Sunday, May 03, 2015

Opening Day


         Saturday was the opening day of the 2015 fishing season.  Beyond Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and the Fourth of July, no dates are more important for most Wisconsinites than the opening day of deer season in November and the opening day of fishing season in early May.  No weddings, no funerals, no birthday parties or anniversaries are celebrated on these days because no one would come.
           In 1961, I made a major exception to my longstanding rule of not allowing anything to interfere with these dates.  Ruth and I had set our wedding date for a Saturday in late May of that year.   At the time, Ruth worked for the University of Wisconsin-Extension in Wautoma and I worked for the same employer, but in
Green Bay.  We had agreed to be married in Wautoma.
            The preacher who would marry us said that we must have marriage counseling prior to the event.  He picked the first Saturday in May and said we should meet at his parsonage near the Church.  I looked at the calendar and then knew why I had the day open—it was opening day of fishing season.  I knew Ruth would not have appreciated me backing away from this all important marriage counseling so I said nothing.
            I drove down from Green Bay on that beautiful Saturday morning, with thoughts of un-caught trout on my mind.  I picked up Ruth and we drove to the parsonage.  The pastor’s wife answered the door.  We explained why we were there.
            “I’m so sorry,” the pastor’s wife said.  “He must have forgotten. He’s gone fishing.  He never misses opening day.”

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: It’s important to keep one’s priorities in order.

 UPCOMING EVENTS:

Tuesday, May 5, 10:30. Chilton Library, Chilton, WI Whispers and Shadows.

Tuesday, May 12, 10:00 a.m. Writers Forum, with Michael Perry and John Hildebrand. Eau Claire Regional Arts Center, 316 Eau Claire St., Eau Claire, WIO  (Part of Wisconsin Historical Society History Tour).

Thursday, May 14, Appleton Area Sierra Club, 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, May 20, 6:30 p.m.  Barnes & Noble, Madison West. Whispers and Shadows, (Madison Area Launch).

Thursday, May 21, Noon. Beloit Retired Teachers, Boundaries Restaurant.  Wit and Wisdom.


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

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs, Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps and Jerry Apps A Farm Story.
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including The Quiet Season (on which the DVD A Farm Winter is based), as well as Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm, (which are related to the DVD Jerry Apps a Farm Story). Also available is Jerry’s new novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County.
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, April 27, 2015

Garden Planting


Garden planting day at Roshara.  Clear sky.  No wind.  Bright sunshine.  Sandhill cranes calling.  Bluebirds flying in and out of nearby bluebird house.

Early crops in.  Eight rows of Kennebec potatoes, one row of Red Norland potatoes.  Rows are thirty-five feet long.  Any kind of year, lots of potatoes.  Steve and Natasha did the heavy work.  They also said they are still eating potatoes from last fall.  Good keepers those Kennebecs.

Two thirty-five feet long rows of yellow onions.  Everyone likes onions. 

Shorter rows of lettuce, radishes and carrots.  A long row of peas—can’t beat the taste of home-grown peas.  The best.  A short row of collards.  Collards did well last year—and though they take a little patience to prepare, collards greens are a wonderful vegetable.  Full of healthy stuff as well.

With early planting finished, we put up the fence to keep away the turkeys and deer—our biggest problems, plus the raccoons and ground hogs—less a problem.  We’ve given up on the rabbits, hoping they have enough to eat in the nearby fields, but if worse comes to worse, we use a little “Liquid Fence,” a foul smelling concoction that keeps the bunnies away from the green beans—not planted yet, and the lettuce.

Tomato plants remain indoors, in a south-facing window.  About 75 plants (seven different varieties).  They are doing well and will go in the ground in late May, the same time we plant the vine crops, sweet corn, green beans and other such vegetables that like warmer temps.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: We know it’s spring when the potatoes are planted.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
Tuesday, April 28, 11:00 a.m. Wisconsin Public Radio, Larry Meiller Show.

Tuesday, April 28, 6:30 p.m. Black River Falls Library, Sky Line Golf Course. Stories from the land

Sunday, May 3, 1:00 p.m. Readers’ Realm Bookstore, 147 E. Montello Street, Montello, WI Whispers and Shadows.

Tuesday, May 5, 10:30. Chilton Library, Chilton, WI Whispers and Shadows.

Tuesday, May 12, 10:00 a.m. Writers Forum, with Michael Perry and John Hildebrand. Eau Claire Regional Arts Center, 316 Eau Claire St., Eau Claire, WIO  (Part of Wisconsin Historical Society History Tour).
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 and Jerry Apps A Farm Story.

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including The Quiet Season (on which the DVD A Farm Winter is based), as well as Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm, (which are related to the DVD Jerry Apps a Farm Story). Also available is Jerry’s new novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County.

