441 North Park Drive, Morton, MN 56270 [email protected] 507.697.6147

Golden Acres


The Final book of Barbara Kodet Mages (1929-2023).


A Collection of Short Stories by Barbara Kodet Mages. In 1966 Alphonse and I moved to our, “dream farm”, ten miles north of Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, and we came to call our farm, “Gold Acres.” I thought about it for a while and I decided to call my last book after the name of our farm. I am now ninety-two years old so I have completed the stories I want to tell.
Alphonse has been with the angels since 2009, and I still live in our house in the town of Sleepy Eye.
As you will read it wasn’t always easy making a living with a large family on the farm, but with God’s help, a strong husband, my good health, and children who all worked to build our family, it is a sweet memorable life.
Our children are Linda, Dan, Nancy, Larry, Duane, Rick, Barbara, Betty, John, Jeff, Curt, Debbie, Donna, Tom, Mike, and Lisa. Robert a twin to Rick died at two days old and Mary Beth died at six weeks of age. Duane died in 2015. We talk about them and will always remember them.

Barbara Leona Mages, 93 from Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, entered God’s waiting arms on January 5, 2023, at her winter home in Mesa, Arizona just in time to help Alphonse celebrate his heavenly birthday. Barbara was born to Alois and Barbara (Kojetin) Kodet on May 29, 1929, in Henryville Township, Minnesota. She grew up on a farm close to a Czech community called Bechyn. Barbara married Alphonse L. Mages at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Bechyn, Minnesota, on October 29, 1946, which happened to be her dad and mom’s wedding anniversary. Barbara told her children that she only had two wedding dresses to pick from as it was shortly after World War II. It was October so she chose the one with long sleeves. Barbara worked beside Alphonse for 18 years on the Morton farm before moving to their “dream farm” north of Sleepy Eye. They remained there until they retired and moved to New Ulm and then eventually back to Sleepy Eye in 2006. In all of their years of farming, they raised dairy cows, beef cattle, hogs, and chickens plus field crops. Barbara’s garden was huge with every vegetable and flower that could be grown in Minnesota. The basement shelves were lined with extensive half gallon and quart jars of canning as well as a freezer full of her garden produce. It was not unusual to put up 100 chickens several times during the summer with the help of her children.

Barbara decided one January to keep track of just her bread making. For one month she baked over 110 loaves of bread, not counting the cinnamon rolls, fried bread dough, rolls, and buns. She said she didn’t want to know beyond that. She always made her bread from scratch without a recipe.

Barbara and Alphonse loved to dance. They were a pleasure to watch on the dance floor especially to “old time” and country music. Barbara wrote the words to a song, “Bless My Soul,” for Alphonse’s funeral. Barbara played the guitar in her teen years but put it down to raise her family. When she was in her eighties, she learned to play again. Her last performance singing and speaking was at St. Philip’s Catholic Church in Litchfield, Minnesota at “Ladies Night Out” on December 1, 2022.

Barbara had many accomplishments that she accepted so humbly. She was the author of three books. The first book was called “To Bechyn and Back.” The second book was called “Dandelion Salad.” The third book was called “Golden Acres” named after the Sleepy Eye farm. Her books centered around her growing up during the Depression and World War II, meeting Alphonse, and raising a large family.

Barbara started making rosaries for the missions when she lived at Morton, and she was still making them at the time of her death. The rosaries started as simple string and plastic beads and evolved to beautiful crystal and glass beads that were works of art. Over her lifetime, thousands of rosaries have been sent to the missions and many hundreds to family and friends.

Barbara was a member of the National Catholic Society of Foresters over sixty years, serving most of those years as President or Treasurer and/or a delegate to their conventions held all over the United States. When Alphonse was alive, they traveled to these conventions together and Alphonse enjoyed them just as much as Barbara did. Barbara was a past member of St. John’s Altar Society in Morton, MN and the Paxton Township Birthday Club. When she moved to Sleepy Eye, she belonged to the Christian Mothers at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and the Council of Catholic Women. She was a member of St. Rita’s Study Club. For many years, she made quilts to be auctioned off as a fundraiser for St. Mary’s Church. She never missed a year helping to pack bags of food for Food For Kidz.

Barbara loved Sudoku, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, “Duane’s game,” and playing cards. She loved any card game but especially Hand and Foot. She was extremely hard to beat, and her children tried to figure out her strategy, but she will have to let them know her secret when they get to Heaven. It was amazing to watch television with Barbara, especially “Jeopardy” as she could give the questions to all the answers. She was an accomplished seamstress. When her daughters were still at home and a catalog came with all the cute dresses, they would show a dress they liked to her, and she would make her own pattern and sew it for them, and it looked just like the one in the catalog.

Barbara was one of the founders of a family fund called “Forever Young-The Alphonse and Barbara Mages Scholarship.” This offers educational scholarships to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. These scholarships are given out each year at our annual summer get together called “Magesfest.”

Barbara enjoyed clerking for many years at auctions for Mages Land Company and Auctioneering as well as working in the bakery and deli for the former Ericksen’s grocery store in Sleepy Eye and at Cash Wise in New Ulm.

Additional information

Weight .775 lbs
Dimensions 8.5 × .5 × 5.5 in

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