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GRIT a hit

April 22, 2013 - Mike Donahey
“Celebrating Rural America Since 1882” is GRIT’S slogan.

With nearly 131 years of history behind the magazine, I figured it had earned a few minutes of attention.

I took some time to go through the November-December 2012 edition during a rare break in the action in the Times-Republican’s newsroom,

For a city-bred boy like yours truly, GRIT is full of useful advice from gardening tips to advice for do-it-yourselfers to Good Samaritan stories. “Vertical Gardens: Produce More in Less Space,” was one article I’ll get back to or pass on. Another was “Practical Wintertime Chicken Care,” which gave handy tips on preparing fowl for winters and below zero temps.

The article was timely — I’ve followed the debate in some Iowa communities who are considering allowing residents to raise chickens in town. I asked my better-half about chickens. Her late parents had farmed for years in northeast Iowa. They started farming well before Rural Electrical Cooperatives brought electricity to rural America. And to their credit, also made it through the Depression — but it wasn’t easy — my late mother-in-law often told of a disease that killed their hogs — and that story frequently brought the iron-willed Norwegian woman to tears.

In addition to what my wife told me, I learned from GRIT that “allowing hens to take winter months off in term of laying helps their bodies recharge, and they will have a longer laying life,” according to writer Carolyn Evans-Dean. “Large combs and wattles aren’t idea for below freezing-conditions, but if you take the time to apply a little petroleum jelly chances of frostbite are diminished significantly.”

Finally, “a well-insulated chicken coop and access to sunlight are two factors for keeping your flock safe from harsh winter weather.” I learned the birds are tough. “However, realize that even in cold areas such as South Dakota, chickens can thrive in sheltered, non-heated coops with the windows left open all winter.”

GRIT encourages readers to pass on stories of Good Samaritans, helping hands, paying it forward, and other altruistic deeds. The Good Samaritan involved in each printed article, if known, will receive a five-year subscription to GRIT.



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