issue 149 – letters – self-reliance – preparedness – homestead

Letters To The Editor

From Issue #149

First got BHM in Canada

We are both in our 80s, and both use our walkers. We raised a large garden for years till we aren’t able to.

I first got your magazine in 1993 in Canada, halfway to Alaska, and got it since.

I agree on your issues, can’t do anything about how things are run.

A few months ago you had an article on woven wire fencing. I have a clamp bar and stretcher. It takes a 7/16-inch chain with a hook on one end, it works great but slow. Most people break the clamp bar with a tractor. Your end post and wire will tighten real tight this way. When you get done you can play a tune on the wire.

Harold Remley
Dodge Center, Minnesota

BHM is everything I’m interested in

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the March/April 2014 magazine. I love it! It is everything I’m interested in.

I was raised on a 50-acre farm in Kentucky. We couldn’t afford animals or the shelter for them but we had a 100×300-foot garden that fed much of the family and extended family. I remember following my dad around the 20 acres of woods just above the lake with his chainsaw as he select cut the trees down for winter heat, then me splitting logs by hand with a wood maul. I miss the country way of life. Thank you for a great magazine.

Next time Annie installs gate hinge pins, a 12-inch section of pipe or a good size “boxed in” wrench slipped over the pin would make turning the pins alot easier whereas the pliers can slip.

Richard Hyden
Chillicothe, Ohio

You have lost a subscriber

I received an advertisement in the mail for your publication, and was instantly interested. I visited the website to sign up for a subscription, and was surprised to see a banner at the top of the page reading, “Snapshots from a Recent NRA Meeting.” Not wanting to jump to conclusions, I read the article.

I thought you all might be interested to know that you have lost a subscriber today. I truly am not interested in supporting a publication that appears to be informational/educational on Backwoods living, but is used instead for a political haranguing. Of course, I do not have a problem with people using guns for sustenance living/hunting, etc. I would expect to see articles on weapons used for these purposes in your publication. I am not and will never be interested in reading about the “civil rights” of handgun owners/users.


Taxes on junk silver?


First thanks for your article on the counterfeit junk silver you got (May/June 2014, Issue #147), spent several hrs. checking all mine & found none.

Also did not know that you accepted J.S. as payment till I read that article & wanted to mention the following:

Since here in AK junk silver is used for trade quite a bit, I checked with my accountant several years ago about legality for tax purposes (doesn’t affect me as I’m retired, off grid, and under radar but I was curious).

I was informed that since “junk silver” has never been made illegal for trade (as gold was), a 1960 quarter for tax purposes is 25 cents as long as it’s retained & not traded for Federal Reserve Notes.

Thus for taxes the $3.35 I’ve sent you is just that as income as long as you’re simply holding or trading with it & thus a plus for people at tax time.

Name withheld by editor

Potato starch/potato flour

In your lastest issue, July/August 2014, you had a great article on gluten-free sandwich bread. I did want to say that in the ingredient list he says 2 oz potato starch (a.k.a. potato flour) is incorrect. It is true that tapioca flour and tapioca starch are the same, that is not true with potato. Potato starch is the consistency of tapioca but potato flour is much heavier. Using too much of it could create a brick whereas the potato starch would stay light. I hope everyone has a happy gluten-free baking experience.

Cora Dittrich
Sierra City, California

Hi, Cora. You are correct about the differences between potato starch and potato flour. Potato flour is made with cooked, unpeeled potatoes and imparts an unpleasant potato flavor to the bread. Indicating that these two very different ingredients are interchangeable is a final editing error on my part, and I apologize for my mistake. I hope you were not inconvenienced in any way. Thank you for your interest and your helpful comments. " Richard Blunt

Shared a “secret” recipe?

Shame on Jane Duquette (“Build a cold smoker,” July/Aug 2014 Issue #148)! She persuaded Glenn Kooly to share his secret recipe with her, and then blabbed it to the whole world! Unless Kooly was further persuaded to allow this, which is not indicated in the story, Jane is a fink.

Phyl Hubbard
Corydon, Indiana

Enjoyed gee-whiz! page

To O. E. MacDougal,

I enjoyed your “gee-whiz! page” in the July/August issue (#148) of BHM.

When I read that hummingbirds are the only birds that can truly fly backwards, I was reminded of a remarkable thing I saw just after sunup at a highway rest stop in the high country just south of Flagstaff, Arizona. Ravens are common in the area, and some of them can get quite huge. I was hearing their cawing as I walked from my car to the restroom block, and I looked up in time to see two ravens in right-echelon formation, a very large one in front and another somewhat smaller one just aft of his right wing. I find it hard to believe this myself and I saw it: As I watched, the larger bird in front did a “Frisbee”: It rotated horizontally 360-degrees, and even though its feathers ruffled from the reverse airflow, it didn’t stall out and it didn’t lose altitude. As its beak passed the trailing bird, it clacked audibly twice. When the rotation had completed, the two birds continued flying in formation, cawing periodically, until they disappeared among the trees. I stood there open-mouthed, staring after them. I never thought any bird could do that.

Don Cline
Star Valley, Arizona

Help preserve ancient ways

I look forward each month to receiving another issue full of great information. I would really like to see a regular article on ancient knowledge our ancestors used to live with the earth, like ways they used to irrigate deserts to turn them into gardens and using natural ways of purifying water by letting it soak through stone like nature does. Or using terra cotta pots buried up to the lip in the ground near plants so the water will soak through when the soil needs water, the plants will entwine their roots around these pots seeking the moisture. It would help preserve this knowledge for future generations.

Put the word out to the subscribers and everyone to send in ancient knowledge that they have learned from their old ones and Backwoods Home will never lack for it.

Rufus G. Beard
Neodesha, Kansas

BHM reader Shawn Brawley sent us his idea for a “bucky on the spot.” If your toilets aren’t working and you have to go, just cut one of those foam pool noodles to fit the top of a bucket. This was originally shared on our Facebook page, and it got more than 29,000 shares!
If you have a useful tip, send us a photo with a
short description and we’ll put it in the magazine.

We need our own copies

I’ve been enjoying your magazine for several years thanks to our public library. My son and I both enjoy it, and decided we need to have our own copies to keep for reference. It’s a great magazine. I particularly appreciate Jackie Clay-Atkinson and her practical, commonsense approach to harvesting and canning. Have both her books!

Rae Pelletier
Salem, Missouri

No more lending!

Lent a friend this book (Growing & Canning Your Own Food) because they wanted to learn about canning. The scoundrel never returned the book, despite having the credentials MD after their name wherein they can afford to buy it, so now I need another. This one doesn’t get lent to anybody!

Albany, New York

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