issue 69 – letters – self-reliance – preparedness – homestead

Letters To The Editor

From Issue #69

Masonry stoves

I’m writing about the article on masonry stoves in issue #66 Nov/Dec 2000.

Been reading about them off and on over the last twenty years.

Where can I get plans or a drawing as I will be building in spring of ’01 and would like to incorporate one in our planned home.

I had lived in the mountains of southwestern PA, then Oct ’99 came to FL and will be going to the mountains of west VA and back to homesteading.

John Ruth, Palm Coast, FL

We’ve added a book on masonry stoves in this issue called The Book of Masonry Stoves. See page 93. We also did an internet search and came up with 9,330 sites. — Dave

Tanning hides

I have nearly all issues of your magazine since July/August 1999 but do not recall if you ever printed a recipe to tan leather without Quick Lime.

Quick Lime is next to impossible to obtain these days—why? I have several leathers I wish to tan and more to do in the future. If someone has a recipe without Quick Lime, would you be so kind as to print it in one of your forthcoming issues?

Wilma L. Fields, Lancaster, CA

We have such an article in this issue. — Dave

Need pen pals

I homeschool my three children, ages eleven, nine, and nine. I am looking for pen pals for my children. We live way out in the woods and I would like to find some other “country” kids for them to write to.

Christine Muller
30530 Smith Logging Rd.,
Oak Run, CA 96069

“Life at sea” article

I had the same dream…fishing for the biguns, sailing the Atlantic to Ireland or at least, to Bermuda. Then I saw that movie “Perfect Storm” and read the book. It scared the bejeesus out of me. Ain’t nothing wrong with staying alive.

Bought my first copy of your mag at Barnes and Noble in Memphis. Best magazine I’ve ever read.

Doyle Allen

Dictatorship article

Love your mag but I am hoping to see a little more emphasis on alternative construction (translated—cheap housing). I enjoy John’s articles on The Coming American Dictatorship. If you want an example of what an elected DICTATORSHIP looks like, just look at your neighbor to the north. We live with almost complete government intrusion in just about every aspect of life, be it business, recreation, religion, etc…Don’t even think about applying for a carry permit here. It has never been, nor will it ever be allowed, I fear. I don’t think a lot of Americans truly appreciate what they have. Thanks for all that you do and the message you are promoting.

A. Sawatzky, Canada

I have been enjoying the series on The Coming American Dictatorship—it really says, in depth, the kind of things I’ve believed for years. You may be familiar with the kind of looks I get when I call today’s United States a fascist country.

Even better are the looks when I explain what I mean, and the listener realizes what I’ve known for some time.

Are reprints of the series available? I’d like to get a few to post on bulletin boards at work and school. There are all sorts of people out there who would never think that BHM would be their kind of magazine, but need this sort of information in an easily understandable format. Your eminently likeable character of O.E. MacDougal makes the story at once more accessible and more chilling. Actually, he’s been the thing that makes me buy BHM more often than any other single reason. I should have supported your highly enjoyable magazine with a subscription far earlier, but I haven’t felt so strongly about it until now, with wanting to finish out the series as quickly as you can publish it.

My apologies for rambling on so long—I know you have another issue to get together. Please keep up the good work. It may not be the most lucrative career you could have embarked upon, bit it is so necessary.

Craig Greenlaw, Hillsborough, NC

We’ll put the whole series in a book when it’s finished. — Dave

I have been reading your magazine for several years now, but I am really happy to be reading (getting an education) through the “The Coming American Dictatorship” article. Mac seems to have investigated the facts to back him. I have felt that I was the only one with these opinions. While trying to convey my thoughts about “WE THE PEOPLE” to “US THE PEOPLE” (friends, relatives, co-workers, clients, etc…), I often was dismissed for lack of facts and/or examples. Many who listen, whether they agree or disagree, vote or not, feel powerless to make change.

Anyhow, the reason for the letter, is to inform you that “Family Law” just aired an episode reflecting the following statement (from your article):

“What about judges?” I asked. “Why don’t they step in?”

“The judge can be your worst enemy in the courtroom.”

