issue 121 – letters – self-reliance – preparedness – homestead

Letters To The Editor

From Issue #121

Life’s simple pleasures

I woke up this morning much like every other morning. 10 minutes before the alarm clock. Another 10 minutes of sleep robbed from me.

I stumble into the kitchen to make the morning coffee and look out the window that’s over the sink. There she is. Like every morning for the past 2 years Annabel is standing by the water trough staring at me. I have no idea why but she starts her day off the same way. She stares at me for a few minutes, moos and then walks off to the southwest corner of the pasture. That side just happens to meet up with my neighbor’s horse pasture and where my neighbor dumps her leftover hay when she refills her bails for the horses. Annabel will wait patiently for her morning leftovers and then she wanders the pasture. When I get home she meanders over to see if I have a treat for her and then she goes back to her spot next to the horses. I’m not sure if this is social hour but it is a routine for her.

I thought to myself how sad it must be to have your day so repetitive, so scheduled. I then walked to the chickens and threw them some scratch. Went into the house and started supper. The same things I do everyday. So much so it is as if I’m on autopilot.

While at the sink peeling potatoes I looked out to see Annabel playing with the goats. Kinda like a parent playing with their kids. It seems me and Annabel have more in common than I had ever thought. Our biggest difference is the size of our pasture. I run from one end of mine to the other. I have a routine similar to hers and find myself sharing the same simple pleasures of a good meal, a quiet

sunset and time with loved ones. Perhaps Annabel’s day isn’t so sad. After all what else do I need but these simple things?

My kids would tell you plenty they need. The latest Youtube video sensation, a new game for the play station or texting their friends. The list is almost endless for them just as it was when I was a child.

It took many years for me to understand that none of these things that seemed so important could replace the beauty and simplicity of the views from my porch. Watching the last of the leaves blow off the black walnut tree. Seeing the dog chasing a chicken around the side of the house, then watching the rooster chase the dog back around to the other side. The shadow of the barn slowly working its way across the field until it fades into the darkness of the night. Kids chasing fireflies and watching the same spider build its web for the 100th time this summer. All the things I used to be too young to care about and too busy to be concerned for are now some of my favorite things and most precious memories.

After spending the first half of my life rushing through it I think I’ll spend the last half sitting on my porch enjoying it.

Thanks BHM for helping me achieve my goal.

Aaron Roots and family
Warrensburg, Missouri

Scary out there

As it gets scarier out there and people get blinder to where our country is really going, it’s wonderful to have your magazine and know that I’m not alone in witnessing this madness. Thank you very much for giving me perspective and something to look forward to every other month.

Erika Edwards
Milwaukie, Oregon

Tough decision to renew

I have been out of work since last Feb. It was a tough decision to renew as I have cut back on everything I can. I am not a homesteader but it is a dream that I have. I am 50 years young but I am seeing my dream fade. I decided to renew because I can live my dream thru your magazine and the readers. I just wanted to let you know. Thanks for a great magazine.

Mark Sievert
Kansas City, Missouri

I have gotten a lot of letters from readers hit hard by the recession. Things will turn around eventually; then you can pursue your dream. George Eliot, the 19th century English novelist, said, “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.” I think that’s good advice. ­— Dave

Newsstand to subscriber

I’ve been saving $ and was picking up the magazine at Newsbreak in Swanson, Massachusetts where I work. Then I read you make no money from magazines at retail stores so I decided to subscribe. Keep up the great job. I go online for Jackie and other things of all sorts. Every issue is interesting & helpful.

Gail Miller
Rehoboth, Massachusetts

Great! Subscribers keep us in business! The newsstand makes us no money (middleman costs suck it all away) but it does find us new subscribers. — Dave

Raising a great grandson

This is the best magazine ever. I am getting these 6 books for my birthday gift to me. Reached the big 78. Am raising a great grandson. He is 12 now. We homeschool. He loves to read your magazine too. Soon we will order anthology 13 & 14, then I will be caught up with them.

