issue 134 – letters – self-reliance – preparedness – homestead

Letters To The Editor

From Issue #134


I enjoyed your (Jackie’s) recent article on Wash day. (July/Aug 2011, Issue #130).

Although my family was small, wash day on Monday was a big deal for my mother. We did not have a washing machine until I was in junior high school and my mother did all the washing in the kitchen sink, including large linen items like tablecloths.

She didn’t use a washboard but moved the clothes around in the sink and scrubbed them between her closed fists. She did the whites first and the colored items next. For the whites when she rinsed them she used La France bluing. It came in a bar something like a large chocolate bar; it had small rectangular parts that you broke off and dissolved in the rinse water. I searched La France bluing on the internet and found several queries about it but no specific information about the item.

My mother also starched the cuffs and collars of my father’s dress shirts. She turned cuffs and collars and he wore them until the fabric wore through; then they went to the rag bag. She had two rag bags for large rags, one for cotton and one for wool. When she got enough of either type of fabric she cut it up into strips, braided them, and then sewed them into braided rugs.

Everything was hung out to dry, outside in the summer and in the basement in the winter. She had one of those folding square reels and I learned how to hang underwear and other small things inside, gradually going out with larger items and hanging sheets on the outside lines. When the sheets dried they were easy to fold up as they were already partially folded. The underwear was hung inside so the neighbors wouldn’t see how long we all wore it.

When she moved back to Kentucky she kept most of this routine up except for the bluing and the starch; when she became too old to hang clothes outdoors she offered me the reel and I declined to take it. I’ve regretted that decision many times, as those reels are hard to find and expensive when you do find one. I’ve never owned a clothes dryer. She ironed just about everything except underwear with an iron and a sprinkler bottle that was a Coke bottle with a sprinkler head that you stuck in the top. I learned to iron on napkins and dishtowels.

Not too long ago the Jackson Purchase Historical Society (KY) had an article in their publication about wash day, and solicited comments. Now that you can wash and dry any time of the day or night, wash day is definitely an event of the past.

Melissa Bradley
Denver, Colorado

Dog sledding

I’m writing to let you know how much I enjoy all of Len McDougall’s writing. I especially appreciated the article on dog sledding (Issue #132, Nov/Dec 2011). I’ve had sled dogs for 26 years & am always glad to hear of other people starting up dog mushing.

Len stresses that having one’s own sled dog kennel is a serious commitment & I couldn’t agree more. I would go further & say it is a total lifestyle commitment with the dogs at the center & everything else in the musher’s life coming in at a distant 2nd.

Len wrote a great book about building a log cabin by himself. It is definitely not a how-to book but it is highly entertaining. The whole time I was reading it I kept asking myself “Why doesn’t this guy use a chain saw?!”

Kathryn Venable
Montgomery Center, Vermont

No pull-tab cans for storage

If you plan to stock up on store-bought canned goods, DO NOT get cans with pull-tab tops! These cans have a very thin area (so you can pull to open), that can be easily broken without your noticing it! This can happen by another can falling on top of it, even in the grocery bag on the way home, or while in storage.

The break may be too small to see until you proceed to open the can. Then it’s too late! Beware. Check your stock. Put those cans in a safe location and use first.

Judith Benevy
Springfield, West Virginia

Second Amendment article

I read every edition cover to cover, I read all Jackie’s Q & A’s. I have you in my facebook feed. But nothing I have ever read has been as important as this second amendment article (“We don’t need no steenking 2nd amendment,” BHM 10th Year Anthology). It should be required reading for every person in Congress. All students should read it. The government needs to remember that they work for us and that we don’t NEED them to tell us what to do.

Thank you for this. If I ever think about cancelling (not likely) I’ll remember that this one gem of information is worth more than I would pay in my lifetime. You’ve just given me, if you’ll pardon the reference, all the ammo I will ever need to go against the tide of gun control idiots!!

Dixie Dever
Hazel Green, Alabama

Veterans’ subscriptions

Thank you very much for your donation of the subscription to Backwoods Home Magazine. These magazines will be made available to all the veterans at this facility through our station library. . . The veterans greatly appreciate your kindness and thoughtfulness.

Ann L. Diehl
Chief, Community Resources
White City, Oregon

The donation is courtesy of BHM’s generous readers who have made it possible for us to donate subscriptions to Veteran’s facilities in Oregon and Washington. We are now expanding this effort to other states. " Dave

No carbon footprint BS

I am a libertarian and self sufficiency is very important to me. I do not believe in global warming and have had a hard time finding a magazine on this subject that doesn’t constantly try to shove that fraud down my throat. I was reading an article on the website that made your magazine sound like what I was looking for. I’ve decided to give your magazine a try. If you annoy me with any of that carbon footprint BS or other social engineering crap, I will not be renewing.

