Friday, June 14, 2019

Haymaking Breakthrough



Pa bought our first side-delivery rake back in about 1947. It was an important technological breakthrough. Haymaking was hard work. Now it would be easier.

Before the side-delivery rake, we made hay like this. First Pa cut the hay with our five-foot McCormick mower pulled by our trusty team of horses. Once the hay was cut and dried for a day or so, depending on the weather and lack of rain, he raked the hay with a dump rake, a distant cousin of our new side-delivery rake.

Once the hay was raked, my brothers, Pa and I piled the hay into little bunches—sort of like overgrown cupcakes that soon appeared across the field. After another drying period, a day or so, we pitched the hay bunches on to our steel-wheeled hay wagon, and hauled it to the barn.

Arriving at the barn, we pitched the hay, into the hay mow, by hand. With three-tined forks. All of this was before 1945, when Pa bought our first tractor. And soon after a side-delivery rake and a hay loader.

Haymaking became easier. Once the hay was cut, now with a tractor-pulled mower pulled by the tractor, the hay was raked in long ropes with the side-delivery rake. No more bunching hay by hand. The tractor pulled the hay wagon—we now had one with rubber tires. A mechanical hay loader was attached to the back of the wagon. which automatically loaded the hay onto the wagon. What could be easier?

THE OLD-TIMER SAYS: Learn to appreciate the things that make life easier.

ANNOUNCEMENT: My “Telling Your Story” Writing Class at The Clearing in Door County is set for July 19, 9-4. Call 920-854-4880 if you are interested in attending. The class usually fills, so you may want to reserve a spot sooner than later.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

July 12, 6:00 p.m. Frank B. Koller, Memorial Library, 2 US-51, Manitowish Waters. Old Farm Country Cookbook, with co-author, Susan Apps-Bodilly.

BOOKS FOR SUMMER READING;

Want a book to read this summer? Here are two more of my novels for your consideration.
Each deals with a contemporary rural issue. Purchase from your local bookstore, or buy them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

Cranberry Red

From Booklist:
In the fourth book in the Ames County series, Ben Wesley, an agricultural agent for the past two decades, is suddenly out of work when funding for his program is cut. He’s immediately offered a job with Osborne University, doing pretty much what he did before but charging people for his services. This makes him a little uncomfortable but not nearly as much as Cranberry Red, a new chemical developed by the university’s researchers that could have spectacular benefits for people with heart disease or Alzheimer’s. When it begins to appear that Cranberry Red has some pretty nasty side effects, Ben is faced with a difficult choice: keep his job and find a way to protect the community, or blow the lid off the secret and risk everything. Apps approaches his familiar themes (honor, the importance of community, the increasing threat to traditional farming) from a new angle, focusing on the issue of genetic modification and its impact on an entire way of life. As usual, he creates compelling characters and places them in a vividly realized setting. –David Pitt

Tamarack River Ghost

When journalist Josh Wittmore moves from the Illinois Bureau of Farm Country News to the newspaper’s national office in Wisconsin, he encounters the biggest story of his young career—just as the paper’s finances may lead to its closure.

Josh’s big story is a corporation plans to establish an enormous hog farm that bought a lot of land along the Tamarack River in bucolic Ames County. Some of the local residents and officials are excited about the jobs and tax revenues that the big farm will bring, while others worry about truck traffic, porcine aromas, and manure runoff polluting the river. And how would the arrival of a large agribusiness affect life and traditions in this tightly knit rural community of family farmers? Josh strives to provide impartial agricultural reporting, even as his newspaper is replaced by a new Internet-only version owned by a former New York investment banker. And it seems that there may be another force in play: the vengeful ghost of a drowned logger who locals say haunts the valley of the Tamarack River.




