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Blog Subscriber Update

From John’s Desk – 
Blog Delivery Logistics

Primal Woods John at work
Not a big fan of pictures of me, but I’ll take this one

If you are reading this it means that at some point in the past you “opted in” to an email subscription to our Primal Woods blog.  I want you to know that yesterday I transitioned e-mail delivery of the blog posts from Feedburner to MailChimp.  There are a couple of reasons for that; one, Feedburner is an old google product, and is no longer supported, and two, MailChimp offers some additional capabilities.  If everything goes according to plan, MailChimp should have sent you this post at 5 p.m. Eastern Time on 2018 December 11.  And, since I don’t want to be an unwelcome “spammer,” you are reminded that you can “opt-out” at any time; you should find an “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of the email.  I thank all of you for having subscribed in the first place, and next I will introduce you to some of my thoughts on where we might go from here with respect to my communication with you.  I need your help.

What’s Next?

Well, that depends on you and the feedback you provide to me.  I’ll continue with the blog, though I certainly tend to post there less frequently than on Instagram and Facebook.  I use the blog to provide in depth information, and writing and publishing the posts is a time consuming process.  Still, that sort of documentation comes naturally to me, so it will continue, and probably no less frequently than now.  I’m looking for something that will allow me more depth than Instagram or Facebook, but with less investment of time than the blog or video (given my current capabilities).

primal woods communication channels
Spectrum of Communication Channels

A Newsletter Perhaps?

One of the things that MailChimp offers, is the capability for sending you email on a variety of subjects.  A lot crosses my mind and my desk that I think might be of interest to you, but frankly the work required to put these bits in a blog post is off-puttting.  Conversely, I could put interesting and informative content in a quick “Newsletter” email far more easily; it would I think fit right between Facebook and the Blog on the Spectrum.  These newsletters would touch on all areas of the Primal Woods business, including Sawyers, Sugarers, Soapers, and soon, Health Coaching.  MailChimp also offers the capability of managing various “interest group” lists,  so if you only wanted to read about soap, or sugars, or sawyers, or health coaching, or any combination of those, you could manage your subscription accordingly.  What do you think about the newsletter idea; I would be very appreciative of hearing your thoughts?  Since this is a blog post you can provide feedback on the blog, or simply reply to john@primalwoods.com via the email delivered by MailChimp, I hope!

Video and/or Audio?

It’s also perfectly clear that a lot, probably the vast majority of people, now consume information either via live or recorded audio or video.  These are routes I have experimented some with, and the YouTube channel garners new subscribers almost daily; frankly, that surprises me.  Having said that, producing audio and video is even more timeconsuming (currently) than the blog, and so it has not happened as frequently as it should.  Some of that is due to my own limitations.  I will find a way to make audio and or video more manageable if that’s what you want to see.

Along that line of thought, again I would appreciate your feedback.  Would you be more engaged with audio and/or video than with the blog, Facebook, and Instagram?  If so, audio or video?  And on what platform; YouTube, Vimeo a podcast, Facebook or IG Live videos?  The possibilities are seemingly endless, and your feedback will certainly inform the decision.  It’s hard for me to believe you’d want to see my mug more often, but if so I’ll buckle-up and make it so!

Thank You!

I want to thank you for all of the love and support as we come to the end of year three in Primal Woods.  To say that it has been an adventure is a gross understatement.   Our customers, you, are in a class all by themselves.  I’m continuously amazed by what you are up to, in business and in life.  It’s my fervent prayer that we can be of service to you.

All the best, happy holidays, and Merry Christmas,

John

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The Business of Primal Health Coaching

Primal Health Coaching

There’s that old saying, words to the effect that “you are what you think about all day long.”  It might be better said, you become what you think about all day long.

As most of the long-time readers will know, Geri and I have been very serious about our health since I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease of the thyroid in mid-2014.  I’ve been moving along the ancestral health path for almost 5 years now, and it has been an amazing journey.  Some bread crumbs have been left along the way, here and here.  Even before 2014 I was in search of the trail-head for about five years, and in that search one of the first books I came across was The Primal Blueprint.  More recently you might have noticed that I’m a student at the Primal Health Coach Institute; both the book and the course are the creations of Mark Sisson and his team.

