~Freezing Weather Babies~

The coldest nights sometimes yield the most beautiful blessings!  Amy, came to us on one of the most frigid evenings this winter.

Newborn heifer gets a nice warm bottle of colostrum.

Luckily Maggie walked into the barn to milk just after she was born.  It was fortunate for all of us because she was soaking wet in very dangerous weather conditions.  Dad and Mario carried her in the house and Mario’s coveralls were soaked through!

We bought in a bunch of Jersey calves during the cold weather and it has been difficult keeping them alive in such hazardous temperatures.   They are in the barn under make-shift straw huts.  Below are some photos.

Two baby calves live under and behind these bales in separate quarters.

Warm milk served to a very sweet calf. I know he really appreciates it!


Fred and Mario don’t like working in this bitter cold either but if the grinder doesn’t work properly the pigs may go hungry!

Rowdy was so cold his teeth were chattering loudly today and I let him in the house!! Old faithful dog, loved so dearly.


The pigs have to be loaded under bitter conditions as well. Can you see the red faces?

The weather jumped from severe cold to a mild 40 degrees for several days and then dropped very quickly again.  That is hard on the livestock.   The good news is that the cold does not affect the flavor of these Organic Prairie porkers!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  Better late than never.

Christmas Day 2017.


Mass at St. Leo, a full house again!

Life is good by golly and hopefully the cold won’t last long!  As I am about to post this, Fred has gone to pick up more baby calves. Oh dear, the forecast is for more cold!!  Farmers are forever optimistic!

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~T’was The Night Before Christmas by Mr. Sheep~

lambs sheared 079


T’was the night before Christmas, When all around the farm Not a creature was stirring, not even in the barn. The lights on the farmhouse were all strung with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas would remember those there.

The piggies were snoring deep in straw beds, While the bees buzzed with visions of flowers in their heads. And Aunt Baaa in her fleece coat, and I in my wool cap, Had just snuggled in for a long winters nap.

When out on the hill the sheep began to scatter, I ran from the shed to see what was the matter. Away to the fence, I flew with a dash, Poked my head through and undid the latch.

The moon shining down on a blanket of snow, Illuminated the barnyard and objects to and fro. When what to my jaw dropping gaze did appear, But a large metal object and eight flying deer.

With a small bearded driver so lively and slick, I knew in an instant it must be St. Nick. More rapid than Rowdy chasing after a cat, And louder than an Italian while waving his hat.

“Come on Dasher and Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen! On Comet and Cupid! On Donner and Blitzen! To the top of the fence! To the top of the rail! Dash away, dash away, dash away sail!”

As feathers that before a plains wind will fly, When they meet with an object, rise to the sky. So up to the barn roof the whole party flew, With the sleigh full of sacks and the old driver too.

And then in a moment, I heard from the roof, The stamping and stomping of each little hoof. As I drew back my head and was turning around, Down the cupola St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed up in coveralls, a red flannel and clogs, And was then warmly greeted by the horses and dogs. A bundle of corn he had flung on his back, And he looked like a farmer bringing a snack.

His eyes–how they sparkled! His dimples so merry! His cheeks were like a sunrise, His nose like a berry! His droll little mouth was drawn up in a smile, And his beard was whiter than Fred’s snow pile.

A thin piece of wood he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke flowing out caused the chickens to sneeze. He had a wide face and a well rounded belly, That bounced up and down when he chuckled, like jelly.

He was portly and stout, a right jolly old man, So I felt pretty bad when he tripped on a milk can. The cow gave a sigh and thrust out her tail, And Santa held on and grabbed for a rail.

He turned to the mangers and laid out the feed, Taking time to pet us and see to our needs. Then pausing a moment to rest his sore back, He went to the cupola and rose with his sack.

Once on the roof, he climbed into his sleigh, Gathered the reins calling “up and away!” We then heard him say as he slipped from our sight, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a blest night!”    


This poem was revised by the Callens family as seen through the eyes of a sheep on our farm on Christmas eve.

Come baby Jesus…..

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~Fall Farm Life Photos~

Squeaky clean piglets being sorted by size and moved into separate pens for growing.

Playing catch-up on what’s been going on down on the farm. We work hard and long hours on this farm but we also like to have fun!  Photos starting in October, take a ride in the country with us.

