True North is:

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Michigan, United States

Thursday, July 16, 2009

This little piggy went to market!

With just a little more than 3 months at True North, our two pigs have been sent to The Butcher Block...literally. The Butcher Block is a butcher that lives close by us and was highly recommended.

Of course, like all things at True North, this process was not without its problems. Unfortunately I can only blame myself, as usual. Back when we decided to get pigs and we were doing our research, one of the things that was stressed was to make sure you had a way to transport your livestock. Well, needless to say I waited until the last minute and my transportation plans fell apart.

I have a small trailer that I use to haul wood and my plan was to build small walls around it, load the pigs up, and away we'd go. That was until I got my truck stuck with the trailer on...unhooked the trailer...and then proceeded to back over the hitch, crushing the mechanism that attaches to the ball, ripping off the right side tail lights and the license plate. Now, before you feel too sorry for me I should disclose that all this damage took place in February, and I kept putting off the repairs. The next thing I knew the pigs were ready to go, the trailer wasn't, and I had a ton of stuff to do that wasn't related to either. Such is life...and one day I'll learn procrastination is not a virtue, especially when your trying to save money.

Enter Russ: Russ is the man we bought the two pigs from. From the start, when we first met him, I thought he was great. Good-natured, friendly, and didn't treat us with disdain because we didn't know what we were doing. Instead, he guided us through this process; first by selling us wonderful animals, then checking them out when they closed in on the finishing line, and finally by transporting them in his trailer to the butcher for a very cheap price (20 bucks!). Thanks Russ, we'll see you next spring when we buy the next set of pigs!

So Russ shows up, and my pigs practically run into his trailer and lay down. I had Melissa and my older brother James (visiting from Vegas...more on that later) there for help, and Russ had brought one of his hired hands. All that man-power...not needed! Our pigs had been great from the beginning, and it appeared that they would leave they way they good spirits!

After the loading, me and my brother followed Russ to the butchers, and after some quick introductions we unloaded the pigs. Again, with hardly any prompting, the pigs jumped off the trailer and headed inside. It was the last time I would see them alive. With that we filled out some paper work and decided how we wanted them butchered.

As we were returning home I took some time to reflect on the pigs. Don't get me wrong, I'm not squeamish about these types of things; I've hunted for years, but this was a little different. Never before had we raised an animal for slaughter. I had not gotten attached to the pigs, but I had gotten attached to our routine and their squealing during food time. I am also very attached to bacon and ham, so my nostalgia didn't last long. However, we did enjoy our time with them and we are looking forward to next spring when our pen will once again be occupied by a couple of smart and entertaining animals, whom, if only for a short time, will live like kings at True North.

Once I get the final cost of the butchering, and exactly how much meat we get I'll post up how cost effective it was to raise them. A special thanks goes out to Norm (my mother's husband) for purchasing the white pig and helping us off-set our costs! On to the pictures:

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