issue 132 – letters – self-reliance – preparedness – homestead

Letters To The Editor

From Issue #132


Jackie’s Pantry cookbook

I just wanted to compliment BHM and Jackie Clay on the Pantry Cookbook. I received my copy today and put it to immediate use. I was processing some sirloin I had bought on deep sale at the grocery store. I flipped through the book as soon as I opened it and found Jackie’s stroganoff recipe. I had all the ingredients in my pantry/fridge to make the dish so I went to work. It turned out great! I look forward to making many more recipes from this cookbook! Thank you to all involved in making this book happen.

Marlana Ward
Mountain City, Tennessee

Finally got our place

Thank you for your wonderful mag. We keep them all.

We finally got our place " 42 acres of bare land. We have lots of work to do & so far we cannot build on it but we live 13.5 miles away & are out almost every day. I put in an acre of garden but as we only have a river I have been hauling water by bucket. We are working on a water system (rain) & we cleaned out a spring and are hoping for a good supply from it. We shall see how that works out. We did our first haying (not great hay) and are getting a cow & calf soon. We are having to fence (8-foot plus) out elk from the orchard we put in, although the deer still come across the river to dine (more fence needed). After 43 years of marriage this is a dream come true for the both of us. Super hard work but we love it. We have a small .76 acre & we have put it to full use but there is a lot you cannot do. Now we can.

We want to thank Jackie Clay as well. Her stuff is great. My husband paid me a great compliment. He said I was more like Jackie than anyone else he knew. She is one of the few people we would really love to meet. She is doing what I have always wanted to. My husband has only started wanting it the last 10 years or so. We thought it would not happen but it just goes to show you if you want it badly enough & work for it anything is possible.

I have been getting your books right along. I have got so many I am needing to make a new cabinet to put them in (when I get time). I do woodworking, canning, soap making, I learned to tan hides, butchered, & just about anything else our grandparents did. I have learned to respect them even more than I did before. What we expected was never part of this life.

Thanks again for a super mag. This one I will not let go of.

Eileen & Don Bisson
Philomath, Oregon

Producing our own food

We appreciate all your information, especially the articles of Jackie Clay. We live in a small log cabin in SW Missouri, and do try to live as frugally as possible (& self-sufficient). Your magazine has helped us zero in on several things we can do to be prepared. We have been married for 46 years (married while hubby was in Marine Corps). We now own a small farm and try to produce much of our food. We are “owned” by several cows, horses, chickens, as well as the usual dogs & cats.

Thank you for the work that you do in publishing Backwoods Home.

Linda & Jesse Hollars
Neosho, Missouri

Canning venison & moose

Hello and thank you for the wonderful article Canning 101 (9th Year Anthology). I agree with everything you have written in this article. My wife and I have been canning for 45 years now and passed this procedure along to both our children (boy & girl). We also can year-round, venison or moose (when I’m lucky) chili, and stew. One of my favorites is canning venison with just 1 teaspoon of salt, nothing else added. This makes a great meal over rice, noodles or bread as the canned venison turns out like it is in gravy.

Jerry Lynch
Rome, New York

Beware buying “junk” gold

One thing I learned quickly about buying used garage sale gold (Issue No. 131) is not mentioned by anyone. I bought three nice looking gold necklaces at a garage sale, each was marked 14K on the clasp (the only marking). Took them to the local gold guy to learn if I made money or a mistake. He immediately put a magnet next to them and they all stuck to the magnet. He told me they were junk plated and filled jewelry not worth anything. There I stood embarrassed and out the $3 I paid for the junk. Now, I always bring a magnet.

Gary Kowall
Titusville, Florida

Wash day remembered

My name is Kathy and I live in Georgia, now, but was raised in Ohio and this article about wash day (Issue No. 130) brought back some wonderful, and not so wonderful memories. There was 10 of us living at home when I was growing up and that meant a lot of laundry on an old wringer washer. When it was too cold (fingers froze) to hang clothes outside, we would go to the basement and hang on the clothesline that was down there. We kept an old wash cloth outside on the line to wipe the line before hanging wet clothes…we lived in a rural area with dirt roads and sometimes dust would be on the lines and you didn’t want dirt lines on clothes that you had just washed! Ms Jackie was so right about the clothes and that “outdoors smell” " especially the bed sheets.

Now I have an automatic washer and dryer " but use cold water and now hang clothes outside, or inside on wooden clothes racks. In her article, she mentions the fact that she prefers the spring clothespins " and that is all I can find around here " but have found that they twist sideways and the metal “bar” that comes across both sides from the spiral comes off and I find clothes on the ground or hanging by one pin. Especially jeans. Now that I know that wringer washers are still available " I may look into buying one and using the automatic when I need something washed in a hurry…if ever.

