issue 91 – letters – self-reliance – preparedness – homestead

Letters To The Editor

From Issue #91

A lime white wash that works like paint

Maybe some people can’t afford to buy paint for their out buildings and wood fences. I have a solution for them. It is called “Dehydrated Lime White Wash” or “White Wash.”


1 gal. water
1 lb. salt or 2 cups
5 lbs. of lime

Mix good in a pail.

Maybe you could use a little more water, but test it on a piece of wood first before adding more water. Let the piece of wood dry to tell if it’s white enough.

Twelve years ago, my sister and I did her long chicken coop with this white wash. It looked just like white paint. Her doubtful husband couldn’t believe the good results.

P.S. What about adding some color to this white wash.

Jean Sass
Valley Center, CA

Moving to 5 acres with a quirky old house

When I first started receiving Backwoods Home my husband used to tease me and call it my “Backwards Home” magazine. That was until he picked one up. Now he enjoys the technical articles on building, water systems, solar and alternate power sources. I love the articles on cooking, canning, wild foraging, native herbs, and gardening.

I have always had a survivalist attitude towards life. We go on off-roading trips with a large group of people. My husband and I have acquired the reputation of being prepared for anything. They all tease us a little, until they need something or someone is injured and needs use of my always fully stocked first aid kit.

For the last few years we have lived in our little “starter home” on the edge of a beach community. We have come to realize we are not neighborhood people and could never be truly comfortable here for more reasons than I could list.

But we are moving to five acres with a quirky old farm house. We have been restoring it all summer. (“Restore” being a very nice word for it!) The previous tenants nearly destroyed the house and littered all over the property. It has been a huge undertaking but we love it here with the trails through the woods, established orchard, and plenty of room to grow. Thanks again for the great magazine and all the wonderful references it has led me to!

Sandy Housego
Whidbey Island, WA

Looking for low-pressure steam engine plans

I have just received all the books and CDs that came with my lifetime subscription. I feel like a young child at Christmas after Santa has been there. I figure if I live eight years you lose money on the deal.

I normally read Mr. Ayoob’s section first, then the sections on food and herbs. I’m a wannabe on self-reliance, reading and planning my future home. Building toys to use with teaching; I teach English and math. This is my second career, my first being a Master Sergeant in USAF.

I enjoy your work and look forward to reading it for a long time to come.

P.S. Does anyone have the plans for a low-pressure steam engine connected to a fire place/wood burning stove? A friend and I were kicking the idea around for places where winter solar power is not practical. Our general idea looked like this:

Stove —> Engine —> Generator

Michael O. Saucer
Del Rio, TX

Canvas roof from 7th Year Anthology works

As an avid reader of BHM, I would like to compliment you on a fine magazine. All of the articles are down to earth and very informative. One example I used was in the 7th year anthology on page 153 on canvas roofs. We have a mobile home that the roof was leaking very badly. After several attempts and a lot of time and money with no luck, I read that article, then went to the fabric store and bought enough 24-oz duck cloth to do the job and then used Kool Seal as an adhesive and finish coat. After a 2-inch downpour “no leaks.”

Jackie Clay has got to be one of the best homesteaders that ever was, and a very good cook. I really enjoy her articles. Also Massad Ayoob’s articles are very informative.

In fact Dave, don’t change a thing in your magazine!

James E. Jordan
Quincy, IN

Locksmithing is also a good country job

I am a recent subscriber to your magazine, and am very glad that I did. The anthology alone was worth the money. I am writing to you to comment on Mr. Ayoob’s article on burglary prevention, as well as “35 country jobs” by Mr. Sanders. I am semi-disabled and work as a locksmith part-time. I enjoyed both articles very much and wanted to point out that locksmithing makes a great job for the partially disabled or retired who are looking to get involved in a home-based or part-time business. Foley-Belsaw Corporation offers an excellent learn at home course for the basics of locksmithing. Many persons sell their already established businesses due to ill health or retirement every month. These for sale ads usually appear in many locksmith trade classifieds in magazines….God Bless and keep up the wonderful publication I’ve come to love. Also, high security locks for your home is never a bad idea.

Lynn Chambers
New Orleans, LA

Born and raised on a farm and still love it

… I’ve read my BHM and my free Anthology book that you sent me with my subscription to the magazine. I have really enjoyed reading my 1st issue and the Anthology book. I’m a farm product, born and raised on a farm and it’s still the best way of life. They can have the city life. I’ll live and die on a farm and live my country ways til then.

