issue 112 – letters – self-reliance – preparedness – homestead

Letters To The Editor

From Issue #112

Preparedness Issue

I am rarely moved to write to a magazine. I have been buying your magazine at retail for a few years now. When my bookstore stopped carrying your magazine I got off the fence and subscribed. I am glad I did. I received your Special Preparedness Issue and read it cover to cover. Usually I find several new interesting bits of information to file in my brain. This issue was chock full of information I knew but the arrangement made sense this time and stuck. Thank you for a great issue.

Sacramento, California

This issue #111 is, I think, the best you have put out! The check I’m enclosing is for 10 more issues with the balance going into the military subscription fund. Keep up the great work!

John D. Elder
Eureka, Kansas

Many readers have ordered extra copies of our Special Preparedness Issue, up to a full case of 48 magazines. If you want at least 10 more extra copies of this timeless issue, call us for special pricing—1-800-835-2418. Thanks for the extra for the military fund, which started spontaneously by readers sending in a little extra money with their order. We use the money to give subscriptions to military members who have no family sponsor to qualify for a free subscription. — Dave

Bartering guns & ammo

I would like to make two points:

First, let me commend you for the fine magazine that you publish. I really enjoy it and look forward with great anticipation to every issue. I was one of those that you picked up when Jim Benson’s ASG went south. Lucky me. Of all the magazines that are currently published, and there must be thousands, if I could only afford to subscribe to one it would be Backwoods Home Magazine. From Ayoob, Blunt, Clay and the Duffy’s through Silveira, Wolfe, and Yago, as well as Don Childers and all those in between, you have surrounded yourself with what I believe are some of the greatest minds in the nation. I’m impressed. Keep up the good work. Here’s to great success in the future for you and yours.

Second, when I started out in police work in the early sixties in what has become one of the fifth or sixth largest cities in the nation, among the many things that I learned, two things stand out in my mind. One was that all my decisions should be based on “what would a reasonable and prudent person do in this situation?” The second was that I should treat every situation as if someone would kill me if they got the chance.

Which brings me to your response to S. Hanratty on page 102 in the Letters column in Issue # 111. I realize that you are addrssing a recession problem and agree with you on the first part of your response as to hard assets that could be readily converted to cash. However, whether the situation be a recession or in an even more stressful situation such as in a survival or emergency situation exchanging guns and ammo with someone who might turn that gun against you does not seem to me to be what a “reasonable and prudent person” would do and I’m convinced that you fall into that category. Please give this some more thought and I think you will say to yourself, “What was I thinking?”

Here’s to many more years of a great publication.

Charles T. Roberts
Sun City West, Arizona

Invasive species

Re: John Silveira’s article “Invasive Species,” in the March/April 2008 issue (Issue No. 110); I take it politicians are too low a life-form to include.

Tom McGill
Cheboygan, Michigan

Refreshing opinions

Thank you for a great magazine. My wife and I both enjoy the “how-to” articles, the political views and the Irreverent Jokes. It is refreshing to see in print many of the opinions we share about our ailing political system. It seems that honest sincere people do not run for office at the national level, therefore our choices are limited to people already corrupted by the temptations of power. Keep up the good work. I look forward to reading the “Stupid People” book.

Bill Burman
Oroville, Washington

Rescued sooty bluebird from stovepipe damper

Maybe others have or might someday confront this problem:

Last spring a bird became trapped by falling down my stovepipe. Luckily my old woodburning kitchen range hadn’t been in use recently, so it was cold. But the bird was stranded atop the damper near the bottom of the pipe, thrashing its wings noisily. It was unable to go up and not inclined to go down either, not even when I left the stove lid off nearest the stovepipe opening for half an hour, and also tried repeatedly to shake the bird down toward the opening by jiggling the damper.

Naturally I didn’t want the bird to die in there. But there was no way I could reach my arm through the stove’s 2″ x 8″ stovepipe opening, and I didn’t want to go through a major bother of pulling the stovepipe apart. At my wit’s end, I got a long-handled mirror and a flashlight, wondering if it might be possible to reflect the light upward and see the bird via the mirror. At least then I might find out what size bird it was, though it was doubtful this would help.

