Petting farm lends a hand at 4-H fair


August 05, 1996|By Lois Szymanski | Lois Szymanski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE CHILD, A VISITOR to the Carroll County 4-H and FFA Fair, backed away from the black-and-white calf, eyes wide. Beth Stambaugh knelt in the sawdust bedding beside the calf. Gently, she took his head in her hands.

"The calf won't bite you. See, it can't," she said, lifting the calf's upper lip to expose gums. "Cows don't have top teeth in the


At last week's Carroll County 4-H and FFA Fair, held at the Agricultural Center in Westminster, one of the biggest attractions was the petting farm. As the blue-and-white circus-style tent flapped in the breeze, scores of people, young and old, trooped inside to see the farm animals. The petting farm nTC offered more than entertainment. It offered an education.

"Kids learn that cows, sheep, llamas and goats don't have top front teeth," said Stambaugh, owner of Hodgepodge Petting Farm. "They get to feel the tiny horns beginning to grow on the calf, and sink their hands into the sheep's fleece coat."

Hodgepodge Petting Farm is run by Stambaugh with the help of her family, including husband, Jerry Stambaugh, and children, Toni, 12, and Ian, 8.

She and her family donate the animals and their time to the Carroll County 4-H and FFA Fair each year. They also set up the petting farm at other events.

Hodgepodge includes two sheep, a calf, two llamas, ducklings, two geese, a chicken, two goats, a horse, a donkey, an Angora rabbit, a Vietnamese potbellied pig and two pygmy goats.

During the 4-H Fair, volunteers and 4-H members feed animals, clean pens, introduce the animals to the public and take them for walks.

R. D. Bowman of Westminster donates the bedding, Westminster resident Robert Smith donates the hay for fair week, and Roland Backhaus, an instructor at Carroll County Career and Technology Center, donates the floral displays.

Each animal has a wooden plaque engraved with its breed.

"My neighbor Andy Hackensmith made those for me," Stambaugh said.

Stambaugh teaches riding on the family's Lightening Bolt Farm, a boarding, training and riding facility outside Westminster.

Stambaugh said her daughter, Toni, goes everywhere the "traveling farm" goes.

"My family said, 'You're finally getting out of the barn,' " she said with a smile. "But I'm really taking the barn with me."

Scouts earn badges

Members of Boy Scout Troop 381 in Westminster have had a busy summer attending camps, taking trips and earning awards.

Five Scouts attended the U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., to earn their space exploration merit badges. They are Ted Bubert, Ben McCauley, Christopher Silfee, Charles Simpson and Jason Peschau.

Twelve Scouts visited Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, then flew to Colorado Springs for a tour of the Rockies.

Scouts who took the trip are: Brennan Bouma, Jeff Brewer, David Corun, Matthew Dudderar, Sean Dukehart, Matt Joiner, Doug Little, Nick Reedy, Ronald Sebeck, Steven Smith, John Snellinger and Chuck Snipes.

Eighteen Scouts earned canoeing and emergency preparedness merit badges while on a 50-mile canoeing trip in northern New York state. They are: Wes Adams, Tommy Barry, Brennan Bouma, Gavin Bouma, Jeff Brewer, Mark Brewer, Jack Bryan, Kyle Burger, Paul Corbitt, Pat Doughtery, Greg Halstead, Dan Homiak, Anthony Reedy, Steve Robey, Andrew Rogers, Chris Saxton, Adam Tenney and David Unglesbee.

Lois Szymanski's Central Carroll neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 8/05/96

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