~Out With The Old~

 

“Old Yeller” and Mario after having hauled manure all day!

We finally were able to find an old dump truck to haul manure and gravel with.  The truck formally was owned by the city of Granite Falls.   Thankfully we were able to sell the old manure spreader which was not large enough to handle our endless supply of manure!  This should extend the life of our old tractor and speed up the work load.

The old John Deere is now working hard in South Dakota!

The good thing about having old farm equipment is that Mario (age 13) can learn how to fix things. 

We ended up selling the old faithful CAT and replacing it with another, see photos below.

The old Cat is now working over in South Dakota as well.

The farm crew with the new CAT! 

 

In with the new…… CAT, moving the bred sows!

Bella and I took a road trip out west to see Jessi, Luke and the children.  Below is a photo of some of us together on a hike.  I took the tumbleweeds home to remind me of the trip.  What a beautiful area of God’s green earth!!

Sweet grandchildren out in Montana.  I miss the little angels!

When we arrived back in Minnesota the girls had finished painting the porch, a nice surprise and a ton of work.

New face lift on an old porch.

Life is good by golly, enjoy yours

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~Farrowing Pigs etc.~

Hey Mom, you there?

We had a very good Spring farrowing so far with only one sow left to farrow.  Weaning has now started and so far so good, thanks be to God!  We’ve had the Organic Apple Cider Vinegar running into their water the entire time and feel that it has improved their over all health.  We are always learning new things and try to incorporate them as we go.  
Marisa is calmly feeding hay to some very gentle piglets in this video clip below. 

Beautiful, healthy, happy Organic Prairie pork! See them smiling?

Silvana fed these 8 and 9 week old piggies!

Marisa feeding the sows and their 5 1/2 week old piglets.

 

There are 270 piglets as of today.

Meat birds and new laying hens are growing daily.  Below is how they looked this morning!

Here’s the beef!

 

We “got milk”……mostly for the lambs and calves!  That’s Bella milking this cow.

 

Home made baby lamb warmer Fred built from old bee boxes! We dropped very cold lambs in this heater and saved their lives!

Good American Lamb on God’s Green Earth!

Thank God for Sunday,  a day of rest, fun and company to cook for.  First Dutch oven pizza of the year turned out delicious.  The white pizza was the best in my opinion, Focaccia.  First Asparagus hunt as well.

Bella and Maggie asparagus hunting…..the easy way!

 

Life is good by golly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lambs and Spring

 

FIRST DAY ON THE GRASS

Lambing season started April 3 and it came in with a bang during a huge blizzard! It ended May 9 and thankfully it was a good crop of lambs. We had three new Targhee bucks and they produced many triplets, 4 sets of quads, lots of twins and only 12 singles. We sold 3 bottle lambs and are still feeding 12 lambs now. Over all it was a very good season! We had to do a lot of shuffling around since our lambing pens could not keep up with the frequency of births.

As the snow melted here in SW Minnesota, the DSL lines were ruined as was our internet service. This makes my post pretty outdated.

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All of the snow melted down creating for us some really luscious pasture!! 

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I’ll be posting soon about the farrowing season and other Spring projects!  I’ve got a load of garden asparagus to deal with today.  Life is good, down on the farm.

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“To Market, To Market To Buy A Fat Hog…”

 

IMG_5169Only in this case we were not buying…we were selling! We shipped 38 head of organic hogs out for Organic Prairie on Thursday morning. These are the first ones to market from our group born in the late Summer-early Fall of 2017. Time is flying by and we will soon be setting up pens for another season of farrowing.

IMG_5172The loading went well except for 4 renegades that decided to turn back before we could get them inside of the trailer and so they made things a little difficult for a while. If a pig gets away one time it learns very quickly how to escape again and again until you finally outsmart it or get reinforcements, and that would be either more gates or more people! 🙂

IMG_5176The dogs wanted to help but sometimes they are more of a nuisance and need to be kept away so they don’t scare pigs in the wrong direction.

IMG_5164Bella turned sweet 16 a few days ago! Her hat is so fitting for a day of loading hogs for the organic market. When you’re trying to eat healthy with all of the good food out there remember to keep Organic Prairie and Organic Valley products in mind!

IMG_5204Then it started snowing as we finished up with the loading and we received over 12 inches, which is the most we’ve had in a snowfall at one time all through this Winter so far.

IMG_5199Minnesotan’s need four wheel drives! Those tracks took us to stations of the cross last night!

IMG_5210The snow makes farm chores more difficult but after the necessary work is finished outside everyone eventually makes their way back to a nice and cozy house kept warm with our outdoor woodstove that Mario is in charge of keeping full at all times.

IMG_5230Frost and snow covered everything so beautifully this morning.

IMG_5233We haven’t taken down our outside Christmas garlands and lights yet and they look lovely after the snowfall!

IMG_5223Our statue of Mother Mary surrounded by a Winter wonderland.

IMG_5215It’s snowing as I’m writing and it looks as if we’ll be getting quite a bit more throughout the day and into tomorrow morning. Hopefully you’re staying warm somewhere with a hot cup of coffee or tea as you read this post! Life is good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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~Freezing Weather Babies~

The coldest nights sometimes yield the most beautiful blessings!  Amy, came to us on one of the most frigid evenings this winter.

Newborn heifer gets a nice warm bottle of colostrum.

Luckily Maggie walked into the barn to milk just after she was born.  It was fortunate for all of us because she was soaking wet in very dangerous weather conditions.  Dad and Mario carried her in the house and Mario’s coveralls were soaked through!

We bought in a bunch of Jersey calves during the cold weather and it has been difficult keeping them alive in such hazardous temperatures.   They are in the barn under make-shift straw huts.  Below are some photos.

