For about a year I’ve been trying to find some solid information on if the thyroid hormone “drug” naturethroid will effect the results of the Thyroglobulin blood test. I finally had the test done after being on naturethroid for a while now and it turns out my Thyroglobulin is still undetectable. The NDT pills do not effect that for me. Some doctors have told me I cannot be on NDT because I had thyroid cancer, that I cannot have my TSH suppressed (I’m at 0.03) and that it will give me a false positive on the Thyroglobulin test. All this information doctors in the past have given me is flat out wrong. Well……. in my case at least.
It’s five in the morning. I can’t sleep lately. I’ve been having some form of insomnia and not being able to sleep normally. The television is playing YouTube videos of RV living.
I’ve been contemplating things. Connecticut isn’t working for me, it’s been an interesting 10 years but I have very few connections here anymore except my family, my father and mother. I’ve been living with them because I fell sick. I had cancer, it destroyed me and almost killed me, it started in my thyroid and spread to lymph nodes. During surgery I had a pulmonary embolism and almost died again. I’m 36 years old. A bit of a wake up call for me. Normal life and conformity is not for me. I don’t want to work my life away at some pointless job. I already almost did that and I’m not going to make the same mistake twice. I want to be my own boss, I want to teach people, I want happiness that you cannot find in debt.
Some issues I’ve been having: radiation destroyed my teeth. I need them all removed and have been removing two at a time. This is holding me in Connecticut, I need to get it done before I can leave.
I’ve been struggling with my medication and side effects of my hormone levels being too low, or too high. It’s been two years and I’m still not on the correct dose. I can tell when it goes wonky. I get horrible muscle spasms and migraines, I get frozen shoulder, I get horrendous back pain. Too many side effects to list.
I can’t work a “normal” full time job with sick days. There are days where I’m down and out for a week straight, and with only two sick days a year, that just isn’t going to happen.
I gained 60 pounds following removal of my thyroid. I’ve quit drinking sugar drinks and soda. I’ve changed my diet, I exercise when I’m able too. I can’t seem to lose this weight, I am just hovering.
On a better note:
I enjoy teaching people flint knapping and primitive skills. Honestly that is my life and it is how I would like to live. There is nothing better than a cooked meal over a campfire. I want to hunt, I want to gather, I want to be self sufficient and healthy. As we should be.
I’ve been shooting my heavy bow again. I have not been able to in 3 years because of the frozen shoulder. It doesn’t hurt to shoot anymore.
I use chert tipped arrows made from rock found in New York. Some people call it flint. I’ve been making stone tools for almost 12 years now. I use them for everything, even for opening letters and plastic bags.
Although I do all of this. I live life the way I want to. I still feel as though something unexplainable is missing. I have the knowledge, I can be self sufficient. I can enjoy life. I can enjoy beautiful scenery
I sit and stare at locations such as this one above, in Maine. I feel such a longing for…… I don’t know what. It’s unexplainable and it’s something that is missing in my soul. I know it has to do with the way I want to live, smiling and by a campfire. I just can’t place what’s missing. Maybe it’s just my thyroid missing. Maybe it’s just that I don’t have enough chert.
I have been wanting to skin and tan a fur using only primitive methods and tools; chert stone, smoke, salt, and egg yolk. I have never done it before and am quite pleased with the outcome.
It started with me finding a fresh, not too badly damaged roadkill and bringing him home to skin.
I skinned him using stone flakes and a stone knife, pictured below.
I scraped the hide clean using a paleoindian style stone end scraper. I then started to experiment with egg yolk, salt, and smoke.
After a few days of working the hide and stretching it as well as tanning it, I came up with this:
I was still not completely satisfied with the color or the softness. I worked on him some more, stretching and rolling and crumbling the hide to soften the tissues. Finished it off with another smoking. Here is the final product:
Road trip to Georgia
It’s been 8 years since I’ve seen my uncle George, it’s been even longer since I’ve seen my Uncle Tom. I’ve been trying to get down to Georgia (from Connecticut) for 6 years. One bad thing after another stopping me from doing so, alternators blowing, transmission going, no car, loss of jobs, then thyroid cancer (they removed my entire thyroid) and a pulmonary embolism during surgery. (I’m okay now, cured so they say) after a year recovery I’m finally at a point where I am able to function again. There were so many horrible symptoms stopping me from doing anything at all really. Most of the time I was bed bound. I got really out of shape and was an active hiker before everything went nuts.
