issue 57 – letters – self-reliance – preparedness – homestead

Letters To The Editor

From Issue #57


With all the Y2K problems that are predicted, how do we know that a 3-yr. subscription will be good after 2000?

Blake Sunderman,
Palmer Lake, CO

The whole world may fall apart, but Backwoods Home Magazine will deliver. If you miss an issue due to Y2K problems, we’ll re-send it when things straighten out. — Dave

We just received the latest issue and I’m a little confused as to your actual thoughts regarding Y2K. The reason is because in your editorial you say “How serious is the Y2K computer problem going to be?” and you respond “not very.” Then a few pages away, Massad Ayoob says “Dave Duffy is taking Y2K seriously…He has asked me to put aside less urgent topics…”

I agree with what you say about the looming financial crisis—but it seems that Y2K is going to be the proverbial straw that breaks the camels back of the financial system.

The Bill of No Rights is great!!! It should be posted on every street corner AND required reading in school! Oh, that’s right—you can’t REQUIRE anything of kids in school nowadays can you?!

Missy Erving

I estimate the chances of a Y2K-caused societal collapse to be about five percent. When considering the well-being of my family, that’s a serious risk. Besides, as John Silveira, a mathematician by education and training, points out in his “Chances of Global Disaster” article on page 30, when taken together with other possible major societal disruptions, the chances of some major disaster occurring in the next 40 years are 45%. That’s an alarming statistic. — Dave

I’ve been a subscriber for a year now. It always brightens my day when I see your magazine in my mail box. We live in a day and age where “fear mongers” are everywhere trying to profit from Y2K. It sure is refreshing to hear someone taking a level headed approach to the year 2000. My policy has always been “pray for the best and plan for the worst.”

My wife is the world’s biggest optimist. Not that many months ago, she thought that this whole Y2K thing was someone’s “cash cow.” After reading some of your articles on the subject, she agreed that it wouldn’t hurt anything to stock up on a few months worth of supplies. Trust me when I say that bringing her to a decision like that was nothing short of a miracle, and you have my thanks.

We are now working together, stocking up on some basics. We found a lot of good ideas in your articles, things we wouldn’t have thought of. We also found your advertisers to be a good source of things such as water containers and hand pumps.

We’re living on 10 acres in west Mich…with a good population of rabbits, deer and turkey. I’ve stocked up on ammunition, and I’m waiting for the new year. I’m expecting no more than a few minor problems from Y2K, but I sleep better knowing that I have enough food and firewood to see my family through whatever may come.

Tom Jansma,

I beg to disagree with your Y2K assessment. While certainly not the end of civilization, it will almost certainly be more than a few days’ disruption. I base this on informal interviews with utility company personnel, mainframe computer operators and my personal experience with embedded chip technology.

I work as a heating/air conditioning service mechanic. My trade, in the last ten years or so has gone over to PLC (programmable logic controllers) operated equipment almost exclusively. Every building with air conditioning or a heat pump built in the last ten years has PLC controllers. When they ‘fry,’ they cannot be repaired: they must be replaced. PLC’s are highly sensitive to voltage surges, and unlike computers, are not protected from same. Any disruption in the power grid will ALWAYS fry a few ‘boards’ and have us busy for several days, replacing the more common types from stock and ordering replacements for the less common types. My employer plans to stock up later this year to help head off problems.

My work has brought me into close contact with the utilities superintendent of one of the towns which has its own electrical distribution system, as well as diesel powered peakload generators. This individual is responsible for the water, electric, and natural gas utilities for the entire town. He has set up all of his mission-critical equipment with diesel standby generators in order to keep the water and sewer systems functional for as long as fuel will hold out. He has told me that he expects intermittent availability of ‘grid’ power and has cancelled New Year’s holidays for his entire workforce. We also service a healthcare chain which has done likewise. The problem is seen as a five to ten percent failure rate in the PLC’s that the power companies use to control distribution. Even though every utility has a manual switch to back up every automatic control, few if any have enough manpower to control their portion of the grid by hand if the PLC’s fail. The expected result is ‘domino effect’ regional blackouts, and controlled ‘rolling’ blackouts as power plants shut down. Expected duration is 60 to 90 DAYS before power can be expected to be ‘on’ more than 50% of the time. I have heard rumors that the NRC intends to take no chances with nuclear reactors, and may shut down ALL nuke plants well in advance, a process that takes months.

