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BHM Newsletter
Volume 14      Number #5

May, 2012


New Issue

We just sent the July/August 2012, Issue 136, to the printer! Current subscribers will see it in their mailboxes about the middle of June. Included are the latest installments in series by David Lee and by Dorothy Ainsworth, as well as articles on finding, harvesting, and using huckleberries, raising and using different types of corn, training oxen, making easy summer wrap and roll foods, building an adobe oven, and much more!

Self-Reliance Fairs

Dave, Annie, and Sam just got back from a great weekend at the Self-reliance Expo in Colorado Springs. They met with many of our BHM writers, and all of them enjoyed meeting our subscribers from all over the country! Jackie Clay was a huge hit at the fair, as were our other writers.

Next up in our summer of self-reliance fairs is the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, Washington, later this week, June 2nd & 3rd. Dave Duffy, John Silveira, and Sammy Duffy will be manning the booth.

Also in June, from the 15th to the 17th, is the Midwest Renewable Energy Association Fair in Custer, Wisconsin. Lenie Duffy and some of the Duffy boys will be there. Jackie Clay also plans to attend.


Earlier this month, we posted two new videos on YouTube. You can take a tour of our office in Gold Beach, Oregon, and meet our staff and some of our writers. The second video is a short, fun, whirlwind tour of our office with Clara, Annie Tuttle's youngest daughter. Both of the videos are posted on our Home page or you can see them full-size on our YouTube channel here.


We've been busy here in the office reprinting anthologies and books. Right now, we're working on two new ones as well as the new, enlarged, and revised reprint of Dave Duffy's book, Can America Be Saved from Stupid People, that includes a dozen new articles and has a revised cover. We'll have more info on all this in a future newsletter.

Special Offer

Order a 1-year subscription from this Special Offer page and get your choice of Recession-proof your pantry OR Chickens: A beginner's handbook and Dairy Goats: A beginner's handbook FREE!

This Special Offer expired next Friday, June 8, 2012.

Bonus Article

Delectable kubba — Mother of all Middle Eastern foods

Kubba is one of the best known dishes in the eastern Arab world, and the Arabs of the Middle East consider it, in all its various types, as the epitome of all food. There are many kinds of kubba, made in a myriad of different ways and from different products, but those prepared with meat, usually lamb, are the most popular. These can be eaten cooked or raw, in the same fashion as the French or Australian tartare. To the vast majority of Middle Eastern people, especially the Lebanese, this ancient dish is the Mother of all Middle Eastern foods.


In its land of origin, this renowned tasty fare is made from the freshest of lamb, along with burghul, onions, and spices. Known as kubba in classical Arabic, kibba in the Syrian dialect, kibbeh in Lebanon, among the Arab immigrants in Brazil kibbe, and on some of the Caribbean Islands as kipe, this mouth-watering dish is a favourite of both youths and adults. It is the national dish of Syria and Lebanon and, in its various forms, is one of the favoured foods among the Jordanians, Palestinians, Iraqis, and other peoples in the Middle East. For those who have been nourished in their formative years on kubba, they carry the love for this dish to wherever, later in life, they settle.

When I was growing up in southern Saskatchewan, in western Canada, I remember the countless times my mother made us the various types of kubbas and how each time we found that we enjoyed our kubba dishes more than the time before. Not only to us, but to the immigrants from the Greater Syria area spread throughout the world, kubba invokes memories of that never-to-be-forgotten dish eaten in their land of origin. Traditions, language, and the Arab way of life all will be forgotten, but not the various types of kubbas.

In the past, meat kubba, considered the crown jewel of kubbas in Syria and Lebanon, was made, in the main, from fresh lamb. The meat was pounded in a jorn (mortar) with a heavy wooden mudaqa (pestle) until smooth and pasty, then thoroughly mixed and pounded again with soaked burghul, spices, and onions.

It was a messy looking sight—the women pounding away at the meat while at the same time removing the muscles with their hands. I remember watching a woman going through this task in Zagharta, northern Lebanon, and being turned off from eating this delightful dish. However, this only lasted for a few days; the yearning for kubba quickly returned.

In the last half of the 20th century, especially among the immigrants in the western world, grinders replaced the messy method used for untold centuries. Later, these were replaced by food processors and the preparation of kubba became a much simpler matter. Yet, despite these modern technological advancements in kubba-making, the aura of the pounding in the past still makes it a dish associated with much work and its preparation is usually reserved for weekend dinners, festivals, and holidays.

