~Organic Prairie Hogs Shipping Day~

Here's the bacon ready for shipping to Iowa!

Here’s the bacon ready for shipping to Iowa!

These beautiful Organic Pigs went to market on the 16th of December.  This is the finished product that we strive for.  Of course it was severely cold that morning and it was hard to be out there loading.  The trucker arrived early hoping to beat the expected snow storm.  If you are interested in tasting good pork click on the link :

http://www.organicprairie.com/prod_detail_list/organic_pork

There’s quite a good selection of great tasting pork products!

Fred, Bella and Mario getting gates ready.

Fred, Bella and Mario getting gates ready.

Marisa and Silvana working out in the cold.

Marisa and Silvana working out in the cold.

Sorting the largest hogs for market.

Sorting the largest hogs for market.

There were 30 market ready pigs loaded that morning.  That gives us 13 pigs left from the first farrowing group this past spring.  The next groups will be ready for shipping around March 2017.

Curious Jersey's enjoy the action!

Curious Jersey’s enjoy the action!

All loaded and ready to go to the plant in Iowa.

All loaded and ready to go to the plant in Iowa.

 

Cold Minnesota makes life interesting.

Cold Minnesota makes life interesting.

Iced roof but warm chickens within.

Iced roof but warm chickens within.

From the farm yard to the church choir, time to sing! Merry Christmas at last.

From the cover-alls to the choir loft, Merry Christmas to all!

 

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~Hog Heaven~

Silvana Bella Dad and Marisa working with the Organic hogs!

Silvana Bella Dad and Marisa working with the Organic hogs!

Here we are, down on the Callens Honey Farm.  Our farm life in photos!  Hope you enjoy our busy life which just became a bit harder with these cold temperatures that could freeze an ocean!  I apologize for not having posted for awhile but being busy means we are alive and well…..and that my friends is a good thing!  We now have snow so these photos are a few weeks old.  The weather alert warns that frost bite tonight and tomorrow can occur in less than ten minutes!!!!

Good neighbors like Denny Timmerman make life good by giving the girls an old bin to repair. Works great now and holds Organic Barley!

Good neighbors like Denny Timmerman make life good by giving the girls an old bin to repair. Works great now and holds Organic Barley!

Old Hog slats make for instant mud relief! Fred put these in all over the farm to keep the hogs out of the mud and make driving and walking easier.

Old Hog slats make for instant mud relief! Fred put these in all over the farm to keep the hogs out of the mud and make driving and walking easier.

More hog slats and beef!

More hog slats and beef!

After all....man cannot live on pork alone!!

After all….man cannot live on pork alone!!

One mans junk is another mans treasure! More bins from Denny purchased at a good deal for the girls. This little area is for boars, gilts and sometimes sows that are in between breeding or farrowing.

One mans junk is another mans treasure! More bins from Denny Timmerman purchased at a good deal for the girls. This little area is for boars, gilts and sometimes sows that are in between breeding or farrowing.

Empty farrowing house just before we dismantled the pens for the winter.

Empty farrowing house just before we dismantled the pens for the winter.

These turkeys are happy having lived through Thanksgiving day.

These turkeys are happy having lived through Thanksgiving day.

Organic feed for the hogs stays dry in the Quonset.

Organic feed for the hogs stays dry in the Quonset.

This East facing pen has been given a face lift. Since this photo was taken we now have 20 head of bred gilts in it. Thank God for cement!

This East facing pen has been given a face lift. Since this photo was taken we now have 20 head of bred gilts in it. Thank God for cement!

Anyone working up an appetite yet? You see a hog and I see Polish Sausage.

Anyone working up an appetite yet? You see a hog and I see Polish Sausage.

Oh baby! Home made polish sausage from our own pork! Smoked by my very handsome husband!

Oh baby! Home made polish sausage from our own pork! Smoked by my very handsome husband!

Okay so you don't like Polish sausage? Can I tempt you with our own Summer Sausage? How does 150 pounds sound?

Okay so you don’t like Polish sausage? Can I tempt you with our own Summer Sausage? How does 150 pounds sound?

When we're done with the sausage we'll feast on this Christmas Ham.

When we’re done with the sausage we’ll feast on this Christmas Ham.

This ham tastes as good as it looks! Thank you Alan Ferber for sharing your trade secrets with us!!!

This ham tastes as good as it looks! Thank you Alan Ferber for sharing your trade secrets with us!!!

And then there's the chickens! We picked one of the coldest days last week to put the roosters in the freezer! Looking back tonight I realize that was a heat wave!

And then there’s the chickens! We picked one of the coldest days last week to put the roosters in the freezer! Looking back tonight I realize that was a heat wave!

Feathers be gone!!! Note how they are dressed....so cold.

Feathers be gone!!! Note how they are dressed….so cold.

Okay lets get this straight. We did the hog, steer and then the roosters all in one day. All went well until the deep freeze hit that night. I mean deep, deep freeze. We lived through it and I am packing the new bacon this evening.

