Sunday, August 12, 2018

Lead Plant in the Prairie




A rather strange looking plant grows near the northwest corner of my prairie. It is too big for a wildflower, and too little to be a shrub. So I did a little research and discovered it is a leadplant. Scientific name: Amorpha canescens.

It gets its name from its lead-colored silver-gray leaves. Its flowers are purplish-orange and it blooms in July and August. It is one of our many native plants. The growing range for leadplant stretches from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, right down the middle of the U.S., Canada to the north and Texas to the south. It will grow three feet tall on soil ranging from acidic, what I have, to soils somewhat alkaline. It is drought resistant and is a legume, which means it fixes nitrogen in the soil.

The early pioneers called this plant “ The Devil’s Shoestring” because of its tough root system which tangled their breaking plows. Of course the deep and tangled roots of the leadplant allow it to survive on droughty, sandy soils, which make up much of my farm.

Native Americans in the region knew about the leadplant and used it in many ways. They made tea from the leaves. Sometimes they drank the tea as a medicine to treat such health challenges as rheumatism and pinworms. They also put the leaves on open wounds. Some Native Americans believed that the smoke from burning leadplant leaves would attract buffalo to the person who had the smell of the smoke on their clothing.

Today, I enjoy looking at it and appreciate that I have this special plant growing in my prairie.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: There is always something interesting to see in nature.


UPCOMING EVENTS:

--Sept 8. 10 a.m. Mt. Horeb Library, Once a Professor.
Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
Phone: 920-622-3835

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available). 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,)

Never Curse the Rain, (based on his book with the same title)

The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Once a Professor, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.







A rather strange looking plant grows near the northwest corner of my prairie. It is too big for a wildflower, and too little to be a shrub. So I did a little research and discovered that it is a leadplant. Scientific name: Amorpha canescens.

It gets its name from its lead-colored silver-gray leaves. Its flowers are purplish-orange and it blooms in July and August. It is one of our many native plants. The growing range for leadplant stretches from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, right down the middle of the U.S., Canada to the north and Texas to the south. It will grow three feet tall on soil ranging from acidic, what I have, to soils somewhat alkaline. It is drought resistant and is a legume, which means it fixes nitrogen in the soil.

The early pioneers called this plant “ The Devil’s Shoestring” because of its tough root system which tangled their breaking plows. Of course, the deep and tangled roots of the leadplant allow it to survive on droughty, sandy soils, which make up much of my farm.

Native Americans in the region knew about the leadplant and used it in many ways. They made tea from the leaves. Sometimes they drank the tea as a medicine to treat such health challenges as rheumatism and pinworms. They also put the leaves on open wounds. Some Native Americans believed that the smoke from burning leadplant leaves would attract buffalo to the person who had the smell of the smoke on their clothing.

Today, I enjoy looking at it and appreciate that I have this special plant growing in my prairie.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: There is always something interesting to see in nature.


UPCOMING EVENTS:

--Sept 8. 10 a.m. Mt. Horeb Library, Once a Professor.

Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
Phone: 920-622-3835

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available). 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,)

Never Curse the Rain, (based on his book with the same title)

The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Once a Professor, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.





Sunday, August 05, 2018

Beauty in a Vegetable Garden



There are many benefits to vegetable gardening. Growing your own food is one good reason for digging in the dirt and becoming friends with a garden hoe. But there are other benefits as well.

I became acquainted with vegetable gardening when I was maybe two or three years old. I remember walking around in the big vegetable garden dad and mother always grew on the home farm. Pa especially and Ma too, would often stop their work in the garden and just stand and look at it. I thought they were just resting, but now I know they saw beauty in these rows of vegetables. They saw beauty in watching things grow.

As I got older and left home, I always had a vegetable garden, except for my college years and when I was in the Army. Sometimes my garden was only a few square feet. At one time, when our kids were growing up, we grew nearly a half-acre of vegetables.

In addition to the vegetables and their inherent beauty my dad always planted a few flowers. He especially liked dahlias. Big colorful ones. During the summer and autumn months that my mother was in a nursing home, Pa always took her a big beautiful dahlia. To help brighten her day, and help her remember earlier days when they gardened together. They were both in their 90s at the time.

Today, I usually plant a few zinnia seeds and a row of sunflowers in our garden. I like sunflowers. They are beautiful, easy to grow, and the birds like the seeds.


THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Grow a few flowers in your vegetable garden. They also add a spot of beauty.

UPCOMING EVENTS:


--August 7, 5:30 p.m. Downtown Madison Historical Museum. With Sue. Old Farm County Cookbook.

--Sept 8. 10 a.m. Mt. Horeb Library, Once a Professor.

Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
Phone: 920-622-3835

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available). 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,)

Never Curse the Rain, (based on his book with the same title)

The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Once a Professor, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Daylilies



One of the first things I noticed when we bought our farm was the orange daylilies growing along the south and east sides of the pump house. They bloomed for weeks and required no care whatever.

Now, more than fifty years later, the daylilies are still there, tough as nails. Deer eat them, rabbits eat them, dry weather slows them down, winter doesn’t faze them. A couple years ago I did a little research on this vigorous daylily that grows wild alongside roads and many other places across the country. Because of where it is commonly found, it is often called a “Ditch Lily.”

I learned that daylilies have been around for thousands of years, originating in Asia and soon spreading around the world. Daylilies bloom for but one day—but a single stalk can have many flowers on it. The genus name for daylilies is Hemerocallis, which comes from two Greek words, hemeros, which means “day” and kallios which means “beauty.”

My brother, Darrel knows daylilies. As a professional plant breeder and former nursery owner, Darrel has introduced some 420 new types of daylilies—real beauties each one. While the old orange daylilies were called Ditch Lilies, Darrel’s carry such names as Pardon Me, Happy Returns, I’ll See You Again, Orginal Score, and Majestic Heights to mention a few names. No Ditch Lilies for Darrel. See photo above for a few examples of his creations.



THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Add a little color to your life. Plant some daylilies.

UPCOMING EVENTS:


--August 3, 1:00 p.m. Chilton Library. With Sue. Old Farm Country Cookbook.

--August 7, 5:30 p.m. Downtown Madison Historical Museum. With Sue. Old Farm County Cookbook.

--Sept 8. 10 a.m. Mt. Horeb Library, Once a Professor.

Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
Phone: 920-622-3835

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available). 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,)

Never Curse the Rain, (based on his book with the same title)

The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Once a Professor, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.





Sunday, July 22, 2018

Vacation at the Lake



We never took a vacation when I was growing up on the farm. Cows had to be milked twice a day, every day, every season of the year. As a kid, I knew some people took vacations. I knew this because I saw vacationing people in Wild Rose, my hometown. They vacationed on the lakes east of the village. They were city people. Pa said. “You can tell because they wear short pants. No farmer would be caught dead wearing short pants.”

Pa had us believing that we should feel sorry for these city folk on vacation because they apparently did not have enough work to keep them busy throughout the summer. I thought about what Pa said as I hoed potatoes, helped make hay, shocked grain, and made fence to make sure our cows kept out of the neighbor’s cornfield. I wasn’t sure he was right.

Today, my family takes vacations. For the past 18 years, our kids, and their kids (our grandchildren) gather at a lake where we rent a cabin and enjoy a week away from our various occupations. Our family is scattered, as many families are these days. One Grandson in Denver, another grandson in Boulder, Co, a son and his family in Avon, Co, Another grandson in San Diego. A granddaughter and her family in Minneapolis plus several family members in Madison.

These days not all can make it to the annual event, but most of them do. For the past three years, we have rented a place on Long Lake near Waupaca. It is a time for cousins to get to know cousins, for families to catch up on the happenings of the past year. A time for waterskiing and kayaking. A time for doing nothing but sitting and looking out over the lake.

My favorite time at the lake is at sunset—thus the photo. Oh, by the way, I do not wear short pants. My father’s words are still in my head.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Everyone needs a break. It is good for the body, but also good for the soul.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

--July 27, 9-4, Writing Workshop, The Clearing, Door County

--August 3, 1:00 p.m. Chilton Library. With Sue. Old Farm Country Cookbook.

--August 7, 5:30 p.m. Downtown Madison Historical Museum. With Sue. Old Farm County Cookbook.

--Sept 8. 10 a.m. Mt. Horeb Library, Once a Professor.

Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
Phone: 920-622-3835

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available). 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,)

Never Curse the Rain, (based on his book with the same title)

The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Once a Professor, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.





Friday, July 13, 2018

Tough Old Rose



It’s a tough old rose bush. It’s more than 50 years old. But no matter what the weather, or what is going on in the world, this old rose shows a lot of “pretty” every summer, year after year. It begins blooming in late May and keeps at it until early fall. Neither temperatures in the 90s or twenty-below zero seem to trouble it. I never water it, never fertilize it. Occasionally I do a little pruning. But that’s all.

The old rose stands nearly six feet tall. Different from many of the more fancy roses, my old rose bush has made it through the coldest of winters with seldom a dead branch, and without even any “dying back,” which is common with many rose varieties.

Its flowers are plain. Not nearly as fancy as the roses you buy in the store and give to your wife on Valentine’s day. I like plain.


My dad grew a rose bush just like mine. He didn’t have time to fuss with it—that would have been the language he would have used. He didn’t have time for fussing. His rose bush was as tall as mine, maybe even taller.

My hometown is Wild Rose, and my farm today is in the Township of Rose. I feel some obligation to grow at least one kind of rose. How could you live in the Township of Rose and but four miles from Wild Rose and not grow at least one rose?

