Backwoods Home Magazine
Backwoods Home Magazine Backwoods Home Magazine
Volume 15 • Number 6 June, 2013


New Issue

Most of our subscribers should have their July/August issue by now and our webmaster just posted the new issue update online.

What's in the issue? Well...

It's canning season (or close to it) for most of the country, so we have a nice article by Jackie Clay-Atkinson about common canning mistakes and how to prevent or fix them.

Gardening enthusiasts will find two articles regarding pest control. The first, by Joel Winters, is about keeping the slugs out of your planting beds. The second, by Amy and Joe Alton, is about organic pest control.

For those living off-grid in the heat of summer, Kai Moessle has written an article about keeping your food cool using a modern spring box.

That's just a sampling of the articles in this issue. Check out what else you can read in the Table of Contents. And if you're not a subscriber, now is a great time to get a subscription.

Summer Specials

We have three Summer Specials available on the website until July 31st. You'll find a link to them right near the top of our Home page.

Fairs And Shows

Jackie Clay-Atkinson will be speaking at the Midwest Self Reliance Festival in Des Moines, Iowa. She will also be manning the BHM booth there Friday June 28, and Saturday June 29. Click here for more information.

New Books

We have a few new books in our bookstore: Goats Produce Too!, by Mary Ann Toth, The Fruit Gardener's Bible, by Lewis Hill, and the second edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook, by Joe and Amy Alton of Be sure to check out these books to see if they belong in your homesteading library.

New Series By Jackie Clay-Atkinson

Our most popular homestead writer, Jackie Clay-Atkinson, has started writing a series about fruit. Each article will be about different fruit trees: from planting to harvest and how to preserve or use the fruit in recipes.

The series will cover all the main fruits and she'll also have an article about the "small" fruits and berries.

Watch for these articles in upcoming issues.

Tech Corner

We experienced some growing pains with our first two issues on the Apple Newsstand that caused the posting of the past two issues to be delayed

iPad: The subscription issues for our Newsstand App are all caught up. Our sincerest apologies to everyone who waited longer than usual for Issue #141 and/or #142. Current and future iPad subscribers can rest assured Issue #143 will arrive on time — and all issues thereafter!

We're happy to announce Issue #139 (Jan/Feb, 2013) is now available FREE to everyone who has the FREE Backwoods Home app. Just look in the "Library" section of our app. In the coming weeks, look for additional back issues to be made available for purchase within our app via the "BHM Store" section.

iPad users, here's the link to the FREE app. Please give it a try if you haven't already!

ePublications: There are currently 17 Back Issues available for purchase in Apple's iBookstore. Now all you iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users can get your digital hands on more of Backwoods Home Magazine. For Kindle readers, we currently have 27 back issues available, and have 21 online for the Nook. Also, Kindle and Nook users will see several very recent back issues going on sale in the coming month.

All of the platforms we currently support — Apple, Kindle, and Nook — will eventually have an identical selection of digital publications available for them.


Protect your livestock from predators

By John Andrews

Losing a pet or livestock to the wild side of nature can be traumatic and a financial burden. In our case a bear killed a four-year-old goat that was used as a pack animal in our business as well as a companion and walking backpack for our own excursions into the wilds of north central Pennsylvania. Our animals are handled every day and are more than just livestock to us. Four years of training and seasoning went into Mortimer and the rest of our little herd. I look back on that unfortunate incident and try to figure out what could have been done differently. Here's what I have learned, the hard way. The largest predator we have in this area is the black bear.

The safety of your livestock is your responsibility. Our local Game Commission Officer made an appearance after we first realized we had a potential bear problem. He gave us rubber buckshot and firecrackers to scare the bear away. The problem was that we never saw the beast. He visited at night and nothing short of camping out near the goat yard would have helped. Relocating nuisance bears is the primary way the state of Pennsylvania handles such problems. The office would not place a live trap for the bear because it was "too close to hunting season." After our goat was killed there was a trap in the yard that evening, but it was removed several days later because the Game Officer "did not feel like babysitting it any longer."

Remove anything that would attract unwanted visitors. We love to see wildlife but there is no reason to draw a predator into an area where you house livestock. Food scraps, animal feed, garbage, or anything that has a sweet aroma should not be left in the open. The feed for our chickens and goats is located away from the animals. Clean up any uneaten grain from the pen areas (with goats this is hardly ever a problem). We have old apple trees on the property. These seemed to be the draw for our nuisance bear. Cleaning these apples up may discourage a bear from returning. The goats would gladly dispose of them for us. Dog and cat food left outside and bird feeders are very easy meals for a bear.

