My dogs Conall and Finn digging for voles in a roadside berm.

I spend lots of time with my two dogs outdoors, all seasons. Running, skiing, hiking, walking…we try to spend time in the forest daily. The pace doesn’t matter, nor does the weather. It’s the movement and immersion in nature that makes us happy, keeps us grounded. The quiet, wide-open space of the nearby Payette National Forest is why I moved here almost 15 years ago, leaving the hectic pace and noise of city life behind.

My younger dog, Conall, is an Alaskan Malamute. He’s the fourth Malamute I’ve shared my home with (not counting several fosters) since 1984. I could blather on about all the reasons I love the breed, the traits I admire and depend upon, but for purposes of this piece, I’ll focus on one.

Conall has an amazing sense of smell. He follows it to find what makes him happy.

He often diverts several yards off our trail, into the trees, returning with a bone from an elk or deer carcass left by a hunter. He shows me his prize, wagging his tail – it’s no fun if I don’t notice and praise him. My other dog, Finn – an Aussie – and I wait while Conall chews on the bone (or sometimes, an entire spine and rib cage) for a couple minutes before I ask him to leave it so we can continue on our way. Conall will pick up the same bone on our way back, or the next time we pass the same way. He always remembers where he’s left these treasures, and if necessary, he digs through snow or dirt until he finds them.

“Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.” –Henry David Thoreau

Little did I know that Conall was offering me a life lesson. It took stumbling upon this quote from Thoreau for me to make the connection.

A little over a year ago, I started publishing McCall Digest. The Digest was a long-held and long-delayed dream of mine. Launching it into the big world and watching it grow has been one of the most gratifying and simultaneously challenging things I’ve ever done. Gratifying because by summer 2018 the Digest had from 3,000-7,000 page views per month (and now has close to 700 followers on Facebook). That makes me happy and proud. Producing the Digest has been challenging because my goal of keeping content free to all while being supported by local advertising hasn’t panned out.

What to do? Keep following my passion while it devours my savings? Not sustainable. Give up? “Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” –Harriet Beecher Stowe. Rather than give up, I choose to…adapt.

“Do what you love,” advises Thoreau. Good advice. I will keep gnawing at this bone of mine, this desire to write, to create and share stories, especially those with a local flavor. I’ll bury the first iteration of McCall Digest – the one I hoped local advertisers would support – to unearth a new iteration that I hope is worth gnawing on, one that is reader-supported.

Starting in January 2019, McCall Digest will become membership supported; a subscription will be required to access most of its new content. Some content will always be free to all; the rest will require a paid membership. A short-term free trail membership will be available so newcomers can get a taste of the Digest’s content. This is the model virtually all media outlets follow today. You can subscribe by following the “Join Us” link at the bottom of the Member Login box on the right side of the page. Memberships are $5/month, $27/six months or $48/one year.

I know I’ll lose some readers, and that pains me. But I prefer to write for those who appreciate my efforts and to focus on the stories and features they prefer. I hope you’ll be one of those readers who becomes a member.

For me and McCall Digest, 2019 will be the year we dig until we find and unearth our bone, the one worth gnawing: writing for an audience that sustains the Digest as a business.

I have lots of ideas for improving McCall Digest in 2019. I hope you’ll subscribe, become a member, and join me on this journey.

Happy New Year and here’s to a successful 2019 for us all!

Rebecca

About the author

Rebecca Wallick

Rebecca is a freelance writer and publisher living near McCall, Idaho. A Seattle native and recovering attorney, she much prefers the quiet, slow pace, and distinct seasons of the West Central Mountains, enjoying the skiing, hiking and running opportunities provided by the nearby Payette National Forest. Rebecca is a Contributing Editor with Bark magazine, and the author of Growing Up Boeing: The Early Jet Age Through the Eyes of a Test Pilot’s Daughter (Feb 2014).

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