Last night as Boone and I made our way up and down the aisles of one of the few local non-Walmart grocery stores in town, I stopped to peruse the magazines. I wound up buying two to enhance my gentleman farmer skills. One was Poultry World, a slick publication that features pictures of various breeds of chickens and assorted other birds such as ducks and turkeys, as well as how-to stories related to raising poultry.
The second magazine that I bought, also slick-covered, was the Grit. Those of us of a certain age and who grew up in rural communities know that the Grit was not always slick nor was it always a magazine. Back in the day Grit was small weekly newspaper printed on newsprint, and instead of being $4.99 a copy as it is today, the price was less than fifty cents.
Grit was first published in 1892. My father sold the it as a small boy during the Great Depression, I don't know the sales price, but I think that he told me that he made a nickel profit on each one that he sold. At that time Grit would advertise for child salesmen in many of the comic books.
A half a million people read Grit on a regular basis during the Depression and pre-war years. In 2006 the publication went to its current magazine format. It is currently published bi-monthly in Topeka, Kansas, and has a print run of around 150,000.
I remember the articles in Grit being similar to what is published in the Old Farmer's Almanac today: lots of recipes, pithy sayings, home remedies. and how-to advice related to rural living. The new Grit has much of that, but with its glossy format it feels like you are reading Life Magazine or People.
The cover of the current issue features a black lab laying in a pile of leaves and a listing of the prominent articles: "Best Dog Breeds for Rural Living," 'Raise Chickens as a Homestead Business," "Prepare Your Homestead for Spring," "Farm-to-Table: Create the Experience," "Top Tips for Your Spring Garden Harvest," "Essential Skills for Surviving in the Wild," and "Edible Wild Plants: What You Need to Know."
That is a lot of information that any gentleman farmer should know - and its all in just one issue. A year's subscription would turn me into a blooming genius!