True North is:

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Michigan, United States

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Are we there yet?

The guy we purchased the pigs from came over yesterday. He said the pigs look great and we could butcher them now if want. Although he said if it were him he would wait another 2 weeks to get a really good chop out of them. So the countdown begins! We have 2 weeks to find our butcher (which he recommended a good one) and the biggest most important thing to find some one to buy our other pig to cover the cost of the one we keep. He said we are looking at about $1 per pound hanging weight, plus the cost of butcher. So we hope to get about $300 or a little more. That will work perfect for us!

Oh and on a funny note....apparently he said we have 2 boys (brothers). Not a boy and a girl...poor black one has had an identity crisis all this time.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The $2 Chair

A while back someone asked for close up photos of the chair I found at a yard sale. Sorry it took so long to post them, but here they are. I bought this chair for $2. It's super cool and seems pretty easy to build. You can even sit in it, though I have a plant on it by my front door.

They keep growing and growing and growing....

The garden is taking shape! We have the following growing successfully; watermelon, onion, 3 kinds of tomato, acorn squash, pole beans, potatoes, corn, 2 kinds of cucumbers, peppers and radishes. Crossing our fingers for the lettuce to come up. We planted strawberry's that were already established in a bed and dug up and given to us (Thanks Norm). They seem to be doing good.

We were unsuccessful with our first batch of onion, cauliflower, broccoli, seed peppers and carrots. I think we planted the seeds to deep in the ground with the combination of the not-so-warm weather here in Michigan. We even had a frost in June.

A few things we have learned:
1)Plant seeds inside before season starts.
2)Plant like package says or what fellow family/friends say who have grown it before.
3)Check the weather to see if rain is coming, no need to waste our own water.
4)Don't always count on the weather....LOL

MIL says we should be able to harvest the radishes soon. They were our first crop to be planted and looking nice.

Oh the NOT so little, 3 LITTLE PIGS. Yes they have grown. The are so damn big I think we will be butchering them sooner than expected. The guy we bought them from is coming out today to let us know what he thinks. We were told it would take from March to July to fatten up. About 4 full months. I think ours did it in about 3 and 1/2 months. So far the girl (black one) has fattened up a bit larger the the boy (white one). We still have to make a final decision on the butcher. We've had lots of info thrown at us. We need to keep our costs as low as possible. We halos need to get rid of the other pig. Our plan was to eat one, and sell one to pay for the one we eat. Well at the very least cover as much of the costs as possible.

A few things we learned:
1) Pigs eat ALMOST anything. If they get good scrap, feed and can graze, they leave the greens (grass/weeds/corn husks) til last and may not even eat them at all because they are full.
2)Pigs are pushy and taste test everything. Walk into the pen and suddenly you and your tools become a food samples.
3)Even a big heavy feeding trough and water trough get knocked over. Better to have them nailed to the fence.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Little Enlightenment's

You must plant seeds like the package says. Even if you think you have a green thumb.

Drying laundry on the line does not take as long we thought!

Tools break the more you use them, buy quality to begin with.


With so many things that have happened over the last month. I struggled to decide which topic to write about. I decided how ironic it was that I struggled, when that is kinda what I wanted to write about... struggling. LOL, I know I'm not making any sense, but hopefully that will change.

It seems that lately we have been overwhelmed with things... things to do, places to go, people to see, jobs to do. I have found that the hush of winter is not at all as bad as I once thought is was a few months ago, when I was bored out of my mind. I have found that things when thought about or dreamed about are oh so much more romantic and well lets just say it...EASY. But you add the above "tasks" to your dreamy little wonderland, and you have struggle.

Yes I know we were warned that things would be hard and they are, but I don't want to lose sight of the goal. It gets overwhelming when the journey is not enjoyed, when all you want is the end of your task to be near.

Money struggles. Yeah I know cry me a river, but we all are going through it so I though I'd share our story, it's our blog after all! We've not been desperate yet, not starving yet, but we have gone without, and a bill or 2 have been late. It's definitely not for lack of trying, just didn't balance the budget properly and my work is unstable at best. We have managed to keep our heads above water thankfully for now. But it has put jobs behind, like the chicken coop. We have yet to finish that, so it sits partially done and we still have no chickens.

Garden struggles. Ok we all know that this is new territory for us. We've NEVER done the majority of things we have attempted to do, but yet we still try pathetically. The garden, oh the garden. She's a force to be reckoned with. It's a love/hate relationship we have with our garden. So far she has been planted for about 1 month. Well the first half of it anyway. The out come in 1 month is 3/4 of it didn't sprout, so we replanted a bunch and cheated and got some starter plants. Well it was MIL who got them, I think she felt bad for us slaving away and getting no results. The second part of the garden is all Pat. He has been a regular ol' farmer!! He's spent hours sowing, and weeding, and just loving it and it's worked. And the result...we have growth!! Well I should say sprouts, but it's growing and that's all that counts. Now we're told the hard part comes, the bugs...haven't had to deal with that yet, as nothing had grown before. But we're armed and ready with piles of books, magazines, and precious advice from loved ones.

Time struggle. Where does it go? I remember sitting by the fire this winter and anxiously awaiting for the sun to warm us and spring to get sprung. Obviously summer is nearly here and you can tell by the looks of our barren blog that time has gotten the best of us. I think time is one of the hardest struggles of all. But we have all been through it and I'm sure all want and need more of it. But alas...that's life right?

So I thought with this post, I'd put a few pictures of around the homestead here at True North. Hope you enjoy..

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Better late than never

So it's been damn near a month since we posted. The month of May is jam-packed with fun things and we got a little caught up in all the excitement and found no time to blog. Mothers day, my b-day, memorial day, highland festival and planting the garden. We'll post about them all when we stop to take a breath. The pigs are gigantic. Still haven't gotten the chickens yet and we've been learning so much!