It is not just the primary school children who like to visit. Patterson said high school students visit the farm, too, along with Girl Scouts and families. Families are charged a single fee, but each child, like those on school trips, is charged $5.
Jim Patterson drove the large tractor hauling the hay wagons, and his helper, Jim Demaree, jumped out along the way to open the gates between the starting place and one patch of pumpkins. He makes a practice of growing small pumpkins for small visitors. Nevertheless, some children sought the largest pumpkins in the patch, often requiring an adult's assistance in carrying them back to the wagon.
Patterson said he has been doing this for several years. In the early years, he sold pumpkins to Gateway and Wal-Mart, but that meant he had to pick them and haul them to Harrodsburg. "This way, the kids come and load them for me."
Meanwhile, Patterson's children were guiding the second busload of children and parents through the petting zoo and hay maze.
While the Boyle County school was in session the first full week of October, the three public school systems in Mercer County were out on their fall breaks, making his children available to help. Asked what happens if people get in the maze and can't find their way out, Patterson said his children always get them out. He said he builds the maze differently each year.
The barn near his house and the home of his parents, Carolyn Sue and James Patterson Jr., is the home of the petting zoo. There is a goat, donkey, potbellied pig, lamb, horse, chicken, geese, pheasants, a cat and Holly-Katheryn's baby lamb.
In order to entertain all of those children, Jim Patterson has to carry insurance for the place and has to treat the barn unlike most farm barns are treated. He has to spray a disinfectant, wash it off with a pressure hose and then spray the disinfectant again.
Another nearby structure holds the Pumpkin Store where visitors can buy Halloween decorations including gourds and corn shocks, mums, cushaw and fresh eggs.