A woman (one of the lawyers) had her breast uncovered and shown on Evening News while covering a riot. She sued the TV station. While fighting an uphill battle, she did obtain evidence to prove her point. The jury sided with her and awarded her $5 million. The camera flashes back to the judge, who barks to the jury about trying to rewrite the first amendment, telling them that they could not censor the news and changed the judgement.

It was a perfect example of what you were talking/writing about. The timing was so great, for I just finished reading part II of the article. I have read that you were cutting back on TV time, but I hope you get a chance to see that episode of Family Law.

Eurrat Saylor, Jr.,
Walkerton (Koontz Lake), IN

Thanks for writing the article on the Coming American Dictatorship. There are people out here that feel like you do but I fear there are woefully few. I find that when I talk to people about this subject I’m usually met with disinterest or that they look at me as if I have two heads. Thanks again for a great article.

Frank Toth,

Sir: I think I have all your editions except for several of the very first, and I covered that with the first anthology. I’m a great fan. I believe the “Coming American Dictatorship” will be most likely the most important series done in ANY publication in the past 20 years. Some way someone should make an effort to get it printed in the congressional record. (Rep Ron Paul?) I’m a writer—a “My Opinion” column in our local weekly for the past three years. My very best to you sir. Keep up the good work as long as you can, and cheers! Every politician should be required to take a written test on the Bill of Rights before being allowed to file for office.

John Parker, Junction, TX

Here’s your 22 bucks. Thanks for a great rag. The American dictator articles are great. We can’t be the only ones who see it. Keep up the great work. I was raised by depression era parents and really appreciate all your articles. Keep on with any constitution related articles. My wife and I both carry our little Constitution and Declaration of Independence book on us. We call it our gun carry permit. Unfortunately most of the world does not see it that way.

Don’t change a thing. Years back when I found you guys I thought you were a God send and still do! If I were flat busted I’d steal the 22 bucks to keep getting your rag. Ha Ha. Seriously, I appreciate your work on our lifestyle and agree with you 100% politically. Thanks again.

P.S.: If you, Silveira and Mac get to the wilds of Morgan County, stop by. We’ll have a few!!!

Jeff Bowman, Rockwood, TN

Massad Ayoob

Shortly after subscribing to Mother Earth News Magazine, I discovered your magazine and tried a back copy. In checking the departments I was surprised to find Massad Ayoob. Imagine that! A magazine that believes in the right to own a gun. A magazine that believes in the Constitution!

I immediately dropped MEN and subscribed to BHM. Now it’s time to renew. Please sign me up for another year. Thanks.

Ray Flaherty, Superior, WI

Alaska bound

I am a big fan, great information.

We want to live our “dream” in Alaska. Is there anyone out there that is willing to share their knowledge with me? I don’t want to show up totally unprepared. Right now we live in northwest Montana so we know the basics on cold weather. Any information anyone could give us would be great!

I normally use the “Pony Express” but I do have an e-mail address.

Dena Garcia, Libby, MT,

African missionary

Thank you for the best magazine I subscribe to. I live off the grid and find it helpful and fun.

In response to the missionary from Africa, I too lived, was raised and spoke native languages in Africa, in Voinjama, Liberia. I too lived in mud houses and learned wonderful skills from natives. I saw them as elegant, tolerant, wise people, esp. victimized by missionaries who came not to raise their standards from harsh survival but to change their beliefs, the very thing that keep people going.

This, in my opinion, caused the ugly wars of today, because young men do not any longer evoke respect as they age; no one pays the wisdom of their elders any mind. Missionaries saw them as children of ham, son of Noah, doomed to serve ‘white’ people.

This kind of religious prejudice has doomed other countries too…India with caste systems based on religion, oh! many more. Think about how many people have been killed over religious sites and customs. None of it based in science.

I am increasingly horrified by the blatant entitlement proffered by missionaries; they really think they are better people than the ‘savages.’ Do you think the Africans do not sense this?

