issue 111 – letters – self-reliance – preparedness – homestead

Letters To The Editor

From Issue #111

From Lt. Griffin in Iraq

My name is Jeremiah Griffin and I am currently stationed in Iraq and operating in a transportation battalion just outside of Baghdad. I have been a subscriber to your magazine for a little over a year. I live in Central Alabama and my wife is back home finishing a log cabin that I started before I left. Prior to learning about Backwoods Home Mag, I knew I wanted to build a home that was self sustaining. I haven’t exactly met that goal, but I do have solar panels & DC pumps for well water & will incorporate more to power various parts of the house in the future. To make a long story short, I really appreciate the wide range of materials you cover within the magazine, especially in your “My View” column. I have since changed my views on the way our government operates. Thanks to Jackie as well. I can’t wait to get home & make some soap.

I would like to submit my Aunt Jamie for your free one-year subscription. She is also deployed to Iraq with her brother (my uncle) and think that she would find many good ideas in your mag. We all live on the same place (100 acres w/my grandma’s house, Aunt Jamie & her husband & 4 kids, my mom’s place & now mine.) We are a very large family and one of those that went crazy during Y2K buying up 5 gal buckets of wheat, flour & sugar. Funny now that we look back, but the drive to sustain self support was amazing and something we were all proud of. So again, I think they could really pull some good ideas from the articles.

Know that my wife sends me every issue she gets in the mail and I continue to educate myself on “practical ideas for self-reliant living.”

Lt. Jeremiah Griffin

Battery question

I am looking to improve the run time of my battery backup system for my sump pump. I currently have an Ever-Start battery deep cycle"CA875, Reserve"205, maxX29. It is rated at 30 hours run time.

I was told normal battery life is approximately 5 years. Next year will be 5 years. The system has never used battery to date. Would I be better off with one 12v Optima battery of equal size, or two 6v golf cart batteries, and what size? From all your excellent articles on the weekend cabin system, I would think two 6v would double my run time or close and extend battery life. Do you agree?

Ray Anderson
Woodstock, Illinois

Your Ever-start battery brand is made by several different battery manufacturers including Exide, Delphi, and Johnson Controls for exclusive distribution by Wal-Mart. You indicated it was going on 5 years old, and your sump pump has never had to operate on battery power. Any battery will lose its deep-cycling capacity over time, even if it never provides any power, and will eventually dry out from the constant charging.

You should always test this pump and operate on the battery at least twice each year to verify everything works. Since you indicated the pump has never run, I must assume you do not do a test which would not only check the battery capacity, but would also lubricate the pump bearings. Some small pumps use a ceramic bearing with a stainless steel pump shaft, and these tend to seize up and require freeing by hand when not rotated for long periods.

I consider this a much lower quality battery than brands like Trojan or Decca, and I would not trust it to last over 4 years in this critical application. However, Wal-Mart sells them for $60 and provides a good warranty, so it’s cheaper to buy a new one every 4 years than to buy two expensive golf cart batteries every 6 years.

" Jeff Yago

Black widow spider

Recently, Mr. Jerry Hourigan wrote a most informative story on the female black widow spider, and the brown recluse spider. He covered all the bases on the species. However, there is one trait I would add to his research.

A survey claimed that Floyd County Indiana, has more black widows per square mile than anywhere else in the US. At 80, I’ve had my share of experiences with them. A mature female, I’ve been told, can coil, and jump straight up 36 inches. I had one such encounter that measured at least 2 and one half feet. I never doubted my grandfather after that. I can assure you, she has no fear of humans.

For those with fireplaces, bringing in the logs and laying them down by the hearth until needed can be a problem. Store the logs indoors in a screen proof holder. Visually check each log one at a time, and close the lid quickly. See if any leave the log. If so, fly swatter her now. If they’re on the screen, spray them now.

This is not paranoia. Only those that have witnessed the bite, and observed the pain of those fangs, know where I’m coming from. . .

Don’t never taunt her, she will see, and raise your bluff. My sincere thanks to Mr. Hourigan. Teach your children to know each species.

Don Middleton
New Albany, Indiana

Help for military subs

Enclosed is money for another year to your magazine and a little extra to help defray your cost for the free military subscriptions. I only wish that had happened when I was in the Navy a long time ago. I have retired and am moving to Texas so don’t have a lot extra but I can do this.

Frank Jackson
Hortonville, Wisconsin

Thanks Frank. I’m delighted to have readers help us out. It becomes a BHM family thing then. " Dave

Economic depression

I would like for you or John to address this issue of an economic depression in your next printing.

The last depression no one had any money but being a rural society, people were able to get by. Also, lawless people were not a problem except for the banks. So how long with a timeline before we would move into a depression and what are the first signs?

. . . You have confirmed to me that there is a fast growing movement to return to 1999 preparedness. I’m sure there are different reasons and would love to know the reasons. Good or bad, many people are always on the verge of a Y2K stampede.

It would be great if you could compile the 2008 concerns of your readers. We need to be aware of views and problems and thank you for the use of your magazine as a springboard for information.

My concern is crime and can you guess how bad it would be during a large emergency. Remember New Orleans? The problem is protecting what I have prepared.

. . . Thanks for giving us a voice in the wilderness.

