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


Archive for the ‘Claire Wolfe’ Category


Resistance (lighter side)

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012
Because I am involved with electronics and ham radio, I hijacked this signature as soon as I saw it.
With apologies to the Borg…
“Resistance isn’t futile, its voltage divided by current.”

Your “squatter” article

Monday, May 14th, 2012
Hello Claire,
About your “squatter” article, I wanted to thank you so much for writing it. You are very compassionate and that is refreshing to see. Also, you did not hold back on the legalities of “squatting”. That is good for all to know more about. I watched a movie last night that had me in tears. It’s called “Missing in America”. It’s been around awhile but Danny Glover was in it and some other pretty, well known actors. It was about an area(looked like around Ranier in the movie) where a few veterans were living in the woods.I couldn’t stop thinking about it this a.m. so I just googled “living in the woods” or something like that, and found your article. Anyway, all I wanted to do was let you know I read it and appreciated it so much. I am almost 60, returned to college for a 2 year degree in Medical Administrative Assistant so I can hopefully get a decent job for as long as I can keep working. I am unmarried(divorced 16 years now)no children and I stayed in a homeless shelter recently just so I could get my bearings and figure out what to do next. I don’t drink, do drugs or smoke, but yep, I was among the homeless. If I were not a woman I might try living in the woods but also, I have always tried to be law-abiding and do respect others rights and properties.

I hope all the info you provided gets around to as many as possible. Caretaking could be a good thing for both parties. It’s hard to think about the millions of homeless though and especially those that can’t bear to trust or be near people anymore. I can relate a little but I know they have been through much more than I ever will experience.

Thank you again,
Denise R., OR


Ron Paul and the VA ‘Loyalty Oath’

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
Went to vote before work this morning. Back when the candidates on the ballot were announced, there was a big brouhaha in the Republican Party about being forced to sign a statement supporting whoever is the eventual candidate. I didn’t have to sign anything today, I was just verified as a registered voter and off I went. So please let your Virginia readers know: don’t be intimidated, just go out and vote your conscience.

And yes, I voted for Ron Paul. I will never vote for Mitt Romney.

Matt Maynard

I linked to one of your Hardyville essays

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Hi Claire-

I just wanted to drop you a line and say “thank you” and tell you I’ve linked to one of your Hardyville essays. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read or thought about the words you wrote…

Now that I have my own burgeoning readership I’ve come to appreciate the occasional email that says, “I read your blog every day and just wanted to say ‘thank you’!” Mark Twain once said he could live two weeks on a good compliment and I’m right there with him. My readers words keep buoying me up when times get tough.

Your words… “Are you racing like a little maze-rat, just to keep yourself in fancy toys?…When it comes right down to it, do you choose convenience over independence? Then you’re not on the road to Hardyville. If you want to be on the road to Hardyville, then turn around”

They made a difference. I started thinking about the life I wanted and how I could get it. It also woke me up to the fact that the whole rat race and more toys and crap were NOT what I wanted. It wasn’t an overnight change, but we are well on our way. And I’ve got a good life, one that makes me happy, and that’s better than it was.

I just wanted to remind you that you touch a lot of lives.

Christine Shuck


The Art of Living in Small Spaces

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Hi Claire.

Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your article about designing for, and living in a small space.

I live in a “shoebox” apartment in San Francisco, about 400 sf, but I fantasize about moving to a remote or “unusual” space and living in a very small home.  Maybe even in a motorhome.

But your ideas certainly apply to both urban and backwoods environments.  I look forward to exploring the links at the BHM website.

I wanted to add something to the rack-mounted computers you mentioned:

When I had a “desktop” computer, I bought a strap device to hang it from under my desk.

The straps are $18 on Amazon for a basic type, to $40 for the kind I had — it allowed the computer to be slid forward, and spun around to access cables in the back.  But I agree with you that a good laptop makes more sense these days.

