The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


        The annual spring Easter event at the Country Lane Tree Farm this year will be especially poignant for owners John and Melissa Bowlander.

        Called the Easter Bunny hayride/egg hunt and baby animal tour – and scheduled for March 24, 25 and 31 - it will be the first public event at the farm since a fire last month.

        The farm will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. those days.

        “The spring event has always been something special we do for families,” Melissa said. “They can come and celebrate spring at our farm. We have a hay wagon that takes them to an egg patch where the kids can collect eggs for candy. The Easter Bunny will be here for pictures and they can hold baby ducks, chicks and bunnies. We have baby lambs that were just born and baby goats. There will be pony rides, a barrel-train ride and hay climb. It’s been growing in popularity. I think people just want to get out after the winter.”

        The Bowlanders have been operating the farm for 27 years and Melissa says they were determined to not let the fire stop them from continuing.

        According to Mike Musolf, chief of the Allen-Clay Joint Fire District, the blaze was reported about 2:12 a.m. on Feb. 20. When firefighters arrived a barn structure had collapsed and another building was burning.

        Crews were at the scene for about three hours and were able to protect a third building from the fire. But six goats, including four babies, were killed as were several chickens and other fowl. Fortunately, the farm’s cows were not seriously injured.

        One day after the fire, Melissa said she and her husband and their two children, John, Jr., and Alexandria, decided the best way to ease the pain of losing the animals would be to focus on rebuilding the operation.

        “It’s what has kept our whole family going. We’re all working in this together – friends and family. I’ve got to have the happiness. The lambs being born brought a piece of my heart back. It’s hard to explain. These animals are an extended family. The thought of looking forward to having the laughter and happiness and the smiles; the families and the school kids and all the crazy chaos is what keeps us going,” she said. “I’ve been out every day in the snow decorating. I’m painting today and it’s 30 some degrees but I don’t care. I want to get spring here. It’s the new beginning. This year we need it more than ever.”

        And the farm’s usual offerings, school field trips, birthday parties, summer day camps as well as autumn activities will continue, she said.

        Country Lane Tree Farm is located at 3525 N. Bolander Rd. near Genoa. The phone number is 419-461-1298.

        The Bowlanders recommend following them on the farm’s Facebook page for weather advisories.      



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