Thursday, June 05, 2008

Magazine Review: Backwoods Home Magazine

Self-Reliant Features with a Rural and Wilderness Slant

by Nick Howes

When you consider Backwoods Home Magazine, think of the old information-packed Mother Earth News before it got slick. It also has a political slant to the right, rather than left.

I've enjoyed the self-reliance articles this magazine is crammed with ever since I first came across it. Maybe some readers are put off by the occasional history-oriented articles, but those happen to appeal to me a lot.


Backwoods Home Magazine: Practical Ideas for Self-Reliant Living is a bi-monthly, 8x10" size, with around 100 pages, numerous features and columns, well illustrated and very readable. I am going to focus here on my latest issue.

Issue #108

The latest issue in-hand is #108, Nov/Dec 2007. Cover blurbs promote articles on Preparedness Lessons, Perfect Holiday Meal, Talking with Horses, Dreams to Reality, Simple Composting, Build a Barrel Stove, and Questions about Global Warming. The last is actually a one-page editorial questioning the "givens" about global warming (is it real, is it man-made, is global warming bad?). I mentioned it does have a political slant to the right, but that's usually the most obvious in the one-page editorial.

The table of contents breaks down the list of features into Building and Tools (one article), self-reliance 9 articles (including Carbon Monoxide-the Silent Killer, Encounters with a Black Bear, Avoiding Deer on the Roadways, and These Rustic Easy to Make Candle holders Are a Great Gift Idea). There's one article under the Energy category (Solar Power Trailer, Part 1), one under Gardening (the cover-blurbed composting article), two under Recipes, and one under Country Characters (Talking with Horses, an Interview with Paul Brousseau).

The articles are easy to understand, illustrated with photos or, if called for, diagrams. There's an Irreverent Joke Page with items submitted by readers for no payment. Other regular features include Ayoob on Firearms (Thoughts on Ammunition) and Ask Jackie who answers questions about rural life (canning kraut, natural bug repellent, woodpeckers, alternative water system, canning lobster, squash recipes, dehydrating blueberries, and much more, even in this single issue).


The magazine runs $4.95 US each at the newsstand, $6.50 Canadian. I found it at Borders and have seen it at one or two other places. However, some time back the editors did indicate they were cutting back on newsstand distribution due to the expense, so they are urging subscription to make sure you get every copy at the best price, $23.95 a year, $44.95 for two years. The subscription address for check or money order is Backwoods Home Magazine, PO Box 712, Gold Beach, OR 97444. Credit card orders may call (800) 835-2418.


Backwoods Home has a website which includes information on the current issue, subscription information, and the like. Of especial interest is the lengthy list of articles archived on the website. This extensive sampling covers a marvelous sampling of what they are all about with hundreds (no exaggeration) of listings under the categories History/Americana, Animals, Building/Tools, Commentary, Country Living, Crafts, Energy, Farm and Garden, Firearms/Hunting/Self Defense, Food./Recipes, Health, Home Schooling, Just for Kids, Making/Saving Money (always a topic of interest to me), People, Self-reliance, Smalltown America. If nothing else, check out the archives. A printable index of all articles Backwoods Home has run is available in PDF and EXCEL formats.

Final Comment

You can ignore the politics easily enough, if you want, but if you have any interested at all in the subject matter, you simply cannot pass up this magazine.

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