issue 133 – letters – self-reliance – preparedness – homestead

Letters To The Editor

From Issue #133

A bear ate my chickens

I am recently widowed and trying to get all my stuff in order. I am gardening and have a new chicken operation going. The bears got my first try. They ripped the nest box off the structure and threw it about 4 feet. The chickens were all in there and got eaten. But now I have a metal storeroom and will lock them in at night.

I am 82 years old and have an acre to have fun on. I love your mag. It inspires me to do things. I have a Berkey water filter too for water. The water here is not pure. Tell the old people to get to gardening and do independent things and they’ll live in health.

Shirley Maxson
Carrabelle, Florida

Jackie’s canning book

Thank you for an excellent magazine. I follow you on Facebook as well as Jackie’s blog. I have found Jackie’s canning book to be the best I’ve ever used, and I’ve been canning nearly 50 years.

Mary Jane Plemons
Corsicana, Texas

Reloading article

Dale Perry’s lucid article, “Reload your own brass,” (BHM, Nov/Dec 2011), certainly featured the money savings of loading one’s own ammunition vs. purchasing it. This allows for economically shooting more, gaining more accuracy and confidence.

I cannot but judge that had Mr. Perry more copy space he would have also featured the satisfaction gained in successfully fine-tuning safe loads peculiar to a given gun for more accurate shooting in target practice. Also, for hunters there is great satisfaction in reloading ammunition that is used in successfully harvesting one’s game.

Reloading is rewarding both in its savings and one’s self-satisfaction.

Arnie Schaid
Moscow, Idaho

Drying clothes indoors

Regarding the Wash Day article, Issue #130, July/Aug 2011: Another reason to dry clothes indoors in the winter is to add moisture to the dry air. I’m proud to say I’m 70 and have never had a dryer. Even with 5 kids in 6 years, we didn’t need one. What’s wrong with today’s moms?

Gail Powell
Homerville, Ohio

Focusing on our goal

Five years ago my husband and I decided that we just didn’t like city life, with its noise, crowded neighborhoods and much too hurried citizens. We enjoyed our little backyard garden and wanted to make it bigger, be self-sufficient and move our parents out to the country to enjoy their retirement and feed them fresh healthy food.

We put our house up for sale and started looking for land. In 2008 we sold our home and moved in with my mom thinking we would move quickly. Just last year we finally found our dream 36 acres an hour out of the city in a quiet little town and began looking for a bank that would give us a loan. The loan took 6 months to get approved after jumping through every hoop they could throw at us including splitting the land in half, making the house bigger, paying off half the land and all this just to get the appraisal they wanted to make it worth their while. Then this April they gave us the go-ahead to start building.

Then in August our builder went bankrupt, taking with them a large sum of money we had down as a deposit. We have found a new builder that is cutting us a great deal and is building onto the basement we have had sitting since May. We should be in by Christmas!

Over the last few years we have been studying farm life and our idea has evolved into a full-blown self-sustaining Biodynamic Micro Farm and we have the business plan and farm all mapped out and hopefully down the road I can leave my office job for the life we have been working so hard for. Our “studies” have included 10 different farming/homesteading magazines and we have allowed all of them to expire (since we are saving every penny for our farm). I am writing this letter to tell you that your magazine is the ONLY one we won’t let expire and I am including our check for another 3 years subscription. Thank you for all the great USEFUL information that we find inspiring, enjoyable, and has kept us focused on our goal.

Bree & Adam Atkins
Blairstown, Missouri

I love your magazine. It always inspires me and confirms my faith in our kind of lifestyle. It’s just good sense.

David Jones
Augusta, Georgia

Advice from federal prison

If I may, I would like to respond to Mr. Uran’s letter “Why a focus on politics.” I was like he is. I love the outdoors. Everything revolved around using what the land provided, from wood for my heat to the tasty wildlife that filled my freezer. I, like he, didn’t like to read about politics. I didn’t listen to news, feeling it was heavily biased. It was this ignorance to politics that contributed to my stay in federal prison. My honesty to trust the FBI and answer questions without an attorney and my lack of knowledge of the U.S. Constitution. Ultimately being exploited by a law called the Patriot Act. The fed system is full of guys like Mr. Uran and myself. Only when you have it happen to a loved one or yourself do you open your eyes to view the multi-billion dollar prison system politics built. Unlike the states, the feds house prisoners of victimless crimes. That is the fed’s term for them. Most prisoners in federal mediums and lows were tax paying citizens before their stay. Politicians are responsible for tough on crime laws that falsely protect our families or us from ourselves. We all know it is us the people who need to watch our own. Of course, the more laws they can make the more lawbreakers they can make (1 in 33 people in the US are felons), therein disarming the country without a gun ban. Mr. Duffy, keep up the good fight. I pray those who don’t heed warnings stay out of the fed’s eyes. Also a word for Mr. Obama, creating jobs is not reassigning our beloved soldiers to prison guards when they come home from war. It’s still taxpayer money.

