What a rainy month! With over 6 inches of rain in the past few weeks, we have certainly made up for the hot and dry weather we had during the first half of the summer.
Being our first slab, it is far from perfect. “Good enough for who it’s for” has become somewhat of a motto around here. We have figured out that when we’re doing big projects like this for the first time, things are pretty much guaranteed to not work out 100% perfect and it really doesn’t pay to get hung up on little details. Instead, we focus on getting through the experience and take note of what we need to improve on for next time. We’ve taken the view that these projects are also an investment in building our skills and knowledge, as experience is the best teacher. Overall, it went well and we are on to the next phase! Yesterday Pete picked up all the lumber for framing the building and got one of the walls nailed together – we’ll stand it up as soon as it quits raining haha. It’s hard to describe how excited we are to get this shop up and usable. After the past years of making all of our Wild North products in the uninsulated garage tent or on our kitchen table, a nice warm workshop sounds better than a tropical beach in the middle of a cold, dark Alaskan winter!
Over in the garden, we have harvested most of the summer crops and also planted some new ones for a fall harvest. Though we have significantly improved upon last year's garden, we are still doing lots of experimenting and taking notes on what, where, and when to plant for next year. This summer we were able to grow over 50lbs of carrots, 30lbs of sweet peppers, 15lbs of lettuce, and lots of other things! Along with learning how to grow the crops, we’re also learning about how to efficiently process them and store them so we’re prepared to start selling next summer’s crops at the markets. We had hoped to attend some farmers markets this summer, but there was too many variables we hadn’t planned for and our timing wasn't right.
On the livestock side of things, we harvested all of our broiler chickens, filling our deep freeze to the brim! Our new plucking machine made the whole job a breeze. Well, sort of – it still took nearly an entire day to process all the birds, but it was a significant improvement over last year and we know next year it will go even smoother. Our biggest hang up was our rustic outdoor propane cook top which after 2-3 hours of troubleshooting, we gave up and switched to our much smaller camping cook top grill to heat up the large caldron of water. I also invested in a nice knife recommended by other small chicken farms for the processing which made it really slick for us to portion out the parts of the chicken meat. Now we don't have to cook a full chicken anytime I put chicken on the dinner menu. It's the little things!
The pigs have been staying happy as well. How could they not enjoy the job of eating and getting fat? They spend their days chasing each other around, rooting through the sod, eating whatever scraps we have after crop harvests, and making sure to get a few naps in. Sounds like Hog Heaven! We plan on harvesting them in either October or November, so we’ll have our work cut out for us once we start getting into freezing temperatures later in September as they’ll need non-frozen water brought out to them and thick beds of straw to sleep in. However, we’re betting the bacon will be worth it!
If you haven't already, check out the video Pete made of building the pig pen and getting our pigs!
As summer grinds to a halt, the leaves have begun to turn and the cool autumn air breezes in. We have not lit the wood stove since early May, but that could be changing any day now. We are excited to see what difference the addition of siding on the cabin makes in keeping the cabin warm. We hadn’t expected it to make much of a difference, but we have noticed just baking something in the oven will warm things up quite a bit more than before. Maybe we will be able to let the wood stove burn out and still keep toasty in the early morning hours! Thanks for reading!
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Hello, I am Melissa, owner of Wild North Design. Recently, my husband and I decided to pick up and move to Alaska. This dream has been a couple years in the making and we are enjoying the journey so far. We love to learn and make all kinds of things. From wood craft, to painting, to vehicles, landscaping, building, exploring...we love it all! We are finding out that Alaska is a great fit for our restless minds and bodies! Excited for what the future holds for our expanding family!
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