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Behind The Scenes At backwoods Home Magazine

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Archive for October, 2007

Dave Duffy

Free subscriptions for military personnel who are related to BHM subscribers

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for our military men and women, especially in time of war. We’ve given them free subscriptions in the past, even adopted a Marine Corps platoon and sent care packages to its members while they were fighting in Iraq a few years ago. So it should come as no surprise that BHM is once again doing something for the troops. A few days ago we posted an advertisement on the website’s Home Page announcing that we’ll be giving free subscriptions to any military person related to a current subscriber. If this applies to you, please click here for the details. You must be a current subscriber to take advantage of this. If you are not a subscriber, you can become one and get the free subscription for your military person by clicking here.

No matter what our political views are, or our views on war and peace, I think it is important to remember that our military men and women are just doing a job for our country, and it is often a thankless, difficult job. I was in the Army years ago during the Vietnam Conflict, so I got to listen to a lot of antiwar rhetoric that seemed to me, as a soldier, to be often directed at me personally. I never went to ‘Nam but my brother, Jim, who was in the Marine Corps at the same time, went over there twice. You may remember my tribute  to him when he died two years ago.

My oldest brother, Bill, served in the Navy prior to the Vietnam Conflict, and my uncle, Father William Duffy, served as an Army chaplain during World War II. Currently, my son-in-law, Erik Tuttle, is serving in the infantry with the Marine Corps. He is due to go back for his second tour of duty in Iraq this summer.

Erik Tuttle

These men and women in uniform have put themselves at risk for you and me. Offering them a free subscription is my way of saying thanks. I’ve restricted it to family members of current subscribers simply because the magazine couldn’t afford to give free subscriptions to the entire military.

Dave Duffy

A stump grinder helps as we finish building our overflow wood storage area

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

I’ve just about finished establishing my new overflow firewood storage area. It’ll hold a little more wood than I thought — at least 6 cord. Since I can already store about 4 cord under cover, and my average winter use is about 2 cord, that will give me about 5 years worth of firewood storage, 2 years of which will be under a wood roof and the rest under a tarp. Not bad!

I gave up using my chainsaw to get out the stumps and roots in the middle of the spot I had chosen for the overflow area. There were too many rocks and dirt embedded in the roots. A running chain just needs to touch dirt and it’s dull. So I hired a neighbor, Shawn Crouse, to bring up his stump grinder and take the whole mess out.

A stump grinder is one of those super nifty machines that have an ingenious, but simple, design. Made by Carlton, it weighs 1600 pounds and its 27-horsepower motor turns a grinding wheel that contains 20 carbide teeth. The set of teeth cost a hundred dollars to replace but Shawn said he can get through about 10 big stumps with one set. Rocks tend to dull the teeth. He operated it with a remote control attached to a long cord so he could guide the action of the grinding wheel up close. One carbide bit worked its way loose during the grind so he had to stop and replace it.

  Once he was done, my sons and I laid out the rest of the skids on the ground and over the steel fence posts I put up on either side. This will keep the wood contained and off the ground. It’s nice to have a good use for the stacks of skids I have around here. Every time BHM gets in a shipment of magazines or anthologies, they are on skids (pallets), for which the magazine is charged $17 each. Highway robbery? I agree. I’ve given lots of skids away, burned some, and my kids have used them to build a clubhouse. This project used up 22 skids.

Dave Duffy

California fires

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

My sister-in-law, Cindy Myers, lives in Oxnard, California. She is not directly threatened by the massive fires that are sweeping coastal California from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border, but she has to endure the smoke. She sent Lenie a photo of what it’s like outside her front door.

I lived in that area for about 10 years. My little home was about 11 houses from the ocean on Silver Strand Beach, nestled between the Port Hueneme (pronounced Y-NEE-MEE) Naval Air Station and Oxnard Shores. When the hot winds come strong off the desert, you get a Santa Ana condition, which is what they have now. It’s so devastatingly dry that you feel like your skin is cracking. The winds even pick up the pesticides from the agricultural fields so a lot of people, including me, would get these bad sinus headaches. With these terribly uncomfortable blustery winds driving these fires, there is no stopping them. You either let the fires burn to the ocean or pray the wind dies down.