The computer types that I see work in manufacturing plants operated by older mainframe computers. Their problem is that even though many of these old mainframes can be modified to operate, there is not enough time left to test their repaired systems. Like the utilities, they’ll have to wait until it breaks to fix it. This brings up a second point: repair parts are inventoried by computers. The supply house may not know that a certain part is not on hand until they physically look for it, which will be when someone needs it, and not before. I can see a lot of mission critical equipment shut down for lack of repair parts. There are 350 BILLION PLC’s in use. Multiply this by 5%, (conservative estimate) and that is 1 BILLION, 750 MILLION failed boards. There are not enough replacement parts in the pipeline, and we have not even begun to address the additional failures caused by erratic voltages when the grid fails!

And now, for the worst part: public perception. The news media has found a sexy story in possible Y2K disruption, and will no doubt increase the tempo and depth of their coverage as the day nears. I live in an area where it snows infrequently enough for a major snowfall to cause a ‘run’ on the grocery stores, and have personally witnessed fistfights over toilet paper! What do you think will happen in the populated areas as supplies like batteries sell out? Disaster profiteering is a way of life for some. Certain elements in society are waiting for any excuse to riot and loot: I suspect that the cities will essentially be under martial law.

For those of us who are self-reliant, the disruption will be minimal: for those entirely off the grid, nothing will change. EXCEPT THE LIVING CONDITIONS FOR THE MAJORITY OF THE POPULATION! Can you devise a more perfect setup for the enemies of liberty to offer security in exchange for freedom? Please do not print my name. I do not wish to jeopardize my sources.

(name withheld)

Your last point is something I addressed in my Issue No. 55 editorial. I agree that this is the greatest danger we face. — Dave

Just got my Mar/Apr issue and finished reading for the second time. A classic for sure! So, here is my subscription for another great year. You should see the stack of BHM in rags on the tank of my commode!
Now, sit down Dave ‘cuz you’ve been a bad, bad boy! In your diatribe of the “Publishers note”, you state “…How serious is the Y2K…not very!” Whoa there, Dude! I know that it is always popular to take a moderate position on things because it makes you sound intelligent. But the truth is that you moderates are always in the way of those of us who are trying to get something done. If folks always listened to the moderates, Hitler and the Japanese would rule the world, the Jews would be gone along with the Indians, nobody would have got off the Titanic, and of course, we would still be under British Rule.

You see, more than anyone else, the press editors and the clergy have a grave responsibility to lead people to action in this world. That often means taking a very unpopular stance, but that is what good leadership is. Anything else is just a politician. I know that you love us all, but you put your daughter’s future way ahead of us for sure. So, what kind of future do you want for her?

Y2K is a crisis. There are many ways to avert this crisis, but they are not being implemented. Our current administration is just not capable. (perhaps on purpose?) A non-event is being made into a big-event because of the way it is being handled.

I will overlook the fact that my business has already had to change banks because they crashed at the end of the year on their test and I got my last two deposit slips on plain white paper. I will go right to the meat of the problem-sources of information. Ya, you can get any answer you want from a guy with pink hands and a black tie or some “book writer”, but listen to the folks in the survival/generator business just for a moment.

Our customer lists. Not angry racists or survivalist or antisocial etc…, but nuclear powerplant engineers, military officers, Wall Street bankers, foreign govt. officials (?), and an enormous amount of mainframe programmers. Almost all of these folks have been working on Y2K for a long, long time. In dealing with them on a personal level, you hear stories that shock you to say the least.

