These are "Reports from the Newsstand," my comments on the publications in our catalogue at We offer sample copies of our publications, not subscriptions. Each sample copy costs $2.59, well below newsstand cover prices (if the publication is available on your newsstand at all). A $2.00 shipping charge is added to each order. Publishers use to get their publications into the hands of potential subscribers.


Ed Rust, proprietor of, has worked in publishing in a variety of capacities for decades. He started as U.S. circulation director of the Financial Times "way back when they flew the papers into Kennedy Airport from London a day late." He most recently was managing editor of publications at the General Society, Sons of the Revolution.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

BACK HOME: Eco-Friendly Low-Cost Projects

New to the newsstand this morning is Back Home, which describes itself as "your hands-on guide to sustainable living." It's a colorful bimonthly that's filled with eco-friendly ideas on recycling, home maintenance, gardening, homesteading and workshop projects. We've just received a supply of the March/April issue, and it's a wonderful read for anyone looking for simple, low-cost projects to undertake or just contemplate and admire.

This issue focuses on the coming of warmer weather and the world of growing things. There's an article about "living roofs," topping off a building with several inches of soil and planting it with grass, wildflowers or ground cover. The aesthetic benefits are obvious, but there's also natural cooling in summer and longevity of the roof if it's properly constructed (the slope is particularly important). Another article is about building ultra-low-cost "hoophouses," Quonset-type greenhouses constructed of materials such as PVC pipe and polyethylene sheeting that can significantly extend the growing season for plants and vegetables. The author explains how they can be built in hours for as little as 50 cents a square foot.

I liked a short piece about some kids in rural Texas who noted that their fathers traditionally dumped used motor oil around fence posts to kill weeds. Having learned that just one quart of oil can pollute 250,000 gallons of drinking water, in 1997 they organized a 4-H project called "Don't Be Crude" to educate their parents and the wider community. The result to date: more than 300,000 gallons of used motor fluids have been collected and recycled. Urban living isn't totally neglected in the issue, as a very successful food co-op in Brooklyn's Park Slope is profiled.

There are a couple of articles about the benefits of raised gardening beds, with special attention paid to the dangers of using certain kinds of pressure-treated lumber as building materials. You'll come across a fascinating description of what you're in for when you buy your first cow, either for milk for home consumption or as a business proposition.

There's much more in the issue: plenty of recipes, tips on growing tomatoes, advice on finding cheap or free used furniture and making it pretty again, and an old design for a unusual homemade sawhorse. Back Home is published in East Flat Rock, NC and proudly proclaims that it's printed with agricultural-based soy inks. An annual subscription (six issues) is $21.97; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.


Post a Comment

<< Home