Curious jersey beef!


All ready for the ride!


The Hayride begins…..


Honey house decorated for the pot luck supper.


Making merry around the fire! Some of us didn’t get to bed until 2 a.m.

Traffic jam at the outhouse!

Ma and Pa Kettle!


Washing the pumpkins for storage and display.


Moving grain into mixer for grinding; a two man team.


Mario hauling manure out onto one of the sheep pastures.


Silvana shot this 9 pointer under freezing conditions.




Bella shot this nice doe on the second day, her first ever!


Mario also shot a doe.


Frenchy got this nice buck the first day! The children prayed she would!

I’m working up to something big!  With all four deer and a big sow we made 466 pounds of sausage and 4 sides of bacon, 2 of which were frozen from the last hog.  We made 75 # of Summers Sausage, 50# of Maple patties, 160# of Ham Rolls, 75 # of Polish Sausage, 25# of Tomato  Basil Bratwurst, 25# Hot Italian Sausage (named after me wink) 25# Chorizo Sausage, and 10# Plain ground pork and 21 # Plain ground venison.  Next we made a batch of Blood Sausage, sounds yucky but is most delicious.  This all took three days from start to finish in between all other farm work.




The meat waiting to be smoked before freezing as the 9 pt. stares on.



Slow smoking sausage with Hickory chips. Smells so good…….



My favorite job, wrapping the meat. A two day job.



Beautiful Minnesota morning. A gift for those who wake early to work.


A mild Thanksgiving Day came and went. My nieces visited and made it extra fun.



Working off the turkey and pie on this mild Thanksgiving day.



Chief should have known better than to try to keep up with a Dodge Truck!



We had a nice visit and great discussions with a  group of professionals from The U of Minnesota. The topic of course was Organic Swine Production.


Checking over the breeding pen.


Discussing different problems concerning feeder pigs.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures of our life down on the farm.



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~Happy Advent~

Happy Advent to everyone! I will be posting soon but in the meantime enjoy this short video of our rapidly growing organic feeder pigs. They are keeping everyone busy!

Click on the video below!


Thanks for stopping by! See you soon.

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~You and Me Going Fishing In the Dark~

That is our Host, Alan Ferber who loves taking people out on the lake!! You must bait your own hook and remove the fish of course!!!!

Lynda is always in a happy mood even while having been confined to a wheel chair for many years!! She’s a joy to be around! She makes it a point not to let life pass her by! For richer or poorer in sickness and in health…..an inspirational couple!

The view from my side of the boat! Good for the soul…….

Well, we would have been fishing in the dark had we not needed to get home for chores!  Here is a short photo post on our fishing trip a few weeks ago.  Time flies when you are having fun.  We came home with 67 mostly Perch and several Blue Gills and Crappies……. Two days later, Fred, Mario and I went fishing again and brought home about the same amount as the above.  We should be good now for awhile for Friday fish meals!!

It was slow In the beginning for Bella, Silvana and our hostess, Lynda Ferber! Lynda caught the most fish using her one working arm and her teeth! She is amazing and always as cheerful as you can see in this photo.


Bella pulls them in silently and she did catch probably the second most fish that day!


Pure joy on Marisa’s face and a very relaxing day on this Minnesota/South Dakota lake!


I caught the least fish but I’d argue that I had the BEST time ever!!!


Big Stone Lake, South Dakota side!


On the road again………..


All smiles after a wonderful day on the lake!   That’s a lot of fish to clean!!!!  Alan and the girls did that job while I helped Lynda prepare supper.


Alan and Bella cleaning fish.


Alan in his butcher shop cleaning the fish. He is also the same man who has been teaching us how to make sausage and process meat the correct way.


Who’s hungry now?


Bless us Oh Lord for these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty through Christ our Lord, amen! Dig in…..

Life is good……….don’t miss it!


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~Tomatoes, Kraut, Taters, Hogs etc.~

Two of way too many boxes of tomatoes!!!

I can’t believe I just typed that!  With all the rain this year, we have an over- abundance of tomatoes.  The plan was to put in maybe 15 to 20 plants this spring.  Somehow, we ended up with 50 plants.  So far we’ve made salsa, ketchup and plain canned tomatoes.  Tomorrow we are going to try a tasty pizza sauce.  After that the pigs will have to finish off the crop!  We gave away a bunch of tomatoes but ran out of takers since almost everyone had a great crop this year.  So far we have not had a frost which is odd for our area. 

