issue 129 – letters – self-reliance – preparedness – homestead

Letters To The Editor

From Issue #129

“Defunding government” article in Issue No. 128

…I truly believe that Mr. Duffy has touched upon the fundamental issue: the “People” vs. “government.” There seems to be an attitude of superiority among “government employees.” This attitude permeates every area of public service, from the governors, to the cops, to the fire-fighters, to the administrators, to the clerks, to the folks that collect the garbage in town (in those towns where such collection is part of the tax-payer funded services)…

The economy has cost the private citizens our jobs, our homes, our retirements (which for many of us means we no longer have ANY retirement funds left), and in some cases, our very families. While the private sector has been burdened more and more to support the top-heavy structure of our government at all levels, the government employees have remained (until now) arrogantly secure in their futures. Well, the economy has finally reached them.

While certain emergency and safety employees are certainly worth more than they are paid, they can only be paid what we can afford. Even then, they must occasionally be reminded that “Public Servant” does NOT mean that the “Public” is their “Servant.” Regardless of the particular position of any government employee, whether law-enforcement, fire-fighter, or clerk, it is the job of the government employee to preserve and protect OUR way of life, not the other way around.

…I just felt compelled to express my sentiments to Mr. Duffy and let him know that, while different parts of the country may outwardly express the sentiment differently, I believe he has rather eloquently expressed, and defined, the primary issue of this Nation’s discontent.

Al Hitchmoth
Andover, New Hampshire

I read your article in the March/April 2011 (Issue #128) edition and I started to get angry…again. Two summers ago I took my daughter on a two week vacation to visit my cousin in Crescent City. I rented a car in Oregon, looking forward to a beautiful drive down the Pacific Coast. That was until I reached Gold Beach. Just south of Gold Beach the speed dropped abruptly at a supposed “construction zone.” It was a Saturday, not a worker in sight. I let my foot off the pedal and started to decrease my speed when I was pulled over by the State Police. I was issued a $200 ticket for 55 in a 40 mph zone. When he returned to my car, the officer kind of smirked and said I could fight the ticket if I wanted to. I took the ticket and politely said it would be a waste to come back 3000 miles to fight a ticket. (BTW — It was the first speeding ticket I had in 30 years!)

On the way back, when I left California for Oregon, I drove inland instead of the coast. I would have much rather driven up the coast and taken in the sights, but I will NEVER again set foot in Curry County. My cousin said that everyone in her office had been pulled over in the same place.

When I got home to Maryland I looked at the citation carefully and saw they had a provision for mail-in adjudication. I wrote a short note to the judge, explaining what happened, and asked for some relief. In two weeks I received a reply from the Curry County court. I was found guilty (big surprise) and now an EXTRA $100 WAS TACKED ONTO THE TICKET FOR “COURT COSTS!” I was told that a warrant would be issued for my arrest if the $300 fine was not paid within a certain amount of days. I paid the ticket.

It’s YOUR county financing their spending on MY back.

Jeff Nagy

…Our local police and courts have become a revenue generating corporation. I would like to know why the police are stationed along the roadsides just waiting to pull someone over, yet when you call them, they take over an hour to show up to help you.

My old City pulled something similar a few years back. They did their “Wetlands study” in our neighborhood which resulted in a local farmer losing their land. Two years after forcing this family off their farm and land, they built an 8 bay Metro Bus Transit Station on the property. (What happened to the protected Wetlands?) On a humourous note, their plans were delayed for two years because city workers didn’t know what to do when they discovered an underground bomb shelter on the land while excavating. Not more than 3 months after this big grand bus terminal was built, the City put a gas tax hike before the voters. When the voters voted against it, the City punished us by stating, “Because we did not win the gas tax hike, we can no longer afford to run all of our buses” So to this day (6 years later), A family lost their homestead, but in its place is 4 acres of paved asphalt where only one bus runs two times a day.