Notice the relative calm at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego compared to the Superdome in New Orleans during the Hurricane Katrina disaster? Did the federal disaster services agency learn that much since Katrina? Or is something else at play? Whatever, I am very impressed with the orderliness. I lived through many fires in my years in southern California, and people always behaved well.

I wonder how long it will be before someone blames these fires on Bush and global warming.

13th Year Anthology Intro

I’m writing the introduction to the 13th Year Anthology today. It’s our best anthology yet. It will go to the printer tomorrow, then to your mail box before Christmas. If you haven’t bought yours yet, better click HERE for our inexpensive preorder special.

Dave Duffy

A new BHM blog by Annie Tuttle

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

My daughter, Annie Tuttle, has begun blogging on the BHM website. She’s been blogging since early 2006, primarily about sewing and knitting, which are her primary passions. To make room for her, we’ve moved the discontinued Alternative Building blog by David Lee to the ”Retired Blogs” section at the left of the BHM website, in the green area that runs down the length of the website.

Annie is involved with the production of every issue of the magazine, mainly doing editing and layout. BHM editors keep in touch with her with the internet, as she and her Marine Corps husband, Erik, move from station to station. Erik was recently transferred from 29 Palms in California, about a  thousand miles from the BHM office, to North Carolina, about three thousand miles away. He’s already served one hitch in Iraq and is scheduled to go back again this summer. They have two children, Olga, 3, and Gavin, who is a few months shy of 2.

Blog problems fixed

We finally fixed the problems that had been plaguing my blog for a week or so. Joe McDonald, who was a computer whiz kid of about 23 years when I met him in the Defense Industry way back before I started BHM, figured out the problem after he, Annie, Eric Ragsdale (our local computer geek), and I brainstormed for a couple of days. Computer problems can be very tricky to trace but usually require simple fixes, as this one did. Joe, his brother, Tom, and sister, Maureen, own Vpop Technologies in southern California. Vpop hosts the BHM internet server.

Big bucks for Stupid People

Click on this link  to see some astounding prices being asked for my book, Can America Be Saved from Stupid People. You can buy it for less than half those prices from us by clicking here.

Another visit from a subscriber

Another BHM subscriber, Lori Youngs of Carnation, Washington, dropped by the BHM office for a visit the other day. She has been RVing for about a month and is now heading back home. I love meeting subscribers. I’m not always in the office, so if you’re dropping by from way out of town, call ahead and I’ll do my best to be in the office.

The new print issue arrives

My mailed copy of the new print issue (Nov/Dec 2007, No. 108) arrived today, so I assume most other people have gotten theirs in the mail. Looks pretty good. It will go online with a few sample articles in a couple of weeks. If you don’t subscribe, you really should. It’s a great issue. Click here for our various specials.

Dave Duffy

A visit from John Palmer

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

It’s nice to have subscribers visit the BHM office in Gold Beach. John Palmer of Darrington, Washington, dropped by the other day to say hello so I thought I’d begin posting the photos of subscribers who visit in my blog. About a subscriber a week drops by. John was in town with his wife celebrating their wedding anniversary.

The software I’m using to run my blog has been kind of freaky this past week so I’ve had trouble uploading anything. Tonight it seems to be working. Tomorrow Joe McDonald of VPOP, our server host, will take over my computer remotely and try and iron out the problems.

It’s raining like crazy on the Oregon coast. Both my house and office are leaking. Isn’t that funny! I publish a preparedness magazine and my house and office are leaking in the Oregon rain. I’m just rolling on the floor laughing.

Dave Duffy

Acting in your own behalf

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

Ever notice that there are a lot of people in society who do not act in their own behalf, even when confronted with evidence that it is imperative they do so?

