Minnesota couple creates space for rescued farm animals
EDEN VALLEY, MINN. -- When Jeff and Charlene Stromwall got married 11 years ago, they talked about creating a home for four llamas, two goats and a donkey.
EDEN VALLEY, MINN. - When Jeff and Charlene Stromwall got married 11 years ago, they talked about creating a home for four llamas, two goats and a donkey.
Last year, they bought a foreclosed farm near Eden Valley, Minn., and while they are no longer aiming for a precise number or precise species, these animal lovers are surrounding themselves with critters.
The Stromwalls have formed a nonprofit farm animal rescue at Broken Roads Ranch. They've scooped debris from the barn, pounded fence posts into the ground and learned the ins and outs of animal health care.
Since forming the nonprofit last September, the farm has become the home of Popsicle the Muscovy duck. He was found with a frozen tail near a Minneapolis freeway in February. On Feb. 8, two newborn goats arrived. More recently, they took in four Oberhasli goats.
On Saturday, they plan to add two miniature horses that are coming from a New Ulm rescue farm, displaced because that farm is getting blind horses. On June 3, they expect five roosters.
"It's not just helping the animals," Stromwall said. Often, the creatures need a home because the owner is sick or facing a financial crisis.
Stromwall praises his wife's networking skills, explaining that her growing list of contacts enables her to find homes for animals. Broken Roads is building contacts with other rescue farms, many of which specialize - pigs at one, hooved animals at another.
Stromwall hopes his menagerie can be a way to educate and comfort area residents young and old, too. He envisions classes making field trips to the farm. And because a donor has provided a portable corral, he and his wife might take goats to assisted-living homes to enrich the lives of residents.
Stromwall aims to "teach that animals are loving, feeling creatures," and to help youngsters understand the commitment required as cute baby animals grow up.
The two dogs and three cats in the Stromwall home all are rescue animals. It was a conversation with humane society workers at the Meeker County Fair last year that helped them recognize the shortage of farm animal rescue options.
"I think we found the niche that is needed out there," Stromwall said.