C. Johnsen, Sheridan, WY


Just to let you know, I enjoy your magazine and pick it up every time I can in the store. I read the damn thing from front to back. On top of that when I’m on the internet I go to the web site (at least once a week) just to keep up on your new jottings. Your magazine is the closest thing I’ve found that aligns to my feeling of freedom and self-reliance. Thanks for showing that I’m not crazy. You must remember that the people that are viewed as crazy are actually the sane ones because they see just how bad things are. Thanks from Minnesota.

Steve Reichard, MN,

I found a copy of your magazine on our library free table. And folks, I’m impressed! After 30 years of self reliant, under the radar living, it takes a lot to impress me.

Here’s my check. I can’t wait to read more.

Pat Luckey, Commerce, TX

Love your mag. It’s the only mag I get that I read cover to cover, keep up the good work. I would like to see something on underground homes like how to, and pros and cons of one. Thanks again.

C. E. Thorne, Columbus, IN

I really appreciate y’alls articles concerning our Constitution. They’re an eye-opener for anyone with a brain. I noticed, however, that you no longer have a link to Claire Wolfe’s articles. Why?

I have enjoyed your magazine for several years and will get another subscription when I can afford it. I hadn’t realized it had run out.

My favorite articles are the ones by you, [Dave], John, Ayoob, and the irreverent joke page. Keep up the good work. Just maybe we can turn our country back around! Thank you.


Claire Wolfe has stopped writing columns for a while. She’ll get in touch when she’s ready to write again. She is one of my favorite writers. — Dave

Hello, my name is Dale Foster and I just recently found out about your magazine (or should I say, Mega-zine), and wanted to “Thank you” for a wonderful job.

Per chance a friend of mine lent me a back issue of Backwoods Home and I was hooked! I read it cover to cover in one sitting and walked away smarter because of it. I was intrigued by how so much information can be found under the cover of one magazine! Even the articles I wasn’t interested in were enjoyable.

I’m 27 and at the point in my life when I need to start thinking about the next 27 years. The older I get, the more I see the need for simplifying life. Over the past 2 or 3 years I’ve strived for doing just that, and feel to some extent I’ve succeeded. But I’m still thirsty for more information and I’m wanting to learn other ways to achieve that goal. Luckily, I’ve found a good source through your magazine.

I just read your article on Goodbye T.V., Hello constructive time. I couldn’t agree with you more. Other than the occasional video rental or video game, my T.V. has been off for almost a year now and I can’t express how peaceful it is and how much more time I’ve acquired. All my T.V. time is devoted to the computer and the internet. Trying to learn more about becoming self reliant and living the backwoods life, which seems ironic, using modern technology to learn about yesterday’s techniques. I want to live a simpler, backwoods life, but stay “connected.” Like yourself, I work hard and enjoy certain civilized comforts.

Anyway, I wanted to pass along a word of praise for a good job on such a wholesome and well educated magazine. Thanks again, God Bless.

P.S. I just ordered your 12 issue special and look forward to the hours of reading them.

Dale Foster, Austin, TX

I read your magazine from cover to cover, like most of your readers. I used to read Mother Earth, but it seemed to me Mother Earth got off track. I enjoy your magazine and agree with the content of the magazine, especially your views and the views of your other writers of our political situation as it stands today. Thank God there are still some writers and editors that still are willing to write about how they feel and what they believe in. I was glad that you decided not to add a politically correct publication or, as you stated, a nonpolitical version of BHM. My thoughts are that if all your readers don’t agree with your views they can skip those parts of the magazine, or do as I do and read some things they don’t agree with just so they know the views of others. A person doesn’t have to agree with everything they read; that I believe is called one’s own opinion. That is part of what makes this country so great.

I am one of those lucky people who grew up the way you and your readers are trying to live today, or as a dream for the future. I’m not living in the country or as self-reliant as I would like at this time in my life but hope to again in the future. One of my sons is living the life and I always send him and his wife your magazine after I read it. They also love it and are living as much off the grid as possible, so your articles are very helpful. I will be helping them to build a shed from straw bales this summer. This shed will be their learning experience for a straw bale home in a couple years. I have taught my daughter-in-law the art of canning and it is a pleasure to find young people who don’t expect everything right now and for God’s sake don’t let it be any work.

