Category Archives: Food

Freedom

Okay…okay…okay already!

Didn’t I clearly say NO MORE ANIMALS??  At least not before winter…and how about NOT in the middle of winter!

Since making that proclamation, we have added three large horses and a sheep ….. who is expecting!

Freedom

 

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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!!!!

 

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.

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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.

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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!

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.

 

 

 

 

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:

Easter Squirrel-10

to get some like this.

Easter Squirrel-117

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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Nikki and Zach-38

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.

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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.

train cam-3

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!

 

 

POO!

This was my first official blog post, almost two years ago. Please check it out. It tells all about why you can Google Queen of Poo and Lois shows up. 🙂 Oh, and fun facts about fertilizer are also included. Welcome! Loveyabye

Pajari Girls

Don’t be scared…it’s only fertilizer.

So my sister and I were sitting by the bonfire tonight, talking about all the by-products we use from The Funny Farm (now Cook’s Country Connection), and naturally the talk turned to poo.  Her critters produce a LOT of it. And since we are both avid gardeners, this is a good thing. The trouble is, all poo is not created equal. Thus, I decided to share an overview of the poo we fertilize with, and why. (Please note: NPK is the amount of Nitrogen, Phosporus, and Potassium in fertilizer. Most synthetic fertilizer is 20, 10,5. However, we prefer the organic, homegrown type that comes from all the critters. It takes a bigger volume of fertilizer, but it’s worth it. And free. And we have to something with all that poo!)

  • Horse/Donkey Poo: Little Bit, Itchy, Squirt, Toby and Jack eat a LOT. Horses are less-efficient at digesting than other farm…

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More trouble with chickens….

This farming stuff is tricky business.

I like having my chickens free to do as they choose during the day.  They eat bugs and seeds and they look kinda cute bopping around the farm.

The problem with chickens being loose, is that a few of them have it in their heads to lay their eggs outside of their nest boxes.  This makes every other day a bit like Easter.  We have enlisted the help of local kids to stalk the chickens like little ninjas to find the day’s haul.

Once the nest is located it is best to put a “dummy egg” or two in the nest .  Chickens are dumb, but they aren’t that dumb.  If they go to lay a second egg in a nest and find the first egg gone, they will move on and find another spot to lay….this results in more  ninja neighbor kids stalking chickens…  You can see the problem.  For crying out loud, I have a zoo to build….I can’t keep hunting down dang eggs every day.

Most of the summer we have had a chicken with a cozy nest spot in the corner of the old root cellar nestled in my lilies.

Gus Egg 001

 

Lately though the dummy eggs were coming up missing…what the heck?  Is there a fox stealing the eggs?  Some other predator?

Sissy and her trail cam to the rescue!  Within minutes we had our perpetrator.

Gus Egg 013 Gus Egg 004 Gus Egg 003 Gus Egg 002 Gus Egg 014

That fuzzy little butt looks awfully familiar….GUSGUS!!!!!

Remember what happened to the chicken caught eating eggs….

chicken in the pot

The trouble with chickens…..

For months now we have had a Rhode Island Red chicken eating eggs.  UNACCEPTABLE!  I have chickens so I can eat the eggs.

I promptly Googled how to stop chickens from eating eggs.  One recommendation was to fill an empty egg with mustard.  I did it and it worked….for a while.

Another was to place a golf ball in the nest box. Tried that, too.

We even tried using the trail cam and critter cam to catch the guilty party.

Nada. Nuthin’. Bupkiss. Goose egg (haha).

chicken in the pot

This method will work for longer than “a while”.  Done negotiating with chickens.

Turkeys

How on earth did we end up with turkeys??  I am discovering “that these things just happen.”

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I don’t know anything about turkeys.  I have never had turkeys.  I like turkey on the grill.  I  like roasted turkeys.  I have never in my life met a turkey.

Turns out turkeys are pretty cool.  I really like the noises they make.  Henry makes this  weird sound that is really more vibration than noise.  And “the girls” chatter and coo.

They certainly add to the farm.  And as a matter of fact, we might just try to hatch some baby turkeys.  Why not?

A warm welcome and howdy-do to “Henry and the girls”.