Rural Living: Farm Animals, Grit Magazine Fans and Childhood Memories

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Raising geese on the homestead.

Read letters about rural living from Grit magazine readers.

Proving That Good News Does Sell

A friend of mine, the wife of a farmer, shared the September/October 2006 issue of the new and improved Grit magazine about rural living. We live in the rural area of eastern Lycoming County not far from Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Sometime in the last five years or so the PBS station (WPSU) based in State College, Pennsylvania, aired a special titled “Hometown Williamsport,” which covered four of five institutions that are known nationally and internationally. “Good news doesn’t sell, there was a good news newspaper telling upbeat stories and articles, but during the Vietnam era the public wanted to hear the guts and gore war stories and the newspaper lost much of its readership.” What a sad commentary. I shared his statement with a large group during a church gathering. My friend heard and offered her copy of (the new) Grit magazine for my reading pleasure.

— Jack R. Jones
Hughesville, Pennsylvania

Found Us on the Web

I am 53 years old and carried the Grit magazine in Cottageville, West Virginia, when I was a child. I wondered what had happened to it since I hadn’t seen it in years. Then I found the website.

I best remember a feature called “I’m proud of my town” (which once featured Ravenswood, where I live now) and the fact that the Sunday comics were in black and white!

— MarC McComas
Ravenswood, West Virginia

Thanks, Marc. As we go along, we’ll be increasing the number of features available exclusively on our website, so keep checking our website for further developments. — Editors

People After Our Own Hearts

Just received my first issue (September/October) and really enjoyed the “Animal Attraction” (boy, that sounds like us), “Barn Cats,” feed store and alternative gift articles.

The “Animal Attraction” story really hit home with us. We moved to northern Michigan 15 years ago. As purebred city folk from southeast Michigan, we felt overwhelmed by our 23 acres. I can remember my husband and I looking out over our land, shortly after we moved in, saying to each other, “What have we done?!”

That was September 1991. By January, I had my first herd (six) of milk goats. By Easter, we’d gone to a local feed store for a few laying hens and come back with two dozen Aracaunas, 12 guinea keets and six Talouse geese.

We had decided to try guineas as the eight-week-old barn kitten our local vet gave us for rodent control was never put out in the barn – how can you when you have to bottle feed the little critter to ensure it will survive?

The vet suggested guinea fowl to control rodents in the barn — they didn’t do a thing for the rodents, but as you said, they’re great at controlling fleas, ticks, flies, mosquitoes and the like.

We had two pigs but got so attached to them (they play with you like dogs) that it was heartbreaking to send them to the butcher — I swore I’d never have pigs again because I like them too much, and I’ve sworn off all pork.

The rest is history — 15 years later we still have five goats, two horses, nine guineas, about 12 chickens, four sweet-tempered, chirping, Moscovie ducks and 36 geese. As far as cats — we have 12, about half come in for short periods during the day, and we have two house dogs. Life without animals would be so lonely.

Keep up the good articles!

— Bridget O’Laughlin
via e-mail

Thanks, Bridget. The pig dilemma is certainly one with which many of us can identify. We hope you enjoyed “Pets or Meat” in our November/December 2006 issue for a humorous look at the dilemma. We love guineas as well. They may look like a feathered football (and sound much worse), but any animal that devours ticks is all right in our book. — Editors

That’s What We Like to Hear

What a terrific idea for a magazine. I was hard-pressed to put it down. I read it from cover to cover. The photographs are great, and every article was fun to read.

I’m looking forward to the next issue. I remember reading Grit as a child on the farm in western Pennsylvania.

— Mike Stanya
Levittown, Pennsylvania

Thanks, Mike. Let us know if there are particular stories you’d like to see and we’ll try to keep on making you happy. — Editors

Haven’t Murdered Anybody . . . Yet

I have memories of the old Grit. We were too poor to subscribe to it, but every week on our visit to my grandparents I read their Grit magazine I was always an avid reader.

I remember reading a chapter of a cowboy story every week. I think my mother was a bit concerned about me reading it, but my grandmother told her it wasn’t that bad. I don’t think she realized that there were two murders in each chapter.

It didn’t do me any harm; so far I haven’t murdered anybody, and I am still an avid reader.

— Rita Sheehan
Johnstown, Pennsylvania

Whew! — Editors

Prayer Provided a Friend for Life

When I was a child, we didn’t subscribe to a daily paper and occasionally a copy of Grit would make it into our house. I read every word.

One Sunday afternoon when my aunt and uncle came from “town” to visit, I sat by my uncle’s chair in adoration. He picked up the worn copy of Grit and found a corner where the King James version of “The Lord’s Prayer” was printed, took out his pen knife and cut out the prayer.

He gave the prayer to me and told me he would give me a nickel if I learned it.

In 24 hours, I could recite the prayer and was chomping at the bit to get to my uncle. When I saw him in a few days, he didn’t have a nickel, so he gave me a dime.

The years have proven that he gave me so much more. Since that time I have knelt by my bed and recited that prayer and have found it to be a precious treasure.

Every time I repeat it, my uncle Ira, long gone to live with the Lord, is there in spirit with me.

Thank you for being this important part of my life.

— Sue Kenner Sappenfield
Sherman, Texas

Thanks for sharing that wonderful story, Sue. It goes to show what huge rewards can come from a tiny investment in a child’s life. — Editors