Thank you again for a wonderful article and for a wonderful magazine that allows me to say “I remember doing that” and brings a smile to my face and a pleasantness to my heart.

Kathy Tignor
Hinesville, Georgia

Make do or do without!

I gave in again, and here is a check for another subscription of Backwoods Magazine. Since my husband and I are senior citizens, I thought we cannot afford it. I love your magazines " and keep up the good work. I do not care for modern magazines. Love the ways of make do, waste not, want not! And " use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without! That is my slogan.

P.S. When did your magazines start? What year?

Lydiann M. Byler
Mechanicsville, Maryland

Dad launched the first issue in October, 1989. " Annie

Been haunting you guys

Through your work I feel like I know you & your family fairly well. Through the magazine, books & anthologies I really feel like I’ve been sitting in a living room with Claire Wolfe disgusted with the direction of our country, canning everything I can find with Jackie & over and over dragging lumber into place with Dorothy Ainsworth. Sorry Dave, I’m not on the golf course with you. The last time I tried that I took out a squirrel’s nest over my head & others seemed relieved when I left.

God bless you. You have no idea who’s been haunting you guys & living vicariously through your work.

I’m the crazy middle aged woman from Mississippi who wrote Dorothy last year with my nutty idea to build a house out in the country. Do I need to tell you that I almost tripped over myself when she wrote me back? I couldn’t believe it. I felt like a real hero had spoken to me. I was right.

Since then she has been my constant cheerleader & spirit guide for this journey. I’ve been putting my heart & soul into this build while keeping my day job & my husband has done everything he can to keep the financing coming. We both really meant business when we stood up from our last refinance and declared that was our last mortgage. I’m done with them. Our retirement isn’t that far away but it’s not going to look like anything our colleagues expect. They can keep the cruises, the condos & the circus in the city. We’ll take self sufficiency in the country.

Thus far the foundation of this thing is complete, the joists are going back in. Level is a good thing after all. I’ve learned not to eyeball anything, especially on 45 foot lines. As we nail, so shall we rip but the journey is priceless.

Besides, you should see my power tool collection! Who cares about a designer handbag when you have Dewalt!

It will all come together in time & hopefully I’ll find time to journal the fun parts. I wanted you to know that you touch people you’ll never meet in astonishing ways. Over and over I read about how you put your house together & how building can be forgiving. I’ve studied the gorgeous house that Robert Williams built, have read all about Jackie’s log cabin going up and have probably become a pest to Dorothy about her construction work. Her words carry me through the times I feel like I’m pushing on concrete until finally we make progress.

Thank you Dave, for taking the risks to create your magazine. We agree with every aspect of your work.

Marylynn Brooks
Olive Branch, Mississippi

Raising kids simply

I’ve enjoyed Backwoods Home for many years and will continue to for many years to come. What prompts me to write is Patrice Lewis’ article entitled “Raising kids simply” (Issue No. 131). Standing ovation for that gal! I couldn’t agree more with her! All your writers have very informative and easy to read articles and I look forward to receiving my BHM every month. Rock on and lets keep raising our kids simply!

Pat Carpenter
Liberty, Missouri

Electromagnetic pulse and a “Kindle” version

I have been a subscriber for years and have torn out and continue to tear out articles of interest that I want to scan and keep on my hard drive organized according to topics meaningful to me. When those articles are available free online at your website, I can highlight the parts I want to remember in lieu of copying the whole article, which is less time-consuming. I am running out of room to keep whole issues and anthologies, etc. Would it be possible to

subscribe to your whole issue online at a reduced rate as opposed to receiving paper copies each year? I much prefer reading paper copies, but space is a real problem, and it would cut down on the amount of scanning I have to do for pieces of information I want to remember and use later.

Also, I am interested in learning more about electromagnetic pulses either generated by our sun or because of missiles exploded into the atmosphere over parts of the United States both of which have the potential for crippling our electric grid for months, if not years and also about Faraday cages that might have the potential for protecting some of our sensitive electronic equipment from being fried.

Lastly, it would be helpful if Massad Ayoob could write an article for older women who don’t always have the strength to handle the weight and/or ability to cock some of the more common firearms. Perhaps he could write about a particular handgun, rifle and shotgun that we would be able to use effectively to protect ourselves.

Thank you for all the hard work you and others put into publishing this magazine. I look forward to receiving it every two months, and the things I have learned over the years have made a significant difference in the quality of life and the ease in doing things to become as self-sufficient as I can be.

Linda Barnes
Logan, Utah

John Silveira writes about electromagnetic pulse on page 83. Mas has written about guns for women in the past, but will likely do another article tailored to older women in the future. We are planning on a “Kindle” digital version for as early as next issue, and will have details then. " Annie

Improved quality of life

I am deeply grateful for the work you put into producing this magazine, and for the contributions of those who write the articles. This magazine has improved my family’s quality of life immeasurably.

