~You and Me Going Fishing In the Dark~

That is our Host, Alan Ferber who loves taking people out on the lake!! You must bait your own hook and remove the fish of course!!!!

Lynda is always in a happy mood even while having been confined to a wheel chair for many years!! She’s a joy to be around! She makes it a point not to let life pass her by! For richer or poorer in sickness and in health…..an inspirational couple!

The view from my side of the boat! Good for the soul…….

Well, we would have been fishing in the dark had we not needed to get home for chores!  Here is a short photo post on our fishing trip a few weeks ago.  Time flies when you are having fun.  We came home with 67 mostly Perch and several Blue Gills and Crappies……. Two days later, Fred, Mario and I went fishing again and brought home about the same amount as the above.  We should be good now for awhile for Friday fish meals!!

It was slow In the beginning for Bella, Silvana and our hostess, Lynda Ferber! Lynda caught the most fish using her one working arm and her teeth! She is amazing and always as cheerful as you can see in this photo.

 

Bella pulls them in silently and she did catch probably the second most fish that day!

 

Pure joy on Marisa’s face and a very relaxing day on this Minnesota/South Dakota lake!

 

I caught the least fish but I’d argue that I had the BEST time ever!!!

 

Big Stone Lake, South Dakota side!

 

On the road again………..

 

All smiles after a wonderful day on the lake!   That’s a lot of fish to clean!!!!  Alan and the girls did that job while I helped Lynda prepare supper.

 

Alan and Bella cleaning fish.

 

Alan in his butcher shop cleaning the fish. He is also the same man who has been teaching us how to make sausage and process meat the correct way.

 

Who’s hungry now?

 

Bless us Oh Lord for these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty through Christ our Lord, amen! Dig in…..

Life is good……….don’t miss it!

 

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~Tomatoes, Kraut, Taters, Hogs etc.~

Two of way too many boxes of tomatoes!!!

I can’t believe I just typed that!  With all the rain this year, we have an over- abundance of tomatoes.  The plan was to put in maybe 15 to 20 plants this spring.  Somehow, we ended up with 50 plants.  So far we’ve made salsa, ketchup and plain canned tomatoes.  Tomorrow we are going to try a tasty pizza sauce.  After that the pigs will have to finish off the crop!  We gave away a bunch of tomatoes but ran out of takers since almost everyone had a great crop this year.  So far we have not had a frost which is odd for our area. 

Getting ready to fill the pints of ketchup!

Ketchup tastes pretty good thanks to Mrs. Wages!

Cooking down plain tomatoes for future use.

 

The plain tomatoes all canned and ready for storage!

We also had an excellent crop of cabbage this year.  While I am bragging about the great yields, I better mention the fabulous crop of weeds too!!!  Wow, the many rains not only grew the weeds but also made weeding difficult.  Below are some photos of the Kraut being processed.   The girls wanted to package it last week but I argued, and won, stating simply that it did not “smell” at all down in the basement.  Now a week later, having gone down stairs for milk, I can smell that the Sauer Kraut is very near ready!!  The smellier the better says this Italian writer about that German food!  Can’t wait to top our delicious home grown pork with the Kraut.

Shaded by the pine trees, the girls cut and filled three five gallon pails of cabbage.

36 # of cabbage per 5 gallon pail.

Some of our beautiful cabbage heads cleaned and ready to shred.

All of the potatoes are dug and stored in the basement under the steps.  We didn’t plant as many as usual so they should all be used up without getting mushy by spring.  Thank God we dug them in between rains because we are in yet another rainy pattern!!  Cold, damp and dreary.  We had the wood stove going the other day and Fred wanted to light it before supper tonight but I talked him out of it.  (It got too hot the other day) Now it is pouring out, as usual, and some of us are cold!  Guess I should have kept my mouth shut.  Flash flood warnings are out for tonight and tomorrow! 

Straw covered potatoes dug up and now safely stored for the winter! It’s safe to say, we won’t starve.

Farm fresh potatoes!

NOW FOR THE MISCELANEOUS!

It doesn’t always rain here.  Below is a photo of our lovely Minnesota moon, shining down on the farm!  What a view while cooking on the camp fire.

A romantic Minnesota moon shining down on me!!!

A beautiful load of hogs getting ready to go to  market.   Now, four weeks later a second load leaves for Iowa this morning.   Time flew…………..

Organic Prairie Pork….a company you can trust when wanting to consume excellent quality Organic Pork.   https://www.organicprairie.com/category/organic_pork

Cleo with her piglets. Hopefully they will grow to be as luscious as their mamma!!

These piglets are from the recent group born on the Callens Farm. They are located in the new building.

Hogs gently loaded. Make HAM not War!!

Fred grinds around 6 to 8 ton of hog feed every week.

 

Farrowing is officially over! Sweet little piglets snuggle on mamma sow.

