Oh, My. Yak. It’s only TEN DAYS until the 2nd Annual Border to Border Country Music Farm Party!! Jamie Lin Wilson is returning to Cook, with her musician friend Courtney Patton. Cook’s own Jason Martinson will be starting the party at 4:30, and the Crescent Bar and Grill will be there with food!
Last year was one heck of a party! I even gave up my parking space.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
There are lots of new babies to meet this year including bunnies, a baby goat (nickname Totes), and baby birds.
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.
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.
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.
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.” 😀
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. 😉
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….