Leslie Ruen
Boise, Idaho

BHM on Kindle

I’ve always picked up Backwoods Home Magazine issue by issue at the bookstore. I don’t know why I’ve never subscribed, but I wouldn’t miss an issue for anything.

My husband got me a Kindle for Christmas (and gave it to me early since I couldn’t stand the wait). I saw BHM would be available for Kindle and checked daily for access. The minute it was available, I subscribed. I love reading BHM on Kindle. My arthritic hands find a Kindle easier to hold than a full-sized magazine.

So…thank you, thank you, thank you for making my Kindle experience so worthwhile. Now…if we could just get the Hardyville Tales and the BHM anthologies on Kindle.

Ruth E. Brown
North East, Pennsylvania

Ron Paul editorial

Ref your column on writing in Ron Paul. (Issue No. 133, page 7) Frankly John, you scare the hell out of me!!

. . . As you know, this country, can not survive a second term with this administration. Now, they are still playing nice. If re-elected, the gloves are off, and all is lost. This up coming election, is probably the most important in this country’s history. We must rally together to defeat this greatest danger. A vote for Ron Paul, or any third party canidate, is a vote they don’t have to counter. You have to know, he doesn’t stand a “chance in hell,” and I agree with a lot of his issues.

It’s America against them John.

Please don’t try to defend with crap about voting for a cause, or voting your heart, or principles. This is too serious. It’s us against them, and a third party now, will kill us.

In 1992, I was fool enough to vote for Ross Perot, and without thinking, we split the ticket. I voted to send a message! See what we got? The biggest clown to ever hold office. Like it or not, this time there has to be TWO main parties, and a candidate that can win.

Rod Waugh
Logan, Ohio

The problem I have with your letter is that I’ve been hearing this line for more than 30 years. Namely, that we’ve got to “get rid of” whomever is in. We had to get rid of Carter, get rid of Clinton, we had to stop McGovern, Gore, Kerry, and now we have to get rid of Obama. Never is it, “Let’s vote for what we really want (or SHOULD want).” The result is that we’ve gotten Presidents like … well, just to mention one, the guy who preceded Obama.

With him we got the PATRIOT Act, Homeland Security, and the bailouts.

Because we no longer vote for what this country should have, we’re getting Republicans who, frankly, aren’t an awful lot better than the guys we’re supposed to be stopping. Other than Paul, look at the field of clowns the Republicans are offering, and offer an argument as to how having any one of them will put this country on the right track.

Frankly, sir, it is people like you who scare the hell out of me. " John Silveira

I have been following Ron Paul ever since Ronald Reagan. To me he is a true American. I call his toll free message (1-888-322-1414) every week to see what’s next. If Americans do not get behind a man like Ron Paul, America is over as we have known it. Welcome to global agenda of big money, new world order, slavery.

Hubert Vest
Disabled Vietnam Vet
Peace Valley, Missouri

Guns for the road

My wife and I enjoyed Massad Ayoob’s article on guns for the road (Jan/Feb 2012, Issue #133). It definitely made us think. We’ll increase the ammo stored in our cars. On our respective 48-49 mile commutes, I go further into the hills, while she goes toward the city. Her “bug-out” backpack includes an AR-7 .22 rifle in one side pocket. We reason that one might want something that can reach further than her snub .38 yet be quiet and light. The idea is to break contact and escape, not fight a pitched battle.

Mr. Ayoob mentioned the value of rifles and touched on their size and the fact they tend to get noticed. We’d like to see him address the issue of compact carbines, particularly folding and bullpup designs. Is a Kel-Tec Sub2000 worth carrying? It uses pistol ammo, but is very small when folded.

Would the newest incarnation of the AR-7 be worth carrying, along with a small scope? The 16″ AR15 carbine will fit inside a medium ALICE pack, if both pins are pulled and the upper and lower placed side by side. Is the Butler Creek “Backpacker” takedown conversion of the 10/22 worthwhile? Do Hi-Point carbines represent good value?

I think there’s plenty of material here for a follow-up article on “longguns for the road.”

Most rifle cases look like what they are, but not all. A few years ago, I read about an octagon shaped hard case that held more than one rifle. The writer described receiving compliments on his “nice golf case” when claiming it on an airport baggage carousel. Perhaps Mr. Ayoob, being a gun writer, might remember this case and think it worth mentioning. I’m all in favor of gun cases that are not obvious. I’ve seen Yamaha piano keyboard cases marketed as “politically correct” cases for short shotguns, particularly the pistol gripped “Persuader” style. Again, there’s enough material here to round out a follow-up article on long guns for travel.

