Maple Syrup Business Analysis 2020

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If you are interested in a little of the philosophy behind Primal Woods, our Purpose, and an introduction to how this maple syrup business analysis was put together, have a look at this video. I’m not saying that this is how you should do it, I’m only saying that this is how we do it.  […]

Lumber Milling How To

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Making lumber for yourself, a key piece of which is lumber milling, might be the solution you seek.  Perhaps you have acquired some logs; the power company might have been clearing their lines, trees were toppled in the woods by high winds or a tree was threatening your home or other structure, the fruits or […]

Wood-Mizer LT40 Super Hydraulic: First Impressions

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It’s a beast, that’s my first impression!  Here comes the “why” from the engine to the board return; what contributes to making the LT40 Super Hydraulic the production machine that it is.  The point of comparison is a 2015 LT40 Hydraulic, without the “Super.”  Some of the improvements are due to technological improvements, others are […]

Pemmican: History, Uses and How-To

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Earlier this year we collaborated with Marcelle Phene to experiment in the making of traditional pemmican.  If there is such a thing as “super foods,” pemmican must be counted amont them.  But where did this food come from, and how was it traditionally made?  Read on to learn more.

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Muscle Building Power Meal Recipe

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Build Muscle – Reduce Body Fat

The purpose of using this meal is to build muscle and develop a lean(er) physique.  I intend to eat a lot of it in the next 4 months, up to three 12 oz servings per day.  It’s loaded with protein in an amount sufficient to stimulate muscle protein synthesis.  Since we lead busy lives, whipping this up in large batches will help to ensure that we eat well, even if time does not allow for regular daily meal preparation.  When pressed for time I tend to get to the meat, but not the veggies.

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Adventures in Traditional Soap-Making

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A Brief History of Traditional Soap-Making

Then Almanzo was left alone in the kitchen, to take his bath.  His clean underwear was hanging on a chair-back to air and warm.  The wash-cloth and towel and the small wooden pannikin of soft-soap were on another chain.  He brought another washtub from the woodshed and put it on the floor in front of the open oven-door.

He took off his waist and one pair of socks and his pants.  Then he dipped some warm water from the tub on the stove into the tub on the floor.  He took off his other pair of socks and his underwear, and his bare skin felt good in the heat from the oven.  He toasted in the heat, and he thought he might just put on his clean underwear and not take a bath at all.  But Mother would look, when he went in the dining-room.

So he stepped in the water.  It covered his feet.  With his fingers he dug some of the brown, slimy soft-soap from the pannikin and smeared it on the washcloth.  Then he scrubbed himself well all over.

Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder (Chapter 7 Saturday Night)

That “soft-soap” is what we are after.  I’ve called it “man soap,” or “kick ass soap.”  The traditional methods of making soft-soap go back literally thousands of years.  The basic process involves leaching ashes in water to produce “lye-water,” and then mixing the lye-water with a fat, or fats, usually over heat, to “saponify” the fats.  In Almanzo’s case the soft-soap would probably have been made from cooking and heating-fire ashes, saved from the previous winter, and left-over fats from cooking.  Soap-making was springtime work, and it was work, without question, and usually the responsibility of the woman of the house.  In a perfect world, the resulting product contains neither fat nor lye, but only soap, the two ingredients having been totally consumed in the saponification process.  I’ve called it “man soap,” or “kick ass soap.”  It’s real, it’s natural, it was traditionally made from waste products, and it does the job.  And, the devil is indeed in the details; more on that to come in this post. Read more

Wood-Mizer Rodent Infestation

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Wood-Mizer Rodent Infestation: 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

Well Pump Pressure Switch Repair

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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

Portable Sawmill Service Load-Out

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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