Simplifying simplicity

By Claire Wolfe Issue #117 • May/June, 2009 In the bustling 19th century, Henry David Thoreau urged us to "simplify, simplify, simplify." In the even more hectic 20th and 21st centuries, writer, philosopher, and frugalista Wendy McElroy...

Winter in the High Desert — Understanding the music

By Claire Wolfe Issue #121 • January/February, 2010 My old friends from the Pacific Northwest think I don't love them anymore, now that I've moved far away to the high desert. It's all a misunderstanding. One after another,...

Learning to love the high desert

By Claire Wolfe Issue #120 • November/December, 2009 Earlier this year, the dogs and I got taxed out of Cabin Sweet Cabin. With a little help from our friends, we packed a small trailer with our...

Hiding a gun — The rules of three

By Claire Wolfe Issue #140 • March/April, 2013 My friend Jack pulled the car into a grassy clearing. We donned rubber boots, fetched a metal detector and digging tools from the trunk, and headed off along...

Homemade bread: a metaphor for life

<!-- Homemade bread: a metaphor for life By Claire Wolfe --> By Claire Wolfe Issue #113 • September/October, 2008 My parents never actually bought Wonder Bread; I got my fix only at friends' houses. The breads that entered our little three-bedroom,...

10 traits for better living

By Claire Wolfe Issue #151 • January/February, 2015 It's a mystery why one person can be poor but still proud, independent, and reasonably content while the guy next door is merely content to slide into a...

Moving on: A small town can be a haven during a depression

By Claire Wolfe Website Exclusive • September, 2010 One day last summer, I departed Last-Chance Gulch and the high desert, a U-Haul trailer bobbing behind. I aimed for my beloved Pacific Northwest where a friend had...

Preparing for civil unrest

By Claire Wolfe Issue #118 • July/August, 2009 The most remarkable thing about civil unrest is that there hasn't been more of it. Politicians are making a hash of this country and much of the rest of...

Make your own firestarters

By Claire Wolfe Issue #129 • May/June, 2011 I bought an old house last summer and inherited lots of the former owners' stuff — some of it good and welcome, some strictly landfill-fodder. Among other things that...

Activists on both the left and the right spotlight a broken federal government

By Claire Wolfe Issue #97 • January/February, 2006 On October 28, 2005, 400 citizens of Vermont met amid the pomp of their capitol building and voted to secede from the Union. The media, to say the...

Build a Trail

<!-- Build a trail By Claire Wolfe --> By Claire Wolfe Standing near the top of the trail, looking down. The bright sunny spot in the middle distance will be the site of my future camping "pagoda;" it will...

The art of living in small spaces

<!-- The art of living in small spaces By Claire Wolfe -->By Claire Wolfe Issue #92 • March/April, 2005 Long ago, I read that to live in the country you must have the soul of a poet, the dedication...

A view of self-reliance from a more timid perspective — A woman’s opinion

By Claire Wolfe Issue #94 • July/August, 2005 My fellow Backwoods Home writer Jackie Clay is a domestic wonder woman who can do anything from can kumquats to butcher an elk. Not me. Unh uh. No way....

Turning a $10,000 House into a Home — Part 1: Salvaging the Wreck

By Claire Wolfe Issue #155 • September/October, 2015 December 2012. Welcome to my house as I first saw it. The door opens onto a dirt-floored room. It's not a garage, not a storeroom, not a laundry room,...

Kick the credit card habit and learn to stash cash

By Claire Wolfe Issue #107 • September/October, 2007 My friend Jeanie, a professional woman, whips out her credit card at every spending opportunity. Wal-Mart expedition? Credit card. A week's worth of groceries? Credit card. DVD rental?...