We all sort of understand the alcoholic or drug addict who has an underlying character or mental defect that makes them need a crutch to get through life. I’ve known alcoholics and addicts who gave up substance abuse only to delve headlong into fervent religious beliefs and the sudden need to convert others to what they have “discovered.” Seems obvious to me they’ve traded in one crutch for another, albeit a less destructive one.

The abused housewife is a tougher one to understand. Why don’t they just get out of their situation? And if they do get away from one abuser, why do some of them seek out another abusing man? Some women seem to have a homing device for abusive men. Low self esteem? Victim of childhood abuse that makes them seek out another abuser? Or just scrambled eggs for brains?

Harder still to understand are those people who are at serious risk of illness or death from the way they eat but won’t change what they eat? I’ve come upon many of these people. Heck, America is full of them, judging from what the news media has labeled America’s obesity epidemic.


A couple of years ago I was enrolled in a supervised exercise program following heart surgery. Many people in the program had undergone bypass surgery like me, but few had bothered to read anything about the eating habits that may have led to their clogged arteries. Many were way overweight but weren’t particularly interested in dieting or exercising. How come?

Most people seem willing to give up smoking once they understand its hazards. Why not unhealthy foods? Is it because there’s a social stigma attached to smoking, namely, smoking implies you must be really stupid to go in the face of such overwhelming evidence that it will some day kill you. Is that it? Smokers quit because there’s a social stigma attached to it, not because it might kill them?


I like to act on newfound knowledge. It makes me feel pretty smart. I used to smoke, but read the evidence it would cause cancer so gave it up. I like to drink but limited my intake based on the evidence that too much led to serious social and health problems. I like to eat, but adapted my intake and tastes to healthy foods once I learned that overeating and certain foods could shorten my life.

Heck, I even moved to the country when I realized the city was hazardous to my life.

Who knows! Maybe I just don’t understand certain types of people.

I made kale soup today, chopped wood, and built the first wood stove fire of the season. Great fun! Maybe next post I’ll talk about chopping wood. Thoreau was correct, as far as he went. But chopping wood has more benefits than warming you twice. Maybe I’ll even post John’s kale soup recipe.

