as Sweetness chattered away to both me and her brother. Mr. Man was in the stroller so he could be down at her level. She took full advantage, holding onto the stroller and pointing everything out to him.

“Look Baby Brother look! That’s a sheep. Sheep say “˜baaaaa-aaaa.'”

It wasn’t long before Mr. Man was showing off his new skill, pointing. Sweetness didn’t waste a beat. She guessed what he was pointing at and went about telling him what it was. He could have been pointing to the trees for all I know, but he learned about the pig.

True to the history of the farm, it was surrounded by old forest, untouched since at least the late 60s.

Hiking along the trails.

There was a paved trail, a gravel trail and several trails with well worn soft bark. Mr. Man’s Jeep stroller did just fine on the latter so we went for a nature hike. The forest was old and healthy, with huge, thick trees. It was alive with life and muffled the sounds of the farm almost immediately.

We walked for quite a while. I felt so relaxed just listening to Sweetness chatter and ask “what’s that?” and “what’s that sound.” Mr. Man seemed to enjoy what he saw as he chattered back at her and pointed a lot.

It was in the low 70s, which made a forest walk very comfortable.

After taking a nice loop trail that went over several small wooden bridges (Sweetness’ favorite) and a creek, we ended up down the property a bit and back in the meadow.

Enjoying a forest picnic.

We pulled up to a picnic table shaded by the edge of the forest and had our snack. While we sat there and enjoyed the surroundings, five horses sporting little girls from the pony day camp went by. Sweetness asked the question for the first time in what I know will be millions, “can I ride the horse?”

I’m not sure if she understood the part of my answer that included making lots of money and daddy selling his car.

After we ate Sweetness decided the tire swing needed to be tested in the worst way.

Test driving the tire swing.

We played there for a bit before following the paved trail the horses took back to the barn.

Sweetness stands up to the turkey, so to speak.

There we proceeded to circle the barn again and see all the animals. The male turkey was actually free range, and he was in the barn this time around. He saw Sweetness coming and stood tall. The ugly thing was as tall as her! I had to laugh. She wasn’t threatened, but she was respectful. She didn’t back away. She looked it in the eye and said, “hi turkey. Gobble gobble.” He must have decided she was cool, because he just wondered on by her and she let him.

As lunch time, and Mr. Man’s nap time, approached we headed back to the car to head home.

I absolutely loved this park and will be back again and again. It’s completely free to visit. There is so much outdoor activity to do – take hikes, learn about the animals, play in the open fields, ride bikes on the paved trails, picnic, swing on the swings or just relax and enjoy the tall trees surrounding you, or closer to the farm area, the sounds and smells of the farm. An added stress relief was the fact that I had no cell coverage there. Total uninterrupted kid time.

This connection time and the memories we made are so very, very valuable. A very big piece of positive discipline, in fact I’d go as far as to call it a foundation, is building and maintaining connections with your kids by having this regular time together. Picking a place to go that you’ll all enjoy, taking your children’s leads on what to do when you get there, and just taking your time without interruption goes a long way in helping prevent misbehavior.

{ 25 comments }

Gina August 4, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Looks like a fun day! Great pics.
Gina recently posted: Oh Shea Can You See

Heligirl
Twitter: Heligirl
August 5, 2010 at 11:54 am

Thanks so much. I wish my photos looked better on the blog. I’m working on that. These were nice high res photos. I remembered by real camera this time!

Monkey's Mama August 4, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Looks like fun 🙂

I just found your blog from The Life of Rylie..and Bryce, too! 🙂

I’m your newest follower!

please stop by some time at:
the-chunkymonkey.blogspot.com

Heligirl
Twitter: Heligirl
August 5, 2010 at 11:55 am

Thanks for stopping by! I’ll check yours out right now.
Heligirl recently posted: Wednesday Outing- Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park

Carol Ann August 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm

What a memory and what beauty! I’d kill to see some trees that green, and temps in the 70’s – I’m envious!

Building relationships with our kids and creating fabulous memories is what it’s all about!

