issue 67 – letters – self-reliance – preparedness – homestead

Letters To The Editor

From Issue #67

BHM hits home

I was born 6/30/25 in the central coast of California. We had NO electricity, we cooked and heated with wood. The outhouse was over a canyon, open to dogs & varmints. We did not have much and lived off what we could grow and kill. When I was six years old I was given a .22 single shot Hamilton rifle and sent out to shoot rabbits around the hay fields. The one good thing was we lived near the ocean and could get fish, crabs, mussels, and abalone.

Your magazine hits home to me. I keep hoping that I could get back to that life. Thank you, keep it up.

Walter Victorine, Carmel, CA


First, let me say how much I enjoy your publication! This month’s cover (Nov/Dec 2000) is really great!

Have you noticed that some of the wealthiest folks are not nearly as content as those who make do with less? For example: Our family of five lives on an income less than half that of our peers. We do not live extravagantly but have everything we need and a few things we “want.” Therein lies the key: WANT. While others live in $250,000 homes, ours was less than $40,000. While they both go off to work, I stay home and raise our children and run a home business. My husband works a blue collar job and likes it. He could earn more elsewhere, but would he like the job?

Why do people now days have to have everything now? The way I see it, they sure do have everything: debt, debt, debt! Are we a culture so mesmerized by the allure of a dollar, that we can’t see the big picture? Someone much wiser than I said “It’s not what you make, it’s what you spend that counts!”

Everyone laughed as we bought our home. An old farmstead with a relatively new pole barn, an unliveable house, 100 acres of land and no neighbors. I could visualize the finished product although I knew it’d be years in the making. After 7 years, the mortgage was paid off. Every improvement made has been paid for and not borrowed on. Although we’ve still got some unpainted rooms and a couple unsided sides to the house, we’re warm, dry, cozy, and mortgage-free. We don’t sweat out $1000 +/month mortgage payments for the next 30 years! One of the biggest rewards is “bragging rights.” We’ve done everything ourselves, from septic system to a new roof. There’s a lot of satisfaction in that. We live with a lot less stress than our counterparts. This carries over to many aspects of our lives. My husband and I spend much time together, working as a team. We set and attain goals for each season. This is good role modeling for our kids and keeps us connected. We learn from, and with, each other. The kids are getting old enough to help and are learning the importance of teamwork and family.

I’m glad to read of your interest in homeschooling. Our local public school is a good place for my children to learn. We’re among the lucky ones, I guess. According to the teachers and educators I’ve spoken with, children who have been raised by their parents and not at day care, are far advanced in all areas over their peers. This is true with my kids. The one problem is that while great strides are made serving the underachievers—to get them caught-up, there is little offered for those needing advanced curriculum. So, with that in mind, I hope to see informative articles that will help me to augment my children’s education. Perhaps you could note the grade level or age appropriateness of the homeschooling articles. We’re looking forward to them and more issues of BHM.

Terry Hirsch, Elba, NY

Bloodhound reading

I would appreciate a replacement copy of the Nov/Dec 2000 Backwoods Home. My Bloodhound found it very interesting reading. If there is a charge let me know.

Buel Boaz, Bakersfield, CA

Sent at no charge. Your bloodhound has taste. — Dave

Hydro power

Before I renew my subscription to your fine magazine I must be assured of something.

I have requested through your survey and in a separate note that you do an article (or two) on Hydro Electric Power production. I mean a really good one. Comprehensive. Something to include fabricating parts or salvaging useful components from autos or scrapyards. An article that gives the same amount of attention to detail as some of Michael Hackleman’s articles (16 pages last issue). Detail a system that would produce a minimum 1500 to 2000 watts per day from a pelton wheel or other type of water wheel with the emphasis on the backwoods guy building or fabricating most of the equipment himself. Can you do it? Will you do it?

Here’s my deal. I’ve enclosed my check $21.95 for the next year of Backwoods Home Magazine. If you can promise me you’ll cover the above described subject in depth in the next 12 months then cash my check and send me the mags. Plus if you do do the article I’ll renew for 5 years next time around! I promise, and I’ll tell a friend!

