Backwoods Home Magazine
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (April 2009)|
|Founder||Dave Duffy, Annie (Duffy) Tuttle (daughter)|
|Based in||Gold Beach, Oregon|
Backwoods Home Magazine is a bi-monthly American magazine that has a circulation of 41,000. It was founded in 1989 in a garage in Ventura, California, by Dave Duffy and his seven-year-old daughter, Annie. After publication of the second issue, Duffy met Ilene Myers, who became his wife and partner-in-publication. Backwoods Home remains family-owned. It is based in Gold Beach, Oregon.
Backwoods Home's articles and columns emphasize practical skills and projects for rural living. Typical topics include building your own structures, growing crops, earning a living in the country, frugal living, cooking and baking, raising animals, harvesting wild foods, homegrown energy, emergency preparedness, self-healthcare, and buying and using firearms. The magazine also features historic and scientific "debunking" articles by long-time senior editor, John Silveira. Backwoods Home is also known for its libertarian and libertarian-conservative editorial viewpoints.
History and philosophy
Dave Duffy, then a technical writer and former journalist, and his seven-year-old daughter Annie started the magazine with no money other than an occasional freelance paycheck in 1989. They initially published it from a garage in Ventura, in Southern California. Duffy's original concept was for a book called Build a Backwoods Home for Under $10,000. The book was to be based on his experience constructing an off-grid home in the Siskiyou mountains of Oregon, to which he was commuting every few months.
He started the magazine as a means of advertising the proposed book. The first issue, with a print run of 6,000, came out in October 1989 and was distributed free and by hand by Duffy and Annie. A few months later, the publication was picked up by a national distributor, American Distribution Services of Northbrook, Illinois (now defunct). The book was never completed.
Backwoods Home has been called[by whom?] "what Mother Earth News used to be" – that is, a no-frills, back-to-basics resource for country dwellers and those hoping to move to the country. At the time of Backwoods Home's founding, Mother Earth had become a more "slick" publication. However, Duffy says he had never heard of Mother Earth News at that time, and that among his chief inspirations were scientific publications from the Middle Ages.
Duffy has said, "Although the emphasis has always been on self-reliance, I rode the environmental wagon a bit back then to try and attract subscribers, but quickly gave it up and followed my Libertarian leanings. My model was a type of scientific journal from the Middle Ages ... that mixed how-to advice like wine and bread making with scientific articles. I decided to mix self-reliant articles with freedom articles. It was what interested me. It was both interesting to me – and I felt was important to everyone – to both understand how to do things for yourself and to understand how freedom worked. John Silveira, my friend since age 20, was an important element of this mix, as he had the intellect and research ability to write the critical freedom articles. The backbone of BHM has always been, and is today, the how-to article."
The magazine has for many years had a consistent circulation of 41,000, of which approximately 36,000 is subscription and 5,000 newsstand sales. The economic troubles of late 2008 and 2009 led to a substantial increase in visits to its website.
Staff and contributors
- Dave Duffy – Founder, Editor, and Publisher Dave Duffy writes the monthly editorial and oversees all editorial decisions. His "Behind the Scenes" blog features news about the magazine and life in Gold Beach, Oregon.
- Ilene Duffy – Serves as Business Manager while also raising the couple's three boys.
- Annie Tuttle – Annie Tuttle (formerly Duffy) became Managing Editor of Backwoods Home in 2008. In addition, she writes articles for the magazine focusing on hand-crafting items for babies and small children.
- John Silveira – In addition to his duties as Senior Editor, John Silveira, a long-time friend of Duffy, contributes in-depth articles on scientific issues and American history.
- Oliver Del Signore – Another long-time friend, Del Signore designed and manages the Backwoods Home web site and contributes occasional editorials. He also blogs for the magazine and manages its social media.
- Don Childers – Artist Childers has illustrated most Backwoods Home covers since the beginning and formerly did much of the article illustration, as well
- Lisa Nourse – Editorial Coordinator Nourse handles day-to-day liaison with contributors and assists with editing.
- Jackie Clay-Atkinson – Jackie Clay-Atkinson, an independent off-grid homesteader in northern Minnesota, writes articles on all aspects of self-sufficient living, from growing herbs to butchering elk. In addition, her "Ask Jackie" column answers questions from readers on many topics, with emphasis on home skills like safely preserving foods. She brings similar topics to her Backwoods Home blog.
- Jeff Yago – Energy Editor Yago writes frequent articles on solar, wind, and other types of homegrown power with a how-to emphasis. He also analyses current and upcoming energy alternatives.
- Massad Ayoob – Firearms instructor Ayoob is Gun Editor, writes a regular column giving advice on firearms and their use and safety, and blogs for the magazine on similar topics.
- Richard Blunt – Contributes articles on food and cooking, with an emphasis on health, wholeness, and food traditions.
- Claire Wolfe – Best known for her libertarian "outlaw" writings and her creation of the self-sufficient fictional town of Hardyville USA, Wolfe writes semi-regular articles for the print magazine. She is also one of the magazine's bloggers.
- Dorothy Ainsworth – Frequent contributor Ainsworth is a waitress in Ashland, Oregon best known to BHM readers for her articles on how she built (and after a fire, rebuilt) a vertical log home and studio almost single-handedly and how she helped her son build his home.
- Linda Gabris – Writes food articles, with an emphasis on using wild foods or making traditional homemade items. A Canadian, she is one of the magazine's two regular non-American contributors
- Habeeb Salloum -- Canadian-Arab contributor Salloum is an internationally known writer on cuisine, with emphasis on ethnic foods and their place in history.
"Safety Not Guaranteed" classified ad
In the September/October 1997 issue of Backwoods Home, Senior Editor John Silveira wrote a joke ad as filler for the magazine's classified ad section:
- Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. P.O. Box ... You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.
- Silveira, John. "The time-travel ad". Backwoods Home Magazine. Backwoods Home Magazine. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
- Singer, Matt (2012-01-11). "Safety Not Guaranteed – Traveling through time with Mark Duplass and Aubrey Plaza". Sun Filtered. Sundance Channel. Retrieved 2012-05-03.