Thanks for your article titled Ten Real Inspirations. I wasn’t aware that Vince Miller had passed away last year. I’m sorry to hear it.
Years ago I helped set up the first BBS system for Vince in his ISIL bookstore in San Francisco. As I recall, we used an old Wildcat BBS software program in order to keep the system as simple as possible.
In exchange for my help, Vince offered me $100.00 worth of books from his store. One of the books I selected was a collection of works by Lysander Spooner. That book was my first real introduction to Spooner and what were, to me, several “new” concepts that conflicted with public school teaching. Spooner has been a major influence in my thinking since that time.
I read your magazine for the informative, entertaining articles on homesteading and country life in general. If I wanted to have someone force-feed their political views down my throat, I would pay for that in a separate subscription. Leave politics (right, left, middle, all of it) out of your magazine if you would like to keep a wider audience. Of course, it is entirely your right to publish whatever you choose (and I fully support that freedom), but I for one will not be renewing my subscription. I suspect I am not entirely alone in this decision.
I will check back on-line occasionally to see if things have changed.
However, that piece was published in 2002 and in the seven years since then, things have gotten worse for those who believe in personal freedom and personal responsibility.
Perhaps now that the major media has finally realized their half-century-long dream of partnering with committed socialists in the White House and leading both houses of Congress, the masses you speak of will wake up one day to find an America that is far different than the utopia they were promised…and then do something about it.
But honestly, Randy, I’m not betting the house on it. There’s just too darn much for them to watch on TV.
I enjoyed your article a great deal and your conclusions about the Constitution not authorizing the current governmental train wreck are spot on.
But you failed to mention some small but important items — that officialdumb possesses far more ordinance than the entire populace combined.
All of the mice agree that the cat needs a bell…but who is going to tie it on him?
You might consider some remedy thoughts in an article some time. At some point the opposition strategies will devolve to confrontation. If that is to be non-civil war then strategies must be developed ahead of time that avoid violence. A very tall order since officialdumb is fond of violence.
Pulling all money out of banks and closing accounts en masse would cut the most tender flesh on the statists. Or a state banking system such as North Dakotas. (They have $1.5 billion in surplus state budget funds. Who else has that?) So would going to barter systems. So would pulling kids out of public schools. And of course, states rights laws which actually have teeth would make great tools. there many options, but all require citizen cohesion.
I have spent decades on this line of thought. It is fairly easy to create chaos that leads to civil war that leads to some Stalin character that rules for 80 years to ruin. It is far more difficult to stage non-violent opposition that wears down the elites to the point of departure so that statesmen can take office. Jesus said, “Consider the unrighteous judge…” A great plan. Elites love the best seats at the feasts, greetings in the market and titles. That is why they want the office. Booing and rotten tomatoes and disrespect make them pout and go home. Look at the current Town Hall Meetings and the reaction of the bloated toads.
You write well. Perhaps you could tell us all how to do things that work without our homes being burned to the ground by the New World Order troops. My great concern is that without such plans, the end result will be just that, only an iron fisted dictator will hold the power.
But what if the environmentalists really are at fault?
Remember back in the 70’s when they were crying about the coming Ice Age. But then they got the EPA to clamp down on coal burning, especially for electrical generation. Soon enough, don’t you know it, the skies cleared up from all the soot and next thing we’re experiencing Global Warming.
Of course that might also mean that increased industrialization, especially of India and China, is responsible for the decline and reversal of Global Warming over the last 10 years.
Wouldn’t the watermelons* hate to admit that?
*watermelon – green on the outside but red on the inside
Just curious…I just got through reading a book that scared the crap out of me. It’s called “One Second After.” The book’s story is that civilization in the US collapses due to an EMP attack. It got me thinking….How prepared am I if everything melted down? Sure, I have some things set aside for 1-2 months. However, if I had to rely only on myself, I’d be lost.
I heard about the Foxfire book series. However, from what I have heard from others, some of the information in the books is either incorrect or needs to be updated. Is this correct?
Now I come to the reason I am writing to you: Could you recommend an updated, modern version of the Foxfire books?
Humility may be one of its greatest benefits. I would have to say also that patience is definitely in the bargain, along with concentration, sportsmanship, and gratitude for those occasional great shots, chips and putts, and lessons learned.
I have had the pleasure of taking up golf recently, and it definitely can offer something heavenly right here on earth as reward for allowing a little white ball to help raise my awareness and self-reliance, and to let go of that which does not matter.
