Letters To The Editor
From Issue #52
Absolutely unbelievable!!! Just finished (for the first time through) issue #51. I have subscribed to your fine publication for a few years, and it is the only magazine that I read cover to cover each and every time. No other publication of any subject can I say that about (not even hunting mags, dear to my heart that they are!) I currently own and run a handyman type business that I hope to continue, and improve upon, when I make the move to my own backwoods home. Unfortunately, I am in a category that I have read about all too many times in your magazine: The one who’s ready, willing, and able to make the move, but whose spouse isn’t. I have been happily married for 18 years, but miserable with city living. I’d love to hear more from others in this group, and what they have done. Here is what I have done, but I’m not sure it’s the best answer: I set a date, a couple years down the road, and told my wife, “I’d love to have you join me, honey!” Thanks, and keep up the great work!
Be careful with ultimatums to someone you want to stay with. Being happily married for 18 years is a very valuable situation. I’d exhaust all gentle persuasion possibilities first. Build a compelling case of why the move is good for BOTH of you. Bribe her. Take her to your minister, your shrink, the Pope. Whatever it takes. —Dave
I want to comment on Carolyn Evans’ letter in Issue #50 (March/April, 1998). We in Arkansas have been using purple paint on posts or trees to mark land for no trespassing, with the same requirements Carolyn describes, for a long time. Not only is it not a joke, but it is very effective. No one can tear down paint and toss it away, as they could a sign. Weather affects paint less than a sign as well. I have 40 acres, the boundaries of which are marked with posting paint. Once a year I walk the boundary with a can of paint to refresh markings if need be. I don’t have to concern myself that my signs were blown down during a winter storm, or otherwise destroyed. I guess what seems ridiculous to one person can make perfect sense to another.
Response to letter
A number of months ago a friend of mine gave me a copy of your magazine to look at and I really enjoyed it. Well, we all know how things go, so many things to read and keep up with I never got around to sending in a subscription. I just picked up the Jan/Feb issue #49 and wouldn’t you know it, the first thing I read was the commentary. Oh my goodness. After reading both the commentary and the letter sent in by Mr. Eaton of Sturgis, MI, I could not believe how kind the Editor was in his commentary. Well I’m not the Publisher/Editor so I don’t have to be quite as kind. I’m really hoping people will grab the issue and read or re-read both the commentary and the letter because I am just going to comment on some of the things Mr. Eaton had to say.
First of all, I was glad he set the mood for me by telling me about selling his Victorian city home and purchasing his 105 acre farm in “the country.” Hunting and fishing are his favorite pastimes. I also love to hunt and fish because eating is one of my favorite pastimes. Mr. Eaton then goes on to express his disgust with Backwoods because of their support for high capacity magazines. I’m really interested now. He tells me that his 12 ga. shotgun loaded with 6 rounds of buckshot would be much more effective at close range with plenty of firepower…So he won’t mind when it’s decided to remove shotguns and buckshot from his possession because they are just not needed. By the way, Mr. Eaton, I would never try to justify a 15 round magazine to you or any other “avid hunter” because I don’t have to. My right to own a firearm or any type of magazine has nothing to do with hunting. It has something to do with my being responsible. Now Mr. Eaton is really anxious to tell me how much he paid in taxes last year. Wow. I won’t even comment on Mr. Eaton’s ideas regarding paying taxes other than I think taxes are being used for a little more than medicine for the sick and paving roads. I will comment on how willing he is to group readership of this publication into three categories.
Apparently it needs to be pointed out to Mr. Eaton that there are a lot of people out there working very hard to make a different living than he. Not because they have to but because they want to. Hence, this magazine. Not to be too harsh Mr. Eaton, I get up every single morning and pray that someone like you doesn’t decide to buy land in my part of the country. In his final paragraph Mr. Eaton says that because of his opinion of the readership and the publication he can no longer retain membership. My opinion is somewhat different. I am sending this letter along with my subscription.
I read your editorial in the Jan/Feb (issue) and the letter it refers to with interest, but I think you missed the point. Don Eaton was rightly upset that you don’t like being forced to pay for his benefits, and Paul Revere refused to pay in the belief that you and Paul Revere would accept those benefits when offered.
