join us

My life is a jumble of countless ridiculous minutes which add up to hours which add up to days which lead us to Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Then I do it again.

The 3 of us are in the potty again… we’re 100% on the #1 issue.  Public bathrooms, no problem.  Big potties, little potties, no problem.  But going #2?  It is a mere concept.  Like planning ahead for dinner.  Like knowing you CAN have good posture but chose every day NOT to have good posture.  Like people who give up carbs.  I cannot fathom.

Come on in.  We’re in the loo.

[Portrait is a challenge to take one photo of yourself each week for a year :: play along!]

When it’s 91° outside not accounting for the 100% humidity, I like to steam out our kitchen by throwing on a stockpot of boiling vinegar and salt.  Pickles, anyone?  You’ll have to wait until October 1st.  The hardest part about these babies is waiting the 2 months for them to soak up the brine and taste like, well, pickles.  But, I’ll save you a jar. The Boy favors the bread and butter variety… which I did not know before we married or I would have scheduled an extra pre-marital counseling session.  I’m all for dill.  Heavy dill and garlic

*sigh*  We are completely different people.

I am trying to be a better farmer and consumer by canning or freezing a few more items I would normally buy at the big grocery store.  Strawberry jam, frozen local blueberries, pickles… that’s where I stand so far.  Soon I’ll add green beans, summer squash, and sweet corn to that list.  That makes 6 items grown by me or my immediate neighbors and processed by me instead of a factory and workers far, far away.  My goal for this year is to replace 10 items in my kitchen with home•grown / home•processed / home•made ingrdients.  Can I count our eggs?  I think so.  So, 7.  What else? Our meat!  Vension and beef will be home•grown this year.  I should not have to buy beef at the store in 2011.  So, 8 items. 

It’s not as hard as it seems to get back to basic, simple food.   

Oh my word, I forgot tomatoes.  Our wild garden will produce tomatoes soon.  So, spaghetti sauce and a few cans of diced tomatoes can be replaced.  If that counts as 2 grocery items, I’m already there without breaking a sweat.  Let’s go for 15.

What else could I replace?

About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

36 responses to “join us

  • Amanda


    I like “seeing” you. Keep up the portrait-work.

  • Cortney

    Oooh, bread is a good one.

    If I didn’t have HIGHLY DEATHLY allergic relatives, I would SO have some bees for honey. I use a lot of honey, plus I think the beekeeping outfit is cool.

    I love all things pickle. Sweet, sour, bread and butter, dill and garlic, if it’s brined I’ll eat it. Pickled okra, pickled squash (my aunt makes a divine pickled squash), even those freaky looking watermelon rind pickles. This week I got a craving for lime pickles (not the citrus fruit lime, the preservative lime) but no one in my immediate vicinity grew cukes this year, so I’ll be purchasing at the farmer’s market, so at least I’m keepin’ it local 😉

    • texasnorth

      MUCH of my bounty will be purchased from Paulson’s Market directly across the road from us.

      When we live in the same neighborhood, me and you are gonna have bees. I’m with you.

  • Kathy W

    Salsa!! 🙂

  • beckyswann

    Oh my goodness I am impressed! Do you have apples? my mom used to always make applesauce. She also would can bread and butter pickles which are my favorite too, but now I am just a Vlassic sandwich stacker gal:)

    That is awesome about you not having to buy meat!

    • texasnorth

      Apples! Of course. Well, not MINE, but we do pick apples every year and make sauce. I have 5 jars left for this year- they have to make it to September. That’s another one!

      And I made stackers this year- we’ll see how they turn out. I hope they’re still crunchy!

  • Susannah

    mmm. pickles. i was on a pickle kick last year and made an awesome batch of pickled beans. this year, i just couldn’t put my 7-month pregnant self in the steamy kitchen to can anything. we’re freezing stuff instead.

    and i vote for making your own ice cream. or eggnog. or eggnog ice cream.

    • texasnorth

      Oh, Friend. I would not be boiling things right now if I was pregnant, either! I would be standing in my basement with the upright freezer wide open!

      And eggnog ice cream… well, I’m going to chalk that one up to your hormones and give you a free pass 😉

  • Chad

    This is our second year raising pigs. We raised two last year, Clovis and Buckus, and two this year, Frank and Dottie. I’ve found them to be VERY easy to raise. They grow from wee piglets to 250 pound monsters in about 4 months. No need to have them over the winter, with all that involves. Last year, we had Earl’s Meats come out with their mobile slaughter wagon and they did the initial kill and dress right in the yard. Fun Stuff! We all stood and watched, shell shocked. One thing you do need for pigs, is a STURDY pen. They are smart, and very strong, and they will get out if they find a weakness in their pen. You’ve probably got everything you need for pigs on hand because of your other farming exploits. If you don’t like pork, then you’re off the hook, but I have a hard time believing anyone could dislike bacon.

