~New Meat Grinder~

 

Sanitary Meat Grinder.

Sanitary Meat Grinder.

Fred and I bought this beast of a meat grinder recently.  It was actually white and Fred sanded it a bit and painted it John Deere Green.  This baby can grind 50 # of meat in 2 minutes….or less.  I freaked out though the first time he ran it because it looked dangerous.  By golly it WAS dangerous!!!  Not to worry though, after a bit of planning and scavenging around the farm Fred came up with a design to make a stainless steel meat tray on top and a hand guard!!  So proud of my farm guy.

Stainless steel meat tray.

Stainless steel meat tray.

 

Front view of old military Sanitary meat grinder. This baby is one of a kind!!

Front view of old military Sanitary meat grinder. This baby is one of a kind!!

This unit is mobile and low enough not to be a back breaker.

This unit is mobile and low enough not to be a back breaker.

Fred hand carved the plunger from a Maple log he found in the wood pile.  The meat actually gets fed under the curved guard, the hole being used only for the plunger.  He used a hammer to shape the stainless steel and some rivets to secure it in place.

 

This was our first test of the grinder before Fred built the safety tray.

This is Alan during our first test of the grinder before Fred built the safety tray.

Our new meat scale for precision seasoning measurements.

Our new meat scale.

This scale works swell!!  When you are making seasoned meats of all kinds, you need to have an accurate scale or you can blow a batch of meat really fast.  Alan Ferber has been really helpful in teaching us new methods and little tricks to the trade. 

Allen explaining his methods to his students!

Alan explaining his methods to his students!

 

More instruction.

More instruction.

Alan located the scale for us to purchase and came over again to teach us more meat processing techniques.  He’s coming over again when we do more hogs to teach us yet more techniques that will make the processing quick and efficient.  Having been in the field for so many years, he is truly a professional meat cutter.

An eager student!

An eager student!

We have been processing meat for many years and yet are still learning important details.  Farming and the skills that go along with it are never boring.  I think it’s so important for people to know not only how to process their own food but also where that food comes from. 

 

 

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~Winter video THE CALLENS FARM ~

Here is a link to a short Callens Farm video.  Click the link below and enjoy.  Happy New year!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xK88OmRNN4

 

 

 

 

Posted in LIVESTOCK | Tagged | 3 Comments

~Let It Snow~

 

Wishing this snow would last until Christmas.

Wishing this snow would last until Christmas.

We have had a beautiful snow and it helps make this season bright!!  We finished all of the butchering and the bacon has been smoked and packaged in the freezer.  Yum!  It turned out really good.  It’s been fun cooking with a whole variety of meats.  As you can imagine, there have been a whole lot of potatoes served as well.

Fred smoked 50 pounds of bacon using apple wood.

Fred smoked 50 pounds of bacon using apple wood.

Fred’s red neck smoker unit.  Don’t laugh; it works great!  He likes to make things out of just about anything laying around the farm.

Fred was smoking the bacon late into the night after a long busy day on the farm. To him it is fun!!

Fred was smoking the bacon late into the night after a long busy day on the farm. To him it is fun!!

My girls are busy making our Christmas treats and the house has smelled simply terrific!  I’m bound and determined not to test anything until Christmas Eve and day.

Christmas baking, stuffed donuts.

Christmas baking, stuffed donuts.

Ginger bread cookies will taste delicious with a good cup of coffee or cocoa.

Ginger bread cookies will taste delicious with a good cup of coffee or cocoa.

The girls and I took a four hour road trip down to Nebraska last week.  We were blessed to see Clayton’s fiancé, Angelica, perform at her Senior recital at Wayne College.  What a fun trip and it was really an awesome performance.  Can’t wait for the wedding in May!

Angelica, deep in concentration at her Senior recital.

Angelica, deep in concentration at her Senior recital.

Talk about farm fresh! Tomorrow we are going to shuck some of the popcorn below and turn it into popcorn balls to be enjoyed on Christmas Day.  It’s nice and dry on the front porch and has served us well as a healthy, organic treat.

Pop corn on a winter porch.

Pop corn on a winter porch.