Dave Duffy

Healthy eating and exercise

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

I’ve always strived to stay healthy by exercising and eating properly. Ever since my heart bypass surgery nearly two years ago, I’ve tried even harder and have armed myself with more knowledge by reading several good health-related books. The books all have three main messages: (1) Exercise (2) Avoid bad fats such as saturated fat and trans fat (3) Eat lots of fruits and vegetables a day. Exercise Anything will pass as exercise as long as it gets your heart rate up for a half hour or more. When I work around the house, I approach it as exercise, not as a chore. The other day I decided I wanted to increase my firewood supply from two years to three years, so I chose a storage spot on the side of my house that would be convenient to my primary wood storage area, a covered area off the kitchen that allows me to chop wood out of the rain. post-driver-jpg.jpg I’ve already worked several days on the spot, cutting out a big bush that still has massive roots in the ground that must come out. Then I drove in 12 metal posts with a post driver, over which I placed wooden pallets that will serve as a backstop for one side of the woodpile. I’ve got another couple of days of good exercise waiting for me. It’s better than going to a gym, at least for me. I get bored at the gym, or riding a stationery bike, but I feel as though I’m accomplishing something while getting my heart rate up when I do chores. Avoid bad fats Avoiding bad fats is easy. Don’t eat a lot of meat, except for chicken, and then don’t eat the skin. What could be simpler. Of course, you have to become a label reader when you shop at the grocery store to make sure you don’t buy packaged and canned stuff that is loaded with saturated fat or trans fat. Other fats–the polys and monos–are not so bad. dave-eating-stir-fry-jpg.jpg The omega 3s you get from fish are the best. They are fatty acids. Eat fish three times a week and you‘ll live long, unless you get unlucky. Japanese eat lots of fish and have very low rates of heart problems; Americans eat lots of meat and have very high rates of heart problems. With these facts I convinced my wife that I needed to buy a fishing boat so I could live longer. Which goes to show that healthy living is good on many levels. How many guys can convince their wives that blowing $50K on a boat is a good idea? Eat fruits and veggies Eating fruits and vegetables is on a par with the first two. The research varies only in the amount you should eat. At least five servings a day, but more likely about nine. No one really knows. Eating healthy has to involve a lifestyle commitment to fresh vegetables and fruits. We have a big garden and a number of fruit trees so we’re positioned well to eat healthy as a way of life. The other day we had a stir fry consisting of tomatoes, cukes, squash, and Swiss chard picked fresh from our garden. Some skinless chicken chunks made it a protein-rich meal. On the side we had corn on the cob, also picked from the garden. My boys and I make a big deal of our many stir frys, taking out our private sets of chop sticks to eat them. Lenie likes to put up some of our garden veggies, and she’s made it an enjoyable break from the usual routine of running the magazine. The other day she and her friends spent the day on our deck pealing and cutting up our apples after our sons had harvested them from our several trees. She also made a bunch of jars of sweet pickles, which is probably my favorite treat, out of our garden’s cucumbers. harvesting-apples-jpeg.jpg While John Silveira was visiting the other day, he, my sons, and I picked all of our kale and blanched and froze it for future batches of kale soup. Kale soup is probably the healthiest soup on the planet. You’ll have to do a search of the website if you want the recipe. I’m making some tomorrow. We’ve still got some ears of corn in the garden, which I eat without butter or salt. Plain corn on the cob is delicious. Most people have convinced themselves that they have to smear corn on the cob with butter and salt. Not so! You just have to let your taste buds adapt to the wonderful flavor of plain corn. sweet-pickles-jpg.jpg We also have plenty of cherry tomatoes, Swiss chard, squash, and pumpkins left in the garden. But the growing and harvesting season is almost over. In a few weeks we’ll begin letting our chickens free-range in the garden and all over our property. That will enrich their eggs with the many phytochemicals pharmacy houses have yet to synthesize in pill form. More healthy food in the form of phytochemical-rich eggs! And remember that an egg a day does not cause a cholesterol problem; a number of studies have shown that. Well, it’s raining now in Oregon. That means winter and woodstove fires are soon to come, which I welcome as more opportunities for healthy exercise for me. I am the main wood cutter in the house, although my 16-year-old son, Jake, has lately taken to this delightful pastime. Chopping wood is a mix of aerobic exercise and transcendental meditation, which I’ll explain in a future blog.

Dave Duffy

Number One in the state

Saturday, October 6th, 2007

I had to stay late at the office last night because my son, Robby, was playing in the pep band at a night game for the Gold Beach High School football team. It was one of the biggest games of the year, taking place across the street from our office under the stadium lights. Gold Beach is ranked number one in the state in our division, and we have been beating opponents by 40-50 points. But this game was with Cascade Christian of Ashland, Oregon, the big town of 12,000 about 27 miles to the south of us. Last year they hammered I walked over to watch the first half. Two engines from the local volunteer fire department, and an ambulance, were parked on the opposite sidelines from the stands, and they honked their big horns and flashed their lights whenever Gold Beach scored. We had a cheerleading squad of 12 girls and a real loud jazzy pep band also urging our Gold Beach Panthers on. The stands were packed, with at least 300 people having to stand. For a town of about 2,000, I estimated there were at least 4,000 at this game. parking-sign-jpg.jpgI walked back to the office at intermission with the scored tied 14-14 because I was cold. For the second half, Silveira loaned me one of his warm quilted shirts (he was playing online poker at the office), and went back to watch Gold Beach pull out a fist-clenching victory 27-22. Neither team made many mistakes, but Cascade Christian receivers did drop a couple of passes that would have given them long gains at critical points. We could have easily lost this game, but we prevailed and will likely sail through the rest of the season. Just prior to the game, I noticed that cars were pulling into, then quickly out of, the BHM parking lot located to the rear of our building. I realized I had two signs up that warned that unauthorized cars would be towed away. They were leftover signs from a time when the customers of an auto repair shop located across the street from BHM used to use up our parking areas so there was little room left for our employees to park. The repair shop has since moved, so I quickly made up paper “FREE PARKING” signs and taped them over the outdated signs. The lot filled right up. I’ll have to take those signs down before Subway opens at the front of our building. Subway gets some paint and inches closer to opening day new-paint-on-subway-jpg.jpg Speaking of Subway, the owners of the new franchise painted the part of the building they have renovated with the Tuscany colors Subway Inc. has decided would give it that Mediterranean look. It looks real nice, and we may continue the color scheme on our portion of the building. The Subway package that includes the tables and chairs will arrive in about two weeks, so opening of it should be a couple of weeks after that. keith-lawhorn-jpg.jpgI’m thinking of opening an ice cream and frozen yogurt shop at the other end of the building, in my old office. What the heck! I’ll sell pastries too. Then Subway customers can complement their healthy sandwich with a nonfat frozen yogurt and some sort of pastry. We’ll see. I’m just thinking about it for now. I’m a bit wary about stepping into a business about which I know nothing. New issue We got our “advance” copies of the new issue (No. 108, Nov/Dec 2007) yesterday so subscribers should be getting their new issue within a week.

