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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Change is afoot at Cook's Country Connection

Furry and feathered additions already here, with more on the way

David Colburn
Posted 4/22/21

COOK- Although Cook’s Country Connection isn’t a typical farm, Lois Pajari knows all too well the old adage “a farmer’s work is never done.”Sounds of work were evident …

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Change is afoot at Cook's Country Connection

Furry and feathered additions already here, with more on the way

Posted

COOK- Although Cook’s Country Connection isn’t a typical farm, Lois Pajari knows all too well the old adage “a farmer’s work is never done.”
Sounds of work were evident the moment one arrived at the farm on Friday as workers were installing sheet rock in the main barn used for classes and corporate retreats. In the distance, the century-old granary appeared propped up on stilts and undergoing major reconstruction.
And behind a mountain of dirt, Al Hoover was ankle-deep in water in a hole about eight-feet deep working on a water line, with Lois standing on the rim above him, vigorously shaking water out of a long pipe and faucet.
“Oh, it’s that late already?” Pajari said when she noticed the waiting reporter.
Opening day, May 1, is fast approaching, and Pajari was clearly in her element.
“We’re excited to have people back,” she said. “It’s going to be fun to have people back at the farm.”
As she strolled over to where three of her newest animal inhabitants were playing, Pajari talked about some of the work being done, starting with the granary.
“When I talked to a gentleman about putting siding on it, he pointed out that the whole building was sinking,” she said. “So now the building has been lifted. It’s getting new foundation footings. I use the building as my wintering barn. I’m hoping to turn the upstairs into a farm stay, like possibly an Airbnb space. We had a lot of campers come stay at the farm last year, so this seemed like a good time to bite the bullet and do something with the granary.”
Returning visitors will see a number of differences, Pajari said.
“We’ve got a feed shed now. It’s not done, but we’re getting there,” she said. “The inside of the barn is being finished. It will be insulated and sheet-rocked and hopefully have a ceiling, which will make it a little bit more comfortable in the spring and fall months when it’s a little chilly outside. We’ve started doing corporate trainings in the offseason.”
Day camps for kids, farm yoga and monthly happy hours and music events are again on tap for the summer, but children and families flock to the farm for the animals, and there are some new additions there, too, with more on the way.
Rupert, a black Olde English ‘Babydoll’ Southdown sheep, was small enough to fit in a bucket when he arrived at the farm in late March, and while he’s gotten bigger, he’s still a child-sized bundle of fun and energy. He also has two little playmates, Juniper and Ivy, but they’re not sheep. They’re goats, a cross between Nigerian dwarf and pygmy varieties.
“Rupert was a bottle baby, and I couldn’t find another bottle baby companion for him, so I’ve got two goats,” Pajari said. “I don’t know that I want a sheep that knows how to be a goat. Sheep tend to be better behaved.”
As the trio dashed and hopped around and took turns scaling a large pile of hay, Pajari pointed toward the bird section.
“All of these birds over here have been adopted, they are all new,” she said. “I now have geese. I was never going to have geese. I have three more ducks. I was never going to have any ducks, and now I’m up to eight ducks. And three more turkeys.”
And with the calendar solidly into springtime, more babies will be arriving soon.
“The cow is due to have a baby the first weekend of May,” Pajari said. “Trixie the goat is due to have babies closer to the end of May and a pig is due to have babies, maybe Penelope pig. There will be baby bunnies. So, there’ll be all kinds of new life.”
There might even be a new bounding bundle of joy among one of visitors’ favorite animals, the alpacas.
“I know Stetson jumped the fence in May to get to the girls, and he jumped the fence in June to get to the girls, and he jumped the fence in July to get to the girls, but we took care of that in August and there will be no more,” Pajari said. “But yeah, I have a couple of them that have gained 20-some pounds over the course of the winter and that’s not normal.”
Weighing the furry alpacas is a typical way to monitor their health, as all that fur could mask a tell-tale weight loss. But with two of the girls having gained weight, and with the gestation period for alpacas being about 13 months, a couple of little surprises could possibly be appearing this summer.
Complete information about Cook’s Country Connection can be found online at www.cookscountryconnection.com, and regular updates are posted on Facebook.

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