Silvana is home again for a while at least! We had such a fun time out in Wyoming in spite of the snowy weather.  She gave us a tour of the ranch and we were amazed at how lovely it was.  There were Elk everywhere.  It was a rare occasion….Fred came with us and I think he actually enjoyed himself.   There is no place he’d rather be than at home on his farm.

Elk hanging out on the side of the road.

Elk hanging out on the side of the road.

A happy reunion! Fred, Silvana, Marisa and Frenchy out in Wyoming.

A happy reunion! Fred, Silvana, Marisa and Frenchy out in Wyoming.

 

Life is good!

Decking the walls with bells.............

Decking the walls with bells………….

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~Sausage Making Time~

Pork and deer sausage being smoked!

Pork and deer sausage being smoked!

Yes, we are alive and well on the Callens Farm!  After a quick trip out to Wyoming this past weekend and having a few close calls, snow related experiences, we spent the entire day making sausage.  Nothing like jumping right back into things after a little road trip!

Sausage ready for the smoker. Isn't it lovely?

Sausage ready for the smoker. Isn’t it lovely?

We made 175  pounds of sausage and tomorrow we will finish up with the rest of it.  It was a blessing to have Alan Ferber out to the farm to teach us some of his sausage making expertise, having spent some 50 years in the meat processing business.  What a guy who is full of great knowledge and tips. 

Mario, Silvana and Marisa with our new Sausage press. Works like a dream!

Mario, Silvana and Marisa with our new Sausage press. Works like a dream!

Today we made Pepperoni sausage.   I’ll let you know if it tastes anything like the town stuff.  I have my doubts, but you never know!  We also made some other kind of spicy sausage or Slim Jim mix.  It tastes pretty good but could be a bit spicier in my opinion.  We froze 25 pounds of fresh Brat Jalapeno sausage to make into patties later.  Now THAT WAS spicy enough for me.  Tomorrow we plan on making more pepperoni and some traditional Summer Sausage.  First though,  we are butchering two hogs for a neighbor.

Fred, Marisa and Silvana getting the sausage ready for the stuffing process.

Fred, Marisa and Silvana getting the sausage ready for the stuffing process.

Alan gives Silvana her first sausage stuffing lesson on our new stuffer. He used to own a butcher shop out in Wyoming!

Alan gives Silvana her first sausage stuffing lesson on our new stuffer. He used to own a butcher shop out in Wyoming!

 

Silvana and Marisa stuffing sausages. On top hanging are some of the smoked sausages.

Silvana and Marisa stuffing sausages. On top hanging are some of the smoked sausages.

Rick Fonder, our Organic Valley Dairy farmer friend stopped over and helped grind some meat with Fred.

Rick Fonder, our Organic Valley Dairy farmer friend stopped over after a farm sale.  If you stop over at our place, you will most likely be put to work!  Fred is in the back grinning.

Fred and Alan carrying out a load of sausages to be cooked in the smoker.

Fred and Alan carrying out a load of sausages to be cooked in the smoker.

Farm yard setting adds to the beauty of it all!

Farm yard setting adds to the beauty of it all!

Apple wood smoke makes for a delicious aroma. Got smoke??

The smoke from Apple wood along with Hickory chips makes for a delicious aroma. Got smoke??

The  sausages are around 2# each but if I had it to do over, I’d have ordered the 20 inch length.  As it is though, I’ve 500 casings to use up which sounds like plenty but isn’t really that much considering how much they hold.  Tomorrow I am guessing we will be doing another 200 #.  I really enjoyed learning so much from Alan and he has so many tricks that are well worth remembering.   It’s nice when the older generation cares enough to pass on lost arts to the younger generation, don’t you think?

 

Maggie was so gracious to stay in the kitchen preparing a yummy meal of biscuits and sausage gravy with Apple Dapple cake.

Maggie prepared a hearty and delicious meal for everyone.  It was biscuits and sausage gravy with Apple Dapple cake.  I heard it was excellent, having actually missed it in order to keep the meat grinder going.  So happy my girls are wonderfully capable in the kitchen!  That’s one thing mothers of young children have to look forward to, older children who grow up in to fabulous cooks and bakers.  Among other things………… of course!

Frenchy got a nice buck which is now part of a very tasty sausage recipe.