Two baby calves live under and behind these bales in separate quarters.

Warm milk served to a very sweet calf. I know he really appreciates it!

 

Fred and Mario don’t like working in this bitter cold either but if the grinder doesn’t work properly the pigs may go hungry!

Rowdy was so cold his teeth were chattering loudly today and I let him in the house!! Old faithful dog, loved so dearly.

 

The pigs have to be loaded under bitter conditions as well. Can you see the red faces?

The weather jumped from severe cold to a mild 40 degrees for several days and then dropped very quickly again.  That is hard on the livestock.   The good news is that the cold does not affect the flavor of these Organic Prairie porkers!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  Better late than never.

Christmas Day 2017.

 

Mass at St. Leo, a full house again!

Life is good by golly and hopefully the cold won’t last long!  As I am about to post this, Fred has gone to pick up more baby calves. Oh dear, the forecast is for more cold!!  Farmers are forever optimistic!

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~T’was The Night Before Christmas by Mr. Sheep~

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T’was the night before Christmas, When all around the farm Not a creature was stirring, not even in the barn. The lights on the farmhouse were all strung with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas would remember those there.

The piggies were snoring deep in straw beds, While the bees buzzed with visions of flowers in their heads. And Aunt Baaa in her fleece coat, and I in my wool cap, Had just snuggled in for a long winters nap.

When out on the hill the sheep began to scatter, I ran from the shed to see what was the matter. Away to the fence, I flew with a dash, Poked my head through and undid the latch.

The moon shining down on a blanket of snow, Illuminated the barnyard and objects to and fro. When what to my jaw dropping gaze did appear, But a large metal object and eight flying deer.

With a small bearded driver so lively and slick, I knew in an instant it must be St. Nick. More rapid than Rowdy chasing after a cat, And louder than an Italian while waving his hat.

“Come on Dasher and Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen! On Comet and Cupid! On Donner and Blitzen! To the top of the fence! To the top of the rail! Dash away, dash away, dash away sail!”

As feathers that before a plains wind will fly, When they meet with an object, rise to the sky. So up to the barn roof the whole party flew, With the sleigh full of sacks and the old driver too.

And then in a moment, I heard from the roof, The stamping and stomping of each little hoof. As I drew back my head and was turning around, Down the cupola St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed up in coveralls, a red flannel and clogs, And was then warmly greeted by the horses and dogs. A bundle of corn he had flung on his back, And he looked like a farmer bringing a snack.

His eyes–how they sparkled! His dimples so merry! His cheeks were like a sunrise, His nose like a berry! His droll little mouth was drawn up in a smile, And his beard was whiter than Fred’s snow pile.

A thin piece of wood he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke flowing out caused the chickens to sneeze. He had a wide face and a well rounded belly, That bounced up and down when he chuckled, like jelly.

He was portly and stout, a right jolly old man, So I felt pretty bad when he tripped on a milk can. The cow gave a sigh and thrust out her tail, And Santa held on and grabbed for a rail.

He turned to the mangers and laid out the feed, Taking time to pet us and see to our needs. Then pausing a moment to rest his sore back, He went to the cupola and rose with his sack.

Once on the roof, he climbed into his sleigh, Gathered the reins calling “up and away!” We then heard him say as he slipped from our sight, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a blest night!”    

 

This poem was revised by the Callens family as seen through the eyes of a sheep on our farm on Christmas eve.

Come baby Jesus…..

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~Fall Farm Life Photos~

Squeaky clean piglets being sorted by size and moved into separate pens for growing.

Playing catch-up on what’s been going on down on the farm. We work hard and long hours on this farm but we also like to have fun!  Photos starting in October, take a ride in the country with us.

Curious jersey beef!

 

All ready for the ride!

 

The Hayride begins…..

 

Honey house decorated for the pot luck supper.

 

Making merry around the fire! Some of us didn’t get to bed until 2 a.m.

Traffic jam at the outhouse!

Ma and Pa Kettle!

 

Washing the pumpkins for storage and display.

 

Moving grain into mixer for grinding; a two man team.

 

Mario hauling manure out onto one of the sheep pastures.

 

Silvana shot this 9 pointer under freezing conditions.

 

 

 

Bella shot this nice doe on the second day, her first ever!

 

Mario also shot a doe.

 

Frenchy got this nice buck the first day! The children prayed she would!

I’m working up to something big!  With all four deer and a big sow we made 466 pounds of sausage and 4 sides of bacon, 2 of which were frozen from the last hog.  We made 75 # of Summers Sausage, 50# of Maple patties, 160# of Ham Rolls, 75 # of Polish Sausage, 25# of Tomato  Basil Bratwurst, 25# Hot Italian Sausage (named after me wink) 25# Chorizo Sausage, and 10# Plain ground pork and 21 # Plain ground venison.  Next we made a batch of Blood Sausage, sounds yucky but is most delicious.  This all took three days from start to finish in between all other farm work.

 

 

 

The meat waiting to be smoked before freezing as the 9 pt. stares on.

 

 

Slow smoking sausage with Hickory chips. Smells so good…….

 

 

My favorite job, wrapping the meat. A two day job.

 

 

Beautiful Minnesota morning. A gift for those who wake early to work.

 

A mild Thanksgiving Day came and went. My nieces visited and made it extra fun.

 

 

Working off the turkey and pie on this mild Thanksgiving day.

 

 

Chief should have known better than to try to keep up with a Dodge Truck!

 

 

We had a nice visit and great discussions with a  group of professionals from The U of Minnesota. The topic of course was Organic Swine Production.

 

Checking over the breeding pen.

 

Discussing different problems concerning feeder pigs.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures of our life down on the farm.

 

 

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