So how ’bout it Dave? I can’t be the only one out here wanting that information. Not everybody can use wind and solar to make electricity.

Mike Ing, Lakehead, CA,

I promise. The first hydro article (by Michael Hackleman) is in this issue. — Dave

Statistics commentary

A great editorial by Dave Duffy. Contrary to what most people seem to think, statistics is not boring. It is absolutely essential to understanding and clear thinking. The misuse of statistics by politicians happens every day. Their figures are accepted without a thought. You do not have to be deep into mathematics to understand the basic principles of statistics and clear thinking. It should be the basis for evaluating things in everyday life. Because you want a backwoods home does not mean you must be backwoods in thinking. Right on, Dave! A fresh breath of clean air amongst the polluted smog coming out of Washington.

Frank W. Summers, Santa Ana, CA,

Stupid people

I enjoyed your article on stupid people. It gratifies me to see other people reasoning. The lack of original thinkers plagues the world, and the stupid abound. That is perhaps why the buggers get away with it. Good brain-washing creates good drones, and although they don’t torture and execute us any longer, they (the buggers) still try to segregate the thinkers from the drones and have managed to do so very effectively. Thanks to this medium, positive interaction is now possible and paper publishing is widely available. Keep up the good work. Cheers.

Javier Harth,

New England office

I am a subscriber to Backwoods Home Magazine and I enjoy your magazine very much but your comment on page 6 (New England Office) of the November/December 2000 edition really bothered me.

Perhaps you were being facetious and I misunderstood your tone but to say that New England is “largely a wasteland when it comes to self-reliance information” is absurd.

I was raised in New England and taught to be self-reliant by rural people who lived in Vermont and Connecticut, people who had to be self-reliant in order to survive. These were poor, hard-working farmers who know more about living off the land than you and I will probably every know.

I have many friends in rural New England who still are teaching me new ways to improve my self-reliance skills. Many of these people have always been self sufficient and have had a full life of personal independence.

Win Wilson, Henderson, NY

I was being facetious. — Dave


Enclosed is $20 for anthologies #2 & #3. I’ll be sending more money in every chance I get. You guys are the only magazine out there that is worth my money, AT ALL. Thank God you made the anthologies available for those who haven’t been with you from the first … And Richard Blunt’s articles on food are incredible! He seems to have an intuitive grasp of his subject that is a wonder to behold. I only wish I knew 1/10th of what he knows!

Anyway I could carry on for days about how I love Backwoods Home, but you get the idea … you guys are all incredible, Jackie Clay, Dave, John (John, the poems that aren’t nauseating are wonderful, and the other writing is marvelous!), Mac, Richard, etc. Bless you all, heaps & bunches. Thank you all, for everything you do.

Joanna Scalf, Springtown, TX

First I must tell you that I love your magazine. I have been buying & experiencing it for years.

Your article, Ilene, in the March/April 2000 issue on pages 45-47 really hit home here. My husband & I recently moved from Florida where for 16 years we struggled with 7 days a week both working 2 jobs each to make ends meet with 2 children. We now reside in an area of Tennessee where we can finally realize our goal of running a home/family farm and becoming self-sufficient while being here for our children. It has definitely not been an easy road. But the knowledge that 650,000 family farms have ceased to be in the past decade has been a real motivator for us. We hope to become a tree farm and would appreciate any future articles you can do on set up and running a family farm! … I am superimpressed by your U.S. Constitution Book—and have often felt it should be read & given to each and every person in this country.

Elaine Kuhl Goldman, Soddy Daisy, TN

About two weeks ago I found your magazine while shopping for groceries. I honestly can say this is the greatest magazine I’ve ever found. I’ve been looking for something like this for quite some time. Thanks!

Brian Russell, Wayzata, MN

I think your magazine is great. There is so much useful information. I’m planning to buy some land in a very rural area in a few years and the information from your magazine will be put to use.

Just when I think there is nothing more to know about self reliance, I pick up your magazine and find so much more information. I hope your magazine is around forever.

