Dear MOTHER: August/September 2012

1 / 4
“Who’s been eating beets and blueberries?”
2 / 4
Do you have an old sorghum mill in your barn?
3 / 4
Yosemite National Park
4 / 4
These root veggies will stay fresh and crisp in their dirt “cellar.”

Hibiscus Tea Reduces Blood Pressure 

I want to thank you for literally changing my life! I’ve battled severely high blood pressure for years, and medications haven’t helped. Even with meds, I remained at 155/98 and had trips to the emergency room because of it. Then a few months ago, I read a back issue of your wonderful magazine and there was an article about hibiscus flower tea lowering blood pressure (Lower Blood Pressure Naturally With Hibiscus Tea, October/November 2011). I followed the recipe, and after one month, my blood pressure is normal — 117/71. Thank you so much for your endeavor to bring health to our world. 

Marcia Ross
Grass Valley, California

Marcia, thanks for letting us know how well hibiscus tea has worked for you. We’re sending you a copy of the book The Herbal Drugstore, which features even more medicinal uses for herbs. — MOTHER EARTH NEWS

Our Grand National Parks

I so enjoyed Douglas Chadwick’s article about our national parks (This Land Is Your Land: Why National Parks Matter, June/July 2012).

I’m lucky enough to call Montana my home and thus am able to visit both Yellowstone and Glacier National Park frequently. Each visit is like my first visit and fills me with awe and amazement.

I am so thankful that we have such spectacular places that are protected for the benefit of the wildlife and the public, both now and for future generations.

Karole Lee
Clancy, Montana 

Support Local Sawmills

It would be great to see an article that focuses on the use of natural, sustainable, locally grown and milled woods. While owning a portable sawmill isn’t practical for everyone, it’s often possible to buy lumber from a small mill just down the road. I’ve been doing this for some time now. The boards are uniform and reasonably priced, and I can buy them in the exact widths and lengths my project requires. The logs are harvested from a small radius near the mill.

In New Hampshire, small mills can be certified so their lumber may be used in new construction and will satisfy the requirements of local building inspectors.

Adam Stockman
Concord, New Hampshire

‘What in the World?’

These are my daughter’s chickens checking out what we did to their eggs this Easter [visit the Image Gallery to see this photo]. Hannah, our Araucana, looks a little miffed that we showed her up!

Dona Davis
East Burke, Vermont

Discovering a MOTHER Lode

Recently, my wife and I were salvaging materials from an old house and found eight old issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. I love it! The one word I would use to describe them is “timeless.” For someone who makes a point to reuse rather than consume and replace, this was a great find. As soon as I can, I’ll be getting a subscription. Thanks to the people who started it, and thank you for keeping it going!

Steve Wordell
La Junta, Colorado

Fracking Causes Earthquakes

I was reading the February/March 2012 article The Case for a Ban on Fracking. I have been in the oil field since 1970 and have drilled for oil all over the world, at sea and on land. You might think I’m writing to say something negative about what I read, but you’d be wrong. You actually didn’t go far enough into the problems of fracking.

These wells cost a lot more money to drill than a regular well, but that’s not the problem. The problem is the earthquakes and sinkholes that fracking causes. If you check the earthquake map, you’ll find that in every place fracking occurs, you have earthquakes on almost a daily or weekly basis.

Bill David
Sedro-Woolley, Washington

Many Ways to Live Wisely

We so appreciated Wendy Brubaker’s selfless attitude in her letter “Breaking the Silence” (Dear MOTHER: April/May 2012). I know there are many who selflessly choose not to have children, such as Wendy. My husband and I too felt the need to be better stewards of creation. Our path led us to give up our careers in New York City to raise the next generation close to the land.

We grow our own food, save seed and recycle. We have learned to waste nothing. We have one vehicle and make as few trips in it as possible. Many of the population problems have come from a lack of practical knowledge. My husband, who is part Native American, says, “None of us own the land. We’re just stewards of creation.”

Linda Kraft
Lyman, New Hampshire

Trench Root Crop Storage

Your article on trench silos (Outdoor Root Cellars, October/November 2011) got to us right when we needed it. We had exhausted all of the vegetable storage options we knew about — the garage was full of boxes of potatoes and onions, the freezer full of peas and greens, and I couldn’t even think about canning another jar of borscht.

So we tried a couple of variations on the trench silo, one involving some leftover row cover, the other without it. We opened a section of the trench on New Year’s Eve, and voilà — lovely fresh beets and carrots! I have no idea why the gophers didn’t get there first, but they didn’t. Thanks so much for the helpful advice!