Revulsed yet? I am…Government at its finest…

Misty Foster
Colville, Washington

…After reading this article on traffic tickets, it reminded me of my last trip to Curry County. I was actually down there to examine a propane generator, and driving back to Ashland, was pulled over by a State Trooper. He told me I was going 67 in a 55 just north of Brookings, and I told the officer I was on cruise control, and that my Tundra geared down in inclines, so I could not have been going 67, and that in fact I was 7 miles over, admittedly, at 62 MPH. I disputed the ticket, and was declared guilty. I have fished the Rogue River in my jet boat for 10 years, but since then I have boycotted Curry County. I go up to Coos Bay, Winchester Bay, and points north. I had a mind to call the Chamber, but realized it would be a waste of time.

Steve Foley
Ashland, Oregon

I recently picked up issue #128 of Backwoods Home Magazine.

I was glad to see so much practical information all in one place.

I live in a very touristy and highly policed area, so the article about defunding local government really struck a chord with me.

Since having had a relatively short (11 hour) power outage, I have been researching ways of making my home’s drinking water “outage proof,” and the article about driven wells really peaked my interests. Until picking up your magazine, it was an option I hadn’t considered.

My wife went on her first “mushroom walk” last year with a local authority on the fungi, and she was glad to read all about the morel mushrooms.

I was surprised to see a letter to you from someone stating that they would not be renewing their subscription because you are too political. I feel it is self-evident that we as a nation are on a goose-step to total fascism. It will not be long before growing and storing our own food will be illegal if the government gets its way. But how will this ridiculous legislation be enforced if we the people still have the right to bear arms?

I for one welcome your political views, because what good does it do to learn how to have a sustainable homestead, if you lose the inalienable right to protect it? How refreshing to see an article about goat’s milk in the same publication as one about effective gun sights!

You obviously get the big picture, and I am glad to have finally found you on the shelf of my local bookstore.

Ansel Gunn
Andover, Vermont

Value of old Dutch ovens?

I am trying to find someone to help me with selling my dad’s dutch ovens that are at least 50 years old but maybe older. Do you know anyone I can talk to?

Channie Heimer
Livingston, Montana

Cast iron pans and Dutch ovens have, since day one, been a bargain when purchased new. Today, you can buy a 12-inch skillet seasoned by the manufacturer for about 20 dollars. However, if you can find a 10 or 12-inch Dutch oven with a cast lid that is in good shape it might be worth about 15 dollars.

If these Dutch ovens have not been seasoned properly on a regular basis, they are not worth considering. Companies like Camp Chef and Lodge make seasoned cast iron cookware that is affordable and performs well. Only a collector looking for a specific piece will be interested.

— Richard Blunt

BHM has personality

…I do want to thank you all for making this more than a self-reliance magazine. I’ve read through several (most of which I learned of through you, anyway), but they’re cut and dried…Your staff has a personality (and a large dose of sarcasm seems to be a prerequisite) that makes the articles both informative and entertaining — now you’re doing double duty! Still, the more I read, the more I get to know all of you, and the more I want to read more. Though we’re definitely cutting back lately, this subscription is in no danger of getting dropped, ever.

(p.s. Tell Jackie that since I’ve learned to can from her, she should finish up the next book so I have more ideas for how to use it!)

Tiffany Lovell
Birdsboro, Pennsylvania

You can pre-order Jackie’s new book in this issue. The ad for it is on page 71.

— Dave

Article on LEDs

I just finished reading your article on LEDs and I’m writing you to thank you for such a great article. I’ve tried to keep an eye on LED technology for the past few years but never have I read an article so complete and easy to understand. You really nailed it. I got the magazine in my stocking this Christmas and will be subscribing soon.

Matt Szafir
Burlington, Vermont

“Sitting pretty” article

The Jan/Feb 2011 article “Sitting Pretty” was awesome, right on, and very timely. I would like to suggest that the city apartment dweller add one more dimension to their preparedness. I live on a small acreage in Utah with a Wolfberry nursery, four gardens, and a trout stream running by the place. We could survive here. I am very mindful of the many extras in my environment, ranging from mushrooms to cattails. There are dozens of edible and medicinal plants in the area. This is also true of urban areas.