In other words, the Titanic is sinking, the captain has said so but the tourguides are saying it ain’t so…and the crew just split in a lifeboat. Y2K doesn’t happen next year. By the time this letter gets printed, it will be a nightly spin on the news just like the OJ trial. Our beloved ruler will be enforcing new laws addressing the problem.

The sad note on this is that there were no secrets. We were adequately warned by our government on the upcoming problems but the ‘Moderates’ shouted down the problem way back when it could have been addressed properly. I guess we are just too comfortable.

I know that this country has been through depressions, world wars, etc…and times got real tough and folks pulled together. Sadly, I must say that I feel that today’s society is not the same. Perhaps it is because we got to used to the ‘moderates’ telling us what we wanted to hear?

Skip Goebel, Branson, MO

Press editors and clergy do not “have a grave responsibility to lead people to action.” They have a responsibility to tell the truth, and if they did that more often this world would be a hell of a lot better off. BHM tries to do exactly that. — Dave

What did Grandma use?

In answer to “What did Grandma Use?” Brenda Arnold asked about sanitary napkins & what to do. They used washable cotton that was absorbable like a diaper. I just found a company for myself that supplies these type of items. It’s called The Keeper Store (PO Box 12751, Portland, OR 97212 (503) 282-0436). They have washable cotton pads “Purdy Pads” 4 pack for $29.00. I suppose you could make your own out of extra absorbent cotton diapers. They also supply a natural gum rubber cup that is worn internally, holding monthly flow. The keeper costs $35.00 and has a life expectancy of 10 years. If water is short this might be a better alternative. This is the first time I have ever responded to a question in your magazine. I felt it is important for women to have help with this. I hope my answer is not too graphic.

Zenia Richler, Atlanta, GA

Women in the pioneer days used absorbable rags—all kinds—and washed them in lye soap, boiled them in a cast iron pot, and reused them. This would be aesthetically difficult for women today. The cost of napkins looks worth it in that light.

A more recent option is a feminine hygiene product known as “The Keeper”, an internal, washable, pliable menstrual container. A lot of women use it and claim that it even helps to eliminate cramping. The source is:
Internet Store Keeper ( 3332 Harwood Blvd., Suite 102, Bedford, TX 76021 (888) 882-1818 (for information).

Wanda King, Columbia, TN

I am writing in response to Brenda Arnold’s letter in issue #56. My mother used rags for sanitary pads in the 1930’s. Currently I know of two reuseable options. The first is Jade and Pearl Menstrual Sea Sponges available from:

Frontier natural Products Coop, 3021 78th St., PO Box 299, Norway, IA 52318, 1-800-669-3275.

The second option is washable cotton pads available from:

Feminine Options, N14397 380th Street, Ridgeland, WI 54763, 1-715-455-1652 (velcro holders, pads & pad pattern)

I have ordered from both companies. They have quality products and good service.

(name withheld), Anoka, MN

While far from being an old-timer, I have an old product to suggest. This type of women’s health care was in use earlier in the century but fell out of favor due to the increasing availability of disposable, chemical-laden products (it should be no surprise that there has been an increase in cervical cancer through the century!). It’s a reusable menstrual cup (approximately 10-year life-span) and is available through Eco Logique, Ontario, Canada: 1-800-680-9739, email:

This alternative provides a woman greater independence on the homestead as well as from the big paper companies and a healthier option to the currently available products. I hope you will find this information worth passing on.

Finally, I wish to pass along my compliments on your sensible, informative, well-written, out-spoken magazine.

Liz Hibala, Monument, CO

Christian nation

I just finished reading the “Critical Thinking” article by John Silveira, in which he asks, “Would the US be better off if it was officially a Christian nation?” My first reaction was, “Yes, of course!”. However, I almost immediately remembered what I read only a few short weeks ago, while researching my family history.

