Last year, life was good to me.
First and foremost, my wife and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary in a tree-house cabin in southern Missouri, hidden from the world on the North Fork River. We fished for wild native trout by day and ate exceptional food like deer tenderloin and homemade dill bread in the evenings.
Earlier in the year, after a meaningful weekend deer hunting with my father-in-law, I took about 40 pounds of whitetail deer meat from pasture to freezer. I’d harvested several deer in previous years, but always relied on the local butcher for processing the meat.
I’ll never forget the feeling last fall as my wife and I
sat at our little kitchen table, carefully carving meat away from bones and –
for the first time – actually seeing to it myself that nothing went to waste.
It felt like such good work, to both of us, and was a fulfilling
Back in the spring, we caught more than 19 pounds of trout that supplied us with some excellent-tasting fish, a catch that nearly lasted us all the way through the hot Kansas summer of 2011.
We processed around 40 broiler chickens in November, an annual event that puts some meat in the freezer and bonds our staff and community here at GRIT in a way that office discussions cannot.
And we added a deep freeze last winter – a gift from family – that now allows us to affordably purchase quality meat for the first time. Be it half of a grassfed steer, or half of a bison split among friends, my family is closer to consuming in a manner of which we can be proud.
Really, we’re closer to living how we want to live. After looking at country homes for more than a year now, we’re months away from moving out to a modest little A-frame house that sits on a few acres of pasture, a move that will allow us to raise a few head of cattle, keep the chickens we already have, and maybe add rabbits or a pig or three.
Personal events of the year as great as they were, being given the opportunity to be more involved in the editorial decisions here at GRIT – the nation’s most iconic, historic rural lifestyle magazine that has remained in continuous publication the longest of any – means I get to work more directly for you. It’s such an honor to work on this title every day, and to hear from the folks of rural America on a daily basis; folks like my Uncle Fred and Grandpa Goodno – folks cut from the same cloth as I am. We live and love the lifestyle, and we also listen. We love to listen.
One of the things our readers indicated recently is every editor’s dream: You want more. Our editorial survey team (join at www.Grit.com/surveys) suggested that 72 percent of you would like to receive an electronic PDF-format digital supplement to GRIT that would be published halfway between print issues, a shorter six additional issues of the magazine, if you will.
So, fairly soon, we'll be sending out our first-ever issue (Volume 1, Number 1!) of GRIT Country, and we’d love your feedback. It’s entirely free the first time around, and we look forward to providing you with 12 issues a year of your favorite rural lifestyle magazine. Subscribe to GRIT Country right here. Each interactive issue of GRIT Country will contain at least one gardening article and one DIY project – make sure and check out the DIY doghouse on Page 7 of the April GRIT Country, and consider giving your pooch a new set of digs he or she will love, for cheap.
To receive that first issue, all you have to do is either subscribe to GRIT Country, or make sure you're signed up for our newsletter, GRIT eNews, and you can sign up for that at www.grit.com/newsletters.
It was a fun one to work on, since for the first time ever we could include live links in an issue, and we're working toward including videos right in the PDF; the possibilities are fun and intriguing to think about.
Finally, to add your voice to the discussion, join the editorial advisory group at the web address above, or drop me a line at cregan@Grit.com. We’ll do everything we can to provide you with the cream of the crop.
Until our paths cross
Caleb D. Regan
Photos: courtesy Gwen Regan
Caleb Regan and his wife, Gwen, live in rural Douglas County, Kansas, where they enjoy hunting, fishing, and raising and growing as much of their own food as they can. Caleb can’t imagine a better scenario than getting to work on a rural lifestyle magazine as a profession, and then living that same lifestyle right in the heartland of America. Connect with him on Google+.