issue 120 – letters – self-reliance – preparedness – homestead

Letters To The Editor

From Issue #120


The eternal tomato I grew in the desert

I was reading a very old article about the “Eternal tomato” (Issue No. 57) by Leonard Trebor, and just wanted to add a little to what he was saying about keeping the tomatoes growing by using the suckers from the plants. I was in the military and was stationed down in Arizona for 7, as my wife puts it, long years. Being from up north and liking to grow things, I decided to try to put a little beauty, that wasn’t natural, into the desert. I decided to try growing tomatoes down there and everyone told me I could not get them to grow. Well, I took a section about 5 feet long against the house and started to dig. I did not go down too far. We went downtown and picked up some cow manure, peat moss and some good potting soil, and mixed it in with the dirt that I had already removed. Looked pretty good. I planted 7 plants along the house and they grew pretty good. The vines grew to about 10 feet long and looked more like a hedge than plants. In fact I got a ticket from the base inspectors that said my hedge was too tall and I had to trim it. The mailman could not believe how good they looked. But what I wanted to tell you is that I had those 7 plants for 4 years and they survived through the winter too. Every spring in the middle of Feb. my wife would go out and cut them down to about a foot tall and they would begin to sprout again. I never knew tomato plants would keep growing year after year. I figured that the plants were getting too old, so I dug them up and planted 7 more. These lasted the three years that I had left there. Pretty good tomatoes off the plants too.

Fred Vacanti
Warroad, Minnesota

Urban homesteader

Love your magazine"wish I had discovered it years ago. I’m an “urban homesteader” and have always tried to live a sustainable life. My fiancé is an avid hunter and woodworker and enjoys the articles as well. We are finishing building a “hunting” cabin and it has turned into a bigger project. The blogs are an extra bonus. Continue on"please!

Julie Raley
Louisville, Kentucky

Wilderness teas and sourdough bread recipes

The last issue was great with lots of good information, the 3 or 4 issues before were good too. We especially enjoyed Linda Gabris’ article on Wonderful Wilderness Teas. We enjoyed gathering the leaves and berries mentioned and had fun teaching the grandkids about gathering and using wilderness teas.

Tell my hero, Jackie Clay, thanks for the recipe of her mother’s on bread machine sourdough bread. We tried it, and it really worked and was delicious. We make sourdough bread by hand in big batches, but most sourdough recipes call for overnight raising of the bread so this shortcut was really appreciated. It tides us over until I can make a big batch.

We really enjoyed the convenience dry mixes. They taste great and are economical as well as a good shortcut. I like my magazine too much to share so I am taking advantage of your 3 for 2 special…

Donna McKenery
Springfield, West Virginia

Cast iron cooking

I have read your article on cast iron cooking (July/Aug 2009 #118). Two things come to mind:

While working at a fish camp in Canada I learned to put a paper match into the oil as it heats up. When the match lights, spoon it out and begin cooking. Your oil is ready. Food will not absorb any oil.

Watching my grandson making peach cobbler in his Dutch oven, he lined it with aluminum foil. When finished it was very easy to clean. If done this way you should be able to cook acidic foods, tomatoes, etc. without the bad taste from the cast iron. Try them and see what you think.

Charles Poppy
Drumright, Oklahoma

I’m dropping 3 other mags, but keepng BHM

You will get a kick knowing I am dropping 3 “unneeded” magazines in order to spend my budget on yours: Money Magazine, Women’s Health, and Redbook. Your magazine is a great help for those of us seeking a more simple, secure, self-reliant life…great encouragement with each issue.

Cindy Brown
Sherman County, Oregon

One heck of a woman

Although I am now a current subscriber, I first ran across your magazine in a grocery store. I was drawn to the story by Dorothy Ainsworth"”The House That Dorothy Built.” She is one heck of an amazing woman! I had wanted to order for a long time, but the subscription is a bit pricey. This year, I had my son order it for me for Christmas"and he ordered a 2-year subscription for me! I love every issue. Thank you for a much-needed, fantastic magazine!

Anne Grugel
Syracuse, New York

Military subscriptions

I am in Afghanistan right now. Can’t wait to get home and start working on ideas in your books. Read Jackie Clay a lot when I could get Internet. Looking at Alt. energy and creating a new job for myself. Thanks for all you are doing to educate and teach our people.

Edward Ellison
Belleville, Illinois

…I am getting our son a 1 yr. subscription…he is active duty Air Force & very big into the self-reliant mind set, in practice as well as belief. He’s one of the good guys. Along with him, one of our daughters (she is a dentist), my husband & I have bought 40 acres in S.E. Oklahoma on the side of a mountain in forest country. We paid cash. Now the real work begins. Your magazine, which has been such a pleasure & education to read, will become a first line tool for our endeavors in the future.

Melodie Wakelee
Midwest City, Oklahoma

Love your magazine. I was fortunate to give this to my brother-in-law while he was stationed in Afghanistan and he talked about how he loved this magazine. He would even call his wife and tell her about articles he had read and wanted her to start doing some things mentioned in the magazine. They both miss the magazine so this is a gift for their anniversary.

Nicole Spaulding
Milwaukie, Oregon

I have all the issues from the time I started subscribing. They are excellent reference material. I really enjoy Massad’s and Richard’s articles. Of course I enjoy Jackie’s articles very much too. I am enclosing a $10 check for my magazine which amazingly sprouted wings when company came and the rest for help to send a subscription to a needy person or military person.

Robert Kager
Mt. Vernon, Washington

Political articles

I keep the copies of your magazine because they are filled with lots of common-sense ideas and instructions and often clarify very troubling things that seem to be occurring politically, economically, and socially. Keep up the good work!