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Roses are red, violets are blue. I have a tough old rose bush, how about you?

UPCOMING EVENTS:

--July 27, 9-4, Writing Workshop, The Clearing, Door County

--August 3, 1:00 p.m. Chilton Library. With Sue. Old Farm Country Cookbook.

--August 7, 5:30 p.m. Downtown Madison Historical Museum. With Sue. Old Farm County Cookbook.

--Sept 8. 10 a.m. Mt. Horeb Library, Once a Professor.

Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
Phone: 920-622-3835

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available). 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,)

Never Curse the Rain, (based on his book with the same title)

The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Once a Professor, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.




Saturday, July 07, 2018

Garden Report



My daughter-in-law, Natasha called this a bouquet of radishes. Not to brag too much, but these are the best radishes we’ve grown in our Roshara garden in many a year. Usually they are tiny little globes filled with worms and impossible to eat. Not this year.

So what else is doing well and not so well in the Apps vegetable garden on July 4th, 2018? I give the various crops a grade of 1 to 5, with 5 being outstanding, and 1 a total failure. Potatoes-5, Green beans-5, tomatoes-4 (seeing a little early blight), kale-5, lettuce 5, peas-4, sweet corn-3, zucchini-5, cucumbers-5, squash-3, pumpkins 3, carrots-2, beets-2, sunflowers (must have some sunflowers)-4, cabbage-4, and broccoli-1. Most of the garden crops seem to flourish with rain and hot weather—so far at least. Unfortunately, with our sandy soil, a half inch of rain every few days is better than three inches at one time—and then two weeks with none.

We surround our garden with a two wire electric fence, the top wire to keep away the deer and the turkeys. The bottom wire to keep out the raccoons and woodchucks. Over the years it has worked well. But this year, we’ve had to repair the fence four times.

The broccoli would have received a 4 had not a hungry deer confronted our electric fence—successfully—and walked down the row of broccoli and ate every one. It must have gotten a message from its mother that broccoli is good for you. It didn’t touch anything else—left the sweet corn, left the green beans, left the lettuce, left everything but the broccoli. So if you happen to see a very healthy looking deer, it has probably visited my garden.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: For the non-broccoli eaters, remember, even deer know that broccoli is good for them.


UPCOMING EVENTS:

--July 27, 9-4, Writing Workshop, The Clearing, Door County

--August 3, 1:00 p.m. Chilton Library. With Sue. Old Farm Country Cookbook.

--August 7, 5:30 p.m. Downtown Madison Historical Museum. With Sue. Old Farm County Cookbook.

--Sept 8. 10 a.m. Mt. Horeb Library, Once a Professor.

Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
Phone: 920-622-3835

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).
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,)
Never Curse the Rain, (based on his book with the same title)
The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Once a Professor, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.









Sunday, July 01, 2018

Mystery Rock



It was back in the 1940s when I was cultivating potatoes with a one-horse, handheld cultivator. One of those jobs where you had to pay attention or you’d cultivate out a potato plant. It was tricky guiding Dick with leather lines wrapped around your shoulders, as both hands were on the cultivator handles. It was a bright and glorious day in June, as I recall. I was enjoying the sights and sounds of an early morning in the potato field. And not to forget the smells, of horse sweat and leather harness, and the smell of freshly turned soil.

All of our fields were stony—little stones, big stones, black stones, red stones. I spotted a green looking, odd shaped stone. And because my hands were busy steering the cultivator, I kicked at the stone. It hardly moved.

“Whoa,” I said to Dick. I picked up the strange stone and noticed it was several times heavier than stones of a similar size. I showed the strange stone to Pa when I came home at dinner time. “What is it?” I asked. “Maybe it’s gold?” Pa said, smiling.

A professor of geology spent his summers at his home place near Wild Rose. We took the mystery stone to him. “Is it gold?” Pa asked. “No, it is pure copper,” the professor answered.

We wondered how it had gotten into our potato field. The professor offered two theories. It could have come with the glacier, or an Indian had lost it. I still have it. The hunk of copper is pictured above.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: You never know what you’ll find when cultivating potatoes.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My writing class at The Clearing in Door County is scheduled: Friday, July 27, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to register. A few openings remain.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

--July 27, 9-4, Writing Workshop, The Clearing, Door County

--August 3, 1:00 p.m. Chilton Library. With Sue. Old Farm Country Cookbook.

--August 7, 5:30 p.m. Downtown Madison Historical Museum. With Sue. Old Farm County Cookbook.

--Sept 8. 10 a.m. Mt. Horeb Library, Once a Professor.

Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
Phone: 920-622-3835

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).
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,)
Never Curse the Rain, (based on his book with the same title)
The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Once a Professor, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.