issue 106 – letters – self-reliance – preparedness – homestead

Letters To The Editor

From Issue #106

An old idea for a new cream separator

I was just reading an article in another magazine about skimming cream off the top of milk. It talked about how the person made a special dipper to make it easy and cut down on the mess.

Well it got me to thinking about an old cream separator I saw as a kid in a walk-in cooler at the dairy of an old German man who lived up the road from our farm. It has been 40 years, but I have drawn what it looked like as best as I can remember. The tank would hold 10 gallons of milk, and Mr. Kiss would put the milk in and let it set a day or two so the cream would separate to the top. Then he would open the valve at the bottom of the tank and watch the glass window until the cream would get almost to the bottom of the glass and turn off the valve. Then the cream went into another container.

Well that memory got me to thinking about those one gallon Tea jars that are on the market with a valve at the bottom of the jar. Other than having to buy the jar, it looks to me like it would make a dandy cream separator.

Well I just wanted to share another one of my silly ideas with you, and to once again to say thank you to you and Backwoods Home for a great magazine.

Zeldon Linn
Umatilla, Oregon

Snowed in all winter

I have subscribed for a while. Don’t know where I found you. Sorry I cannot subscribe for more than one year! I live in the Snowy Range Mountains in Wyoming at 10,000 feet and I am a widow (68 years) and live alone. Your magazine is a necessity as I am snowed in all winter (7 mo.) and have to use a snowmobile to go 12 miles one way to get to my truck.

Martha Nestorick
Laramie, Wyoming

Damaged magazines

I’m renewing my subscription for 2 years"but with a caveat. I agree completely with Tom Griswold (Issue #103). My mags come bent and battered. Maybe a lot of BHM subscribers are rough in their handling of books and magazines and so may not care. But printed words are like gold to me (I’ve never had internet). I treasure my books & mags"and save them all. So that’s my beef. They should be in a sleeve of some sort for those who choose that… My magazines come torn and beat up "every issue! They look like I bought them at a swap meet or a thrift store for pennies on the dollar… I’m a Libertarian too and would buy your new book about “…Stupid People”. But I see it’s paperback and would probably get to me banged up as well. So, regretably, I’ll pass.

John R. O’Connell
Las Vegas, Nevada

I’m convinced! Beginning with this issue, we’ll send everyone’s magazine in a plastic wrapper. That should protect them. " Dave

Surviving cancer and moving out of suburbia

Once again, through the blessings of the Maker of All Things, I am able to renew my subscription. As some of the staff may remember, two years ago I was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer. At that time I was given 60-90 days to live. When it became apparent to my doctors that I was still capable of maintaining an active lifestyle and refused to roll over and die, I was allowed to go from hospice care to palliative care and begin a 12-month regimen of intensive chemotherapy. By August 2006, my tumor had shrunk to where I was able to attend my 40th high school reunion. On October 19, 2006, I underwent surgical removal of the tumor. I am now a 6-month cancer survivor, and although I will never be cancer-free, the general concensus is that I will be around 3-5 more years, maybe more.

With my physical health stabilized, and due to increased taxation and cost-of-living here in the state of Washington, I have begun the process of leaving suburbia and returning to the home of my heritage, Oklahoma. It will take me at least a year to amass the funds needed to make the move, and a minimum of 8 more months to find a place of my own, a dream that I have had for many years. Originally, I had envisioned 10-20 acres, but now I will be happy with 1-2+ acres. Backwoods Home has been a comforting and inspiring part of my recovery during the last 18 months, and although we have not met in the flesh, I consider the people of BHM to be family, and am proud and honored to be a part of this community. Blessed be to all…

George Duckworth
Vancouver, Washington

Delighted you’re recovering. I predict you’ll live to renew again, from an Oklahoma homestead. " Dave

Alaska, the last frontier

Enclosed please find a check for my renewal of Backwoods Home Magazine. I don’t want to miss a single issue, so I am also notifying you of my new name since I got married, plus my new address where I can get it now here at home.

Living here in Alaska your magazine offers so many helpful hints plus also the fact that we are the last frontier and still fighting off the ones who are trying to change the image of our state and make it into the likes of the lower forty-eight where we have lost so many privileges and rights. I love this state and Oregon was and is my home state where I was born on the Oregon coast, but we also know what has transpired in that state since my growing up days.

I hope you continue to print the truth of so many issues that we are now faced with in our “golden years.” Thanks for doing such a great job and hope that you continue.

