From The Memsahib: Countryside and Small Stock Journal

Another issue of my very favorite magazine just arrived and I wanted to tell you all about it. It is “The magazine of modern homesteading”: Countryside and Small Stock Journal. Unlike most magazines out there, C&SSJ has a very low ad to content ratio. It doesn’t waste page space with lots of pretty photos or other fluff like the other “country” magazines. And it is written by the subscribers. C&SSJ is 130 pages full of practical information! The Nov/Dec.2005 issue contains full length articles about purchasing and using a masonry stove, how to build a “cut back” thermostat to reduce …




“Rick Smith” on Blacksmithing as a Valuable Trade

Introduction In a truly long-term TEOTWAWKI scenario, the ability to fashion and shape metal will become critical. If you can work with metal, you will be able to make tools; repair, fashion and heat treat gun parts; fabricate household, farm and mechanical implements of all shapes and sizes; and have a valuable trade to generate income or barter for goods and services. On the frontier west, no town was complete until it had a working Smithy. To start into blacksmithing, you need two things: tools and information. The good news is that you can make many of your own tools …




From The Memsahib–Moving Back to the Land, “Successfully”

In the 1970s there was a well-publicized “Back to the Land” movement. Hundreds of thousands of America’s young generation wanted the freedom of self-sufficiency. But most of them eventually returned to urban life. We can analyze their failures to avoid making the same mistakes. Happily, someone else has already done this for us! Eleanor Agnew’s book Back From the Land is a fairly detailed analysis of why the “Back to the Landers” went back to the big cities. Here is a summary of some of the conditions that led to their failures: 1. The realities of rural life were much …




From The Memsahib: Lessons from the “Little House on the Prairie” Books

All of the books in the "Little House on the Prairie" series by Laura Ingalls Wilder are great reads for all ages. Many lessons can be gleaned from their pages. (The books are much better than the sappy television series.) Laura’s "Pa" was an eternal optimist. When he saw the luxuriant prairie grasses he assumed the soil was rich and good for farming. But he did not realize that those plants were designed to survive in the Dakota territories’ weather and its pests and and that cultivated grains were not. He did not foresee the devastating storms and pests that …




Letter Re: Koyaanisqatsi–and Getting Back In Balance

James, I debated for four or five weeks about whether or not to write an email to you, as I know that you must receive too many already, and others probably offer information and mine only offers praise and thanks. I finally decided, that everyone could use encouragement and praise, so here goes… I read your novel [Patriots] for the first time many years ago, several times since, and have worked it into my 5-6 book current reading stack. It was my first exposure to another way of viewing the world, and it alone, was responsible for opening my eyes …




Letter Re: Best Grain Grinder on a Budget?

James, A request for your comment on best hand powered grain grinder for us poor folks. The Back to Basics? The Corona? (The Country Living is $350!) – D.J. JWR Replies: A hand grain grinder is an important tool to have on hand. They are essential for grinding corn and wheat, which are of course indigestible unless ground. (Soaking wheat in water overnight to make “wheat berries” will suffice, but flour is what you’ll need for most recipes.) If you can possibly afford one, buy a Country Living mill. They work well hand powered, and they are also set up …




From The Memsahib: On Being a Modern Homesteader

You may have concluded by now that while my husband is a “guns and groceries” style survivalist, I can more accurately be called a homesteader. A modern homesteader is a person who tries to live self-reliantly on their own land. Our satisfaction and peace of mind come from growing our own food, heating with our own fuel, and even knowing how to make our own clothes if necessary! Happily survivalism and homesteading dovetail nicely. My homesteading mindset was developed early in my childhood as I listened to parents and grandparents talk about living through the Great Depression. My father’s parents …