I must first preface my comments by saying that I am somewhat of an agnostic regarding this whole global warming issue. While I believe the problem is real, I am still not convinced of it’s seriousness or whether we can realistically do anything to stop it. Nor am I a blind faith-based global warming denier. So, I will stick to the particulars of the theory you have proffered.
Your explanation of what causes wind and how it works is largely correct, in that the energy in the wind comes entirely from the sun, as the sun sets up convection currents between warm and cool areas on the earth’s surface. The kinetic energy in the wind eventually dissipates in the form of low-level heat as the result of friction effects when the wind comes in contact with the irregular surface of the earth (and to a lesser degree, as the result of turbulence within the wind stream itself). Because the sun continues to shine and continues to set up convection currents, a steady state is achieved, which is why the wind continues to blow.
First off, even if wind power were built out to some total conceivable maximum, the combined swept area of all the wind turbines would represent but a tiny fraction of a percent of the total area of all the obstacles on the surface of the earth that the wind would normally encounter. Furthermore, as the rate of global deforestation continues to increase, we are very likely decreasing the amount of obstacles to the free flow of wind, despite the building of wind turbines. In other words, for every wind turbine built, there are probably thousands of trees over a hundred feet high that have been cut down, thus providing a smoother path for the wind than it had when the trees were still standing.
Second (and this is far more subtle), being that the earth is a rotating sphere, and the wind a fluid moving on the surface of that sphere, the motion of the wind is far from uniform and takes on the form of distinct circular patterns (e.g., the ‘trade winds’ etc.) that interact with each other in complex ways. Thus, for every unit of wind-induced momentum transfered to the earth in the direction of the earth’s rotation, there is somewhere on the earth’s surface an equal amount of wind-induced momentum transferred in the direction opposite to the earth’s rotation. It can probably be mathematically proven that these have to cancel out (just don’t ask me to do it), and result in no net transfer of momentum to the earth.
Anyway, it’s a very interesting theory. You ought to look into it further, as I strongly suspect that somewhere in the geophysical literature someone somewhere has analyzed just this sort of thing.
Sorry, Edmund, but I’m going to take a page from the Liberal Handbook and stick with my theory despite all the facts and evidence to the contrary.
It’s new world of hope and change and I’m going to be a good citizen and get with the program. I’m going to hope the laws of nature will change so I can be right.
And even if they don’t, perhaps I can get my congresscritter to introduce new legislation revising the relevant natural laws so my theory will be correct.
I mean, if they can revise the “natural laws” of economics and business and banking, why not those of other inconvenient things like physics?
I am writing to ask you if there is a reason why I haven’t been able to find BackwoodsHome in the stores around here. I live outside of Buffalo, NY and none of the stores that usually carry your magazine have had it. I even checked in PA.
One of the distributors for larger bookstores, such as Borders, went bankrupt a few months ago. Although they have reorganized and come out of bankruptcy, we have canceled our contract with them so that impacts some stores.
All these stores should have a computer database of what magazines they carry; ask them to see if they carry us.
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Undoubtedly many people have already written to you, explaining the fallacy of your argument about windmills and the speed of the earth’s rotation. But I couldn’t restrain myself from adding this email to the list.
The fact is that the earth as a whole – together with all its windmills and everything else – has a certain amount of angular momentum which, according to the principle of the conservation of angular momentum, on its own remains constant. The fact that the angular momentum of the earth is changing is due to the effect of the moon on the earth. The moon’s gravity gives rise to the tides in the oceans, resulting in a not perfectly symmetrical gravitational attraction between the earth and the moon. The result of this is that the earth slows down rotationally, while the diameter of the orbit of the moon gradually increases. That is to say, both the length of the day and also the length of the month are becoming longer. By studying the rings on fossilized mussels, this phenomenon can be verified. Another effect is of course the fact that the extra movement of the water in the oceans given by tidal currents converts a tiny amount of the kinetic energy of the earth-moon system into heat in the earth.
However despite all this, it is equally obvious that the arguments of the “global warming” enthusiasts are also false. While your article causes only amusement, the fallacies of the global warming people are causing very real suffering in the world.
The whole idea was so foolish, I thought, as you did, that many people would write to dispute it, or at least curse me for making fun of the global warming wackos. It was not to be. Maybe they figured I was too much of a wacko to bother with…and maybe they’re correct.
I did notice that, right about the time I put that online, I started hearing less and less about global warming and more and more about “climate change.” Perhaps Al Gore finally thought to check and discovered the planet has been cooling recently. Perhaps if this cooling continues for a few more years we can look forward to a new Gore movie about glaciers reaching the equator if we don’t do whatever he thinks we should do. Hmmm…I wonder if he’ll start buying back all those carbon credits his company has been selling?