Well, the flashlight wasn’t even switched on yet; I had just poked the mirror into the stovepipe below the bird, when —whoops!—instantly it was on the mirror. Evidently it thought the reflected daylight was a hole to get out through. I missed on the first grab, but poked the mirror in again and succeeded in a quick capture the second time. Soon there was a very black, sooty bluebird scolding me from high up on a tree branch outside. The bird seemed none the worse for wear, unless you count its ruffled, blackened feathers and injured dignity.

Dorothy Ford
Cotopaxi, Colorado

Keep opinions coming

I’m in the mood to air out on a topic that hasn’t come up real recently. There are few things I find more “pet peevish” than folks who write to magazines and say something like, “I’ve loved your magazine for x-teen years, so how dare you print that article/letter/opinion etc. etc.? Now cancel my subscription immediately!”

If John Adams really did say, “Do not be afraid to think, speak, read and write,” if he’d had a crystal ball into the 20th/21st century, he might well have added, “And don’t be afraid to give the other fellow’s opinions some respect and consideration.”

I don’t always agree with everything one or another of you guys say, but, man! do I ever love seeing it in print! And to live where we are able to print, or read opposing (or even unpopular) opinions in print.

All I’m saying is, don’t quit doing what you’re doing and I don’t intend to quit subscribing.

Kate Patrick
La Grande, Oregon

Purchased homestead

Please renew my subscription for another 3 yrs. With the help of Backwoods Home Magazine we have purchased 57 acres in Central Kentucky and will be building our dream homestead debt free in the very near future. Thank you so much for the valuable resources.

Dennis and Stephanie Johnson
Haines City, Florida

Need to update address changes for military subs

My grandson is on his third tour of duty in Iraq. Two with the Navy and this present one on loan to the Army for a year. Imagine, a petty officer in the Army.

We aren’t allowed to know where he is. So, we just pray for him daily.

I’ve been a subscriber for a lot of years and really appreciate your offer of a free subscription for him.

Gene Wilson
Henry, South Dakota

We’re pleased that so many members of the military have taken part in our offer of a free subscription to military family members of current subscribers. But we are running into a database problem due to the military members moving from station to station, without notifying of us of their address change. The post office not only sends the magazine back to us, but charges us an additional half dollar return fee. Then we still have no forwarding address to send the next issue. So someone, either the military person or the subscriber who requested the complimentary military subscription, needs to keep us informed about the service member’s address changes. — Dave

Irreverent Jokes

I’m a new reader of your magazine and I must say I have enjoyed every page. I taught High School Shop for 35 years and have been retired for 5. When I read “School 1958 vs. School 2008” (Irreverent Jokes, Issue 111, page 81), it brought back a lot of memories like requiring my auto students to have a pocket knife with them at all times, as I would not allow them to borrow mine. Wednesday was knife check day, for sharpness! Two demerits for a dull knife. We made hunting knives out of old files and fillet knives out of power hack saw blades that were dull. You would go to jail now. You wonder what the long term effect will be on young people having to grow up this way. You can’t do this or you can’t do that—the fear we load on the kids.

Jack Haugen
St. Cloud, Minnesota

Another good use for old wringer washer machine

I have just received my first ever but by no means my last of Backwoods Home—the article by Dorothy Ainsworth in May/June 2008 (Issue #111) prompted me to write. Do you know what else an old wringer type washer is good for? Cut the legs off at the tub and remove the wringers. Dig a hole deep enough to sit the washer in (right side up) then fill it with straw. Now you have a good root cellar—after replacing the lid cover it with dirt. Stuff straw in the hole around the machine—also a good place to hide your valuables. Be sure to mark the place, or you might lose it.

Maxine McClure
Fredericktown, Missouri

Thanks for the ideas about self-sufficiency

Hello. I just wanted to thank you all for your magazine. I first picked it up at a bookstore in January of this year, not knowing what to expect. Wow! What an amazing magazine. Now I’m hooked. I love Jackie Clay’s articles, especially the huge one about keeping chickens. I live in semi-rural Missouri and had never put much thought into self-sufficiency, but your mag really got me thinking.

