~Piglet Count and More~

 

Aren’t we just darling?

Weanlings enjoying the sunshine!

We just finished weaning the last of the summer/fall farrowing group.  Over all everything went well and we are pleased with the numbers.  There are 364 weanlings alive today!  The chores will get a little bit easier as we consolidate new groups in the new South Slope building.  That’s the warmest building on the farm right now.  They need to get off to a good start and eat a lot to grow good, strong and healthy.

Young butcher hogs hanging out in the very cold air.

Fred is kept busy grinding feed many nights after work.  Lately it’s been so cold; I don’t know how he can stand it!  But….. he is doing what he loves and that’s farming!

Fred grinding feed at night.

The new Hereford and Hereford cross boars are being put to the test on our new gilts.  Let’s just say they have a lot to learn!

A very shy Hereford cross Berkshire boar.

The weanling piglets have all been de-wormed with the garlic concoction.  This was a very time consuming chore until we decided to mix it in much larger batches.  It’s super important keeping parasites down at a very early age.

Sheep eating their feed laced with a strong de-worming treatment.

The other day we de-wormed our sheep flock with a similar garlic concoction as was given to the piglets.   First we tried feeding a full dose in a single feeding of grain and they were turning up their noses to it!  We then decided to half-dose it in the rams feed which worked much better.  Methods are constantly changing on the farm.  It’s a life time of learning by trial and error with a large dose of perseverance.  We pray a lot!! 

Rest in peace Rowdy. We loved this loyal and faithful friend.  Missing him so much…..He had a heart of pure GOLD.

There’s so much more to farming than meets the eye.  You don’t just “slop the hogs” and walk away.  Observation is so important.  If you are not spending time doing this you will miss so much.  Animals can’t talk and tell us humans how they feel.  Preventing disease through good nutrition is key.  We’re only three years into Organic hog production and it’s a new learning experience pretty much every day.  Life is good down on the farm!

 

 

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~Happy Fall!~

 

Happy fall from Cotto and her 11 piglets!! 🙂 They’re just 4 weeks old and having a blast playing  in and around their “Dome Hut” made from the base of a recycled wind turbine wing!  

We’re all relieved that farrowing is now finished until the next farrowing in January! It  all went pretty well, thanks be to God!!! 🙂

We’ll be the doing the first winter farrowing since producing organic hogs for Organic Prairie this Jan., so that should be interesting! A challenge for sure, since none of our buildings are insulated! I hope that it won’t be too cold!!!!

Life is never boring down on the farm!

 

 

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~Callens Farm Photos~

Fall has arrived here on the farm and the cool weather is reminding us that it won’t be too long before snow starts to fly! We have been canning and freezing produce from the gardens and fruit trees as they ripen.

Fred and Mario renovating 4 different pens in the long barn.

Building a pool for the farrowing gilts & sows.

Salami cooling herself in one of the pools.

This used cement mixer made fixing an old building much easier!

Organic Farm…Do Not Spray!

Sweet Sixteen Apple tree is providing plenty of fruit this year. State Fair is better though and we consumed those apples in August.

State fair apples harvested back in August!

A good apple year means plenty of apple pie filling!

Beautiful cabbages were just bagged yesterday as Sauer Kraut. Yum!

Some of our recently harvested garden produce.

 

A sample of Mario’s cider he has been pressing lately all by himself!!

 

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Fred and Bella moving the calf out to a paddock with the larger steers.

 

Our milk cow, Autumn.

Chief finds a cool spot among the Echinacea’s.

Some of the Jersey steers.  December and January born, we have already sold 8 for specialty butcher.

 

Filling the Jerseys water tank.

We sold these Targhee bucks and they now live in SD and near the Twin Cities.

Fred and Kallie, sitting on the old arena fence.  Sweet!

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Laying cement for a grain bin.

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Starting to level the cement.

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Almost finished!

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Moving the bin onto the cement pad.  Not so easy considering, we had just received nearly 6 inches of rain.

Life is good, down on the farm!

 

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~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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