I read your article. My strategy is somewhat different. I do use my credit card; the only one I’ve ever had since 1990, to buy virtually everything. Then I pay it off each month. They never make interest money on me so I couldn’t even tell you what the rate is. It never applies to me. Plus I accumulate cash back dollars which gets me around $100 back per year. More importantly it gives me a statement record to keep.
But the biggest thing I do is to carry miscellaneous spending accounts. I started doing this in 1996 as a 28 year old man who wasn’t making a lot and couldn’t seem to know what I could save as every month the car would break down, I needed a new pair of slacks, Christmas around the corner, ect. So I estimated everything over and above weekly spending money that I may spend each month and over a year. From birthdays to Mother’s day to x-mas, light bulbs, oil changes, vacation trips, quarters for the laundry mat, yearly car registration fees, fishing license fees and on and on. I’d get a yearly total and divide by twelve. Then each month that amount goes into this account. As I use it I take it out. When each credit card bill comes I deduct the car gas, food and other charges that are already budgeted. Then I’d total the amount considered miscellaneous spending and I’d then “pay myself back” from this account.
Through the years of course inflation has slowly raised the cost of everything so the monthly transfer to this account has gone up since 1996. The account itself is a plain old local bank statement savings account. I could care less about what interest I’m earning since that’s pocket change and there is never more than $2,000 in the account at any one time. I also lump my car insurance into this account since that is something which a charge with interest would accumulate monthly if I didn’t pay for it all at once out of this account.
Recently I became a first time home buyer and opened up a second miscellaneous account for the expenses associated with this home. I judged the life expectancy of all my appliances, estimated maintenance and repair costs for them, and replacement values, threw in monthly and yearly ordinary structure maintenance items and came up with a monthly figure of $145. To this I add my home insurance like I do for my car in the other account. Unlike the other account however this one will tend to accumulate cash over the long term as I may not need to replace my furnace for 10 years. Though it will hold cash I’m not too concerned about it having the same low interest rate of my other account. This account will act as a back up to my emergency cash fund which holds 4 months of salary instead of the normally recommended 6.
So what I have budgeted for REAL savings every month becomes just that. It get’s stashed away for good barring an extreme unforeseen emergency. No cashing in mutual funds to pay for car repairs. My Roth IRA remains untouched.
That’s my system but as you can see it does take a little time and planning. The good thing though is it allows you to plan your real savings on a yearly basis and be very accurate with it. I don’t think there has been one year when I didn’t save for the long term what I planned to save. It also forces you to budget everything and to have a realistic idea of the true cost of living expenses; something many home buyers of the last few years didn’t do and then got caught in a trap.
I will soon be traveling through bear country and may be exposed to all but the biggest ones found in Alaska. I won’t be hunting them at that time but I wish to know if a 12 Guage shotgun loaded with slugs will be enough to keep safe in that neck of the woods.
Your consideration is appreciated. My other options, at the moment are a .270 or 30-06 sporting rifles.
A short, handy, rapid-firing 12 gauge shotgun with slugs sounds good to me. I’m partial to the deep-penetrating Brenneke slug load.
First let me thank you so much for your articles and archives online. My wife and I are on a limited income and online and your special edition on “Gearing up for an Economic Squeeze” have been our guidelines and encouragement!!! THANKS! My how Jackie has helped, too!!!!!
We started, way back when, your plan on starting our emergency food pantry on $10.00/week and man, has it worked good. Big Lots and other stores that have canned goods, sometimes for as low as $ .25 a can, toilet paper overstocks, toothbrushes at 2 for a buck, etc., have now expanded out pantry to near a years supply. We watch expiration dates religiously and rotate things weekly!
We have also paid off every credit card except one, and paid off all other bills. Our one remaining card has a balance of $150. Our only bills are a car, our home, and insurance premiums.
Thanks for the encouragement, advice, and articles to guide us!!!!!!!!
Now a quick question. We have a basement in our house in northern Ohio. We have a small natural gas heater in the basement and a fireplace gas log in the fireplace upstairs. But, if we loose power or are in a real bad emergency situation where gas would not be affordable or available, I want to put in a wood fired cook stove in the basement. It SHOULD provide some heat as well as cooking ability. Do they require the same vent/flu as a wood fired heating stove? Do they give off as much heat as I think? (I am also putting in a (down spout fed) water holding tank in the basement, a Bison hand pump on our well, and working on a pumping system to keep water in a tank in the attic where it can gravity feed our bathroom and a sink in the basement.)
Thanks for your advice!