What he doesn’t seem to realize is that there are individuals in this country who refuse to accept the idea that every good thing comes through and therefore proceeds from the “government.” If ever there was an idea that is hogwash (his term), that is one of them. The point of course is that the government is a government of delegated power, not sovereign power; “Sovereignty itself is, of course, not subject to law, for it is the author and source of law; but in our system, while sovereign powers are delegated to the agencies of government, sovereignty itself remains with the people, by whom and for whom all government exists and acts. And the law is the definition and limitation of power.” (Yick Wo vs Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356, 370)
This statement by our Supreme Court points directly to where Don Eaton was wrong, totally wrong. As California law states, “The sovereignty resides in the people.” The government is the servant. What we have in the case of Paul Revere is the servant rising up in rebellion against the Sovereign.
Notice in that quote from the Supreme Court, the Sovereignty is not the subject of law, the government is the subject of law. There is no such thing in the Supreme Court’s view as a “law abiding Citizen,” unless that Citizen is fulfilling the functions of a public office. If you don’t believe that is true, get out your American Constitution and read the first amendment, “Congress Shall make no law…” This is a limitation of power. Then read what Congress does have the right to do, “Congress shall have the power…to exercise exclusive Legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States,…” and further, “The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needed Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; (1:8:17 & 4:3:2, Constitution for the United States of America.) Here we have Congress being given complete authority over a limited jurisdiction.
But what Congress has done, and actually our forefathers sat back and let it happen (and even encouraged it), is extend their Power over all the United States in the form of Contracts. The Social Security Act was just a big Contract. What I have likened it to in my personal conversation is a contract with the Devil, where you want something so much, you don’t read the fine print, and then you find that you’ve sold your soul to a “fictitious sovereign” (called in the bible an “image” or an “idol”).
In the same issue, “Mac” questions our “deification” of Abraham Lincoln, and I couldn’t agree with him more. “Honest Abe” didn’t free the slaves near so much as made us all “slaves”, subject to the Federal Government. I have never read in any commentary about the differences between the wording in the 13th and 14th Amendments. Involuntary servitude is forbidden in the United States and their jurisdictions (plural), while persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof (singular) are U.S. citizens.
Remember in Yick Wo vs Hopkins, the people are Sovereign, the government is subject. In the 14th Amendment, we are talking about “persons” who are born “subject” to the United States. In the several States (plural), slavery is forbidden, but not in the Untied States (singular), which has subjects, people who owe their continued existence to the U.S. government.
I believe we can all assume that Don Eaton believes (how’s that for convolutions?) he is a U.S. citizen, and a subject of the U.S. government, under the Power of Congress, while Paul Revere believes he is a State Citizen, and therefore a member of the Sovereignty, and not subject to any law passed by his servants.
My kids always say, don’t ask Dad, he always gives the long answer, and I fear I’ve done it again.
In response to “paranoid, selfish” in your Nov./Dec. issue.
I know everyone has an opinion and right to voice it so I am going to use that right, now!
First of all if my taxes went to schools, roads and police protection in the % that they were meant to instead of lining the politicians pockets and donating to other countries in need when we have a crime and homeless problem, then I could understand your support for taxes in this country. But if you would open your eyes, the police are not very reliable or trustworthy. I am not picking on every cop. There are a few that have scruples left. And this pertains to both Metro cops and small town cops. Then the issue of our government. If there is a hint of a paranoia when spoken about, it is well deserved. Wake up and turn on the television or open a newspaper. TAKE OFF THE BLINDERS. All our govt. officials care about is getting re-elected and not getting caught with their pants down to keep that check coming. (Our taxes at work.) The majority of roads and highways need work all across this country. I guess if you have a shrine to JFK at your house you have a little hope for what this country used to be. (JFK didn’t keep pants up either.) But this is 1998. Clinton is doing ok in the White House but he wouldn’t be my choice for a teacher of values to children.