Yvonne Wells
Fairbanks, Alaska

Republican suicide, Lifetime subscription

Re John Silveira’s Last Word " Republican suicide: I bought a subscription, when I had some money, far out as long as I could. I paid for the subscription using poker winnings. Same way I paid for my chickens. Two valuable tools toward my goal of relative self sufficiency.

I started playing poker in late 2003, right after Moneymaker won the WSOP main event. I do OK, mostly winning a little money in the casinos and card rooms, sometimes a lot of money. I lose sometimes too. Don’t know if I will ever play in a large tournament, but winning a hundred bucks or so is pretty thrilling to me.

I improve my game by playing online. Never for big stakes, but for money nonetheless. I don’t think it makes me a criminal, but I might be wrong. I was terribly offended when the bill passed last year. I also subscribe to some poker magazines, and I got to read all about it. Really, it’s pretty bothersome. Fortunately, I didn’t lose much money when things got bad, but still, I lost money. This bothers me a lot more than when I lose money on a bad bet.

Thanks, John Silveira, for bringing this, yet another chipping away of our freedoms, to the attention of the readers here. The more we know about what our government is doing wrong, the better chance we have to make it right.

How does one become a lifetime subscriber? Could be worth entering a tournament for.

P.S.: I also read in one of my poker magazines that Greg Raymer (“Fossilman,” winner of the 2004 WSOP main event) is talking with the Libertarian party about running for office. Don’t know if he will or not, but I hope I have the chance to see that. 23 million people (or more) learning about the Libertarian party from someone as well thought of as he would be a wonderful thing.

Raymond Hankins
Birkenfeld, Oregon

Just send us $500 worth of your poker winnings and we’ll make you a Lifetime Subscriber. We have an ad for it on page 50. " Dave

Probation officer letter

The letter from the probation officer in your last issue (no. 105) really resonated with me as I worked in probation for 8 years in the 90s. Six of those years involved supervising “clients.” But Dave’s response was also right on.

I went from being a dispatcher to a surveillance officer to a probation officer for my last 3 years there. I was going for more money and more responsibility. I was happy as a dispatcher, learned a lot by being an SO, and became miserable after I became a PO.

Mas Ayoob talked about not relying on a public defender. He’s right! I knew many and some were wonderful. Most just wanted their client to cop a plea so they could get on to the next case. I saw too many people put into the system when they should have fought it in court. I saw too many people placed on probation just so the court could collect the fees. I saw the bureaucratic mess that doesn’t allow for individual circumstances.

I went from a gung-ho PO, thinking I could make a difference, to one of the lowest points in my life in 3 years…

C. Coleman
Tucson, Arizona

Government everywhere

Recently a fellow Oregon Out Backer shared with me that Lake County, Oregon recently erected a speed limit sign at the remote southeastern corner of Oregon on the paved county road that meets a Nevada county road at Desert Junction. Even though on a clear day vision is possible for over 150 miles into Nevada. And there is so littile vehicle traffic across the southeastern corner of Oregon that it was O.K. to stop on the firm black top for a driver’s rest rather then bog a rig in the loose wind-driven sand off that road. Not anymore.

Civilization and government has reached even the most remote, desolate corner of the Oregon West.

It is apparently illegal now to operate a motor vehicle over 55 mph across the empty county desert roadways, and it is a $250 fine if caught with your rig paused at Desert Junction, while you pee on the 125° hot asphalt…

Don Baarstad
Corvallis, Oregon

Not a happy thought, is it? Government everywhere threatening to fine or imprison us if we make a wrong move. Next, it will be in our bedroom. Of course, a lot of people already think it should. " Dave


I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your magazine. I lived off the grid for quite a few years & about 7 years ago got this “brilliant” idea that I wanted to move back to the city. Well the only thing good that came out of that brief adventure was I discovered your magazine at a neighbor’s house.

We have since moved back out of the city and on our own land again. Wow that was a poor decision on my part! I thought the kids would benefit from being closer to school and friends. Well, they missed our land as much as I did.

Thank you for standing your ground and speaking your mind. You don’t let anyone push you around and that is so refreshing! I am so tired of being politically correct all the time…

Bobbi Roberts
Newaygo, Michigan

My husband and I, along with our two teenage boys, live in a fairly rural part of Iowa. We live about 70 miles SE of Des Moines, or 15 miles East of Oskaloosa.