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, April 19, 2015

Tree Planting at Roshara



Yesterday we planted 150 trees at Roshara, 50 jack pine, 50 red pine and 50 Norway spruce.  This year’s planting crew consisted of son Steve and daughter-in-law Natasha, daughter Sue and son-in-law Paul plus the Old Timer who mostly organized things, gave an unneeded lesson in tree planning techniques, and thought about tree planting in years past.

We planted the first trees at Roshara in 1966, two-thousand red pine that are now fifty feet tall.  That year the kids helped as well, but not much for they were four, three and two.  In 1967, we planted another two-thousand red pines, finishing four rows all the way around the farm. 

Every year since, for some 49 years, we have planted trees at Roshara, sometimes as few as 10 trees.  Five years ago we planted 7,500, which was the most in any one year.  These days we are mostly planting where trees planted earlier years died.

 Tree planting has become a spring ritual for the family.  Some years the April day when we plant is sunny and pleasant, some years it is snowing and cold.  But no matter, when the trees are ready to plant, we plant them.  And as we do, the crew shares stories of earlier years.   We marvel at how well these trees have changed the landscape of Roshara—and made the place just a bit more enjoyable.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: One is never too old to plant a tree.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Monday, April 20, Noon. Fox Valley Book Festival, UW-Fox Valley. Whispers and Shadows

Wednesday, April 22, 6:30 Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. Mid-Wisconsin Launch of Whispers and Shadows. Fundraiser for the library.

Friday, April 24, 8:00 p.m. Ice Age Trail Org. Wis. Dells, Winter Green Resort.  Old Farm

Tuesday, April 28, 11:00 a.m. Wisconsin Public Radio, Larry Meiller Show. Whispers and Shadows

Tuesday, April 28, 6:30 p.m. Black River Falls Library, Sky Line Golf Course. Stories from the land

Sunday, May 3, 1:00 p.m. Readers’ Realm Bookstore,  147 E. Montello Street, Montello, WI Whispers and Shadows.

Tuesday, May 5, 10:30. Chilton Library, Chilton, WI Whispers and Shadows.
Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fund raiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs, Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps and Jerry Apps A Farm Story.

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including The Quiet Season (on which the DVD A Farm Winter is based), as well as Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm, (which are related to the DVD Jerry Apps a Farm Story). Also available is Jerry’s new novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County and his new nonfiction book, Whispers and Shadows: A Naturalists Memoir.

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, April 12, 2015

Bluebird Houses


We put up five new blue birdhouses on Saturday, replacing those that had fallen apart, lost their roofs or otherwise had succumbed to old age.  We were late.  The houses should have gone up a couple weeks ago—but time and the weather didn’t allow it.

We knew we were late because a pair of bluebirds had already arrived and were scouting out the house but a few yards from the cabin’s kitchen window—put there so Ruth could enjoy their comings and goings.

About twenty bluebird houses stretch out in a long row on the south side of Roshara’s prairie; we put up the first ones about 40 years ago. Anyone who puts up bluebird houses knows that tree swallows like to nest in these houses, too.  I’d guess that our row of bird houses has as many swallows as bluebirds. But that’s okay. We also like the tree swallows.

Not more than five minutes after the first house went up—son-in-law, Paul did the heavy work—a pair of tree swallows inspected it.  By the time Paul had put up the last house, six or more pairs of tree swallows were swooping overhead and checking out the new digs.

Daughter, Sue said, “Look we’ve created a new ‘bird-suburbia on our prairie.’”

Quite something to watch.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Put up some bluebird houses.  You’ll become an instant fan of a bunch of birds.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
Tuesday, April 14, 7:00 p.m.  Friends of Eau Claire Library. Eau Claire, WI. Stories from the land.

Sunday, April 19, 7:00 p.m.  Lebanon Historical Society, Lebanon Community center.  Stories from the land.

 Monday, April 20, Noon. Fox Valley Book Festival, UW-Fox Valle, Union.. Whispers and Shadows and The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County.

Wednesday, April 22, 6:30 Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. Mid-Wisconsin Launch of Whispers and Shadows. Fundraiser for the library.

Friday, April 24, 8:00 p.m. Ice Age Trail Org. Wis. Dells, Winter Green Resort.  Old Farm

Tuesday, April 28, 11:00 a.m. Wisconsin Public Radio, Larry Meiller Show. Whispers and Shadows

Tuesday, April 28, 6:30 p.m. Black River Falls Library, Sky Line Golf Course. Stories from the land

Sunday, May 3, 1:00 p.m. Readers’ Realm Bookstore,  147 E. Montello Street, Montello, WI Whispers and Shadows.

Tuesday, May 5, 10:30. Chilton Library, Chilton, WI Whispers and Shadows.