Roger Grotefendt
Maple City, Michigan

Bowie-style butcher knife

Hello, I am a satisfied subscriber. I love your magazine. I have a question about some pictures of a certain type of knife featured in the BHM Sept./Oct. 2011 issue. In the article “Anatomy of an Edge”, Len McDougall has pictures of knives being sharpened. One of the knives has a swept-clip point, and it says “Butcher” in fine lettering on the blade. Could he or you please tell me that exact knife brand and model? I am interested in purchasing one of those.

It looks like it has a black plastic handle of some sort. The picture is where he is sharpening it with a Chef’s Choice knife sharpener, and, it is a fixed blade.

Erin Casson
Brooklyn, New York

Erin, the knife is a fairly plain-jane 8″ Bowie-style butcher’s knife from the Game Processor meat-processing kit made by Outdoor Edge Cutlery. A good knife, but made to look more racy than it really is by the angle of my camera. The photo was meant to showcase the sharpener being used, but I’ve had several questions about the knife because the acute angle exaggerates it so much. " Len

Lots of sweet potatoes

Jackie, I notice in this issue a question on how to grow your own sweet potato plants. Your answer is ok for a vine, or one plant, but to plant a field or many plants you need to get all you want. You need to plant your seed bed early in the spring or as soon as the frost is over " dig a hole anywhere from 3 to 4 inches deep, put straw in the bottom. Put all your small potatoes in the hole. Spread even, then cover with dirt or rich soil. Keep wet and do not let it dry out. Sit back and watch the plant come out. You can get as many plants as you need. I’m 94 so I know about raising potatoes.

Annie Hillman
Leakesville, Mississippi

Why a focus on politics?

I recently picked up my first copy of Backwoods Home hoping to find useful information on self-reliant living. Over the last 6-months or so I have been stumbling upon several different publications looking for the right one to subscribe to, gobbling up all information possible on being self-reliant. Backwoods looked promising. Tailoring guns to females? Right on! Published in Oregon (my home state)? Even better. Excited to read up on some useful country living tips, I was only turned off to find that the first article published in your Sept/Oct 2011 issue was a political piece on the Constitution. I highly value the Constitution, but was greatly dismayed that Backwoods would welcome a reader (especially a first time reader) with an article accusing a certain political group with wanting to reinterpret the Constitution. Sure, I have my moments of getting involved with politics, but when it comes down to my main focus, my life, it is living with the land. Flipping through the rest of the magazine, it looked as though the articles were full of the information my spongy brain is seeking. Yet, the ending piece did it again. Bookended with political pieces, I do not know if I can pick up Backwoods to finish reading the articles I was looking for. Why must there be a focus on politics? It is massively dividing, when there are people on all sides hoping to create a more simple life.

Dannan Uran
Bend, Oregon

Would you object if BHM had an environmental slant, as most country magazines have and display unabashedly in many of their articles? We keep our Libertarian politics confined to a short, typically one-page, opening editorial, and a short, typically one-page, closing editorial. We make no apologies for defending the U.S. Constitution against attempts to reinterpret it. " Dave

“Stupid People” is “spot-on”

I have bought BHM from the bookstores a couple of times over the years, (first time around the Y2K scare). Then this spring my mother-in-law bought a copy of “Mother Earth News” because she knew we were expanding our garden in case the economy crashed and might find some helpful info. Then this past June my family went to Barnes & Nobles after an evening out to let my boys pick out a book or two, so I browsed the magazine section while they shopped and found BHM (May/June 2011) and remembered reading it so many years ago. I was really surprised by the “conservative” tone and good information that I found, as M.E.N. was more like a magazine for “over-the-hill Hippies” and I thought BHM was also. I was wrong!

I picked up the July/August issue, and was considering getting a subscription, but when the S & P downgrade came this week and the markets tanked (along with our 401k) all non-essential spending has come to a stop. Fortunately, I ordered a used copy of your book, “Can America Be Saved From Stupid People” before the crash. That arrived yesterday. I could not believe how spot-on your essays are! You are a Patriot and a man after my own heart.

D.K. Starkman
Falcon, Colorado

10-pound cabbage

My husband and I very much enjoyed “Adventures of a 9-Pound Cabbage” (Sept/Oct 2011). I’ve been known to purchase large amounts of harvested crops, then make endless recipes featuring that grain, fruit, or vegetable (“Quinoa AGAIN!!?”). A few days ago, we passed a farmstand and came home with a 10-pound cabbage! We’re looking forward to trying out some of the recipes and preparing some family favorites. However, we don’t think it’ll last 21 days, as we are also sharing our super-jumbo cabbage with our chickens, ducks, and turkey.

Ana Hotaling
Chelsea, Michigan

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