Letters To The Editor
From Issue #94
I have learned more from your magazine that I did in college.
As a school teacher, most especially a teacher of Social Studies, I particularly appreciate your accurate and candid perspectives on the nature of American Society, and Government both past and present. As far as “wild ideas are concerned, I think “wild ideas” are the product of some magnificent dream that has got to figure out a way to manifest itself at some level of reality…it will remain a “wild idea” to everyone else except the individual that thought it in the first place. It quite simply never occurs to most people that never have “wild ideas”, that the only “ideas” that have ever made any real difference in the human equation are ideas that were beyond the “normal” scope of human thinking.
As far as the marathon goes that you are training for, I have walked in your shoes (or as is the case, run in them).
I am living proof that you can train for an athletic event of this intensity on a contraption such as a treadmill. Talk about the naysayers, everyone except my wife and Newton told me that it could not be done, and that I was a nut case on the way to the looney bin, or the hospital since I was either crazy, or was about to self-destruct!
“The race” changed my life! it helped me to understand that basically life is a decision. It’s up to you to make the things that are important happen for you. And, with the right attitude, and the proper preparation, you can do pretty much what you want! This is the philosophy I bring to my students.
May I see your papers please?
I read Claire Wolfe’s article in issue #93 on page 8 about her friends moving to a Central American country. After she heard from them about being stopped at a check point and being forced to show their “papers please” she said she “crossed that country straight off my list”.
I have been in other countries and I know what they were talking about. Uniformed officers with guns set up checkpoints and demand that all drivers show their “papers please” before they are allowed to pass and if their “papers” are not in order they are arrested on the spot. What I would like to say is this, there is very little difference between that practice in the Central American country and what they do here in the United States when the police set up “sobriety checkpoints.” (The word sobriety supposedly makes checkpoints acceptable). In the Untied States uniformed officers with guns set up checkpoints and demand that all drivers show their “papers please.” (Sound familiar?) This consists of drivers license, car registration and proof of insurance, if required, and sometimes other things.
If your “papers” are not in order you are arrested on the spot and taken to jail. If you have a minor infraction you get a ticket that requires you to appear in court. (There is very little difference between the two countries in the practice of checkpoints as far as I’m concerned).
Of course some people try to justify this practice of checkpoints and “papers please” by saying it keeps drivers off the road that have been drinking. I’m sure the Central American country that Claire Wolfe’s friends mentioned to her have an excuse that they also use to try to justify their checkpoints but it’s just the same to me. Checkpoints and “papers please” means the same thing to me no matter what country I’m in.
I wish to call attention to a very dangerous mistake in David Kings stonework article, “Add the beauty of stone to your home,” Issue #92.
In his picture of the corner hearth he has his woodstove far too close to the walls. Radiant heat travels through masonry very well. Using his metal lathe over wood method the heat from that stone will accumulate, char the wood and eventually ignite it at near explosive burn rates.
In the course of employment as a plumbing/heating contractor I took a woodstove installation course. Code (a good reason one) requires a minimum of thirty inches from any combustible surface unless properly shielded.
In the course of being both a volunteer fireman and the guy who either does the removal or strips out a burned building for the renovators I have seen several fires that resulted from using “Z Brick” as shielding.
If you are going to put a woodstove close to it, you must have circulating air space between the shielding and the shielded material. A sheet of aluminum foil with two inches of circulating airspace will give the same protection as four inches of common brick and two inches of airspace. The protection is the moving air which carries the heat away with it.
The pictured hearth would work well if it was built against cement board fastened on standoffs and vented top and bottom with about thirty square inches of inlet and outlet area. As a bonus the shielding convection current helps circulate the room air and draws the cold air off the floor.
Solar on clay tile roof
We live in a 1910 historic home with a clay tile roof. The roof was not well-cared for in its lifetime and it must be replaced. We would like to hire a reputable firm to design and install a solar heating/electric system for this roof. Are there such folks in Ohio? How would I go about finding them? I’ve done online research and come up with nothing.
Solar camper advice
I read with much interest your article on “Add Solar Power to Your Truck Camper” in the recent issue, since I’ve been considering doing the exact same thing to my truck camper.
On the Morningstar charge controller that you recommend, exactly which model is that? Is it the Sunsaver SS-10? Where did you buy that? Do you have a favorite distributor for solar products that has good prices and service?
Questions about pumping water with wind
First I would like to tell you my wife and I really enjoy the magazine.