As a single parent, when my sons were growing up, I taught them to use firearms for pleasure and to hunt. I’m now married to a man who also loves firearms and hunting and we take such great pleasure in teaching our grandchildren to shoot and hunt. Most of our grandchildren were given a .22 rifle the day they were born and have been handling them since they were old enough to walk. I certainly worry about the misconception of most people when it comes to firearms. I see the only way is to educate people, but sadly you can only educate people if they want to be educated.

I really enjoy reading Jackie’s column, she gives good advice. I think I saw an advertisement for the Lehman’s catalog in your magazine and that impressed me greatly. Lehman’s is great even if you live on the grid.

Thanks for a great magazine.

Linda Beller, Spring Creek, NV

We had the pleasure of meeting at an August Preparedness Expo in Seattle in 1999. Your booth was the only one which didn’t dabble in the usual conspiratorial foolishness with all the usual suspects. Since that time, I have transferred to Germany in Heidelberg until my retirement two years hence. We love the magazine and always read it practically cover to cover. We homeschool four children so it is yet another adjunct to our curriculum. I, too, share your libertarian leanings but have completely written off the national LP as an effective vehicle for selling the ideas or having an impact. All your political rants are spot-on!

We would like to offer you and yours any hospitality we can offer if you ever find yourself in Europe. The mandatory implementation of the Eurodollar in 2002 will significantly increase the value of the USD against it making tourism very attractive. God help them, but the Left is salivating at the opportunity to gain effective fascist control over the EU from Brussels for all their utopian dreams. It will only be a matter of time before they start selecting candidate members of the population to be tossed into blast furnaces in the finest collectivist tradition.

Please continue the great work and a fine magazine.

Bill Buppert,

I’ve been to Heidelberg, while in the Army. I always said I’d go back some day as a civilian. Perhaps on a trip to my Irish ancestral homeland, I’ll pay you a visit. Thanks for the invite. — Dave

Hello, Mr. Duffy! I found your magazine on the internet a year or so ago. It’s very enjoyable and educational as well. I enjoy the discussions and the articles written by people who obviously THINK. I am continually shocked at how many people do not do that for themselves these days—and really bright people at that. I’m also dismayed at the amount of ignorance these same people display at how their own government works (or doesn’t).

I just saw two series run recently in the Washington Post on the D.C. police department. One dealt with the inability of the department to close murder cases (last year’s closure rate was about 33%!), and the current series deals with the criminal incompetence of the department’s personnel with firearms. For instance, they have averaged one accidental discharge a month for the past decade, and 19 cops have shot themselves or other cops during that time! And 75% of the cops shooting their guns in the line of duty FAILED to meet their own department’s minimum qualifying standards with their duty weapon! If the public only knew the truth about how dangerous a cop with a gun really is…

Here’s the address to read the article(s) today:

Anyway, one of the things I really like about your magazine is your attitude towards government. Individual people are responsible for their own actions or inactions, and when things get tough the answer is not to whine and cry to big government to bail one out of difficulty.

I currently live in rural Maine on 1.7 acres. My wife and I plan to buy even more acreage “further out.” Maine is one state that is still mostly rural, and the natives up here have a fierce independent streak. The southern portion of Maine is becoming more urbanized, with all of the attendent problems and government control. The northern part of the state is still pretty free. Buy what you want, build what you want, do what you want. Don’t pollute the water and everybody pretty much leaves you alone. If you install your woodstove wrong and burn your house down, that’s your problem! No government agent will call.

Anyway, I’m writing this on the company dime, so it’s back to the salt mines! Take care and best of luck with the future of your magazine.

Tom Streznewski, Maine

What can one say. More kudos to all of you. I have found every issue to be thought provoking and loaded with practical information. Your editorial stance must also be commended. Although I’m not always in agreement, I’m bound to find the arguments based on calm logic and common sense.