For the peasants of the Middle East, meat kubba was and is usually, even today, a luxury food they could only afford on rare and special occasions. Hence, they have developed a series of kubba dishes using other available ingredients, of course, always with burghul, a staple in that part of the world for thousands of years.

Disdained by the affluent as peasant foods, these kubbas are much healthier and have likely kept these toiling masses, on the edge of poverty, fit and healthy.

Yet, no matter if kubbas are prepared in the kitchens of the wealthy or in peasant huts, every type is "finger-licking good" as these dishes will testify.

Kubba Naya

Kubba naya (fresh tartare)

This was one of these tasty kubba dishes that I feasted upon in my adolescent years. Anyone who has a taste for French or Australian tartare will enjoy this dish that can be served as a main entrée or as an appetizer.

1½ lbs. fresh lean beef or lamb
1 cup fine burghul, soaked for 15 minutes in warm water, then drained by pressing water out through a fine strainer
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. crushed dried mint leaves
¾ tsp. pepper
¾ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cayenne
a few sprigs of fresh mint
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Place the meat in a food processor and process until well ground, then add the remaining ingredients, except the mint and olive oil, and process into thick paste. Spread on a platter then decorate with mint sprigs. Sprinkle with olive oil just before serving.

Note: The way I enjoyed eating this dish as a youth was to scoop the kubba with round, pliable loaves of Arabic bread, freshly cooked by my mother. We would tear pieces of this bread, then fold in a form of a tiny shovel to scoop the kubba naya into our mouths.

Kubba stuffing

Instead of being served raw, kubba can be stuffed and cooked in various ways. This stuffing can be used for stuffing numerous types of kubbas.

3 Tbsp. butter
½ lb. ground lamb or beef
¼ cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. black pepper

In a frying pan, melt the butter then sauté the meat until it begins to brown. Stir in the remaining ingredients, then sauté further until the onion is limp. Set aside for use as stuffing.

Stuffed Kubba with rice on the side

Meat kubba—stuffed and fried

The word kubba, which comes from the Arabic verb meaning "to form into a ball," has taken its name from this recipe. My predication is that these balls will soon be competing with hamburgers in the fast food outlets of North America as they now do in Brazil.

one kubba naya recipe (see above)
one stuffing recipe (see above)
oil for frying

Place in the palm of one hand about a golf ball-size ball of kubba naya. Using a forefinger, press a hole and begin expanding the hole by rotating and pressing against palm of hand until you have a shell of ¼-inch thickness. Place a heaping tablespoon of stuffing into the hollow shell. Close the end of the shell, then form into an egg-like shape. (Use cold water on your hands to help shape and close shells.)

Deep fry in oil, turning until golden brown. Serve hot. This recipe serves 6 to 8.

Kubba bil sayneeya (kubba pie)

For a busy housewife this type of cooked kubba is the easiest to make. Only a few moments are needed to make the kubba ready for cooking.

one kubba naya recipe (see above)
one kubba stuffing recipe (see above)
butter or ¼ cup oil

Divide the kubba into two portions. Spread one portion on the bottom of a greased 9 by 13-inch baking pan. Spread the stuffing evenly over the top, then flatten the remaining portion of the kubba naya over the stuffing. Cut into 2 by 2-inch diamonds or square shapes, then dot with butter or spread ¼ cup oil over the top.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F then bake for half an hour. Remove and serve. This recipe serves 6 to 8.

Kubbat samak (fish kubba)

1 cup fine burghul, soaked for 15 minutes in warm water, then drained by pressing water out through a fine strainer
1 lb. cod or similar fish fillet, cut into pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 Tbsp. flour
1½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
½ tsp. allspice
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cayenne
oil for frying

Place all the ingredients, except the oil, in a food processor, then process into firm paste, adding more flour if necessary. Form into small patties about 1½ inchs in diameter, then set aside.

Heat one-inch-deep oil in a frying pan, then fry patties over medium heat, turning them over once until they turn golden brown. Serve warm with hot or garlic sauce. This recipe serves 6 to 8.

Kubbat ruz (rice kubba)

This kubba is a favourite in Iraq, much more than burghul kubbas.

4 cups cooked rice
1 lb. ground beef or lamb
3 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. cayenne
1 kubba stuffing (see above)

Place the rice in a food processor and process until dough-like. Add the remaining ingredients, except the stuffing, then process until a smooth dough is formed, adding a little flour or water if necessary.