The staff and contributing writers are exceptional. You and Mr. Silveira are on the mark. I try to remind my elected officials that they and the government exist for the convenience of the people. We do not exist for the convenience of the government. I am sorry to say it has been to no avail up to this point.
I have a question for Dorothy Ainsworth. In the article in the Nov/Dec Issue #90 on “Water Pumping Windmills” I was wondering how she keeps her holding tank from freezing in the winter? I would also be interested in the type of filtration she is using.
Installing rafters alone
I just read, at your Website, your advice as to how to install rafters alone. At the possibility of offending you, I must say that you make it very complicated and that there is a very simple way to do it, and even without having to use any additional material. I’m a retired general contractor and have done it this way many times when I was younger and starting out alone in my business.
Cut all of your rafters. Take one and nail a stiff knee to the side of it that will go to one of the ceiling joists (you need to lay a 2 X 4 across the joist for the stiff knee to rest upon). Nail the bird mouth of the rafter to the top wall plate. Go to the opposite side of the building and do the same so that the two ends of the rafters touch. Do the same down the line for at least two joists away. You now have two rafter systems in place, each top cut touching the other. Take your king beam and slide it from beneath between the rafters where they touch. The compression of them will hold it in place until you can adjust it perfectly and nail it. At this time, you may need to nail a wind brace to keep it all in place. Proceed with the other rafters to the king beam. If it is a long building, do this in increments.
I have done this numerous times, even on buildings as long as 50 feet. No problem, and it is very fast.
Living free in Greece
Hello again from England
I’ve just read Claire Wolfe’s excellent article on living free and agree with every word of it. My family and I are planning to leave the United Kingdom and set up home in Greece. As Ms. Wolfe rightly says, nowhere is completely free, and it will no doubt be a shock to us all to live in a country where the police routinely carry guns and citizens need id cards. But the Greeks have an attitude to life that is relaxed and the crime rate is miniscule compared to that of the UK. The Greeks are said to have the healthiest lifestyles in the world; it’s all about attitude.
Ms. Wolfe tells ‘Miserable’ that self sufficiency is a do-it-yourself exercise. She’s 100% right. We’ve been planning this move for 5 years or more. We’re learning the language and getting a handle on a whole new range of skills that will hopefully help us to make a ‘go’ of the new smallholder.
A major part of the arsenal is the bimonthly foray into your wonderful website, (www.backwoodshome.com) it’s chock full of useful hints and pointers and I can see it’s going to remain an invaluable resource to us, even though it’s written for like-minded folk 5,000 miles away!
National sales tax would burden retailers
Thanks to John Silveira for another well-reasoned “last word” (May/June 2005). One issue related to a proposed national sales tax which is rarely mentioned is that of the collection of those taxes.
As things stand now, almost every state has sales taxes. Businesses are responsible for the collection of these taxes. They are not reimbursed for their time in the preparation of sales tax forms. Nor are they reimbursed for accounting bills related to the preparation of sales tax payments. In many cases, if a dispute occurs, the burden of proof falls on the business to show that they indeed paid the proper amount of tax.
Just as state sales taxes use businesses to collect taxes for them, in effect, a national sales tax would turn retailers into IRS agents. For some reason, proponents of the national sales tax seem to have forgotten this point–even those who purport to be pro-business.
While solutions to the current tax dilemas are needed, the national sales tax leaves much to be desired for many reasons. The fact that retailers would be left to collect this tax is one of them.
A breath of fresh air
I stumbled across your magazine by accident as I was searching the internet. On a whim I subscribed, not really knowing what to expect. I received my first issue and devoured it all! (My only regret is that I have to wait for your next issue to come out!)
Call me naive, but I didn’t realize there were other folks “out there” who shared the same – off the beaten path/non conventional – ideas and beliefs as myself. It’s comforting to know there are others with similar interests.
Enjoyed your article on the luffas. (Issue #85, Jan/Feb 2004) I grew my first batch of them last summer. One thing I did that you probably already knew, is to dye them with clothing dye. Kids will like them, as will adults too!
Wild game recipes
In response to the letter about wild game recipes. Most recipes can be found on the Internet. It takes a simple search, then a lot of reading. Stick with ones that are repeated by different sources as they are most likely to be good ones. The one family I would not take for meat is the cat family. (Bobcat on up) Something about the meat doesn’t cook up right. Taste ok going down, but comes back up in about an hour.
Would also suggest checking out old wild game cookbooks. Stackpole books used to have some good ones. We always had about four plus our own recipes growing up as we ate just about everything as kids.