On a recent trip to Alexandria, Virginia I was very impressed with the number of edibles found within a few blocks of an apartment. The best treat, which we did harvest was some of the hundreds of newly emerged puffballs in the apartment complex flower beds. There were also hundreds of daylilies with blossoms, buds, and roots. There were many days of food in the flower beds. The oak trees across the street were covered with acorns, accompanied by a few squirrels. Plantain and dandelions were scattered along parking lots and there was a grape arbor in a church parking lot with untouched fruit. The list for potential food could go on and on if the many park and roadside area plants were added to the list. We were across the street from Skyline Towers, not the usual place to look for edible wild plants.

The city apartment dweller would be well advised to become acquainted with the food at their doorstep. It might be the key to survival.

Donald Daugs
Logan, Utah

Please thank Jackie Clay for writing her “Sitting Pretty” article. It helped consolidate my own thoughts which I have held in common with her for the past three years. I found the other articles on self-sufficiency to be also of good quality and quite useful…

Roy J. Van Neste
Thonotosassa, Florida

Gifted my local library

Last year I bought a subscription for my local library; BHM is now one of their most popular items. Also, the librarian has gotten her own subscription, and they have showed BHM to at least 4 other folks who are going to/have subscribed. You are doing wonderful work, please keep it up!

Patti DeLang
Cambridge, Vermont

Thanks for gun stance

…I want to thank you for your excellent work not just in showing Americans how to live happier and more independent lives in the country, but also for your stance on gun ownership and Second Amendment rights. The America I grew up in is dying, but the staff of BHM are helping to keep it alive.

Daniel Taylor
Ooltewah, Tennessee

BHM is best magazine ever

Backwoods Home is the best magazine I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Please, don’t change a thing. This is the first time for me to renew, and as long as your work continues to be as good as this last year (or even half as good for that matter) I intend on becoming a subscriber for life.

James Nunley
Booneville, Mississippi

We love your magazine. Because of finances, we’ve cancelled a lot of subscriptions. But not this one. We think your magazines are worth the money since we learn so much from them…

Hillbilly Bill
Marshfield, Missouri

I have been with you guys on & off (money permitting) since the beginning. Great magazine then & great magazine now! Keep up the good work. Your stories are always inspiring.

Art Bunn
Montevallo, Alabama

I thoroughly enjoy BHM, esp. John Silveira, Massad Ayoob, Jackie Clay, and others. Thank you for all your efforts to keep us informed. Dave’s commentary is always the first material I read, incidentally.

Floyd Dovell
Charleston, South Carolina

I am a new subscriber (3 issues) and what I’ve seen so far is by far the best. I began reading “self-sufficient” literature back in high school in the late ’70s. In Guns & Ammo Magazine & then Soldier of Fortune – a writer by the name of Mel Tappen published articles. Of course I bought his books, later, after his death. Then in the ’80s I subscribed to ASG (American Survival Guide). This publication was good & I continued it into the ’90s. During this time a friend of mine told me about a magazine called Backwoods Home Magazine. I unfortunately disregarded this piece of information. During the ’90s & 2000s I bought and read books from Benson, Long, Clayton, etc. Then in 2010 I saw a copy of BHM on the shelf of a bookstore & purchased it. What a right move! This magazine is the greatest! I called my friend — he has all his back issues, and we discussed BHM. “See, I told you so, year ago,” was his response. It’s all good, though, because I’ll buy the anthologies, eventually. With each issue, I’m buying a book or two & I’ve sent in an order for the “Best of the 1st Two Years.” The T-shirt is great. I wear it all the time and have ordered another. Keep up the good work.

ME Conner
El Reno, Oklahoma

Really missed you guys, and online just wasn’t enough. Saved my pennies so I could resubscribe and get the whole shebang. Gave out all my old anthologies and never got them back (It’s OK…it’s info everyone needs!) Keep up the good work.

Russ Hall
Austin, Texas

BHM balances green ideas with common sense

I noticed one former subscriber didn’t renew because of some of your political editorializing. I’m sure they would not object to your editorializing toward the left instead of the right.