Dave Duffy

The rainy season and lessons for a procrastinator

Monday, October 1st, 2007

The rainy season may have begun in southern Oregon, and I have still not fixed a leaking part of my roof, which covers a room of my house we call the sun room because of its exposure to the setting sun. I’ve known this particular flattish section of roof (it’s a converted porch) had a problem for at least three years. But I ignored it because it never actually leaked — until last winter.
The warning signs were in the popping nails on the rolled roofing, plus the rolled roofing was very old. It’s a job I needed to farm out to a company who could strip off the old roofing and hot mop on some new rolled roofing. But even though it finally leaked over the winter, I ignored making the simple phone call to a local roofing company that could take care of this problem in an afternoon. Finally I called them a month ago, only to have to wait until they came out, inspected it, mailed me a bid, had me accept it and give them a down payment, then put me on their schedule. I’ve got two more weeks to wait until they get around to my roof.

The rains of the last two days have been heavy enough to start the leak flowing. Oh shame! No excuse for my procrastination. I’ve already allowed the leak to damage the drywall of the ceiling and one wall, so I’ll have to go in and repair them after the new rolled roofing is put on.
A good lesson for me I guess. I usually don’t procrastinate, but hop right on a project. But the expense of hiring someone else to fix the roof made me hesitate. Now I’ll have to pay the roofing company, plus have a bunch of inside repair work to do myself.

The rain of the last two days brought a lot of cold air with it. It has hovered around 48 degrees, not quite enough to light the first woodstove fires of the season, but pretty close. I loaded both our stoves, but I’ll leave it up to Lenie to give the go-ahead to fire them.

Can America Be Saved from Stupid People

My book of columns, Can America Be Saved from Stupid People, has become BHM’s all time fastest seller. It is the 14th anthology we’ve produced, and where most of our anthologies take a little more than a year to recoup the money we spend to print them, this one took only six months. And it’s still selling well. I think the fast sales owe a lot to its very catchy title. Overall sales, however, have yet to surpass any of our 11 big anthologies. If you’d like to order it, click HERE.

Preorder the Thirteenth Year Anthology for $15

Speaking of the big anthologies, the Thirteenth Year Anthology is our newest big anthology going to print, and the November/December issue will have an ad for it for people who want to preorder it for $15 per copy. Readers of this blog can also order the book for $15 and be among the first to receive it — if you buy it NOW!

We expect the new anthology to retail for $22.50. In fact, all the anthologies will go up to that price, reflecting our increasing printing and postage costs, so if you need any anthologies to round out your compilation, get them now before the price goes up. Just CLICK HERE to order the Thirteenth Year Anthology.

We’ll mail the new anthology to you by the beginning of December, which will be just in time to make a nice Christmas present for someone.


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