issue 148 – letters – self-reliance – preparedness – homestead

Letters To The Editor

From Issue #148

Thanks for the motivation

Thank you for the inspiration & motivation. After picking up one of your magazines in Maine five years ago, I put in a 5-year subscription. Since then, I’ve installed a hand pump over my capped cellar spring, learned how to can vegetables & fruits, burn wood (prior oil), and 16 solar panels go up on my roof in March (net metering for now — might add battery array later).

Keep up the self-reliant attitude & information. I’m learning how to “unplug” from the Net and am enjoying it.

Suzanne Pelletier
Montgomery, Vermont

Magazine in my mailbox

Thank you for your quick response to my dilemma of not receiving my March/April issue. My mailbox thanks you also. It doesn’t dread seeing me approach it anymore. (I would shake the daylights out of it looking for my magazine.)

Diana Anderson
Lewisburg, Ohio

Garden, calves, & chickens

I’ve missed my magazine and now I need it more than ever. I am growing a garden, purchased two calves, getting chickens, planting fruit trees, etc. We moved here about 18 months ago. I started canning last year. I am so thankful for your magazine — it has helped so much.

Janet Danysh
Yoakum, Texas

25 years of magazines

I bought your very first magazine and have read every one of them since.

John Davis
Onalaska, Washington

That’s quite a collection of magazines you’ve got. Thank you for your continued readership. — Dave

Jackie’s books

I’m a subscriber and absolutely love Jackie Clay’s blog and articles. Friends constantly encourage me to get her books on canning and food preservation (Newbie here! But I’m learning fast!) and one friend went so far as to recently insist I buy them, so … here goes! I’m very much looking forward to reading all of them.

Jeanne Betters
Jeannette, Pennsylvania

Thoughts on Obamacare

Thank you for a wonderful magazine.

Wanted to ask Dave & John their thoughts on Obama Care?

Richard Conklin
Plymouth, New York

When the government gets involved in anything, and that includes healthcare, the bureaucracies hold all the cards. My editorial in this issue tells of my close call. — Dave

Junk silver

I received your latest issue the other day in the mail. So far it reads pretty good even though I hate green beans! I was surprised to read that you accept “junk” silver as payment. I don’t see it as junk at all. For me it’s better than those Yankee greenbacks that aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. So I will pay for the postage on my book with “real” currency. At the current rate of market silver 90%, I figure 35 cents worth should be enough [for postage]. Keep any change.

Oh, I am one of the American Survival Guide readers that was put out upon its demise. That was a sad day. I switched to your magazine as a replacement. The new “craze” for self-sufficiency is interesting but I don’t feel it will last. Please keep up the good work for those of us who really care. I’ve read the new magazines and yours is by far the best written and informative.

David Garcia
Ladson, South Carolina

Excellent pear tree

As many others state, I could drop every other magazine I receive but not my BHM. I have one comment about Jackie’s article regarding pears. My parents’ farm had 3 pear trees, full grown, when they bought it in 1945. Two trees have been destroyed by lightning and storms. The third has been damaged, but last fall I canned 65 quarts, 3 families had all they could eat, another friend canned 40 quarts, and we had stored pears until last of Feb. These trees are, we think, the old Ewald pears, AKA Karl’s Favorite, discovered in Ohio in the early part of the 1900s. Just an excellent tree, surviving freezes and droughts equally well, and producing large fruit which are delicious. I highly recommend it for home orchards.

Shirley Brumfield Stone
McArthur, Ohio

Sharing BHM

Greetings from the land of sunshine (sometimes) and spring. It was so good to receive my May/June issue #147 yesterday and I was happy to see the offer of the new anthologies … The 3 new anthologies will be added to my cabin library in Yellville, AR, which I make available to friends up there. The old issues they cover will be brought back to Florida to share with my Master Gardener friends who are also into beekeeping and chickens.

Thanks to your articles I have a greenhouse, 4-rainbarrel water supply system for my garden, and lots of ideas I can use for future urban homestead projects as well as the cabin up in Arkansas.

Thank you for your speedy service on my previous orders.

Pat Porter
Pensacola, Florida

Yellow jacket trap with a beer can

I’m always surprised by the complicated, toxic, or even dangerous way people try to get rid of yellow jackets. It is really so simple. You need not even know exactly where the nest is located.

Just take an empty beer can (if a spoonful of beer remains in it so much the better), punch a few bee-size holes in it, and put in a handful of raw hamburger, a spoonful of sugar, and a small handful of fly poison, all mixed with enough water to make it sloppy. I always used Golden Malrin fly poison — don’t know if it works the same since they changed the color to blue, but probably does. Run a piece of wire through the can and hang it in a bush anywhere near the nest, or even someplace between the nest and where your picnic is being plagued by ‘jackets. They will find it, carry the bait home to feed their queen and young, and hello — no more yellow jackets! In a real bad year it may take several cans. Coons will try to carry off the cans, so wire them on tight!

Phyl Hubbard
Corydon, Indiana

Another yellow jacket trap

I received my Backwoods Home Magazine Issue #147 (May/June 2014) this morning as we were leaving for my eye dr. appointment. Being a creature of habit, I read the editorial, jokes, and letters pages first. In the Letters section were two letters about yellow jackets being poisoned or gasoline trapped. I thought I would share a low-tech safe yellow jacket trap.

I used this trap the first time when our family went camping at Mt. Adams for a week in the early ’70s. After putting up the tent, our children were off exploring nearby. Right away our daughter found several underground yellow jacket nests and was stung several times for her effort. I put out the trap.