Place in the palm of one hand about a golf ball-size ball of kubbat ruz. Using a forefinger, press a hole and begin expanding the hole by rotating and pressing against palm of hand until you have a shell of ¼ inch thickness. Place a heaping tablespoon of stuffing into the hollow shell. Close end of shell, then form into an egg-like shape. (Use cold water on hands to help shape and close shells.)

Deep fry in in oil, turning until golden brown. Serve hot. This recipe serves 6 to 8.

Note: This kubba can also be made as a pie in the same fashion as kubba bil sayneeya (see above).

Kubbat bataata

Kubbat bataata (burghul and potato pie)

A close runner-up to the meat kubbas is a kubba made with potatoes. It can be a great vegetarian dish or when stuffed with the kubba stuffing it will make a delightful main course for any meal. During our farm days, we often relished this mouth-watering dish during the potato season.

1 cup fine burghul, soaked for 15 minutes in warm water; then drained by pressing out water through a strainer
3 cups mashed potatoes
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 Tbsp. flour
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. cayenne
one kubba stuffing (see above)
4 Tbsp. olive oil

Thoroughly combine all the ingredients, except the stuffing and oil, then divide into 2 even portions. Spread one portion evenly in a 9 by 13-inch well-greased pan, then spread kubba stuffing evenly over the top. Spread the second portion of burghul/potato mixture evenly over the top and smooth. Cut into two-inch squares then sprinkle with the oil.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, then bake until the edges of kubba turn golden brown. Serve hot or cold. This recipe serves 6 to 8.

Kubbat laymoon hamid (lemon kubba)

Another type of kubba, which I cannot forget, is kubba made with lemon juice. During the cold winter days in southern Saskatchewan, I remember as a youth how I waited in anticipation for my mother to make this delicious dish.

½ kubba naya recipe (see above)
½ kubba stuffing recipe (see above)
½ lb. lamb or beef, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. allspice
½ tsp. pepper
8 cups water
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 19-ounce can chickpeas, drained
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup lemon juice

Form kubba naya into walnut-size balls and stuff with kubba stuffing (see method for meat kubba) then set aside.

Place remaining ingredients, except lemon juice, in a saucepan and bring to boil, then cover and cook over medium heat for about 45 minutes. Gently slip in the kubba spheres, then cook for another 30 minutes. Add lemon juice, then cook for another 10 minutes or until kubba is well cooked, adding more water if necessary. Serve hot. Serves about 8

Kubbat hummus (chickpea and burghul kubba)

The vegetarians of our affluent society are always searching for a new dish to add variety to their repertoire of fine dining meatless dishes. One day they will discover chickpea and burghul patties, which were often made by mother in the summer when meat was scarce. When they do, I am sure they will place this dish near the top of vegetarian culinary delights.

1 19-ounce can chickpeas, drained
1 cup medium burghul soaked for 15 minutes in warm water, then drained by squeezing out the water through a strainer
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ cup finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. cayenne
1 cup flour
oil for frying

Place all ingredients, except flour and oil, in a food processor, then process until a soft paste is formed. Place in a mixing bowl, then add flour and mix thoroughly, adding a little water or flour if necessary. Form into golf ball-size balls then flatten into patties about ¼-inch thick.

Heat oil about one inch deep in a saucepan, then fry patties over medium/high heat until golden brown, turning them over once. Remove and place on paper towels to drain.

Serve either hot or cold. (They reheat well on foil plates in the oven.) Makes about 50 patties

Note: To make kubbat adas (lentil kubba), one 19-ounce can of lentils may be substituted for the can of chickpeas. Makes about 50 patties

Kubbat laqteen (pumpkin kubba)

Another vegetarian dish which would delight a person who has left the world of meat is pumpkin kubba. In the fall when Halloween is over and the North American farmers are left with thousands of pumpkins, how happy they would feel if they knew everyone was waiting to make pumpkin kubba. However, if there are no pumpkins around, a equal amount of cooked carrots will do.

2 cups of baked, mashed pumpkin
1 cup fine burghul, soaked for 10 minutes in boiling water, then drained by squeezing out the water through a strainer
2 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. ground coriander seeds
½ tsp. allspice
½ tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. cayenne
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup flour
½ cup water
oil for frying

Place all the ingredients, except oil, in a food processor and process into a dough that should stick together when squeezed, adding more flour or water if necessary.

Form into golf ball-size balls. Flatten the balls into patties then set aside.

