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Thoughts On Diet and Health

Diet and Health – A Journey

diet and health

The diet and health bookshelf, part 1

What Am I Going to Tell You?

I’m going to tell you that what you put in your mouth is of paramount importance.  You can make remarkable, and swift, improvements to your health and fitness.  Even at what you might now consider to be “later stages of life.” You are in control.  You can do it.  In fact, you alone can do it.  No one can do it for you, and you cannot “do it” for anyone else.  With that having been said, strap on, we’re going for a ride. Read more

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The Making of Milling Memories

Portable Sawmill Service and Lumber-Making: What Does it Take?

portable sawmill serviceI suppose it’s a combination of things: the milling itself must go well for starters.  I have written fairly extensively on the preparations necessary, and the further from home you are, the more important is that preparation. I have written about the customer’s part in “How to Find and Work With a Local Sawmill Service.”  I have written about my preparations, in “The Quarter-Sawing Process, and Problems, Oh No!,” and in “Portable Sawmill Service Load-Out.”  You might say those preparations are necessary, but not sufficient, in the creation of a truly memorable experience.  Which brings us to the complement to preparation, the thing that in combination with preparation is sufficient for creation of the truly memorable.  That thing is People.

Anatomy of a Memorable Portable Sawmill Service Experience

There are other factors, too.  Anticipation.  A shared investment in the preparations.  The involvement of family and friends.  Challenge.  Achievement.  I’ll stop there, but the list goes on.

Recently I traveled to Fremont, Michigan, on an edge of the Manistee National Forest, which let’s just say is too far from home to be able to rely on any of the support systems local to home.  All those preparations I talk about are all that much more important; it’s not unlike being on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic, you have to be able to rely on yourself, and on those on the water with you, if you are to have any hope of successfully completing the mission.  Paul, his wife Nancy, and Kate and Jack, were those I could rely on in this case.  Their preparations were flawless, their ability to learn on the fly, and quickly, was impressive.  They worked tirelessly, and pretty much without breaks, certainly without any breaks of more than 10 or 15 minutes, and even those few and far between.

Together we milled, swept, stickered, stacked and stored 2,200 board feet of lumber.  And even made time for conversation.  It was practically magical.

I say all this simply to set up the embedded video.  It’s longer than is my norm, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave much “on the cutting room floor.”  As it is, it’s 17 hours of milling condensed into 15 minutes.  If you are new to working with a portable sawmill service, this video is for you.  I hope you will enjoy a look into this wonderful experience.  It’s one that we in Primal Woods Sawyers will not soon forget.  My heartfelt thanks to the Taylor’s for the opportunity.  If you want to know what Paul thought, you can find that here.

And now, on to the show!

Thank you for reading, and watching!

John

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Wood-Mizer Rodent Infestation

Wood-Mizer Rodent Infestation: Background

Wood-Mizer LT40 from right side

View of Wood-Mizer LT40 from right side, black engine cover top in background

Mice!  I’m sure they are necessary to the ecosystem, but damn can they do some damage.  I would venture a guess that most Wood-Mizer sawmills are stored outside; the LT40 is 26 feet long, so to get it under cover normally involves a pretty substantial structure of some sort.  There are fabric covers, and we bought them all.  Three can be in place when towing the Wood-Mizer; covers for the operator controls, the de-barker, and the engine.  Then, there is a large cover that will protect whole carriage, including the engine, de-barker, feed motor, movable blade guide including its motor and drive, drive and idle blade wheels, mast, and a few other bits that don’t come to mind at the moment.  The downside of the large cover is that it can only be used when the portable sawmill is stationary.  A problem with all of these covers, but especially the engine cover and the large cover, is that mice also love cover!  I have repaired numerous mouse holes in the engine and large covers.  Of course mice seem to love gnawing on wiring as well.  There is really no place for the mice to go under the operator controls cover, or the de-barker cover.  So then, what’s a guy to do? Read more

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Well Pump Pressure Switch Repair

Homesteading DIY: Well Pump Pressure Switch Repair

In recent months, I’ve had to file the points (contactors) in the well pump pressure switch on a few occasions, after loss of water pressure to the house.  I finally decided to replace the contactors in the switch.  Our pressure switch is made by Square D, and while you can buy the entire switch, I decided to see if a contactor repair kit was available on

Amazon, and sure enough, it was.  You will need to switch part number to search for the appropriate repair parts.  Our switch part number is 9013FSG, located inside the switch cover, and the corresponding Square D Replacement Contact Kit 9998PC241 worked perfectly; $12 more or less, delivered.

If a fella wants to spend more time on the homestead than off, spending less money is important, which brings us to yet another homesteading DIY project.  This one is relatively small, it took me a couple of hours, and as usual, it was my first time out.  If I have it to do over again, it could probably be done in 30-45 minutes.