Let’s compare Ruby Ridge & Waco, Texas. I guess the definition of FREEDOM in 1998 is if it looks different or suspicious and we don’t like the way it looks on the nightly news, exterminate them. Let’s give every govt. official an automatic weapon and if your neighbor complains because you listen to Rock not Country music shoot them. But aim for the women and children first, of course.
I was born in a great country but all this country is now is a worldwide bully. Thank God our forefathers had some brains when they sat down and wrote the Constitution or we would be living in a communist rule by now. Why do you think they want gun control, so they can have CONTROL.
The comment in the referring article says “if you don’t like it leave and he is sure you will come back with your tail between your legs.” Remember that as our government tightens the hold, raises your precious taxes, and slowly controls the money worldwide. Don’t come running to my shelter in paradise, even with your tail between your legs.
Living in Utah at 6000′.
Regarding Maureen Steele’s letter regarding a pen pal section, there is a magazine just for people who like to write letters. It’s called the letter exchange, and is published three times a year. Steve Sikora is the editor and publisher of this fine publication. It contains several hundred listings, with a number of different categories. If there is enough of a demand, Steve is willing to start a new section.
This magazine assigns each new subscriber a code number, so that if you wish, you can keep you address private. It does not accept ads from prisoners and offers free forwarding.
Here’s how it works—you see an ad from a person that you wish to correspond with, and write an intro letter. On the outside of the envelope, instead of an address, you put their code number. Put this letter into another envelope—several, if you wish) and send it to them. They will send it on for you, no charge, except for the cost of two stamps.
The address for the letter exchange is: The Letter Exchange, Box 6218, Albany, CA 94706.
As far as the joke section goes, keep it up. A wise man once said, “It takes a big man to laugh at himself.” Sometimes we find things about ourselves that we need to change, when silly things upset us. I don’t always agree with everything you say, or have in your magazine, but then I don’t agree with a lot of other things. I believe it’s called LIFE.
I am writing for several reasons:
1. I am all for you adding some sort of pen pal section to your already superior publication. I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet others like myself. Thank you, Maureen Steele, for the idea.
2. To the gentleman who cancelled his subscription because of your “attacking President Clinton:—GET A GRIP ON REALITY! I believe that the “attacks” are voices of concern and Bill is in the position to be criticized—as is all of this oversized, over-powered, under-informed government.
3. Is there anyone out there who knows how to get the hulls off of oats and wheat? I bought 50 lbs. from the feed store only to find when I got it home that it is almost inedible. Are there any books on the subject still in print?
I was a little disappointed with the latest commentary on Y2K. It seems to me that the writer needs to do a little more homework. Especially considering the nature of your business it might be relevant to mention that the USPS (postal service) is not compliant. Their large sorting machines are automated with real time clocks and fixing them requires replacement of embedded chips. Contrary to your commentary, failure of government will extremely affect even us “self-sufficient” types.
Other than that—love your product.
Just finished reading the May/June issue and enjoyed reading it very much. I usually read every article, word for word, as I sometimes pick up a tip that I can use in another way even though I am not planning to perform the activity that the article is about. Here are a couple of things that I think the readers might benefit from knowing.
One of the things that is almost indispensable around a country place is wire. Sometimes you can use recycled wire but there is never enough of that. If you buy wire, don’t buy the small spools that they sell at the hardware store. I bought a spool of wire at my local farm supply store and was amazed at the value. The spool is electric fence wire. It contains 1/4 mile of 17 gauge wire and it only cost me $10.39. For most people that will be a supply that will last them for many years. It is easy to use and it is weather resistant as it is made to be used outdoors. Look at the small spools of wire at the hardware store and figure out what 1/4 mile would cost and you will see what a bargain this is.
Also, people that cannot afford to buy every tool that is available must try to make one tool do the work of as many others as possible. I have found that a reversible drill works reasonably well as a screw gun even though it does not have the automatic depth control. One problem that I had, however, was that the short bit would slip down into the chuck if I put a lot of pressure on the drill. To stop that I just drop one of the short bits into the chuck and then drop another short bit in on top of it. It sticks out just the right amount and cannot go down into the chuck that way.
I am renewing my subscription to your magazine. It is one of the few places where I can go to get articles on living.
