Dear MOTHER: June/July 2016

Reader letters about aging on the homestead, composting toilets, parsnip burn, preserving okra, a homemade swimming pool design, canola oil and omega-3s, pesticide drift, and more.

| June/July 2016

  • Readers of all ages enjoy “Mother Earth News.”
    Photo by Bill Euclide
  • Reader Jason Cook built this natural swimming pool for his community’s enjoyment.
    Photo by Jason Cook
  • A sawdust composting toilet is a wonderful alternative to a traditional, water-guzzling toilet.
    Photo by Janice DiGirolamo
  • The solar panels on this New Jersey home provide 80 percent of the owners’ electrical needs.
    Photo by Alan Spector

It’s Never Too Early

My wife took a picture of me reading our MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine to our 21-month-old granddaughter, and I wanted to share it with you. It’s never too young to start reading your wonderful publication!

By the way, I used to get an email that asked my opinion on upcoming covers. I enjoyed taking it, but haven’t received it for some time. How do I sign up for that email again?

Bill Euclide
Adams, Wisconsin

Bill, thank you for sharing this sweet photo with us! You’re thinking of our editorial advisory surveys, which we use to gauge reader interest in upcoming article ideas and cover images. — Editors

Our Natural Swimming Pool

I enjoy reading MOTHER EARTH NEWS, and I appreciate all the time and effort you put into creating the magazine. I hope you continue to publish valuable content; the ideas you share are being lost in the crazy world we live in.

Two summers ago, I built a natural swimming pool based on the instructions from your article How to Build a Natural Swimming Pool by Douglas Buege and Vicky Uhland (August/September 2002). I probably read the article 10 times before diving into the. I created two time-lapse videos of the construction, as well, that I posted on YouTube. My community shares the homemade swimming pool, and we couldn’t be happier with it. Keep up the great writing!

Jason Cook
Eagle Mountain, Utah

We Love Our Composting Toilet

We were tickled to see your article Reader Roundup: DIY Composting Toilet Setups (Ask Our Experts, April/May 2016). We moved to the country in 1975 to pursue a simple, organic life with the smallest footprint possible. We built a pole house from repurposed materials and installed a sawdust composting toilet, which we still have. It’s a wonderful alternative to a traditional water-guzzling toilet. Plus, it’s quiet, and the wooden seat warms easily. We do suspect that our relatives still tell stories about it, though. For example, just last year our 8-year-old great-niece came to visit and proclaimed, “I love your dirt toilet!” We love it too, even after 40 years.

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