Friday, June 07, 2019

Stonefield Historic Site



Interested in Wisconsin’s agricultural history? Do you enjoy looking at early farm implements? How about the fun of visiting a 1900 replica of a farming village, along with a 1901 farmstead. Yes? Well you are in luck, because in Southwestern Wisconsin a place called Stonefield has all of these things. It’s a Wisconsin Historic Site, one of several operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Stonefield is just a short drive north of picturesque Cassville, one of Wisconsin’s several towns and cities tucked up against the mighty Mississippi River. Stonefield is about a two-hour drive from Madison, and only 37 miles north of Dubuque, Iowa.

The place is steeped in history as Nelson Dewey, Wisconsin’s first Governor, farmed some 2,000 acres here at one time. His beautiful Gothic Revival home is open for tours—it’s a part of Nelson Dewey State Park, which is across the road from Stonefield.

The State Agricultural Museum is located at Stonefield. Here you can see a McCormick Reaper, along with tools large and small that depict the state’s agricultural past. Also there are walls of historic photographs. One is of a group of men raking cranberries by hand. Something I did back in the fall of 1955.

Cross the covered bridge and find yourself in an early Wisconsin village, complete with a cheese factory, newspaper office, saloon, blacksmith shop, railroad depot, saw mill, bank, livery stable, a one-room school, barbershop and more. Visiting the farmstead, you’ll see a farm house, dairy barn, corn crib, chicken coop, and hog house.

What a great place to relive your childhood and to bring the kids and grandkids to show them some early Wisconsin history. Go to: https://stonefield.wisconsinhistory.org/ for more information.

THE OLD-TIMER SAYS: When we forget our histories, we forget who we are.

ANNOUNCEMENT: My “Telling Your Story” Writing Class at The Clearing in Door County is set for July 19, 9-4. Call 920-854-4880 if you are interested in attending. The class usually fills, so you may want to reserve a spot sooner than later.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
July 12, 6:00 p.m. Frank B. Koller, Memorial Library, 2 US-51, Manitowish Waters. Old Farm Country Cookbook, with co-author, Susan Apps-Bodilly.

BOOKS FOR SUMMER READING:

Want a book to read this summer? Here are two more of my novels for your consideration.
Each deals with a contemporary rural issue. Purchase from your local bookstore, or buy them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

Cranberry Red

From Booklist:

In the fourth book in the Ames County series, Ben Wesley, an agricultural agent for the past two decades, is suddenly out of work when funding for his program is cut. He’s immediately offered a job with Osborne University, doing pretty much what he did before but charging people for his services. This makes him a little uncomfortable but not nearly as much as Cranberry Red, a new chemical developed by the university’s researchers that could have spectacular benefits for people with heart disease or Alzheimer’s. When it begins to appear that Cranberry Red has some pretty nasty side effects, Ben is faced with a difficult choice: keep his job and find a way to protect the community, or blow the lid off the secret and risk everything. Apps approaches his familiar themes (honor, the importance of community, the increasing threat to traditional farming) from a new angle, focusing on the issue of genetic modification and its impact on an entire way of life. As usual, he creates compelling characters and places them in a vividly realized setting. –David Pitt

Tamarack River Ghost

When journalist Josh Wittmore moves from the Illinois bureau of Farm Country News to the newspaper’s national office in Wisconsin, he encounters the biggest story of his young career—just as the paper’s finances may lead to its closure.

Josh’s big story is that a corporation that plans to establish an enormous hog farm has bought a lot of land along the Tamarack River in bucolic Ames County. Some of the local residents and officials are excited about the jobs and tax revenues that the big farm will bring, while others worry about truck traffic, porcine aromas, and manure runoff polluting the river. And how would the arrival of a large agribusiness affect life and traditions in this tightly knit rural community of family farmers? Josh strives to provide impartial agricultural reporting, even as his newspaper is replaced by a new Internet-only version owned by a former New York investment banker. And it seems that there may be another force in play: the vengeful ghost of a drowned logger who locals say haunts the valley of the Tamarack River.



Saturday, June 01, 2019

Memorial Day Garden Report


For my vegetable gardening friends, my Memorial Day report. Where you garden surely makes a difference, especially in states like Wisconsin where the growing season varies greatly from south to north in the state. What you read here might be quiet different from other places.