Shirley Meals
Guys Mills, Pennsylvania

Making a mountain man

I first found your magazine in a bookstore in the early 90s. I then subscribed for a few years. Due to working 7 days a week, 14 to 16 hours a day, I just didn’t have time to read. I was working toward early retirement and moving to the Ozark Mountains of North Arkansas. I succeeded! My new husband—a city boy—and I came here on our honeymoon, found what we were looking for and bought it! We have just over 6 acres and a big home that needed a lot of work and lots of clearing! For the past 4 years, we have done major improvements to the house and land. We still have lots to do, but we are over the biggest hurdle, and can now enjoy the “fruits of our labor.” It hasn’t been easy, teaching a city boy how to use tools and fell trees, and make repairs to this house, but I’ve made lots of progress! Maybe someday I will send a manuscript for BHM to review on how a country girl made a mountain man out of that city boy!

Carolyn Barr
Green Forest, Arkansas

Almost trapped in a tub

As a recent subscriber to your magazine I have to tell you how refreshing it is to receive each issue of a real magazine.

A memory: the cover picture of Dave sitting on the tub brought back a memory of about 1972.

I was a young man and renovating an old Iowa farm house. I had acquired an old six foot lion claw cast iron bath tub. Really heavy. I’d stored the thing in the hog house about 150 feet from the house. I didn’t have any means to haul the tub and didn’t want to drag it across the dirt & rocks so I folded a couple of burlap feed sacks. Stood the tub on its square (faucet/drain) end then with the sacks on my neck & shoulders tipped the tub onto my back. I don’t know how heavy that thing was but I remember being able to barely lift it off the ground. I headed towards the house, struggling mightily. About three fourths of the way to the house I stumbled and went to the ground inside the tub. Kind of like a turtle in a shell. After a short period of recuperation I was able to get my legs positioned under me and roll the tub off. I had visions of being trapped under that thing for days. Eventually I did get it to the house and installed in the bathroom.

Please don’t go the way of The Mother Earth News. I was a subscriber to that mag. in 1972. I dropped it when the merchandisers took it over.

Denny Haan
Waldron, Arkansas

Thanks Dave and Jackie

Your magazine is one of the all time greatest! So down to earth and very informative. And see, Dave, your struggle and perseverance paid off. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Plus all the great and wonderful people who helped you get through it all. And Jackie Clay, your hard work reminds me of my childhood and my mother who finished raising us six children alone. All that work made us strong and determined to make it in our lives.

Keep up the great magazine so more people can simplify their lives and make it in today’s world.

Betty Ann Vorrie
Fort Dodge, Iowa

Fan of Don Childer’s art

Congratulations! I have very much enjoyed our 20-year relationship.

I am a long-time fan of Don Childer’s art. In fact the beautiful cover was what prompted me to pick up that first issue way back when. My only complaint is that the cover art is obstructed by so much printed information.

So—have you considered publishing Don’s art in another form—maybe a calendar? I’m sure I’m not his only admirer who would enjoy seeing Don’s art without clutter.

Billie Hinman
McCune, Kansas

For years we’ve considered a calendar for Don’s art. The expense is the problem. If I could only determine how many readers would buy it. — Dave

Libertarianism and chaos

The letter writer in your Nov/Dec (#120) issue, Jeffery Goss, has a very distorted idea of libertarianism, most of which I won’t bother to address. I only wish to comment on his statement that “libertarian ideology is based on a false premise: that chaos is the best way to produce order.”

Until now libertarianism has had no such premise, but recent scientific studies may change that. Mr. Goss (and everybody else) needs to read up on recent studies in Complexity Theory (an outgrowth of Chaos Theory). Scientists in many fields are showing that order of all kinds has indeed arisen out of apparent chaos. Life itself has sprung from complex chemical processes, evolution being a typical example of order emerging from the bottom up. Scientific studies are now showing that technology and the market are continuations of the evolutionary process, appearing spontaneously without any overall planning, and that attempts to control it from the top down are more likely to retard it than to assist.

