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Letters and email from readers about Backwoods Home Magazine and the BHM website

THIS FEATURE IS NO LONGER UPDATED



Archive for January, 2011

 

Thanks

Monday, January 31st, 2011

I first ran across BHM’s website several years ago when, sick to death of the city, I started dreaming of just running away. Needless to say, it didn’t happen (but then, military deserting isn’t my style). But, I went on and on about the magazine, and I confess my husband did think me quite daffy… until I made him read it. We’ve been hooked ever since; I even take along an anthology or two on car trips, because if I’m not driving, I’m reading them aloud (and my 2-year-old always wants “another one”, so rest assured you’re getting an early start on him!). Both of our families have done their share of living off the land, and we’ve been “studying up” to do some of it ourselves.

Now, we’re just 3 weeks from moving “back home” to rural AL, purchasing property from my grandmother that my family has owned for generations, and all of the BHM anthologies (and the subsequent self-reliance library that I’ve grown from the recommendations thereof) have their own boxes, which are in the “pack last / open first” group. The more I read, the more impatient I am to get to it!

I do want to thank you all, though, for making this more than a self-reliance magazine. I’ve read through several (most of which I learned of through you, anyway), but they’re cut and dried… Your staff has a personality (and a large dose of sarcasm seems to be a prerequisite) that makes the articles both informative and entertaining–now you’re doing double duty! Still, the more I read, the more I get to know all of you, and the more I want to read more. Though we’re definitely cutting back lately, this subscription is in no danger of getting dropped, ever.

Tiffany

(p.s. Tell Jackie that since I’ve learned to can from her, she should finish up the next book so I have more ideas for how to use it!)

 

My subscription story

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Editor,

I have been reading your magazine, as well as a few other “self reliant” magazines, for many years now.  I usually pick them up in a local bookstore, near where I work.  I have just recently decided to cut down to just one magazine!  This has nothing to do with the downturn in the economy, just a matter of streamlining.  I feel that Backwoods Home gives me more information on more diverse subjects, than the “others”!

With the decision made, I went with your “whole Shebang” offer!  I want to thank Rhoda for making my  ordering very easy.  While talking to her, I gave her my story.  No, it does not start with “once upon a time…”, but MY determination to not only try to help myself, but help others as well.

While placing the order with Rhoda, I remembered reading about people who could not afford their subscriptions anymore.  I told her I would like to pay for someones sub. and she asked if I wanted to pay for one or two years.  When she said that, I asked to cover one year for two people.  Rhoda went on to tell me she would put them down as “Gift Subscriptions” and that each one would be at a much reduced price.  I asked that if they were at a reduced rate, then can I cover four subscriptions.  She said that would be “OK”!

Now let me clarify things here:  I am not rich, I lost over 45 percent of my retirement in the stock market crash, My house and the rest of my retirement and savings are going to my soon-to-be EX-wife, BUT, by the grace of God, I AM still employed!

I live in a medium sized city on the Long Island Sound, and have been working at the same place for over twenty years.  I worked for a mid-sized Pharmaceutical Company, that decided to sell it’s manufacturing and research facility, and move to New Jersey.  Well this was when everything was starting to look bleak with jobs moving out and businesses closing.  We all thought this was the end for us, the job we had was gone, but it had been many great years!

We had been told {grapevine news stand} that there were at least two mall chains looking at our property, and we would be let go.  As it turned out, there was this “unknown variable” waiting in the wings!  One of the “great bastions of Liberal/Progressive thinking” bought not only the property, BUT hired on “only” about 20 of the former 2000+ employees!  I happened to be one of those twenty or so people!

SO not only did I not lose my job, I also got a raise!  So it is with this “extra” that I wish to bless someone else!

Thank you for allowing me to pass at least this part of my fortune along to other people!  I can only hope it will inspire others out there to do the same.

John S.

 

Praise for Jackie Clay’s books

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Hello,

I must write to tell you how much I have enjoyed Jackie Clay’s books.

I just finished reading “Starting Over.” It is a wonderful read, very entertaining but also very educational. On every other page or so, I learned something new. She didn’t just write that some project was accomplished, she explained how it was done, in detail! I expected to enjoy reading about her life and how her homestead unfolded. I never expected to learn so much or be so encouraged by her words.

