issue 85 – letters – self-reliance – preparedness – homestead

Letters To The Editor

From Issue #85

Apple peel jelly

I saw Reneé’s question to Jackie in BHM (Nov/Dec 03) and thought I’d offer another suggestion to you. You can make apple PEEL jelly from the apple peel you’d ordinarily pitch or compost.

Place apple peels, lightly packed, into a 4.5 qt. pot with 5 cups of water. There should be about 3-4 inches of peels in the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and boil for 15 minutes, stirring as little as possible. Remove from heat, put the lid on the pot, and allow to stand overnight. (Optional, add a cinnamon stick when you let it sit overnight.) Strain the liquid into a measuring cup, and make certain you have 5 cups. Return to the pot. Gradually dissolve 1 box of pectin into the liquid and bring to a full rolling boil, over high heat. Add 7 cups of sugar (all at once), stirring to dissolve. Return to boiling, and boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat, skim foam if necessary, and can into ½ pt. jelly jars. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

I picked 4 bushels of apples this fall to make applesauce and apple butter with (to give as Xmas gifts), and I found the recipe for the jelly and tried it just for fun. We bought Red Delicious and Macintosh apples, and the red peels make the jelly a beautiful rose-pink. Plus it tastes marvelous!

Wendy Whipple
Matteson, IL

Irreverent jokes

Thank you for restoring “Irreverent Jokes.” It was always what my husband read first. He passed away May 2nd this year just short of our 46th anniversary. Backwoods Home was among his favorite magazines as is mine.

Sue Dawson
San Bernardino, CA

Mousers and cat loonies

Thanks for publishing your very interesting and informative magazine.

This message is meant to be a rebuttal to Mr. Duffy’s article on “cat loonies”—sort of. I say sort of, because essentially I agree with everything he said.

Mr. Duffy’s description of the human/feline partnership is very apt and just fine by me. I too understand that sometimes pets may fall prey to larger predators. Such is the natural circle of life. It is not the death of animals that I have a problem with, it is a life of agony. Mr. Duffy sounds like he provides a great life for his mousers. However, he fails to realize that the humane society worker doesn’t know him or his intentions.

Believe it or not, there are people out there with malign intentions not merely to neglect, but to actively torture or maim little animals. It is the rescue organizations that deal with these types of situations on a regular basis. I don’t know exactly what type of animal shelter he was at, but most of these places put a lot of effort, money, and time into the animals before they are put out on the adoption floor, so they care about what happens to them.

I would not sign something giving a stranger permission to come to my home unannounced either, but instead of using sarcasm and name calling, maybe Mr. Duffy should consider asking the organization to change the wording of their form. As a non profit organization they probably don’t have extra time or staff to pay him a visit anyway.

As long as I am writing…on another note, I am a big fan of your mag, particularly Jackie Clay’s articles!!! It may surprise you to know that people who are politically very liberal, can also be committed to self-reliance, living off the land, and hard work!!!

Name withheld by request


Enclosed is an article from our local paper. I thought of your magazine as soon as I read the story (about a self-reliant couple living off-grid.)

I am one of those you ‘captured’ from the self-reliance magazine a few years back. I’m now an avid fan of your writings and look forward to each new issue.

A little regional geography if you don’t mind. Balsam Grove is a tiny community nestled in a high valley about 2,800 feet ASL in upper end of Transylvania County. We live in the mountains of southwestern North Carolina within sight of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We live about 16+ miles from town and nearest grocery stores, though we live in another community. We love it out here though we “are on the grid.” . . .

I am one of those who listened to the fears of Y2K. A militant acquaintance of ours encouraged those of us who would listen to really stockpile for the worst case scenario. I stockpiled thousands of 22 cal. rounds (for my rifles and to be used later for barter), extra non-perishable food for a year for us, and had an extra 250 gallon propane tank installed. We had installed an 8kw generator when we moved here 8 years earlier with the concern of ice storms. I planned to have enough gas to take us comfortably through the winter and spring should we lose all power. As it turned out, some would say we wasted a lot of money. But the winter of 2000 was very cold here and our propane dealer’s truck could not maneuver our sloped driveway due to lingering ice and snow for over six weeks. My 500 gallon propane tank was down to 8% volume. We are at 3,400 ft. ASL and it makes a world of difference for keeping around ice and snow. We remain in a winter wonderland long after the snow has melted down at the post office only a mile away and 500 feet lower. Needless to say, I was thankful I had the extra 250 gallon reserve. Most of the food which we could not consume was donated to our local Sharing House or church. I guess I have a similar mindset as to the couple in the story, but we do love our creature comforts.

Arthur Raynolds
Lake Toxaway, NC

Slimy politicians exploit the poor

My congratulations to Mr. John Silveira, and your editors for putting into print what many of us have known and believed for years, that slimy politicians exploit the poor, especially black poor, and dare I add Hispanic poor, to achieve their grab for power. The subversion of our Second Amendment rights, and creation of generations of “sheep” who become dependent on the “scraps from the masters table,” not realizing that the masters are “stealing the steak off their plate,” can be called nothing but organized crime. All citizens, not simply “the poor” need to wake up and realize that government should be enforcing your Constitutional Rights, and securing your right to the pursuit of happiness.

Instead there is a belief amongst many that “the government is the means toward happiness/prosperity,” and like sheep, freely allow the stealing of their rights (through Fabian Socialistic means), in a misguided exchange of “rights” for “security” they believe that they will be “taken care of.” After all, don’t we all believe the government knows best for my family, and have my best interests in mind; they say so, therefore it must be true, a politician doesn’t lie, right?

For reasons I have yet to fully understand, I continue to live in the “Land of the Fruits and Nuts,” where special interest groups, not the will of the people are the rule of law, the political circus known as California. But I have yet to take the Bear flag and retreat in defeat. After all, why would I want to leave? I now enjoy some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation, biggest state deficit in the nation, and some of the highest taxes in the nation. In addition to the previous selling points, I have the new comfort that yesterday our glorious (and hopefully soon to be recalled) governor is now granting drivers licenses to illegal aliens, in addition to schooling their children, and providing their medical services; all of which I dearly enjoy paying for.

I do have to wonder though, has the meaning of ILLEGAL changed? Just one more example of how far politicians will go to secure votes, and perpetuate race as a trump card, simply to increase their flock. Duty, honor, and country seem to take a back seat when you can secure votes/power. I remain hopeful, though likely unrealistic, that there will be an awakening here, and their heads will pop out of the sand, but I’m afraid that it’s not sand where these people have their heads buried. So for now I continue to live in the “Golden State” taking a “golden shower” from its elected officials. If things don’t change soon, my sons instead of growing up in what was once the “Land of the free” will be living in the “Land of the Enslaved.”

Thanks for allowing me to exercise my First Amendment rights by writing to you, and though I have always enjoyed purchasing your magazines off the newsstand, I look forward toward your processing my subscription. I’ll be calling your subscription lines Monday.

Brian S. Dailey
Bonsall, CA


Love your magazine. I just wish it came out every month. I especially like the articles by Jennifer Stein Barker and Jackie Clay! What wonderful women! We live on 40 acres in the boonies (more or less) and we’re pretty much self-reliant. I have all of the anthologies! I read and reread them a lot! Love ’em!

Barbara Jenkins
Venus, TX

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