Richard & Marlene Lodwick
Yes, they do. Wood-fired stoves, whether for heat or heat/cooking, come in a variety of sizes and shapes. You’ll have to shop around. Venting, both for air intake if you have a fairly closed up space, and for smoke exhaust, is essential for safety. A damper will allow you to control the amount of heat they give. Search our website for helpful articles, and go onto our website’s Forum to discuss your needs with others.
Before I get into the meat of my letter, I just wanted to say that I got the July/Aug ’09 issue today. When I was going through it, I saw a picture of Mr. Ayoob and the target he shot with his 9mm.
He’s a pro, an expert, a first-rate marksman but I still have to say- WELL DONE!
I own a Glock and I’d love to practice with it more except that ammo prices [which was VERY well covered in the current issue!] are really damned expensive. Especially when one’s been unemployed for months like me. The funds simply are too tight to expend on fun at the shooting range.
Anyway, the meat of my letter:
This may have been already covered [or may not have been] but I’d like to ask anyway.
I’m a person who lives in a relatively small, two-bedroom apartment and I’m wondering if there’s anything out there to say to folks like me who live in apartments or condos [usually in urban- UGH!- areas] about self-sufficiency. It almost sounds like an oxymoron as the ideal ‘self sufficient’ life is out in the country, on your own land, and living off of whatever gets produced on it.
Some of us just aren’t that lucky, but we try [and usually hear snickers in the background]. At least, I do.
I have my own small pantry of emergency food supplies, a Red Cross radio, medical supplies, and my own protection. It still makes me wonder if there are any tweaks that folks like me should consider given the space we’re living in. I know its a dicey thing to stock-up when you’re paying the rent to somebody else [who has the power to throw you out with your stuff, if they want to] but that’s why I’m asking.
Thanks so much for your excellent stuff every month. By the way, Backwoods Home is the only magazine subscription I intend to always renew on. I’ve let go of all the rest. Even the Unemployed have their priorities, you know!
There are different degrees of self-reliance. You can be as self-reliant as Jackie Clay, growing and canning nearly everything and building all your structures, or you can live in the city and be as self-reliant as you can be, especially in terms of being prepared with an adequate pantry, a few guns and ammo, and knowledge of how to take care of yourself in various circumstances, including if the political climate in America changes for the worse.
Self-reliance is not a religion where you have to adhere to certain rules; you do what you can given your own circumstances. The ideal IS to own your own piece of land so you can control it the way you want, grow some of your food, raise some chickens, etc.. If you can practice the principles of self-reliance regarding preparedness and arming yourself with knowledge, and adapt those principles to your own situation, even if it’s in a city apartment for the time being, I think you’re doing fine. But always plan to move forward to an even more self-reliant lviing.
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I wandered to your site somehow, and find it absolutely amazing.
I have two cast iron fry pans, which I love. I plan to try the 200 degree seasoning method. I do clean them with salt and a nylon scrubbie and they are wonderful!
That was a pleasant article, but the one about civil unrest I found quite disturbing, mostly because it put into words things I have been thinking about for some time. I also have read something about how the United States is currently divided into five districts with special military units and directives for each area, should the citizenry get out of line. Pretty frightening stuff. We personally are sure not prepared to deal with something like this, but have started to work toward putting in a wood stove, and stocking up on emergency supplies.
Again, thanks for addressing issues that most people don’t want to think about—but should.
This is the first time that I read your magazine, and I loved it!
I grew up in rural Pennsylvania and we used cast iron pans to cook every meal. When I was married 13 years ago, my Dad gave me the complete pan set as a wedding gift. I have 6 pans from the original set that were my Great Grandmother’s and I have added a 12 inch dutch oven with legs and a lid (for camping) and a 12 inch deep sided skillet that I found dirt cheep at a yard sale (it was rusty and the lady did not know how to cure it). The lid from the dutch oven fits my 12 inch skillet and the deep sided skillet, it can also be turned upside down and used as a small griddle when camping. I will not cook with anything else!
Thank you for the great articles and your publication. I will be subscribing soon!
Worst of all we now face the threat of having our savings stolen by police officers, who can, without any other evidence, call all our cash “evidence of drug dealing” and take it from us without due process. This is a far worse crime than freelance thefts by kids or drug-abusing nephews, but it’s also a modern American reality.
As a police officer, I find your comment way off base. Can you quote any cases where money was taken off a self-reliant person who wasn’t involved in the drug trade? What is your experience in this matter? It disappoints me when I read or hear people write stuff like the above. I am not here to say all police are good. We have our bad apples like every other job, profession, race, religion, etc. For the most part, police officers are honest, hard working and have taken an oath to enforce the law. It is one of the few professions that you can take a life, save a life or give your life.
