Backwoods Home Magazine
Backwoods Home Magazine Backwoods Home Magazine
Volume 15 • Number 5 May, 2013


New Issue

We just wrapped up the July/August issue, #142, and sent it off to the printer.

When it arrives in your mailbox in a few weeks, you'll find The Home Dairy by Patrice Lewis, Preparing for an Appleseed Event by Massad Ayoob, Build your own battery charging station by Jeff Yago, and much more.

Fairs & Expos

Backwoods Home Magazine will be attending the following shows in June. Please stop by to say hello!

Mother Earth News Fair. June 1 & 2 in Puyallup, WA. Dave Duffy and Toby Stanley will be in the BHM booth.

P2E Emergency Preparedness Expo. June 8 & 9 in Bakersfield, CA. Toby Stanley will be in the BHM booth.

The 24th Annual Energy Fair. June 21-23 in Custer, WI. Jackie Clay-Atkinson will be in the BHM booth.

Midwest Self-Reliance Festival. June 28-29 in Des Moines, IA. Jackie Clay-Atkinson will attend as a featured speaker.

And don't forget Backwoods Home Magazine will host our second Project Appleseed event in Oregon on August 3 & 4. Register early!

And the winners are...

The final winner of a FREE copy of The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery was drawn May 22nd. We'd like the thank all who entered.

The list of ten winners is here if you'd like to see if one of them was someone you know.

If you were not a winner, but would like to own a copy of the newly updated 40th Anniversary Edition of this classic, Backwoods Home has them in our bookstore for $5 less than the cover price!. Click Here for more information


If you enjoy our newsletter, please pass it on to others who you think might like it by using the Forward Email link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Note: If you just Forward using your own email program's Forward function and the person you send it to thinks they're being spammed, they can click on the Opt Out link and opt YOU off the list. So, please, use the "Forward Email" link. We'd hate to lose you!

Special Offer

Our Mountain House Special Offer last month was popular with our Newsletter readers, so we're repeating it for those who missed it. We're offering $10 off each of the four Mountain House "Just in Case" and "Best Seller" packs we offer.

No codes or coupons are needed. Just visit the Special Offer page and select the item(s) and quantity you want.

Click Here for the Special Offer page.


Great local cheap entertainment

By Stephen Tracy

With the cost of everything going up and the economy taking a head-spinning rollercoaster ride, who can afford to go to the movies?

Looking for fun, educational things the whole family can do? Want to meet your neighbors in fellowship and have fun and do things for your community? Would you like to have a bigger voice in your local, county, state, and federal government?

Why not check out the Grange? The Grange is a grassroots family fraternity based on agriculture and bettering rural life.

The Grange was organized in 1867 to help farmers in the Midwest get a better return on the farm products that were shipped east. The trains were charging exorbitant prices for shipping, getting richer while farmers were going bust.

The Grange was the first fraternal organization to admit women as equal voting members. Yes, women could vote in 1867!

Since the train robber barons were trying to infiltrate the Grange and break it up, there were secret passwords and handshakes to prove membership before anyone could enter a meeting. Granges were the warehouse-buying clubs of the 19th century.

The Grange is responsible for promoting rural mail delivery, rural electric service, and the interstate systems to help rural farmers.

Today's Grange works strongly on needs in the community, promoting legislation issues, and fun educational programs. Some of the programs in the Grange include sewing, crafts, talent, writing, art, photography, public speaking, as well as baking and agricultural contests. The ritual and lessons are agriculturally and family based.

Benefits to members include life insurance, life lines, hearing aides, discounts on hotels, credit cards, car rentals, prepaid legal services, pharmacy discounts, and scholarship grants and loans.

The Grange has a Junior Grange for kids age 5-14 where they learn discipline through the ritual and have fun projects and learning activities. For adults there is the local Community Grange, county or district Pomona Grange and State and National.

Although the Grange is based on promoting and supporting agriculture, it has expanded to include community service and legislation. Legislators say the Grange is an organization with power.

