Countryside: Back-to-the-Land Homesteading Magazine

Homesteading magazine Countryside was created to help spread information on a back-to-the-land lifestyle, joining MOTHER EARTH NEWS as another alternative-type publication.

| November/December 1971

MOTHER EARTH NEWS isn't the only back-to-the-land alternative-type publication around these days. One of her notable sister journals is a friendly little magazine called Countryside that's written, put together and published by a fellow named Jerry Belanger up in Marshall, Wisconsin. Jerry started Countryside back in the fall of 1969 for pretty much the same reasons we started MOTHER EARTH NEWS . . . to help spread information on life styles that are more in harmony with the better interests of the planet on which we live.

As Jerry says in the Spring 1970 issue of Countryside, "Whatever the reason, more and more people are becoming part of a new back-to-the-land movement . . . I don't have all the answers, by any means. But being a homesteader, I am aware of some of the problems. And since I have a journalism degree, some publishing experience, and a printing press, it seems natural to offer my services as a clearing house for information our fathers or grandfathers took for granted, but which has been lost to us through our sheltered, coddled existence." Nuff said. He means it, and he's doing it.

Past issues of Countryside have had articles on building a cistern, drying vegetables, soap-making, and raising rabbits. Most of the pieces are written by Belanger himself, from firsthand experience . . . for Jerry, his wife and their children are living in a recycled cheese factory on their homestead where they care for 8 goats, 30 rabbits, 75 chickens, countless bees and pigeons and a pig.

All that in addition to putting out Countryside. And Countryside isn't the only publication in the vast Belanger Empire . . . No siree, Jerry also publishes Rabbit World, fine little magazine for serious rabbit folks, and Dairy Goat Guide, which also ain't bad, neither.

That sounds like a lot of irons in the fire, and it is. In Countryside NO 9. Jerry gives a pretty good idea of what life on the Belanger Frontier is like. Boiled down, it's something like this:

"The most memorable event of Spring, 1971, was butchering our first pig . . . The very same day I wrote the piece on vegetarianism for this issue. That wasn't the season's only activity, though. Today, we spent some time with a typewriter salesman. Then the hatchery called to say our chicks were ready so I had to dust off and check out the brooder. That was interrupted by a call from the high school about the commencement programs we're printing and a few other pressing matters that came up. We ate supper quickly and picked up the chicks, and not until they were safely installed did we get to the milking and other chores.

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