Tag Archives: Cook

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.

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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.

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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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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:

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

Wherein The Pajari Girls (and Danny) See a Man About a Camel.

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:

camel, petting farm

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.

bull, petting farm, calf, cow, petting zoo, pajari girls, cook's country connection
This is my sister explaining to Wally why this bull calf is NOT going home with us today.

This is Wally’s gorgeous barn. His grandpa built it in 1940,

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and it was Wally’s mother’s job to add all these little lines to the mortar. (She was a little girl then.)

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THEN….we met Thomas.

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You can kind of get a sense of scale by the chicken that almost comes up to his knee.

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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.

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This is my youngest Spawn, Danny. He and Thomas seemed to really “get” each other.

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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.

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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.

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And around the corner from THAT? Fallow deer.

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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. 😉

Loveyabye!

PS: I read an awesome blog post recently by  Kate, who always wanted to touch a cow’s nose, and then one day got the chance. You should read it. Chop chop. It’s a very happy post! And her boyfriend Gabe is quite the snazzy dresser. 😉

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.

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

Remember what happened to the chicken caught eating eggs….

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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.

Pixie

Pixie is the farm show off .  She will was born June 2013 and moved to the farm the spring of 2014.

pixie on the slide   pixie sliding   pixie at bottom

Her favorite trick is to go down the slide on her playground for treats.

Pixie is a pygmy goat and her partner in crime, Pepper, is catching on fast.

They are real talkers (especially at feeding time) and they are really fun to play with.

Poppy

Poppy belongs to Jill.  (Because again….who in their right mind needs two mini donkeys? Or three mini horses?  Or two Ginormous White Slobbering Dogs?)

Poppy

See… we went shopping for a mini cow (Lilly) for Anthony and Jill fell in love with a baby mini donkey.  She claims the donkey mama asked her to take her baby but I’m not so sure.  Can Jill really speak donkey?

poppy

Going to these other farms is tricky business. We were lucky to get out of there with just a mini cow, baby donkey and two goats!!  There was also a pony Ashley has her eye on…..

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Poppy was born in a petting zoo and LOVES people! She can’t wait to meet everyone!

Shearing Day 2014

Today was Shearing Day at Cook’s Country Connection! Marty Hofmann of Integrity Shearing and his “Head Man” Eric were incredibly efficient and gentle with all the creatures getting haircuts.

 

First, let me start with this; a picture of a shaved alpaca.

alpaca, shearing, cook's country connection, cook, mn, petting farm, pajari,

Welcome.

And below is Molly, my faithful camera assistant. She made sure to drool on my camera strap and nuzzle my pockets for goodies. 400 pounds of helpful, this one.

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Softer than cashmere and warmer than wool, alpaca fiber can be knit or woven, depending on it’s quality and intended purpose. Here is a wiki link to everything ELSE you ever wanted to know about Alpaca Fiber.  

Next year, we hope to have a seminar or field trip coincide with Shearing Day.

First, the animal is caught and trussed up like a Christmas goose. This keeps everyone -including the animal-safe. Here’s a video of what that looks like:

One, Two…THREE!

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The front legs are pulled forward, the back legs backward, and just like that, it’s time to shave a llama.

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This is Maddox, one of only two spitters today.  By the way, “spitting” is kind of inaccurate. It smells bad, and is more like projectile vomiting. Luckily, they only do this when all their other body language is ignored, and people are scaring them. I am guessing it tastes as bad as it smells, because he made the craziest “ew” face for hours afterward. (See that first picture??)

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Steve’s dad Leo did a great job his first time as official Gate Man.

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Jill was the only llama not to get the royal treatment today; she has a heart defect and is a Gramma Llama, so Lois didn’t want to stress her out.  She didn’t recognize her herd-mates until they breathed at each other a bit.

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Itchy (The Very Naughty Pony) was equally confused.

Here’s a video of that…the look on Itchy’s face just cracks me up when he sees that shaved llama. (You should probably just subscribe to our YouTube channel now. Chop chop.)

And THIS is as close as anyone will be getting to a llama for a few days, which is why we take this opportunity to vaccinate, de- worm and do pedicures at the same time.

alpaca, llama, shearing, cook's country connection, cook, mn, petting farm, pajari,