Heat the oil in a saucepan to a depth of one inch, then fry patties until golden brown, turning them over once. Drain on paper towels then keep warm until ready to serve. Serves 6.

Note: An alternate way of making this dish is to place the mixture in an oiled baking pan, then pat down and, with a wet knife, cut into 1½-inch to 2-inch squares. Spread a little oil over the top and bake in a 350 degrees F preheated oven until golden brown. Serve warm.

Kabbat kashew (cashew nut kubba)

1 cup fine burghul, soaked in water for 15 minutes
1 cup raw cashew nuts
3 cups chopped onions, divided
4 Tbsp. flour
1½ tsp. salt, divided
1 tsp. pepper, divided
½ tsp. allspice
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cayenne
8 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
¾ cup pine nuts
3 cloves garlic, crushed

In a strainer, press the water out of burghul, then set aside.

Place the cashews, 1 cup of the onions, flour, 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper, allspice, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and burghul in a food processor, then process into a coarse paste, adding a little water if necessary, and set aside.

Heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in a frying pan, then stir-fry the remaining onions, pine nuts, and garlic over medium heat until garlic begins to brown. Stir in remaining salt and pepper; then set aside.

Divide food processor mixture into two equal portions. Spread one portion evenly in 9 by 13-inch greased pan, spread frying pan contents over top, then spread second portion of mixture evenly over top of onions and pine nuts. Cut into 2-inch squares; then sprinkle with remaining olive oil.

Bake in a 350 degree F preheated oven for 40 minutes, then serve hot or cold. Serves 6.


By way of Gaylene S. Thanks!

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well.

At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up.

Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up!

Shake it off and take a step up.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred — Forgive.

2. Free your mind from worries — Most never happen.

3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.

4. Give more.

5. Expect less

Now...enough of that feel-good stuff...

The donkey later came back and bit the heck out of the farmer who had tried to bury him. The gash from the bite got infected and the farmer eventually died in agony from septic shock.

The real moral from today's lesson:

When you do something wrong and try to cover your ass, it always comes back to bite you.



By way of Vinny D. Thanks!

When chemists die, they barium.

Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.

A soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

I know a guy who's addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop any time.

How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it.

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.

This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I'd never met herbivore.

I'm reading a book about anti-gravity. I can't put it down.

I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.

They told me I had type A blood, but it was a type-O.

A dyslexic man walks into a bra.

PMS jokes aren't funny, period.

Why were the Indians here first? They had reservations.

Our class trip is to the Coca-Cola factory. I hope there's no pop quiz.

Headline: Energizer bunny arrested. Charged with battery.

I didn't like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

How do you make holy water? Boil the hell out of it!

I had trouble with my iPad so I changed its name to Titanic. It's syncing now.

More in next month's issue.

Your brain develops the negative

By way of Susan D. Thanks!


1. Stare at the red dot on the woman's nose for 30 seconds.

2. Quickly turn your gaze to a blank wall or the ceiling.

3. Blink rapidly and repeatedly.

Pretty cool, eh?

By the way, if you're wondering what would happen if you repeated the exercise using the regular photo, Click Here to display it in a new browser window and give it a try.

Humor here and below by way of Gaylene S. Thanks!

How sharp are your eyes?

Can you find the 10 faces in this picture?

Jack decided to go skiing with his buddy, Bob. So, they loaded up Jack's minivan and headed north.

After driving for a few hours, they got caught in a terrible blizzard. So they pulled into a nearby farm and asked the attractive lady who answered the door if they could spend the night.

"I realize it's terrible weather out there and I have this huge house all to myself, but I'm recently widowed," she explained. "I'm afraid the neighbors will talk if I let you stay in my house."

"Don't worry," Jack said. "We'll be happy to sleep in the barn. And if the weather breaks, we'll be gone at first light."

The lady agreed, and the two men found their way to the barn and settled in for the night.

Come morning, the weather had cleared, and they got on their way. They enjoyed a great weekend of skiing.

But about nine months later, Jack got an unexpected letter from an attorney. It took him a few minutes to figure it out, but he finally determined that it was from the attorney of that attractive widow he had met on the ski weekend.

He dropped in on his friend Bob and asked, "Bob, do you remember that good-looking widow from the farm we stayed at on our ski holiday up north about nine months ago?"

"Yes, I do," said Bob.

"Did you, er...happen to get up in the middle of the night, go up to the house and pay her a visit?"

"Well, umm...yes," Bob said, a little embarrassed about being found out. "I have to admit that I did."

