True North is:

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Michigan, United States

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Teenagers point of View,

Well i am the teenager that is being forced against my will to participate in this homesteading experience. Now I'm not gonna lie the first time my mom and dad told me about this i was in totally shock, They would just say "Now Gabrielle this is a life style change,it will be fun". What are they thinking was running through my mind over and over again. Of course there is the upside my dad would be home a lot more and that was what i wanted, and i guess we would be saving a lot of money.Some of the things though are not exactly my cup of tea. First off TV...gone,as of just a few days ago i was without tv entirely and as you probably know i live out in the middle of no where and without TV, its not the best.But now at least we have some local channels, but i do miss my shows like "That 70's show" and "Secrete life of an American teenager"The cell phone fortunetly is still here. I really think i would die without it, i know your probably thinking "oh thats so a teenager thing", but its true. Though unlimited texting soon may be gone. Another big thing that has effected me is the heat. Or lack of it. It has been quite freezing in my room so i put on the parka and try not to get frost wood up from the basement to the living room use to be bad but know i kinda like it, kinda, probably because I'm building my arm muscle=)All in all though life has been pretty much the same for me, but we also haven't gotten the pigs yet. Really this homesteading thing isn't that bad and i look forward to the crazy events my family and i have to encounter.Which I'm sure there will be plenty of them.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

True North's Homesteading Principles

As we make decisions along our way towards true freedom, we decided that we need a list of our core homesteading beliefs to help guide us as we travel this exciting and unknown road. With these principles in hand we can make sure that we never lose sight of our goals and dreams.

I. A Lifestyle Of Simplicity:
As we remove ourselves from the clutches of commercialized society we can reclaim the simple things that we have taken for granted most of our lives. With all the noise of the world around us we have stopped paying attention to the very things that we hold so important to our lives. Our relationships (or lack there of), with our family and friends and the community that surrounds us will be reestablished. Our own creativity and self awareness will be rediscovered, along with knowledge of the natural world and all its wonders. Jesus Christ will no longer be a distant friend in our lives, but a true companion and guide as we embrace this simpler way of living.

II. Self Reliance 101:
In the spirit of Homesteading we will embrace the virtues of self reliance. By learning new skills and relying on the ones we already have we will be able to provide for ourselves in a very new and exciting way. With these skill sets and a refocused frame of mind we can make what we need...instead of purchasing it, and take on the Do-It-Yourself attitude that will bring us more satisfaction than any paycheck ever has.

III. The Art Of Frugality:
By being frugal we can achieve a standard of living that is far beyond one that we have always tried to purchase. This cannot be understated for it is perhaps the core of what we are trying to accomplish. The simple act of spending less will buy us piece of mind, and the closeness of being together instead of slaving away trying to be the best consumers we can be. We will fix what is broken, mend what is torn, buy "used" instead of "new", and discover the hidden treasures of free fun as opposed to purchased fun that comes with the hidden price tag of guilt. The guilt we have felt when hard earned money was spent for something that in the end...wasn't all that fun anyways. For those things that we need, we will save for, and debt will be cast aside along with the "have it now attitude" that has been with us since we were children.

IV. Living With The Land:
In respect for the property that has been given to us, we will no longer see it as a burden, but instead see it for what it truly is; an opportunity. With our land we will grow our own food and raise livestock so that we can feed our family in a way that adheres to our other principles. With knowledge and practice there is nothing we can't grow, raise, or hunt. The satisfaction of supplying our own food will be worth all the hard work that it will take to collect this wonderful bounty.

V. Getting Off The Grid:
By relying on the powers-that-be to supply us with the energy we need, we have become willing participants in the "Plug & Play" game. This attitude has made it far to easy to simply power up anything for convenience's sake without regard to its cost. By taking on new applications of alternative energy we can free ourselves from the exorbitant costs of the electric company and have a deeper awareness and appreciation for the energy that we use. Appliances will be judged on their usefulness and ranked via priority instead of their supposed convenience.