My parents lived through the depression years. Yes things were hard but they learned to appreciate what little they had and each other. I learned from my parents never to take things for granted, work hard, and take care of what you have.

My mother raised me the good ole fashion way. She made my clothes, canned everything (even meats) that would fit into a jar on a wood cookstove and we had a wood heating stove, a well and a cistern and up until 1959 we never had a TV. A radio yes but not TV. We read. Mom taught me to sew, embroider, cook, can, and I helped on the farm— hand milk cow, slop hogs, even picked corn by hand.

Dad farmed for years with a team of horses. Those were the good ole days. Dad also made homemade molasses from sugar cane. We had our own meats—beef, pork, chickens, geese, ducks and Dad hunted a lot. Dad always said live on a farm and you’ll never have to go hungry, live off the land and use common sense, live within means and have a good life and we did. I still do. I raise a garden, can, sew, work, and read and I live by myself on a farm. I just rent where I am but I live in the same house and have for 29 years. My landlord says raise what you want and do what you want out here. So I do and love it.

… I’m 59 years old and was born 7 miles from where I now live. I laugh and tell my 7 kids I never got very far in 59 years. My parents have been gone for quite sometime now—Dad in 1977 and Mom 1984 and I lost my only sister in June 2004. But I’ll make it just fine and live by what I was taught as a child. I have my Dad’s determination and will power. He always said “can’t” never could do anything, give everything a try and learn from the results. I do all my own yard work, house upkeep, garden and car … I started working at 14 on week-ends washing dishes in a relative’s restaurant and have worked and raised 7 children since then.

… Thanks so much and keep up the good work.

Helen D. Hall-Pate
Platte City, MO

People need to wake up to their lost freedoms

This is in reference to My View and The Last Word in BHM Nov/Dec 2004. Wow, talk about being “right on target” and “hitting the nail on the head.” If only politicians had the same insight.

Folks who understand practical real-life economics would understand that any Government socialist program is inherently flawed from the onset, regardless of how thick the “sugar coating” to convince the general public of its perceived benefits. All one has to do is learn the play-out results of socialism in all the Union of Soviet Socialistic Republics (USSR), not just Russian (one of the Republics), as it affected the daily life of the average USSR citizen/taxpayer. Socialism was beneficial for the Communist Party members, at the expense of the general public who actually “footed the bill” and brunt of the hardship, ever increasingly so in the later years. The remnants of the USSR today are essentially bankrupt. Doesn’t this sound familiar to what is going on today to the Federal and many State and local Governments, many of which have major debt and deficit woes, the result of Fabian Socialism? Fabian Socialism, by the way, is a society of socialists organized in England in 1994 to spread socialist principles gradually.

Unfortunately, here in America the general public is constantly bombarded with the idea that everyone can get some kind of Government economic handout because “they are special” for one reason or another. Politicians regularly use all sorts of gimmicks to garner support for their Socialized Program that will “help their constituents,” rather than ALL Americans. How? By first “taking,” as John Silveira so eloquently put it, and then fighting (ha, ha) to “giving back” in the form of a: tax credit, rebate, discount, refund, deduction, subsidy, etc. in exchange for “just a little more “authorization” or “power” turned over to Government.

… Socialism only works as long as 49% of the financial contributors are passive in paying for the 51% of the beneficiaries. Oh, don’t forget the Federal, state, and local bureaucracy cost to run the social programs is included in the 51% of beneficiaries and deducted from the actual benefits that may ultimately be dispensed to “beneficiaries who qualify.” Once the threshold of financial contributors of 51% is crossed, each beneficiary is increasingly paying directly for their own benefits and less of “Peter paying for Paul.” Of course, the general taxpayer has been paying all along, and the Federal, State, and local bureaucracies still remain in control of dispensing benefits to “beneficiaries who qualify,” thus insuring their bureaucracy employment, and retaining control.

… Americans must wake up to their lost freedoms and retake their Individual Liberties, not continue to be victims. Fortunately, BHM readers are more attuned than most to not being victimized, and being self-reliant.