One of my forefathers, Lawrence Southwick emigrated from England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, primarily to find the freedom to practice his chosen religion, which was Quaker. Upon arriving in Salem, he discovered that, in order to be a landholder in the Colony, you must be a member of the Church of England. Lawrence Southwick declared himself a member of the Church, and was granted his land. Secretly, however, he and his family still practiced the Quaker religion. As time passed, the family “secret” was discovered. The town officials, acting in the name of God, stripped Lawrence Southwick of his property, dragged Southwick and all his family members into the Town Square, placed them in stocks, and whipped them all.

Unfortunately, these “Godly” men were not through with their punishment of Lawrence Southwick and his family. A local judge ordered Southwick’s son James, and his daughter Provided, to be sold into slavery in the West Indies! Keep in mind that the family’s only “crime” was to seek the comfort and salvation of God through a church, which was other than the one declared the “official” church of the land. Fortunately (for me), none of the sea captains in port at the time were going to the West Indies. So, in lieu of being sold into slavery, the entire family was, once again, dragged into the Square and publicly whipped. Upon being released from their bonds, the Southwick family was immediately ordered to leave the Colony of Massachusetts, under the penalty of death should any member of the family ever return! Previously, I mentioned that it was fortunate for me that Provided Southwick was not sold into slavery. I can say that because she was my 8th Great Grandmother.

Now, I realize that this occurred in the mid-1600’s, and today we have the “protection” of the US Constitution. However, if you look over the erosion of our rights as individuals, all in the name of “democracy”, one can’t help but wonder if this nation brought the Church into its government, how long would it be until something like this could happen once again?

We, as a nation, need to use our brains for something other than to keep our ears from sticking together! We need LESS government, not more! We need to be allowed to raise (and, yes, discipline) our children and use our land as we see fit (so long as we don’t create a danger for our neighbors). We need to have the right to make a living, so that we can support our families. We don’t need our public school teachers telling our children that we, as parents, have no legal right to spank them, ground them, or even give them a curfew. (Of course, that’s not true in our state, but that doesn’t prevent the teachers from spouting their liberal garbage to our kids!) We don’t need to have the police tell us that if our child runs away, that the law says we have no legal authority to make them come home. And we certainly don’t need the government to tell us that a Christian church should be the only one to be recognized by the “powers that be” in Washington D.C.! Would that mean that those of the Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, or Native American beliefs might possibly have fewer rights than those of us who are Christian? If you don’t think that this is a real possibility, think again. How many of us have had their rights incrementally eroded over the years, bit by bit, little by little, all in the name of democracy. Simply because 51% of those who turned out to vote thought an initiative “sounded reasonable”, the government now controls more and more of our lives.

Does this nation need to be an “official” Christian nation. I think not!

Pat Neidigh, Libby, MT

While a dialogue on the subject of Christianity might be interesting, please try to be sensitive to the readership. You wouldn’t for a moment publish an article offensive to Blacks, Jews, or Women; why Christians? Mr. Silveira’s imaginary or incredibly insipid friend(s) didn’t do justice to the topic. Anyone can argue persuasively with the misinformed and spineless. If you’re going to begin a debate, please match equal intellects. Otherwise, please be more careful not to offend one particular faith by portraying Christians as so easily dismissed. I’ve really enjoyed reading Backwoods Home. I don’t like to think I’ll be viewed by your staff or writers as some sort of a kook for my standard American religious beliefs. From a Christian viewpoint, I’m getting just as tired of soapbox atheists pushing atheism “down people’s throats.” Both viewpoints have their extremists; Silveira is one. If you’re going to publish his opinions, you might as well sidebar some holy-rolling snake handlers.

