All posts by Laura Pajari

About Laura Pajari

The fun, younger sister.

All Tucked In For Winter

We are often asked where the animals from the petting zoo GO in the winter?!?!?

The zoo area is not very hospitable in the winter, so it is a fair enough question.

winter-zoo

The large animals – Molly, Lilly, the llama girls, horse, ponies and donkeys are turned into the large wooded pasture that you see when you come up the driveway. There are three loafing sheds in the trees to protect them from the cold winds, wet and snow.

herd, pony, llama, sheep, cow, cattle, angus, highland cattle

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(Here are a couple pics of the "door shed" Jill and Lois created. 

Approximately 12 x 20 and cost less than $200!)

The small animal herd is in a separate smaller pen sharing a shelter.

The old barn has been converted to the poultry / bunny barn.

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poultry winter-7Chicken Coop

poultry winter-1Guinea Coop
flemish giant, rabbit, bunny, clara, walter,

Clara tucked in for the long, cold, dark season.

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George and Ruby have a brand new fully insulated house.

Winter 2015/2016 a straw house……..winter 2016/2017 a wood house…… winter 2017/2018 brick????

Just because we close to the public doesn’t mean the work stops.  The animals still need food, water and boy are they attention hogs after working in the zoo all summer!

 

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Pepper and Ivy

So…..on July 4, Lois posted a video to the farm’s Facebook page of Pepper the baby goat and Ivy, a friend’s new Corgi puppy.

We all watched in disbelief as it went “viral”!!  Click here for the Wikipedia page about what constitutes a viral video.

At this time, it has “reached”  over 180,000 people!! It’s been shared over 1200 times!! Thank you to all who participated in this madness. It seems to have spread some much-needed joy around the interwebs. Keep it up!

Facebook Link Pepper and Ivy

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If you think that’s awesome, check out the one Jill got of my Grandspawn and Pepper. Funny stuff. Here’s a link to the FB videos page for CCC. 

Better yet, subscribe to the CCC YouTube channel. 

Best option of all…come visit!!

  • Make your own amazing memories and take your own photos and videos of the shenanigans down on the farm.
  • Kiss a llama.
  • Keep the goat from eating the hydrangea.
  • Tell Lois you googled “Queen of Poo” and saw her picture.
  • Pack a picnic or grab Subway and meet a friend under the lean-to for lunch.
  • Snuggle Gladys, the Wonder Chicken or a baby bunny.
  • Remind Laura she will always be Employee of the Month.
  • Shop in the Farm Store–upcycled items, antiques, art, jewelry and more goodies to remember your visit by.

You don’t have to have kids to visit. Just get your butt here before you waste the whole summer. Day Pass admission is only $6, and a Season Pass ($25) is a great value.The farm is open to the public three days a week (Thursday, Friday, Saturday in the summer), but can also be rented for field trips, birthday parties, reunions, weddings, proms, etc.

A season pass is also a great way to help support the farm. That $25 can buy a bag of pig chow or llama lunch for this winter. Remember the motto at the Dollar Barn? “We don’t do this to make money; we do this to make friends”? Our new motto is, “We don’t do this to make money; we make money so we can do this.”

What exactly is “this”? Glad you asked.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to help society reconnect with each other, animals and the land itself.

Vision Statement

Our greater vision is for every person to have something of nature to connect with – be it animal, plant or even the stars.  I want to save our country and our world.  I want every person to do better.  Consume less, discard less, purchase more wisely, grow something.

 

Now, LET’S UNPLUG AND GO OUTSIDE!!!!

 

Guest Book 2014

Wow, what a great weekend!! The farm was open to the public Thursday through Monday, and we had booths at the Cook Area Farmers’ Market and Orr’s Third of July.

This evening I paged through the guest book, thinking I’d start sharing the entries in a blog post.

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Guest book inside 1

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I was hesitant to title the guest book “Volume One”, but maybe you all will fill this one and we’ll need to order another. 😀 We can hope!!

Thank you to everyone who has visited the farm so far!

 

 

 

 

 

Spring 2016 Update

Hi!! We prayed and hoped and dreamed that we would be busy at the farm this summer; busy enough to feed and shelter all these lovely beasts and ourselves through another Minnesota winter. I’m no accountant, but it looks like we are on our way!

herd, pony, llama, sheep, cow, cattle, angus, highland cattle

We’ve now hosted several field trips from Cook, Little Fork, International Falls, Hibbing, Nett Lake, Tower, Bois Forte, schools and organizations. THIS is why the farm has been opened up to the public–we believe it is important that children know where their food comes from. We also think all people should know their farmer and where at least SOME their food comes from. When was the last time you ate an entire meal that was grown or produced within 50 miles from your home? That is pretty tricky in this part of the world!

field trip class

 

Farmers’ Markets are a great resource for local food, by the way. We are excited to be a part of the Cook Farmers’ Market. Laura also participates in several craft shows and expos during the winter to spread the word about the Cook’s Country Connection and the Farm Store, where we sell our own handmade items and consign those of other local artisans. This coming Saturday is the first Market Day of the year. See you in the park downtown Cook (by the gazebo). Hopefully, we will have time to sell at other local Markets this summer, too.

travelling farm store

Did you hear that the Junior Prom was here this year?? There are a million great photos on Facebook, and we have TWO weddings booked for the summer.

prom

Click here to see the Prom Album.

