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.
My 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.
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.
The farm has been in our family for 118 years! My name is Lois and I am the Great Granddaughter of Albert and Augusta Peterson, the original homesteaders. My little sister Laura lives next door on a piece of the original property as well. Together we are nearly unstoppable!
For years, my dream has been to find a way to make a living, sharing the farm, and my goofy animals. But we all know how life works, and somehow I always ended up somewhere else, doing something else.
June 17, 2013, I experienced what insurance people (and the therapist) referred to as “a life-altering catastrophic event.” A fire destroyed life as I knew it.
It took a some time to get myself pulled together and create a plan. And plan and plan and plan we did! We officially opened to the public August 28, 2014. So here we are baby sister, best friend and one amazing community in tow, “post disaster”, taking on “The Next Great Adventure”.
Now, if you want to keep up with our daily shenanigans, our Facebook page is the place to go. If you want the “meat and potatoes” of the place stay here. If there is something you can’t find in either location, give me a call!
Our mission is to help society reconnect with each other, animals and the land itself.
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.
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.
I am SO sick of this view of the pit. I had a camera set up for a week and got nothing.
Trail cams are a good way to catch thieves, also. We put one on the guinea nest and guess what we found?
An egg-sucking dog. Literally. GUS!!
Look at that fuzzy butt!
And he totally annihilates any possible defense of “plausible deniability” with this uber-guilty shot of him licking his lips.
My sister had this hidey-hole on her property that she’d always wondered about.
Now we know a snowshoe hare lives there. Toews knew it was a bunny, but he can’t speak Human very well.
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.” 😀
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…
Can you tell I just read A Girl of the Limberlost again?? All the chapters have titles like this. 🙂
So, yeah. My sister was introduced to this guy named Wally, who is in the petting zoo business and was downsizing. (Thanks a lot, Sheri Nukala. lol) Lois, Jill, Jill’s Spawn, and even Lois’ husband Big Guy have met this Wally character and visited his farm near Bovey, MN. But I was always too busy, too sore, too whatever to go. A couple of weeks ago, Lois needed to go there yet again to pick up some coin-operated feeders for Cook’s Country Connection. Danny was home, and we had no plans, so we decided to ride along. We are both so glad we did!
My hips were crying before we even started the one hour drive in Lois’ truck, but the pain was soon forgotten as we drove into his yard and saw this:
I mean, I knew intellectually that this Wally guy had a camel boarding at his farm, but seeing said camel; touching it, smelling it, standing next to it…that just boggled my mind. All I could do while visiting the other animals was mutter, “A %^(@*$ camel. In northern MN…” Even today, I am having trouble describing this experience. Which is why it’s taken so long to get this post done, and why we keep having to explain that, no, we don’t have our own camel… Yet.
This is Wally’s gorgeous barn. His grandpa built it in 1940,
and it was Wally’s mother’s job to add all these little lines to the mortar. (She was a little girl then.)
THEN….we met Thomas.
You can kind of get a sense of scale by the chicken that almost comes up to his knee.
It looks like Thomas is kissing Wally, but that is how animals in the CAMELID family say hi. (Llamas and alpacas are in the same family, btw.) It’s sort of like dogs smelling each others’ butts, but nicer and much more sanitary. Camelids say hello by smelling your exhales through your nose. It can be intimidating to have these creatures stick their face in yours immediately upon meeting- especially when they are infamous for spitting- but do it anyway. In my experience, llamas and alpacas only “spit” -it’s really closer to projectile vomit-when they are frightened. And they give plenty of warning signs before they spew, but that’s another post.
This is my youngest Spawn, Danny. He and Thomas seemed to really “get” each other.
I had no idea there was an empty spot in my heart that only a camel could fill. Wally has raised several up here, and when we asked the USDA inspector what would be required to add a camel to the petting zoo, we were surprised that it wouldn’t take much. He would need a six foot tall fence and tall shelter that would be warm in the winter (and food and water and vet care and and and…)
Now if I could talk Mr. Wonderful into letting us put a camel in our basement…just for the winter.
A Pajari Girl can dream, right?? It’s tall enough, it’s warm enough, and it has a sand floor. AND THERE WOULD BE A CAMEL IN MY BASEMENT!!!!! Omigod it would be GREAT. He doesn’t even smell bad. I checked. Kind of dusty, but that’s about it. And my sister knows a lot more than she thinks she does about Camelids. And Dr. Rathji (sp?) already comes to see the llamas and alpacas.
While I was busy figuring out how to talk Paul into it, Danny followed Wally and Lois into another barn.
“Um, mom? There’s a zebra in here.”
“That’s nice..what the hell??” Sure enough, a zebra and a donkey were sharing a pen in the hopes of producing a zonkey.
And around the corner from THAT? Fallow deer.
And these are Suri alpacas. Lois really needs some of these, because she already has Huacayas. (Madelyn and Maddox.)
But I keep going back to a camel. Thomas in particular. He is so friendly!! The perfect camel for a petting zoo! Hmmmmm. If you could just mention it to Mr. Wonderful, aka Mr. Clean, aka Larry, aka Paul, that would be great. 😉
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
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…
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.
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.
That fuzzy little butt looks awfully familiar….GUSGUS!!!!!
Remember what happened to the chicken caught eating eggs….