Saturday, December 03, 2016

Roshara Journal




This year we are celebrating fifty-years at our farm that we have named, Roshara. One way I celebrated was publishing my new book, Roshara Journal: Chronicling Four Seasons, Fifty Years, and 120 Acres (Wisconsin Historical Society Press). I wrote the book with my son, Steve who is Chief Photographer for The Wisconsin State Journal. Steve provided the photographs, all taken at Roshara.

The book consists of journal entries that I have made over these fifty years. In the introduction to the book I wrote:

Perhaps the most significant happening at Roshara over these many years is not what we have contributed to the place, but what it has done for my family and me. Our three children have grown up roaming Roshara’s acres on their own, climbing trees, digging in the soil, helping plant trees, fishing in the pond, catching frogs, watching bluebirds, hiking the trails, identifying wildflowers, working in the garden, and much more.

Roshara has added to their understanding and appreciation for nature in ways that I will never know. And now our grandchildren are doing the same. Three generations at Roshara, learning the importance of nature and coming to understand how we, in our small way, can make a contribution by caring for this land that was once declared worthless by the neighbors.

To purchase the book—makes a great Christmas present—go to my website www.jerryapps.com for ordering instructions, or order from Patterson Memorial Library, a fund raiser for them. See below for instructions.


THE OLD TIMER SAYS: It’s never too late to write in a journal. A fine way to keep a record of what is important in your life.

Upcoming Events:

December 6, 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. Writers, Creativity & Aging Fitchburg Senior Center,5510 Lacy Road Fitchburg, WI 53711 I’ll be talking about Telling Your Story. Sponsored by Retiree Rebels.

December 7, 11:00 to 1:00, Headquarters Bldg. Wisconsin Historical Society, (816 State Street, Madison). Holiday book sale—book signing.

December 10, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. McFarlane’s Sauk City.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):
\
The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)

Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)

The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.

Jerry’s newest books, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their stories—are also available.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835

Monday, November 28, 2016

Christmas Trees and Birch Wood


Sunday was the day.  Dark, gloomy, chilly. No bird song.  Quiet.  The day for the annual Christmas tree hunt at Roshara, our farm.  This year’s crew, Sue, Natasha, Dylan, Cory and I set out with a saw and lots of enthusiasm to find the perfect tree.  Really three trees for three families depending on this crew to find three perfect trees.

The problem is we have too many trees from which to choose.  Red pine, white pine, jack pine, Scotch pine, some Norway spruce and even a few Fraser fir.  The Fraser firs need a few more years to grow, so they were immediately eliminated.

I suspect we have planted around 20,000 trees in the 50 years we’ve owned Roshara.  Some are fifty feet tall, some are six inches tall.  But hundreds, maybe thousands are about the right size for a Christmas tree.

“How about this one?”  “Too skinny.”

“How about that one?”  “Too tall.”

“This one?”  “Few limbs on one side.”

In addition to the Christmas trees, Sue wanted some birch wood.  She had seen a display using birch wood, and it sold for $50.00.  We have a fair number of birch trees scattered around Roshara, so off we were on a search for some “perfect” pieces of birch wood.  Finally, after passing by several birch trees that did not pass muster with Sue’s discerning eye, we found just what she wanted.  Enough birch wood for a $50.00 display without any price tag at all.

And so the morning went until decisions were made and trees were cut, and birch wood was found.  When the morning’s hard work was loaded in the back of my truck, we all retreated to the cabin to warm up by the kitchen stove.

It was a great day, one to tuck away in the memory bank.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Something special about cutting a Christmas tree that you know you planted, and finding the "perfect" pieces of birch wood.

Upcoming Events:

November 29.7:00 p.m. Sequoia Public Library, Madison.  Roshara Journal with Jerry and Steve Apps

December 6, 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. Writers, Creativity & Aging  Fitchburg Senior Center,5510 Lacy Road Fitchburg, WI 53711   I’ll be talking about Telling Your Story. Sponsored by Retiree Rebels.