B. Galioto
East Elmhurst, NY

Grounded radio tower offers good lightning protection for homesite

Regarding Dorothy Ainsworth’s article on lightning protection: During my employment by AT&T Long Lines in the 1980s I presented a study I did on lightning and lightning protection. I found that a properly grounded radio tower would protect an area the diameter of twice the height of the tower in a cone shape (imagine an ice cream cone upside down). A 50-foot tower would protect 100 feet at ground level in a cone shaped pattern up to the top of the tower. I used Rohn #25, a popular tower used by ham radio operators, available in 10-foot sections. I put the tower base in concrete 5 feet into the ground and additionally attached it to two 8-foot grounding rods. The tower is mounted beside my house attached to the eve with a house bracket to eliminate the necessity of guy wires. I use the tower for any antenna needs I have, including a satellite antenna mounted on the side, TV antenna, shortwave scanner, or ham radio antennas. It also provides a permanent, neat, and secure ladder anytime I need to access my roof.

E. Richard Hardin
Fort Worth, TX

Holding an M1 in your hands is holding a piece of American history

Just read Mike Blank’s article on buying an M1 Garand (Issue 89) from the CMP. I have two M1s that I purchased two years ago and I can’t tell you how much I enjoy those rifles. Not only are they great to shoot and impress people at the range with, but I catch myself just looking at them and thinking “If they could only talk.” To hold a piece of real American history in your hands like that is fantastic. The CMP folks are very courteous and fast to respond to any question you might have in the process of your purchase. It’s a great program that I would encourage people to take advantage of before these rifles are all gone, not only the Garands but all the other models as well. Supplies won’t last forever. You will love these rifles and will feel even better about getting them as time goes on.

Joey Narbutowitch
(MSgt Ret. USAF)

Thanks for “Lawyers” article and Ayoob

I read your article on Lawyers! (Issue 89) The conversational style makes the reading most enjoyable. It reminded me of the series you guys put together on juries and the Founding Fathers.

We did fine riding out Hurricane Frances. During the storm our children were out riding their skateboards and holding an old parachute flying down the road. We insisted on a gas house so we had hot water and cooking. When they turned the water off the small pool paid for itself and Mother Nature kept it full. Also, thank Mr. Ayoob for his articles on home defense, they came in handy. We were prepared.

Thanks for the teaching and the entertainment.

Melbourne, FL

An improvement to make a rat trap better

This magazine is great! Dave Duffy and John Silveira write some of the best articles I’ve seen in a long time.

The article about using peanut butter as a rat trap bait has been used for a long time around here. We have an improvement that can make the trap more effective. Take a piece of yarn and tie it around the trip for the trap while hooking it underneath the little tab to keep it from being pulled off. Then coat the yarn with peanut butter. The mice will try to pull on the yarn and trip the trap. Without the yarn, I’ve seen them lick the trap clean without tripping it.

William Brown
Kingstree, SC

Cows, as well as horses, get injected with drugs

… I was very surprised at how many people disliked you printing an article about eating horse. Wisconsin prisons used to feed inmates horse meat a long time ago. Humans have forever and a day eaten horse, as it was one of the first animals we killed for food. And, the fact that many people point out how the medications used on horses is labeled not to be used on animals going to our food market is almost laughable since I have worked on three dairy farms and can tell you that most farms feed, inject, rub, or use any other means to get chemicals into a cow to increase milk production or fend off mastitis. Everything has antibiotics or Human Growth Hormone in it. This milk goes from these Grade A farms to the dairy for that great Wisconsin cheese.

Many people don’t ever use any vaccines, antibiotics or growth stimulants on any of their animals. I know several people raising Mustangs that use nothing because they don’t want the genes of those who fall sick of disease in the herd to begin with. If it dies it dies as a natural part of nature. Only the fittest survive. This makes for a very hardy animal, and is perfectly good for eating.

But, I don’t eat horse. The idea is just strange to me, but I wouldn’t be appalled by others doing so. Same goes for dogs and cats, as long as it is not MY dog.

Jason R. Glascock
Green Bay, WI

Horsemeat far from taboo in Austria, Italy

With all this horse meat discussion going on, I feel I just have to say something to it too. First off, I live in Austria, in the Tyrolean Alps (just wondering if I am the only BHM reader in Austria?), and horsemeat, though not a usual fare here, is far from a real taboo. Most butchers’ shops don’t carry it day to day, but almost any will get it for you on pre-order. Also, on several occasions I have had the pleasure to eat some nice horse-gulag, which is quite a delicacy, and much better than gulag made with pig or cow meat. The horse meat is tender and almost fat free.