I have yet to achieve my goal of getting out of the jungle and living free in the country. I have obligations I have to meet before I can go. Until then I will gain knowledge, and save up for the large snow blower. I’ll need it in the U.P. of Michigan.
Besides the articles on living, the ones I enjoy the most are your editorial and John Silveira—those teach my mind.
Voted for Harry Browne in the last election. It was the first time I did not waste my vote. America gets the government that they deserve, the only trouble is that I have to live with it too!
I shall remain a loyal reader to Backwoods Home Magazine. I am proud to get a magazine that some people and Time magazine think is a threat to our government. I love my country, but I fear my government!
Just wanted to let you know that I am a subscriber to the magazine. I enjoy it very much. Keep up the good work. I am medically retired and I put most of your articles to work for me and my better half. This is the first time to the web site and I like it. I’m from Ohio in Ravenna between Akron and Cleveland, Ohio and I’ll never be able to move to the country to live my dreams. But at least I can be there in the articles that you and your people are living and doing.
This is mine and my husband’s story of how we got to the country and how we make a living without depending on the local economy. I’m not too good at writing letters or stories for that matter, but I thought it was important that people know there are ways to do this and just how to go about it.
We live in the Blue Ridge Mountains in a fairly large county, although our town is quite small. We live just beyond town limits in a very peaceful little area on a private road.
I don’t raise livestock, but I am planning my biggest organic garden this year. I played with a small scale one last year and familiarized myself with it. So I feel I’m ready to go for it.
It concerns me a bit to think that people are always wanting to make a fast buck. This story is not for you folks, but for the ones that have a bit of patience and believe good things come to those who wait.
My husband and I have a mail order business which we have had in operation for nearly 18 years now. We started this business when mail order wasn’t cool. That’s right people actually looked down on you back then. I remember lots of looks. It was like yeah right and you call that work. My family and friends were even against us. They would ask when my husband was going to stop being so lazy and get a real job. 80 to 100 hours a week I guess didn’t count with them. As long as we were doing it out of our house instead of punching a time clock for someone else to get fat off our labor.
My husband started his first mail order business when he was 12 in or around 1960 or 1961. He was selling model parts like bumpers and headlights for 5 cents to a quarter. In the model builders magazine. There was in the back advertisement space you could buy just like today. So we all knew it was his destiny. Then he graduated to stamps and coins. Mail ordering on an auction basis for the sale of these items.
You see there is something for everyone in this world. You just have to find what you love to do and find a way to market it. Our love was in collectible music. We now sell collectible music and music related items in 34 countries.
When we started our business in 1980 it was on a small scale and the extra money helped us make ends meet. We had three girls and one with a lot of medical expenses. My husband was a foreman in the mail room at the newspaper press, so he didn’t make loads of money. I think in 1986 when he quit working there it was around $350.00 before taxes. Not that much really when you’re supporting a family of five. But he had a dream to be self reliant to get back to basics. Quitting that job was just a step in the right direction for us.
My husband said if we lowered our expenses, then he knew we could get the business to fly full time. So we went to a credit counselor and started paying off all our debts. There were weeks when the credit counselor left us only $5 for gas, cigarettes and grocery money. We had three girls to feed. That was really hard.
It took one year to become debt free. At the end of that year my husband insisted that we move to the mountains where we could live cheaper and begin to enjoy life again. Now I will do a lot of things for my husband, but I was born and raised in the city of Newport News. I told my husband, “He married me in Newport News I would die in Newport News.” I was not very open to it. I came from a very stable home and so did my husband. I wasn’t used to making changes in my life. Especially one that would require me to move so far away from my family and lifetime friends. After a lot of pleading on my husband’s part and crying on mine and my family saying no to the idea of me moving away, we did it.