The articles by John Silveira should be bound and presented for teaching freedom at schools. The method using dialog between John, Dave and Mac is very effective. As well, I hope you continue your home schooling series. The ongoing contributions of Richard Blunt and Jackie Clay add to the value of your magazine. We as readers have come to feel we know your writers. I’d like to say more but would probably trip over myself with praise for your efforts.

My money is where my mouth is. I’ve ordered your last set of anthologies which gives me a complete set from the start. Keep up the good work.

Garry Tucker,

My husband and I have been reading your magazine for almost a year and absolutely love it. My husband always says that when it’s time to renew our subscription we need to do whatever it takes, even sell our shoes to get the money for the subscription. Thanks again for great reading.

Kim Howe, Toms River, NJ

Coffee article

I worked for a coffee broker, so wanted to comment on the coffee article by Richard Blunt. Contrary to popular belief, the best coffee beans are sent away by exporters. The common people in coffee growing countries get what’s left. Surprisingly, most people in coffee-growing countries drink inferior instant coffee. The only way to get good coffee beans is to know the growers and middlemen. I did enjoy a great cup of REAL coffee in the mountains of Honduras while on a missions trip. The pastor with whom we were working was a coffee grower, so we had home-roasted, fresh coffee (this was in March, so it was shortly after the harvest), sweetened with honey. It was the only time honey has ever tasted good in coffee, so I think it was made from the coffee blossoms themselves. The flavor was pretty bris, so they were probably robustas. We snuck some green beans in through customs (shh! don’t tell! my only act of smuggling!), but didn’t have the benefit of your instructions, so the roasting wasn’t good.

In defense of robusta beans: They are much maligned for lacking the complex flavor of Arabicas, but are often used (and burnt to a crisp!) in many espresso and dark roast blends because of their strong flavor. They’re also cheaper, so they save the roasters and distributors some money. I came to enjoy them during my 3 years in Peru, though they weren’t the highest quality.

One more comment on varietal beans. There was a scandal in San Francisco while I worked for the coffee broker. A distributor had replaced expensive Kona beans with cheaper beans from Panama and Costa Rica. The surprise was that the cheaper beans had the same flavor components as the Konas! That’s why the distributor was so successful in his fraud. So personal taste is more important than location. Thanks for another great issue!

Tracey Croteau, Chattanooga, TN

Limited government

I just couldn’t let the moment pass. Lee McGee put it so well in his letter in the Jan/Feb issue. Last June I had the opportunity to visit in Peru. My seat mate on a long bus ride was a native Peruvian physician. Because of the disputed election which had just been held there, we fell into a discussion of comparative political systems. Like the U.S., Peru has a Constitutional prohibiiton against any President serving more than two terms, but President Fujimori was able to change the constitution. All objections were rendered moot by a unilateral declaration of the Peruvian military generals and chiefs of police in support of Fujimori, regardless of the legality of his election.

My seat mate was an educated man, but the whole concept of a self-limiting government, with powers divided between the three branches, and with all the other checks and balances we take for granted, simply amazed him. The idea of a Federal government that does not need Uzi-toting police to enforce its legitimacy was novel enough. That such a government could actually exist, and remain in power for 200 years, he simply could not understand. Nor could he see the connection between our freedom and prosperity. In Peru, “legitimate” businesses are so drowned in red tape that they cannot exist without blatant corruption. It’s far cheaper to pay a “squeeze” to some bureaucrat than to acquire all the required licenses and permits to do business legally. More than 90% of Peruvian businesses don’t even try, but simply exist “under the table.” My doctor friend learned a lot from our conversation, but I learned even more. I learned what a beautiful thing our Constituion is. Even our most ardent patriots undervalue it! It cannot be a coincidence that the only nation on earth with a self-limiting government is also the richest. Peru is a country twice the size of France, with a population under 30 million. It has been in existence for over 500 years, and has areas of unspoiled natural resources the size of Texas. By rights, Peru should be a prosperous country; instead, it is the poorest nation in South America.

Our Constitutional government has survived times of poverty. But can our wealth survive the loss of our limited government? We had better watch where we are going, or we could end up losing everything we have.

Don Fallick, Salt Lake City, UT

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