December 7, 11:00 to 1:00, Headquarters Bldg. Wisconsin Historical Society, (816 State Street, Madison).  Holiday book sale—book signing.

December 10, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. McFarlane’s Sauk City.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them): 
\
The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

 Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
 Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
 The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
Jerry’s newest books, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their stories—are also available.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835



Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Big Hunt


 I’d planned it as kind of a mini-celebration.  A nod to good health and unchanging—mostly unchanging—interest in hunting deer.  I must confess that as the years have flown by bagging a deer is of less interest than being out in the woods on a quiet November morning, enjoying the quiet and the beauty, and appreciating being with my son, and my brother and his three sons as we have hunted together for many years.

It was my 70th year hunting deer without missing a single year.  Even when I was on active duty in the army I did not miss opening day of deer season.  Opening day of deer season took precedent over everything including attending a wedding for a couple so foolish as to plan a wedding on that day or even paying my respects to someone so unfortunate that a funeral was set on that Saturday before Thanksgiving.

The Friday before opening day this year was warm and beautiful, in the mid-60s.  Shirt sleeve weather.  I went to bed looking forward to Saturday morning with warm temps and the possibility of a ten-point buck walking by my place in the woods.

Alas.  It was not to be.  I woke up at 5:30 on Saturday morning to an inch of snow on the ground, the temperature in the low 20s and a roaring wind out of the north.  I put on all the warm clothing I could find at the cabin, and found my way to my special place in the woods.  But there was no peace and quiet, only the roar of the wind through the tops of the bare maples and oaks.  No sign of wildlife.  No crows, no woodpeckers.  No deer.  Just the menacing, mean sound of the north wind that successfully had chased a warm fall away and was now introducing me once more to winter. 

I sat listening to the wind, and thinking about my first deer hunt.  The year was 1946 and I, along with my father and neighbor, Bill Miller, drove to Adams County, about 20 miles west of our Waushara County farm looking for deer, as there were none in our county.  I carried a double-barrel 12-gauge shotgun that weighed a ton and kicked like a wild bronco.  I shot at a deer and missed.  I remember it as a dreary, dark November Saturday but not near as snowy and chilly as my 70th outing.   I have never forgotten that day so many years ago, when deer hunting was one of those events that helped change a farm boy into a man.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Deer hunting is much more than hunting deer.

Upcoming Events:

November 29.7:00 p.m. Sequoia Public Library, Madison.  Roshara Journal with Jerry and Steve Apps.

December 6, 1:30 to 3:00 p.m.
Writers, Creativity & Aging  Fitchburg Senior Center, 5510 Lacy Road Fitchburg, WI 53711   I'll be talking about Telling Your Story. Sponsored by Retiree Rebels.

December 7, 11:00 to 1:00, Headquarters Bldg. Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison.  Holiday book sale—book signing.

December 10, (Time to announced) McFarlane’s Sauk City.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them): 
\
The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

 Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
 Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
 The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
Jerry’s newest books, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their stories—are also available.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835






Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sheboygan County Historical Research Center


Seventeen years ago the Sheboygan County Historical Research Center (offices in Sheboygan Falls) began offering a series of local history programs.  Second Saturdays they named the series—one a month on a second Saturday from September to May.  Beth Dippel, Executive Director of the Research Center, has done a wonderful job of organizing and promoting these programs.

I was privileged to be one of those who offered a program seventeen years ago (it was about Wisconsin Barns) and I have done so every year since.  For this, my seventeen year, my program was titled “Farm Memories from Yesterday.”

One-hundred-thirty people heard me share stories about farm life before electricity, stories about the party-line telephone and old-time radio.  Stories about the one-room country school and importance of neighbors and more.

I also shared some words of wisdom that I had picked up over the years from rural old-timers. 

            “Don’t go outside without wearing your shirt.  If God had meant for you to run around naked, you’d have been born that way.”

            “If you must hurry, do it slowly”

            “No matter what direction a north wind blows, it always blows cold.”

            “There is less mud on the top of the hill.”

I encouraged people to write down their own stories, and share them with their families.

