Dear MOTHER February/March 2018

Letters from our readers on how to read MOTHER EARTH NEWS overseas, fortify your homestead from unwanted guests, appreciate our canine and feline helpers, and more!

| February/March 2018

  • Barn cats are great at pest control including mice, rats, chipmunks, and even squirrels.
    Photo by Clark and Company
  • Amigo shows his enthusiasm while on the job.
    Photo by Armando Perez
  • Saydee poses patiently during a family stroll.
    Photo by Katie Haysom
  • My mama ewe, Ginny, and her two lambs take a nap on this “it’s finally here” spring day. Icelandic sheep are a hardy, primitive breed with spirited demeanors and lovely, lustrous fleeces of many natural colors. Here, a first-time mom takes care of her twin lambs on a brisk spring day. We at Stark Hollow Farm raise Animal Welfare Approved heritage breed animals. Stark Hollow Farm - Danville, Vermont
    Photo by Stark Hollow Farm
  • I was intrigued by William Rubel’s article “Beautiful Bread” in the December 2017/January 2018 issue. I decided to try it and was delighted with the results! Joyce Ancrile - Vienna, West Virginia
    Photo by Joyce Ancrile
  • I took this shot in June at a farm in Snelling, California. The dog’s name was Axel. He was a very happy-go-lucky Labrador that had a great time on the farm, with a great deal of freedom, running in and out of the creek and pond and playing among the other animals. I just found out that, sadly, Axel passed just two weeks after this picture was taken, in a car accident. Unfortunately, this happens all too often to our roaming country dogs. Anthony Presto - San Joaquin Valley, California
    Photo by Anthony Presto

Mother Earth News App

While visiting an old friend of 50 years in Boston this past autumn, I looked long and hard for a copy of your magazine and was finally successful in a big grocery store. As a dedicated grower of organic vegetables here in the United Kingdom, I’ve been following your Facebook page for a year now. I’ve recently discovered I can read Mother Earth News online with an app!

I so loved “Pearls of Wisdom” in my paper copy of the August/September 2017 issue, and have been inspired by Pearl O’Neill’s optimistic outlook on life at the age of 101. By her reckoning I still have 25 years left of growing food to keep me healthy, wealthy, and wise!

Jan Jones
Manchester, England


The Value of Barn Cats

I really enjoyed reading the Ask Our Experts response on “How To Keep Your Barn Cats Healthy” in the October/November 2017 issue and I hope others follow the advice.



When I was a young boy growing up on a farm, we had two feral cats living in our barn. Nobody knew where they came from — they just showed up one day. One had black and gray stripes and the other was all gray. My grandfather named them Snookums and Smokey. Although they wouldn’t let us get close, they were unconcerned with us working in the barn or the noise and movements from the livestock. They were the greatest pest control. Hardly a day passed that we wouldn’t find a dead mouse or rat, or even an occasional chipmunk or squirrel on the floor.

To reward them, my grandmother kept two large mixing bowls on the barn floor, one filled with dry cat food and the other filled with water. She would refill them when needed. The barn cats were with us for many years, and then one day they were gone. Your fine article brought back fond memories of Snookums and Smokey, and of when I was a young farm boy.





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