By the way, John, I believe a more accurate picture, historically, is that the original framer’s were primarily Christians. The words they left behind and the actions they took, these clearly demonstrate their Christianity and the Godly purposes they had for this nation. Consider “In God we Trust”, “One Nation, Under God”, etc. In fact, from the very beginning, the Mayflower Compact stated “In the Name of God…” and continued “Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and the advancement of the Christian Faith…” Though they didn’t want a state-run religion, any honest observer would have to admit they would be shocked over the present amoral and godless state of the union. No one in that day and age, probably ever believed we would sink to our present-day cultural lows or abandon our Christianity and civility as we are presently doing. The need to legislate the obvious wasn’t necessary. What was legislated was a defense against the threat of that age: A government preventing the free worship of God. Your wish, John, may be for a totally free society in which there are no absolutes, no laws (i.e. anarchy). If so, you would be more honest in your efforts to simply take the tack that “Things have changed.” and pursue your vision along those lines. History is cast; you can try to misinterpret and misinform, but you will only wind up looking like an idiot or a dishonest perpetrator in your false efforts to erase and/or cover up the early Christian foundation of this declining nation.

Tamra Creznic, York, PA

I take issue with the means you use to argue against a Christian Government in the Nov./Dec. 1998 issue of BHM. You not only use your story to strongly disagree with a Christian Nation but take the opportunity to slam God and Jesus by looking at worldly institutions and man-made disasters. You also took the time to portray woman as being not to bright and in need of a ultra assertive male to straighten her out. Yes, your hopefully fictional character, Laura, is in my feeling misguided. However, the steamed clam dude Mac acts like he has everything figured out, not! He should pick on someone his own size. I know a couple Christian women who could easily turn it around on him, but I don’t think they would be arguing for a Christian Government.

You have taken Jesus’s words in Mark 12:17 out of context and used them to support your own agenda on taxation. In doing this you left out the important part. Case in point; “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,” is grossly incomplete. The correct version is: “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s”. This was a response to a Pharisee confederate planted in a group gathered to hear the Messiah’s message. Their ploy was to get him to tell people to quit paying taxes then have him arrested by the Roman legionaries. He left them shaking their heads. What is God’s? That’s the question. I hope you will look for God in your life. He’s there but not bound by temporal laws. He is the Alpha and Omega. Mark 12:26 “I AM the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” Peace to you,

Eric Long, Columbus, OH

I would like to applaud John Silveira’s courageous attempt to clear up the confused issue of religion vs freedom in his Critical Thinking column (Nov/Dec 98). Our founding fathers knew from the examples in Europe exactly what happened when autocratic central government bureaucrats teamed up with ambitious church bureaucrats—a total stamping out of all economic, religious, and personal freedom in that society.

They knew that if any one of the many transplanted religions, mostly various Christian sects, was able to establish itself in the United States as a state religion, that it would outlaw all competing religious sects and help itself to tax revenues stolen from the pockets of the American citizenry. This was unacceptable.

Therefore, with Thomas Jefferson in the lead, our American system was devised in which all religions would be protected from state repression but, in turn, would be forever denied the possibility of attaining official status. This is why church-state separation is such an essential element in maintaining our (relatively) free society.

Jefferson writes in “The Homage of Reason”, Letter to Peter Carr, Paris, August 10, 1787—

“On the other hand shake off all the fears & servile prejudice under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than of blindfolded fear.”

In this era of politically correct thinking, consumerism mania, and electronic disinformation, John Silviera’s Critical Thinking column is a breath of fresh air. It’s too bad he doesn’t have a broader forum for his writings. Keep up the good work, John!

Stuart Unger, Middletown, VA

I was excited to receive my November, December 1998 issue of your magazine. That was until I reached page 66.

The article, “Think of it this Way” by John Silveira certainly got my attention. Although I don’t disagree with all of his article I do recognize the writings of an anti-Christ. As a Christian Identity family we can not allow a publication in our home that supports such an author.

Thanks you for the opportunity to review your otherwise good magazine. But please cancel my subscription at this time.

