~Blue skies and Bees….~

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The weather here has been almost too warm.  While it’s nice to see the bees outside cleaning up the dead and taking some nice cleansing flights, it’s still a long time until April and plenty of things could go wrong between now and then. Over all they look good so far and we’re hoping for the best!  I’m planning on firing up the outside pizza oven on Sunday since it is supposed to be 62 degrees.

Great weather for grinding up feed for the livestock. From dreary muddy days to blue skies.

Great weather for grinding feed for the livestock. Bring on the blue skies and warm days.

Some of the cattle are excited just before we moved them into the arena.

Some of the cattle were excited to be making the move to the arena.

 

The biddies are out taking a dust bath in the warm afternoon sunshine.

The biddies are out taking a dust bath in the warm afternoon sunshine.

Blue skies over some of our "new" bulk bins.

Blue skies over some of our “new” bulk bins.

These lovely sheep are scheduled for a "hair cut" on March 2! Aren't they lovely?

These lovely sheep are scheduled for a “hair cut” on March 2! Aren’t they lovely?

 

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~Cold, Damp, Muddy, Minnesota Farm~

A muddy and dreary day on the farm.

A muddy and dreary day on the farm.

Our beautiful cherry tree, a casualty of harsh Minnesota winds! Still enjoying our frozen cherries.

Our beautiful cherry tree, a casualty of harsh Minnesota winds! Still enjoying our frozen cherries.

Mario and Fred built 16 A Frame farrowing huts in the cold! Brrrrr

Mario and Fred built 16 A Frame farrowing huts in the cold! Brrrrr

 

The farrowing huts are being used as calf huts for a couple of weeks. They are snug and the calves are doing great.

The farrowing huts are being used as calf huts for a couple of weeks. They are snug and the calves are doing great.

Lonely boar missing the gilts. He tries to stay warm in the hut without the ladies!

Lonely boar missing the gilts. He tries to stay warm in the hut without the ladies!

Happy bred gilts stay warm and cozy snuggled up together in a warm bed of straw. They don't seem to care about the boars do they?

Happy bred gilts stay warm and cozy snuggled up together in a warm bed of straw. They don’t seem to care about the boars do they?

Despite the dreary weather these bred ewes and lambs (75) remain happy and with good appetite. They are due to start lambing April 1.

Despite the dreary weather, these 75 bred ewes and ewe lambs remain happy and with good appetite. They are due to start lambing April 1.

Some of the hives next to the orchard and garden during a long winter.

Some of the hives next to the orchard and garden during a long winter.

 

One good and faithful dog, Rowdy! He and Chief stay up most of the night scaring away the coyotes. A good dog is a blessing!

One good and faithful dog, Rowdy! He and Chief stay up most of the night scaring away the coyotes. A good dog is a blessing!

Hope I didn’t make you too cold seeing all these dreary photos! Work continues on the farm all year long no matter what the weather brings, whether lovely or awful.  I think the key to making it through is coming in to a warm cozy house with plenty of hot food!  Life is good in spite of the weather!  

By the way…if anyone local reads this, we have some nice Jersey steers for sale.   It’s the best tasting beef ever, in my opinion.  calico10@frontiernet.net

 

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~Organic Prairie Hogs Shipping Day~

Here's the bacon ready for shipping to Iowa!

Here’s the bacon ready for shipping to Iowa!

These beautiful Organic Pigs went to market on the 16th of December.  This is the finished product that we strive for.  Of course it was severely cold that morning and it was hard to be out there loading.  The trucker arrived early hoping to beat the expected snow storm.  If you are interested in tasting good pork click on the link :

http://www.organicprairie.com/prod_detail_list/organic_pork

There’s quite a good selection of great tasting pork products!

Fred, Bella and Mario getting gates ready.

Fred, Bella and Mario getting gates ready.

Marisa and Silvana working out in the cold.

Marisa and Silvana working out in the cold.

Sorting the largest hogs for market.

Sorting the largest hogs for market.