Thanks again for the interesting article,

Jim Lee


You Are Wrong Claire – Despite Your Good Intentions

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Dear Claire,

I always enjoy your articles and agree with nearly everything you say, however I do disagree with your article entitled Sex, Drugs, and Good Deeds: Being Boldly Bad in a Good Cause .

I do pity poor animals who are mistreated, but not enough to boldly smash the most basic law of freedom – the Libertarian Non Aggression Principle or Axiom. As you might be aware that states that:

“The libertarian creed rests upon one central axiom: that no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else.”

I care nothing for the state’s laws but your justification of this – admittedly with an extreme example to make us sympathise with the thief – opens up the door for wholesale theft of another’s property and can NEVER be justified.

Using your example, seeing a rancher’s cattle were not as fat as they might be, I might decide that they were suffering and in their best interest I should steal them all so that I might fatten them up or give them to someone else who might treat them better. I might believe that his wife was suffering and take her too and give her a better life with me! After all if you are going to ignore the state’s laws and also smash the most basic law of society, hey – anything goes!

If you don’t afford others the protection of the most basic law of freedom, then how can you expect that you yourself deserve that protection? Should others be able to steal from you if they thought it was in a good cause?

I believe that you have allowed a good heart to blind yourself to logic and the whole basis for freedom and justice for all.




About “The joys of idleness”

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

I liked your article. But:

You said “Russell, Black, and their rare little ilk are sort of like theologians who can paint a whiz-bang picture of hell but who can’t even attempt to conjure up an image of a heaven that’s worth aiming for”.

I think this is not true. One of the Russell’s point was that many great minds of past were rich and idle people(Newton, Darwin) and if people work less they’ll have more free time, some of them will solve one or two big problems of society or science etc.




Circle of friends

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

Great article, the best I’ve ever read on the subject of preps.


EN the Peasant
Sonora, CA


John Silveira and Claire Wolfe

Monday, December 12th, 2011

WOW what a mag. John Silveira’s description of a Libertarian was great. He managed to hit all the bases in a very short article. And in ‘My view’ his treatise on Ron Paul true and accurate. I sure hope Claire Wolfe continues to write for you also. Apocalypse, when? was very eye opening. I’m retired and on a small budget, I’ve cut back on some of my magazines but yours is the best. All of your writers are great and Annie, you’re doing a great job.

I do have one request. How about an article on Pikeminnow fishing. I have heard some stories about some of those fisherman making a lot of money. If I could just pay off my mortgage it would really help. I almost went to try it myself this year but my wife is blind and would not go. Maybe if I could convince her it’s a real opportunity we might go in 2012. Or maybe it’s not?

Thanks anyway,

Keep up the good fight.

Dan Day in Tennessee (retired trucker)
Dolly says Hi


New nomads

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

Hi Claire!

I came across your blog on Backwoods Home Magazine online as a place that had linked to my website, “The New Nomads”. It took me forever to figure out where the link to me was, but after much mindless clicking, encountered the right spot. I had misused the word “monkeywrenching” in one of my blog posts about Scotland (I had) and you were using my post as an example of your frustration about lack of genuine monkeywrenching. I was hoping for a more flattering link, but I am incredibly happy about finding you and your writing anyway! In the moment.

I am working on a book about the voluntary nomadic lifestyle as a way of living outside of the system. I am planning a three year experiment of living that way myself in order to research the possibilities, meet people doing it, and of course, to have a good time. Both you and Backwoods Magazine appear to be chock full of information and potential leads for my project and I am about to dive into the archives and check it out! if the project seems like anything you’d be interested in or interested in receiving updates about ~ or ~ if you are inspired to share anything with me you know about the subject, please let me know!

Here is a link to my site  (with no further misuse of the term “monkeywrenching” :) ) and to my project on Kickstarter.

Cheers and thank you for fantastic information and writing! I feel like I have struck gold!

Kimberlie Dame


Making Homemade Firestarters

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

I read Claire’s article with interest since I’ve been making firestarters for years once we started taking our kid’s camping. One cold, windy night with only a few sheets of paper to get a fire going was enough to convince me to make a bunch of firestarters using various materials.