R. Cunningham, Custer, SD

I feel so sorry for you and staff. You really need to stay away from subjects that you have no clear understanding about. The bible. Obviously you have never read the entire book. Like so many Americans, you’ve pulled out convienent parts to fit an agenda. You don’t have a clue about God and don’t know God’s character. The article made you look very foolish. I’d like to know what-in-the-world such a subject is doing in this type of magazine in the first place. I cannot support your magazine anymore…meaning buying it, letting others around me read it, recommending it, etc. Please remember that if one person writes in to a company…how many more feel the same way and don’t take the time to write? I really hope you READ THE BOOK!! Ignorance is bliss?

Connie Anderson,


Your magazine is fantastic, when I renewed my subscription I got “The Best of the First Two Years” anthology as part of the deal and I liked it so much that I’m ordering the other three anthologies. Since it’s such a good deal I’ll get all four and send a copy of “The Best of the First Two Years” to my friend who’s building a cabin in Gustavus, Alaska. He’ll love it, keep up the good work I especially like the articles by John Silveira.

Dale Hayes, Vacaville, CA

Thanks for the great reading. You and your staff should be commended. Yours is the first magazine I read cover to cover, sometimes two or three times.

Mark Van De Mortel,
Clifton Springs, NY

I just purchased my first issue of your magazine yesterday. It is the type of magazine I have been looking to find for years. I purchased it at Fleet Farm in West Bend, Wisconsin.

In past years I have had to buy four other magazines to receive all the information I wanted.

Dean J. Piatek, Kewaskum, WI

Backwoods Home is one of the most awesome magazines I have read in a long time. No one around me sells it, but a friend of mine picked up a copy of it from a bookstore when he was on vacation and brought it back for me. I was amazed! It has been a dream of mine to be self sufficient and your magazine gives me great hope as well as practical applications to many of my ideas and questions. Another friend of mine recently went to college and he found that the school library has a subscription to BHM. When he comes home every once in a while, he’ll bring an issue or two to read and tear through it, anxious to get to the next article. There are few magazines I read from cover to cover, but yours is tops on the list. Thank you for all the great ideas and wonderful articles.

Travis Rutter, Spencer, IA

Vacuum packer

I plan to purchase a quality vacuum packer, to seal grains and other dried foods from moisture. However, I wonder if I will be at risk of botulism or other anaerobic bacteria dangers?

I can’t seem to get an answer to this question. I would be willing to freeze the bags rather than place in cans only if necessary.

Kevin, Portland, OR

No, provided the food is correctly dried in the first place. Usually the only problem you might occasionally incur is mold—very evident by odor & appearance.
—Jackie Clay

Food grade bags

In Issue No. 54 you talk about putting flour in “food grade garbage bags.” I have read other articles that state same but up to this date I have been unable to locate food grade garbage bags.

I have tried local grocery stores, and food service distributors. If you have a source you could pass along I would appreciate it.

Terry Fisher, Onalaska, WI

Jean-Luc Annet at (877) 925-4782.

Burning plastic

In your Jan/Feb 1999 issue there is an article titled “Staying Warm” by Robert L. Williams. Contained within the article is a section called “Burning Plastic” (page 44). Under the Burning Plastic heading, the author recommends that the reader should burn plastic to heat the home. It is unfortunate that the author and/or editor is so terribly uninformed upon this area of knowledge. Rule #1 of building fires: NEVER BURN PLASTIC! The burning of plastic releases toxins into the air that are extremely harmful to the natural environment (not even to mention the poor fool who happens to be sitting fireside).

I would like to see some sort of reprint in an upcoming issue to insure that your readers do not follow the advice to burn plastic.

Jared Schreck,
Point Pleasant, PA

William’s article talks about heating your home “in an emergency”, not as an everyday means. But I agree with you, if it comes down to a choice of not burning a few plastic bottles or saving your family from freezing to death, you should let them die. — Dave

Don’t tell Dad

My name is Andrew Stamatis. I am 13 years old and I read your magazine front to back every time my Dad gets it. My problem is this: My Dad (Mark Stamatis) got your January/February issue and he really loved it. He gave it to me to read and I loved it too. Outstanding! But…I got into a sort of fight with Dad and I kinda uh…grabbed the first thing I saw and a…kinda trashed it. And this thing was uh…the Backwoods Home mag.