There were 30 market ready pigs loaded that morning.  That gives us 13 pigs left from the first farrowing group this past spring.  The next groups will be ready for shipping around March 2017.

Curious Jersey's enjoy the action!

Curious Jersey’s enjoy the action!

All loaded and ready to go to the plant in Iowa.

All loaded and ready to go to the plant in Iowa.

 

Cold Minnesota makes life interesting.

Cold Minnesota makes life interesting.

Iced roof but warm chickens within.

Iced roof but warm chickens within.

From the farm yard to the church choir, time to sing! Merry Christmas at last.

From the cover-alls to the choir loft, Merry Christmas to all!

 

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~Hog Heaven~

Silvana Bella Dad and Marisa working with the Organic hogs!

Silvana Bella Dad and Marisa working with the Organic hogs!

Here we are, down on the Callens Honey Farm.  Our farm life in photos!  Hope you enjoy our busy life which just became a bit harder with these cold temperatures that could freeze an ocean!  I apologize for not having posted for awhile but being busy means we are alive and well…..and that my friends is a good thing!  We now have snow so these photos are a few weeks old.  The weather alert warns that frost bite tonight and tomorrow can occur in less than ten minutes!!!!

Good neighbors like Denny Timmerman make life good by giving the girls an old bin to repair. Works great now and holds Organic Barley!

Good neighbors like Denny Timmerman make life good by giving the girls an old bin to repair. Works great now and holds Organic Barley!

Old Hog slats make for instant mud relief! Fred put these in all over the farm to keep the hogs out of the mud and make driving and walking easier.

Old Hog slats make for instant mud relief! Fred put these in all over the farm to keep the hogs out of the mud and make driving and walking easier.

More hog slats and beef!

More hog slats and beef!

After all....man cannot live on pork alone!!

After all….man cannot live on pork alone!!

One mans junk is another mans treasure! More bins from Denny purchased at a good deal for the girls. This little area is for boars, gilts and sometimes sows that are in between breeding or farrowing.

One mans junk is another mans treasure! More bins from Denny Timmerman purchased at a good deal for the girls. This little area is for boars, gilts and sometimes sows that are in between breeding or farrowing.

Empty farrowing house just before we dismantled the pens for the winter.

Empty farrowing house just before we dismantled the pens for the winter.

These turkeys are happy having lived through Thanksgiving day.

These turkeys are happy having lived through Thanksgiving day.

Organic feed for the hogs stays dry in the Quonset.

Organic feed for the hogs stays dry in the Quonset.

This East facing pen has been given a face lift. Since this photo was taken we now have 20 head of bred gilts in it. Thank God for cement!

This East facing pen has been given a face lift. Since this photo was taken we now have 20 head of bred gilts in it. Thank God for cement!

Anyone working up an appetite yet? You see a hog and I see Polish Sausage.

Anyone working up an appetite yet? You see a hog and I see Polish Sausage.

Oh baby! Home made polish sausage from our own pork! Smoked by my very handsome husband!

Oh baby! Home made polish sausage from our own pork! Smoked by my very handsome husband!

Okay so you don't like Polish sausage? Can I tempt you with our own Summer Sausage? How does 150 pounds sound?

Okay so you don’t like Polish sausage? Can I tempt you with our own Summer Sausage? How does 150 pounds sound?

When we're done with the sausage we'll feast on this Christmas Ham.

When we’re done with the sausage we’ll feast on this Christmas Ham.

This ham tastes as good as it looks! Thank you Alan Ferber for sharing your trade secrets with us!!!

This ham tastes as good as it looks! Thank you Alan Ferber for sharing your trade secrets with us!!!

And then there's the chickens! We picked one of the coldest days last week to put the roosters in the freezer! Looking back tonight I realize that was a heat wave!

And then there’s the chickens! We picked one of the coldest days last week to put the roosters in the freezer! Looking back tonight I realize that was a heat wave!

Feathers be gone!!! Note how they are dressed....so cold.

