Dear MOTHER: Sharing the Knowledge

Letters from our readers about pumpkin cornbread recipes, sharing eggs with neighbors, sandhill cranes, pest prevention, and more.

Sharing the Knowledge

This year has been hard on everyone. Our small city in Massachusetts was hit with COVID-19 and the unemployment and food shortages that came with it. Meatpacking facilities shut down. Trucks stopped rolling. Each family, no matter its size, was limited to one package of meat per visit to the grocery store. There was a chicken shortage, and eggs were hard to come by. My husband and I have a small urban farmstead, two blocks from downtown. We raise chickens and meat rabbits, and we have our own gardens and fruit trees. All of it is on less than 1/2 acre. What was intended to feed our family has become a source of food for many families. We provide eggs to our neighbors and a couple of elderly friends to make sure they have their protein. We hatch as many chicks as our rooster Elvis and his ladies can manage to fertilize. Some we incubate, and some stay under hens. We help families all over our city look up the city bylaws in their areas, build coops, and establish flocks for their families. Come March, we’ll teach people how to start plants indoors so they can grow their own gardens, whether in window boxes, on rooftops, or in medians. I’m telling you this not because I want to toot my own horn, but because I hope other will be encouraged to share their knowledge and help other families eat during this time.

Angela Bhowmik

Priceless Connection

I’ve been reading your articles online for years now. My husband and I moved out to a “farmette” to let our kids grow up in the country and to grow our own food, just like we did as kids. Sustainability has always been at the forefront of our endeavors, but because I come from a long line of commercial crop farmers, I was always a little worried about what my dad would’ve thought of my efforts to be organic and not till my garden much. He passed before I was 2, so I don’t remember him. If I’m honest, part of moving back to the country and raising my kids here was in hopes of finding a connection to him. Well, one day when my mom was visiting, she noticed your website up on my computer. She exclaimed, “Oh my goodness, MOTHER EARTH NEWS! I haven’t seen that in forever. Your dad used to get that magazine.” And then she told me so many things I didn’t know: Dad was on the county’s soil and water conservation board; he was the first in the area to use a no-till drill to plant; and animal and soil health were important to him. When I told her about how I’d been worried he would’ve thought I was silly for trying to be sustainable, she hugged me and assured me that he would’ve been so proud. I can’t begin to describe how much it meant to me.

I’m so excited to start receiving my own copy of your magazine in the mail. It’s a silly thing, but the connection it gives me to someone I love but didn’t get the chance to know is priceless. I thought maybe you’d like to hear that. Thank you for being around and doing what you’re doing. I’m grateful!

Kate Overpeck
Gaston, Indiana

Sandhill Crane Crossing

Photo by Don Schank
I enjoyed reading the letter about those large “turkeys” on Hank’s property (News from MOTHER, February/March 2021). We have sandhill cranes in our neighborhood year-round. We have so many that we had to put up signs on the road to caution drivers. We’re fortunate to have new parents bring their fuzzy, reddish-yellow chicks to our yard.

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