Once you have the parts on hand, and you’ve notified the significant other that there will be no water pressure for a bit, it’s time to get started.  Read more

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Portable Sawmill Service Load-Out

portable sawmill primal woods

Preparing For Portable Sawmill Service Work

The key word here, is portable.  Which is to say, you are some distance from the usual support systems of a typical stationary sawmill.  You may not have access to your full suite of tools; on weekends technical support from the manufacturer of your portable sawmill may or may not be available.  And as the Sawyer time is not on your side.  Downtime is the enemy, and everything must be done to prevent it, and respond to it if Murphy shows up.  So, what exactly does that entail? Read more

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2018 Post Season Update from the Sugar House

pure michigan maple syrup

Jonah, Sheila and Carl; kick-ass humans being

2018 Primal Woods Pure Michigan Maple Syrup | Year in Review

And what a Primal Woods Pure Michigan Maple Syrup season it was!  It probably included the biggest changes we will ever take on in the Sugaring business; production was up roughly 8X on 2017, and virtually everything in the process was new, or dramatically scaled up from prior years. If you have read this blog for any period of time, you know that I “reflect” fairly regularly on “what went well” and “what didn’t go so well,” with a keen eye on the latter, because the problems represent the bulk of the opportunity for future improvements.  This post will be no exception.  Having said that, without question, the most fulfilling, satisfying, and fun part of the 2018 season, was that we were able to involve a lot more of our local community in the process.  Before I get to the details, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the contribution of the people who helped us so greatly. Read more

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Late Season Update from the Sugar House

syrup pan - primal woods pure michigan maple syrup

A look into the Leader Evaporator RevMax Syrup Pan

Primal Woods Pure Michigan Maple Syrup – Late Season Update

And what a year it has been so far! We just surpassed 1,000 Half-Pint bottles produced; of the Amber, Dark, and Very Dark varieties.  Check it out in our Shop.  But even better than that, is the experience gained in the process, and the ability to include so many of our Community in the making of those 1,000 bottles.  Virtually all new equipment, the Sugar House conversion project, getting the help we needed in collecting the sap, putting up the necessary firewood, bottling, dressing the bottles, and the list goes on.  All of that with only a few hiccups, none of which could stop us.  I’m convinced we can pull off another big expansion for 2019, perhaps our final expansion; we’ll see.  For more on what we’ve been up to this season, read on. Read more

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Mid-Season Update from the Sugar House

Primal Woods Pure Michigan Maple Syrup – In the Making

I’m hoping and praying we are a little shy of the mid-point in this maple syrup season, at least as regards maple syrup production, but I think it’s likely that we are at about that point.  I plan for sap flow for 4 to 6 weeks from initial tapping, and we tapped February 16-18; gee whiz, now that I look at it we just passed the two week point.  Seems like it’s been a lot longer than that!  Okay though, I’m grateful for at least the possibility of more sap flow in front of us than behind us.  There is a little break in the action here, no evaporation today, and it looks like we are nearing the end of Sap Run 3; I will evaporate the last 400 gallons from Run 3 tomorrow, and that should yield 9-10 gallons of syrup.  And, this break gives us a little time to make some additional process improvements, and to reflect on, naturally, what has gone well, and what hasn’t gone well.  Let’s get to it.

maple sap collection

Joey and Carl collecting sap; 2018 Feb 23, Sap Run 1

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Wellpump Failure!

Background

Equipment failures never happen at an opportune time, and this was no exception to that rule.  It was about 0300 the moring of the 21st when Geri woke me to tell me that we had no water pressure in the house, and that day was our first running the new Primal Woods Pure Michigan Maple Syrup evaporator, and all of the associated new equipment.  I had no time for this wellpump failure!  But of course, I had to make time.  That time was this morning, when sap was not yet flowing, and when I did not have enough sap onhand to fire up the evaporator again.

Today’s Actions

Wellhead cover off

The braided line is connected to the body of the wellpump, and ensures that it does not fall to the bottom of the hole if the PEX tubing and wiring break.  Read on to learn more. Read more

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Sugar House Roof DIY

Bringing the Sugar House Conversion to Completion

There is one big project left for Primal Woods Sugarers, and a myriad of smaller details, in the completion of the Primal Woods Sugar House conversion; that being the roof penetrations required to allow for exit of steam from the Leader Evaporator Revolution syrup and flue pans, and smoke from the Inferno arch. The “arch” is basically the wood-fired furnace that heats the flue and syrup pans to make our Primal Woods Pure Michigan Maple Syrup.  Let it be said, I’m no carpenter, and I’m no roofer.  But again I think I am going to be pressed into service, this time as a roofer.  Read on to see what this project involves.

Sugar House hip roof structure, showing Inferno arch in place

Sugar House hip roof structure, showing Inferno arch in place

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