So, I was wondering if you could send a replacement magazine before I get in really hot water. I have enclosed the cover price of $4.00, cash, because I don’t have a checking account and I don’t want to ask Dad to write a check ’cause he’d ask why I needed it, and I don’t exactly want him to know about this yet. So if possible please send a reprint Jan/Feb 1999 Backwoods Home. Thanks a bunch!

Andrew Stamatis, Kent, OH

P.S. January/February was a great issue!

We sent the issue. Our lips are sealed. — Dave

Massad Ayoob

If all your writers are as accurate as Massad Ayoob your magazine is tops. We have been familiar with Mas’s articles for over 20 years and hosted his “Lethal Force Institute” in New Mexico in 1983.

His comments on the Mini 14 were right on the money.

At the age of 52 I took the NRA Law Enforcement Rifle Instructor School. In this 1 week course I was hitting a business card fastened to the target at 100 yards. This was a stock Mini 14 with factory sights.

Paul & Sarah Rockhold,
Belen, NM

Chocolate article

Hello, I just read the wonderful article titled “Chocolate Food for the Gods” by Richard Blunt. It was so informative and great to read. The history and the value of finding the recipes in the old suitcase brought back memories of my Gram. Truly a treasurable article found only in a great magazine like Backwoods Home. Thank-you! Can’t wait to read his next column.



Sign me up for another year—got to love Backwoods Home.

There’s something I need to point out concerning the commercial advertisers. I guess they think the whole world possess computers, because many of them only give .com addresses.

I really, really live off grid and don’t own a computer, much less a telephone. I know advertising is expensive, but how can I order merchandise or catalogs if all I have is a .com address? Maybe they’re elitist and don’t want my business!

So be it, but I’m not the only one reading their ads or wanting to order their products and catalogs!

Anne Dodds, Bedias, TX

Ham & peaches

Thought you might like to learn of a new way to serve ham for your recipe section. It was by chance that I discovered a tasty new way to eat ham. After a ham steak dinner I put some peaches on my plate and ate them. Then I decided to have another piece of ham.

“Two great tastes that taste great together.” Anyway, I tried basting a ham with the juice from some canned peaches. It was delicious so I added some peach juice to the pot also and baked the ham, then basted it and served it with peach halves on the steaks.

It was liked by all at the table. Try it! It’s great!

P.S.: I read your Mag. and love it. I’m moving to Idaho and homesteading with info from Backwoods Home.

M. Stuart, Cedaredge, CO

Social Security

With everyone worrying about social security running out of money, it amazes me that we are having so much trouble.

How many people are there on Social Security? Well what if we took half of our population say out of 290 million people we said 145 million were on social security.

If we were to set aside 145 million dollars into an account at 4% interest, everyone would have $40,000 a year to live on. Without touching the principle. 145 million is peanuts—Clinton spent $50 million on a trip to China. I would like to have $40,000 to live on each year. Right now with Social Security I get $18,000, and if I work at all 15% of what I earn goes back into the pool. Talk about a rip-off.

L. D. Taylor, Cranesville, PA

Your math is off. $145 million is only a dollar per person, not a million per person. You’d need to set aside $145 trillion to get $1 million per person. — Dave

Criminal hoarders

I just received the Jan/Feb issue of Backwoods Home, featuring articles on “doom and gloom” preparedness. The topics covered reminded me of a recent set of observations I made.

A recent guest on the Art Bell, Coast to Coast program, while speaking about protecting oneself against Y2K problems, spoke about an experiment of buying dried beans.

Another Art Bell guest said don’t believe anything until you hear the official government denial. Both, apparently, were right on statements.

