~Callens Farm….Producing and Consuming~

Marisa and Fred harvesting grapes. They filled 4 five gallon pails which I started juicing. We will be harvesting more tomorrow and I am juicing them down.

Marisa and Fred harvesting grapes. They filled 4 five gallon pails which I started juicing. We will be harvesting more tomorrow and I am juicing them down.

I love living on the farm!!   We call this a honey farm but there’s really so much more than just honey.  We did pull off a bunch of honey early and there looks like a whole lot more will be coming.

Fred chopping cabbage for 100 pounds of Kraut!

Fred chopping cabbage for 100 pounds of Kraut!

Mario, age 10, had this job.

Mario, age 10,
had this job.

We have been super busy on the farm here lately!  It seems like all the produce is coming in at the same time.  All of the sweet corn is in the freezer and half of the beets canned.  The butcher shop smells of fruit and a ton of Fred’s wine.  He has the wedding wine  (Apricot) brewing for Clayton and Angelica’s wedding and is going to start the elderberry, grape and plum wine next, some for the wedding celebration and a whole bunch for us and our friends.  The butcher shop is full, and I mean FULL of different wines brewing. Holy Cow!!!!!

Elderberries for wine.

Elderberries for wine.

I fried and froze 18 eggplants for winter Eggplant Parmesan!  It’s my favorite food in the world.  There are many more still growing in the garden.  The bees make a big difference here and have pollinated like crazy.  We actually froze two butcher shop lugs full of peppers!!!  There are 30 quarts of green beans put up so far and they slowly produce over and over again.

Fried eggplant ready for the freezer.

Fried eggplant ready for the freezer.

Garden fresh produce.

Garden fresh produce.

The potato crop this is year is huge!  I have never seen such large taters and they are delicious and very, very early.  They have been ready for a month and Fred would like them three times a day, as usual.  Fresh, organic, home grown food is well worth the work.

The back garden 4 weeks ago. Pop corn on the left, sweet corn on the right.

The back garden 4 weeks ago. Pop corn on the left, sweet corn on the right.

Sweet Italian Basil! We have harvested this 5 times so far. This is a must in my kitchen.

Sweet Italian Basil! We have harvested this 5 times so far. This is a must in my kitchen.

Zucchini every single day. YUM

Zucchini every single day. YUM

Zucchini pizza. Wow this is really good.

Zucchini pizza. Wow this is really good.

Great crop of early tomatoes. We eat this salad at least one meal a day. Tomatoes, sweet onions, sweet basil, salt, garlic, garlic and more garlic, drizzle with olive oil. YUM Some like cucumbers or green peppers in this as well.

Great crop of early tomatoes. We eat this salad at least one meal a day. Tomatoes, sweet onions, sweet basil, salt, garlic, garlic and more garlic, drizzle with olive oil. YUM Some like cucumbers or green peppers in this as well.

September will bring even more farm work but it is a very good feeling knowing that our work will last all winter and spring long.  We’ll be eating healthy, chemical free foods that are already paid for.  In case you haven’t noticed, prices are getting higher in the grocery store.  I keep telling myself, one thing at a time because otherwise, this produce that has to be put up can be very overwhelming!!

I turned 54 years old!! This is Kallie and I. Thankful for life ;)

I turned 54 !! This is Kallie and I. Thankful for life, which is good!!

No you can't eat these ;) This is a tray of rocks that Bella bought home from Wyoming for me. I am a rock hound on my spare time.

No you can’t eat these ;) This is a tray of rocks that Bella bought home from Wyoming for me. I am a rock hound on my spare time.

And now this update is late. We have company for a week and have lots of help and great fun.  More produce has been harvested and put away thanks to our helpers from South Carolina.  Looking forward to the barn dance tomorrow night at the Fonders.  Life is good by golly!  But…….not easy.

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~Organic Chickens and Another Barn Dance~

Silvana, Maggie, Mario and Bella...You do not work......you do not eat!!

Silvana, Maggie, Mario and Bella…You do not work……you do not eat!!

The chickens are in the freezer…..all….73 meat birds, organically fed.  Thanks to our friends, The Fonders, for the organic feed.  The chickens also were out on grass in chicken tractors.  Processing was done on two different days, having selected  the larger birds first.  They averaged 6.4 pounds which is a good size for our family.  Maggie was in charge of the chores for these meat birds and she claims extra pieces at each meal due to her efforts!  She did a great job feeding them.  These chickens taste absolutely delicious.

Caleb handles the worst part of chicken butchering for us!  We borrowed this unit from the Fonders.

Caleb handles the worst part of chicken butchering for us! We borrowed this unit from the Fonders.

Fred built this chicken butchering hot water dipper from an old water heater and it worked great!  Marisa did the dipping.

Fred built this chicken butchering hot water dipper from an old water heater and it worked great! Marisa did the dipping.

Marisa also ran the new chicken plucker Caleb put together.

Marisa also ran the new chicken plucker Caleb put together.

Me having fun with my kids.  I like this job best.

Me having fun with my kids. I like this job best.

Chilling the birds in icy cold water.

Chilling the birds in icy cold water.

Draining the chickens before packaging.

Draining the chickens before packaging.

Packaged, weighed and hauled to the freezer.

Packaged, weighed and hauled to the freezer.

Not too much to clean up.  A job well done....until next year!

Not too much to clean up. A job well done….until next year!

NOTE:  If you are fairly local and would like to hear our kids play music, there is another barn dance coming up at the Fonders farm.  See photo below for the juicy details.  It will be their second barn dance held on their organic dairy.  Come kick up your heels………Life is good by golly.  I’m not missing any of it!!

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~Queens and Engagement Announcement~

 

Virgin Queens still a bit small, Nicot Method.