I had to get the video camera out this fall when about 30 wild turkey invaded our clover field. Lots of times while we are eating supper there are deer that saunter through the field too. We have had lots of cardinals, blue jays, finches, etc. at the feeder this winter. Last year we had a pair of Canada geese nest and hatched out three goslings. Unfortunately only one gosling survived. We are eagerly awaiting their arrival this spring.

We all enjoy reading your magazine and it really is “the only” magazine we subscribe to. It makes for a great gift, be it birthday or Christmas, whatever the occasion. I would highly recommend gift subscriptions for those people who “have everything.” We have been subscribers for 15 years.

Ed & Mary Fowler
Rose Hill, Iowa

A back issue bargain

I found your magazine in a garage sale. I bought 5 of the issues for 50 cents. Best 50 cents I ever spent. Thanks Dave for telling IT like it is. You have me for life. I am hooked on the backwoods idea. Even if I live in the city, my heart belongs in the Backwoods!!

James Schulenberg
Winter Park, Florida

Wow! We have readers clamoring for back issues. About 5 years ago, someone offered our Issue No. 1 on eBay for $50. " Dave

Preaching to the choir

Has it ever occurred to you that you are preaching to the choir? Most of the people out there have their hand out for something for nothing from the government (spelled taxpayer) and or want the government to tell someone else how to live their lives. I would bet that your readers are already fed up with it. What’s your big plan for convincing those with their hands out to knock it off?

Dennis Liberty
Potter Valley, California

My big plan is to just keeping talking about these problems. It takes only a small percentage of the populace to wake up, become involved, and bring about political action that will lead to meaningful change. I don’t know what the critical mass is, but I would guess it’s less than 10 percent of people becoming politically active. We freedom lovers could take a lesson from environmentalists to see how they influence politics with small numbers. The majority of the free-loaders are not politically active (except for the big corporations), but merely go along for the ride. " Dave

Equine evolution

I received the latest Backwoods Home (May/June 2007) issue, and was particularly interested in John Silveira’s article, “Where our farm animals come from.” However, I was surprised and appalled to see the long-disproven eohippus theory taught in the section on horses. The eohippus theory, or horse evolution series, was an idea stating that the horse, along with its equid relatives such as zebras and asses, was descended from the tiny hyracotherium, a creature with 4 toes on each front foot and 3 toes on each back foot. This animal’s alleged ancestral relationship to horses was based on a 19th century fossil-analysis study (Marsh, 1871). Marsh arranged the fossils in a theoretical progression, with no concrete evidence. (This was a common way of studying fossils at the time.)

George Simpson disproved Marsh’s theory in 1950, and published his findings in Scientific Monthly in October of that year. Over the decades, acceptance of Simpson’s conclusion became greater all the time and in 1995, the assertion that horses descend from the hyracotherium was removed from all current textbooks and zoo displays.

The one-toed horse has been found in lower geologic layers than the hyracotherium, and in some places they are found in the same layers. Furthermore, the horse (or any equid) is not shown by fossils to have existed in the Bering Strait area prior to the 1600s, when humans brought it to the region. But most importantly: the hyracotherium has been shown to be far less closely allied to horses than to a small, endangered, four-toed carnivore alive in South America today. Scientists now believe that the hyracotherium ate meat and lived in the forest. …

Jeffery Goss Jr.
Springfield, Missouri

I never heard of George Simpson, nor was I acquainted with his theory of horse evolution until I read your letter. However, I’m having just a little trouble with your comment, “…in 1995, the assertion that horses descend from the hyracotherium was removed from all current textbooks and zoo displays.” It’s too close to deadline for me to find any textbooks (though I did discover online that the state of North Carolina apparently still has that theory in its textbooks) but the theory has most certainly not been removed from the Encylopaedia Britannica, nor from the websites of several natural history museums such as the Florida Museum of Natural History, New Mexico Museum of Natural History, and the Smithsonian. In fact, one of the sites I visited stated Simpson’s theory has been discredited.

If you want to send me material on Simpson or evidence that descent from hyracotherium has been disproven and (especially) removed from all the textbooks and zoo displays, or that it was a carnivore, I’d love to see it. " John

Keeping our heads low is not the answer

I am shocked at Andy and Debbie Joiner, Utah, Keeping our Heads low to avoid government"BHM May/June 2007. That’s just what is wrong with this country. People should write, call, e-mail senators and representatives every so often. They should be ordered to follow our Constitution and Bill of Rights as they have sworn to do. Freedom is not free. It must be guided and protected constantly as evil is always there waiting to cut it down. Which has happened. Evil people rule…

Alwilda Crouch
Breckenridge, Michigan

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