I found that using petroleum jelly on a cotton ball is a wonderful firestarter, you can fit a month’s worth into a pill bottle or mint tin. Spreading the cotton over the tender helps to get it going.

Also, using dryer lint (we have lots!) pushed into cardboard egg cartons or cup carriers and then covered with candle wax makes a great starter-lasts a long time like the ones Claire discussed in her article.

After having lighters fail and matches get wet I tried making my own “water proof” matches, which works okay except they tend to be brittle and hard to ignite. Now I use a magnesium stick firestarter that never fails to work. I found mine in a camping catalog, they’re also sold at Walmarts.

I love your magazine, have just signed-up for another year.I’m interested in being as self-reliant as possible. We live in a small town on a half acre lot where I keep 4 chickens in a mobile chicken tractor that my husband and son built to my specifications (we built it on top of a garden wagon, with a pen attached on wheels. When it’s time to re-locate the hens we just pick-up the wagon handle and pull it to the next spot. We have about 30 different fruit trees, tons of ever-bearing raspberries, strawberries, etc. I ordered the trees about 3 years ago and I’m excited by the fact that my peach and one of my plum trees are both loaded with fruit and the apples are also beginning to produce.

Keep up the great articles and information.I suspect that more people will be in need of it in the near future and your magazine will be an inspiration to them.

Marie McKinney Stone

PS. I love everything that Jackie Clay writes!!!



Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

I just wanted to mention that for melting wax, a double boiler works really well. Another source of wax are those little wax bottles of whatever that is. My granddaughter gives me hers when she’s done drinking them.

Richard & Georgia


Hardyville Tales

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Just finished reading Hardyville Tales.  It was great.  I believe Hardyville must be just down the road from Travers Corners.

Dave Godfrey


Living without a Social Security number

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Hello Ms. Wolfe,

I know you are incredibly busy, but I do hope that this somehow crosses your path and you can find a spare minute for me.

My name is Sarah, I am 26, and have never had a SSN.  I just read an old article of yours entitled Yes, You Can Work without a Social Security Number and found it tremendously interesting.

All my life it’s been a struggle to get by and earn a decent living outside the system, and recently I’ve been at my wit’s end, and almost considered getting one.  Which goes totally against my beliefs and stance on government, and not to mention would just crush my dad who has devoted his life to standing up for truth and freedom.  So, decided to do a little research and realized I’d never actually just googled “how to work without…” in hopes of finding some online support and/or advice.  My main question for you, is, do you have any idea of some of the alternatives (specifically the private contracting) are still viable options?

Also, do you have any ideas as far as drivers licenses and car registration without providing a number?  I have had a home base in TN (where they offer a form for those with a religious objection)  for several years, but for various complicated reasons, am most likely going to have to establish some sort of residency in Colorado, where I just moved, and where I’m quite sure they don’t accommodate those with true freedom tastes.

I’d really appreciate any info/advice you could offer.

Thank you SO much, I’ve really enjoyed reading your writings.

Best wishes to you and yours.


Sarah Klingler


I admire your courage and determination — and your dad’s. I wish I had more information to offer you, but as you well know, live without an SSN is getting harder all the time. Some of the options from my original article — like private contracting — have been obsoleted by police-state law or enforcement, or have simply turned out to be dead ends.

Without doing tons of state-by-state research or offering advice on “illegal” activities, which I won’t do, I’ve got only a few bits of potential help.

* On registering a vehicle: Consider registering it in the name of a trust. A revocable living trust can be set up easily and made official with nothing more than a notary’s stamp and signature. (You’ll need government ID for the notary, but a passport is usually accepted, and you can still get a passport without giving an SSN, as you probably know.

* On earning a living: Freelance. To small businesses and individuals, not large corporations. Or create some other small-scale, individual business for yourself.

Sorry not to be more helpful. I hope you succeed in your effort to live free.