Leonard Mitchell
Branson, Colorado

No one can tell exactly how severe a recession will get, or what type of problems it might generate, but I think this issue has some of the articles you are looking for. " Dave

How much cash should we store for recession

You and Jackie Clay say to have a well stocked pantry of food. But I have been wondering how much cash money we should have at our home also. I think other people also would like to know how much cash to have at their home. I have never read this in any of the articles in BHM. Also, do you trust the banks?

We live on a farm in a farming community. Here we are in a recession already. Our dollar buys very little. But I also think that things are going to get worse.

S. Hanratty
Elroy, Wisconsin

I would keep some cash at home, but not a lot because of the threat of inflation. Gold or silver hidden in a fireproof lock box, or some other hard assets that can be readily converted to cash (possibly guns and ammo), is a good idea, I think.

I don’t trust the banks. " Dave

Stocking up

Thanks for continuing to publish your magazine, in spite of some criticism from nay-sayers. I think us appreciative folks WAY outnumber the other ones. Nice so many folks don’t live with heads in the sand!

Also, thanks for the plastic wrapper. My copy used to arrive looking as though it got kicked all the way to Wisconsin. I often wondered who all read it before I got it. Here’s a few extra bucks to defray the costs. I doubt it’s cheap.

I was wondering what the “readership” & you folks think about preparedness"in light of the obvious recession, (if you don’t believe there is one, just check the housing market!) Are a lot of your folks stocking up similar to a secondary Y2K? (I have your book.)

I’m fairly self sufficient, growing enough of my own food & processing it (mostly canning). I also have dairy goats, chickens, etc. I try to keep about 8 months to a year ahead on food. I’m way ahead on ammo, firewood, etc., and have managed to stay out of debt. Anyways"I’m considering sticking several hundred dollars into long term storage foods, mainly freeze dried. My extended family who all live in town, think I’m nuts. What they think won’t sway me, but I really respect the opinions of you folks & other subscribers, as I believe you all “get” it. (The BIG picture.) . . .

Cheryl Olson
Bowler, Wisconsin

This special issue tells you what we think. " Dave

Planning for the inevitable

I especially enjoyed “My View” by Dave Duffy. This election year is the pits. I’ll vote but I’m not happy, especially since we have those super delegates. Doesn’t sound like our votes count much.

Norma Thorp
Arcadia, Indiana

Trusting BHM writers

Please express my thanks to Claire Wolfe & Massad Ayoob. While I have been aware of Mas Ayoob writing articles for various gun magazines for about twenty years, and Claire Wolfe only since subscribing to BHM, BHM has given me a better understanding of what they write and why.

I recently purchased two separate magazines, both of them so-called “gun magazines,” wherein much to my surprise, one included an article by Claire and the other was generally entirely written or edited by Mas.

The former was dedicated to Barrett Firearms while the latter was dedicated to handguns, especially the big-bores. I have very large hands and have held a high interest in the large bore firearms for decades, from .44/.45 and up, mostly because they are built on larger frames. Compact and sub-compact handguns are just too small to use comfortably.

BHM has taught me to trust in what these authors write. Many of their subjects I can relate to, either directly or indirectly, and I enjoy them so much. I have just sent in my subscription for another year and am preparing another order to purchase books and CDs from my latest magazine. I like how you have consolidated their individual writings into books, but also enjoy reading each magazine. Also, Claire’s writeup for the “Firefly” TV show on DVD convinced me to order it & the supplemental made-for-TV movie, and I have been very happy with adding them to my collection.

Next, Jeff Yago’s articles on compact fluorescent lights and LEDs I read with much interest. I have pretty much converted all my light bulbs to CFLs and look forward to comparable LED bulbs when they become commonly available. In the last two years I have had only one CFL burn out and one broke. They are pretty durable but I am concerned about the shorter life expectancy and hazardous waste disposal of the currently available models.

Last, but not least, in the last issue, Dorothy Ainsworth wrote about batten doors. This comes out at a time when I have been considering how to build custom doors for my front porch. My past experiences with building shed doors has been unsatisfactory, but the details she has provided will now allow me to build doors that are truly functional, if not aesthetic. She has given me the confidence to look forward to this project, in ways the home improvement TV shows do not.

And thanks for continuing to put out a wonderful and informative magazine.

Roy Sprunger
Assyria, Michigan

I’ll be voting Libertarian

Thanks for a great magazine. Been reading it now for 8 years or so and enjoy every issue. Just renewed for 3 more years today. I like your column, and I will be voting Libertarian this year. I like your word of “Demopublicans.” I know the Libertarians will not win but I also feel my vote will not be wasted by voting for the party that I believe will do the best for our country. A wasted vote is voting for the lesser of two evils because you still get evil in the end.

I live the rural life, though not off the grid. I have a small business, woodworking, and solar panels aren’t just that good yet for power tools. I live in the U.P. of Michigan out in the middle of nowhere, and take pride in my location by not even having cell phone service here yet. We don’t have to lock our doors, and we leave the keys in the ignition of our trucks. I started reading BHM when I lived near Detroit, and it has helped me relocate to the rural life 6 years ago. I don’t regret the move at all.

Jan Wesselius
Chatham, Michigan

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