This is what libertarians have been saying right along. Now we have scientific backing! There are a number of books on the subject. I recommend “The Origin of Wealth” by Eric D. Beinhocker.

Ardell L. D. Taylor
Patagonia, Arizona

Thanks for starting BHM

While reading the history of BHM, it took me back to the first contact I had with your publication in the earliest years. I wish I could say I’ve been with you the whole time, but that wasn’t the case. . .

I’m a great one to put things off or to figure there will always be time to do something later. In the seventeen months since my husband died, I think about all the things we were going to do together later when he retired in 2012. . .

I for one am very happy you did not wait to start BHM later. That you have shared & made it possible for others to share useful information. I want to thank you for starting BHM, to thank Lenie for keeping it afloat, & to thank Annie for her plans to continue. For those folks not happy with your publication, I suggest they start their own. . .

I especially like the articles by John Silveira. Not only does he have me reaching for my copy of The Constitution of the United States, but often my book of The Federalist Papers & another of the Anti-Federalist Papers. Perhaps one day he could do an article as to why, since everyone is supposed to know the laws, they are not taught in the public government schools. . . I’ve always rather thought they don’t because people would soon realize how many laws on the books are unconstitutional. . .

It is sad, but most folks that depend on government handouts have no idea the folks that get up & go to work everyday are the ones putting food on their tables & paying their bills. They do not grasp the government has nothing to “give” them except what they have taken from someone else by force. . .

Bonita J. Cika
Sneedville, Tennessee

Good idea to make the Dictatorship series a book

…Being a lifetime subscriber was a smart thing for me to do! I love my books! And I read (and keep) every issue. I share knowledge & wisdom from every issue with friends and family, so that makes each issue incredibly useful.

Reading The Coming American Dictatorship all together, as a book, makes the whole thing more cohesive and easier to think through in a logical fashion. I love it!

Sandra Barry
Rochester, New York

Jackie an inspiration

Have been looking forward to Jackie’s new book, and hopefully, someday, she will be penning a cookbook. Ms. Clay has been a true inspiration in our ongoing attempts towards becoming self sufficient. God bless you all.

Mrs. Carl Belken
Mokane, Missour

First off, kudos on your anniversary publication. It was fantastic. . .

I’m finally able to get Jackie’s new book after some monetary distress. I bow to the fountain of knowledge that enjoys sharing her wealth —Jackie Clay. I always learn something when I read her articles and column. . .

Les Hinkle
Ragland, West Virginia

Grow a garden indoors

Enclosed please find my order for Jackie’s new book. I can’t wait to see all the good advice and recipes in it. I learn so much from her.

I’ve been reading all the articles about food production, and noticed a lot of readers commenting that they would like to try growing some of their own food, but they live in apartments or otherwise have no access to a garden spot.

When in a similar situation, I grew my garden indoors, reasoning was that if I could grow house plants there was no reason why they could not be something to eat.

I was successful with cherry tomatoes, bush cucumbers, short carrots, leaf lettuce, radishes, green onions, and a large variety of herbs, to name a few. The thing to remember is that you’re the bee, and to keep a Q-tip for each variety (not good to pollinate the tomatoes with the cucumber). After a while, if you use the same Q-tip over and over, there gets to be a lot of pollen on it and the process becomes easier. This process was done no less than once a week.

Patricia Hecht
Florence, Colorado

Quality writing staff

. . . I have to say I was quite taken by your writing staff . . . my first issue had articles on nuclear energy . . . seeing I’m well versed in such areas from my past military career, it was nice to see a level of understanding being brought to the readers.

Kenny Condon, Jr.
Hesperia, California

Excited about TWS

I received your Whole Shebang set yesterday and am very excited to get started reading it, especially in the cold, cold days of winter. Everything looks to be in very good order although I will need my daughter’s help with the CD-Roms!

