Dear MOTHER: October/November 2010

Reader letters about Why I Love My MOTHER, bag gardens, a pickle recipe, and more.

| October/November 2010

  • Volume 1
    This year marks 40 years of MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine, and it all started with issue No. 1.
  • garden
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS editor Shelley Stonebrook shows how rewarding self-reliance and food security can be!
  • pressure canning
    Reader Deborah Sampson wrote in with concerns about reusing supermarket jars and lids for canning, and recommends always using new lids as a safety precaution.
  • beekeeper
    Reader Janice Houck has been a reader since issue No. 2, and she has her farm, complete with a garden, critters, a rain water collection system and even honeybees!
  • making a whistle
    As a kid in the mid-70s, reader Shannon Gardner learned how to make a whistle out of a willow branch using his pocketknife in an issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS — and still reads today. 
  • soldier in Iraq
    Ethan Dean reads MOTHER EARTH NEWS during a break in his duties in Iraq.
  • top soil
    Reader Rose Bryan and the Adams Public Library in Indiana used bags of top soil to provide a garden for their summer cooking class for local children.

  • Volume 1
  • garden
  • pressure canning
  • beekeeper
  • making a whistle
  • soldier in Iraq
  • top soil

As you may recall, 2010 is our 40th anniversary. Earlier this year, we invited you to share your tales about how the magazine has changed your life. Many veteran readers wrote passionately about how MOTHER EARTH NEWS has guided them over the decades. Some folks shared how the magazine inspired a new sense of hope and possibility. Many commented on their gratitude to other readers who have shared their tips and stories over the years. You can read more of the feedback at Why I Love My MOTHER. We’ve included our 10 favorite reports here, and each author will receive a copy of one of the all-time great homesteading books, the late Carla Emery’s Encyclopedia of Country Living.

MOTHER Always There for Her

MOTHER EARTH NEWS didn’t change my life … it has been my life. You were with me in the 1970s as I sat with friends and we dreamed of starting our own community of simple living. You were with me when I moved to the “big city,” started my first garden in my small backyard and rented space from a community garden. You inspired me to visit the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Eco- Village in Hendersonville, N.C., and see firsthand examples of rammed earth and cordwood buildings.

You were with me when I moved to New Mexico with my best friend and first husband. It was there I learned that raised beds don’t work in the desert and that you have to water three times a day!

You were with me when I returned home to Ohio, divorced and nursing my wounds, looking for a small house to start my garden over again.

You were with me when I met the man I will now spend the rest of my life with. Together we grow a small garden and sell produce and fresh flowers at our local farmers market. We live in an earth-bermed home. We heat entirely with wood. We keep a few bees for honey, a couple of chickens for fresh eggs, and we tap the maple trees in spring to take syrup to market.

You never preached what one should or shouldn’t believe or do. You simply started doing it and passed along the information for us to pick and choose as we saw fit.
Jan Dawson
Bellefontaine, Ohio 

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