Some of the activities of the Grange across the country include fairs, public meals, assisting the elderly and low income families, volunteering, farmer's markets, buying coops, agricultural education, budgeting workshops, encouraging leadership skills and promoting social and recreational fellowship.

Two other programs are the Dictionary Project and Community Citizen Award. The Dictionary Project, also called "Words for Thirds," is an endeavor at promoting education. The Grange presents dictionaries to third graders including homeschoolers. The Community Citizen Award is presented to a citizen who exemplifies volunteerism in their community.

My annual income is less than $10,000 so I cannot afford much in life. The Grange is the social highlight of my life. I get a feeling of value in life being able to do things for my community within my financial ability. I joined when I was 14 and have worked my way up to the state and national levels through contests and committee responsibilities.

To find a Grange or to get one organized in your area check out, call 1-888-447-2643, or write National Grange, 1616 H St. NW, Washington, DC 20006.


Last month, we linked to an essay titled Dear Gun Control Democrats: 6 Ways to Make a Better Argument. We thought it would generate a lot of comments, but we were wrong. Here are those we did receive:

Carl — Outstanding!! Even some of the so-called 'left' knows a thing or two...sometimes, about something most have understood all their lives...that is, if you are over the age of public school indoctrination, [you] know that TV is just more mind-manipulation.


Rodney F. — I would say that the essayist presnts a well researched and articulated defense of the second amendment. Now I view myself as a conservative yet I don't always agree with every conservative issue. But given the choices we have been given with our "Two Party System" (and don't begin to even think that that's going to change as one can figure out by just boning up on American history) I will vote GOP. I do reccomend that everyone read this writting, in fact it would be awesome if someone could hook her up with Fox news. Thank you for the link I'm going to pass it on to my leftist nephew.

Nick F. — I suppose you can't fact-check every crazy opinion that is sent to you, but the recent Nazi quote should have raised a red flag. False Nazi quotes are beloved by wingnuts on both the right and left.

Here's the truth on the supposed quote from der Fuhrer:

I've never been opposed to gun ownership, but each time I see gun owners both believing and spreading lies, I am forced to question my judgment.

A person who can't perceive falsehood, and can end someone's life with a small gesture is a very dangerous person. Does that person need to kill me in self defense? If he'll believe any lie, it would be pretty easy to talk him into that action, and with me dead, who's left to tell the truth?

C'mon gun owners! If we start acting like intelligent, caring people, we'll find that the support for broad gun control will disappear quickly. Nobody is actually afraid of the guns- they're afraid that the people who wield them may be deluded or impulsive... and sadly, many of us legitimize that fear every day.

GV — People don't want to be stereotyped. Why stereotype gun owners.

Finally, on the matter of the new Newsletter format, Kristie G. said:

Greetings, BHMers!

Just wanted to give you all a big "thumbs up!" on the new newsletter format. This is a big improvement. The layout is much easier to navigate, and I especially like that there is just a portion of each category shown and readers may click a link to continue reading. It's so much easier than having to scroll through large amounts of text.

Anyway, you all deserve a big pat on the back! Keep up the great work! And as always, thanks for a great publication!

Thanks to all who wrote!


Americans Deserve the IRS

By Professor Walter E. Williams


Individually, Americans do not deserve to be subservient to such a fear-mongering, intimidating and powerful agency as the Internal Revenue Service; but collectively, we do. Let's look at it.

Since the 1791 ratification of our Constitution, until well into the 1920s, federal spending as a percentage of gross domestic product never exceeded 5 percent, except during war. Today federal spending is 25 percent of our GDP. State and local government spending is about 15 percent of the GDP. That means government spends more than 40 cents of each dollar we earn. If we add government's regulatory burden, which is simply a disguised form of taxation, the government take is more than 50 percent of what we produce.