Bradford Drew, Plymouth, MA

I Love It! A true voice of truth and wisdom in a sea of whining, drivel, and complacency. Thanks for your mighty efforts.

Bob Gresham, Centerville, TX

Irreverent joke

A man stopped at a farm to ask for directions and saw a pig with a wooden leg. He told the farmer. “I never saw a pig with a wooden leg before.”

The farmer said, “Don’t make fun of my pig, he is wonderful. My little boy fell in the pond and was drowning and the pig dove in and pulled him to safety.”

The man said. “I wasn’t making fun. I just have never seen a pig with a wooden leg before.”

The farmer said, “He is so great that our house caught on fire in the middle of the night and that pig squealed and made a lot of noise until he woke us up and saved us from the fire.”

The man said, “Yes he does seem great.”

The farmer said, “You bet he is, and you don’t eat a pig like that all at once.”

I love your magazine. Keep up the good work. I saw a bumper sticker that said, “Y2K bug found dead”, just like you said at Backwoods Home Magazine. Congrats.

Garnett E. Doyle, Clarkson, KY

Dictatorship article

John, “The Coming American Dictatorship” is excellent. I was critical of your baseball article a while back. Take it all back now! You’ll probably have some of the government’s finest shadowing you now…

Dave, Tony Brown (Grateful Trucker) [letters, Nov/Dec 2000] is right—drive long haul myself and your magazine at truck stops would do well. Most drivers are good ole boys (and girls) and they are pissed about how things are going down in the U.S. Keep up the excellent work you two.

Marcus Frisch, Hayward, WI

I just wanted to drop you all a line and say “GREAT JOB.” I have been reading your words ‘o wisdom for a few years now, and have found them to be on target. My wife and I have been planning on leaving the “rat race” when the time/money issues have been resolved. Until then I look forward to every issue and could only wish it came out 12 times a year instead of 6. I read and re-read until almost everything from cover to cover is burned into the grey matter. I loved the article about the upcoming monarchy. I’ve been yelling about that for years to anyone who would listen and not call me a radical…but now it’s in print. Hopefully things will change! Again…GREAT JOB!


I have been an avid reader of your magazine for a few years now, so much so that I purchased the anthologies to cover the first 5 years, to be sure that I wouldn’t miss anything. I also refer daily to my pocket sized copy of the Constitution and The Declaration of Independence while reading the newspaper or watching the news.

Just received the Nov/Dec 2000 Issue and tore through John Silveira’s “The Coming American Dictatorship.” This article was like the lost piece of a jigsaw puzzle which is needed to make sense of the whole. I’m 56 years old and for years I have noticed subtle and sometimes not so subtle changes taking place. At first, it’s just an uneasy feeling, hard to define: a headline here, a news blurb there about normal everyday law-abiding people who have broken no law nor are charged with any crime, having their houses broken into and/or their possessions seized by agents of some level of government. Suddenly you realize, “Hey, that could just as easily have been me!” Apparently Amendment V of the U.S. Constitution regarding “…nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law: nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” no longer applies.

Another part of Amendment V states “…nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb;…”. It seems the system has figured a way around this, too. One which quickly comes to mind is the murder of a civil rights worker. State law tries the accused for murder. For the same act, the feds try the accused for violation of the victim’s civil rights. This certainly seems like a noteworthy goal for which no one should find fault, “but the logic you’re using can be applied to more than one case, and logic is independent of the subject content,” to quote O. E. MacDougal. It doesn’t take long before federal hate crime legislation is used to prosecute the accused in addition to whatever state charges he must face. Notice, legislation such as these are always initiated in response to some worthy cause. Who could object?

The process has gotten so tainted that even the National Rifle Association argues that the federal, state and local law enforcement agencies should enforce federal gun control laws already on the books instead of arguing that the laws on the books are in direct violation of individual liberties guaranteed in the 2nd, 9th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution of the U.S. of A. The NRA has actually been involved in drafting previous state and federal gun control legislation on the premise that a compromise with the gun grabbers was necessary to preserve some of our gun rights. I’m sure that sounds good in Washington, D.C. but it’s just so much hogwash in fly-over country.