It’s no coincidence that “Health” is one of the three elements of “The Purpose.”  Like most “vision” or “mission” statements, ours was aspirational, which is to say we weren’t necessarily being all, or indeed any of those things when “The Purpose” was drafted in June of 2015. You become what you think about. All. Day. Long. Read more

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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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2017 Year in Review – 2018 Goals

2017 Year in Review | Lessons Learned in Primal Woods and on the Homestead

Sawyers chalked up some impressive numbers year-on-year, and maple syruping went well in general.  Also, work on ensuring that folks searching on-line for the products and services we offer could actually find us, was greatly enhanced by doing a significant amount of search engine optimization (SEO) work on the website.  And we learned at a rapid pace.  On the Homestead, we continued to improve the infrastructure, specifically in and under the house, and did a much better job of sourcing our food locally.  So what could possibly have gone wrong?  Plenty as it turns out, and that is really where the opportunities lie.  Let’s have a look.

Primal Woods 2017 year in review

What went well, what did not go well; 2017

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Resilient and Sustainable Fresh Water Systems

sutainability and resilience defined

Sustainability and Resilience at Primal Woods

It’s safe to say I think, that these two words, resilience and sustainability, pretty well define our long term goals for the homestead.  The first three areas in need of attention that come to mind are shelter, and specifically heating the shelter, food, and water.  I have posted relatively frequently on all of these, and the focus of today’s post will be water.  My most recent post in the resilience and sustainability catgories was Sustainable Heat – Year 2 of Our Journey.  I also wrote some on these subjects in my Late Winter 2013/2014 post, and in the 2016 Year in Review post.  Well, as it turns out, we have come a long way, but we are still quite far from the goal line.

As I think about it now, both in retrospect and in looking towards future needs, we are probably furthest along in achieving the twin goals of sustainability and resilience, with the provision of fresh water.  This might be because we froze the Well House and the Studio in our first winter; the Well House systems were not permanently damaged, the PVC supply plumbing serving the Studio was shredded in its entirety, and that is not an exaggeration.  If you have ever heard of or seen a “spiral fracture” of bone, that is what each and every bone in the PVC skeletal system suffered.  Suffice it to say, the system was not the least bit resilient. Read more

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Sustainable Heat – Year 2 of Our Journey

Sustainable Heat; Resilient Home Heating Systems

Central Boiler Classic Edge 750

Central Boiler Classic Edge 750

Our home was built in the early 70’s, and I have to say, it’s infrastructure, particularly the foundation, crawl space, attic, septic system, electrical system, plumbing, and HVAC systems, were not well thought-out, executed, or maintained.  So far, the only item on that lengthy list that we have not at least substantially addressed, is the foundation.  The HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) was particularly inefficient, unreliable, and costly.  Sustainable heat: Not.  We inherited from previous owners, an old propane-fired forced air heating system, using two package units (you usually see these used industrially, the entire heating and air conditioning apparatus is outside the house, only ducting and wiring connecting it to the house), with installed electric baseboards as “back-up,” I suppose you could say.  The first time the propane-fired forced air system failed, due to operator error I might add, we learned that the electric baseboards were not capable of bringing the house up to even 45°F; they’ve not been energized since.  So what have we done, and what are we doing, to improve the sustainability and resilience of a system for providing sustainble heat?  Read on for the details. Read more

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Making a Living, and a Life

What Making a Living Looks Like from Here

Massive lifestyle change; that’s what it looks like.  Living closer to the land means that the days of a single-point source of income is only history, and has little, and hopefully no place, in the future.  There are at least a couple of reasons for that, the first that come to mind are:

  • Time.  In the end, that’s one of the few things you have, and precious little of it.  A “job” simply takes too much time away from everything else that matters; family, friends, community, health, the land, and so on.  A job is what I call a “mutually exclusive circle,” which is to say that usually, your family, friends, the community, your health, and that of the land, are not a part of it, they’re not inside the job circle.  Where does that leave those people and things?
  • Earning money at a job is taxed heavily, relatively speaking.  That means that what you earn is significantly devalued simply by virtue of how you earn it, especially if that something results in a W-2.  The Feds take a big fraction, the States follow suit.
  • Then, most of what you buy with what you earn is also taxed, the earnings on your savings, if any, are taxed, etc.  And let’s not forget the systematic devaluation of the dollar.  All-in-all, it’s a Win-Lose proposition, and the earner/saver is not on the Winning side of the equation.
  • Resiliancy?  Not.  With a single-point source of income you are generally employed at the whim of your employer; it’s called “at-will” employment; your will, and more importantly in this context, your employer’s will.  You can be let go for more or less any reason, or no reason at all, eliminating your single-point source of income.
  • Passive income.  Nope.  With a job, typically, if you don’t work, you don’t get paid.  Especially as we age, it is important to have streams of income that do not require our active participation.  You know, like book royalties, or rent from that spare space in your barn; gifts that keep on giving.

At least that is the belief system I operate under.  So what does that mean?