Heligirl
Twitter: Heligirl
August 5, 2010 at 11:56 am

It really was a gorgeous park. You’d love it. I can’t wait to go back.
Heligirl recently posted: Wednesday Outing- Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park

SharleneT
Twitter: solarchief
August 4, 2010 at 9:34 pm

What a fun day! Love the sun hats… I’m sure you had two very tired young’uns at the end of the day… mommy probably needed a rest, too… when you get a break, come visit

Twitter: SolarChief
SharleneT recently posted: No Impure Thoughts Keep My Prize Fairy Working Overtime!

Heligirl
Twitter: Heligirl
August 5, 2010 at 11:57 am

You know, everyone we passed commented on Sweetness’ sun hat. She has such fair skin and she picked that hat out all by herself.

Little known fact, the outfit she is wearing was mine when I was 2. 🙂

Alexandra August 5, 2010 at 12:01 am

I admire how you’ve committed to them. Just awesome.
Alexandra recently posted: Evil Clouds

Heligirl
Twitter: Heligirl
August 5, 2010 at 11:58 am

Thanks. I’m so glad I wrote that list, because I’m having so much fun doing these things. I think I’ve come up with a new habit!

Kristen Truong August 5, 2010 at 10:32 am

Looks like a wonderful, beautiful day spent with the kids. I always feel so good after a day like that. 🙂
Kristen Truong recently posted: Teletitis

Heligirl
Twitter: Heligirl
August 5, 2010 at 11:58 am

I did. Even though we walked all over the place, I returned feeling more energized.

Alana Morales, Author Domestically Challenged August 5, 2010 at 11:57 am

Looks like it was a GREAT day!

And what a commitment to make – more parents need to do this. I saw that you mentioned this earlier, but I like the pics. They look really nice – I especially like the border and the caption.

This is from a different post, but thanks for sending the update on the little girl. Glad to hear she is recovering nicely. 🙂

Heligirl
Twitter: Heligirl
August 5, 2010 at 11:59 am

Thanks. The border and caption came with the original theme. I’m changing themes here soon. Do you think I should keep that element?

Alana Morales August 5, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Well, I like it because it makes the pics stand out more. It’s different – I don’t know that I’ve seen another blog that has the pics like that. I noticed them right away.

Heligirl
Twitter: Heligirl
August 5, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Thanks. I’ve sent a request to Mr. Webdude and asked that he assure the code for my photos stays the same. 🙂

Kris August 5, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Very cool..how have I never heard of that?
Kris recently posted: weekend fun august 6-8

Heligirl
Twitter: Heligirl
August 5, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Oh Kris, it was so freaking cool. Your little dude would just love it.

Melissa (Confessions of a Dr.Mom) August 5, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Sounds like you had a wonderful day! I really love those types of days…just with the children, no interruptions and they love it so much. You’ve inspired me do make sure we do this at least once a week…definitely positive discipline:)
Melissa (Confessions of a Dr.Mom) recently posted: How to Recognize Common Newborn Skin Conditions

Heligirl
Twitter: Heligirl
August 5, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I’m so glad I had to do a list post for the #31DBBB. That’s what got me started and it has really made our summer! I recommend it to anyone and everyone.

Kerri August 5, 2010 at 2:55 pm

What a commendable commitment you’ve made. Not to mention what an amazing time you all had–the turkey encounter was pretty awesome : )

K
NewParent.com

Heligirl
Twitter: Heligirl
August 5, 2010 at 4:49 pm

That part was really funny actually. She wasn’t really sure what to say or do with this bird bigger than her.

Kerri August 6, 2010 at 6:39 pm

Lol i’m not going to lie there is no way I would have been so brave : )

Ronnica August 5, 2010 at 4:32 pm

I think that’s great that you are doing weekly field trips. My mom did that with my brother and I growing up during the summer, and I have some very sweet memories of it!
Ronnica recently posted: Blind Spot

Heligirl
Twitter: Heligirl
August 5, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Really? Thanks so much for sharing that. I think a part of why I do this is my parents didn’t really do all that much with us. We’d camp one weekend a year. Not even much in the way of family trips other than to see grandparents. I want my children’s childhood memories to be so full of fun things we did together that they can’t list it all if they tried. 🙂

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