July of 1986 we had sold everything we owned. All we took was what would fit in a 5×8 U-Haul and off we went to the Catskill Mountains of New York. We had $3500.00 in our pockets from the sale of all our things and no home. We were going till we found a house to buy. Owner financing of course was the only way we could do it. We lived in a tent at campsites for three weeks with our three girls ages 14, 10 and 4 and our two French poodles. Boy was that hard. But we did it. By the time we found a house we could afford we had around $1200.00 left and not enough down payment. It cost around $100.00 a day on the road searching for gas, food and so forth. We owned an old 1968 Chevy Impala and it was a gas hog. So without the money needed down, we locked him in on the selling price of $21,000.00. We rented the house with a delayed closing in one year to give us time to raise the $4,000.00 he wanted down.
Let me say this house was not what I was used to living in or my girls. So there was a lot of fussing from the women in my husband’s life. After three weeks at a campsite, I was glad it had a bathroom with a real tub. Even if it was an old clawfoot tub. Afterwards I came to love that clawfoot tub, but that’s another story.
There were some good points to that old house we bought. One being that there was a beautiful mountain in back and another in the front. When you would go out onto the porch they were the first things you could see, after of course being able to hear our stream just at the end of the yard.
My girls learned about country life very fast. Which animals to stay away from. Which ones would let the girls watch them closely while they ate. Including a few snakes. They didn’t care too much for the barn swallows that tried to set up house above our porch. One landed on my daughter’s head when she went out to play. For a few days she came running in crying about the bird attacking her. We just washed its nest down and it got tired of us washing it down after about the fifth time and moved on.
I was so glad we took our girls out of the city and into the country. There was so much for them to learn in the country with hands on experience and in a safe environment.
The schools there. Now this was really different for us. All three of our girls went to the same school. Now that was a little unusual since there was 10 years between my oldest and youngest. Yep that’s right. Kindergarten through 12th grade all in one school. It was great because the older children always looked out for the younger ones in this school. I mean it wasn’t like the city schools. No drugs or violence. These country kids actually cared and looked out for them quite well. It really made me feel at ease sending the baby of our family off to school for the first time. I got very involved in this school and once I remember a 11th grade boy helping a 1st grader that had fallen and was crying. He was so kind to that child.
Another important thing we gained from our move to the country was our family. How could we gain our family when we were a family? It’s hard to explain, but we had become a family in a different way. We learned to depend on each other. We worked together. We played together. When you live in the country, neighbors aren’t always close by. Winter weather conditions also interfere with outside the home relationships. We started playing games as a family. Board games of all sorts to take up our free time. There was always a little free time in the evenings.
When the weather was good there was a lot of community goings on. We had ice cream socials, church picnics, church dinners. Everyone would bring a covered dish and afterwards we would sit up the tables. We did this at our church once a month. We would spend the whole day there. After we ate it was sort of a jamboree. Everyone that had an instrument brought it and we would play and sing till evening.
Because we didn’t have as much money as we once had, they learned to appreciate the things they did have more. Instead of going shopping at the mall, we would go hiking up the mountains. We would pack picnic lunches and take off for a few hours. We went fossil hunting, fishing, swimming at the local waterfalls. And we picked apples and got them pressed at the local mill. These are just a few of the things we did. This brought us all closer together. Instead of everyone going their own ways on Saturdays like we did in the city, we now did outings together.
We made a few more moves. Each move put us a little closer to our dream. Each house was a little better than the one before, till we found the one we live in now, which is my dream house and I am very happy to stay here forever.
Now I will tell you about our business and how it works from the beginning. I want to explain all aspects of this mail order business. In hopes that some of you can find a way to make it beyond the sidewalks.
We started out by running ads in the local newspaper that we were buying old records. After we had these records we put them into alphabetical order and typed them. We then ran ads in several collectors papers of the merchandise we were selling.
We saved every collectors name that ever bought from us and we now had about 250 names from the 6 years of taking out these ads. We typed up everything we had to sell and went to a local print shop and made 250 copies of these items and mailed them to all the 250 people. Once we sent this in the mail we had our own newsletter. Small yes, but it was ours. We had also just cut out the money that we were paying for advertising space (the middle man). In those other collector magazines the ads ran around $200.00 a page. Now that was quite a savings. This enabled us to put more money into merchandise.