I also just finished reading the Self Reliance book “Recession Proof Your Pantry“. I thought I knew about all there was to know on the subject, and still learned more. The same with “Growing and Canning Your Own Food.”  I would recommend all of these books to anyone interested in homesteading and self reliance.

“Starting Over” should be required reading for any woman attempting to homestead (or farm) on her own.

Thank you to Backwoods Home and to Jackie Clay,

Mary Hartsock

 

John Silveira’s article: Getting the State Out of Marriage

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

Hello John,

I am another long time believer in removing marriage licenses. However, I see the compromise, as the states are highly unlikely to change tax code, would be to offer a state “civil union” status that would accept any interested adults who meet criteria (same address, shared expenses, etc) and offer the same tax breaks and status as married couples have currently. I am married, but I feel that the union is a matter of religion, as marriage has always been a religious custom around the world that has stepped into popular use in secular custom. As we see a move in our culture away from traditional marriage, separating the state from that union is increasingly important. My Christian brethren will probably accuse me of wanting a world where marriage has been defiled, but if we let our governments define a God-defined entity, then we already have done so. I’m not sure if there are a lot of others who believe in removing marriage licensing (I know most state comptrollers would argue against losing the revenue stream) and most of my friendly debates on the issue result in the similar “But we need the government to control marriage for no explainable reason” rebuttal.

It’s gladdening to know that there are at least a few others out there that agree with this viewpoint, hopefully with both conversation and articles like yours, we’ll see a few more join the ranks.

Sincerely,

Justin LaFee

 

Off grid refrigerators

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Dear sirs,

My wife and I have a cabin in northern Ontario and [instead of a refrigerator, we use] a Danby chest freezer with the thermostat turned up in the 38 to 42 degree range.

We only run the unit off of a generator for an hour  morning and night. Everything stays cold and once you get used to the idea it is a great way to keep food and cheap .

I think we only paid around $300.00 for it at Home Depot in North Bay last summer. It could just as easily be run off of a solar panel & inverter set up as generator, or small gas engine and alternator & battery set up as well.

We are very satisfied with it and is easy to use once you get everything arranged. Juices on bottom veggies on top,  etc. We use several different baskets and plastic containers to separate things out so it is easy to get what is needed to cook/eat.

[It is a] far cheaper method to use then Sun Frost, etc. units and if you wanted, a bigger insulated box could be built around it for better efficiency I suppose.

PS. we love your Magazine !!!!!

John & Susan Farris

 

Grain insects

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Dear Backwoods Home,

I’m not writing to be critical, I just want to correct some misinformation provided in Jackie Clay’s “Ask Jackie” section in the Jan/Feb 2011 Backwoods Home magazine.

Jackie refers to grain weevils as “pantry moths” and suggests putting out pantry moth traps as a control method. Weevils are beetles. Moth traps are based on a sex pheromone and no moth pheromone is going to attract a beetle.

There are at least three weevils, five other beetles, and two moth species that infest grain and pheromones are species specific (that’s their purpose — to attract a mate). Putting out a pheromone trap for Indian meal moths is not going to catch any Angoumois grain moths, for instance. Also, pheromone traps only attract and capture male moths (and they are not 100% effective), and one male can mate with more than one female, so trapping males will not stop egg laying but is a useful monitoring tool.

If someone has an insect infestation in their grain, they can take specimens to their local cooperative extension agent who can identify them and give control advice specific for that species. The advice will probably involve sanitation, tight fitting screw top lids, and freezing.

I’m not faulting Jackie; it’s unclear to me how she does all she does and still finds time to contribute so much to Backwoods Home. Maybe she doesn’t need any sleep!!!

Sincerely,

Juli Gould
Entomologist

Interesting knowledge! There’s always something new to learn, no matter how “much you do know”!!! I’ve always had luck with the pantry moth traps, and of course, cleaning up all infested cereal and flour products. And I’ve been lucky, I guess, not to have had any “bugs” in my stored food, other than weevils or pantry moth larvae. Pre-freezing stored flours and grains is always a good idea and is especially good if you have had a problem.

And, yes, I DO sleep. That’s what I do in my spare time.

Jackie

 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
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