My garden is in Waushara County, not really north, but not south either. We’ve gardened here for more than 50 years, some years great, some years so-so, and some years not so good. Never knowing what to expect contributes to the fun of gardening.

Everything is a bit late this year. Our first planting was April 28. On that date we planted early potatoes, late potatoes, carrots, radishes, peas, kale, onions, lettuce and beets. All are up and growing, except for the late potatoes, which, as my dad would say, are “cracking the ground,” meaning they were on their way but not as far as long as the early potatoes.

On May 19, Steve and Natasha set out broccoli and cabbage plants and with cool, wet weather they are doing well.

On Memorial Day weekend, (May 26) we planted sweet corn of several types, snap beans, zucchini, cucumbers, pumpkins, late squash and 25 tomato plants that I started from seed. With cool weather, the tomato plants are a bit scrawny, but they now have lots of room to grow. My dad always said that a garden should have some flowers, so we planted a short row of zinnias and a couple rows of sunflowers.

We have a bluebird house a few feet from the garden. As we worked in the garden a pair of blue birds were busy flying in and out of the house. They, along with gardeners also know that spring has arrived.

THE OLD-TIMER SAYS: What would life be without a garden?

ANNOUNCEMENT: My “Telling Your Story” Writing Class at The Clearing in Door County is set for July 19, 9-4. Call 920-854-4880 if you are interested in attending. The class usually fills, so you may want to reserve a spot sooner than later.

UPCOMING EVENTS:


June 7, 6:00 p.m. Weyauwega-Fremont Performing Arts Center, 500 E. Ann St. Weyauwega. Presentation: Wisconsin Agriculture: A History. No charge, all welcome.

BOOKS FOR SUMMER READING;

Want a book to read this summer? Here are two of my recent novels to consider.

Each deals with a contemporary rural issue. Purchase from your local bookstore, or buy them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

In a Pickle

“In a Pickle, is a many-layered pleasure delivered by a master craftsman who is also, like his contemporaries Studs Terkel and Howard Zinn, a passionate student of the people’s history. As Apps engages us in the coming-of-age saga of the pickle factory manager Andy Meyer, his In a Pickle is at once a lesson in rural Wisconsin sociology, a quietly scathing indictment of factory farming, and a great read.”—John Galligan. .



Cranberry Red
.From Booklist:
In the fourth book in the Ames County series, Ben Wesley, an agricultural agent for the past two decades, is suddenly out of work when funding for his program is cut. He’s immediately offered a job with Osborne University, doing pretty much what he did before but charging people for his services. This makes him a little uncomfortable but not nearly as much as Cranberry Red, a new chemical developed by the university’s researchers that could have spectacular benefits for people with heart disease or Alzheimer’s. When it begins to appear that Cranberry Red has some pretty nasty side effects, Ben is faced with a difficult choice: keep his job and find a way to protect the community, or blow the lid off the secret and risk everything. Apps approaches his familiar themes (honor, the importance of community, the increasing threat to traditional farming) from a new angle, focusing on the issue of genetic modification and its impact on an entire way of life. As usual, he creates compelling characters and places them in a vividly realized setting. –David Pitt

Friday, May 24, 2019

A Stone Pile With Memories


When we bought the farm we have now, one of the first things I noticed was the pile of stones (see above) that stretched for 50 yards or so along the west side of the buildings, just inside of the willow windbreak.

This old moss-covered stone pile has a story to tell. The Coombes family, who owned our farm before us, never owned a tractor, so all of these stones were picked by hand, rolled onto a stone boat, and them with a team of horses toted to this place where they remain, and will likely remain as I have no intention of moving them. This old stone pile represents a lot of hard work.

I grew up picking stones as the home farm, which is some two miles from the farm we now own. Like the Coombes farm, the home place was on the terminal moraine—where the last glacier stopped. Upon melting, the glacier left behind a landscape studded with stones. Stones as large as a small car. Stones as small as marbles. Black stones and red stones. Round stones and jagged stones. With winter’s frosts the stones came to the surface each year. And each spring, we picked them, loaded them on a stone boat pulled by our trusty team of horses. We hauled them to stone piles scattered across our farm. My dad would often say, as we picked stones: “If nothing else grows on this farm, we can always count on a good crop of stones.”