Also the money is used as evidence and usually has tested positive for controlled substances residue by wipe or certified drug dog. It the person is found not guilty and the money has no residue, the money will be returned to the defendant. If there is residue it is turned over to the county and used for a variety of things. None if the money is given to the officer. It may be used to buy equipment for the department.
I hope in the future you will refrain from the above excerpt. If you spend some time researching you will find out it is not a “modern reality”. I look forward to hearing about your experiences of innocent people have their hard earned money taken by the rogue police officers.
Franklin G. Harvey
Chief of Operations
Good heavens, Cpt. Harvey. Your message is so filled with misinformation and misconceptions, I scarcely know where to begin.
First, do you really believe that all money that has “tested positive for controlled substances residue by wipe or certified drug dog” should be confiscated by the police? Then I suggest that you go to the nearest police station ASAP and turn your money in.
Why? Because money circulates rapidly from person to person, and various studies over the years have shown that as much as 82 percent of ALL U.S. currency is thus “tainted.”
Percentages for these chemical findings vary; the 82 percent figure was from the heyday of cocaine. But although the percentage of “contaminated” money changes, one fact remains absolute: having money with drug residue on it is NOT evidence that the possessor of the money has committed any crime.
As for it having been tested by a “certified drug dog”? Are you aware that a) drug dogs are wrong nearly 50 percent of the time and b) police have been known to carry drugs in their pockets to rub the scent on car trunks and other surfaces to provoke drug dogs to react? “Testing by a certified drug dog” is virtually meaningless.
And a dog-sniff is certainly not legal proof of guilt.
Second, you state that “It (sic) the person is found not guilty and the money has no residue, the money will be returned to the defendant.” Where on earth did you ever get that idea? It couldn’t be more false — and false on several counts.
You call victims of asset forfeiture “defendants.” Are you truly unaware that in the vast majority of cases, people whose money is taken under asset forfeiture statutes are never even charged with a crime?
And you say the money is given back? Nonsense! Money confiscated under asset forfeiture statutes is rarely ever returned unless the victim sues to get it back. And most people can’t even afford to attempt that. The court costs often run higher than the value of the seized asset.
Worse, when a person tries to get his possessions back, he discovers himself to be in an Alice-in-Wonderland world in which the property — yes, the money, or the car, or the house, or the jewelry — is considered guilty until proven innocent. How do you prove that your possessions are innocent of a crime?
Are some of the targets of asset forfeiture drug dealers? Maybe. But if so, why are police and prosecutors rarely ever willing to actually prove that in court?
In a free society, the burden of proof is on the police and courts, not on some hapless sap who’s just had his life savings taken from him.
You further state: “If there is residue it is turned over to the county and used for a variety of things. None if the money is given to the officer. It may be used to buy equipment for the department.”
Well, in a few cases, a portion of forfeited money IS given to individual officers. (The town of Helper, Utah, for instance, passed such a law a few years ago.) But yes, usually some portion of the forfeited money does go to the police department that seized it. And don’t you perceive a conflict of interest in that? Here you have officers trying to increase their own department budgets rather than trying to protect the public. And what are the results?
In the years since the drug war (the main excuse for asset forfeiture) began, the rate of closure for serious, violent crimes has plummeted. For instance, in 1950, some 90 percent of all murders were solved in the U.S. Today, it’s more like 50 percent. Really. Why go after violent criminals when you can have an easier job, win political points from your superiors, and get perks for your department by taking money off people who can’t fight back?
And I notice that you scarcely even mention the concept of due process, except in your shockingly erroneous assertion that everybody whose assets are seized gets a criminal trial. The very idea that the state should have to prove its case through rigorous standards set out in the Bill of Rights seems to escape you.
Wow. It appears you are both ill-informed and extremely scary for someone tasked with enforcing the law.
And as to those innocent victims you claim don’t exist? I suggest you Google “asset forfeiture victims” or visit the Forfeiture Endangers American Rights Foundation website and click on “Victim’s Stories.” Or look up Donald Scott, Tina Bennis, Luther and Meredith Ricks, or Willie Jones — just to name a few out of thousands.
And as to your request that I “refrain from the above excerpt” and “spend some time researching” … I’ve researched asset forfeiture over the years and I’ll shout to the rooftops about the horrors it has caused and continues to cause. It has damaged countless people and corrupted both policing and the very concept of law and justice from sea to polluted sea.
Now I suggest you do some research and get your facts straight.