Pigs and Calico Beans

Last night Emily and I had the opportunity to help out at the Iowa Pork tent at the Iowa Speedway before the race. We assisted with games and invited race fans to sign up for pork coupons.  It is always fun and interesting to visit with people from around the world and from nearby towns.  Visitors tonight were from far away as Australia.  We also talked to people from neighboring states and a few of our friends from the area.  (The Iowa Speedway is only a few miles from our farm as we can see the lights and hear the cars.)

Emily at Pork Tent

Emily was in charge of the pork puzzle which illustrated the different cuts of a pig.

Emily and Maggie at Pork Tent

It was fun to learn Emily and Maggie from Iowa Pork knew each other from I.S.U.!

Gruver Pork Tent

It is always fun when we can talk to our very own pig people!  Doug G. is in charge of counting pigs when we get new pigs in and various other tasks. (Actually, I think Emily was giving him a hard time tonight!)

Bacon Bacon

You know the “bean bag” toss game, well tonight it was the BACON toss!  Visitors had a chance to toss 4 pieces of bacon into the skillet.  (Really it was rubber bacon!)  I think I need to buy some and create this for our school children when they visit!  Oh, Kevin I think I have a project for you to work on this winter!!  🙂

For the past three weeks we have been selling a few loads of pigs.  We put 200 pigs on each semi.  Each day Kevin does the daily pig chores, but on selling days it takes a few more bodies.  In addition to the daily chores and selling pigs this summer, we also had a new experience in our pig raising operation. Last  month we had a Common Swine Industry Audit.  This is where an independent certification company comes to the farm to check over things such as the daily record keeping, annual records, standard operating procedures, animal care, and the pig building.

PQA Sign


Kevin and Doug G. visiting with the auditor the day of the audit.

Audit paperwork

Yes, this is the middle of our living room floor!  Kevin  organized his paper work in a notebook.  He checked to make sure everything was in place.

I found this quite interesting that the Monday before our audit on Friday, I was sitting waiting for an appointment in a doctor’s office and picked up a magazine (Smithsonian had a special food issue from Sept. 2013)  Wow!  That is exactly why these audits are taking place!


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We have always cared about raising our pigs in a humane way in order to provide a safe food product not only for consumers, but for our family as well!  As we eat the same meat that goes to the packing plant and ends up in the grocery store!  In fact, just last week we roasted a pig for a wedding rehearsal dinner for our nephew, Shane and his bride Ashley.  (Yes, more about the wedding another time!)

Shane Meat

Shane, the groom, helping to cut up the pork.

In the summer I like to serve Calico Beans with BBQ pork or when grilling hamburger or hot dogs.  They can also be used as a main dish with sweet corn!


1 lg. can pork and beans

1 can kidney beans

1 can butter beans

¼ to ½ lb. bacon

1 lb. hamburger

1 tsp. mustard

3 Tbsp. minced dry onion*

¾ cup brown sugar

½ cup catsup

2 T. vinegar

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. garlic salt

Drain kidney and butter beans.  In skilled brown hamburger and onion.  Fry bacon until brown, drain.  Combine all three cans of beans with browned ingredients and place in casserole.  Combine remaining ingredients into a sauce and pour over casserole.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or simmer in the crock pot.

Since I make these most often in the summer, I prefer to put them in the crock pot.

*When I have fresh onion I choose that option.

This recipe is from Aunt Dee and cousin Lisa in the Jansen Family Cookbook.

Sweet Corn Stand 2016

I actually drew the long end of the straw the other day when I got to sit at the sweet corn stand in town.  Emily stayed home to help load two loads of pigs.  Jacob said he would rather have his sister’s help in the pig building than his mother’s!  So, everyone was happy.  (Maybe the old guys will trade me the next time.)  It was pretty hot by the time they got done.  No air moving makes it hot!   (The pigs were watered down as they waited on the truck.)


Emily jumped in the pool when she was done loading pigs.  Then is when I wished I was home!  It has been a good pool summer!

Have a great weekend!