THE OLD-TIMER SAYS: Want to build some character: spend a day picking stones.
.
ANNOUNCEMENT: My “Telling Your Story” Writing Class at The Clearing in Door County is set for July 19, 9-4. Call 920-854-4880 if you are interested in attending. The class usually fills, so you may want to reserve a spot sooner than later.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

June 1, 10:30-3:00, Speaking at 1:30. Stonefield Village, Cassville, with Susan Apps-Bodilly, my daughter.

June 7, 6:00 p.m. Weyauwega-Fremont Performing Arts Center, 500 E. Ann St. Weyauwega. Presentation: Wisconsin Agriculture: A History. No charge, all welcome.

PURCHASING BOOKS AND DVDs:

Order your signed Apps books and DVDs from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

Books To Consider Reading:

The Civilian Conservation Corps in Wisconsin: Nature’s Army at Work.

Simple Things: Lessons From the Family Farm

Garden Wisdom (What I’ve Learned From Gardening)

Cold as Thunder (A look into the future)




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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Apple Blossom Time



It’s apple blossom time in my part of the world. One of the most beautiful times of the year. When I was a kid, the folks had an apple orchard—not really an orchard but four or five trees that stood on a little side hill across the road from the farm house. If I remember correctly we had Whitney Crabs, Wealthies, Northwestern Greenings and Duchess apples. Varieties that we don’t hear much about these days. How beautiful the trees were in late May.

For some reason, the crab apple trees had the most beautiful blossoms—see the photo above. Their apples were small—my mother made apple pickles out of them. The other varieties I remember as being mostly good for apple pies and apple sauce. Tart would be too polite a term to describe how sour some of them were—at least to a kid who took a big bite out of one of them.

There is one old apple tree remaining on what had been the first farmstead on the farm we own now—going back to 1867 when the first settler, Tom Stewart arrived. He likely brought with him some apple trees from his home state of New York, always known for its fine orchards. The tree is mostly dead, but what branches remains are well over a hundred years old. I have no idea its variety. There are a few blossoms every other year.

When I was in high school at Wild Rose, the theme of our junior prom was, “I’ll be with you in apple blossom time.” So many years later, it’s once more apple blossom time.

THE OLD-TIMER SAYS: Take time to appreciate the beauty of apple blossoms.

ANNOUNCEMENT: My “Telling Your Story” Writing Class at The Clearing in Door County is set for July 19, 9-4. Call 920-854-4880 if you are interested in attending. The class usually fills, so you may want to reserve a spot sooner than later.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

June 1, 10:30-3:00, Speaking at 1:30. Stonefield Village, Cassville.

June 7, 6:00 p.m. Weyauwega-Fremont Performing Arts Center, 500 E. Ann St. Weyauwega. Presentation: Wisconsin Agriculture: A History. No charge, all welcome.

PURCHASING BOOKS AND DVDs:

Order your signed Apps books and DVDs from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

Books To Consider Reading:

The Civilian Conservation Corps in Wisconsin: Nature’s Army at Work.

Simple Things: Lessons From the Family Farm

Garden Wisdom (What I’ve Learned From Gardening)

Cold as Thunder (A look into the future)

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Dad's Garden Marker


My dad and mother held an auction and sold the home farm in 1973. They moved to Wild Rose, where they bought a little house with a big yard. Big enough for a garden. For farmers of dad’s generation, moving to town was a symbol of success.

One of the first things my dad at his new place was to find some scrap lumber and build the garden marker pictured above. He was moving to town, but he was not giving up gardening. He was 73 years old at the time. Soon the area behind the house was a vegetable garden. But the area wasn’t large enough. Dad wanted to grow pumpkins and squash and melons besides all the other vegetables. So I said he could have a fourth of our big garden that we had at my farm, which was only four and half miles from Wild Rose.

So, year after year, that little wooden marker scratched two grooves thirty-inches apart in the soft garden soil in Wild Rose, and my equally soft sandy-loom at my farm. As the years passed and dad moved into his 80s, I could tell how he was feeling by the amount of space he wanted in the garden at my farm.

By the time he reached 90, he was content to only work in his town garden as he called it. But work it he did, until six weeks before he died at age 93. All the while, he marked the rows with this little wooden marker. I use the marker to this day in my garden. It brings back a lot of memories.

THE OLD-TIMER SAYS: Memories come in many packages.

ANNOUNCEMENT: My “Telling Your Story” Writing Class at The Clearing in Door County is set for July 19, 9-4. Call 920-854-4880 if you are interested in attending. The class usually fills, so you may want to reserve a spot sooner than later.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
.
.May 13, 6:30 p.m. Verona Public Library, 500 Silent St., Verona. CCC Story in words and pictures

May 14, 12:00 Noon, Sequoya Library, Madison. Simple Things

May 18, 10-2:00 Dregne’s, Westby, Book Signing.

June 1, 10:30-3:00, Speaking at 1:30. Stonefield Village, Cassville.

June 7, 6:00 p.m. Weyauwega-Fremont Performing Arts Center, 500 E. Ann St. Weyauwega. Presentation: Wisconsin Agriculture: A History. No charge, all welcome.

PURCHASING BOOKS AND DVDs:

Order your signed Apps books and DVDs from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

Books To Consider Reading:

The Civilian Conservation Corps in Wisconsin: Nature’s Army at Work.

Simple Things: Lessons From the Family Farm

Garden Wisdom (What I’ve Learned From Gardening)

Cold as Thunder (A look into the future)

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Advice From a Dandelion




• Never apologize for being one of the first to celebrate the arrival of spring.

• Remember that small can be beautiful.

• Be proud of who you are and what you can do—even though some may despise you.

• When you are stomped on, knocked down and criticized, answer without anger, but with your usual bright face.

• Deep roots can help assure a worthwhile life.

• Be proud of your heritage. I trace my relatives to the ancient Romans.

• Sometimes it only takes a spot of beauty to add a little joy to one’s day.

• Love the little children as they love me, often bringing a bouquet of my yellow flowers to their moms on Mother’s Day.

• Treat me with respect. I, like you, have a purpose in life.

• There is goodness in everything—look for it and applaud it.

• Do not stop being beautiful because some may think you do not belong where you are.

• Even under the harshest of conditions, remember who you are and do your best.

• Being of help to others, sometimes if only in a small way, should be a major purpose in your life.

• On the path of life, one is not wrong and the other right, we are just different.

• Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Each of us has our own special beauty.

• Don’t be envious of those who appear to have more than you do. Be proud of what you have.

• Do the best you can with what you’ve got.

THE OLD-TIMER SAYS: There is much to be learned from a dandelion.

ANNOUNCEMENT: My “Telling Your Story” Writing Class at The Clearing in Door County is set for July 19, 9-4. Call 920-854-4880 if you are interested in attending. The class usually fills, so you may want to reserve a spot sooner than later.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
.
May 9, 6:00 p.m. Patterson Memorial Library (Rescheduled because of weather), Wild Rose. Mid-Wisconsin launch of Civilian Conservation Corps in Wisconsin.

May 11, 2:00 p.m. Arcadia Bookstore, Spring Green. CCC story.

May 13, 6:30 Verona Library, CCC Story

May 14, 12:00 Noon, Sequoia Library, Madison. Simple Things

May 18, 10-2:00 Dregne’s, Westby, Book Signing.

June 1, 10:30-3:00, Speaking at 1:30. Stonefield Village, Cassville.

PURCHASING BOOKS AND DVDs:

Order your signed Apps books and DVDs from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

Books To Consider Reading:

Simple Things: Lessons From the Family Farm

Garden Wisdom (What I’ve Learned From Gardening)

Cold as Thunder (A look into the future)

The Civilian Conservation Corps in Wisconsin: Nature’s Army at Work.