Calvin Sachs
Federal Correctional Institution
Seagoville, Texas

Property rights, Agenda 21

I would like to respond to the letter to the editor in the Nov/Dec 2011 issue. Dannan Uran wrote that she was dismayed that your magazine had an article concerning a political party reinterpreting the Constitution. I, like most people in this country, wish that I didn’t have to get into politics and could just live my life in peace and quiet, after exercising my privilege and responsibility to vote in every election.

However, while I and millions of my other countrymen have been fast asleep, our property rights and personal freedoms are being trampled on by our lawmakers and the overreaching bureaucracies and policies they put in place such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Endangered Species Act, and (United Nations) Agenda 21. Go to or and see what the environmental zealots have in store for us. Your land will not be your land — land is to be used for the Common good of the group and the largest majority of land in this country will be for non-human use. . .

Kim Parigoris
Lodi, California (the king state of over-regulation and infringement of personal and business freedoms)

Searching for Hardyville

Want to say thanks so much for such a great magazine. I never read too much before I came across Backwoods Home. My brother stayed with me for a while this summer, and he read fifteen back issues in a week! He enjoyed them so much! So when he went home I ordered him and my father a subscription. Also I would like to thank Claire for writing “The outlaws handbook” and “Hardy- ville Tales.” I enjoyed both of them so much I read them in two days. My husband, dad, and brother have also read them and loved them. I am now reading “Hardyville Tales” to my two sons ages eight and ten. We also read articles from the magazine for part of their homeschool education.

This is our first year of homeschooling. They have been in public (government) schools since kindergarten. My oldest son was never being challenged enough, and he had a hard time socializing with kids his own age. He was always the “model” student but was becoming very bored with the curriculum and very frustrated with his classmates. My eight year old has a lot of energy and has a hard time sitting still for meals, let alone at a desk all day. He was having such a rough time with reading and writing and seemed to be slipping through the cracks without much help. After school the boys would fight constantly to the point of me wanting to pull my hair out of my head! I was becoming extremely frustrated.

I have been homeschooling since early August and find that I have completely different children now. It is very rare when they fight, and they have become so close. All three of us are learning so much. We have been learning a lot about early American history. I am teaching my boys to stick up for themselves and always fight for things that they believe in. These are things that government schools frown upon. This country has gone mad and I believe that educating our children is the first step in trying to save our country.

We travel a lot for my husband’s work. In the past three years we have paid off over $30,000 in debt and we now have only $7,000 left to go. Looking back I can’t believe how easy it was. The feeling of freedom from almost being out from underneath it is such a wonderful feeling. We will never allow ourselves to be slaves to corporate businesses ever again. We once went a month without lights as an experiment to see how dependent we were on them. Surprisingly, this was very easy, and the kids had a blast with their lanterns, and we saved $65. Someday we hope to find our very own Hardyville, whereever that might be.

Kay Schneider
Sparta, Illinois

I have been an avid reader all my life, I have just finished reading Hardyville Tales. I have never read a book even remotely similar to this one. Every red-blooded patriotic American should have a Hardyville book.

Paul Bouska
Canton, Minnesota

BHM in Afghanistan

Enclosed is a copy of a photo. I am wearing my BHM T-shirt @ FOB (forward operating base) Gardez, Afghanistan. I am a medic in the 45th Infantry, attached to the 1st Infantry Division. We are in Paktia province near the Pakistan Border. Feel free to publish or whatever with the picture.

Your magazine is great!

ME Conner
FOB Gardez, Afghanistan

Kindle version

I was so very pleased to read that you are developing a Kindle edition of BHM. I love my print edition and will continue that, but I am a frequent traveler and relish the idea of having my current BHM “with” me on my Kindle. I do the same thing with the only other magazine I’m willing to pay money for (Reason Magazine).

James Edon
Roseville, California

Great BHM recipes

Loved your zucchini muffins. Although used yellow straightneck squash instead and added the walnuts.

Another favorite was the recipe for elderberry cordial. I substituted black raspberries instead and the results were fantastic. Easier to make than wine.

Andi Ashcraft
Gosport, Indiana

Operational security

Just an OPSEC observation: Many letter writers describe their circumstances and self-reliance prep. in “appealing” detail. Then, they sign off with full names and community locations.

Some even portray their vulnerabilities — age, remote sites, tilled garden sizes, etc.

As global, national, regional, local “challenges” escalate, so do the risks. You might consider advising your readers that advertising their bounty may be advertising their booty.

“J. & E. from Mississippi” is abundantly more secure than “John and Ellen Last Name from Tupelo, Mississippi,” for example.

“WTSHTF” is going to be awful enough without inviting the zombies to the front gate. You don’t want to discourage dialog and exchanges, but you should entertain being an unintended conduit for opportunists.

It’s an editorial call, but I’ve watched through my pretend bad guy goggles for a long time. Keep up the full spectrum of your exceptional work, but protect your followership. It’s a situational awareness lesson. The “…Dictatorship” is watching; the sheeple are herding up; the ravagers are mapping their targets. We are all more vulnerable from all threats than we were from the common ones just a few years ago.