Most Thursdays, Mike Hanson will have his team of Haflingers giving wagon rides around the property. He charges $3/person and it is worth it!

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There are lots of new babies to meet this year including bunnies, a baby goat (nickname Totes), and baby birds.

white bunny

Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. SEE YOU AT THE FARM!! Now, let’s unplug and go outside! It’s supposed to be a gorgeous weekend, but this rain has made the zoo area wet. We have lots of extra muddy boots to lend  if you forget.

boots.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Pinterest Pumpkins

We (Laura) created a Pinterest profile for the farm! Here are a few of the pumpkins I’ve made with our surplus pumpkins. Did I mention that we’re having a “Sick Of Pumpkins Sale”? HALF OFF!! That means small pumpkins are now $1.50, medium $2.50, and large are $4. You can’t afford to NOT try a few new techniques.

First, I headed down to the local True Value and picked up some chalkboard black and chrome, both of which come in SPRAYpaint! I argued with Joe about the value of Pinterest, but don’t think he was having any of it lol.

Then I practiced on some fake pumpkins I picked up last year on clearance. I had a bunch of leftover black and orange lace from the Dollar Barn 😦 , but no flat tacks or common pins. I ran to Zup’s grocery and one of their awesome staff pointed me to the tacks and pins. (Cleaning aisle, not office supplies. FYI) They were gold and multicolored, so I just used some of my new spray paint to get them the right colors.

Nailed It 2015 (2 of 5) Nailed it Pumpkins (2 of 18) Nailed it Pumpkins (5 of 18) Nailed it Pumpkins (6 of 18) Nailed it Pumpkins (9 of 18) Nailed it Pumpkins (16 of 18)

 

Nailed It 2015 (4 of 5)

We went to The Big Town (Duluth) and checked Hobby Lobby, where I scored a blingy sticker kit for 40% off. I was so happy that the littlest gems were strips instead of individuals.

Nailed it Pumpkins (18 of 18)

Even the fairy garden got some baby pumpkins. Hope you liked the post and got a few ideas. More importantly, COME BUY SOME PUMPKINS! PLEASE!

So far the cows, pigs, and chickens still eating them, but they will be getting sick of them any day. Check out the Facebook page or YouTube for cute videos of that.

Loveyabye!

KD Images

Who knew Kathy Duame of Cook was such a talented artist?? We didn’t, until she sent us a lovely card with a hand-painted black Angus cow on it. Lois just had to give her a call about selling said cards in the Farm Store. Kathy had several of the originals scanned and printed on postcards, which sell for $2 at the Farm Store at Cook’s Country Connections. The plan is to make them into greeting cards, too. Someday! Also, the originals are for sale, too, for just $7.95 each.

Here’s a sampling:

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What IS Rhubarb, Anyway? (Fruit,Vegetable, or Noxious Weed?)

When our new friend Denyel asked what rhubarb was, we had a hard time answering coherently. That’s a good question, we thought.  Having grown up here, we take rhubarb for granted. Every homestead has a couple of them in the front yard.

“Huge leaves,” I said, holding my arms wide. “Lois uses them to make birdbaths out of cement.”

She still looked lost.

“The stalks are bright red and look like celery…”Lois tried. “And it’s really sour.”

“But don’t eat the leaves!! Or feed them to your animals! They are poisonous!”, I added.

“They’re impossible to kill,” Lois offered. “Can’t kill that stuff with gasoline and hand-grenades. A lot like lilacs! ”

She wasn’t any more convinced. “Just try it!, ” we implored.

I whipped out my “Joy of Rhubarb” Cookbook (yes, it is a real cookbook) after our visit, and learned that it is, indeed a vegetable. (Though a NY court decided in 1947 that it was treated as a fruit, and therefore tariffed as one.)

Wikipedia also adds that it can be used as a laxative. Too bad we didn’t have that info for Denyel, though it probably wouldn’t have helped.

rhubarb 001 rhubarb 003 walking tour 2 023My sister’s rhubarb kicks butt!!

Even when I don’t have the time or energy to bake (or it’s too hot to light the oven), I freeze rhubarb that is chopped into 1/2 inch pieces, two or three cups per bag. Then they are ready to go if I want to bake in the  fall or winter. This year I experimented with Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream Topping and jam, which was a hit at the farm store and Farmers’ Market.