Getting ready to fill the pints of ketchup!

Ketchup tastes pretty good thanks to Mrs. Wages!

Cooking down plain tomatoes for future use.


The plain tomatoes all canned and ready for storage!

We also had an excellent crop of cabbage this year.  While I am bragging about the great yields, I better mention the fabulous crop of weeds too!!!  Wow, the many rains not only grew the weeds but also made weeding difficult.  Below are some photos of the Kraut being processed.   The girls wanted to package it last week but I argued, and won, stating simply that it did not “smell” at all down in the basement.  Now a week later, having gone down stairs for milk, I can smell that the Sauer Kraut is very near ready!!  The smellier the better says this Italian writer about that German food!  Can’t wait to top our delicious home grown pork with the Kraut.

Shaded by the pine trees, the girls cut and filled three five gallon pails of cabbage.

36 # of cabbage per 5 gallon pail.

Some of our beautiful cabbage heads cleaned and ready to shred.

All of the potatoes are dug and stored in the basement under the steps.  We didn’t plant as many as usual so they should all be used up without getting mushy by spring.  Thank God we dug them in between rains because we are in yet another rainy pattern!!  Cold, damp and dreary.  We had the wood stove going the other day and Fred wanted to light it before supper tonight but I talked him out of it.  (It got too hot the other day) Now it is pouring out, as usual, and some of us are cold!  Guess I should have kept my mouth shut.  Flash flood warnings are out for tonight and tomorrow! 

Straw covered potatoes dug up and now safely stored for the winter! It’s safe to say, we won’t starve.

Farm fresh potatoes!


It doesn’t always rain here.  Below is a photo of our lovely Minnesota moon, shining down on the farm!  What a view while cooking on the camp fire.

A romantic Minnesota moon shining down on me!!!

A beautiful load of hogs getting ready to go to  market.   Now, four weeks later a second load leaves for Iowa this morning.   Time flew…………..

Organic Prairie Pork….a company you can trust when wanting to consume excellent quality Organic Pork.   https://www.organicprairie.com/category/organic_pork

Cleo with her piglets. Hopefully they will grow to be as luscious as their mamma!!

These piglets are from the recent group born on the Callens Farm. They are located in the new building.

Hogs gently loaded. Make HAM not War!!

Fred grinds around 6 to 8 ton of hog feed every week.


Farrowing is officially over! Sweet little piglets snuggle on mamma sow.


Grape harvest came and went. Fred has some wine brewing in the butcher shop made from these Fontenac grapes.

I’ve been cooking with mostly cast iron and loving it. Gone are most of my stainless pots and pans. I kept only a few…..so far.

That about sums up life on the Callens Farm!  I’ll be back with a fishing report in which some much needed recreation happened.  Next week I will be flying out to  Ohio to see my beautiful Jessi, Luke and the sweet grandchildren.  Also, my fun,  sister Anet will meet us there.  I hope the coffee pot will be hot at the Sows Ear, home of the Dougherty’s, much loved in-laws.  Maggie will be my traveling partner. (yikes)  We will also be taking a road trip to see my most wonderful mom in Bethlehem, PA.  Hope she has some Mortadella in the fridge.

  Life is good……….. beyond the pavement.







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~Liquid Gold~



Very heavy honey super being transported to the jeep.

We ended up extracting honey just once this year. Normally we extract at least two to four times during the summer, but didn’t manage to extract until the very end of August.  The Organic Prairie hog operation and new building projects have kept us super busy!

Silvana and I sharing a funny comment!! Bees and I don’t get along very well.

This year we had our bees here on the home place and over at Fred’s grandfathers old farm which is in CRP land.  There were a lot of hives here and some of the little children were getting stung as they played in the yard.  Next year we will most likely move more hives over to the other farm.

Silvana, Bella and Marisa extracted all of the honey!

Pure liquid gold!

Stop in to Brad’s Market in Minneota, Mobergs Meats and Jim’s Super Value in Canby for a sample of pure honey with not one single additive!  Taste the difference!  Live, love and laugh……….sweeten it all with a little honey!





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