I’ve overnight car camped before. At allstays Walmart overnight locations. I wanted to do something different this time. I was heading to wild boar and gator land, after all. I decided I would car camp in national forests. I wanted to be out in the deep wild. I needed a soul cleanse after all the hell I’ve been through. On the way down we only stopped at one location, a rest stop somewhere in Virginia. Apparently next to a river that has gators and boa constrictors in it? What the hell? We did not stay long as there were a lot of hunters around in the general area I wanted to stay at. We continued on the way to meet up with Unc (uncle George) and wanted to be there before the ball dropped on New Years. We got there in time and he had a guest room and food prepared for us. We spent quality time together that we missed out on over the past years. We talk almost daily on Facebook but that’s no substitute for visiting in person. I was very glad to see him, he had a whole list of “Georgia Native American locations” that he was excited to show me. He brought me to the Macon mounds, some museums, some really seemingly special areas that had a lot of history, ancient and new.
During this time I wanted to see my other uncle, Tom. We met up at his house and reminisced and made fun of each other (a family tradition) then went out and got drunk (another family tradition) the place he brought us too was amazing, and surprisingly everything actually is cheaper in the south. I was so happy and so recharged already just from seeing my family. My uncle George knew of a spot on an old abandoned dirt road that had some chert boulders just laying there. Now…. during my time of being sick one of my symptoms has been horrendous muscle spasms, neck, back and shoulder pain…. to the point of me having to lay on the floor for days, unable to move without intense agony. Turns out hypothyroidism and thyca suck worse than originally thought. I’ve been on the wrong meds, the wrong doses, up and down….. wrecking havok on my body and my metabolism. I could not even lift up my cat, Steve-o a few weeks ago… well my uncle and I lifted this giant coastal plains chert boulder out of a ditch and into his truck. I waited for the torturous deep bone and tendon pain to kick in, 5 minutes…. nothing! 10 minutes, some minor spasms, this must be it…. still nothing! An hour, nothing! OMG physical activity without absolute hell and unimaginable pain! Am I free? Am I finally on the right dose of thyroid hormone medication? I don’t often pray, I did this time… I prayed for me to start healing, I prayed for me, I prayed for my family, I prayed for my beautiful Fiance that they would not have to see me suffer the way I have been. Maybe that’s what “Gods country” means? A miracle for me. Although maybe not noticeable to the people around me. I feel like I am me again, I feel like the parts of myself that I lost are coming back. I decided at that point that I would start to hike again. I will get in better shape during this trip.
We spent the next few days relaxing and I spalled out the rock in order to bring it home to make flint knives and arrowheads.
I watched and hung out with my uncles pets, 3 adorable friendly dogs, a mutt(Tiny) a long haired chihuahua (Gizmo) and a Boston terrier/chihuahua mix (Sistah) along with a flock of guineas, hens and roosters. Silkie chickens. So cool to see so many animals running around in a backyard.
After sightseeing all of middle Georgia and Unc running out of food for us, as well as us probably tiring him out. We (Leah and I) decided it was time to hit the road……. as well as head into the wild. We wanted places at least 15 miles out in “the wilderness” as these national forests say.
Tonight is a bit different, we found a campsite on a large lake, deserted lake, near a town called Robbinsville, nothing around. A few cars driving past here and there. I hear some coywolves howling. I smile and shrug, I’ve seen them at home in Connecticut. It starts pouring out, I get slightly panicky because I dislike bad weather, especially when out hiking or camping. It keeps me up, I hopped up to the front seat of the SUV (we sleep in the back) and tried to get signal so I could see the weather report. (To no avail) I suddenly see headlights off in the distance, getting closer. I see things…. darting away from the oncoming car, I stopped counting at six “things”. As the headlights hit my car and the dirt road next to me, I see it’s a pack of coywolves running from the car like they just saw the devil appear. They were all around my car and I have no idea how many there were. I’ve never seen them that close up before and they were absolutely beautiful. It’s 3 am. I couldn’t sleep. I decided to write this. I will fill in more blog posts as I have cell signal and when I can go through my pictures to make sure I have my timeline in correct order. Goodnight folks. More posts incoming.
For the past month I have not been able to flintknap. I’ve been in physical therapy for a disc herniation at C5-C6. I have been in a lot of pain for 3 years now. Trying to find the source of the pain in my neck and shoulder is actually how I found my thyroid cancer. It showed up on an MRI. I guess I have that to be thankful for, if not for the pain I would not have found the cancer.
Anyway, the flintknapping restriction has been lifted and I went to work tonight on a chunk of normanskill chert I aquired from a nice guy that was demonstrating at the Hammonassett festival where they hold atlatl and dart demonstrations every year. I told him of my interest in this particular chert and he just straight up gave me a chunk and said “here you can break this instead of me” meaning….. this stuff is hard to work, it flakes weird. It’s tough and almost shale or slate-like. Most of it looks like this:
It is not very friendly and is generally very damaged when you do have the rare find.
So I got home from my physical therapy appointment and knocked off a rather large flake. I did not think I would be doing too much to it but I kept at it for about 15 minutes until I had a decision to make. I’ve been wanting to make myself a normanskill fluted (clovis) knife for a long while And was trying to replicate an artifact from memory that was found at an archaeological dig in Massachusetts.
This is what I came up with.
