~ New Smoke House ~ Upcoming Barn Dance~

Bacon and ham in the new smoke house!

Bacon and ham in the new smoke house!

Once again, Fred turned a junk item into a very good smoke house.  We have it fired up for the first time today and are about to shut her down.  A good eight hours of heat is all it takes.  Caleb cut us a chunk off of the ham to taste and it was super delicious!  It’s way better than the other method which I have always liked.

Gas fired smoke house made from a broken refrigerator.

Gas fired smoke house made from a broken freezer.

This should be easy for anyone to make.  Soon we will be doing Polish Sausage and Hot Dogs.  We never stop learning new things on the farm and it’s never boring.  Fred is working off the farm today and I can’t wait for him to taste test this meat.

Close up, can you smell it?

Close up, can you smell it?

In the house I have started cooking the pork for Clayton and Angelica’s groom supper meal.  My plan is to cook it on low heat over night.  Anyone who knows me well, knows I change my plans all the time, but so far, so good.  I’ve got two roasters going with 36 pounds of meat between them.  Planning on feeding an army and their families!!  Counting down the days till the wedding this weekend.  God is good and we are thankful for His blessings.

 

Alan Ferber and my handsome husband Fred.

Alan Ferber and my handsome husband Fred.

I love knowing where our meat comes from and what the livestock ate as well as how it was cared for.  Supper is in the oven and that is a home-raised organic chicken.   We recently bought in 100 meat birds again and they will also be fed 100% organic feed.  You can really taste the difference, either that or I imagine it.  We are so thankful for our organic farm family friends, The Fonders as well as Alan and Lynda Ferber who patiently teach us how to process meat.

Our meat birds came in several weeks ago and are doing well.

Our meat birds came in several weeks ago and are doing well.

 

Fred making ready our first trial run on our "new" 100 pound stuffer.

Fred making ready for a first trial run on our “new” 100 pound stuffer.

The stuffer works by using the water hose as pressure and worked like a dream.  We stuffed 50 pounds of plain sausage and 50 pounds of breakfast sausage in a very short time.

Waiting with anticipation to see how it will work! Marisa and Fred.

Waiting with anticipation to see how it will work! Marisa and Fred.

 

Packing the sausage with ease.

Packing the sausage with ease.

 

Marisa trying out the new Hobart Meat Tenderizer with Alan talking her through it all.

Marisa trying out the new Hobart Meat Tenderizer with Alan talking her through it all.

Finally, Fred found time to fill the wine bottles for the wedding.  In the end we bottled 72 bottle of home made wine.  Apricot Blush, named in honor of the bride and Frontenac Grape.  Most of it is the Apricot which we think is delicious!  Whatever we don’t consume will be used up at the upcoming 2016 Barn Dance Friday May 27, 2016.  Come one, come all.  7:00 P.M.  until the cows come home, or later. 

72 bottles of Apricot Blush ready for the wedding. Come to the Barn Dance to sample what is left!

72 bottles of Apricot Blush ready for the wedding. Come to the Barn Dance to sample what is left!

 

Getting ready for the barn dance, planning ahead.

Getting ready for the barn dance, planning ahead.

 

Let there be light!

Let there be light!

 

Love this photo of Chief and the grandchildren. They were out stirring up dust while we set up.

Love this photo of Chief and the grandchildren. They were out stirring up dust while we set up.

The kids and Fred planted earlier last month four Peach trees and some grapes.  Then the rains came which will hopefully make them thrive.  It’s been a cold spring so far but the grass is growing great which will be wonderful for the lamb crop of around 70 plus and still coming.

Planting the peach trees earlier this spring.

Planting the peach trees earlier this spring.

My shepherd husband Fred with a bottle lamb.

My shepherd husband Fred with a bottle lamb.

Life is good; enjoy every minute of it!

 

 

 

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~Wedding Pork~

Two hogs are cut and being prepared for Clayton and Angelica's wedding.

Two hogs are cut and being prepared for Clayton and Angelica’s wedding.

The weather took a turn for the worst.  Perfect weather to butcher the hogs for the upcoming wedding.  It is so cold that we had to start the wood stove inside of the house.   The hogs will be cut and frozen for transport to the caterers down in Nebraska.  We are looking forward to the Wedding Feast!

This is how the next generation learns where farm fresh food comes from and how to get it ready to eat!

This is how the next generation learns where farm fresh food comes from.

Years ago most families had a connection to the land and farm.  Read any old fashioned reader and you will see how the kids went to their grandparents or an uncle’s farm to spend time in the fresh air with the livestock.  It was a good life.  This is a good life.  I thank God for all His many blessings in a world that seems to have gone crazy.  We pray and work and put our lives in His capable hands.

We have been very blessed with ongoing lessons and a whole bunch of fun with Alan Ferber.  He has been sharing his skills with us every time we process a beef or pork.  We’ve learned so much and he is passing on his knowledge to the next generation as well.  We all enjoy the time together.

Alan Ferber teaches his eager students when we processed a cow recently. He's fun and amazing.

Alan Ferber teaches his eager students when we processed a cow recently. He’s fun and amazing.

Notice the bottle of vino behind the tenderizer!  We had to sample the wedding wine in between cuts.

Lynda, Alan's wife comes along sometimes to add her cheerful smile and advice.

Lynda, Alan’s wife comes along sometimes to add her cheerful smile and advice.

