Dear MOTHER April/May 2017

Reader letters about straw mulch, a high school sustainable-building project, healing after fire, and more.

| April/May 2017


Bakers use a bench knife, also known as a bench scraper, dough scraper, or pastry scraper, to move dough, slice it, or scrape a work surface.

Photo by Fotolia/imfotograf

Just Plain Encouraging

I started reading Mother Earth News back in the early 1970s, so I guess I’m a longtimer now. I always find something of interest in each issue, but I decided to write to say “thank you” for the December 2016/January 2017 issue in particular. It has great articles, practical recommendations (I like stuff I can use!), and is overall just plain encouraging.

I’ve been baking bread for more than 40 years, but I’m still learning new techniques all the time, so I’ll be trying Wendy Akin’s recipes (“Daily Breads: Potato, Oatmeal, White, and Rye with a Starter”). I love “Make Soap the Old-Fashioned Way” because of the detailed, step-by-step directions that I can actually put to use. I’m planning to grow sweet potatoes again this year, so I enjoyed those tips (“The Gardener’s Table: Sweet Potatoes & Shallots to Savor in Winter”). The older I get, the more I realize how important community is; “Farming the Neighborhood” and “Grow a Community Giving Garden” are both practical and inspiring. I guess you get the idea — thanks for a great magazine!

Jill Woodward
Covington, Georgia

Community Support

I was very interested to read your article “Aging Gracefully on the Homestead” (February/March 2017). I’ve spent the past several years working with others to create a senior community in rural North Carolina called Elderberry, which has 18 small and tiny homes. It’s a place where we can continue to do the things we love as we age, such as gardening, keeping animals, hiking, heating with wood, etc., but do so with the help and companionship of others. For those of us who love country life but are becoming unable to manage our large farms, this is a creative alternative. Sharing your farm with others, or converting it into a small community, can provide support for the daily work and other needs, as well as foster deep friendships and regular interaction with others. Thank you for your great magazine!

Mary Bennett
Rougemont, North Carolina

New Arrivals

I won the Heritage Chicken Starter Kit giveaway recently, and got my last item today — the chickens! Thank you so much for the giveaway!

mother earth news fair


Oct. 21-22, 2017
Topeka, KS.

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!