Virgin Queens still a bit small, Nicot Method.

Marisa and Silvana have been working hard trying to develop some good, strong Queen bees that will make it through cold Northern climates.  They have had some success so far.  Replacing Queens can be expensive and it seems like a lot of the stock purchased isn’t exactly hardy in many ways!

New Queen Bee!

New Queen Bee!  Can you see her there in the middle?

So far they have had success raising 15 new queens.  The main thing is that they are experimenting and learning a lot.  There is a need for good quality queens and eventually we hope to never have to buy any queens again.  We can hope…… !  They sold the very best new queen to a neighbor lady and at some point, they can start selling more queens but that is down the road a way.  Beekeeping is one big learning experience.

A queen cage with an empty queen cell which one of the new queens emerged.

A queen cage with an empty queen cell from which one of the new queens emerged.

The girls were out caging the queen cells.

The girls were out caging the queen cells.

Adding a caged queen cell to a colony without a queen.

Adding a caged queen cell to a colony without a queen.

 On another honey sweet note………….Clayton became engaged to Angelica Ostry on the 10th of July, Peter and Frenchy’s 5th Anniversary.  I thought that was kind of special.  He tied the ring onto the mane of Apache; how sweet is that?  Coming from a horse trainer, that should have been expected!  We are all very excited and happy.  The wedding will be next spring.  Life continues to be good and we are very thankful for all our blessings. 

Clayton Callens and Angelica Ostry engaged July 10th, 2015.  Life is good by golly...this is proof!!

Clayton Callens and Angelica Ostry engaged July 10th, 2015.  Life is good by golly…this is proof!!

 

 

 

 

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~ Bumper Crop of Cherries ~

Beautiful crop of pie cherries!

Beautiful crop of pie cherries!

The honey bees are responsible for a bumper crop of cherries this year!  So far we froze enough for 28 pies or desserts.   Tomorrow we are bound and determined to finish the job!   The cherries make the most delicious pies ever.  It would be easier and way less time-consuming to buy the fake cherry pie filling but that’s not an option.  High fructose poison with red dye……….yuck.  Picking, washing, pitting and packing takes so much time but it’s so worth the effort.

Cherry trees ready to pick.

Cherry trees ready to pick.

 

Fruit from the tree, work of human hands.

Fruit from the tree, work of human hands.

There were two other smaller cherry bushes which, after harvest, have been turned into a very delicious and beautiful jelly.  You’ll have to take my word for it since I didn’t take any photos of that job!   We’ve been staying really busy with summer farm work.  I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I last wrote.  More posts coming soon! 

 

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~Barn Dance Friday June 5~

 

And then there was light!  New this year.

And then there was light! New this year.   I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE MY FRED!!!!!!

It’s that time of year again!  We have been busy getting ready for Friday night.  The dance will be on rain or shine.  Join us if you can.  Bring pot luck snacks and finger foods…….cups and your favorite chair.  Be prepared to dance until the cows come home!   In which case, you will help with morning chores.  Help us celebrate life!  It’s good!  In the meantime, we girls head to the church to do general cleaning. 

Flowers from the road ditches to the vase!!

Flowers from the road ditches to the vase!!

Almost.........finished but not quite!

Almost………finished but not quite!

Maggie's masterpiece!

Maggie’s masterpiece!

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~Feed My Sheep….Feed My Lambs~

 

Are You My Mother?

Are You My Mother?

 

Healthy crop of lambs enjoying the evening air.

Healthy crop of lambs enjoying the evening air.

We are almost finished with the lambing season.  As of this morning we have 79 live lambs.  There would have been 5 more lambs but we lost them, two born dead, three failure to thrive.  All in all we are super happy with the 2015 season.  Thanks be to God!

Isabella Angel is an exceptional mother :)

Isabella Angel is an exceptional mother :)

 There were four lambs that were pulled during difficult labor.  Four sets of triplets were born of which four were taken from the ewes to bottle feed.  The kids are feeding nine bottle lambs, two of which were given to us from a neighbor.  They know we have a milk cow to cover the babies.  There a couple more ewes that will be coming in within the next couple of weeks. 

Happy lambs playing in the evening.

Happy lambs playing in the evening.

Ewes and lambs being moved to their second grazing paddock.

Ewes and lambs being moved to their second grazing paddock.

I’ll never get tired of the spring time and the new life that comes along with it.  It’s hard to believe that I am a transplanted “city” girl after all these 30 years.  I love it here, on the land, with my family.  Life may not be easy but it’s certainly not dull nor boring.  It’s good, by golly!!

(81 lambs are born now as I never got this posted!)

 

 

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~Spring…… Chicks ~

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Meat birds and replacement layers have been here for a couple of weeks.  One night I was in a deep sleep, around 1:00 a.m. when something woke me up……..must have been my Guardian Angel.  The dogs were barking and the thought came to me that the lights were out in the baby chicken house.  I went to look out the bedroom window and sure enough, there was no light coming from that shed!

Baby chick housing where the lights went out!

Baby chick housing where the lights went out!

Out I ran in my jammies and coat because it was freezing and tried to figure out what was up.  The chicks were not making a peep which scared me.  Next I ran back to wake up Fred and we both went back out and found the problem had been a blown breaker in the shop.  The air compressor had been left on!  Anyhow, the poor chickies were so cold and we ended up losing 8 birds.  Not too bad considering they would have all been dead had not I been prompted awake.  Now that is pretty cool.

IMG_9888I ran in to Runnings  in Canby and bought some replacements!  I figure we were fairly lucky.  These chickens are being fed all organic feed which we were able to get from our friends who farm totally organic for Organic Valley.  Can’t wait to see how they turn out.

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