issue 100 – letters – self-reliance – preparedness – homestead

Letters To The Editor

From Issue #100

Add ground flax seed for its added Omega 3s

We hope Dave is doing well and will soon be good as new. I am not a nutritionist either but we have been eating the healthy way you are now for many years.

I would suggest adding ground flax seed to muffins, breads, cereal, and smoothies for it’s added Omega 3 fatty acids. Keep ground flax in freezer and preferably grind your own so it is fresh, as it will get rancid at room temperature.

You mentioned your desire to make bread using more wheat flour. May I suggest “The Tassajara Bread Book,” by Edward Espe Brown.

When I first started to make all of our bread I purchased this book—that was 1979 and I’ve never looked back. Next was a purchase of a grain mill so I could buy and grind my own fresh wheat.

If you follow the Tassajara yeasted bread recipe for your first loaves, you will use all whole wheat and I have never in all these years had a failure.

On a monthly basis I made the wheat bread, the rye-oatmeal, a great bread, oatmeal bread and cinnamon raisin bread.

All are simple and delicious. You might check your library for a copy. The book has been revised several times.

Good luck and good healthy eating.

We could not get along without the family of Backwoods Home. Thanks to all of you for a great magazine.

Darlene Perry
Boise, Idaho

Good advice. — Dave

Stoned prison inmates

Much enjoyed your editorial on stoned inmates (last issue). Hence, I thought I would take a few minutes to share some observations and personal experiences along these lines.

I worked at Oregon State Penitentiary for 3½ years, early to mid 1970’s, as a guard. I should add, before I knew better. Stoned inmates were the norm. (Better stated, stoned inmates were big business.) No one wanted to deal with drunk or hyped inmates because the results were always the same—blood and pain. No guard ever had to fight a stoned inmate.

Every afternoon if you were in guard tower 5, 6, 7 or 8, you could watch a blue haze rise from the recreation yard. You literally could get high, assuming you weren’t already. Often the only discernible distinction between staff and inmates was twofold—color of uniform and who got to sleep at home.

Always the question, how did all this pot and money get into the pen? Occasionally an inmate or guard was busted, but such was for show results of the snitch-system, or for some “political” reason. Very minor in relation to the volume consumed. Literally ounces per day were smoked. I think it safe to say the many upper personnel along with a select group of hand-picked lower personnel were certainly living beyond their “stated” income, a la “Shawshank Redemption,” “Bru-baker,” etc.

Ultimately the investigation into the corruption at OSP led to the murder (more appropriately, assassination) of the Head of Corrections, Michael Franke.

Business goes on…

Gabriel Saint Germain
Wolf Creek, Oregon

NAIS article

Re: NAIS, I had to read the article twice to make sure I had read what I was reading. I grew up in Hitler’s Germany and I remember a man coming to our home when I was about 10 or 11 years old to count our chickens, rabbits, pig and goat. And I remember I that my parents had to get a permit to kill our pig. I don’t remember about the chicken.

Do we want to return to that kind of control? I think not.

You politicians and paper pushers get real. This is America, the land of the free…

Ms. Hanni Goochee
Gowanda, New York

The NAIS says we should ID our animals. But who is the beneficiary of this program? Not the rural farmer. By having all his animals ID’d and premises registered, the cost could force him to relinquish his animals. Yet the big producers have one tag for all their animals and they are more closely connected to the food chain for the general public. When their animals are slaughtered and a problem occurs, how can they point to a certain cow or two or it may be a fault in processing (ex: The problem of animal parts in the feed doesn’t seem to be addressed, as well. (Germany and Japan test each animal before slaughtering)

Now, the others impacted are those of the religious order that deems they raise their own food and do not mark animals. Are they to give up their animals or go against their religious beliefs?

Our forefathers never imagined that the land and animals would be subject to surveillance. Does this mean we could be surveilled because we own cars, TV’s, or any other personal property, which these animals are? According to the Constitution, we should be secure in our property.

With the process of privatization, would our private information be sold? As we are dealing with a similar problem and ID theft, now.

So who are the beneficiaries of this un-constitutional assault on the rural farmers? It appears the only beneficiaries would be the NIAA and those who manufacture the tagging equipment.

We should resist signing. Ask for written information stating by what authority they are implementing this procedure. This does not protect us nor secure a safe food supply. If you feel your rights are threatened, there are groups that may provide representation without cash, one being the American Bar Association quide to legal services, and there are others.

