Recovering From Tragedy: Cook’s Country Connection

Community Helps Two Sisters Celebrate Farm's Grand Opening

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“Listen to those kids laughing back there, you’ve got to love it,” Lois Pajari smiled.

Few things can make a kid smile like feeding a pig, or watching a goat go down a slide.

“My sister used to tease me that I already had a petting farm, I just had to set hours and charge admission,” Lois laughed.

Wednesday, sisters Lois and Laura Pajari celebrated the grand opening of their farm Cook’s Country Connection.

“I never thought it would be this great,” Laura admitted.

Rewind two years to the very day and spirits weren’t so high.

“I dropped everything and ran, and drove to town and saw the big plume of smoke and knew,” Laura said.

The sisters watched as a fire took their store, and everything they had worked towards for seven years.

“We had a bright, beautiful, sunny day, and this horrendous pile of rubble sitting there, and then, ‘Now what?’” Lois explained.

The sisters turned to a piece of land they knew quite well.

“My grandfather and his siblings were born and raised here, my mom played here as a child with her siblings, my sister and I played here as children, and now her children are here,” said Lois.

The farm wasn’t just a recovery project for Lois and Laura. The sisters say they hope the 40+ animals on this farm can be used for animal assisted therapy.

“We’ve found that so many kids can connect to animals when they can’t connect with people,” Lois said.

Already, the farm is helping children with disabilities improve social and emotional skills.

“These kids that were so withdrawn or closed in have just blossomed here at the farm,” Lois smiled.

The sisters proving that inspiration can be found in starting over.

“I wanted to do the right thing, not just the next thing,” Lois added.

And around every corner is the next grand adventure.

“She said this is the first time in her life she was really able to choose what she wanted to do, and she wanted to choose well, and she did,” Laura said.