On the morning of, 12/12/98, the CBS radio affiliate in Los Angeles, KNX aired a piece stating that there are reports from all over the US of people stockpiling dried food. It mentioned how the sales of preparedness companies is skyrocketing. It also termed the preparing as more than marginally paranoid since the government has said the problem would be solved in time. The commentator laughed at a woman who has a seven years supply of dried food. He said he has enough trouble getting rid of one day’s Thanksgiving leftovers and couldn’t imagine how the woman is going to handle seven years leftovers when Y2K doesn’t materialize.

Later that same morning, while cable surfing, I came across an ethnic specialty station and a program called, Namaste America, which specializes in India/Asian subcontinent local news for ex-pats in the U.S.
The top story concerned the rising price of what was termed essential foodstuffs. It seems for reasons not fully explained, the price of certain basic food items, such as dried beans, has risen fivefold. And here is where the circle completed itself. Apparently, some may have seen the food prices coming because they stockpiled in advance. The Prime Minister rather than praising their foresight has begun the demagogic stigmatization of them to appease the unprepared majority. She said that the government is going to exert its full efforts to root out the “hoarders”. Preparedness has been criminalized!

In light of the report that banks are to step up their profiles of how we spend our money and the knowledge that if you buy too much sugar or cold remedy you can expect a visit from the BATF or DEA. (in a recent X-files episode, Mulder and Scully were assigned to detail the motives of people who the government thought bought too much fertilizer and in Salt Lake City, Smith’s Foods was subpoenaed for the records of customers purchases stored when they use their discount/value cards), is it farfetched to think that warehouse clubs won’t be databanks to ferret out “criminals” hoarding (Old) navy beans?

Victor Shanti,
San Diego, CA

Food storage

Our canned food is stored in our basement, and it is especially damp; especially after the Maine winters. I was wondering if a dehumidifier should help? Eventually we would like an outbuilding for storage purposes. My other question is what are #10 cans and is there someplace in the Maine area where they can be purchased?

At our homestead, we believe in living off the land. We got away from the hustle & bustle of life in NJ. Our friends that are still down there can’t understand why we would move to a place that doesn’t have anything. I guess it depends on what you’re looking for, because Maine has a lot more than NJ. We do things that make us happy not because we have no choice!

V. DeGroat, Poland, ME

Yes, a dehumidifier will help, as will any sort of good ventilation. Our Minnesota basement was particularly damp, especially in very cold weather.

We installed a wood burning stove for heat, and found that this also eliminated our dampness problem to a great extent.

#10 cans are the nearly-gallon sized cans you see in many supermarkets, labeled as “restaurant sized” cans. You can find them at restaurant supply houses and preparedness centers. You can also get them via mail from any of the preparedness centers which deal in mail order.

Congratulations for having a homestead in the woods. Happiness is worth more than money, any day, and is one reason we’re moving to a wild homestead in Alaska’s interior.
— Jackie Clay

Canning nuts

In the “Long Term Food Storage” article, Jackie Clay mentioned canning nuts. I haven’t been able to find instructions or information to do this and would appreciate any help you can offer.

Donna Kennedy, Central, SC

Nuts are a snap to can, and by canning them, the nutmeats will stay good for much longer than they will either in the bag or in an airtight jar.

Spread the nutmeats out on a clean, ungreased cookie sheet, and place in a low oven (not over 250°) until hot, but not browning. Stir as needed to prevent browning.

Meanwhile, sterilize by boiling, sufficient pint or half pint canning jars. Remove from the water just about five minutes before the nutmeats will be ready. You want the jars to air-dry without wiping with a towel, and still be hot to receive the hot nutmeats.

Also have boiled lids ready.

When the nutmeats are roasted (quite hot, but again, NOT browned) quickly fill the jars to within half an inch of the rim, place dry, hot lid on, and screw ring down firmly.

Nutmeats can either be processed by placing the filled jars in a hot water bath and processing for 30 minutes or processing for 10 minutes at 5 pounds pressure.
— Jackie Clay

Comments are closed.