Jo-el Palacios and his family own and care for a 180-acre woodland called Talking Woods. He practices a traditional woodsmanship that he has developed over 20 years, beginning on 20 acres in the Upper Skagit of Washington and for the last 9 years here in the Holland Hills. The Talking Woods Way focuses on taking only what the woods offer, making best use of it, and giving back by working carefully and mindfully in them.
Since I began this woodsman’s journey, I have cut all my firewood with hand saws, axes, sledges, and wedges. On average, I cut, approximately, 5-6 cords of wood a year. As far as I know, I am the only person to cut his entire firewood supply ‘by hand’ in the state of Oregon, possibly in the entire West Coast.
I do this to create reverence and develop a deep relationship with trees and the woods they are part of. I also do it to honor my body, mind, and soul. Using the right tool efficiently while sustaining your body’s muscles, tendons, and joints is an art form of technique and mental discipline similar to any sport or martial art that results in a state of bliss.
I will show and talk about the various tools I use and how to maintain them. I will give a demonstration of the most efficient way to cut firewood pieces for your woodstove, and I will talk about proper techniques for sawing, felling, and hauling. I will discuss my seasonal work in the woods that extends throughout the entire year.