In order to squeeze out of us half of what we produce, a government tax collection agency must be ruthless and able to put the fear of God into its citizens. The IRS has mastered that task. Congress has given it powers that would be deemed criminal if used by others. For example, the Constitution's Fifth Amendment protects Americans against self-incrimination and being forced to bear witness against oneself. That's precisely what one does when he is compelled to sign his income tax form. However, a Fifth Amendment argument can't be used as a defense in a court of law. The IRS will counter that you voluntarily provided the information on your tax return.

Is the professor right or wrong? Any thoughts on what should or can be done, if anything?

If you're in debt to Bank of America, Wells Fargo or any other private creditor, in order for it to garnish your wages as a means of collecting debt, it must first get a court order. By contrast, the IRS can garnish your wages without having to get a court order first. If your employer doesn't obey the IRS and send it a portion of your wages, he will be held accountable for what you owe. At the minimum, some IRS collection procedures violate one of the basic tenets of the rule of law -- namely, the law of the land applies equally to individuals (and other private entities) and the government (and its officials and agents).

Our Founding Fathers feared the emergence of an agency such as the IRS and its potential for abuse. That's why they gave us Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution, which reads: "No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken." A capitation is a tax placed directly on an individual. That's what an income tax is. The founders feared the abuse and the government power inherent in a direct tax. In Section 8 of Article 1, they added, "But all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States." These protections the founders gave us were undone by the Progressive era's 16th Amendment, which reads, "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

If federal spending were only 5 percent of our GDP ($750 billion) -- instead of 25 percent ($3.8 trillion) -- there would be no need for today's oppressive and complicated tax system. You might ask, "How could we be a great nation without all the government spending?" When our Constitution was ratified in 1791, we were a weak and poor nation. One hundred forty years later, with federal spending a mere pittance of what it is today, we became the world's richest and most powerful nation. No small part of this miracle was limited and unintrusive government.

The bottom line is that members of Congress need such a ruthless tax collection agency as the IRS because of the charge we Americans have given them. We want what the IRS does -- namely, to take the earnings of one American so Congress can create a benefit for some other American. Don't get angry with IRS agents. They are just following orders.

Is the professor correct? DO we deserve the IRS? Why, as a free people, do we permit it? What do you think?

Please send your comments via email to


Unusual Muffins

Tips for making great muffins.

Start with ingredients at room temperature, eggs, milk, etc.

Take care not to over mix the batter; use a flexible spatula to gently fold ingredients together.

Batter should be stiff enough to hold a spoon upright; if it seems runny, gently fold in a few extra tablespoons of flour.

Use the freshest spices as possible when they are required.

Grease the entire muffin tin, not just the holes. More often than not, the muffins expand over the sides, and if those sides have not been properly greased, you're going to run into trouble when you try to remove the muffins.

Fill muffin tins three-quarters full; the tops are the best part, so don't be shy with the batter.

Slide a baking sheet under the muffin tin to help prevent the bottoms from getting too dark in the oven. This also helps with cleanup in case there is overflow.

Take care not to over-bake the muffins.

Allow muffins to cool in the pan at least 10 minutes before removing them, especially if they contain soft fresh fruit.

Enjoy them fresh. If you must, freeze them, although I prefer to freeze the batter (without add-ins), then thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake the muffins fresh in the morning.

Tips from The Simple Bites

Rhubarb Muffins

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with paper cups.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the brown sugar, oil, egg, vanilla and buttermilk with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour in the dry ingredients and mix by hand just until blended. Stir in the rhubarb and walnuts. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, filling almost to the top. In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, white sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of this mixture on top of each muffin.

Bake in the preheated oven until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pans for at least 10 minutes before removing.

Makes: 24

Seminary Muffins

1 egg
1 1/3 cups mashed ripe banana
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease one 12 cup muffin pan.

In a large bowl, combine egg, banana, brown sugar, applesauce and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

Gently stir flour mixture and oatmeal into banana mixture. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts. Pour batter into prepared muffin cups.