    • texasnorth

      Alright. We need to talk about this more. I’m a big fan of pork… but I simply cannot eat it after the documentaries I’ve watched lately. Unbelieveable.

      I’m going to try to make my questions sound smart and then email you soon.

  • NC

    I know this is the comment you were looking for out of this post, but love, love your shower curtain. Did you make it?

    • texasnorth

      I did not make it. I looked for FOREVER for a retro- like 1950s- cowby Bonanza cattle drive type thing and found JUNK. Then this came along and it was very decent. The cowboys have no faces, which is a little sketchy, but still.

      When I do find the perfect fabric, I’ll make a new one and pass this one on to you for Gus and Dub’s outhouse.

  • NC

    We have been trying with my little guy, dub, a bit on the potty training. You know its not going well when you get in bed and you think why is my pillow wet. Hmmmm, it smells like pee. Matt: well he was hiding behind the pillows when I was getting him ready for bed. oh potty training how I long for it to be successfully over!

  • Grace

    Oh #2. The bane of my exsistance for a long, long time. I remember one time he with-held for 6 days because I wouldn’t put him in a pull-up, and when I finally took him to the doctor he went in his pants IN THE WAITING ROOM!

    What finally worked for us (when my son was over 3 1/2, I might add!) was drums.

    My son loves to play drums. At the time we were potty training, he loved to play the electric drum set at church after service. (We were always hanging around because my husband is a minister) Anyway, once we got to the point where we knew he could go #2 but was just choosing not too, we told him that drums were for big boys, so until he started going poopy in the potty like a big boy no more drums.

    In two days he was completely trained.

    So my advice, not that you asked for it, is: Find something she loves more than life and take it away. Sounds cruel, I know. But it works! 🙂

  • shanda

    Here me chanting: number 2! Number 2! Number 2! Number 2!

    You should host a pickle cook off of sorts at your farm in the fall. I would come. Grandma Arlene has a great fridge pickle recipe.

    • texasnorth

      Let’s have a pie-making weekend!!! Would you come for that? We could all go home with pies for the freezer! My friend in Zeeland does that…

      And I’m chanting with you. Are we on a 2-beat (NUM BER2, NUM BER2) or a 3-beat (NUM BER 2, NUM BER 2)?

  • Margie

    Two kids and all that home-produced good stuff. I couldn’t even make it to Wal-Mart. I stand in awe of you, Katie Kate.

    I will consider the portrait challenge. But no guarantees – all my pics will be taken by my kids.

    • texasnorth

      All that stuff you see cost me $6 and one hour. They then sat on my counter for 2 weeks before I took them 200 feet from the counter to the basement. Be ye not impressed 🙂

  • Miss Laura

    Honey 😉

    (And yes, that’s me being a smart aleck.)

  • Tricia

    Oh, my goodness. Those tiny little feet peeking up at the edge of the photo, Rylie making sure she’s part of the scene, the expression on your face, and yes, that shower curtain!…. this picture takes the cake. Only problem is the Boy is missing. The Boy is right about bread and butter pickles, by the way.

  • Tricia

    I would like to second, or third, the suggestion that you consider bee-farming. Aside from the delicious honey and the romance of it all, we desperately need more honey bees, don’t we? You’d be doing the local environment a favor.

    • texasnorth

      I really like bees- I mean, honey. But, have you seen the Secret Life of Bees? Or Fried Green Tomatoes? You have to have an Air of Calm Kindness or the bees will kill you.

      Have you met me? I will die.

  • ecky

    dilly beans?

  • Amy B.

    I love all kinds of pickles as well, but bread and butter…well, I could eat a whole jar by myself in a matter of minutes. In fact, I’m pretty sure I did last summer when my dad made a few perfect jars of them.

    I’m impressed with your initiative and ingenuity as well. Keep up the good work…

    • texasnorth

      All you people and your bread and butter pickles will have your own separate area in heaven. On the side, behind the column where it is hard to see.

      • Tricia

        Dude. That’s fine. We won’t even notice since we’ll all have our eyes rolling back in our heads in ecstacy… you know, from the heavenly bread n butter pickles. 😉

  • Sunday

    you are so good! we have this massive garden and none of it lasts us into the winter! Shame on us. I am going to make some pesto and freeze them. I really need to do something with the tomatoes for my spaghetti, but I have no idea how to do that! I am so lame, but you are not lame at all!

  • annie singletary

    dealing with teaching to go #2 and canning all that, you got it going on girl.
    it’s awesome that you are replacing those things with home grown, i think i would agree that salsa needs to be made. we buy a lot of that around here.
    good luck in the loo! you can do it Ry!

  • missthya

    Can you grow sugar cane in Michigan?

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