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The Spotted Chicken Report.

Some correspondents are still referring to our magazine as "little," as in "I sure enjoy your little magazine."

I have to admit, that not only puzzled me--it ticked me off. How many pages do you need, how many readers, to be taken seriously?

And then it struck me: maybe they meant it as a compliment. Maybe those who call Countryside "little" appreciate our lack of ties to big names and big business. Maybe they're saying that small is beautiful, and we have a beautiful little magazine.

I could be wrong, but at least it made me feel better. Ah, the power of positive thinking.

Which brings us to...

Some other little magazines we like.

It's been awhile since we've plugged any other "little" magazines... mostly because all of those we've mentioned in the past few years went out of business shortly thereafter. We don't want our readers to throw their money away, and we'd hate to put a curse on any more struggling publishers.

But there's one I've been wanting to tell you about it for a long time, and it isn't a spring chicken any more. The Spotted Chicken Report is going into its ninth year.

This delightful "little" paper (the March issue I'm looking at is 16 8-1/2" x 7" pages) is put out by Jeanne Hardy, who is also delightful.

Although supposedly the official publication of the Spotted Chicken Society, it has almost nothing to do with chickens, spotted or otherwise. It's a combination of what we know here as country conversation, and the often beautiful, sometimes hilarious, always intriguing writings of Jeanne Hardy herself.

We hear about her country life, her dog Honey Bear, her new granddaughter. She tells of her experiences with frogs, grasshoppers, and cutting her own hair. Simple things, thoughtful things, and always entertaining things. Her writing--and certainly her ideas--are far better than most you'll find in most big magazines.

The SCR has a funky, home-made appearance. The few picture are photocopied, without screening, so they usually look more like blotches than the people or dogs they represent. However, Jeanne makes excellent use of old-time woodcuts. Not only are these interesting (and they reproduce better), but she adds her own creatively zany paptions. A scan through SCR is better than reading the funnies. And when you get used to it, it all ties together: even the photos add to the homey charm.

In other words, it has a wonderful feel. You just know Jeanne is a caring, intelligent, witty person you'd enjoy knowing... and when she writes about her fife, you do get to know her.

Highly recommended. $19 a year (12 issues), $10 for six, SCS, 20744 Hwy. 20, Twisp WA 98856.

As the roaring '80s came to a close, more people "discovered" that it's fun to be frugal. That was accompanied by a spate of newsletters on the topic, one of which was written up m Parade and The Wall Street journal, which apparently shot its circulation up to 100,000. We haven't seen that one, but two others, newer and smaller, have favored us with sample copies.

They are The Thrifty Times, from Linda Slater. 6135 Utica St., Arvada, CO 80003; 8 pages; bi-monthly; $8 a year; sample, $1; and

The Non-Consumers Digest, K. C. Duerig, P. O. Box 403, King Hill ID 83633; 8 pages; monthly; $12 a year, Premiere Issue (Nov. 1992) Free; other samples $1.

These are similar in approach and content. The slogan of The Thrifty Times is "Frugal living as a challenging lifestyle," while The Non-Consumers Digest promotes "Creative alternatives to squandering." The issue of the Times now on my desk has tips on keeping cottage cheese fresh longer, saving energy, and sewing. The Digest has tips on preventing onion odors in the refrigerator, helping to heat the house by not draining the bathtub until the water is room temperature, and getting gum out of hair and such with peanut butter.

Despite their similarity, each of these will no doubt win its own fans. Longer pieces in the April-May Times were on cheap travel and budget weddings, neither of which are pertinent to people like me, but they might be to you.

The Digest has a greater variety of brief snippets, and the longer pieces in the March issue were on using old tires to build terraces and caring for leather... which interested me, but maybe not you.

The most frugal way to decide between them might be to send for a sample of each one and make up your own mind.

Pedal power:

For those interested in small and frugal in the form of pedal power (if not in titles): The International Registry of Pedal-Powered Vehicles and Equipment is trying to find you. The IRPPV & E appears to be Ken Hargesheimer, who told us he sells nothing and the copies of an information sheet he sends out are paid for out of his own pocket. All he asks of you is an SASE.

The sheet has some very interesting (photocopied) pictures of pedal vehicles and equipment, including a six-person bus and a pickup truck-type utility vehicle straight out of the latter days of Attar. In all, there are 41 vehicles and peripherals listed. According to the information provided, some of these can be purchased ready-made, while designs are available for others.

Send your SASE (and no doubt he'd appreciate a buck or so for his efforts and copying) to Ken Hargesheimer, P. O. Box 1901, Lubbock TX 79408; ph. (806) 744-8517.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Countryside Publications Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Article Type:Periodical Review
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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