Enjoyed your article

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Hello Claire,

Enjoyed reading your article The art of living in small spaces very much.

I was born and raised in NYC but I have dreams of buying 1 little acre somewhere, and building a little 800 sq ft house. An average studio apt is half that. I’ve read your article twice in the past 7 days. I agree with you and many others, buying a house doesn’t have to mean “over 1500 sq ft”. A single person like me can live happily in 800 sq ft.

Eddie Colon


Flag on book

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

The flag you put on the front of your book is the first MARINE CORPS flag. It is called the Gadsden flag named after the Christopher Gadsden, who designed the flag to be put on the man-of-war ship “The Alfred” and three other ships in the 1776 American Revolution.

This is NOT a tea party flag. For your information, the EAGLE, GLOBE, and ANCHOR emblem was officially adopted in 1868 by Brigadier General Jacob Zeilin.

Thank you for letting me have my say.

Harry Smith


“Learn To Stash Cash”

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Howdy Claire,

I pray this finds you well and healthy.

I always enjoy your articles whenever I run across them and this was no exception.

I was thinking about the value of nickel and copper when you mentioned it. I usually roll my coins stashing the nickels and pennies in an ammo box and trading the rolled dimes and quarters for rolls of more nickels and pennies at the bank to throw into the ammo can. I always pay for things with a larger bill and try to never spend coinage but add it to my collection. I like your idea about stashing the smaller bills in envelopes for the various and sundry expenses that arise. Thank you.

Since the fed has been putting the RFID strips in [Federal Reserve Notes] you can be tracked by any store with a reader at the entrances and exits. This isn’t universal yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes so. I like to withdraw a large sum of cash from the bank, go home and send the bills six or  seven at a time for a minute or two through the microwave oven. It fries the RFID chip and renders the bills useless for tracking my comings and goings and expenditures. I realize many products have RFID chips in or on them somewhere but at least it is now more difficult to trace the purchases to me. I have also purchased reader proof insulated envelopes for my debit cards. I even use them for reloadable Dollar General, grocery and restaurant cards. While it doesn’t make me completely invisible at least it gives me the satisfaction of knowing I’m doing SOMETHING to stay under the radar.

Thanks again and God bless,

Dick Crockett



Saturday, August 21st, 2010


About a month ago I bought The Freedom Outlaw’s Handbook. In the online catalog I saw what, to me, promised to be a whimsical and possibly spotty-useful resource.

As of today, since I tend to read two or three books at a time, I’m not even a quarter of the way through. I was taken from the beginning by the quality of your writing, your style, your great and biting sense of humor, your obvious depth of knowledge and experience, and the strengths of your conviction and your passion. And your orneriness. This is a powerful read.

This is not a book of whimsy, either. It is very well thought out. Pursuing more of your writing brought me back to Backwoods Home Magazine. While I’d been there before it wasn’t something I dwelt on much but I see now what a great resource it is.  Hardyville is great stuff.

Despite my observation that I am waaaaay ahead of the average Great American Ostrich in understanding the times and our history I have learned a lot from you, a different approach, and I wanted to thank you and encourage you. So thank you. Your spirit is appreciated.

Best wishes,

Bob Gleason



Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Just read your article [The art of living in small spaces by Claire Wolfe] and getting lots of good ideas. I just purchased, The small house book, by Jay Shafer.

I am impressed that you share this space with your loving pets too. I feel if I try one of these small spaces, I will have to start out with it being a weekend place. I don’t think I could convince my husband to live that small and I don’t think I would want to live in too tight of quarters with him. LOL. Maybe we should have a his and hers and join them in the hallways.

Thanks again. Also pics say a thousand words.

Eileen Janes



Your Essay “Qualities of a Free Man”

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Just found this via some other blogs and wanted to say, Kudos! Outstanding!

Especially “When we have sufficient free individuals, political, social, and institutional freedoms will follow. They will arise not through revolution or politically driven reform, but from who we are and the choices we make every day.”





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