Paige Grant
Llano, New Mexico

Neglecting Hydropower

It’s not just the small hydropower plants that have potential for expansion/upgrade (Big Hydropower Potential in Small Projects, April/May 2012). All four of the Corps of Engineers’ power marketing administrations have been systematically starved for upgrade capital, leaving thousands of kilowatts of generating capacity broken, waiting for repair, or antiquated and inefficient. In the past 10 years, power purchasers from the Southwestern Area Power Administration have paid $41.5 million for repairs and upgrades, but that money is regularly stripped from the Corps’ budget. Some hydro units haven’t operated in years. (I follow this issue as a member of the board for the Kansas Electric Power Cooperative.)

Bryan Coover
Galesburg, Kansas

New Jersey Town Goes Solar

I would like to give kudos to the city of Vineland, N.J. Recently, Vineland Electric Utility added a fifth solar installation to its grid. I read in the local newspaper that Vineland now has the most per capita solar power in the country. Way to go! I also heard the city is adding two new generators that run on natural gas, one this year and the second one by 2015. Not perfect, but hey — at least it’s not oil or coal. And I know they are not done with solar yet.

The utility is currently decreasing its rates for the third time in four years. It’s great to see that alternative energies can work on a large scale and be done in a timely manner. Wish more would take the initiative as Vineland has.

Smiley Stiles
Millville, New Jersey

Nuclear Nonsense

In response to the letter in the April/May 2012 issue entitled “Nuclear Waste Is Forever” (Dear MOTHER April/May 2012) I totally agree with the writer, Mack Rowe. In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, it is unbelievable that our government is in the process of licensing five new nuclear reactors.

Considering our country’s financial woes, it’s even more unbelievable that Congress voted to guarantee the loans to build them. Insanity!

Jessie Collins
Vian, Oklahoma

New Book on Nomadic Living

We’re planning a new shelter book, Wheels and Water: Nomadic Life in the 21st Century. For the past 40 years, MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers have been at the forefront of innovative and creative housing solutions, so we’d like to invite you to share your photos of the campers, gypsy wagons, trailers, houseboats and sailboats you’ve used as habitations. Send your images to Thank you in advance.

Lloyd Kahn
Shelter Publications
Bolinas, California

Finding Common Ground

From the moment we are born, we are taught to believe in absolutes — good vs. evil, black vs. white, Republican vs. Democrat, Christians vs. Muslim, Cowboys vs. Steelers. But from my experience, in most cases, any polarized extreme leads you down the wrong path, as the real truth always seems to lie in the shades of gray.

I have been fortunate to travel around the world and have met tens of thousands of different people. Everyone I have spoken with has the same core desires that I have. They all want to create a life for themselves and be left alone to do so. The similarities amongst all people are magnificent.

The time is coming soon when the human species will remove the chains of thought that have been used to enslave us for so long and awaken to the truth and understanding that our future possibilities are without limit.

John Schorr
Memphis, Tennessee

Remember Making Sorghum Syrup?

I love making sorghum syrup and would like to see this old-time skill become a staple on farms everywhere. If you make sorghum syrup or grew up making it, we’d appreciate hearing your stories, and I’ll share them on my blog (A Modern Missouri Homesteader). We would also appreciate pictures, recipes and any information about sorghum mills. We’d like to connect those wanting to make sorghum syrup with sources for mills, because these are hard to come by and there are few manufacturers of the old-style sorghum mills today. Please help me gather information while old-time sorghum syrup-makers are still around and before the old iron mills get sent off for scrap metal.

Send email responses to with the subject line “Sorghum.”

Sherry Leverich Tucker
Exeter, Missouri

New Adventures in Living

I spent a weekend at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in Puyallup, Wash. It was fabulous! We learned so much! We all were re-energized to keep up what we’re doing and inspired to start new adventures in living. Saturday night we stayed up until after 11 p.m. sharing what we had learned. We loved experiencing the energy of so many like-minded folks in one place.

Christine Terry
Seattle, Washington

See You Next Year

What a fabulous weekend at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR. Thank you for putting on a wonderfully entertaining and educational program. Your speakers were great. So much information to absorb and so many organic and eco-friendly vendors to become acquainted with. It was so nice to be welcomed by the publisher, Bryan Welch. You can be sure I’ll be there next year.

Connie Wilson 
Selah, Washington

Our next MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR is Sept. 21 through 23 in Seven Springs, Pa. For all the details, go to the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR website. MOTHER EARTH NEWS

Say No to GMOs

What an excellent article about genetic engineering (The Threats From Genetically Modified Foods, April/May 2012). What kind of society allows corporations — as well as the government — to poison the world’s food supply under the guise of ending world hunger? A chronically ill, dying and dead society! My family will continue to deepen our efforts to go organic.

Frances Linscott
Tonasket, Washington

Time to Act

You hit the gong with the article by Robin Mather about GMOs. The more I read about the big agrochemical companies, the more afraid I am. They literally control the world seed market while we eat our GMO Cheetos and watch stupid TV. It’s time to wake up and take action, or our grandkids will live a lot lousier life than we have. Go MOTHER EARTH NEWS!

Diane Werich
Ashland, Oregon

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