 

Grape harvest came and went. Fred has some wine brewing in the butcher shop made from these Fontenac grapes.

I’ve been cooking with mostly cast iron and loving it. Gone are most of my stainless pots and pans. I kept only a few…..so far.

That about sums up life on the Callens Farm!  I’ll be back with a fishing report in which some much needed recreation happened.  Next week I will be flying out to  Ohio to see my beautiful Jessi, Luke and the sweet grandchildren.  Also, my fun,  sister Anet will meet us there.  I hope the coffee pot will be hot at the Sows Ear, home of the Dougherty’s, much loved in-laws.  Maggie will be my traveling partner. (yikes)  We will also be taking a road trip to see my most wonderful mom in Bethlehem, PA.  Hope she has some Mortadella in the fridge.

  Life is good……….. beyond the pavement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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~Liquid Gold~

 

 

Very heavy honey super being transported to the jeep.

We ended up extracting honey just once this year. Normally we extract at least two to four times during the summer, but didn’t manage to extract until the very end of August.  The Organic Prairie hog operation and new building projects have kept us super busy!

Silvana and I sharing a funny comment!! Bees and I don’t get along very well.

This year we had our bees here on the home place and over at Fred’s grandfathers old farm which is in CRP land.  There were a lot of hives here and some of the little children were getting stung as they played in the yard.  Next year we will most likely move more hives over to the other farm.

Silvana, Bella and Marisa extracted all of the honey!

Pure liquid gold!

Stop in to Brad’s Market in Minneota, Mobergs Meats and Jim’s Super Value in Canby for a sample of pure honey with not one single additive!  Taste the difference!  Live, love and laugh……….sweeten it all with a little honey!

 

 

 

 

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~Recreational Cooking~

Seriously the best tasting pizza ever! Cast iron cooking is my latest hobby. Crunchy crust makes all the effort worth it.

 

Low pan sides and plenty of coals on top brown the pizza to perfection. The bottom does not burn and each pizza takes around 12 minutes.  The first pizza is the slowest to cook.

 

A nice crusty bottom that holds up nicely. Oh baby! This is living!

 

Dutch Oven Potato Soup with our  ham.

 

Our own Ham and Bacon Roll chopped and browned with sweet onions. After these are browned……see below.

 

These are a copy cat recipe of Pillsbury Grand Biscuits. I put these raw on top of the bacon and onions until brown.  Flip them over and cook the other side.   Photo Below.

 

The finished product. I guess you could call it Ham and Bacon Biscuits. These were very good.

 

Dutch oven cooking, you might call it Recreational Cooking!

 

 

Best baked beans in the entire world!! Even my mom would like these. Recipe from Kent Rollins:  A Taste of Cowboy Cookbook.

 

These are the copy cat Pillsbury Grand Biscuit dough again. Just as good at the real thing.  Reese managed to bake this without burning them!

 

Here’s the meal which also included Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce.  Silvana baked that in the oven.  This is another one of Kent Rollins recipes.

 

Whiskey sauce bread pudding close up. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten bread pudding in my life but I have to admit this was delicious.

The rain didn’t put a damper on our cooking fun!

 

A little Bread and James Taylor helps set a nice mood for outdoor cooking.

Sparkling Taters, another of Kent Rollins recipes. I wasn’t in love with this one but the family liked it.

Apple Pie compliments of Bella and Silvana.

It’s been fun trying alternative methods of cooking and some new recipes.    I love it when everyone likes whatever is served!  Life is good, down on the farm.

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~21 Days Second Building Finished~

Caleb and Mario are working on the shed.  I guess they are not afraid of heights! Or it could be they don’t like making Kraut, harvesting honey, digging potatoes, canning Ketchup or canning Salsa!!!

A very short update!

Nothing but blue skies…………..hammers and nails!

Fred had to try out the shed with the truck and trailer.

Fred, Mario and Caleb working on the roof metal.

Mario and Fred digging in the wires needed for the new shed.

 

The finished project!

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~New Building~

The new building finished!!

The new hog barn was finished on the 1oth of August!  As of this writing, it is officially filled with bred gilts and sows that started to farrow on the 17th of August.  Now that’s cutting it close!    This building was built using mostly  recycled materials.  The only materials purchased new were the roof tin, sheet metal screws, ring shanks, the 2 x4’s, 2 x 6’s, electrical wire and lights.  The water lines are also new.   Building with used materials is a challenge but it saves a ton of money.  I figure it was worth it.   Photos below are not exactly in any particular order.   May 26 to August 10th, see below.

 

 

 

 

Digging in the water lines.

 

Bella’s favorite saying from the movie EVER AFTER……. “I’m only here for the food”.