If you see you have an unwelcome visitor, try to figure out why it was there. Make the area unattractive to them. A barking dog, a motion sensor, light or shiny pie plates flashing in the moonlight and clanging in the breeze may all help. There are products out there for deterring predators.

Run a few strands of electric fence around your stock, on the outside, to keep predators out. This seems to work for the beekeepers in the area.

Talk to your neighbors. Maybe they're putting feed out to attract wildlife. Tactfully explain to them the error of their ways.

In this state you can put down an animal that is damaging your property or livestock. If it comes to that, be prepared to do it cleanly and humanely.

Even if you take every precaution, realize that because of where you live you may suffer depredation anyway. Understanding what you have to deal with on a day-to-day basis will help you enjoy a rural lifestyle.


Given the recent revelations about government snooping, I guess we should have expected most folks would take a pass on commenting on last issue's OP/ED about the IRS. Only two readers did so.

Becky S. said: I am 61 years old and have known only this system of "taking" that the IRS employs. However, I have watched in horror as their power has grown. I am personally terrified that they will be administering the fiasco known as "ObamaCare".

My prayers are for our nation to somehow save itself.

Charles L. wrote: The author is absolutely correct. The IRS is a government entity created by Congress, doing Congress' bidding. Congress is elected at the local level and we continue to return these Mandarins to essentially lifetime appointments in the hope that they rule our lives benevolently.


Given that the 4th of July is next week, we thought this would be a good time to get your opinions about this graphic.

Doesn't that just about say it all?

If you agree, why do we keep electing the same people who continue to misrepresent us? And what can we do about it?

If you disagree, please tell us why.

Please send your comments via email to


Not Your Average Brownies

We had only two rules for these: Chocolate, yes! Mixes, no!

Please let us know how you like 'em!


Okay, so this one is your average brownie. We thought we should have one recipe for less adventurous readers, too.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder


3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan.

In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.

To Make Frosting: Combine 3 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 cup confectioners' sugar. Frost brownies while they are still warm.

Serves: 16

Zucchini Brownies

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup margarine
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched. To make the frosting, melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa and margarine; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the confectioners' sugar, milk, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.

Serves: 24

Chunky Cheesecake Brownies

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch square baking pan.

Combine cream cheese with 1/4 cup sugar and 1 egg in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Stir 1 cup chocolate chips into the cream cheese mixture. Set aside.

Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat off, and set a heatproof mixing bowl over the water. In the mixing bowl, combine butter with the remaining cup of chocolate chips; stir until just melted and blended together. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 2 eggs, then sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into chocolate until evenly blended.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking pan. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the chocolate layer. Top with remaining chocolate mixture (this doesn't need to completely cover the cream cheese layer). Using a knife, swirl the top chocolate layer into the cream cheese to make a marble pattern.

Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until top is crinkled and edges pull away from sides of the pan. Cool thoroughly. Cut into 12 to 16 squares. Store in the refrigerator or freeze.

Serves: 16

Pumpkin Brownies

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x8 inch baking pan. Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
In another bowl, stir together the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla extract; beat in the eggs one at a time with a spoon. Gradually add the flour mixture, and stir the batter until it's evenly moistened. Divide the batter in half in two separate bowls.
Into one bowl of batter, blend the cocoa powder and chocolate chips. In the second bowl of batter, stir in the pumpkin puree, walnuts, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
Spread 1/2 of the chocolate batter into the bottom of the prepared baking pan, and follow with 1/2 of the pumpkin batter. Repeat the layers, ending with a pumpkin layer, and drag a kitchen knife or small spatula gently through the layers in a swirling motion, to create a marbled appearance.
Bake in the preheated oven until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in the pan, cut into squares, and serve.

Serves: 16

Marshmallow Brownies

1 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups miniature marshmallows
2 cups milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.

Melt butterscotch chips and butter in a large bowl in microwave. Stir the mixture well and let it cool to lukewarm.

While the liquid mixture is cooling, mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and eggs into the butterscotch mixture; mix well. Fold in marshmallows and chocolate chips.

Spread batter into a lightly greased 9x13 inch pan.

Bake 25 minutes. Be careful not to overcook.

Serves: 12

Mexican Brownies

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
3 cups white sugar
6 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons ground Mexican cinnamon (canela)
1/2 teaspoon ground pequin chile pepper
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12x15-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving about 3 inches of paper overhanging 2 sides to use as handles.

Place the butter in a microwave-safe bowl, and cook on Medium until the butter is about half melted, about 1 minute. Mash the butter with sugar until well combined, and stir in eggs one at a time, incorporating each one before adding the next. Mix in vanilla extract.

Sift the cocoa, flour, cinnamon, pequin pepper, salt, and baking powder into a bowl. Sprinkle in any salt caught in the sifter. Mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture, stirring to blend well, and pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan, and use parchment paper handles to remove the brownies for slicing.