Bake in preheated oven or 15 to 20 minutes, or until light brown. Remove muffins from pan and place on a wire rack to let cool before serving.

Makes: 12

Huckleberry Muffins

3/4 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup huckleberries
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease 15 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg, milk and vanilla until well blended. Combine 1 3/4 cups flour, baking powder and salt; stir into the batter until just moistened. Toss huckleberries with remaining flour to coat, then fold them into the batter. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling at least 2/3 full.

Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed.

Makes: 15

Whole Wheat Surprise Muffins

1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup any flavor fruit jam

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.

Stir together flour, wheat germ, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. In a separate bowl, mix together butter, egg and buttermilk. Stir milk mixture into dry ingredients; mix just until combined. Fill prepared muffin cups half full with batter. Make a depression in the center of each muffin and drop in 1 teaspoon of jam. Cover jam with additional batter.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Makes: 12

Mocha Muffins

1 egg
2 egg whites
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup malted milk powder
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons white sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin cups.

Mix together egg, egg whites, and milk. Stir in coffee powder, water, and vanilla.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, malted milk powder, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in liquid mixture. Mix together really well, until batter is thin and gooey like cake batter. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. In a small bowl, stir together cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over muffins.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Makes: 12

Pizza Muffins

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons white sugar
3 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil,
drained and diced
2 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar
cheese, divided
4 green onions, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, basil, oregano and sugar into large bowl; stir until well blended. Mix in tomatoes, 1.5 cups of cheese and onions. In another bowl beat egg, whisk in buttermilk and stir until combined. Spoon batter into muffin tins until half full. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese on top of muffins.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the muffin comes out clean.

Makes: 12

Morning Glory Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated carrots
1 apple - peeled, cored, and chopped
1 cup raisins
1 egg
2 egg whites
1/2 cup apple butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil 18 muffin cups, or coat with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, apple butter, oil and vanilla.

In a large bowl, stir together flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in carrots, apples and raisins. Stir in apple butter mixture until just moistened. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them about 3/4 full.

In a small bowl, combine walnuts and wheat germ; sprinkle over the muffin tops.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and spring back when lightly pressed.

Makes: 18

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups peeled, cored and chopped apple
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 18 muffin cups or use paper liners.

In a large bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 cups sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, pumpkin and oil. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stirring just to moisten. Fold in apples. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle topping evenly over muffin batter.

Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

Makes: 18

Apple Pie Muffins

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups diced apples
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with paper muffin cups.

In a large bowl, stir together 2 1/4 cups flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate smaller bowl, mix together the egg, buttermilk, 1/2 cup melted butter, vanilla and 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar until sugar has dissolved. Pour into the flour mixture and sprinkle the diced apple into the bowl as well. Stir just until everything is blended. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin, filling the cups to the top.

In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/3 cup flour and cinnamon. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons of melted butter while tossing with a fork until well blended. Sprinkle this over the tops of the muffins.

Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed.

Makes: 12

Zucchini Yogurt Multigrain Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup oat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease 24 muffin cups.

In a bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, oat flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, vegetable oil, applesauce, yogurt, sugar, honey, and vanilla. Mix the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Fold in the zucchini, carrots, pecans, and raisins. Scoop into the prepared muffin cups.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes: 24


How Can Anyone Not Want Children?


Did a friend or relative tell you about this newsletter? The Backwoods Home Magazine newsletter is free and all you need is an email address so we can send you a copy each month. Even better, we sometimes have special offers and discounts that are available only to BHM Newsletter subscribers. Your email address will never be sold, rented, loaned, given, or otherwise provided to any third party.

Just Click Here to visit our Newsletter signup page or click on "Newsletter" in the navigation menu on the left side of any of our web pages.

Contact Info:

Backwoods Home Magazine
P.O. Box 712
Gold Beach, OR 97444
541-247-8900 designed and maintained by Oliver Del Signore
© Copyright 1998 - Present by Backwoods Home Magazine

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