Mail Call: July/August 2007

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Jujube tree and fruit.

No Miracle Diets

Unbelievable! I’ve found a magazine custom-made for me. No make-up, no miracle diets, no articles about office gossips, how to seduce someone or how to have a happy divorce!

I like everything in GRIT from cover to cover. It’s refreshing, amusing, charming and interesting. It’s simply happiness to me!

I am 43, happily married and the mother of three teenage girls to whom I hope I have transmitted my love and respect for nature.

Thank you for the enjoyment I will have reading GRIT in the coming years.

Suzanne Gilbert
South Durham, Québec, Canada

Not to be Overlooked

As a new subscriber, I was thrilled when the May/June issue had an article on dogs, “Good (Guard) Dogs!” Imagine my surprise when nowhere in the article did it mention the English shepherd. The English shepherd has been the farmer’s right hand man for many years, and the animals are known for their guarding, hunting, herding and companion dog abilities. These dogs have often been referred to as a farm shepherd.

English shepherds are intelligent, alert, responsive working dogs. They are natural low heelers, with a strong herding instinct. There are thousands of documented stories of these dogs protecting their owners and their charges, with their lives if need be. They are also valued for their tracking, hunting and treeing ability. They are truly all-purpose farm dogs that earn their keep daily and are content to then rest at their master’s feet in the evening.

They are a remarkable and faithful companion, protector and partner for any farmer.

Cindy Boles
Grain Valley, Missouri

At least two Web sites are dedicated to this breed of dogs: The English Shepherd Club maintains the site at, and you can find the National English Shepherd Rescue site at – Editors

Mud Management Tip

I read with interest your article on mud management in the March/April issue. Oregon is noted for rain. It should be noted for mud, too. I keep a couple of shower caps (the kind with elastic) by the back door so that I can slip them over my boots for those quick trips in the house. Works for me.

Dixie Campbell
Estacada, Oregon

Great tip, Dixie! – Editors

Get Back to Your Roots

I received the first issue of my GRIT subscription and am very impressed with the magazine. All the articles are informative, and some are quite entertaining. As someone who is interested in people getting back to their roots and moving to the country, I found the articles full of useful information. I am anxious to receive my next issue. Keep up the good work!

Amy Glaser
River Falls, Wisconsin

Carve Out Country Places

We are new subscribers to GRIT and wanted to relay what we enjoy about your magazine. While my wife and I are both in the first generation of our families raised off the farm, we still feel a strong connection to the land and the rural Midwest. We manage to carve out “country places” in the garden, backyard or garage working on our miniature equipment. GRIT gives us another small taste of what we oftentimes crave in our busy, decidedly urban existence.

Eric and Jen Larson
Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Amy, Eric and Jen, you made our day! Thanks! – Editors

Something for Everyone

I received my first GRIT magazine yesterday, the March/April issue. I simply love it. I get many magazines in the mail, but I’d never heard of GRIT until I visited the local library and ran across a copy. I cannot believe that I’ve never heard of it before – I’m thinking of all the issues I’ve missed in the past – what a loss!

I can’t say which article I liked the best as there are so many that I enjoyed. The recipes always draw me as I love to cook and bake. The article on mud also was interesting. I never knew just how to get mud stains out until now, and yes, the city folks have no clue what mud is in the country. The article “Cheers for the Long Ears” caught my daughter’s attention as they own a donkey and are awaiting a baby mule in April from their mare horse.

Thanks for a great magazine. It will definitely come in handy, and I’ll be looking forward to the next one. If you can fit in some gardening tips in your upcoming issues, that would be great. I plant a big garden and also have many flowers. Any handy hints or useful tips would be greatly appreciated.

Keep up the good work. I’m so glad I found GRIT!

Cheryl Winchel
Holcombe, Wisconsin

Thanks, Cheryl! Check out Sow Hoe for tips on designing a garden, and we’ll have more gardening articles in future issues. – Editors

Caretakers Collected

A number of our readers, both property caretakers and landowners, have contacted us about your GRIT article, “Who’ll Watch the Farm” (March-April). They were surprised that your article did not mention our publication, The Caretaker Gazette, as a source for farm sitters.

The Caretaker Gazette has helped farmers find great caretakers for the last 25 years. We can always help with information on the property caretaking field, and even provide you with the names of farm caretakers.

Please let us know if we can help. Thanks.

Gary C. Dunn
Bergheim, Texas

Thanks for letting us know, Gary! – Editors

Pawpaws by the Dishpanful

I read with much interest the article on Neal Peterson, “Pawpaws for the Masses,” in the March/April GRIT. I was raised on a small farm in Eastern Kentucky (Pike County). When I was growing up on the farm, pawpaws were plentiful. They grew almost everywhere. I remember my mother and grandmother making pawpaw butter by the dishpanful. I come from a family of 19, and our entire family liked it.

Ted Kidd
Northwood, Ohio

Jujube Details? 

I have never seen a jujube in stores, dried or otherwise, so the Recipe Box in the May/June issue, “Fill Your Kitchen With Fresh Flavors,” was of interest. I am curious about them – do they grow on trees, in the ground like strawberries or on bushes like raspberries? I would be pleased to have an answer from someone who can tell me about them. It would be fun to get some started here. So tell me how!

— Doreen Eagy, Halsey, Oregon

The jujube tree and its many cultivars come from China. The tree can withstand a range of temperatures and seems to revel in summer heat, so it can be grown from Washington state to Florida. It is a deciduous tree, growing about 30 feet tall with a diameter of about 15 feet, although it has been known to reach a height of 40 feet in Florida. The tree’s branches droop and are often thorny. The wood is hard, and the tree is considered an ornamental. The fruit varies from cherry size to plum size, with a thin, edible skin around white flesh – it’s a sweet fruit, similar in taste to an apple, with a single stone. The fruit is green when immature and red when ripe, and it’s best eaten just before it goes to full ripe stage. Tests indicate the fruit is high in vitamin C, and it has been used as a tea to help soothe sore throats. Check online or with your local garden store for more information. – Editors