Ms. Mary A. Novak
Yamhill, Oregon

Please cancel my subscription. I paid for a multi-year subscription only a couple of issues ago and already I’ve had enough.

Sorry to see Backwoods, once so full of useful advice and encouragement from reasonable rural folks, filled now with so much anti-government paranoia and survivalist fantasies.

So, I don’t want your magazine showing up at my place anymore. We got small children and animals. (Both with more good sense than your Mr. Silveira.) Guy writes an article demonstrating how big agri-business has managed to convince a bought-and-paid-for congress taxpayer, and he sees this as evidence of government conspiracy! Apparently he doesn’t even read what he writes. Don’t rightly know why I should.

Edgar Williams
Hellertown, Pennsylvania

Moved to Thermopolis

We’re resubscribing. We just recently relocated from Denver suburbia to one of the small towns that Backwoods Home Magazine highlighted, Thermopolis, Wyoming. We’ve been reading and enjoying your magazine for years, in fact I use a Dave Duffy quote as my email signature.

We were inspired to move out into the country and live off the grid. It didn’t work out quite the way we planned. We fell in love with a building on Broadway and now we’re living in it, restoring it and running a junk shop in it.

I’m glad you offer back issues because in the process of our move our subscription lapsed and I was really bummed that I might miss a couple chapters of Jackie’s story.

Robin & Warren Kruse
Thermopolis, Wyoming

Article seemed hostile to law enforcement officers

Greetings from Kansas. Let me put things in perspective without saying the name of the agency I work for. I am a police officer that patrols the highways of the great state of Kansas, and I am commonly referred to as “Smokey Bear.” With that said, I need to give you my take on the review, Busted, The Citizens Guide to Police Encounters, by Claire Wolfe published in your May/June 2006 issue.

The article seemed very hostile towards law enforcement officers in general. While there are some over zealous police officers out there on a power-trip, I can assure you that not all of us are. In fact, I would venture to say the overwhelming majority of us are not. Just like any occupation, there are bad apples that certainly should be weeded out.

The first item I would like to comment on is paragraph 5 regarding the Sudafed, lye, and coffee filters. All of these items are precursors to the manufacture of methamphetamines. Seeing these items all together is very suspicious, but seeing them by themselves is not. The tone of the article suggests that a police officer should not investigate seeing these items together. In the author’s opinion, what would it take for you to agree on the officer to investigate; maybe a burning Coleman stove would be the measuring guideline for you? Believe me when I say there are many active meth-labs in cars driving down the highways every day. These are the cars that are eventually seen on the side of the road burning up.

The second item I would like to address is the motive behind the movie itself, who narrated it, and what their background consists of. The articles advises the narrator is Ira Glasser, a retired ACLU director. Being retired from serving the ACLU sets off all kinds of bells and whistles in my mind. This is the same organization that: Doesn’t want your children to take a Christmas Break from school, doesn’t want “under God” in the pledge of allegiance, refuses to defend anyone that has had their second amendment rights violated, that harasses the Minute Men on the southwestern border as they report illegal alien crossings to the Border Patrol, etc, etc. These are the people that I believe are destroying our national identity as our founding fathers intended.

The third item I would like to visit is paragraph 4 regarding carrying a firearm. Not all police officers are against citizens carrying a firearm. In fact, my state recently passed the concealed carry law and I fully support it. Police officers are pretty much split on this issue just as the civilian public is. Having a firearm certainly isn’t going to be grounds for harassment from me or any of the officers I work with. If all cops were against it, Officer Ayoob probably wouldn’t write informative firearms articles for the public to read.

In closing, I would like to say you guys have an excellent magazine. There is a plethora of useful every-day information in addition to the hard-core survivalist preparation type articles. I like them all. What I don’t like is for the law enforcement community to be generalized into one category. To say that all cops are out to get you would be about as incorrect as saying everyone that lives in a trailer is a meth-head. Neither statement is true. There are many like minded law enforcement officers out there that are simply afraid to voice their opinions because they don’t want to lose their jobs. Please keep that in mind.

C. Eric Rust
Marion County, Kansas

The review was not intended to be hostile to police officers in general, and I apologize for any such implication.

However, I am definitely hostile to the many Supreme Court decisions that are destroying our Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. And I believe citizens need every tool at their disposal to protect themselves against all violations of the Bill of Rights

I didn’t state or imply that a police officer should not investigate a vehicle that appears to be a rolling meth lab. I stated that I personally knew of at least one police officer so zealous that he thinks the mere presence of an empty coffee can in a vehicle gives him cause to search without a warrant. I don’t know how typical that officer is. But I do know he’s exactly the sort of person we need to protect ourselves against.

