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November 2018

Prepping for the Possible — Part II

It doesn’t take a lot of land to grow enough vegetables for one family and maybe even fit in a chicken coop. Many towns have farm-friendly policies that allow a small number of hens only (for the uninformed, you don’t need a rooster unless you want the eggs to be fertile). There is no piece of ground so small that it can’t be brought into production.

Some pretty amazing wisdom can be found in the pages of the classic self-reliance series, Foxfire; photo by Sheila Velazquez.

Beautiful soil is the result of composting, which also reduces our waste. Keep that bucket on the sink and throw in your peelings, coffee grounds, apple cores, etc. until it smells enough that you must toss it in the pile. We could also use more community gardens where experienced growers could guide others wanting to learn through the seasons. Because I’ve done the farming thing, I often forget how few people still know how to grow food. Scary.

There are many websites that offer help and guidance when it comes to learning the homely arts. For someone like me, who poured (and still does) over hard copies of magazines like Countryside & Small Stock Journal, Grit, and Backwoods Home Magazine, there are articles that instruct on every phase of homesteading. The mother of them all, Mother Earth News, keeps an extensive archive on its website, free to browse and use.

The Foxfire website describes the series that originated in 1972 with the original “The Foxfire Book,” a collection of articles from the magazine that was begun in 1966 by children of the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School in Georgia. The name chosen for the title is a reference to the glow emitted by bioluminescent lichen that grows on decaying logs in the Southern woods, noticeable on dark nights. Since that time the magazine has been published uninterrupted, a museum has been established, and the core principles, based on self-centered learning and community-based education, have been adopted by families and educators who favor the Foxfire Approach to Teaching and Learning that “promotes a sense of place and appreciation of local people, community and culture as essential educational tools.”

Beginning more than four decades ago, the students interviewed the elders of their area, documenting their lives and skills, and in doing so they became aware of the close relationships and sharing that were an integral part of creating a strong community. We need more of that–relationships with neighbors and an appreciation of lost culture, not only in Appalachia, but in the urban, exurban, and suburban communities where most of us live.

There are now twelve books in the series that began as a sociological work, and millions of copies of individual volumes have been sold. I bought the first six books in the 1970s. I was a city girl learning how to establish a homestead. I had no experience with farming but was a believer, part of the back-to-the-land movement.

It is in these first collections that most of the practical information can be found. You may not plan on butchering a hog anytime soon, but you will certainly want to plan a garden. The original book has sections on planting by signs, building a log cabin, basket weaving and preserving food, as well as making butter, soap and moonshine. For the religious, there’s information on faith healing and snake handling. The next five volumes offer instructions on spinning and weaving, animal care, tanning hides and logging, as well as making cheese, apple butter, wagons, kilns, tools and shoes. And for “when the work’s all done and the sun’s gettin low” (thanks John Denver), you can also learn how to make old-fashioned toys, corn husk dolls and primitive dulcimers, banjos and fiddles–just in case you can’t power up the tv.

The books are available through the Foxfire website, which is a great place to begin if you’d like to secure your future in small ways, and possibly in bigger ones. And remember the Boy Scout motto.

Interested in the prepper movement? Check out this video by the New Yorker shared on Facebook a few days ago!

(Read Part I here)


Catharsis, Episode 2: Interview — Jeffery Sachs

by Eoin Higgins, special to the Greylock Glass

Hi everyone,
Here’s the second episode of Catharsis, my interview with Jeffrey Sachs about his book: A New Foreign Policy – Beyond American Exceptionalism.

President Trump and French President Macron at Hôtel national des Invalides in July of 2017, commemorating Bastille Day (French National Day), as well as the 100th anniversary of the American troops joining World War I with the allies in France; photo courtesy US Embassy, France.
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Prepping for the Possible — Part I

I couldn’t sleep as news and statistics about our future danced in my head. I tried counting sheep, but as someone who once raised sheep, it didn’t work. It just led me to thinking about shearing and spinning and all the nice organic lamb we used to put in the freezer. I won’t go into particulars about what is coming down the pike re the trade crisis, foreign entanglements, climate change, shortages, terrorism, possible shutdown of the power grid, financial collapse, and our corrupt (on both sides) political system.

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Advertiser Types

The survey is closed, but if you’re here and simply must check off boxes and fill out forms, be our guest—the survey is below. Otherwise, enjoy checking out the results.


Before we get to the specific advertiser types, I thought it was important to point out two points of data that shocked me. What were almost afterthoughts were two questions that I hoped would help describe people’s attitudes about their own responsibility for supporting their local news sources. The answers were deeply, deeply troubling.

