Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Hidden Side of Anokijig

When campers come to Anokijig, they expect to have the time of their life and most do, but it's not as simple as people just showing up and the great times turning on like a light switch. There always seems to be a constant flurry of activity going on behind the scenes, making everything at Anokijig function as it should.

One of the biggest tasks that campers rarely see is the process involved in feeding our herd of more than 50 horses. It is a massive undertaking, which used to require a tremendous amount of time and manpower. While the growing, cutting and baling of hay is still a long process, the generosity of the Case IH corporation has made it far less labor-intensive.

Almost every piece of farm of farm equipment at Anokijig has been donated from Case IH and last year, they recognized the need we had to replace our aging mower and baler. It wasn't a gift that many donors would consider "glamorous" or "high-profile," but the new mower and baler are absolutely essential to the successful operation of our ranch program.

The average camper may not give a second thought to the sight of our tractor cutting fresh hay and effortlessly tossing it into the air, but to our staff, it's a thing of beauty. Once the hay is sufficiently dry, our facilities manager, Scott Stewart, will head back out with our new baler and produce the massive "round" bales in a fraction of the time it once took for us to put the hay in traditional "square" bales.

Although these round bales are much larger and heavier than square bales, moving them around takes fewer people, because heavy equipment is involved in the entire process. In the past, baling hay involved dozens of staff members throwing bales onto trailers, hauling them to a barn and stacking them.

Just as our farm equipment is not on the radar of most campers, neither are the fields from which we farm our hay. Anokijig farms about 80 acres of hay, but not all of those hayfields belong to us. The picture in this post was taken about a mile North of Anokijig, along Highway E and the land is owned by two very generous supporters of Camp Anokijig, Brock & Lynn Brownrigg.

The Brownriggs have been very generous to Anokijig over the years and have been regularly donating their hay crops to us. Their generosity and the generosity of many other donors, including Case IH help us keep Anokijig and our Ranch Program affordable for our campers and we greatly appreciate their support!

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