"And did you happen to give her my name instead of telling her your name?"

Bob's face turned beet red and he said, "Yeah, look, I'm sorry, buddy. I'm afraid I did. Why do you ask?"

"She just died and left me everything."

Can you find the couple kissing in this picture?

Places to Retire

You can retire to Phoenix, Arizona, where...

1. You are willing to park 3 blocks away because you found shade.

2. You've experienced condensation on your hiney from the hot water in the toilet bowl.

3. You can drive for 4 hours in one direction and never leave town.

4. You have more than 100 recipes for Mexican food.

5. You know that "dry heat" is comparable to what hits you in the face when you open your oven door.

6. The 4 seasons are: tolerable, hot, really hot, and ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!


You can retire to California where...

1. You make more than $250,000 and you still can't afford to buy a house.

2. The fastest part of your commute is going down your driveway.

3. You know how to eat an artichoke.

4. You drive your rented Mercedes to your neighborhood block party.

5. When someone asks you how far something is, you tell them how long it will take to get there rather than how many miles away it is.

6. The 4 seasons are: Fire, Flood, Mud, and Drought.


You can retire to New York City where...

1. You say "the city" and expect everyone to know you mean Manhattan.

2. You can get into a four-hour argument about how to get from Columbus Circle to Battery Park, but can't find Wisconsin on a map.

3. You think Central Park is "nature."

4. You believe that being able to swear at people in their own language makes you multi-lingual.

5. You've worn out a car horn. (Editor's Note: If you have a car).

6. You think eye contact is an act of aggression.


You can retire to Minnesota where...

1. You only have four spices: salt, pepper, ketchup, and Tabasco .

2. Halloween costumes fit over parkas.

3. You have more than one recipe for casserole.

4. Sexy lingerie is anything flannel with less than eight buttons.

5. The four seasons are: winter, still winter, almost winter, and construction.


You can retire to the Deep South where...

1. You can rent a movie and buy bait in the same store.

2. "Y'all" is singular and "all y'all" is plural.

3. "He needed killin'" is a valid defense.

4. Everyone has 2 first names: Billy Bob, Jimmy Bob, Mary Ellen, Betty Jean, Mary Beth, etc etc.

5. Everything is either "in yonder," "over yonder" or "out yonder." It's important to know the difference, too.


You can retire to Colorado where...

1. You carry your $3,000 mountain bike atop your $500 car.

2. You tell your husband to pick up Granola on his way home and so he stops at the day care center.

3. A pass does not involve a football or dating.

4. The top of your head is bald, but you still have a pony tail.


You can retire to the Midwest where...

1. You've never met any celebrities, but the mayor knows your name.

2. Your idea of a traffic jam is ten cars waiting to pass a tractor.

3. You have had to switch from "heat" to "A/C" on the same day.

4. You end sentences with a preposition: "Where's my coat at?"

5. When asked how your trip was to any exotic place, you say, "It was different!"


FINALLY You can retire to Florida where...

1. You eat dinner at 3:15 in the afternoon.

2. All purchases include a coupon of some kind -- even houses and cars.

3. Everyone can recommend an excellent dermatologist.

4. Road construction never ends anywhere in the state.

5. Cars in front of you often appear to be driven by headless people.

Can you find the baby in this picture?

Cletus is passing by Billy Bob's hay barn one day when, through a gap in the door, he sees Billy Bob doing a slow and sensual striptease in front of an old green John Deere tractor.

Buttocks clenched, he performs a slow pirouette, and gently slides off first the right strap of his overalls, followed by the left. He then hunches his shoulders forward and in a classic striptease move, lets his overalls fall down to his hips, revealing a torn and frayed plaid shirt. Then, grabbing both sides of his shirt, he rips it apart to reveal his stained T-shirt underneath. With a final flourish, he tears the T-shirt from his body, and hurls his baseball cap onto a pile of hay.

Having seen enough, Cletus rushes in and says, "What the heck're ya doing, Billy Bob?"

"Good Lord, Cletus, ya scared the bejeepers out of me," says an obviously embarrassed Billy Bob.

"But me 'n the Ol' Lady been havin' trouble lately in the bedroom d'partment and the therapist suggested I do something sexy to a tractor."



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Click here for A Widow's Walk Off-Grid to Self-Reliance: An inspiring, true story of Courage and Determination


Click here for A Widow's Walk Off-Grid to Self-Reliance: An inspiring, true story of Courage and Determination