Travel & Outdoor
Country Extra

Country Extra March 2016

See more of America's countryside with every issue of Country EXTRA!  Country EXTRA is delivered in between your issues of Country.  Celebrate the people, places and stories that make country life so special. Discover America through first-hand reader visits with country folks, full-color photos, reviews of country inns, country-fresh recipes and time-saving tips and shortcuts.

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7 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
from the editor

standing on our unfinished deck “holding” a drill. What’s going on in the photo doesn’t make me panic because her grandpa is kneeling next to her with the drill securely in both hands. He’s showing it to her, giving her a first lesson in power tools. Seeing that photo always makes me smile. It reminds me how blessed my children are to have their grandparents in their lives. I didn’t really know mine. They remained in the old country when my parents immigrated to America. I didn’t really understand what I had missed until I had children of my own and saw how much they loved being with Grandma and Grandpa. Grandparents are ever-present in this magazine. Whether they are writing stories or inspiring them, grandparents are a source of wisdom, unconditional…

1 min.
meet our contributors

Rachael Darrah home-schools her five children (16, 15, 12 and 3-year-old twins). She and her husband of 18 years are grateful for faith, family and good old country living in Maine. Their animal family includes cats, goats, chickens, parakeets, rabbits, a dog and a guinea pig. Read her story on page 62. Dennis L. Peterson is a writer-historian who likes the simplicity country living affords for contemplating what’s really important in life. His favorite thing to do, which you’ll read about on page 56, is sit with his grandchildren on his front porch, teaching them to listen to the sounds of nature. Emily Gibson is a farmer and family doctor who harvests words and photos that have germinated in the rich soil of faith, family life, doctoring and barn chores. She keeps…

2 min.
dear country…

Each morning my mom, Betty Ramsburg, is escorted to the mailbox by her two pets—Lilly, a white Bichon, and Blackie the cat. Seeing them all get the mail together is an interesting sight. Tish Nelson Waynesboro, Pennsylvania CATHY BECK’S STORY in the November issue is about our family, too. It was nice to read about fellow rock hounds (page 20, “Confessions of a Rock Hound”). I still have the pretty pink rock my sister and parents gave me for Christmas when I was 8 years old. It was in a display at a fancy department store, and my sister knew that I had to have it. The rock sits in my living room today. My sons collected rocks everywhere we went and found some heart rocks, too. Before visiting our son in Minnesota last…

2 min.
the jonquil jubilee

Old Man Winter may not have packed his bags and left town just yet, but the folks in a small town in northwest Louisiana are busy planning one of the sweetest spring festivals in the state on March 5. The Jonquil Jubilee Home & Garden Tour is an annual celebration of the blooming of the jonquils, a kind of daffodil. Every year on the first Saturday in March, people flock to the small town of Gibsland, known as the Daffodil Capital of Louisiana, to welcome the bright flowers’ announcement that spring is on its way. Daffodils originated in Spain and Portugal, and early European settlers brought the bulbs to the United States. Neighbors shared bulbs, the bulbs multiplied, and soon they were growing prolifically. Some of the existing bulbs may have been…

1 min.
musical wood winds

THE MARCH WIND IS SINGING in the woods. On the sunny warm days, it weaves itself into the woodpecker’s pounding and the returning geese’s honks, the robin’s triple chirp and the chickadee’s spring two-note call. On this rainy Sunday the wind hums along with the soft raindrops playing on budding branches. When a good drying breeze starts up, the tune is high up and down low—high branch notes and low trunk notes—and there is such dancing as the trunks bend and swing! Chipmunks and squirrels are out again: chatter chatter, chirrup chirrup. And every so often the pileated woodpecker lets loose with his laughing screech, a ringing note that bounces off the trees. I’d really like to catch that guy in the act. The brook performs a constant undermelody. It’s not a talking…

2 min.
small town, big miracle

We were city people until about five years ago. At that time, my husband, Jeremy; our 12-year-old son, Holden; and I were all battling cancer. The struggle of illness and raising our four children helped us make the decision to move back to my hometown in rural Nebraska to be near my parents. Holden did not let brain cancer slow him down. He jumped right in to help his grandpa and learned all he could about running the farm. He has even opened his own sweet corn business and won third place in proficiency at the state FFA convention. When the cancer returned for a third time, the neurosurgeons deemed it inoperable. Research brought us to a doctor at Boston Children’s Hospital who said she was confident she could remove the entire…