Access to Tools.

2018 is the 50th anniversary of a great many things, both cool and horrifying. But Reason Magazine (which also turns 50, though I don’t care as much) reminds me that this is the 50th anniversary of something I did care about very much way back when, the Whole Earth Catalog.


Ah, the foolish back-to-the-land homesteader fantasies with which I pleasantly wasted time with the help of the WEC back in the bad ol’ days. It all came to naught, of course – I expect to wake up any second now from my nap in my gray-carpeted cubicle, sad and depressed.

For more practical but not nearly as fun access to tools, try this one instead.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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9 Responses to Access to Tools.

  1. Zelda says:

    Still have my copy. Didn’t realize it had been 50 years. Wonderful reading.

  2. Tsgtjoe says:

    Ah, the Lehmans catalogue. Havent been to Kidron Ohio in over 20 years

  3. Joel says:

    I got all my kerosene lamps and the best ash shovel in the Gulch from the Lehmans catalog, the year I moved into the Lair. Now that I have better Plan A and B electric lighting the lamps are mothballed or given away, but

  4. Jim Price says:

    I still have every issue of the original Mother Earth News, from issue no. 1 through the last issue when they went bankrupt. I believe that’s about no. 180. I had just paid for another year or two when they disappeared. When a new company took over they “generously” offered to honor my subscription for a fee. That pissed me off so much I’ve never picked up another issue.

    I would like to find a new home for this library, but shipping them would be prohibitively expensive.

  5. Joel says:

    I can’t say I ever really got into Mother Earth News. Too…polished? Too many recipes involving kale? I just made that up. I dunno, I never got into it. Backwoods Home, I paid a fair amount attention until they screwed Claire and most of their bloggers. But thanks to a generous reader I have their complete back library in print, and that is quite useful surprisingly often.

  6. NeroZ says:

    About 5-7 yrs ago, I was at coffee/cafe/used book store in my closest town that I’d been visiting for a few month and found what I thought was the Jewels of the Nile. About 150 issues of back copies of Backwoods Home Magazine. Those puppies are expensive as in $4-6 a copy on the website. These were going for $2 per. SCORE, says I.

    Anyway, this was in a hippy type used bookstore in town of 25,000, and I should have known better but the owner and the other waitress’s were always scantily/loosely/hippily (is that a word?) dressed so going in for coffee, people watching and reading were some of my recently acquired retiree daily acts. Side boob, no big deal. Full on top view while at counter, no big deal. Tit falls out, no big deal.

    While perusing through a few on the shelf stack, the owner was placing some books on the shelves, so I was slightly distracted by her decision on this days choice of clothing. Full-on Commando top to bottom with light linen cloth dress and the transparency of a lightly dirty pane of old time glass windows in the right light and that store had plenty of just the right light.

    Annnnnyyyywayy, I digress. So I see this stack of these magazine and start scheming on what I could get the whole lot for. I offer her $0.50 a piece and she balks as she doesn’t remember what she bought them for. So we go to the office (keep in mind, I was scheming on her as I knew she was recently single by several months just through chit chat.)

    Anyway, after going through her acct. book, she wants $1.25 each. I offer $1 but she holds firm. (just like her body, btw).

    A score is a score so I buy them all without actually looking though the three tall piles, just use the 2 boxes she gives me and load em’ up. Figured I’d Ooggled enough for the day and put em in my truck, did some shopping and went home. Tossed the boxes aside for a few days as I had a lot of chores to tend to.

    A few days to a week later, I finally start going through the box.

    To my dismay, there were 1, count em, 1 Backwoods Home Magazines and 149 Mother Earth News Mags. They aren’t bad and it wasn’t that bad a deal but the certainly ain’t as good as the Backwoods Home series. They are thicker than BWH but stacked with liberal stuff in half of em although not nearly as recognizable as it would have been even ten years ago.

    They’ve got a shit ton of ads but seeings as the mags are all from 1975 through mid/late 1980’s, the ads aren’t that workable anymore.

    Interesting ad is for a years supply of economy ($549/339 lb.) of dehydrated, nitrogen packed survival foods. Bump up to $879 and you get the moderate package ( 455 lb.) and go whole hog for the deluxe @$1119 you get the moderate and an added to bring the deluxe to a total of 570 lb of food. Going on comparisons to today’s packages, you now pay about $1800 @ Auguson Farms.

    I digress.

    Thinking with the wrong head that day fer sure. I continued to patronize the place a couple times a week for a few months, got no where with the owner after asking her out, as she apparently had, by this time, un-singled with the ex. I felt too uncomfortable to return. Too little too late on that front.

    Being a conservative, I was only DTF as I’ll never marry again, especially a lib as I was once wont to do, and did. They seem to love sex but the rest of the bull ya gotta put up with just ain’t worth it.

    Went back 4 months later to get a book i recalled the shop having and the joint had closed down.

    Moral: That’s up to you to decide…

  7. patrick fowler says:

    Best score I ever had in a used bookstore was a 1st edition copy of Paramhansa Yoganandas Autobiography of a Yogi , 11 dollars , at the time I didn’t know it’s value , I bought it to read… even though it’s kind of worn it’s now worth 4 or 5 hundred…

  8. Judy says:

    I have always wondered about what happened at Backwoods Home. I was an avid reader until about that time frame and then their content just didn’t cut it anymore.

  9. MeToo says:

    Me too Judy. Let my subscription lapse. But I was buying back issues that did have interesting content. And the number of typos, word misuse, factual and spelling errors and grammatical mistakes all of a sudden puzzled me – it was like no one was proofreading anything. Hope it goes better this time.

To the stake with the heretic!