Feathers be gone!!! Note how they are dressed….so cold.

Okay lets get this straight. We did the hog, steer and then the roosters all in one day. All went well until the deep freeze hit that night. I mean deep, deep freeze. We lived through it and I am packing the new bacon this evening.

Okay lets get this straight. We did the hog, steer and then the roosters all in one day. All went well until the deep freeze hit that night. I mean deep, deep freeze. And….the power went out.  We lived through it and I am packing the new bacon this evening.

Fire Cider is a winter tonic. I made my first batch and it is wicked!!! Thank you Kay for the recipe. I brewed it for a month.

Fire Cider is a winter tonic. I made my first batch and it is wicked!!! Thank you Kay for the recipe. I brewed it for a month.

 

Here is the recipe. The only thing I added was dried elderberries. Using this on the family now to keep them flu free. Wish me luck.

Here is the recipe. The only thing I added was dried elderberries. Using this on the family now to keep them flu free.  Warning….go heavy on the honey!!!!    Wish me luck.

Thanks for stopping by the Callens Farm.  If you don’t hear from me again very soon I just may have frozen to death along with the rest of the family.  Hoping the snow holds off a bit tonight since the girls are loading out 30 Organic Prairie hogs ready for market tomorrow.

A blessed Advent to all and to all a Wonderful Life.  Life is Good by Golly!!

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~Bees~

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The honey harvest this year was good!  We were blessed with a good crop.  Our honey is now being sold in three local stores here in Minnesota…..  Brad’s Market in Minneota, Jim’s Super Value and Moberg Meats in Canby, MN.  We are happy to provide good, pure honey locally. 

Silvana and Marisa

Silvana and Marisa

Silvana

Silvana

Marisa

Marisa

For better or worse, we go into the winter with 22 live hives.  It will take nothing short of a miracle for the bees to survive.   Our hives are not winterized yet.  The Organic Valley hogs have been keeping us busy but hopefully all of the bee work will be finished soon.  Never a dull moment on the Callens Family Farm!! 

Life is good by golly!   Lord have mercy on us and on the whole world!

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~Piggy Heaven~

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Happy piggies on the Callens Farm.

Happy piggies on the Callens Farm.

The months have gone by quickly.  We sold our first two loads of Organic hogs in the last two weeks.  It’s been a busy, chaotic summer to say the least!  Lot’s of planning and paper work with lots of regulations to meet.  So far we are very pleased with how this new business is going.  It takes a ton of chores and plenty of planning.

Marking the big ones for shipping.

Marking the big ones for shipping.

 

Getting ready for shipping on a rainy day.

Getting ready for shipping on a rainy day.

 

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~Certified Organic~

 

It is official; we are certified organic for the hogs!!!

It is official; we are certified organic for the hogs!!!

I can’t take any credit for the paper work, time and effort that it has taken to get this certification completed.  I’m so proud of our girls,  for their patience and persistence.  We proudly display on Fred’s old Ford the sign which reads, “We are your Organic Valley Farmers.”  How cool is that?  Another chapter in our life on the farm.

Are you my mother?

Are you my mother?

Silvana, Bella and Marisa, Organic Hog farmers!

Silvana, Bella and Marisa, Organic Hog farmers!

For those of you who wonder if the organic products you purchase in the grocery store are really organic, look no further.  Organic Valley /Organic Prairie is a company that has integrity!  When you purchase their milk, cheese, butter, cream, eggs, meats, etc. you are getting the real deal.  They have very strict standards for their producers.  We have learned so much from our friends, Rick and Helaine Fonder who are Organic Valley dairy producers.  They’ve helped us along the way.  You would be amazed at the methods and procedures that go into the production.  Nothing allowed right down to fly spray.  Not allowed.  

Taste the difference next time you go to the grocery store!  Their cheese is remarkable by the way, worth every penny and that is coming from someone who makes her own cheese.

Life just keeps getting better by golly!  Thanks be to our Great God in this Year of Mercy!

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