The next step was building our mailing list so we could have more access to collectors to buy from us. We started going to the book stores and libraries to find books on collectibles and looking up dealers and publications on collecting music. There was always a reference in the back for resources for getting their information. We wrote these places to find out if they had a membership or society for collectors.
We then joined these music societies all over the country. Some ranging from $10 to $20 a year membership. With the membership of these societies came their newsletters. In these newsletters they advertise your name as a new member and if you had a business and the address. Which meant not only your name, but all the new members names were in that newsletter.
We then added those new members names to our mailing list. The ones that ordered from us remained on our mailing list. The ones that didn’t got dropped after a couple issues. This was the only way to keep our mailing list from carrying dead weight and keeping postage low.
We would then find out if the society had a yearly annual that listed all members of its society. If so we would purchase it. Some of the societies had a very healthy membership. Some ranging into the 1000’s. We couldn’t afford to go out to all those members at once. We started weeding through the mailing list and sending to 100 new people every month. If they didn’t respond after two issues they were dropped off the list.
There were also members advertising they wanted to sell their collection in the newsletters. We would buy collections if they were close enough to pick up. Some we had shipped to us. We also started running ads in the local once a week newspaper that we were looking to purchase records.
Sure those were some lean times trying to get started, but well worth it since today we live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Yep that’s right. Back in Virginia, where I said I must be of course. We are five hours from our families. We have a beautiful brick home in the country and a great business doing quite well.
Another great benefit is we now get to travel all over the country to pick up collections we are buying. We see some beautiful country and meet some wonderful people along the way.
The point here is that in our research in those books at the library and book store we also found there is a market for almost anything. Every time we come across something. Today we now know how to market it. If we have a lot of it we will look it up in Kovels Collectors Guide and find a society of collectors for the items.
When we go to an auction if we see a box full of old papers of magazines normally there is nobody else bidding. We walk away with that box of trash papers for $1.00 or $2.00. Well I just see the $$$$ signs in that box.
You know when you go into an antique store and you see some old advertisement in there for a very old car or Campbells’ soup with a famous star on the ad, they put it in a baggie and price tag of $6 or $10 on it. Where do you think they got it from? Out of a box of old magazines they’ve picked up for most likely a buck. Well! Cut those ads out yourself. Find a society that collects personalities of old movie stars. Join it for a couple dollars and start your own mail order.
You can market anything using this same concept. Dried flowers, herbs, and crafts. I see mail order catalogs for these all the time. These catalogs are doing what’s called drop shipping. They don’t have a crew of people sitting around the office hand making those things every time they get an order. They have suppliers like you or me. They get the order and the money. Then tell you they need 20 of an item made and sent to these addresses. They never touch the item.
Once you have the address of that person that you just sent that item to—you now have started a mailing list of your own. You know this person purchases your type of item through the mail and if he or she will do it once, they will do it again. And guess what folks they have friends. One concept we used was a reward system. They send in the names of their friends and relatives that also purchase these items. Then you will reward them with a $2.00 for credit from every person that orders from you. But the person has to become an active customer in order for them to receive the $2.00. That’s the trick. They can send names all day. Unless they order the person doesn’t get credit. That is one way we kept people from trying to make money off us without fulfilling their obligation to us. Anyone can sit down with a phonebook of addresses. What you want are addresses of people that buy what you are marketing.
This is how it is all started. But you have an advantage over us starting in this day and time. Now there is the internet at your finger tips to find those collectors that are out there and want to spend some money.
The highest profit to be made is on things that are already used, or that you can make yourself. What do you have to sell? Garden foods that you canned? Organic foods you made? Dehydrated food? Jerky? Dried herbs? Crafts? Old books? Roy Rogers? Match box cars? Cartooned glasses that your mom threw out and you rescued?
The list is endless.
We marketed this idea in a magazine a few years back. How to start your own mail order business and succeed. We made quite a bit of money off it. You’re getting it for free. Do something with this information or not. It’s up to you. I will be glad to help a person, but I won’t do the work for them. Whether you succeed or not will depend on how badly you want it and how hard you are willing to work at it. Remember in the beginning when I made a statement of 80 to 100 hours a week to get the business going. Well I wasn’t just whistling Dixie.