~Late Summer Farrowing~

 

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We started farrowing in the middle of August and won’t be finished until October 6th!

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The miracle of birth never gets old!

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You can hear the crickets as the piglets nurse on their mamma below.

 

 

 

Bavarian with her 19 piglets!

Silvana feeding the sows.

Marisa getting ready to help process the 3 day old piglets.

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Plenty of night shift watch but in the end it pays off.   Approximately 254 piglets are on 24 mamma’s right now and we’re praying the next 14 sows and gilts farrow out nicely as well!

In between all of the farrowing we managed to process a lot of canned goods. Life is good, down on the farm!

 

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~One Farm Day~

 

More green beans!!!

Here are some photos of a recent day on our small farm.  These don’t include all of the work that is involved in morning and evening chores.  This family raises some of the best pork this side of Heaven.  Organic Valley / Organic Prairie is  a company with integrity and the best tasting food and beverage line in the world!!!!   Even if you’re not into Organics, the flavor alone is enough to have you hooked. 

https://www.organicprairie.com/   

Farm breakfast created with love for my family.  Organic Prairie sausage stuffed burritos. Great fuel for the day!

 

Not sure if we have enough beans. Ha ha  That is a tank!

 

The tomatoes are all tied up.  Maggie did the pounding and I tied them.  Hard to keep up with the weeds in between rains.

 

The sheep are moved to another paddock.

 

Mario in the morning, building A-Frames for the pigs.

 

Feeding garden treats to the girls!

 

The wine was checked, mixed and fed! And…..later moved to the butcher shop.  So far there are 30 gallons of vino brewing!!

Slicing the salami to package for lunches.

 

Basil harvested and washed, ready for the Pesto the girls requested.

 

Picked the large zucchini which will have to be made into bread and stew!  Too much rain.

 

Started the mozz cheese.

 

Made fresh Pesto pasta, yum!

 

The mozzarella was finished.

 

Bottled the Choke cherry juice from the steamer.

 

Flowers watered and weeded.

 

Started making Choke cherry jelly and syrup.

 

Fred  and Mario fixed a building the sows were pushing off of the old foundation.

 

Time for chores, I’m hungry people.

 

Too cute not to post. Probably hiding from the flies!

Down on the farm, life is good by golly. Looking forward to a camping trip soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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~Hotdogs, Sausage and Jelly~

Some of the hotdogs and cotto salami in the two door smoke house.

Fred and Mario loading the two door smoker with Cotto salami.

On a very hot day we made a bunch of goodies for the summer.  In the freezer now are 100#’s Beef and Pork (no MSG) Hotdogs, 75#’s Polish Sausage, 25#’s of Cotto Salami, and 100 #’s of Ham Rolls.  Also in the freezer are 200 #’s of plain sausage, also all of the loins and ribs were packaged and frozen.  I have a pack of ribs in my Insta Pot now in spaghetti sauce for supper tonight.  Alan Ferber came down again from Milbank, SD to help out with the work.  He always is teaching and joking around which makes it more enjoyable.

Reece and Vonnie grinding the meat which in this photo was partially frozen.

Much of the pork and beef was pre-frozen ahead of time from butchering sows and a steer at a previous date in order to do much of the processing all in one day and not having to mess up the equipment for just one sow here or there. When you are doing this kind of work in the heat, the meat has to be kept cold and then processed very quickly in order to keep the meat from becoming too warm.  It must have been fast because we began at around 8:30 wrapping the loins and ribs while the kids finished chores and ate breakfast.  Then around 9:00 the girls started grinding and preparing for the sausage making. A quick lunch of barbeque pulled pork and cheese sandwiches with chips and cinnamon donuts was served as they worked and they were still able to get chores done and make it to the Yellow Medicine Co. Fair that evening.

Mario, Fred and Al begin making the hotdogs.

 

Raw hotdogs, not bad for Mario’s first try.

Remind me never to complain about the cost of the expensive all-beef hotdogs ever again.  It’s a lot of work!

Fresh picked apricots!! They are in the juicer as I type.

The girls have been making jelly over the past few weeks and have heated the kitchen up quite a bit with the multiple canners going. First they started with mulberry and most recently they’ve made combinations of apricot mixed with peach, orange and strawberry.  Next in line will be more apricots and then chokecherries, which the kids have gone out to harvest from several trees around the farm.

Shake that tree girls! That’s how we harvest Apricots.

 

Ground picking Apricots. Not too bad in the shade!

 

Juicing the fresh apricots for making jelly.

 

Apricot jelly!

Maggie has started brewing wine out of rhubarb recently and also out of some of the apricots. Yesterday her batch of rhubarb exploded all over the kitchen wall and floor after she added some water to it, but the good news is that she still has half of it left! Those home brews can be awfully touchy! Now she has kindly moved the operation outside!