The next photo was taken the very last night we were officially done.  What a relief!!   I’m so proud of them all!  Especially my most handsome and hardworking husband, Fred.  I love him so much.  He came home from work every day, dropped off his lunch box and headed straight out to work on the building.  Unless………..there was feed to grind.  Anyhow, the kids definitely take after their father and my own mom will attest to that!  Enough said.

The work crew happy to see the job through.

The girls gave each of the first 16 bred gilts a good scrubbing before they were moved into the new building for farrowing.  This job took an entire day, minus morning and night chores. 

 

The next building was started yesterday, Saturday.  Fred and Mario sunk all of the posts for the new Commodity shed.   This shed will be 72′ by 36′ mono-slope building too and will be constructed from recycled materials.  While everyone came in for lunch, the sheep, like naughty children, helped themselves to the corn and sweet potato tops!  I can relate to all the stories in the Bible about sheep!  Fred said there will be plenty left for grinding for corn bread, the only reason we grew it.  He also said the sweet potato greens will grow back.  I can actually believe that since we have received almost 8 inches of rain in the last two weeks.

Fred and Mario started the new building yesterday and finished all of the posts.

 Yesterday we froze the sweet corn and I am totally glad that job is over. A big thank you goes out to Peter and Frenchy who grew the sweet corn patch this year!!  Thank God that  job is done for another year!

The sheep were happy to help clean the mess.

 I am looking forward to next weekend,  fun camping with my youngest two and Frenchy’s family.   We managed a short camping trip a couple of weeks ago at Big Stone Lake while Fred held the fort.  Life is short so I want to make sure we have some fun even as work is such a big part of our lives.  Life is good by golly; pass the s’mores please.

 

 

 

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~Busy Life on the Farm~

Newly shorn sheep in March.

I just realized that the last time I posted here was on March 1!  Talk about time flying by so quickly.  We’ve been busy keeping the farm going.  The sheep were sheared by Clayton in March.  There were 75 in all.

Bred gilts left to right, Shelly, Berry and Lily awaiting the big day!

 

Then we started farrowing the hogs on March 12.  Farrowing did not end until May 7.   There were 32 sows and gilts and the whole process was very time consuming.

IMG_2734

 

May 18th, Silvana and I got sick of all the work (hee hee) and took off for The Duppong’s Ranch out in North Dakota for a few days.  There was a wedding to attend and some cattle work out there.  It was just what the Dr. ordered for some renewal of the soul!!!  Of course it was great to see Maggie while we were there.  The Duppong’s are always so much fun to spend time with and I love it out there!!! We had fun traveling and stopping into random tiny towns along the way.

Silvana, Sandra, Renae Duppong and Maggie getting ready to move the cattle in for tagging, branding and shots.

 

In between all of this there were a bunch of butcher hogs that were loaded and sold.

Loading hogs first then the fences were all removed and replaced.

 

Lambing started on March 28 and ended on June 6th!!! Bella and I tried to handle most of the lambing as Marisa and Silvana had their hands full with the farrowing.

Ladies in waiting.

The broiler chickens came in early in April and were in the freezer by June 11.  We only did a small group since I still have last years chicken in the freezer.

 

25 broilers fed totally organic thanks to Rick Fonders’s excellent feed!

We started fixing fences on all of the hog pens which had to be replaced due to having become worn out over the years.  As we sold butcher hogs we needed to have things ready for the weanlings.

Replacing old fences.

In the middle of May we received a ton of rain.  We sunk our first poles for the new hog barn on May 26.  That has been keeping us busy.  We’re building a mono slope hog barn which is 120′ by 37′.   The dirt work began earlier in May.

Dirt work began mud and all

In the beginning of June the girls made 5 splits from our bee hives and caught a swarm as well.   As of today there are 17 hives.  They seem to be doing well and so far they’ve added 20 honey supers.  So, we’ll see how that goes.

 

In June we sold a total of 54 lambs right off of the pasture.  They were still with their mothers.  The price was fantastic at $2.40 a pound!!  We sure earned it with all of the running around!  We kept 20 ewe lambs back and there are still quite a few lambs out on pasture that are not weaned yet and will be sold in the next couple of weeks.   There is another group of 5 ewes and their lambs in the barn.  They came in late and we didn’t want to lose them in the heat.

A new mother with her lambs.

 

In need of new blood, we purchased three yearling Targhee Rams for the next season.  They are 240 #’ers and came in for $400 each.  I sure hope they live and are good breeders!

In between all of this we managed to plant two gardens which are in need of more weeding!  Come to think of it, we could use a bunch of rain as well.

There were 2 grandbabies born this year….. Rowland Geppetto Callens and Rafe Tristan Ryland!

Angelica Clayton and Rolland

Clayton, Angelica & Rowland Geppetto.

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Rafe Tristan Ryland, son of Peter and Francesca!

 

 

I’ll be back with some photos of the new building’s progress.  Life is good!

 

 

 

 

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