Lane Dexter
Marblemount, Washington

Mas intends to do a follow-up article. " Dave

BHM anthologies are our family’s bible of survival

Found one of Jackie Clay’s books while browsing. Just took it from there and found your magazine. One copy and I was hooked. Your anthologies have become our family bible of survival. The whole family reads them and makes use of every article. I purchased the first half of them this fall and found I need the rest.

Shirley Benson
Bruce, Wisconsin

Alllll over the Internet

You are ALLLLL OVER the Net. Your articles are out there for all to see. It is wonderful that you aren’t stingy with your information, providing to all who want to learn. Thank you!

Peggy Wolcott
Wheaton, Minnesota

Code enforcement

David Lee’s otherwise excellent (part 2) article in the January/February 2012 issue, “Journey to the Backwoods” makes reference to Code Enforcement Officials negatively, as if all were on the take; supported by politicians as appointees; not knowledgeable, know little about construction; and “don’t like unconventional buildings,” couldn’t be further from the truth.

As a 10-year veteran in code enforcement, I can attest, at least in New York state, and I’m sure most states, that none of the above is true. A very thorough training program is mandated before a student is certified, and we are held to hours and hours of mandatory training yearly.

I believe most all code officers are 100% honest, and, as an appointee of a municipality, are held to very high ethical standards. . .

Backwoods Home Magazine is our favorite, especially Massad Ayoob’s, Dave Duffy, and John Silveira’s writings.

Geoffrey B. Worden
Brookfield, New York

UN’s Agenda 21

Here’s my encouragement to your staff to “KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!”

Yours is truly a great conservative publication that I can count on to cut through the BS and call a spade a spade without being brow-beat by Political Correctness.

Mostly, your articles are well researched and presented so anyone can read and understand. Generally the topics are timely and succinct.

Before too long I hope you will write about the UN Agenda 21 proposal. If passed it would have a profound impact on the sovereignty of our nation and eliminate our constitutional rights to private property and independence.

Bob Kimmons
Warrensburg, Illinois

Raising rabbits

I was very excited to see featured on the cover an article (January/February 2012, Issue #133) about raising rabbits since my husband and I are just getting started raising them. I was also glad to see Storey’s Guide To Rabbits as suggested reading.

However, in the end over all I was very disappointed in the content of the article. The author’s guideline of leaving the doe with the buck until nearly time for her to kindle goes against everything I’ve learned this year, and even in the Storey’s book it says to NOT leave them together for longer than the breeding session.

I’ve been closely working with the breeders that I’ve purchased my rabbits from, and they ALL only put the doe with the buck for breeding, then remove her back to her own cage . . .

Lee Robertson
Webberville, Michigan

Sometimes doing something seems so much easier than writing about how it’s done!

I wrote, “house your doe near the buck’s quarters. When she goes into heat … she will be ready to breed and can be placed in with the buck. She can be housed with him until she nears her full term of pregnancy, at which point she should be moved into her own quarters where her nest box is ready and waiting … The reader is right, she should not be left in with the buck till the full term.

I certainly should have gone on to say, “In a commercial operation the doe is almost always returned to her cage immediately after mating but some hobby farmers, or backyard breeders (such as myself) leave the doe with the buck, removing her from his cage by the 25th day of the average 31-day pregnancy.

This is the Old World way I learned from my grandparents and it worked for me. " Linda Gabris

Electromagnetic pulse

Thank you for your thought-provoking editorial about EMP (Nov/Dec 2011, Issue #132). In fact, I’ve been thinking of little else ever since. I think you were extremely modest and somewhat inconsistent in expecting [deaths] only [“in the low millions.”] There’s a tremendous gap between a quarter billion and a few million. After all, with a population of 325 million and a life expectancy of 70 years or so, one would expect a normal death toll of almost 5 million a year without any EMP or other special problem. Perhaps you meant excess deaths.

In my opinion, if we let this thing happen to us we will deserve whatever fate befalls. The survivors of the initial event (that’s almost all of us) would face an extremely steep learning curve with no coaching from the sidelines (government “experts”) and a very heartless scorekeeper. Most of my fellow citizens are just not ready for such a test. I doubt that even half would get through the first month and that’s just for starters . . .

I’d like to see articles about ways to soften the impact of an EMP event on the local level. For instance, how would one go about stockpiling spare electronic components and shielding them from EMP? We might even convince those who own a local power plant that it’s in their best interests to harden their own part of the system right now. It might be sold as a relatively inexpensive form of insurance, one more cost of doing business.

Saving even one rural power grid would be infinitely preferable to letting the whole country go down. In addition to all the lives saved, for instance, one functioning power grid would greatly simplify the task of recovery. And even before the event, the achievement would be newsworthy in itself and might stimulate others to act.

Richard Crawford
Roy, Washington

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