The components for the trap are: 1 #10 galvanized bucket, a small stick to jam the bail vertical, a thread, a round marble sized piece of meat (cooked or raw), water, and a light cooking oil (we used Wesson oil). Tie the meat cross-grain with the thread (trim the loose end) and hang it from the bail about 3 or 4 inches from the bottom. Now add water to within 1/8 inch below the meat and float the oil. DO NOT GET EITHER THE OIL OR WATER ON THE MEAT! Set the trap near the yellow jacket nests and leave. The water and oil can be added near the nest site.

Maintenance now is cleaning the dead bodies out and replacing the water and/or oil. I usually waited until the yellow jackets were walking on the dead bodies of their nest mates. The first two days I cleaned it twice each day, after that it was good until we left.

Please put the dead bodies in the trash or bury them so you or your children do not step on the stingers barefooted.

David Stearns
Plymouth, Washington

Kindle is great

I have enjoyed BHM for years …Currently I get it on Kindle and it’s great. Miss the color pix — but it’s all I really need nowadays. I am buying this gift subscription for my youngest daughter and her little family. They are renting our old home and have decided to get started with some goats and chickens … and you know where that leads:) So pleased!

Mary Thompson
Fort Lawn, South Carolina

Great to meet Dave

My husband and I met Dave at the Mesquite, TX Self-Reliance Expo. We were absolutely thrilled to meet him. He was very kind and courteous. We have subscribed to the magazine for several years and love it. Thanks so much for great information. Every article is easy to read and understand and useful to boot! Once again, great to meet Dave.

Dan and Joan Walker

Wish I started years ago

I had surgery on my Achilles tendon during this past January and having to spend three weeks with my leg propped up gave me plenty of time to start reading all of the anthologies.

I’m a retired Marine and my wife and I started prepping about five years ago. I wish I had started this years ago and was able to get a place in the country. Your magazine is outstanding with all of the information and timely articles. I look forward to reading Dave’s writings.

I just wanted to drop a line to say thanks for an outstanding magazine and I look forward to all future editions.

Mark A. Paul
Great Falls, Montana

BHM Newsletter

I’ve been getting [the newsletters] for some time and have been meaning to subscribe, but just hadn’t done it. When I got your Newsletter today, I decided to pre-order Jackie Clay’s book and decided that while I was at it, I should go ahead and subscribe.

Thanks for letting me read the back articles on your website. That is really what persuaded me to subscribe.

John Young
Yorktown, Virginia

To start getting the newsletter which has more informative reading and good deals on our books, go to our website,, and click “Newsletter” under the “Features” tab. — Dave

Reading BHM offshore

I work offshore for a Commercial Diving company, one of the divers that I work with lives way out in West Texas in a remote area. He would bring copies of Backwoods Home Magazine with him offshore and would let me read them.

Jason Burrier
Alba, Texas

Got The Whole Sheebang

Just a note of thanks. Love your mag. Saved for 5 years to get the Whole Sheebang! Love it!

Thank you for catering to simple living people.

Heather McGinnis
Paris, Illinois

Classic firearms

I enjoyed your article, “Classic backwoods home firearms: the lever action rifle” in the March/April Issue #146. Back in 1964 I purchased a real nice used model 94 in 30-30 with a handmade leather rifle scabbard, and a partial box of 30-30 rounds for $60. I fired it a few times and sold it around 1978 for $250. The buyer said it was made around 1950, and it was in excellent condition.

Around 1964 I had the chance to purchase another one, in good used condition, which I still have but in 32 special, the price was $20, couldn’t go wrong there. The serial number is 216XXX. I shot it a few times and I don’t think I fired it in 20 years now.

Now and then when I would go to a gun show, I would buy a box or two of ammo, and I have several boxes of ammo in 32 special for it. In all that time and years strangely enough I hunted with my 45-70 Trap door 1873 Springfield, which I purchased in 1954 as a high school senior for $12 including 1 box of shells.

Yes, the good old 1960s … the one big mistake I made in gun purchase was at that time I was offered for $200 a double barrel (side by side) modern steel, 30-06 made in Europe, think Belgium. My Dad said he would loan me the money & I could pay him back, too bad on that.

Walter Schivo
San Francisco, California

Lots of good information

I enjoy your magazine very much. It has a lot of good information. I’m a widow, have a garden & some chickens. I’m planning to downsize to a smaller home. I enjoy Jackie Clay articles. Keep up the good work.

Judy Nevala
Ashland, Wisconsin

Dr. Jackie

I LOVE Jackie Clay! She is so helpful and kind and I don’t know how she can retain all this knowledge in her head. I think we should call her Dr. Jackie Clay and she should have her complimentary degree in Homesteading!

Carolyn Gish
Bartlett, Tennessee

Blended bug juice

You adopted me from the survival mag. that folded. Thank you Dave. Have been loyal ever since and try very hard to solicit your publication to anyone that seems interested.

I am sending this letter, many years after deciding I need to, because of all the garden tips about use/no use of pesticides. About a thousand years ago, my parents read an article in a farm magazine that suggested the following method of getting rid of garden pests.

1. Obtain old blender that works, identify it “Garden Only.”

2. Using whatever method you choose, gather 50/100 of the bugs that you are battling. Note: Does not work with ants.

3. Dump in blender with a couple of cups of water. Run on high to really chop them up.

4. Pour through tea strainer, also marked “Garden Only.”

5. Put that bug juice in sprayer, fill with water, spray garden. Done!

Bug juice can be frozen for future use and is effective as fresh. Must be reapplied after a rain.

Norman Pemberton
Sherman, Texas

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