Mary Smalley
Wilmington, Ohio

I enjoy your work. Keep on speaking your piece. Independent thought and diversity made this country great. Who needs another yuppie clone? Welcome to the old neighborhood. P.S. Welcome to the big chair, Annie!

Gerald Bateman
Hermiston, Oregon

Please remove my name from your mailing address. John and Dave need to remember the name of the magazine is Backwoods Home. Too much divisive editorializing these days….Too bad because you have alot of good ideas. If I want to hear someone frothing at the mouth, I’ll turn to Fox News.

Chris Lamkin
Cincinnati, Ohio

I have been a subscriber to BHM for a number of years now. Every article that I read by Dave Duffy and John Silveira is indicative of real American and constitutionalist patriots. If Patti BearPaw of Albuquerque, New Mexico thinks that these are “Radical political views,” I have a message for you: You are one lost soul lady and I would suggest that you get the hell out of our beloved Constitutional republic.

Ron Szczepanski
Justin, Texas

Read the letter about your radical political views. Fortunately your subscribers seem to be more intelligent. I was especially impressed with the letter of Police Chief Clyde Zelch. I am 76 yrs. old and it worries me that many people of my age have not read the Constitution. (Can America be saved from stupid people?)

R. Barnes
Midland, Michigan

The “crazies” who are cancelling their subscriptions because they are NOT interested in the “political” views you AND we hold dear are going to be so sorry when reality hits them in the face. We who live in the real world LOVE you and as long as we have the pocket money will KEEP on subscribing and soaking up your wisdom!

Terrie Stephen
New Madison, Ohio

In regards to your latest issue, I am writing to thank you for the well-researched articles regarding gardening, cooking, energy independence and general self-reliance. I must take exception to the article entitled “Preparing for Civil Unrest” by Claire Wolfe in the July/August 2009 issue. It held a tone of extreme paranoia and exaggeration. Generally speaking, the federal government is not interested in raiding family compounds unless the compounds are meth labs, gun runners, polygamists or bomb-throwing terrorists. Obviously we should all be prepared for emergencies like hurricanes or earthquakes but to arm ourselves against the federal government (which the article strongly implies) is frankly condoning anarchy. America is a Democracy and all of its administrations were elected by the American people of their own free will. This is what makes our country shine.

Concetta Castro Murray
Middletown, New Jersey

I was at a website for the world’s best crawfish traps and the author there mentioned your magazine. Then I looked online at your site and went to a bookstore and bought a current issue.

You need to start a political movement with the magazine for people who are affected by stupid people.

James Moye
Fayetteville, Georgia

Dave and John, I love your articles, but let us not get too radical, let us continue to preach about getting back to the basics and not about preparing for civil unrest. …No matter what the Bushes or the Obamas do to destroy this country, we the people can survive, if we work together and damn the government. This land was founded on We the people, under one nation, under God and if we just go back to the basics of life and to heck with the Cads or Lincolns or the Lexus and just take care of what we have and to heck with what the Jones have and do with what we have we will come out of the recession a better people and a better nation, stronger than ever.

Jackie, I have followed you through most all of your articles on Starting Over and read every word in your Ask Jackie columns and have your Starting Over book and Dairy Goats and await your new book. Jackie, keep up the good work in Minnesota, I was raised there but have moved on to warmer climates.

…To Tony Jakacky: The answer to Tom and Diana LaValle, Wisconsin, should have been to look in the Backwoods Home Magazine Bookstore and purchase a BU18 Low-Cost Pole Building Construction. I have this book in my library and it is an excellent book on Pole Building Construction. Every builder should have this one in his library.

…To all at Backwoods Home, you are a part of my family and thanks for publishing a magazine written by real people.

Ronald Wendt
Pampa, Texas

I have been reading BHM (occasionally) since 1998. I enjoy the useful information (and even the opinion sections). But please, calm down on all the “freedom” stuff.

Yes, I know the U.S. government system has gone to Hades in a handbasket. But that doesn’t mean anarchy is the answer. The libertarian ideology is based upon a false premise: that chaos is the best way to produce order.

…American libertarians like to use the Constitution as a supposed standard of small government, but the real purpose of the document was to have more government. The Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation were not strong enough, so a stronger document was needed. Of course there is a limit to everything, including government, but “not enough” of it is just as bad as “too much.” Anarchy is often worse even than totalitarianism.

…Of course, freedom is in many cases a good thing. But too much of a good thing can hurt. In America, we have so much freedom that it’s “coming out of our ears,” so to speak. Freedom and liberty are over-emphasized to the point of ridiculosity. We don’t need more “freedom;” we need to be more responsible with the freedoms we have. Similarly we don’t need “less government;” we need a more efficient government, founded and grounded on morality and ethics rather than on economics.

Jeffery Goss
Springfield, Missouri

For a better understanding of what libertarians like me think, why don’t you read John Silveira’s Last Word column at the end of this issue. Chaos has nothing to do with it. " Dave

Jackie Clay my favorite

I found this when I searched for canning information and Canning 101 came up and I have been addicted ever since. I love all the articles and Jackie Clay is my favorite. I have read and reread all of her articles along with almost all of the articles on the website. Thank everyone for the knowledge they have given me.

Brenda Wells
Montpelier, Ohio

A real live person!

Lorraine, thank you for your kindness on the phone. How pleasant to call a business and find a pleasant person picks up instead of a computer!

Patricia Hecht
Florence, Colorado

Most popular magazine

Your mag. is the most popular coffee table reading here at our lodge. I’ve given out several and hope you got some full time readers that way. Thanks. Great magazine!

John & Barbara Andrews
Carter Camp Lodge
Galeton, Pennsylvania

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