Much more horse meat though is consumed in Italy. The Italian border is just about 1½ hours drive from my place, and there are some really big butcheries there, which specialize in horses. Most of the horse meat is used to make salami, and let me tell you, if you haven’t eaten some real horse salami, you haven’t eaten REAL salami.

For those which are a little faint of heart and can’t stomach the idea of eating horse meat, I have a little special treat for you. I know for a fact that in Switzerland (not that far from me either) there are still some people which make traditional dog bacon.

Meat is meat, and the only concern I have is that it tastes good!

Alexander J. Pirchl

It’s a cultural thing, whether you eat horses, pigeons, or guinea pigs

While I was not suprised to see the backlash over the article on consumption of horse, I was very amused and entertained by it. Food is often a cultural thing, and the non-consuming culture is usually ‘horrified’ by the habits of the savages, which is anyone not like them.

Back in the 70s, when I was a struggling student at the University of Oregon, meat prices were going through the roof. One of the stores in Eugene, OR, I don’t remember which one, started selling horse meat from time to time. We tried it, didn’t particularly like it when compared to grain feed beef, but liked the price, so we ate it from time to time. The problem was, if you missed the announcement that a shipment of horse had arrived you missed out. The meat usually sold out very quickly, so there must be a lot of us savages out here.

I can remember a similar uproar when immigrants in Chicago started trapping pigeons in local parks to use as food. And today’s newspaper has an article about Peru looking to the United States as a market for one of Peru’s mainstays of protein, the guinea pig. They have bred a larger, about 2.5 pound model, and hope to export to us! That ought to cause some tummies to turn!

Even though I am not living ‘off the grid’ I enjoy your magazine. Thanks to a sharp-eyed wife, I started with issue #1 and have every issue since. They make up a collection I believe is important enough to preserve. And it’s great fun to be able to say “I have that” when someone says they wish they could find information on compost, or many other strange but helpful subjects.

I don’t always agree with the opinions you guys put forth, but, like they say, I will defend to the death your right to express those opinions. I look forward to each issue because, agree or not, I always find the magazine worth reading and saving.

Larry Wilson
Marysville, WA

Why be so squeamish about what we eat?

I’ve read all the comments addressing eating horsemeat and all I can say is Waaaaaaa! I lived overseas for a number of years and have eaten horse more than once. I find it to be quite good. I guess I don’t understand all the “sensitivity” to considering horse meat as food. Let’s be real, a horse is just an animal. Some of your writers comment that horses are primarily pets and therefore should not be considered a food source. I guess my question would be: “What do you use as a qualifier for what is a food animal and what is not?” Here are some possible qualifiers: Does its likeness appear on a box of animal crackers? Is it included in a Fisher Price farm set? If we can ride it we don’t consider it food? Is it an animal you pet? I suppose we could spend days qualifying it.

Examine other animals that people have as pets: sheep, goats, cows, pigs, deer … if these are pets and not food, then all we are left with is chickens and fish … but wait a minute, people have pet fish, and I know a couple of folks who are really attached to chickens … oh-oh I think we’re in trouble.

The U.S. has become so squeamish it’s almost funny. Other countries/cultures simply utilize their natural resources to the full extent possible to sustain themselves, where we in the U.S. have convinced ourselves that if it doesn’t have an FDA seal of approval it’s not fit for human consumption.

To the comments that horses are filled with chemicals and therefore should not be consumed … if you only knew what was in that pound of hamburger you made your last meat loaf out of … I’d like you to see the chemicals floating around in the average store-bought rib eye steak.

Living in various places in the world, I’ve consumed an assortment of bugs, all manner of fish, horse, dog, reindeer, beer, muskrat, lion, ostrich etc … I’m still here and so are the people who served the dishes. If it comes down to me not eating or Mr. Ed running free in the range, guess who’s getting covered in Bar-B-Q sauce and going on the grill?

Charles Kaminski, MSgt
United States Air Force

Never eaten horsemeat, but maggots taste fine

I have never to my knowledge eaten horse meat but I have eaten little white worms. I had a bag of trail mix sitting on my night stand and I was watching TV in bed with no lights on and I grabbed a handful of trail mix and began chewing it and swallowed it. As I was chewing I told myself that I did not remember that many raisins in the mix, I had another handful and again I did not remember that many raisins in it, so I turned on the light and took another handful and saw it had several little white worms … looked like maggots. So I ate that handful also. Did not do a thing to change the flavor of the trail mix. IT IS All MIND OVER MATTER!


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