I talked a bit about the importance of reflecting on one’s personal histories.  I said we can’t return to an earlier day, but we can learn from what we did and didn’t do.  I left people with these two questions:

            What of the past is worthy of bringing forward and applying, and what of it should be left behind?

            What of the new that we face nearly everyday is worthy of accepting and what should be ignored?

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Take time to recall about your past, and then reflect on it.

Upcoming Events:

November 29.7:00 p.m. Sequoia Public Library, Madison.  Roshara Journal with Jerry and Steve Apps

December 7, 10:00 to 2:00, Headquarters Bldg. Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison.  Holiday book sale—book signing.

December 10, (Time to announced) McFarlane’s Sauk City,

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them): 

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:
 Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
 Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
 The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
Jerry’s newest books, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their stories—are also available.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835





Sunday, November 06, 2016

In Celebration of Community Libraries



What a rare treat it was on a sunny, not November-like Saturday morning when I parked my truck in front of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose.  Steve heard the geese first and when we looked up a huge flock, more than a one-hundred I would estimate, winged over the library, and then proceeded to land on the millpond.  Then there was the sycamore tree, dropping its enormous yellowish brown leaves on the walkway to the library.  And finally the rose bushes, still in bloom on this weekend morning in early November.

Steve and I were at the library to discuss our new book, Roshara Journal, a book about our Wild Rose farm, which we have now owned for 50 years.  A book that included journal entries that I made when we first acquired the place and continue to write as the years passed.  A book that is filled with Steve’s four-color photos, taken in all seasons of the year, telling the story of the farm, in photographs.

Some 40 people turned out, many of them old friends, my brother, Darrel and his wife Marilyn, some cousins, and even one or two who attended Wild Rose High School when I was there many years ago.  I have spoken many times at the Patterson, my hometown library with Kent Barnard its able director. 

This past week, my major publisher, Wisconsin Historical Society Press, surprised me with a special celebration of my 125th library appearance. The celebration took place at the Rock Springs Library where I spoke last Thursday evening.  It is a small library in a small town with wonderful people who support their library and know its importance to their community.

I turn down many speaking requests, but over the years, I have always tried to include as many libraries as possible.  Public libraries are special places.  May they continue to be so.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Support your community library.  

Upcoming Events:

November 10, 7:00 p.m. Menomonie Falls Public Library. One-Room Schools

November 12: 9:30-11:30 a.m. Second Saturdays Plymouth Art Center, 520 East Mill Street, Plymouth.  Farm Memories From Yesterday. Sponsored by Sheboygan County Historical Research Center.

November 29.7:00 p.m. Sequoia Public Library, Madison.  Roshara Journal with Jerry and Steve Apps

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them): 

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:
 Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
 Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
 The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
Jerry’s newest books, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their stories—are also available.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835





Sunday, October 30, 2016

Telling Your Story


Your story is important.

When we forget our histories, we forget who we are.

These were the themes that threaded through my writing workshop at The Clearing in Door County last Friday.  The maples were in their full fall colorful glory.  The waters of Green Bay were slate colored and a bit angry as a stiff northwest wind sent waves crashing on the rocks.

I call these workshops “Writing From Your Life” as we searched our memories, recalling the good and bad of our lives, and then writing about them—and sharing our writing with each other.  There is laughter and tears.  And surprises, too, as participants recall memories thought lost and  now remembered.

Young and old, recently retired and those still working, all remembering, writing, discussing—getting down their stories of growing up, important people in their lives, turning points, joys, sorrows.  They came from Green Bay and Clinton, from Seymour and Tomah, from Baraboo and Milwaukee, from Fish Creek and Bailey’s Harbor.  All getting to know each other, all listening to each other’s stories, all getting ideas for their own stories.

We talked about keeping a journal, and how that can contribute to our stories.

We discussed the elements of a story and the importance of a strong beginning—even first lines that made a difference.

We practiced writing six-word stories using Ernest Hemingway’s example: “For sale:  Baby shoes.  Never Worn.”