Personally, I feel your writings are refreshing because they provide what is in my opinion a good balance of “green” ideas with “conservative, common sense.” That is why I read BHM instead of Mother Earth News.

Bob Kimmons
Warrensburg, Illinois

Thanks for helping hand

Thank you so much for extending my subscription. I cannot express my gratitude to you and those readers who consistently send in extra to cover the costs for others. It is so very generous. But that is not the whole reason I am writing, I will be moving and since my permanent location is not yet settled, I ask that you please remove my name from your mailing list. I do plan to subscribe again (and with some luck give extra) when I am firmly settled.

I do want to go on just a bit about how very grateful and humbled I am to have been given the gift of extended service. It helps me to have hope when in my current situation. I have very little. Though I can’t blame everything on others, my current suffering can firmly be laid on the very evil people in places of power. To have someone help me, even with something as simple as a magazine subscription, infuses me with the courage to continue being civilly disobedient even while it would be so much easier if I gave in on my principles.

So thank you for the helping hand. It has meant so much more to me than I could ever put into this letter.

Lorna Bergman
West Branch, Michigan

Glad to help. We have a lively fund of donated and gift subscriptions. There seem to be always enough donated subscriptions for deserving people like you.

— Dave

Steel roof article

(Re: the Steel roof article by Norm Bennett in Issue #126, Nov/Dec 2010)

We built a 2-car carport attached to our house and put a metal roof on it. Now the roof (shingles) on our house needs replacing and we want to go metal and match the car port.

The house roof is 25 years old and has one layer.

If I understood correctly you said I could just lay the metal on top of the shingles…right? Nothing needs to be put between the shingles and metal?

Another question: I have some mold on my shingles. Do I have to condition or remove the mold somehow before the metal goes on?

How about the noise level if I replace the shingles? Will the house be noisier during a rain event on the metal roof over the shingles or will it be negligible difference?

Dan East
Iberia, Missouri

Yes, you can put the steel directly down on the shingles unless they were architectural. Then I would use a heavy felt paper to help flatten the surface so bumps don’t show up through the steel.

The mold needs to be scraped off with a stiff broom before you cover it with steel, but it won’t affect the steel negatively and it won’t re-appear on the outside of your steel.

You will not be able to hear any difference whatsoever in the sound of rain, sleet, etc., due to the insulating effect of the shingles, your attic space and the insulation in your ceiling/attic.

— Norm

Cheap solar water heater

My cheap solar water system. It is 160 feet of 1½ ABS sewer pipe, some 1½ “p” traps and assorted PVC, CPVC, and ABS fittings to hook up to the house water system. It is mounted on the south facing roof, and where I live in Pahrump, Nevada, it works about 8 months a year. I built this for less than $100 a few years ago. I also have a “solar clothes dryer,” consisting of some clothes line and some pulleys that are by a window next to my washing machine, kind of like Grandma had.

These plus a woodstove (which I cook on during the winter) keep my electric bill around $90 a month, and propane is maybe $75 a year.

Pete Wallace
Pahrump, Nevada

Legalizing marijuana article

…I served as a law enforcement officer for 34 years …I worked as a county deputy sheriff, as a state game warden and as an elected county sheriff for 16 of those 34 years.

…Your ideas on guns I mostly agree with. But your ideas on liberation of marijuana is very naive to say the least. MJ is the stepping stone to all other drugs and mind altering usage. In consoling users and problem solving I have found MJ as the root of other drug usage. After seeing the many tragedies that MJ users cause I can’t see your reasoning. I investigated many suicides, murders, child neglect and abuse, traffic fatalities, civil actions over bad financial discussions, and many more most caused by people using halusinating drugs. MJ doesn’t solve any problems it only covers them up and in most cases, makes them worse…

…Even though I disagree with your views on MJ use and production and enforcement keep up the good work on other matters of independence and lifestyle.

Russel L. Johannsen
Grand Rapids, Minnesota

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