Okay lets get this straight. We did the hog, steer and then the roosters all in one day. All went well until the deep freeze hit that night. I mean deep, deep freeze. And….the power went out.  We lived through it and I am packing the new bacon this evening.

Fire Cider is a winter tonic. I made my first batch and it is wicked!!! Thank you Kay for the recipe. I brewed it for a month.

Fire Cider is a winter tonic. I made my first batch and it is wicked!!! Thank you Kay for the recipe. I brewed it for a month.

 

Here is the recipe. The only thing I added was dried elderberries. Using this on the family now to keep them flu free. Wish me luck.

Here is the recipe. The only thing I added was dried elderberries. Using this on the family now to keep them flu free.  Warning….go heavy on the honey!!!!    Wish me luck.

Thanks for stopping by the Callens Farm.  If you don’t hear from me again very soon I just may have frozen to death along with the rest of the family.  Hoping the snow holds off a bit tonight since the girls are loading out 30 Organic Prairie hogs ready for market tomorrow.

A blessed Advent to all and to all a Wonderful Life.  Life is Good by Golly!!

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~Bees~

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The honey harvest this year was good!  We were blessed with a good crop.  Our honey is now being sold in three local stores here in Minnesota…..  Brad’s Market in Minneota, Jim’s Super Value and Moberg Meats in Canby, MN.  We are happy to provide good, pure honey locally. 

Silvana and Marisa

Silvana and Marisa

Silvana

Silvana

Marisa

Marisa

For better or worse, we go into the winter with 22 live hives.  It will take nothing short of a miracle for the bees to survive.   Our hives are not winterized yet.  The Organic Valley hogs have been keeping us busy but hopefully all of the bee work will be finished soon.  Never a dull moment on the Callens Family Farm!! 

Life is good by golly!   Lord have mercy on us and on the whole world!

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~Piggy Heaven~

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Happy piggies on the Callens Farm.

Happy piggies on the Callens Farm.

The months have gone by quickly.  We sold our first two loads of Organic hogs in the last two weeks.  It’s been a busy, chaotic summer to say the least!  Lot’s of planning and paper work with lots of regulations to meet.  So far we are very pleased with how this new business is going.  It takes a ton of chores and plenty of planning.

Marking the big ones for shipping.

Marking the big ones for shipping.

 

Getting ready for shipping on a rainy day.

Getting ready for shipping on a rainy day.

 

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~Certified Organic~

 

It is official; we are certified organic for the hogs!!!

It is official; we are certified organic for the hogs!!!

I can’t take any credit for the paper work, time and effort that it has taken to get this certification completed.  I’m so proud of our girls,  for their patience and persistence.  We proudly display on Fred’s old Ford the sign which reads, “We are your Organic Valley Farmers.”  How cool is that?  Another chapter in our life on the farm.

Are you my mother?

Are you my mother?

Silvana, Bella and Marisa, Organic Hog farmers!

Silvana, Bella and Marisa, Organic Hog farmers!

For those of you who wonder if the organic products you purchase in the grocery store are really organic, look no further.  Organic Valley /Organic Prairie is a company that has integrity!  When you purchase their milk, cheese, butter, cream, eggs, meats, etc. you are getting the real deal.  They have very strict standards for their producers.  We have learned so much from our friends, Rick and Helaine Fonder who are Organic Valley dairy producers.  They’ve helped us along the way.  You would be amazed at the methods and procedures that go into the production.  Nothing allowed right down to fly spray.  Not allowed.  

Taste the difference next time you go to the grocery store!  Their cheese is remarkable by the way, worth every penny and that is coming from someone who makes her own cheese.

Life just keeps getting better by golly!  Thanks be to our Great God in this Year of Mercy!

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~Two Became One~

Mr. and Mrs. Clayton Callens May 21, 2016

Mr. and Mrs. Clayton Callens May 21, 2016

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here.  So much has been happening and life somehow passes by so fast.  We now have a beautiful daughter, Angelica.  Her family put on a wonderful wedding which will go down in my history book as one of the most fun weddings ever!  There was a 9:30 a.m. wedding mass followed by two meals and two dances with two separate bands.  All celebrated with a beautiful moon to add to the festivities.  All I can say is that I won’t be forgetting that day for a long time. 

Outdoor dance floor right next to the church hall. Clayton and his beautiful bride, Angelica!

Outdoor dance floor right next to the church hall. Clayton and his beautiful bride, Angelica!

 

As we were on May 21, 2016 Happy wedding day!

As we were on May 21, 2016 Happy wedding day!

Go in peace to love and to serve the Lord!

Go in peace to love and to serve the Lord!

 

A kiss for luck.....one for the road!

A kiss for luck…..one for the road!

With all the bad that is going on in the world, sometimes it’s hard to see the positive things.  Life really is good and I hope this post will show you this!

I’ll be back very soon with some of our farm happenings. There are many!

 

 

 

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~ 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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