We used my new book TELLING YOUR STORY: PRESERVE YOUR HISTORY THROUGH STORY TELLING as a reference. (For those interested you can order it by going to my website, www.jerryapps.com,)

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Never forget the power of a good story.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

November 3, 6:30.  Rock Springs Public Library, 6:30. Whispers and Shadows and Roshara Journal.

November 5, 10:00 a.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose, Roshara Journal. With both Jerry and Steve Apps
November 10, 7:00 p.m. Menomonie Falls Public Library. One-Room Schools

November 12: 9:30-11:30 a.m. Second Saturdays Plymouth Art Center, 520 East Mill Street, Plymouth.  Farm Memories From Yesterday. Sponsored by Sheboygan County Historical Research Center.

November 29.7:00 p.m. Sequoia Public Library, Madison.  Roshara Journal with both Jerry and Steve Apps

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them): 

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:
 Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
 Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
 The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
Jerry’s newest books, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their stories—are also available.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835





Sunday, October 23, 2016

Making Wood


Clear blue sky.  Bright sunshine.  Temperature in the 50s.  We are making wood at Roshara.  Steve on the chainsaw.  Natasha all around helper.  Me in charge of hauling with the ATV.

The previous day I went on a scouting mission, searching for a dead oak—of which we have several (oak wilt disease).  I found one, not too big, not too small, and close to the cabin. 

Soon the dead oak is down, and quickly sawed into chunks and loaded in the back of the ATV.  Three trips to the cabin and a substantial pile of oak chunks is now ready for splitting.  A few years ago I did the splitting (turning the blocks into smaller pieces) with a maul,  then Steve took on the splitting job, and now we have a mechanical splitter that does the work for us.

By mid-afternoon we are finished.  A pile of sweet smelling, freshly split oak is piled on the end of the woodshed—there for a year to dry before we burn it.

As we worked I remembered how we made wood when I was a kid, many times more of it  than we did today.  We heated our drafty farm house with two wood stoves, kept another stove going in the pump house to keep the pump from freezing, and still another in the potato cellar to protect the potatoes from frost.

In those days, we cut down several oaks in our 20 acre woodlot back of our house using a two-person crosscut saw—there were no chainsaws.  We hauled the long pieces of oak wood to the farmyard with our team of horses, stacking the wood as high as we could reach.

When Pa deemed the stack of wood large enough, we invited the neighbors—they also heated their homes with wood stoves—to help saw the wood into shorter pieces.  One of the neighbors had a gasoline engine powered circle saw that did the cutting.

But the work was not yet done.  We now had the task of splitting the wood into pieces—smaller pieces for the kitchen cook stove, larger pieces for the wood burning heaters.  And then we carried a goodly amount of the split wood into the woodshed, which was attached to the west side of the house.

Making wood took up a substantial amount of time in the late fall, when the other farm work was done.  Usually, in mid to late winter we ran out of wood and we repeated the process.

Today, making wood is much easier, but a necessary task at Roshara as we have two wood burning stoves in our cabin.  And I must say, the day we spend making wood each fall is one of the most fun days we have all year.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Who ever said cutting wood warms you twice, hasn’t really done it.

Workshop: Writing From Your Life:  Offered at The Clearing, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on October 28.  Call 920-854-4088 to learn more and to register. A few openings remain. TELLING YOUR STORY book used as a textbook in the workshop.

Upcoming Events:
October 26, Wednesday, 6:00 p.m, Carroll University, Community Conversation about Frac Sand Mining in Wisconsin. Shattuck Music Center, 100 N. E. Avenue, Waukesha, WI.  Readings from THE GREAT SAND FRACAS OF AMES COUNTRY. Open to the Public

October 28, 9-4.  Writing from your life—writing workshop at the Clearing in Door County (see above for details)

November 3, 6:30.  Rock Springs Public Library, 6:30.

November 5, 10:00 a.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose, Roshara Journal

November 10, 7:00 p.m. Menomonie Falls Public Library. One-Room Schools

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them): 

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

 Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
 Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
 The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
Jerry’s newest books, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their stories—are also available.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835