Living in the backwoods, I am seldom exposed to the unsavory segment of the population; no robberies, drugs, identity thefts, etc. But this week, I was hit by a scammer through an ad I’d put on the Duluth Craigslist (a very effective internet free shopper). I put an ad for this buck and another on the Craigslist and received a response from a “woman” who wanted to buy him, sight unseen. She even offered to pay $20 extra to hold him for her until she could get here to pick him up. (I’ve done that.) So I e-mailed her that that would be fine. The next night I had another e-mail from “her.” Her associate had mistakenly sent me a money order for another item she’d bought for a much larger sum. Would I please cash it and send her a Western Union wire for the balance?


I e-mailed her back that I would return her money order but that it was 30 miles to a Western Union. (And besides it sounded WAY FISHY to me!)

I got another e-mail, detailing closer Western Union merchants and saying that she had a family emergency and needed the money soon.


I e-mailed her back and repeated that I would send back her money order the same day I got it but that the Craigslist had a warning on it to beware of scammers wanting money transferred by Western Union; the money order or cashier’s check was bogus and you were left hanging for the money you wired…often hundreds of dollars.

I never heard from her again, AND after a week, I still haven’t gotten a money order. I can get mail from anywhere in the country in that time. I will never see the money order she sent, as she never sent one. She was waiting to see if the fish would bite the hook first, BEFORE she sent the bogus money order.

So this is just a warning to all you homesteaders out there. There are crooks everywhere…some as close as your computer! But this fish is still swimming. And I’ve still got a real nice Boer/Nubian buck for sale…

Readers’ Questions:

Cedar apple scab

Is there any way to control cedar apple scab?

Helen Tarter
Otisco, Indiana

Cedar apple rust is spread from galls on red cedar trees within a couple of miles from your fruit trees. These galls are pretty orange, rough balls that, when wet by spring rains, cause spores to release and follow the wind to your apple trees. The best control is to plant resistant varieties, such as Freedom, Haralson, and Liberty. But to protect your existing trees, spray them with a fungicide, myclobutanil (Nova or Rally) or fenarimol (Rubigan) periodically, starting when the flower buds show pink and at 14-day intervals to a maximum of three sprays, or until cool wet weather (spring or early summer) is past. This will protect the emerging leaves and developing fruits. Sulfur is also known to help this disease and appeals to folks who want to use less chemical controls. — Jackie

Yates Cider Mill

Not a question just a comment. I knew you grew up in Michigan, and so did I. I was delighted to read that you used to go to Yates Cider Mill – I grew up only a few miles from there in Utica and your comment brought back wonderful memories of cold fresh cider and warm donuts… YUMMM!

Thanks for the column, I love reading it, and this week’s was wonderful for the memories!

And, here in Northern New Mexico, the rain all night turned this morning to snow. Can’t wait to try the carrots after the cold!

Natalie Dimitruck
Los Alamos, New Mexico

Strange world, huh? We lived near Gladstone, New Mexico for several years (about 27 miles east of Springer). Wasn’t Yates Cider Mill a great place, though! — Jackie

Pantry video

Thank you so much for your wonderful information and sharing your family with us! Just wondering if you have a little extra time would you consider doing a video about your pantry? What it looks like and how you use your homecanned foods in your recipes? I’ve tried several of the recipes from the BHM cookbook and have gotten many thumbs up.

S. Sherman
Trevett, Maine

I’m glad you have had such success with the BHM recipes. I’ll try to do a video for you and other readers, but right now time is SO hard to come by as we are getting ready for Minnesota winter, as well as trying to help Mom get home from the rehab facility. — Jackie

Collecting rainwater

I have a small cabin in Utah, totally off the grid, solar power, propane fridge and stove, 1500 gal water tank. My question is regarding collecting water from the roof, which is asphalt shingles. I bring all of my drinking/cooking water up there. Will the roof water be safe for day to day water — dishes, showers, etc.? Is there a filtration method that would make it so?

Brent Toft
Henderson, Nevada

Yes, pretty much so. For showers, yes. But to be absolutely safe, boil your dish water first, before you cool it to wash the dishes. After all, birds do unappetizing things on your roof… In the old days, folks had cisterns, often in the basement, which caught rain runoff from the house roof and it was used for everything but drinking: cooking, coffee, washing, bathing. But, like I said, it’s best to be a little more cautious, given what we know about bacteria today. I wouldn’t be afraid to bathe or shower in catchment water, but I wouldn’t want to use it to rinse off my salad vegetables, dishes, or other uses that I might end up ingesting. Of course you can use a filter, such as the big Berkey, to filter your water, which would make it pure, even for drinking. But the filter cartridges for these filters are pricey, so I wouldn’t use one for shower water. — Jackie

Dehydrating food

First of all we have your new book and love it. Every time we get the new issue of BHM we go straight to Ask Jackie first. We live inside the boundries of the Uwharrie National Forest near Asheboro North Carolina. We have a big garden and put up quite a bit of produce each year, now that we have your book we’re starting to put up much more (using pint jars, love it)

My question is: In your opinion what is the best book on Dehydrating Food? We’re really starting to get into drying and have a big 9-tray dehydrator

Keep up the good work Jackie, God broke the mold when he made you

Leon Hale
Asheboro, North Carolina

I like Mary Bell’s Complete Dehydrator Cookbook and the Excalibur Preserve It Naturally. These both will help you get a good start on dehydrating a wide variety of foods. I really love dehydrating foods as the flavor and appearance stays nice, AND the food takes up so little space on the pantry shelves. I’m doing chopped onions right now from my huge onion crop. They are so nice this year!