This beautiful and amazing lady coaches Bella and I on what the cuts are and how to package them properly and in a timely manner.  She delights us with her stories and smiles.  She used to work with her husband when they owned the butcher shop out in Wyoming.  Thanks to her, we had the most delicious and tender Prime Rib Roasts for Easter.  That’s one cut I’ve never used. Again, a blessing to our family.

Prime Rib Roast tied and ready.

Prime Rib Roast tied and ready.

Hopefully soon I will post the photos of the hotdogs we made and the new 100 # sausage stuffer we purchased as well as a commercial tenderizer.   I’ve got a crew of hungry people to feed!

 

 

 

 

 

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~Good Friday Tradition~

No matter what the weather is like, we always plant at least some potatoes on Good Friday.

The tilled land ready for the potato seeds.

The tilled land ready for  potato seeds.

It was very cold, damp and bitter out side, with a wind that could freeze salt water.

Digging and planting.

Digging and planting.

A little snow only on the north side of the garage.

A little snow only on the north side of the garage.

A mix of our own seed saved from 2015.

A mix of our own seed saved from 2015.

Fred, my farmer, loving husband of 31 years, still out there teaching our youngest son how to plant our food.   I find myself recalling back to the time when we were newlyweds; Fred had to teach me how to cut the potato seeds and plant them.  Honestly, I was truly amazed back then and still find it exciting.

Fred and Mario planting a few rows of potatoes to keep our tradition alive.

Fred and Mario planting a few rows of potatoes to keep our tradition alive.

When our kids all leave this place of peace, one thing is for absolute certain, they will know how to raise their own food.  Whether or not they choose to do so is up to them, but it’s a comfort to us knowing we made it a priority…….. living this kind of life!

Happy Easter to one and to all………..a wonderful life.

Bella, Marisa, Angelica, Jessica Kruse, Frenchy and Maggie on Easter Sunday enjoying life!

Bella, Marisa, Angelica, Jessica Kruse, Frenchy and Maggie on Easter Sunday enjoying life!

 

 

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~Sheep Shearing On The Callens Farm~

The sheep have been sheared by Clayton again this year.  Silvana  filmed a video of him shearing so check it out below.  Not sure how anyone can  bend over and work so hard.  He sheared 62 ewes and 2 bucks.  I enjoyed watching him work and I’m always amazed at his technique.  Also, I’m very grateful that he doesn’t charge us to shear!!!  Thank you Clayton.  Lambing has begun as of this morning.  It took a bit of snow to get that ball rolling.

 

 

 

 

 

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~Winter On The Farm~

Straw and hay for the livestock.

Straw and hay for the livestock.

I started this post back in January.   Hard to believe February is gone.  Winter keeps us busy here on the farm.

Our girls singing Our Father

Meet Ruby, proud first time mother of 11 piglets!

Meet Ruby, proud first time mother of 11 piglets!

The cute piglets take after their father......Ruby is much better looking.

The cute piglets take after their father……Ruby is much better looking.

IMG_8256

Marisa keeps us well fed with her delicious apple pies!!

Frenchy, Maggie, Marisa, Mario (below) Bella, Silvana, Caleb, Sandra and Fred. Christmas Eve 2015

Frenchy, Maggie, Marisa, Mario (below) Bella, Silvana, Caleb, Sandra and Fred. Christmas Eve 2015

Sandra and grandson Blasé on Calebs snowmobile.

Sandra and grandson Blasé on Caleb’s snowmobile.

Christmas Eve, elderberry wine made us rather warm....so we headed outside for fresh air !!

Christmas Eve, elderberry wine made us rather warm….so we headed outside for fresh air !! MISS YOU JESSI !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Three birthdays celebrated on one day. This one we sang for Jessi who is in Ohio now. Trick candles didn't want to go out!! Happy birthday to Silvana, Marisa and Jessi.

Three birthdays celebrated on one day. This one we sang for Jessi who is in Ohio now. Trick candles didn’t want to go out!! Happy birthday to Silvana, Marisa and Jessi.

You can't work all of the time so some of us took a long road trip to Nebraska, via every dirt road we could find, to attend her first bridal shower.

You can’t work all of the time so some of us took a long road trip to Nebraska, via every dirt road we could find, to attend Angelica’s bridal shower.

Nothing quite like the back roads of Nebraska. Travel at your own risk. My Durango goes through pretty much anything!!!

Nothing quite like the back roads of Nebraska. Travel at your own risk.  The Durango goes through pretty much anything!!!

Beautiful Organic corn for the pig operation. From Carmen Fernholz farm.

Beautiful Organic corn for the pig operation. From Carmen Fernholz farm.

 

 

Bella turned 14; she's an angel.

Bella turned 14; she’s an angel.

 

 

My "new" jeep. Family shrinking, drivers growing, so good bye vans, hello four wheel drive rigs.

Our  “new” jeep. Family shrinking, drivers growing, so good bye vans, hello four wheel drive rigs.

Caleb enjoying a Sunday on the frozen pond.

Caleb enjoying a Sunday on the frozen pond.

Wild game of Fox and Goose on the ice. Dangerous for those of us over 50!

Wild game of Fox and Goose on the ice. Dangerous for those of us over 50!

Best husband ever hands down and Frenchy enjoying a Sunday afternoon.

Best husband ever, hands down and Frenchy enjoying a Sunday afternoon.

 

These supply us with yummy RAW milk.

These supply us with yummy RAW milk.

 

Can you find nine little piglets?

Can you find nine little piglets?

Life is good in spite of our imperfections!

 

 

 

 

 

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~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

 

 

 

 

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