As to the fact that the film is narrated by a retired head of the ACLU: As a gun-rights activist and advocate of limited government, I’m not fond of the ACLU. I think the organization does some good and considerable harm. But “Busted” is dedicated solely to helping citizens understand and exercise their right during police encounters—encounters during which most people are frightened, at a disadvantage, and need all the help they can get. To condemn such a useful film because it has a tangential connection to a left-wing organization seems short-sighted.

If we are to remain (or regain our status as) a free nation, every citizen should be proud to know, and protect, the Fourth Amendment and the rest of the Bill of Rights. and “Busted” is an excellent, practical tool for that.
— Claire Wolfe

If you don’t like it here…

I whole heartily agree with John Silveira’s article in “The last word” (May/June 2006 edition). I have been saying for years if you think it’s better somewhere else why the heck are you still living here? There are plenty of countries that have many different political ideas and practices. Do some home work, find one you like and move: Stop trying to change America into something it was never intended to be. There is only one America and it economically stands above most any other country in the world because of the Bill of Rights freedom we have. I never understood why other countries try to pull America down to their level. The only two reasons I could think of is: #1, the other countries think they have the best political policies and America’s success proves them wrong. They can’t stand that; and #2, because misery loves company.

Mitch Keiper
Chandler, Arizona

You may be surprised by this but I do appreciate your opinion.

Growing up in a military family you can imagine that I too loved my country. But along with the reality of raising 2 children alone because of a drug filled, dead beat husband, and living in a society that doesn’t value women enough to give them a fair salary or medical care, I left the United States of America.

I left for Canada that tries harder to respect the individual and yes I pay more taxes but at least I have services. And I’m sorry if this upsets people but I’d rather be treated with respect for the huge job of raising my children alone. (Go figure my son today is in the Army, in the US 82nd AIRBOURNE.)

I also agree about your freedoms, but you see I am also free not to live in poverty, even though I have a job. Free to speak my mind without the dirty looks and onslaught of hateful comments.

I love being in a country that treats its aging and children with respect. And I find it truly fascinating that when I left in the early 1990’s with the Gulf War raging, I didn’t feel comfortable talking about my reasons for leaving. My family would not say it, but felt I had betrayed the patriotism I had grown up with. Today though, my mother after years of the military way, at 73 is just getting help with coverage for her medications. And plenty of Americans ask me how they can do the same. Leave.

I know the home that I once had and the country I grew up loving is hurting right now but your advice is harsh and seems quite (maybe not intended) military.

Lest we not forget only our ancestors fought so hard for us, simply to have a better life.

No easier, nor less complicated but better and to be treated with respect.

Joyce White
Coburn Gore, Maine

Fighting new regulations with the Constitution

I’ve been thinking about donating an article to you about the small town politics going on up here in Maine in reference to the fight against the Land Use ordinance proposals. We have successfully defeated this overbearing private property bunch of regulations for the past two years at the Town Meeting and supposedly it is a dead issue for a while. It has been quite a battle, especially with me on the Planning Board and the only one on the board that is against it.

I have used the copy of the Constitution of the United States that I received from you some time back continuously to try to show people that this Control Effort violates a few of the amendments of the Constitution and so far we’ve held back the tide. I wonder how many other communities are going through the same thing?

Anyway, thanks for the good mag and articles and information. Keep up the good work.

Tom Carone
Sangerville, Maine

Magazines for Marines

I am a Marine here in Iraq who has always read Backwoods Home Magazine. You cannot buy the magazine out here and I was hoping you would be kind enough to send some current or back issues to me and my troops to read and enjoy. I am interested in all the articles, especially the ones about farming. My address is LCPL Kroker, 9th ESB(-)FWD, Unit 38536, FPO AP 96604-8536. Any issues you could send would be appreciated by me and my fellow Marines. Take care.

LCPL Kroker
kroker08 at

They’re on their way. — Dave

I am the US Marine that requested the Backwoods Home mags to be sent here to Iraq. Well I received them, very quickly I might add, and it was much appreciated. I received an entire box from you which was great. I am about halfway through reading them all, and always put one into my flack jacket to read when I have a chance. Backwoods Home is a great publication and I am interested in the farming and landscaping articles. Take care, and thank you very much for the support.