Yeah. God broke the mold; he went “Oh my gosh, how did THAT happen???” Ha ha. — Jackie


  1. Jackie,

    Thanks for the reminder on the scam. Craigslist and Ebay, unfortunately have been rife with scams for quite a few years now. It is definitely a seller-beware situation.

    As far as rainwater from the roof goes, I believe there are some pretty food natural filtration systems, using charcoal, that would remove most polluants. I’d also suggest, although it isn’t natural or “green” to consider clorinating the water to use it for drinking. Mother Earth News is a pretty good resource for water harvesting information as well as back issues of Backwoodshome.

  2. Yes, after having had our debit card info stolen and cell phones bought in SOUTH AMERICA and then not having access to that money for a month, I keep a sharp eye out on our bank accounts-technology is grand when it works but not so when people take advantage of it!
    keep up the GREAT WORK, Jackie! Totally enjoy your knowledge and have all the books you have written, just a fountain of information!
    Like you, I just got the last batch of tomatoes into the food dryer after a hospital stay last month, bout of flu this past week, and now 2 solid days of rain-whew, glad winter is here and i can rest! May you get your winter chores done soon and know some rest-speedy recovery for your Mom!

  3. Good on you for catching the red flags. It is unfortunate that so many people don’t, and get scammed.

    That is one mighty pretty buck! Makes me wish I could have goats, but still stuck in the city-for a few years longer-and the city bylaw people just won’t let me have goats. *sigh* Don’t see why not, they’re quieter than dogs, can keep the grass cut, and their poo is compostable. Really, what’s the problem?

  4. HI Jackie,

    On the scamming thing. Beware too the folks who comb internet ads on blogs or in classifieds who use an agent to speak for them — it’s a digital service where someone who is supposedly deaf types in questions and an agent uses voice to ask questions to a phone number listed. I had this with the sale of my German Shepherds (offering more than I was asking) and I’ve even had it as an customer service phone agent for a large company and dotcom orders. They are everywhere, the scammers. :-(

    Best, Christine

  5. Jackie,

    that is a mighty handsome buck! I have had several people who I do not know send my mom money orders and she asked me about them and I did turn them over to the police. Long story short my mom who is on disability almost cashed them as it was the end of the month and she needed food. I went shopping and got her what she needed and we saved her alot of heartaches. Turns out the money orders were bogus and I was glad that I am close to my mom and she gets her mail sent to my house. There is a quote from the bible “the rich will steal from the poor” I am finding this to be very true in todays society. It is a blight but I am doing the best I can to protect my mom from these things as she really has no idea what is going on. She is suffering from dementia and as it progresses it gets worse.

    On a good note we (mom and I) canned pears apples strawberries, blueberries and tomato sauce this year. Got so much out of my garden that we had to buy 3 new shelves for the spare room to put all the stuff!

    will get your canning book next pay as I have heard nothing but good about it.

  6. I work at an office where we cash money orders. You would not believe the amount of scams where the offer is to send you a money order. You keep half and send me back half. They need it in a hurry so please send the money the day you get it, after you cash it. You deposit it into your bank account and then the bank comes back several days later (after it is too late) and tags you for a fraudulent money order. But of course the scammer only sends very good copies. You can’t tell the difference. Now you have sent the money off to the scammer and you owe the whole amount back to your bank plus any return check fees. If you don’t have much money in the account, and you think you will go buy something nice with your wind fall, guess what, you will now overdraw. Now the real trouble begins because you may now have several hot checks out………and it goes on and on. I’ve seen people crying over the mess.

    We even had a customer that had money orders (4 of them) express mailed to her. When she brought them in she said she had never heard of these people and there was nothing else inside. We figured they wanted to get routing numbers that are printed on the back of the check or when you endorse the check or money order, you may even write your account number on the back of them. Our advise was to send them to Inspectors. She walked out with them and we never heard what she did with that several thousand dollars of “worthless” money orders.

    Did you know that the Postal Service recently changed their money orders to different look and format because of the amount of fraud people try to commit with these kind of help me, I’ll help you schemes. Deposit these into your account and send me the money back quick. However, real Postal Money Orders are the safest you can buy. They never expire and you can cash them at any Post Office or Banking facility. But watch out when you get them from someone you don’t know. Make sure that when you hold them up to the light, you see the water marks imbedded in the money order just like you do with a real dollar bill.

    As Jackie said, beware. There’s not many strangers that want to give you something for free or give you a “share of profit” without something in it for you. Almost every time, you can take it to the bank that it is a rip off that will come back to haunt.

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