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At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we have been educating folks about the benefits of self-reliance for 50 years. That includes researching and sourcing the best books and products to help individuals master the skills they need in times like these and beyond. Our online store is open and we are here to answer any questions you might have. Our customer service staff is available Monday through Friday from 8a.m.-5p.m. CDT. We can be reached at 1-800-234-3368 or by email. Stay safe!

Dear MOTHER: October/November 2011

Reader letters about food independence, politics in MOTHER EARTH NEWS, wiser living apps, worst garden weeds, snakes, killer herbicides, and more.

| October/November 2011

  • Hog Illustration
    In his article, “Food Independence on a 1930s Farm,” Harold Oliver told of how his family slaughtered their hogs each fall when the first snow fell.
  • Guinea Hens
    Guineas are great bug hunters and will even go after snakes in your yard.
  • Solar Panels
    Reader Stephanie Thompson of Memphis, Tenn., suggests solar panels and wind turbines in neighborhoods as a good way to decentralize the power grid.
  • Smart Phone App
    Our “Food Gardening Guide” smartphone app can help you grow a better garden.
  • Nutsedge
    Nutsedge (nut grass) is a perennial invasive garden weed.

  • Hog Illustration
  • Guinea Hens
  • Solar Panels
  • Smart Phone App
  • Nutsedge

I’m So Excited!

I do not recall where I found MOTHER EARTH NEWS, but it has been a godsend. We are preparing to purchase 2 acres, and I was wondering whether we would be able to achieve self-sufficiency. I checked my email just now and the article Start a 1-Acre, Self-Sufficient Homestead is featured in your e-newsletter. I am so excited about this and can’t wait to share it with my husband. Folks like me have so much to learn about these things, and frankly, I don’t know what I would have done had I not happened upon your website.

Lyric St. Germaine
Fort Meade, Florida

Lyric, we’re sending you a couple of books to support your new adventure. They are The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It by John Seymour (from which the “1-Acre” article was taken) and Carla Emery’s The Encyclopedia of Country Living. These two books are the how-to bibles for self-sufficient living. For more inspiration, check out Living the Good Life by Helen and Scott Nearing. — MOTHER 

Durable Goods

I just read the letter in the August/September 2011 issue entitled Time to Demand Durable Stuff. I’m in my mid-30s and couldn’t agree more. I’m so tired of having to buy junk because that’s the only thing available. When will Americans wake up and realize that the purchase price of something is only one part of the total cost of ownership? I’m a mechanic by trade, and it grinds on my nerves to hear advertisements that attempt to sway the purchaser with selling points such as “voice-controlled electronics” and other superficial bells and whistles.

For once I’d like to watch a commercial about the types of seals and bearings used in vital components, or about a manufacturer’s dedicated, global parts infrastructure that will help you maintain your purchase for decades to come. I would much rather have a small number of high-quality products than a house full of the latest shiny junk with a six-month life expectancy.

Steve Izell
Choctaw, Oklahoma

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