Do you have a favorite rhubarb recipe that you would be willing to share? Paul doesn’t. He says it’s a secret family recipe from his Great great great Grandma, but I call BS; he got it at the Rhubarb Festival /CHUM Bake Sale.

Yes. There is a real, Annual Rhubarb Festival to our south in Duluth, MN. Denyel probably won’t be attending.

 

 

 

 

Why Aren’t You Open 7 Days a Week?

 

1.) Because the animals need a break! Have you seen animals at a traditional zoo; pacing, depressed, anxious?  We didn’t open our family farm to the public to exploit animals for money; we make money so we can continue to feed all those mouths through the winter!  And hopefully along the way, we will educate people of all ages and help them to be better stewards of this planet we call home. We want to teach people to treat animals and the earth better, by being a good example.

2.) We need several days a week to maintain the 119 acres that aren’t open to the public. The four days a week that CCC is closed are the days that Lois and Jill do the actual farming. Things like infrastructure (fencing, clearing land, refilling the tire tower with sand, etc.), as well as maintenance are done on these days.

3.) It’s also important to us to have the time to connect with our OWN families and friends as well as enjoy our individual hobbies. Having the store was really draining and stressful; we want to do better this time with balancing work and home lives.

4.) Finally, the days we aren’t open to the public are the days we schedule special events, like birthday parties, family reunions, field trips, etc. We try to do this in such a way that the animals are in their exhibit pens as little as possible.

Occasionally, visitors can’t make it to the farm on the days we are open to the public; we can be flexible. Private tours are available; call for more info.

Trail Cam Fun

When Mr. Wonderful got me my first trail cam for my birthday, I was ecstatic! As the baby of the family, I’m always scared I’m going to miss something, and since shooting my first deer a few years ago, I am hooked on hunting. It was perfect.

One of the first things I learned about shooting with trail cams is that it requires patience, my least-favorite virtue.  In order to get any good shots of wildlife, you have to set them and then leave them alone. For days, sometimes! However, with the whole Stupid Rheumatoid Arthritis thing, sitting in the woods waiting for things to wander by isn’t an option.

Another thing it requires is stubbornness, aka sisu.  Why? Because 90% of the trail cam photos I get are crap. Even with the infrared sensor that is supposed to only trigger the shutter if something with a pulse comes by , I get lots of duds.

Be prepared for three hundred photos like this:

Easter Squirrel-2

and this:

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to get some like this.

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Here’s the rest of that story: Easterpalooza

I am SO sick of this view of the pit. I had a camera set up for a week and got nothing.

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Trail cams are a good way to catch thieves, also. We put one on the guinea nest and guess what we found?

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An egg-sucking dog. Literally. GUS!!

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Look at that fuzzy butt!

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And he totally annihilates any possible defense of  “plausible deniability” with this uber-guilty shot of him licking his lips.

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Turd!

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My sister had this hidey-hole on her property that she’d always wondered about.

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Now we know a snowshoe hare lives there. Toews knew it was a bunny, but he can’t speak Human very well.

Jill and Spawn-12

I get lots of shots of my nutjob neighbor/sister and her friend Jill and her spawn. Usually I remember to tell them where the cameras are so I don’t get any embarrassing pics of them peeing in woods. My brother-in-law threatened to moon the cameras once. I told him, “Go ahead; you have a Facebook page now.” 😀

Then there was this post, called Another Mysterious Burrow.

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It still drives me buggy that I can’t tell what this is.

Woodchuck-4

 

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Sometimes the game of finding the cameras.

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This is about the only way I can get a pic of Paul. He has this aversion to being photographed.

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Youngest Spawn does not.

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I hate having my picture taken. Even by the trail cams.

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I sifted through thousands of picture of this sapling before I had one of a half-shed deer.

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We were so excited to get this shot!

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Do you have trail cams? Any favorite shots to share? Any tips to save money, time, or steps?? Come on, share with the class!

 

 

Farming after the Fire

Thanks, Jared and Caitlyn for doing such an awesome job telling our story!

He Sowed She Sewed

The Pajari Sisters Press On after Last Summer’s Tragedy

(Originally Published in the Cook News Herald; Sep. 17, 2014)

By Jared and Caitlyn

The question was never if the Pajari Sisters would continue to grace the Cook area with their friendly laughter and quirky entrepreneurship after the loss of the Cook Dollar Barn, but when. And now we know the answer. With roughly fifteen months behind us since the tragic loss of a historic Cook building containing two businesses and eight apartments, Lois and Laura Pajari are back at it – this time with a real barn and plenty of other animals alongside their two beloved Corgis.

The farm that hosts one of Cook’s newest businesses – Cook’s Country Connection – is actually one of the oldest places in the area. And even though they officially opened on August 28, 2014, the Pajari sisters’ family has been working that…

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