LCPL Kroker

They got there quick. — Dave

No more 10-ply tires

Love the publication with one slight nitpicking complaint-would like to see the articles dated in heading. Example: recently read Jackie submission—it said if you are out in the sticks driving over rocks with 4 WD vehicle get 10-ply tires—not 11-ply rating! Shopped today for 10-ply for my Tundra—these people don’t even remember the days of 10-ply tires—they laugh, these tires in the 265-70.R16 size are not available today. Jackie was right—way back when she wrote the article. Some articles are not date sensitive. This one was.

Patrick Regan
Albuquerque, New Mexico

American patriot rifles

The late radio host, author, legal researcher, and American Patriot, William Cooper, suggested that all American patriots need two types of rifles: A powerful long range, bolt action rifle capable of taking out an enemy at 500+yards; and a high-capacity, short-range rifle.

I would like to take the liberty of suggesting that Massad Ayoob address this concern in an article focusing upon something in .308, .300 Win Mag, or .338 Lapua Super Magnum for long range… Please write of some short-range choices such as the AR-15, AR-10, M-14, or the venerable M1 Garand.

PS. As a subscriber to your magazine for a number of years, you NEVER publish my letters. I feel like a step child. I realize that some of my suggestions seem radical. However, serious problems require “radical” solutions and I think it’s time that you guys step up to the plate and realize that.

Ronald Szczepanski
Justin, Texas

Massad has written about both types of rifles. Per his advice, I own a Springfield .308 (SOCOM-16), which is a short barreled M-14, and a Mini-14. I knew Bill Cooper and was very fond of him. His death at the hands of law enforcement officers was tragic. — Dave

Synthetic oil helps start generator in cold temps

After reading Jackie’s story about starting her generator in really cold temps, I would advise using synthetic oil in the generator. I am a woman living alone off the grid in the mountains, and have found this a tremendous help starting my own generator in such cold temps! Just one woman trying to help another. I subscribe to your magazine and after letting my sub lapse in effort to save a little money, I found that I really, and I mean really, missed it. Keep up the good work. (I have chosen you over Mother Earth…too yuppie anymore.)

Martha Nestorick
Laramie, Wyoming

Does anybody else get scared walking at night?

I recently ordered the whole sheebang, and what a deal! Unfortunately, every time I say, “Hey honey, guess what I learned,” my husband’s eyes roll back and he begins foaming at the mouth… “More backwoods stuff, dear?” is his reply. But, the other day I caught him reading anthology 1. Guess we are making progress. We live in the backwoods, and have been using the anthologies as a basis for home school this year. I read all the articles I could find on using acorns, and we decided to give it a try. After hitting my thumb with the hammer several times we got the acorns open. Yikes! Nobody said we might encounter worms. Totally grossed the girls out. Oh well, good learning experiment.

I was very excited to see the articles by Carla Emery as I have read her Encyclopedia of Country Living several times. I definitely have to say that country living is the way to go, but I have one question…Does anybody else get nervous taking the dog out at night with all the wood’s noises (translated, the big bad wild animals waiting to eat my puppy)? We have seen deer, moose, coyote, bear, turkeys, and all the little creatures, like the porcupine that sits in our yard every night! Are these animals truly more afraid of me that I am of them? Is that even possible?

Thanks for a wonderful magazine.

Stephanie Lacourse
West Newfield, Maine

I do, sometimes. Mainly because I have an active imagination, and we have mountain lions and bears. My wife carries a revolver in her fanny pack when she takes her exercise walks down the logging roads near our house. It’s only prudent, not scary, to be aware there are big wild animals in the woods. — Dave

Don’t have a computer

I have (3) degrees, have taught senior high school for 33 years and community college for 23 years part-time, and my wife & I are the most self-sufficient people we know. We produce our own fruits, vegetables and meats but we don’t live off the grid and we don’t own a computer!

If you at BHM are for real advocating backwoods living, who has a computer in the backwoods? You sent me a CD-ROM of 54 articles and 33 of “Ask Jackie,” which I would like to enjoy but don’t have a computer.

I enjoy your magazine but in my 65 years, I have practiced many self-sufficient things that would top some of your articles.

Thanks for letting me vent.

John W. Hausemann
Goliad, Texas

Mystery photo

The item in the picture (mystery photo, pg. 86, Issue #99) looks like an early 19th century mechanical clothes washer. The handle appears to rock the box to agitate the clothes while the round bar helps to wring out the excess water.

Jim Melvin
jmelvin at

Benefit of a stress test

Without going into any great detail, I’d like to share that I just had occasion to undergo a stress test. This was the one involving the injection of radioisotopes along with a nice stroll on the treadmill, followed by a radiological scan. No hassle, just took a couple of hours, and the results came back “A-OK.” My diet needs attention (cholesterol issues) but I can handle that.