Frenchy got a nice buck; Maggie got 2 does and we were also given a couple of bucks from some generous neighbors, which are now part of some very tasty sausage recipes.

On to other news……Thursday Marisa and Fred dug up the last of the garden goodies.  There were carrots and parsnips that needed to come in. If you have never grown parsnips, you really need to give them a try.  I have eaten them only once prepared by MaryAnn Duppong for us during their cattle drive out in North Dakota.  They made a big impression on us and I knew we had to start growing them on our farm. 

Carrots fresh from the garden in November.

Carrots fresh from the garden in November.

 

Popcorn graces our front porch. Yummy!!

Popcorn graces our front porch. Yummy!!

We had a great garden year and have plenty of food put up for the winter.  Our popcorn crop was amazing!  Talk about fresh!  This stuff is delicious topped with home-made butter and sea salt.  You can keep the cheese Doritos!  You know, the ones with the ingredient label which is three inches long,  full of things I cannot pronounce.   It really does matter what we eat.   Grow what you eat and eat what you grow.  No matter where you call home, try to grow what you can.

 Life is good by golly.  I bet you already know that!

Me and all of my grand children. Missing Jessi and her family very much!!!

Me and all of my grand children.  All because two people fell in love!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in FARM KITCHEN | Tagged | 10 Comments

~Honey Harvest~

Honey supers the day of harvest. Beautiful!

Honey supers the day of harvest. Beautiful!

It was a pretty good year for honey production.  Marisa and Silvana spent a huge amount of time creating queens.  There was a lot of trial and error, which in this case is not only necessary, but a good thing.  We have a fair number of new Queens. This new line of queens will hopefully be more gentle, disease resistant, pest resistant, cold hardy, and hopefully be good honey producers.   There were two harvests for us and we ended up with 915#.

Marisa, Silvana, Maggie and my niece Chiara gathering the honey.

Marisa, Silvana, Maggie and my niece Chiara gathering the honey.

Marisa is seen removing any wax caps that may have been missed by the machine.

Marisa is seen removing any wax caps that may have been missed by the machine.

Here Silvana is placing a full frame of honey onto the uncapping machine.

Here Silvana is placing a full frame of honey onto the uncapping machine.

Beautiful, light honey being extracted 60 frames at a time!

Beautiful, light honey being extracted 60 frames at a time!

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Honey being pumped into holding barrel just before straining.

 

Hopefully the winter won’t be too harsh this year and we look forward to whatever Spring will bring in 2016.  We have plenty of honey for sale.  If you are local stop in at Brads Market in Minneota or Moberg Meat Center in Canby.   Call ahead for farm pick up.  If you’d like a box shipped at bulk shipping rates email me at calico10@frontiernet.net  We’ll figure out details for the best deal.

Our gardens did well this year and almost everything is put up for the winter.  Parsnips and carrots are still out there.  The potatoes were a super bumper crop and we finished sorting them yesterday.  A very late frost left us with zucchini going into October and as a happy result, we still have some left out in the  butcher shop.

Popcorn crop 2015

Popcorn crop 2015

 

Potatoes to be served at least three times a day!

Potatoes to be served at least three times a day!

 

Beautiful hay to be turned into meat and milk.

Beautiful hay to be turned into meat and milk.

 

Insert Fall fun between long work days.

Insert Fall fun between long work days.

 

I’m looking for a market for Certified Organic Non-GMO Emmer Wheat which is an ancient wheat with very low gluten content and a much healthier choice then modern varieties.  10,000 to 12,000 pounds! It bakes up lovely and does rise when baked.  We are waiting on a mill in SD to get it hulled out and have only done our own by our small antique machine so far.  Stay tuned………..

Josie June and Kallie Jo helping me shine up my rocks.

Josie June and Kallie Jo helping me shine up my rocks.

Every chance I get, I hunt rocks.  Guess you’re never too old or young to start a hobby!

These are from Western Nebraska on our way to the Cheyenne Rodeo. Helps make the memories sweet for me!

These are from Western Nebraska on our way to the Cheyenne Rodeo. It helps make the memories sweet for me!

God bless everyone, everywhere.  Take time to see the little things HE puts before us every day.

 

 

 

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~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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