This list of these five basic principles is a start, and perhaps, down the road it will be added to. For now though, it is a compass that we can use to help find our way.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Rabbit Hole

So today marks a major milestone in our homesteading endeavor...I put in my two weeks notice with the trucking company I work for. It's turning out to be a bitter-sweet moment. I expected to be very happy, but as it turns out there is a lot of room for uncertainty to creep in. There are a couple of reasons for this I figure:

First, our original plan was for me to wait until the end of March to quit. Our carefully laid out plan had suddenly changed, but, frankly for good reason. The cost of me being on the road, considering the amount of money it costs for food and other necessary supplies, were digging into my declining paycheck. With the financial recession taking hold, it has finally really hit my industry. So...slow freight, coupled with bad weather adds up to less miles per week, and that means smaller pay checks. Unfortunately, my spending wasn't going down, in fact it was on the rise. The more I sat for long hours in truck stops and operating centers the more I was eating, drinking (pop), smoking, etc. We did some math and some soul searching, and figured it just wasn't worth it to stay out on the road when I could earn money at home doing odd jobs, plus help Melissa in the day to day tasks that are continuing to grow as we remove expensive conveniences from our lives. Giving her more time to focus on her business. Seems like a great reason to quit sooner rather than later, and it is...but......see, there's that doubt; creeping in like a 'thief in the night', trying to snatch our dreams away.

The second reason I'm feeling this strange concoction of emotions is that I work for a large company that pays me, offers a 401k, insurance...and all the other benefits that comes from being hired by a business that's been around for 70 years. This is what I'm supposed to do to take care of my family. Work hard, earn money and benefits, and, and...wait...I don't get to ever see or be with them. Hey, that's not what society told me it would be like. That's right though, I have a lot of programing that's been with me since my first days on this earth, and it's that over-played programing that doesn't want to let me go. It's very "Matrix" like...I'm a copper-top. Linked to the system to do my part.

In the long run...I needed the doubt. I needed to wonder if I was doing the right thing. Not to make a hasty decision or one solely on emotion. I think that in this case doubt gave me pause, and I used it to make sure this was right. It is!

Time to find out what's down the Rabbit-Hole!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Come on baby light my fire

OK..this is what we are using to supplement our heat. We have the thermostat down to 62-65 and we close all the doors in the house to just heat the living room and kitchen. It seems to be working pretty good. You will usually find me with a sweater and slippers on still. The problems we have run into is the wood. We got a really late start in the year and Pat had only a few days to get a months worth of wood cut. Plus the fact that this wood was not dried or seasoned at all. We ran a little short that first month. Luckily we live on 40 acres and have plenty of wood, it's time that we have a current problem with. Pat is still on the road and won't be off for a few more weeks. So each time he's home for a few days he spends almost half a day cutting wood. He cuts, I stack. Thanks to both his brothers who helped with wood over Thanksgiving, it was much needed especially with the extra company over.

Animal Handeling

Ok well the goal is to own 3 pigs, and a few chickens to start. But we do have some experience in handling We own 2 dogs and 1 cat. Max is pictured here, he's AKA the "Baby Boy" It seems we have a history of calling all of our animals by anything but the name we really gave them. Our cat is a boy with the name pretty kitty (I know ask our daughter about that one) and we can't seem to say anything but SHE around him. And then we have Gypsy who has so many names I can't list them all here, my son Jay branded most of them. One of my favorites is "Pupper Diller". Anyways there you have it. The beginnings of our animal experience, well at least mine anyway. Pat has had more than I, thank goodness!

It's a boy

Here's the blanket I've been working on for Jay's new baby. Dr's say it a boy, lets hope, everything he and Jordy got was blue at the baby shower. I'll be having a baby shower up north for our side of the family, that's when I'll give it to them. I bought most the yarn from the store but did get lucky and found some second hand at the re-sale shop that matched. Thankfully I already knew how to crochet. There is sooo much I still need to learn. But at least I got one thing under my belt.


I have done many, many hours of research on the internet, looking into anything that has to do with “homesteading” or any varied version of that “search word” on google. I tried, self-reliance, going green, living off the grid, penny pinching, saving money, frugal living, gardening, hunting, alternate energy sources…etc. Each brought me a vast amount of information that I have taken little bits and pieces of and applied them to our new start on life. A few that I really enjoy visiting are, Mother Earth News (, this is one of my favorites. Been around for years and has gotten a new lease of life seeing how so many are “going green” now-a days. It has so many useful articles and blogs. I really enjoy reading it. Another fav is Exploring and enhancing the quality of rural life I haven’t become a member of anything yet, I just peek in now and then and see what others have written. I’m sure once everything really gets going for us I will join a group or 2. I'm pretty sure in a bit I will post all my links I've found. I just don't have the time with the holidays and all.