Now, 4 months since I first picked up Backwoods Home, I have a 15 x 30 garden tilled, vegetable plants sprouting up indoors, and 4 six week old Rhode Island Red chicks growing like crazy. The self-sufficiency life is so rewarding! Thank you all again for your dedication and I look forward to future issues!

Adam Allen
Pevely, Missouri

Include items for new mother in medical kit

We enjoyed your recent issue regarding economic squeeze. Being a midwife (thus the reason I’m withholding my name). I am not licensed because I don’t feel the bureaucracy behind it all should be adhered to. I’m not practicing medicine, I’m aiding mothers in a normal event! I was enthused to see the article regarding an emergency medical kit. A few things I’d like to add would be along the lines of aiding a laboring mother. There are simple & basic need kits that can be purchased at a reasonable cost from the website, Also a basic knowledge of herbs and oils to be used or avoided during pregnancy, labor & for aid after labor would be beneficial. One never knows when birth will happen & though I’m a proponent of home birth, those who might normally seek the care of a physician might be out of luck due to disaster, lack of funds, lack of transportation, or a myriad of other reasons. Learning the basics of aiding a laboring mother & assisting her in the birth of her baby may mean the difference between life or death. There is a small booklet available widely online for purchase, “Emergency Childbirth.” I believe the author’s name is White. I have it but I have about a small library of books & would be hard pressed to find it presently. Even if one does not procure a small & useful birth kit, having & reading completely this booklet would be entirely beneficial. Just wanted to add another thought towards being prepared.

I’m the mother of homebirthed children, who are also breast-fed—yet another idea to stress the importantce of. In a disaster or depression one will more than likely be hard up to find artificial baby milk.

Rogue Midwife
Northern Minnesota

Cost makes it prohibitive to digitize early issues

Question, are there any plans to digitize more issues? I am highly interested in the first 6 anthologies in digital format, as well as the magazines published after the last digital anthology.

Allan Lauclan
Lakewood, California

No plans to digitalize the earlier anthologies. The cost vs. demand makes it too expensive. — Dave

Banana cobbler

We have had a bumper crop of bananas this year and I have been trying to figure out ways to use them other than for composting and banana bread (we’re getting pretty sick of that around here). Ilene’s recipe in the current issue, (Issue No. 110) of BHM for her “apple cobbler” was a godsend. We revamped it for our own purposes and made “banana cobbler” instead. I thought others might appreciate having the recipe, especially when bananas can be purchased quite cheaply when they are pre-packaged for quick sale.

I also have included a banana butter recipe—it’s fabulous on peanut butter sandwiches. The banana butter can also make a very interesting bar-b-que sauce when combined with ketchup, smoke seasoning and a bit of worcestershire sauce!

Banana Date Cobbler

For the batter:

2 cups flour (sifted)
2 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup vegetable oil (optional—I forgot to add it in)
½ cup milk
1 generous tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. cinnamon

For the filling:

1½ cups mashed bananas
1 cup dates
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon

For the topping:

2 Tbsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift the dry ingredients for the batter together. Whisk the wet ingredients for the batter together. Slowly fold the wet and dry ingredients together until well-blended.

In a separate bowl, combine the filling ingredients. Pour ½ of the batter mixture into a greased 13 x 9 pan. Spread the filling ingredients over the batter and top with the remaining batter mixture. Sprinkle the topping over the top of the batter. Bake for 40-50 minutes (or until golden brown on top).

Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!

Banana butter

4 cups mashed bananas (about 11 fully ripe medium bananas)
½ cup fresh lemon juice
1 box or pouch of fruit pectin (I used Certo)
6 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

Bring boiling water canner, half-full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot, soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.

Mash bananas thoroughly. Measure exactly 4 cups prepared fruit in saucepot.

Stir pectin into fruit in saucepot. Add butter to reduce foaming, if desired. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly.

Stir in all sugar quickly. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.

Ladle quickly into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches; add boiling water if needed. Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 15 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. (If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)

Adecia Adams
North Fort Myers, Florida

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