Serves: 30

Caramel Coconut Brownies

3 cups white sugar
1 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup toasted coconut
3 tablespoons caramel sauce


1/4 cup toasted coconut
2 tablespoons caramel sauce
2 tablespoons hot fudge sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Combine sugar, melted butter, and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Beat each egg into the sugar mixture individually, mixing well after each addition, until thoroughly blended.

Sift flour, cocoa powder, and salt together in a separate bowl. Gradually stir flour mixture into the egg mixture until blended into a batter. Fold chocolate chips, 3/4 cup toasted coconut, and 3 tablespoons caramel sauce into the batter; spread evenly into the prepared baking dish.

Bake in preheated oven until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Set dish onto a wire rack to cool.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup coconut over the brownies. Drizzle 2 tablespoons each of caramel sauce and fudge sauce over the coconut layer. Cut into 24 squares to serve.

Serves: 24

Amaretto Brownies

1 1/2 cups chocolate syrup
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup amaretto liqueur
3 drops almond extract

1 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 baking pan.

Mix chocolate syrup, flour, white sugar, 1/2 cup butter, eggs, vanilla extract, and salt together in a bowl until smooth; spread into prepared baking pan.

Bake in the preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges have started to pull away from the sides of the pan, 30 to 45 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Beat confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup butter, amaretto liqueur, and almond extract in a bowl until smooth; spread over cooled brownies.

Stir chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons butter together in a saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool slightly and drizzle over frosted brownies.

Serves: 24

Cappuccino Brownies

2 pounds milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup instant coffee granules
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
8 eggs
3 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour four 8x8-inch baking pans.

Place the chocolate chips and the coffee granules in a double boiler over simmering water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs two at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon, and salt, then mix in the melted chocolate. Mix in flour until just blended. Divide the batter equally into the prepared pans, and spread smooth.

Bake for 35 minutes in preheated oven, or until the edges pull from the sides of the pans. Cool on a wire rack. Cover, and refrigerate for 8 hours. Cut the cold brownies into 2" x 2" squares to serve.

Serves: 64

Turtle Brownies

2 cups chopped pecans
2 cups white sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
4 eggs
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
24 individually wrapped caramels,
42 pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.

Mix the sugar, butter, eggs, and cocoa until just blended. Slowly add flour and one teaspoon of the vanilla. Mix until just blended. Spread batter in pan and top with chopped pecans.

Bake about 25 minutes. Let cool on wire rack.

In saucepan over low heat, melt caramels, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in remaining vanilla. Drizzle over brownies in parallel rows and press pecan halves into the caramel in neat rows. Let set for at least 10 minutes.

Serves: 12

Bacon Brownies

1/4 pound bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish.

Fry bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until nearly crisp, about 5 minutes. Add honey and stir until the foaming subsides. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate to cool.

Mix melted butter, brown sugar, white sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl; mix in eggs.

Sift flour, cocoa powder, and salt together in a bowl; add to the egg mixture. Fold bacon and chocolate chips into the mixture; pour into the prepared baking dish.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Allow brownies to cool for 20 minutes before cutting into squares.

Serves: 12

Raspberry Brownies

1 cup butter or margarine
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate,
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup seedless red raspberry preserves

Butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Melt butter and chocolate in a large, heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl. Add to chocolate mixture and whisk to blend. Stir in nuts.

Pour two cups batter into pan. Freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread preserves over brownie batter in pan. Spoon remaining batter over. Let stand 20 minutes at room temperature to thaw bottom layer.

Bake brownies until tester inserted into center comes out clean, or about 35 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool. Cut brownies into squares. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

Serves: 24


This month, it's all graphics. Some of it's not funny, just really amazing to see.

Bryan Berg is a professional "card stacker" who builds houses of cards on a very large scale.

Trained as an architect, Bryan is the only known person to make a living building structures with freestanding playing cards. He uses no tape, glue, or tricks, and his method has been tested to support 660 lbs. per square foot.

Berg has stacked cards for corporate special events, public relations campaigns, and science and children's museums in many U.S. cities, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Berg's clients have included Walt Disney World, a Lexus commercial, Procter & Gamble, American major league baseball and hockey, and the San Francisco Opera among others. He also participated in a music video by The Bravery, playing a lonely man who builds a fantasy world out of cards.

In 2004, Guinness created a record category for World's Largest House of Freestanding Playing Cards to recognize a project Berg built for Walt Disney World, a replica of Cinderella's Castle. In 2010, the record was bested by him using 4051 sets of cards, over 218,000 cards, to build a replica of the Venetian Macao in 44 days.

See more of Bryan Berg's creations next month


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