Primal Woods
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White-Tailed Deer Tree Stand Safety

Fall Prevention and Tree Stand Safety

Tree Stand Safety – Background

Hunting is obviously not one of our three lines of business, Sawyers, Sugarers, or Soapers, but it is part of what I refer to as Primal Woods Life, and it is About Us!  Indigenous peoples have not been particular about food, other than to ensurethat it was safe and nutritious, so they ate what the land had to offer; plants and animals.  In the midwest, White-Tailed Deer are a part of the fat of the land, and so they are a part of how we now sustain ourselves.  If you want to know more about White-tailed Deer and their conservation, check out the post I wrote, Top 7 Messages from The Land Ethic Reclaimed.  Hunting safely is about your Health, and it is about your Community, including your family and friends.  I argue that you cannot afford to get hurt, and your friends, family and community cannot afford for you to get hurt.

Tree Stand Safety at Primal Woods

Part and parcel of hunting white-tailed deer in this part of the country, are tree stands.  Now I religiously wear my safety harness in all ladder stands that I hunt from, regardless of height, which ranges from 12-15 feet.  I don’t care who you are, a fall from that height can hurt you, badly.  However, the safety harness only protects you once you are in the stand, not when climbing to, or descending from the stand.  We inherited a high “hang-on” stand from a tresspasser a few years ago, and this stand requires some additional safety considerations.  The seat of the stand is about 25 feet above the ground, and access is not via a typical ladder, but rather by use of a “climbing stick,” which is strapped to the tree.

tree stand safety fall prevention

Yup, that qualifies as a long drop

This tree stand requires 16 feet of climbing stick, and another 8 feet or so of “tree steps,” which are screwed into the tree.

tree stand safety tree step

An example of a “tree step”

Tree Stand Safety – Fall Prevention

Now, let in be said, I’m not a big fan of heights.  And I am certainly not interested in falling from 20 or 25 feet while trying to access this tree stand, or worse yet, while climbing down from this tree stand in complete darkness and the dead of winter.  So, today I installed the Gorilla Gear Fall Defense G-Tac Fall Defense Line Tree Rope.  That’s a mouthful.  It is the larger rope on the right side of the climbing stick in the photo.  This piece of safety equipment uses a curious knot, called a “Prusik Knot,” which you can slip up or down as you climb or descend, but which pulls tight and arrests your fall if the knot is put under tension by the force of your fall.

tree stand safety Prusik knot

Prusik Knot in the Gorilla Gear Fall Defense Line

A carabiner attaches your safety harness to the Prusik knot when climbing or descending.  The green and white in the larger black rope is reflective.

The other rope in the picture, on the left, is what I call a haul rope.  Again, this is tied off up at the stand, but is equipped with carabiners at the ground-end to allow the hunter to leave his gear on the ground, attached to the haul rope; freeing his hands for climbing.  Then, once the hunter is safely situated in the stand, with safety harness attached, the gear is hauled up.  So both ropes, for fall prevention and for hauling gear up to the stand, are important from a safety perspective.

Ok, all for now.  I just wanted to get out a quick note, asking you to care for yourselves, and by association, your family and friends.  Take safety seriously.

All the best, and kind regards,

John

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Paleo f(x) 2017 #pfx17 Recap – 4 Recommendations for Radically Improving Health

Clockwise from Upper Left: Michelle and Keith Norris, Geri & John in the #pfx17 afterglow, Robb Wolf, Dr. Josh Axe, Abel James and family, Abel James

Geri and I made the trip to one of our favorite towns, Austin, TX, for Paleo f(x) 2017. It was worth every penny.  And as I began to put this post together, a now-familiar problem came to the fore, that being an inability to separate “Paleo,” as it relates to our diet, and more, from our lives in general, and from Primal Woods in particular. By the way, I am using the word “diet” as defined, “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.” That is to say, not as some temporary aberration, defined as, “a departure from what is normal, usual, or expected, typically one that is unwelcome.” In other words, our diet is not a weight loss plan, it is part of our lifestyle. So, I will be sharing our experience at #pfx17 in the larger context of what we are up to at Primal Woods, and in our lives.
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I’m a List Guy

Yes, I am even one of those that will put something I have already done on the list just so I can check it off!  So last night I woke in the wee hours, and could not get my mind to shut off.  And today is tapping day of course, and I have procrastinated, of course, so now I am up against it, of course.  What’s new, that is the story of my life more or less!  To shut my mind off, I make a list of what is on my mind; this took about an hour fifteen, then I was able to get back to sleep.  See the image of my list below, or find the pdf, with clickable links,  HERE.  Now I need to power through the list, wish me luck! Read more