Keep recommending the stress test. My mind is now considerably relieved, as is my wife’s.

Dick Rinehart
Walton, Kentucky


I wanted to thank you again for such a wonder source of information that applies to so many aspects of our life. Life is an adventure and it is good to be prepared in as many ways as possible.

Sandy Housego
Whidbey Island, Washington

We have really enjoyed your magazine! We’re getting ready to put in solar power and your articles on that as well as Jackie Clay and just everyone have been wonderful & helpful.

Judd Small
Tustin, Michigan

I write to you to convey my appreciation for you having Massad Ayoob on your staff of writers! My girlfriend did a search engine with his name and it came to your magazine. I have always enjoyed his writings in other magazines and his own books as well. His style of writing and conveying his thoughts is so logical that it is a joy to read anything written by him. I am fortunate that my enjoyment of Massad’s writing has made me aware of your excellent magazine! I enjoy all the different departments and features of your magazine.

I enjoy Jackie Clay’s articles and wish to express my sympathy at the loss of her husband. I admire her grit and determination through this and her cancer ordeal. I am a cancer survivor myself (renal cell cancer). I hope this letter was written in a way that conveyed my compliments to your wonderful magazine so you will continue with your excellent staff and information for self reliant living. If I ever have the opportunity I would love to attend one of Massad’s training sessions/seminars.

Sean Gallagher
Bridgeport, West Virginia

I came across your anthologies a couple of years ago in my local library & was hooked. Since then I have read all of the anthologies, as well as all of the back issues that my library has. I even went so far as to offer the library to buy all of the books and back issues when they felt that none of the books or mags were suitable to loan out. Unfortunately they told me that when that happened the back issues and anthologies would be recycled instead of the possibility of making some money for the library. So with that in mind, I am starting to save for a whole sheebang. It may take a bit, but I’ll do it.

As I said earlier, you hooked me. I have always been interested in self-reliant living and preparedness and when I found your magazine, it was as if suddenly there everything was. Keep up the good work & don’t ever stop being “not p.c.” but continue to preach common sense, something obviously in short supply today and taking care of yourself, instead of letting”big brother” do it for you.

Dan Vary
Hannibal, Missouri

Have lived down here 20+ years. Got here, and started doing the “Johnny Appleseed” thing with dozens of fruit and nut trees. Then the “Euell Gibbons” thing, going natural with herbs, nuts, fruits, and almost anything else wild. Then turned into a “Grizzly Adams” type, sort of communing with nature and all its animals.

Had enjoyed Mother Earth News till they went “slick” several years ago.

Now, depend and rely on your publication to keep motivating me. It’s a little hard with severe arthritis, but well worth it to keep the “rats” from the “rat race” at bay.

Keep up the good fight!

Ernest Krischke
Crestview, Florida

I absolutely love Backwoods Home Magazine! I’ve learned so very much and learn even more every issue. Can you imagine that I picked up my first issue just by chance at the doctor’s office? That was the luckiest “sick spell” I’ve ever had in my life. I was so prepared for Y2K, that I was almost disappointed that at least a little of it didn’t happen. My four adult kids think I’m a little nuts because I grow and store everything I can, but I’m afraid the last laugh will be on them. I’m now teaching my grandkids the importance of self-preservation, and I think they’ll really need it some day. Again thank you all for such an interesting and informative read!

Laura Smith
Oakland, Illinois

Had let my subscription run out due to long anticipated purchase of land. Will be moving to Alton, Missouri (pop 672) within the month, and have finances in order now, at least enough to renew. Your mag & books are a very important resource for us; the info helped us both in what to look for and how to avoid pitfalls (sure hope I paid good enough attention to that part!). I’d like to go ahead and renew; will send new address as soon as it is assigned.

I figured the prices according to new rate, if this isn’t enough just drop back issues for now, please. Can’t wait to read a new one on my 20 acres of personal heaven. Thank you for years of good wholesome entertainment and lots of knowledge. Looking forward to many more years. Congrats on 100th issue!

Connie Johnson
Peoria, Illinois

I ordered the Whole Sheebang last week (May 6) and it arrived today (May 13)! I was expecting to wait 4-6 weeks to get it. Thank you for being so prompt in getting an order out, that seems rare in today’s world where you expect to wait ages to receive something. I now have plenty of reading to keep me busy. Keep up the good work!

MtnCherokee at

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