The ability of every man to defend himself, his family and his property is either an unalienable right or it is not. That’s why I belong to Gun Owners of America—an organization which takes an uncompromising stand on 2nd Amendment rights. The Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership also takes an uncompromising stand on gun rights (and who knows better than the Jewish People what happens when the gun grabbers have their way).

Another method used by the U.S. Congress with some frequency of late is to cheapen the unalienable Bill of Rights by calling proposed legislation such things as: the patients’ bill of rights, the property owners’ bill of rights, the “what’s happening now” bill of rights, etc. By marketing these legislative schemes with the words “bill of rights” attached to the name leads citizens—no longer properly schooled in the founding of our country, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights—to believe rights are granted by government edict and that no rights are truly unalienable.

A separation of powers between the three branches of government is capable of functioning as the founders intended, only if there is a free press willing to expose corruption of the process. Today’s liberal/socialist media, however, is unwilling to bring forward any untoward activity unless it conforms with their agenda.

One more before I quit venting and sign off: it seems that it’s now a federal crime to lie to an agent of the federal government—FBI, BATF, U.S. Marshals, IRS, etc. No need for sworn testimony of any sort, just don’t give the answers a federal agent is looking for and you can be in violation of some federal statute. Also, if I were on a jury panel, I would accept no testimony from a witness whose testimony has been extorted from the prosecution (reduction of sentence, charges dropped, promise of immunity, etc.) and would vote to acquit the accused if such a tactic were used.

Enjoy your magazine. Keep up the good work.

Lee McGee, Jeanerette, LA,


Thank you for being one of the “down to earth” voices of Libertarianism in the world today! I have recently renewed my subscription for two years because of this, as well as because of the usefulness of your articles, ads and classifieds.

Unfortunately, I never knew I was a Libertarian until I turned 48 a few years ago. All the time before that I thought I was Republican or Independent. I had associated Libertarianism with Larouchies. Then I found your mag on a local dealer’s rack and picked it up. Not for anything to do with my political views, but for the independent lifestyle dream. I spent a lot of holidays growing up at my uncle’s cabin in northern Michigan where I caught the fever.

I don’t know where this country of ours is going, but I don’t want it to keep heading toward its socialistic tendencies. Have you guys given any thought to succession planning within your organization? Who will be carrying on the excellent tradition you’ve built? Very few people like to think about it, but what about 10-20 years from now? I can think of very few “lighthouses” that focus on Liberty as well as your magazine does. Perhaps even better than the Libertarian Party!

Thank you for your continued focus. As for articles I would like to see, how about more on acquiring land, maybe some consumer research into “claiming public lands” or other tips from people who have achieved the “Backwoods” life style?

As for me, I am a metallurgical engineer and an amateur blacksmith. I would be happy to assist your readers in any way I can with info that I might be able to provide on metals or metalworking. If I don’t know the answer, hopefully I can direct them to someone who does. They can contact me at

Kin Gorton, Eureka, IL

Mandatory volunteerism

Is it just me being a poor citizen, a bad spirited republican, or a mean person, but do others feel that mandatory volunteerism is an oxymoron.

Irvington High School, in Fremont, California has a graduation requirement that says all students must provide 40 hours of “Community Service” (within their 4 years stay), or they won’t be allowed to graduate. I feel that it should be encouraged, but not a mandatory graduation requirement.

I don’t know if it is a fiscal issue, but 1,600 students at 40 hours = 64,000 hours (over 4 years), or 16,000 hours per year, at one high school. 16,000 * 5.00/hour = $80,000 the community is saving, as our kids are forced to work.

I do personally volunteer, in the past with a Sheriff’s Dept. Urban Search & Rescue Team, and currently with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, so my children see community volunteerism in action.

I just feel it’s wrong to make it mandatory. I believe they’re exploiting the kids.

Leonard Gomes, Fremont, CA

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