We refer to our place as an educational homestead.  Homestead is a word that conjures up many different visions.  Regardless of the image created in your mind, there is probably a good chance there is something furry or feathered in the picture.  Our place will not disappoint.  We have a mix of pets and livestock that have their place in and around the workshop.



Animal Matriarch, snack connoisseur, and demander of rubs.  Sami the beagle is the oldest of our pets.  Sami was separated from her original family during the massive tornado that ripped through Joplin, Missouri in 2011.  When Katie took her in, she burrowed into our hearts and has been there ever since.


Shop Dog, Chicken & Goat chaser, and as his name suggests, Chewer of all wood scraps.   Woody is fully grown, but is all puppy.  He loves his family and friends, and shows his excitement every time they come around.  So much so, that he sits at the window and anxiously waits for John to get home from work.


The Chickens

Egg Production Managers, Garden Destroyers, and just about the funniest dumb things on the planet.  Numbering in the dozens, the chickens are literally the conduit through which The Sunrise Workshop was created.  Back when John & Katie first met, John surprised Katie one day by bringing home seven fuzzy little peeping chicks.  They raised them in a Rubbermaid tub in the kitchen corner of their old Elk River home.  About the time the Chicks were outgrowing their tub (and stinking up the joint), in the chill of winter, John set out one Saturday morning to construct the coop.  Not long after John got busy working, Katie showed up in her winter clothes, holding a tape measure and a screw gun asking to be put to work.  That was the moment John fell in love with Katie.  The air was damn cold, but his heart was never warmer.  Over the next few months, they enjoyed being entertained by the chickens, and often fantasized about how neat it would be to share their chicken experience with others.  The Sunrise Workshop was conceived, but it would take nearly seven years to make it a reality.  The chickens have been there the whole time, providing eggs, entertainment, and motivation.

The Ducks

Mud making Entertainment. You don’t need much of a descriptor when it comes to ducks.  They have bills, they make a mess, and they’re pretty entertaining to watch.  We have Indian Runner Ducks… picture a cross between a penguin and a mallard.  They look like ducks, quack like ducks, but walk like penguins.  We paid extra for three females and one male… we were surprised to find out we had four boys.  We also have one female mallard, and the boys keep her well protected from the dogs and the chickens and the goats.



Shop Cat, Katie’s Lap Warmer, and screen porch Queen.  Violet, (or Violence as John likes to call her) came to us as a gift from a dear friend.  Katie enjoys the soft purrs and loving rubs from Violet; John wonders what he ever did to his dear friend to warrant such a punishment.  When Violet isn’t napping, curled up on Katie’s lap, or annoying John, she’s usually perched on the screen porch ledge, watching the birds, which she probably wants to kill… just like she wants to kill John.

The Goats

Future milk makers, fuzzy bouncy things, and the cutest entertainers on the property.  Rosey Rue, Buttercup and Lilly are our girls.  They will provide us with milk for soaps, lotions, and CHEESE!.  Rosey Rue is mischievous as they come, Buttercup is as cute as a button, and Lilly is the new girl on the block – she had Katie's heart the moment they met.  They all do their best to keep the boys in line.  Blue and Milton are our wether-ed boys.  They provide companionship for the girls when we separate them from the herd at times, but will not be helping in creating new kids…  They are here as emotional support goats for other goats, or as Katie would tell you, they are John’s little buddies.  Blue was the runt of his litter and weened a bit too early, as a result, we bottle fed him three times a day until he put on some weight, which has made him very friendly and loving.  Milton is a full two weeks younger than Blue, but you would never know it by his size.  He’s a moose!  He’s also very loving.  Both Blue and Milton enjoy a little game we call “Lets try and knock each other out”… I guess boys will be boys, even in the goat world.


The Wildlife

Because of our close proximity to the St. Croix River, Wild River State Park, and the Sunrise River, along with the heavily wooded rural landscape, you are likely to encounter some wildlife on our property.  Our feathered visitors range from most common song birds, woodpeckers, including the gigantic pileated woodpecker, to hawks and eagles floating above looking for dinner opportunities.  Katie also is quite proud that she has attracted hummingbirds, orioles, the occasional red breasted grossbeak, and even an indigo bunting!  At night, the owls will hoot you to sleep.  On the furrier side, it’s pretty common to see squirrels and deer, but from time to time we see black bears, raccoons, and even a fisher or two – probably eyeing up our flock of chickens.  Regardless of the time of year, nature provides us with an endless parade of it’s majesty.