I was amazed, I have never been able to do this with normanskill before. Especially low quality normanskill.
I was out searching for flint and chert in the rivers and creeks of New Jersey. I came to one bend in an offshooting creek of the Delaware river and found some stone that fractured in the way I wanted it to. I picked up the stone, tapped it with my elk antler, and heard that wonderful sound. “Ping!”Ah, just like a dinner bell. This is what I had been searching for. It was an unassuming, grey, and bland looking rock.
I fished the limestone chert out and loaded it up. Afterwards, we went for a nice swim in a river to cool off. Once home, I tested more and found it to be incredibly tough to knap and shape. It was harder than I thought it would be, so I decided to try an ancient method of making the rock fracture better; I cooked it. I placed it under my firepit for 2 weeks and had daily fires on top of it.
After two weeks passed, I pulled the test nodule of stone out and gave it a smack with my trusty elk antler. “Ping!” A large flake blew off. I gasped. It was perfect. I started my normal method of shaping rock “abo style” using antler only and no modern tools. After about an hour of work, I was finished. I was so happy with the first one that I put another nodule under the firepit. When it was finished, I went back to work and came up with the final creation. I have learned a lot in these past 10 years of flint knapping. You don’t need high-gloss, pristine material in order to make survival tools and neither did the ancient peoples. Use what is local. Use what they used for your geographic location. Trust me, it’s rewarding.
These one of a kind flintknapped traditional stone knives are available for purchase at: https://www.etsy.com/listing/467515434/limestone-and-chert-flintknapped-knife
I was born on Long Island in New York. I now live and work in the peaceful eastern woodlands of Connecticut.
Through extensive research and replication, I have become a premiere flintknapper and primitive craftsman of the Northeastern United States. My passion for history and anthropology, combined with my work as an archaeological field technician, consultant, and historical researcher, has given me some specialized insight on the crafting processes of ancient peoples. I use my knowledge about ancient and traditional techniques to create European prehistoric & Native American styled weapons, arts, crafts, and survival tools. More recently, I have focused on learning more about the rocks that ancient peoples used to craft the weapons and tools they needed to survive. I have learned how to locate and collect these special rocks which conchodially fracture in a way that makes it possible to shape them into spear points and arrowheads using deer or elk antler.
Among my numerous ventures, I have worked with the largest Native American museum in the world, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center, crafting replica artifacts for experimental archaeology, conducting research, and I contributed to the Mystic Fort Battlefield Protection Project. I have recently returned to college to continue my studies in anthropology, lithics, and prehistoric-archaeology. Presently, I am working with the Mohegan Historical Preservation Office to establish an educational lithic artifact comparative collection. It will be ongoing project and it is already being put to use by researchers.My deep love of history is matched by my love of nature. Utilizing my skills as a naturalist and my knowledge about ancient ways of life, I teach and advocate for the development of self-sufficiency, survival skills, and nature re-connection.
Now that the intro is over, I will be writing about weapons, stone tools, my adventures and travels, as well as share some cool things, funny things, aspects of my personal life, last year I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and a pulmonary embolism, I am recovering and struggling with getting my medication right (thyroid hormone replacement) and trying to repair the damage done. I look forward to sharing some of my exciting finds and results from experimental archaeology, too! I hope anyone who manages to find my blog page here will enjoy what I write and maybe I can help teach some people flintknapping, or their local history. I guess we will find out, eh? Here it goes.
My most recent project is replicating a paleoindian projectile point called a fluted or “clovis” point. The first fluted spear point was originally discovered in Clovis, New Mexico, but to reflect differing styles and locations of finds, nowadays they are generally just called fluted points. We are finding them here in New England and they have a few different names but for now I will simply be referring to them as “fluted points”. This replica is made from a rhyolite (a type of stone) found in Pennsylvania. It’s a rather difficult stone to work as compared to something like obsidian that you may see all over the Internet. I try to stay away from obsidian and stick to what the ancient people used on location here in New England. It isn’t easy stuff to work. I find my supplies in creek beds, which is often weather damaged and full of freeze cracks. I’ve been working these stones for 10 years and have found ways to make it work for me. These are real artifact replications and reproductions; it is not the un-useable art style arrowheads you usually find elsewhere. The arrowheads and spear points I make are intended to be used and are not just for show.
“Fantastic job, dude. Not many people could make such authentic pieces out of such low grade material. That’s a special kind of skill. Doing truly abo points means using what is available locally, not using what is available via USPS. Mad respect, Brother.” John Cornman (Flint knapper)
I try to find all the local material (rocks) that were traditionally used and then I look into what was found during archaeological dig and replicate the tools from pictures of real artifacts. These points are all for sale. I can put them on hunting knives, arrows, or spears (darts) for the atlatl.
In addition to online sales, I do comparative collections for preservation societies and museums and my work is for sale at the Mashantucket Pequot museum gift shop: