Sunday, August 21, 2016

Waupaca Art Fair


Last Saturday I attended Waupaca’s Arts on the Square, and what a fine event it was.  There was music, dance, and paintings; woodcarving, blacksmithing and quilting demonstrations, poetry readings and lots of food.

Colorful tents on either side and in back of the public library in downtown Waupaca sheltered people from the predicted rain, which never came, but hundreds of people did. I was privileged to be one of the presenters.  I talked about storytelling, how to do it, and why it was important for everyone to write their stories. 

On a table just beyond where I was talking, poet Paul Wiegel conducted a hands-on workshop with manual typewriters.  Paul collects these now antique machines and invited the young people in the audience to try typing on one. He provided the paper.

In an age of computers, smart phones and other electronic devices, typing on a manual typewriter (no electricity or batteries required) proved more than a little challenging for some of these young people.  A beginning problem—how do you put paper in the machine?

One of the featured typewriters was an upright L.C. Smith.  It was big brute of a machine that I remember fondly from my days of taking a typewriting class at Wild Rose High School many years ago.  Except for me, the class was all girls, who had long, slender fingers compared to my short, stubby ones.  But I soon discovered that I had an advantage over the girls in the class.  I was milking cows by hand in those days, and had strong fingers, a considerable asset when typing on a manual typewriter.  I came to really like typing, and as my readers know, I’ve never gotten over it.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: You never know what you’ll learn at an art fair.

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.

Upcoming Events:

August 22, 7:00 p.m., Twin Cities Public TV. Live appearance.  The Land With Jerry Apps

August 29, 7:00 p.m. Wisconsin Public TV. The Land With Jerry Apps

August 30, 7:00 p.m. Milwaukee Public TV. Live appearance. The Land With Jerry Apps

September 8, 7:00 p.m.  McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids. Workshop on memoir writing. Participants should have a copy of TELLING YOUR STORY as it will be used in the workshop. Book will be available for sale the evening of the workshop.

September 15, Midwest Master Gardeners, Chula Vista Resort, Wisconsin Dells.  Dinner Speaker, Whisper and Shadows.

September 18, 1-5, Markesan Heritage Days, Markesan, WI.


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, August 14, 2016

The Clearing


Ruth and I have just returned from Door County, where I taught a writing workshop at The Clearing, located on the bluffs above the waters of Green Bay, just north of Ellison Bay.  This is my 26th year teaching at The Clearing, which was founded in 1935 by Jens Jensen, a Danish-born landscape architect.  Jensen was 75 years old at the time, and had recently retired from his Chicago business.

Jensen believed that everyone should have an opportunity to have direct experience with nature, have an opportunity to express themselves creatively, and realize the importance of “thoughtful study and contemplation.”

I have taught week-long, and currently teach day-long workshops on what I call “Writing From Your Life,” a focus on one’s personal stories.  This year, 32 students met on Friday to plumb their memories, write their stories, and share them with each other.  There was laughter, lots of laughter, and yes, some tears, as people wrote and shared.  It was an invigorating and productive day.  And such wonderful stories.

We used my new book, TELLING YOUR STORY (Fulcrum Press) as a guide for the work.

For those who would like a similar experience, I will be teaching a similar workshop at The Clearing on Friday, October 28.


The Old Timer Says: It’s never too late to tell your Story..

Writing From Your Life:  Writing From Your Life Workshop. 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.

Upcoming Events:

August 20, 10:30-11:30 am.  Waupaca Annual Arts on the Square.  Story telling.

August 22, 7:00 p.m., Twin Cities Public TV. Live appearance.  The Land With Jerry Apps

August 29, 7:00 p.m. Wisconsin Public TV. The Land With Jerry Apps

August 30, 7:00 p.m. Milwaukee Public TV. Live appearance. The Land With Jerry Apps

September 8, 7:00 p.m.  McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids. Workshop on memoir writing. Participants should have a copy of TELLING YOUR STORY as it will be used in the workshop. Book will be available for sale the evening of the workshop.

September 15, Midwest Master Gardeners, Chula Vista Resort, Wisconsin Dells.  Dinner Speaker, Whisper and Shadows.

September 18, 1-5, Markesan Heritage Days, Markesan, WI.


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, August 07, 2016

Battles With Black Locust Trees


In an effort to stop water erosion on hilly land, such as I have on my farm, John Coombes planted black locust trees in the early 1940s. By nature black locust trees have an extensive root system, they tolerate dry, sandy soil and require no attention once planted. 

Coombes, who owned this farm before us, was likely pleased that the locust trees stopped further development of a huge gully that had formed not far south of his buildings..

But the locust trees did not remain content in the gully, and soon spread over several acres, growing tall and flourishing.  The trees, although now becoming a menace, did have their good points.  I cut and used them for fence posts—they resist rotting as well as red cedar.  I have some that have been in the ground for more than 30 years and they are still standing upright.  And the mature trees, because they are in the pea family, have beautiful, long, sweet smelling flowers that attract bees.  Locust honey is special.

But enough about their good points.  If left alone, much of my farm would now be overgrown with black locust trees had we not declared war on them several years ago, a fight that continues to this day.  We have cut them, sprayed them, and girdled them.  And it seems, for each tree we remove, five more replace it.

Last Saturday Steve and I, with shovel, logging chain and ATV, staged yet another black locust battle.  We pulled several out by their roots, and what a root system they have.  One tree, no more than four feet tall had a root that snaked through the ground for fifteen feet.  Steve pulled, and pulled some more, until the thin, tough snaky root was exposed.  At the end of it was another locust tree.

And in another three acre field, where we thought we had killed every last locust tree, we discovered dozens, hundreds, who knows how many tiny little locust trees that must have just emerged from the ground from latent seeds.  So the fight goes one.  We win a battle here and there, but the black locusts are still winning the war.

The Old Timer was recently asked: If you are doing nothing, how do you know when you’re done?

Writing From Your Life:  A second Clearing Writing Class is scheduled for Friday, October 28.  Call 920-854-4088 to Register.

Upcoming Events:

August 9, 6:30 p.m. Winnebago County Historical Society.  Oshkosh Library.  History of Wisconsin Agriculture.

August 12, 9-4, Writing Workshop, The Clearing, Door County. (Filled)

August 20, 10:30-11:30 am.  Waupaca Annual Arts on the Square.  Story telling.

August 22, 7:00 p.m., Twin Cities Public TV. Live appearance.  The Land With Jerry Apps

August 29, 7:00 p.m. Wisconsin Public TV. The Land With Jerry Apps

August 30, 7:00 p.m. Milwaukee Public TV. Live appearance. The Land With Jerry Apps

September 8, 7:00 p.m.  McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids. Workshop on memoir writing. Participants should have a copy of TELLING YOUR STORY as it will be used in the workshop. Book will be available for sale the evening of the workshop.


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, August 01, 2016

Garden Report: August 1, 2016


August 1-Garden Report

            The rains came regularly along with lots of sunshine and warm, some might complain too warm temperatures—and my garden has thrived.  All and all, one of my best gardens in many years.  Here is an accounting of where we are in mid-season:

            The potato crop still remains the winner in the competition among its fellow vegetables.  On Saturday we dug the red potatoes, about a bushel from a row and a half.  Beautiful, big, blemish free potatoes.  More than we’ve harvested in recent years.

            Second place has to go to the tomatoes.  I have tomato plants five feet tall and still growing.  Natasha picked a pan full of ripe ones.  A little blight is showing up, but so far scarcely visible.  Main crop a week or two away.

            Third place to the green beans.  Three times harvested, beautiful, blemish free, and oh, so good with a gentle steaming, and then a goodly amount of butter and a dash of pepper and salt.

            Other blue ribbon producers, Leaf lettuce—we’ve cut five times, and it’s still coming back. Swiss chard, a first time vegetable for me.  It grows tall, red stemmed, and three times harvested.  Same for the broccoli, huge early heads, now smaller, but lots of them.  Also three times harvested.

            Cucumbers, twice harvested, they like the heat, doing well.  Zucchini—just four hills and wow, found a few if properly dried and preserved would serve as baseball bats.

            Sweet corn, a week or ten days away from harvest time.  Late sweet corn planted after peas harvested is now knee high and doing well.

            Squash, pumpkins and gourds, all growing wildly.  Vines everywhere, sneaking under the garden fence, invading the sweet corn patch, crowding out any weed that might consider growing in their midst.  So thick that I can’t see if we’ll have a crop to harvest.

            Now for the “less than expected” crops. First place loser: green peppers.  They are a miserable failure.  Not one pepper and the pathetic looking little plants, just sit there, seeming out of place and miserable.

            I harvested the onions on Saturday, red and white ones.  They had tipped over and quit growing, so time to harvest.  Red onions, average size, not close to “brag eligible.”  White ones, small, too small.  Should have planted yellow ones.

The recent weather has been perfect for our sandy loam soil, which needs lots of water.  Fingers crossed that good garden weather will continue.

THE OLDER TIMER SAYS: Some garden years are good, some less so, but all are wonderful.

Writing From Your L ife:  A second Clearing Writing Class is scheduled for Friday, October 28.  Call 920-854-4088 to Register.

Upcoming Events:

August 9, 6:30 p.m. Winnebago County Historical Society.  Oshkosh Library.  History of Wisconsin Agriculture.

August 12, 9-4, Writing Workshop, The Clearing, Door County. (Filled)

August 20, 10:30-11:30 am.  Waupaca Annual Arts on the Square.  Story telling.

August 22, 7:00 p.m., Twin Cities Public TV. Live appearance.  The Land With Jerry Apps

August 29, 7:00 p.m. Wisconsin Public TV. The Land With Jerry Apps

August 30, 7:00 p.m. Milwaukee Public TV. Channel 10.  Live appearance. The Land With Jerry Apps

September 8, 7:00 p.m.  McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids. Workshop on memoir writing. Participants should have a copy of TELLING YOUR STORY. Book will be available for sale the evening of the workshop.


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






Saturday, July 23, 2016

Time For a Nap


People have forgotten the importance of a nap.  The power of resting.  The need to rejuvenate. It’s hurry to do this and hurry to do that.  Every day, every week, all year long.  No time for resting, no time to nap.  Keep moving, keep doing
.
 Even nature knows better.  The trees, and the grasses and the wildflowers, and many creatures that live in the wild take long winter naps.  And what do we humans do, we keep on trudging along, come high water or deep snow, temps in the 90s or those below zero.  Although resting is in our DNA—most of us know enough to get a good night’s sleep—we don’t know enough to rest during the day.

Why is this?  Is it a fear that if we rest, somebody will out do us?  Does our competitive nature overshadow our need to slow down once in a while—or even stop “doing” on occasion and do nothing?

Or is it because those of us who grew up when times were tough in this country learned at an early age that we must work, work, work—or we wouldn’t have anything to eat, or a decent roof over heads?  Or is it something else?

I’m thinking about all this as I listen to thunder booming and see raindrops skidding down my office window on this restful afternoon.

The Old Timer Says:  It’s time for a nap.

Writing From Your L ife:  A second Clearing Writing Class is scheduled for Friday, October 28.  Call 920-854-4088 to Register.

Upcoming Events:

August 9, 6:30 p.m. Winnebago County Historical Society.  Oshkosh Library.  History of Wisconsin Agriculture

August 12, 9-4, Writing Workshop, The Clearing, Door County. (Filled)

August 20, 10:30-11:30 am.  Waupaca Annual Arts on the Square.  Story telling

August 22, 7:00 p.m., Twin Cities Public TV. Live appearance.  The Land With Jerry Apps

August 30, 7:00 p.m. Milwaukee Public TV. Live appearance. The Land With Jerry Apps

September 8, 7:00 p.m.  McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids. Workshop on memoir writing. Participants should have a copy of TELLING YOUR STORY. Books will be available for sale the evening of the workshop.

Materials at the Patterson Memorial Library

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





Saturday, July 16, 2016

Heat Lightning

In mid-summer, during a time when we desperately needed rain on our dry, droughty farm, we’d be driving home from Wild Rose where Ma did her weekly grocery shopping, and we’d see the occasional streak of  lightning far off to the west.  “Heat lightning,” Pa called it.  “Looks like it might rain but it never does.”

Now, many years later, I’m sitting on the back porch at the farm—city folks would call it a deck—watching the western sky.  Hoping for rain as it is becoming dry and the grass and the garden could sure benefit from a good shower.

 I hear a grumbling sound, and I assume it’s an airliner winging high overhead, on its way to the Twin Cities.  But then I hear it again, a growling, rumbling sound and I know it’s thunder.  I see a flash of lightning, and I keep watching, keep hoping that a shower is on its way.
           
The thunder booms louder, the lightning flashes brighter.  I move my truck from under the big maple where I park it, in case there is wind in the storm and a limb comes crashing down.

 Then an even brighter flash of lightning and an even louder thunder boom—and the first drops of rain began falling, splattering into the dust.  I decide to move into the cabin and watch out the window, hoping for at least a half inch of rain with no wind, no hail, and no close lightning strikes.

But then, almost mysteriously, the thunder stops, and the lightning ceases, and there are no more rain drops.  As Pa would have said, “Not enough rain to settle the dust.”

 Heat lightning?  But what about the thunder?  Heat thunder? 

           
The Old Timer Says:  Don’t be fooled by heat lightning.

Special Announcement: July 19, 11:00 a.m., Farm Technology Days, Snudden Farms, Lake Geneva, Walworth County. Memories From a Farm Boy.


Writing From Your L ife:  A second Clearing Writing Class is scheduled for Friday, October 28.  Call 920-854-4088 to Register.

Upcoming Events:

August 9, 6:30 p.m. Winnebago County Historical Society.  Oshkosh Library.  History of Wisconsin Agriculture.

August 12, 9-4, Writing Workshop, The Clearing, Door County. (Filled)

August 20, 10:30-11:30 am.  Waupaca Annual Arts on the Square.  Story telling

August 22, 7:00 p.m., Twin Cities Public TV.  The Land With Jerry Apps

August 30, 7:00 p.m. Milwaukee Public TV. The Land With Jerry Apps
Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them): 

September 8, 7:00 p.m.  McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids. Workshop on memoir writing. Participants should have a copy of TELLING YOUR STORY. Book will be available for sale the evening of the workshop.

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, July 10, 2016

Trails




            Trails have always intrigued me, from the days when I was a kid following a cow path a half-mile up the lane back of the barn, to today, when I follow the several trails  at my farm.  I recently wrote:

            When at my farm, I often follow my network of trails through the woods, along the flats and down the hills and around the many twists and turns.

            A trail is not for hurrying.  Despite how familiar the trail is to me now, there is always something new to see or hear as I wind my way along.  There are old friends: a deer bounding in front of me, the giant oak trees I dearly love, the views across the ponds, where I often spot a mallard or a wood duck or a family of Canada geese.

            As the seasons change, the views from the trails change, too, from the budding of the trees and the greening of the grass in spring to the rainbow of colors in fall to the naked maples in winter.

            Small side trails here and there lead to special views: a close-up look at the ponds; a trip to the prairie restoration.  Traveling my trails, which I regularly do, is one of the joys of my life. 

Excerpted from Whispers and Shadows: A Naturalist’s Memoir

The Old Timer Says:  Take time to travel a trail, and take your time when you do it.

ANNOUNCEMENT:  A second Clearing Writing Class is scheduled for Friday, October 28.  Call 920-854-4088 to Register.

Upcoming Events:

July 19, 11:00 a.m., Farm Technology Days, Snudden Farms, Lake Geneva, Walworth County. History of Wisconsin Agriculture.

August 9, 6:30 p.m. Winnebago County Historical Society.  Oshkosh Library.  History of Wisconsin Agriculture.

August 12, 9-4, Writing Workshop, The Clearing, Door County. (Filled)

August 20, 10:30-11:30 am.  Waupaca Annual Arts on the Square.  Story telling.

August 22, 7:00 p.m., Twin Cities Public TV.  The Land With Jerry Apps.

August 30, 7:00 p.m. Milwaukee Public TV. The Land With Jerry 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