~Taters And Other Signs of Spring~

Minnesota, April of 2013

Happy Mario!  We planted some of our potatoes on Saturday and then it snowed:)

Happy Mario! We planted some of our potatoes on Saturday and then it snowed:)

All of this  “farming thing” goes way beyond survival.   Anyone who farms or gardens, raise livestock etc. knows that some of our best laid plans and efforts sometimes fail.   Farmers are optimistic, always hoping for the next opportunity to succeed in their plans.  They fight the elements on a daily basis and are forever trying to overcome inclement weather, pestilence, predators, weeds, unpredictable and unstable markets, you name it!  Fred’s a whole lot more optimistic than I am.  In all honesty, I am city bred and that has something to do with the way I look at things in general.   You can do all the right things, but you need God and His graces to bring your efforts to fruition.  You then need Him to lift you up, to keep you going during times of trial.  That’s why prayer is so important, especially in farming.  Interestingly, our children are more optimistic than I am, having grown up in this rural environment.

Saturday was fairly warm so we took advantage of the weather and planted some of the taters.  Normally they would have gone in on Good Friday but not this year, too much snow covered the patch.  We took a Sunday break and now, yesterday, the snow came.  Moisture is needed so I’m not really complaining.  As I have said before, Minnesota is a land of extremes.

A nice blanket of snow in our front yard.

A nice blanket of snow in our front yard.

I hope everyone will plant gardens this year no matter where you live.  It’s a fragile existence really and we never know what will happen in the future.  Having your own food, home-grown or put up is like having money in the bank:)  Even people who live in town have some wonderful ways of growing food in even the smallest yards.  Kids love gardens, not the weeding so much, but seeing a seed that was carefully planted actually grow into something that can sustain human life.  I can remember the little foam cups used in our elementary school so many years ago, in which we planted one tiny green bean seed.  What a thrill it was to see the seed start to grow.  Teach your kids and grandchildren to plant gardens because it is important.  Know where your food comes from because it is becoming more apparent that the food supply is no longer healthy to consume.

http://thearrowsoftruth.com/tag/aspartame-aminosweet/  Take time to click on this link and see how we are being poisoned.  It’s not only about aspartame but a long list of ways.

Potatoe seed ready to be planted.  I learned to plant these 28 years ago when Fred taught me how!

potato seed ready to be planted. I learned to plant these 28 years ago when Fred taught me how!

This year we planted the potatoes around six inches deep, a foot apart and put a layer of water in the trenches because it has been so dry.  Our soil is very fertile here so with some good rainfall, we should be able to grow a year supply for our family.  We’ve eliminated a lot of our grocery bills by continuing to grow more of what we eat.  Some of the foods we grow and make on our small farm are:

Milk, honey, eggs, beef, pork, chicken, geese, ducks, rabbits, turkey, lamb, cheese, butter, cream, ice-cream, yogurt, pinto beans, a large variety of garden produce, eaten fresh, canned and frozen.  We have strawberries, raspberries, apples, apricots, plums, grapes, hops, elderberries, rhubarb and cherries.  The pecan and pear trees are not producing yet.  We also make a variety of wine and apple cider, and a few batches of beer.  All of this takes a lot of time and effort to produce and isn’t exactly cheap but is well worth the effort.  I still purchase oats for our cereal which is granola and also the Wheat Montana…….Prairie Gold Wheat for our bread.  Not that I don’t buy bread in town for convenience, depending on what’s going on in our lives, we don’t always have time.  Also, some sales are too good to pass up! Often the grocery cart is over the top, but not always:)  This is all a good start for now and if times become tough, we’ll certainly be forced into doing a lot more…..out of necessity!

Nice rows of tates this year.

Nice rows of potatoes this year.

Our wood stove is still going, heating our home and all of our hot water.

Our wood stove is still going,
heating our home and all of our hot water.

Marisa hatched 56 cicks so far, this being one of two boxes.  More eggs are being saved for another hatch.

Marisa hatched 56 cicks so far, this being one of two boxes. More eggs are being saved for another hatch.

More of the cute little Easter chicks.

More of the cute little Easter chicks.

Rainy day on Monday bought hay for a tad bit cheaper.  Not much though:)  Staw also for the barn dance.

We brought in two loads of hay on Monday and one load of straw for the bleachers at the barn dance coming May 31, can’t wait!

Kallie Jo snuck down while her parents were planting their taters.  She helped knock over posts and bale twine and pull up the seed:)

Kallie Jo snuck down while her parents were planting their taters. She helped knock over posts,  bale twine and pull up the seed:) What fun!

Isabella Angel mothering one of the 6 bottle lambs.

Isabella Angel mothering one of the 6 bottle lambs.

Mouse control having breakfast, fresh milk.

Mouse control having breakfast, fresh milk.

During yesterday’s snow we butchered a hog and a jersey beef.  I’ll post some of the process soon.  Right now the meat is hanging till this weekend in the butcher shop at which time we will cut, wrap and freeze.  In the mean time we are still lambing and are not half way finished yet.  Lambing is going great so far!

Twins moving snow to make way for the hog.

Twins moving snow to make way for the hog.

The Jersey being raised up in the butcher shop.

The Jersey being raised up in the butcher shop.

This lamb was born in the snow while we worked and later was brought in followed by her anxious mother who then birthed it's twin.

This lamb was born in the snow while we worked and later was brought in followed by her anxious mother who then birthed it’s twin.

It’s been a pretty productive couple of days.  More snow is forecasted for this evening so we will see how that plays out.  Happy Easter, Happy Spring……..Happy Life to all!

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About Callens Honey Farm

We live on a small family farm located in S.W. Minnesota, near the South Dakota border. The source of our honey is from white and red clover. The honey appears as liquid gold in color. Our honey is extracted using a hand cranked centrifugal force extractor. Then the honey is screened once into a holding container from which we later fill the small honey bottles. We do not heat treat the honey nor add any other ingredients. Pure and natural is our Minnesota honey! What could taste better?
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2 Responses to ~Taters And Other Signs of Spring~

  1. Michelle says:

    I just have to say what a truly amazing blog you have.I watch for every new post and love it all. The life you live is one I could only ever dream off. Your family is truly amazing in how it comes together and works together. What a blessed life you have and to make it even better you all seem to know and appreciate what you have. I dream of farm life, however I am not in the position to be able to do this. I am however very blessed as an Australian single mum with three children to own my own home (at least part of it anyway – lol). I use my little suburban yard to produce as many fruit and vegetables as possible. I have almost thirty fruit trees (still not fruiting), lots of potted berries and currently have around 40 square metres of garden beds. I hope to double this. I have chickens and a couple of ducks. I have just bred a trio of chickens to be used for breeding my own meat. I am hoping to breed meat rabbits as well as these take up little space.

    Your blog motivates me constantly. When I am tired, it gets me back out in the yard to keep producing food as much as possible. I get so much pleasure from supplying meals to my children that have come from our own backyard. Just yesterday and today I managed to get the start of my winter garden in and began tidying up for more to go in in a couple of weeks. It’s small in comparision to the quantity you grow, but it certainly makes a difference to my little family. I look forward to keeping up with your events on your lovely farm. God bless.

    • Dear Michelle, Thanks for your very nice note. It sounds like you are doing plenty for your family there. Keep up the good work. You are an inspiration to those around you but especially a good example for your kids. What you teach them now, they will take with them no matter where they end up. Keep dreaming and doing. God bless your efforts.
      Sandra C

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