Are you concerned about the decrease in local news reporting locally and nationally?

Yes: 85%,     No: 3%,     Didn’t know a there was a decline: 11%

Are you currently paying for a subscription or membership with a local news source?

No: 85%,     Yes: 14%

These figures show that  a tremendous number of people want more local news coverage, but almost nobody wants to pay for it. And while 75% of respondents said that they thought that people should pay for a Greylock Glass membership (see below), not one person has coughed up a dime since the survey was launched. And since I know exactly how many paying members the Greylock Glass has, that’s a lot of folks who don’t put their money where their mouths are.

My guess is that people assume that somebody else is paying for it. That they’ll get around to pitching in one day, just not right now. It’s funny—no one thinks you can just pour yourself a mug of beer at the pub and pay for it when you feel like it, or maybe never. As delightful as beer is, it doesn’t do for the individual and society what a free and independent press does. It depresses me that when publishers put content behind  paywalls, all of a sudden people whip out their wallets and come up with the paltry sums required to access the articles or podcasts or videos or whatnot. But maybe that’s where the Greylock Glass is headed. Shame, too, since just a fraction of the audience who can afford $5 a month, or even $1 a month could have kept it free for those who legitimately can afford it.


What kind of a reaction would respondents have if their news source displayed ads from:

Gun Shops

Negative: 44%,     No Reaction: 52%,     Positve: .04%


Negative: 33%,     No Reaction: 59%,     Positve .07%


Negative: .04%,     No Reaction: 74%,     Positve: 22%


Negative: .04%,     No Reaction: 93%     Positve: .04%

Adult Entertainment (Strip) Clubs

Negative: 55%,      No Reaction: 44%,     Positve: 0%

Adult Gift Shops

Negative: 33%       No Reaction: 67%

Political Candidates/Parties

Negative: 52%,      No Reaction: 48%


Asked what people thought a fair monthly membership price would be for full access to the Greylock Glass, 40% didn’t respond (they probably thought I could track them down—I can’t). But of the people who DID respond:

13%   —   $10
44%   —   $5
18%   —   $1
25%   —   $0.00 (And yet, you keep consuming our content…🤔)

I think it’s so frigging awesome that a full 75% of you think that we deserve to get paid for our efforts! What sucks? Almost none of you are. The coin I earn, I earn as a freelance editor/project manager in other sectors of publishing. Don’t get me wrong, I am so incredibly grateful that I have clients who value my time and skills—I’m spending this weekend working on a project for my favorite one, in fact. But I’d rather be working for you. These numbers explain the situation pretty well, though, don’t they? You have the power to change that.
Become a supporting member right now.


The Greylock Glass is poised for amazing growth, and needs to determine where the money is going to come from to make that happen. This survey is designed to gather community opinion about supporting news coverage with advertising from certain business types. Thanks for your honest answers!

NOTE: All questions are optional, and you do not have to provide your name or e-mail.

[wpforms id=”9793″ title=”false” description=”false”]


Cooking and Cookbooks

I love to cook as much as I love to eat. During my farming days, meat was kept in a large dedicated chest freezer until a particular craving struck. My favorite meal was roast pork, and before the meat was done, I had usually picked off about half of the crusty fat squares and devoured them.

Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book, 2nd Edition; 1956; photo by Sheila Velazquez 
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Experience building relationships key reason to vote Harrington for DA

To the editor,

Will experience decide the District Attorney race? I think it should—and that is why I support Andrea Harrington. Paul Caccaviello’s familiarity with “business as usual” at the Berkshire County DA’s office is precisely why I am not supporting him. The office of Capeless and Caccaviello has resisted change for too long, and it is doing Berkshire County a disservice.

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Siege Mentality

“The Siege of Magdeburg,” by Eduard Steinbrüc; 1866

“…we’re in a historic transitional moment and the very foundations of society are now open to question.

― David Brooks
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Former SVU prosecutor says Berkshire DA office handling of rape case “a travesty”

To the Editor:

I am an attorney, admitted to the bar for forty-five years, and write in regard to the race for District Attorney.

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DA response to controversy over 2016 sexual assault case raises more questions

by Eoin Higgins, special to the Greylock Glass

On Thursday afternoon, Berkshire County District Attorney Paul Caccaviello commented on yesterday’s reporting at The Greylock Glass on his office’s involvement in the mishandling of sexual assault evidence in a 2016 alleged rape case at Williams College.

NOTE: Be sure to read part one of this story here.

DA Paul Caccaviello commented on office's involvement in the mishandling of sexual assault evidence in a 2016 alleged rape case at Williams College.
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