Green beans are coming out of our ears and we are so thankful!  Oddly we have had plenty of rain even in July.

 

Garden fresh green beans.

Last but not least, Fred, the love of my life!!!!   Life is good with this man by my side!

 

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~Worming Sheep and Lambs~

Maggie marks the sheep while Silvana and Marisa administer the wormer.

Well, the sheep and lambs are all wormed as of a few days ago!  You may find it hard to believe but the wormer smelled as good as any Italian kitchen.   Over the years Silvana has developed her own wormer recipe that  works very effectively and would not harm the beneficial bugs that are found in healthy pastures.   It’s actually all Organic.  Kind of icky topic but it’s the reality of farm life.  I’ll spare the details of what was killed by the concoction. 

Bella had the job of gate keeper, sheep pusher!

 

A fairly gentle touch keeps the group calm.

After Mario helped move the sheep in the runway he went to put up gates.

We used the pig alley to worm the sheep.

Using the alley worked better than the large shed normally used.  It only took an hour and a half to complete the process.   The breeze blew nicely on a day that was terribly hot.  All the sheep were marked with either pink or blue depending on whether they were male or female.  There were around 72 lambs and 73 ewes.  We have already sold quite a few lambs which were not included in this group.  It’s been a good year, so far and we are very thankful for a terrific lamb crop. 

Sheep are easier to handle than the pigs!

We’ve been getting more than our fair share of rain this summer.  Along with the moisture comes a bumper crop of weeds! 

Bumper crop of weeds which now have been cleaned up by the sheep!

This grass was planted in the spring and the rain really made it grow in nicely.

Hope you are enjoying the summer.  Life is good!

 

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~Out With The Old~

 

“Old Yeller” and Mario after having hauled manure all day!

We finally were able to find an old dump truck to haul manure and gravel with.  The truck formally was owned by the city of Granite Falls.   Thankfully we were able to sell the old manure spreader which was not large enough to handle our endless supply of manure!  This should extend the life of our old tractor and speed up the work load.

The old John Deere is now working hard in South Dakota!

The good thing about having old farm equipment is that Mario (age 13) can learn how to fix things. 

We ended up selling the old faithful CAT and replacing it with another, see photos below.

The old Cat is now working over in South Dakota as well.

The farm crew with the new CAT! 

 

In with the new…… CAT, moving the bred sows!

Bella and I took a road trip out west to see Jessi, Luke and the children.  Below is a photo of some of us together on a hike.  I took the tumbleweeds home to remind me of the trip.  What a beautiful area of God’s green earth!!

Sweet grandchildren out in Montana.  I miss the little angels!

When we arrived back in Minnesota the girls had finished painting the porch, a nice surprise and a ton of work.

New face lift on an old porch.

Life is good by golly, enjoy yours

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~Farrowing Pigs etc.~

Hey Mom, you there?

We had a very good Spring farrowing so far with only one sow left to farrow.  Weaning has now started and so far so good, thanks be to God!  We’ve had the Organic Apple Cider Vinegar running into their water the entire time and feel that it has improved their over all health.  We are always learning new things and try to incorporate them as we go.  
Marisa is calmly feeding hay to some very gentle piglets in this video clip below. 

Beautiful, healthy, happy Organic Prairie pork! See them smiling?

Silvana fed these 8 and 9 week old piggies!

Marisa feeding the sows and their 5 1/2 week old piglets.

 

There are 270 piglets as of today.

Meat birds and new laying hens are growing daily.  Below is how they looked this morning!

Here’s the beef!

 

We “got milk”……mostly for the lambs and calves!  That’s Bella milking this cow.

 

Home made baby lamb warmer Fred built from old bee boxes! We dropped very cold lambs in this heater and saved their lives!

Good American Lamb on God’s Green Earth!

Thank God for Sunday,  a day of rest, fun and company to cook for.  First Dutch oven pizza of the year turned out delicious.  The white pizza was the best in my opinion, Focaccia.  First Asparagus hunt as well.

Bella and Maggie asparagus hunting…..the easy way!

 

Life is good by golly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lambs and Spring

 

FIRST DAY ON THE GRASS

Lambing season started April 3 and it came in with a bang during a huge blizzard! It ended May 9 and thankfully it was a good crop of lambs. We had three new Targhee bucks and they produced many triplets, 4 sets of quads, lots of twins and only 12 singles. We sold 3 bottle lambs and are still feeding 12 lambs now. Over all it was a very good season! We had to do a lot of shuffling around since our lambing pens could not keep up with the frequency of births.

As the snow melted here in SW Minnesota, the DSL lines were ruined as was our internet service. This makes my post pretty outdated.

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All of the snow melted down creating for us some really luscious pasture!! 

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I’ll be posting soon about the farrowing season and other Spring projects!  I’ve got a load of garden asparagus to deal with today.  Life is good, down on the farm.

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