Carmen Settles
Visalia, California

Dave inspires me

Dave, you have inspired me! And you have led me to an understanding.

Your confessions in your latest magazine #120 stating that you vowed when you were 20 that when you turned 50 you would be able to look at yourself in the mirror and like who you saw has inspired me. I’m at a point where I’ve been doing some soul searching. . .

My lifestyle has been temporarily hindered by this recession. Your magazine is a monthly uplifter. . .

I don’t look at this recession as a hindering no longer but as an opportunity to cut the fat and to enjoy the things that matter.

I have more time than money so learning how to do something on my own is valuable. I know my goal when I’m 50 is to be able to look at myself in the mirror and know that I know what it takes to make my world go around without any outside help.

The article The Last Word by John Silveira in Issue #120 has helped me to understand my political standing and the political quiz on the next page basically cleared up a lot of things for me.

Corey Hecht
Braham, Minnesota

Health care and doctors

. . . Our current health care system is a mess, I agree. It is awfully expensive to buy health insurance, but I assure you the money is not enriching the doctors. That is why there is a growing shortage of primary care doctors. New medical graduates often have $200,000 of debt when finishing training.

The mess began in 1965 when Medicare began. The politicians, who like reelection, decided to relieve the retired from having to pay any medical bills out of pocket. After that the government kept “improving” the system, and here we are now, with the public expecting some one else to pay all their bills. Put the control of medical decisions back in the hands of the patient and his doctor. Let the doctor set his fees, and put some responsibility back in the hands of the patient. Return insurance to its original definition. It is now “PREPAID medical care.”

. . . How much should your doctor earn? The average family doctor in 2006 earned $140,000. Is that too much? Today most doctors have no control over the size of their fees. Medicare and health insurance sets the fees. Medicare has reduced doctors’ fees by 20% the past three years, and another 30% reduction is scheduled for the next three years. . .

I do agree with your thoughts on legal liability, and legal maneuvers to control juries. I was sued twice with nuisance suits, both dropped after five years of depositions, and thousands of dollars being defended.

By the way, the CEO of one large medical insurance company was paid $125,000,000 in 2006, while the family docs were making $140,000. Cut out the middle man and his overhead (which usually includes the company jet), let insurance companies sell over the state line, eliminate state mandates on coverage. Buy catastrophic coverage, and pay the small fees out of pocket. Yes, help the poor with government programs. Have the insurance policies state how much they will pay, and let the doctor decide how much to charge.

Finally, the current doctor shortage will be nothing compared to what we will get if they are all discouraged from staying in practice. I retired because I was tired of some clerk in an insurance company or Medicare telling me what I could and couldn’t do for my patients, and I was the only one responsible for the results. . .

James R. Taylor, M.D.
Bartlesville, Oklahoma

Prescient columns

Sad to say I did not attend the Fort Collins Sustainable Living Fair event (it’s 12 hours of driving from Mancos) but wanted to suggest to you that having a rep and a table at various similar events around the country could build your subscriber list with little expense. For instance, we have an ag fair here in the Four Corners and I have no idea how much an exhibit table is but I bet not very much. Perhaps you could build a list of local “reps” (like me) who would be willing to sit at the table and sell subscriptions.

I love your magazine and had to laugh at your prescient columns on the death of mainstream journalism, because I’ve been hoping that the sterilized canned and pre-approved news would go away sooner rather than later. We have a little 16-page weekly newspaper here in Mancos that probably would NOT include coverage of the End of the World As We Know It but would most definitely have front page coverage of the local events, bless their hearts.

That’s how I found out about Sybil Decker who got her hip broken on her very own front porch when her ram, Buddy, knocked her down one day. After Sybil got back home she managed one last encounter with Buddy, who was shortly thereafter residing in her freezer in nice neatly labeled little white packages.

Keep up the good work!

Gwynne Spencer
Mancos, Colorado

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