Name withheld

Canned bacon

Thank you, BHM, I truly enjoy your magazine. In your Sept/Oct 2011 Issue # 131, the article and story of canning bacon so interested me that I did it. I used parchment paper and canned 12 quarts. We love it. It’s great. If your readers will do it just like it says, no problem.

Pearl Raymond
Seymour, Missouri

Gold Beach my hometown

I’ve been aware of your magazine for several months but it wasn’t until I picked up a copy that I saw the value your subscription provides. Even with all of the fantastic articles though, I knew there were other things I should spend my money on. That’s when I noticed where you are located! I grew up in Gold Beach and return there annually. How had I not known that my favorite magazine was located in my home town?

Thanks for a wonderful publication and for demonstrating that change can be created from wherever you live.

[Name Withheld]
Burien, Washington

More knitting & crochet

Please keep up all the good work you are all doing at the magazine; the information is needed now more than ever. I would love to see more articles on various grain mills & milling & storing different types of flour.

I have learned so very much from Backwoods Home Magazine. I would also like to see some knitting & crochet projects. I don’t want to miss a single issue!

Donna S. Wauer
Union, West Virginia

EMP protection

In response to Linda Barnes’ letter and John Silveira’s article in BHM #132 issue, a Faraday cage can be any kind of cage or enclosure made of metal. If you wanted to protect your electronic equipment, depending on the size of the item you want to protect, you can use anything from a metal ammo container to a metal filing cabinet, up to a large safe. No matter what size it is, you would want to make sure that it is completely closed and there is no cords plugged into an outlet that would allow the EMP to damage the item you’re trying to protect. Even if you don’t have a metal container, simply wrap tin foil around the item you want to protect and open it and use when the EMP event happens.

To go deeper into the subject on preparing against an electromagnetic pulse, it helps to know what you need to do when it happens, and what technology will work. If it happens, you need to have a plan with family and friends. Whether to have everybody to meet up at a meeting point, or a plan to bug out to a retreat you might have. Just like any kind of disaster, you need a Bugout bag (GOOD: Get Out Of Dodge bag). In this case, older technology is the best technology if an EMP burst occurs. Older vehicles, from 1970s and earlier have a much better chance of working because they don’t have the computer chips and electronics like modern vehicles do. Vacuum tubes of older electronics (1969 and earlier) would have a better chance of working.

Unlike in fiction, where everything would shut down and nothing would work, there might be some instances of some of our infrastructure would continue to run for a short while. Land line phones, for instance, work in some parts of the country because the phone company have buildings built back in the Cold War days to withstand a nuclear/EMP event. But unfortunately, everything is so interdependent on each other, everything will eventually fall apart. Electric plants’ transformers being destroyed cannot provide power to the telephone company to run the phones. The oil refinery’s computer system would be destroyed and can’t make the gas for the trucks to deliver the food to the grocery stores. There would be some system working despite the above because of luck or circumstance, but it would not be enough to sustain the entire population.

There are a couple of books worth reading: fiction and nonfiction. The EMP Survival Guide by Larry Poole is a good place to start. The Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack talks about the effects of EMP on equipment to infrastructure. The fiction books “Lights Out” by David Crawford, “One Second After” by William Forstchen, and “Our End of the Lake” by Ron Foster each have different takes of what could happen with an EMP event. Be warned the last one has grammatical errors but has a good story to it. Other books like “When Technology Fails,” Aboman’s Guide to Survival,” and the Backwoods Home Anthologies should help anybody out to prepare for an EMP.

Jonathan King
Rushville, Illinois

Good letter, Jonathan. Protection from EMP is an imperfect science and there is a fair amount of disagreement among the experts in the field. The best internet site I have found for information about protection is ­— John

Politics in the magazine

I for one like Backwoods Home because it tells the truth about the government and how the United States will go down (probably) to a third world country (thousands of people losing their jobs daily) and the electric and food prices going up and up and not to mention the gas! But people are so passive as to what is happening. Do most of the people in the United States really want the government to take care of them and tell them what to do…

Belinda Davitz
Murphysboro, Illinois

Just a note to say how much I love your magazine! Please don’t change anything! I read it cover to cover. Those that cancel due to your political views and/or your publishing of gun and hunting-related articles can go jump in the lake. They are part of the reason our country is in the shape it is in now. I appreciate your views and support of all of our rights guaranteed by the US Constitution, including the 2nd Amendment. Your magazine is a ray of sunlight in these miserable times we find ourselves living in. I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s and it grieves me to see how this country has changed for the worse in my lifetime. I have come to realize that I have lived through maybe the best, most prosperous years our country has experienced and they may never return. All I can do is speak up, vote, and try to become as self-sufficient as possible. Your publication is an inspiration and help in these areas.

Randy Culp
Henderson, Texas

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