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

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs, Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps and Jerry Apps A Farm Story.
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including The Quiet Season (on which the DVD A Farm Winter is based), as well as Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm, (which are related to the DVD Jerry Apps a Farm Story). Also available is Jerry’s new novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County.
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, April 04, 2015

Chainsaws Old and New


It was cool but sunny, and quiet except for the occasional call of a sandhill crane in the distance.  My son, Steve and I were off to the woodlot north of the cabin with chainsaws and ax—it was a day for making wood.  We had planned doing it last fall, but one thing and another happened, and making wood was put aside.

I was anxious to try out my new, modern, battery-operated chainsaw.  This one I knew would start; the gas operated one was always a challenge.  Arriving at the oak tree that a storm last summer had conveniently toppled for us, Steve began the unhappy chainsaw starting adventure.  It reminded me of when my dad tried to start the gas engine on our washing machine the days before we got electricity on the farm.  The first two or three pulls–nothing.  The next dozen pulls—still nothing.  The next pull a single “pop.”   More pulls and more pops—and then it was running, but just before he began cutting wood it stopped—and stayed stopped.

I suggested Steve try the battery saw.  It started and it cut wood, and it was not nearly as noisy as the gas saw.  After a bit I asked Steve how he liked the battery saw.  “Well,” he said, “It’s better than cutting with a hand saw."  Faint praise for my new modern saw. 

Soon, he went back to the gas saw, which started on the second pull. It cut wood and cut it well.  Soon we had a pile of oak blocks ready for splitting and tucking away in the woodshed where they would cure over the summer.

So what’s the moral of this story?  Old fashioned may require a little more time and patience than modern—but it gets the job done.  I suspect if we really wanted to be “old fashioned” we’d have used a two-man crosscut saw—but that’s for another story.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Old fashioned or modern?  The answer isn’t always obvious.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Tuesday, April 7, 6:30.  Heritage Hill Museum, Green Bay.  Garden Wisdom

Tuesday, April 14, 7:00 p.m.  Friends of Eau Claire Library. Eau Claire, WI. Stories from the land.

Sunday, April 19, 7:00 p.m.  Lebanon Historical Society, Lebanon Community center.  Stories from the land.

 Monday, April 20, Noon. Fox Valley Book Festival, UW-Fox Valley. Whispers and Shadows

Wednesday, April 22, 6:30 Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. Mid-Wisconsin Launch of Whispers and Shadows. Fundraiser for the library.

Friday, April 24, 8:00 p.m. Ice Age Trail Org. Wis. Dells, Winter Green Resort.  Old Farm

Tuesday, April 28, 11:00 a.m. Wisconsin Public Radio, Larry Meiller Show.

Tuesday, April 28, 6:30 p.m. Black River Falls Library, Sky Line Golf Course. Stories from the land

Sunday, May 3, 1:00 p.m. Readers’ Realm Bookstore,  147 E. Montello Street, Montello, WI

Tuesday, May 5, 10:30. Chilton Library, Chilton, WI

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

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs, Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps and Jerry Apps A Farm Story.

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including The Quiet Season (on which the DVD A Farm Winter is based), as well as Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm, (which are related to the DVD Jerry Apps a Farm Story). Also available is Jerry’s new novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County.

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, March 29, 2015

Lonely Goose


 I’m sitting at my pond on this frosty spring morning.  The sun has been up for an hour or so.  All is quiet and nothing is moving.  A peaceful time.  A time for deep thinking or no thinking at all.

And then I hear it, coming from the south, the sound of geese flying.  But the sound is not right.  The usual call of geese flying this time of year is one of joy, at least it sounds that way to me.  The geese are returning from their winter haunts to the North, to start new families, see old friends (I think that’s what they do), and explore familiar territory.

The sound I hear is a sorrowful sound.  Soon I hear its source, one lone Canada goose, flying low and calling a sound I've not heard before.  The goose flies low over my pond, constantly calling.  Has this lone goose lost its mate (Canada geese mate for life) and is searching for it?  Is this lone goose, injured and not able to keep up with the rest of the flock, which has flown on without it?

Soon the lone goose disappears over the tree line to the north, and a bit later the sound disappears as well.  As quiet returns to my pond, I continue to think about this lone Canada goose, calling so plaintively, and I wonder about its fate, as I wonder about all who are lonely in this world.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: There is much to learn sitting quietly by a pond.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Tuesday, April 7, 6:30.  Heritage Hill Museum, Green Bay.  Garden Wisdom

Tuesday, April 14, 7:00 p.m.  Friends of Eau Claire Library. Eau Claire, WI. Stories from the land.

Sunday, April 19, 7:00 p.m.  Lebanon Historical Society, Lebanon Community center.  Stories from the land.

 Monday, April 20, Noon. Fox Valley Book Festival, UW-Fox Valley. Whispers and Shadows

Wednesday, April 22, 6:30 Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. Mid-Wisconsin Launch of Whispers and Shadows. Fundraiser for the library.

Friday, April 24, 8:00 p.m. Ice Age Trail Org. Wis. Dells, Winter Green Resort.  Old Farm

Tuesday, April 28, 6:30 Black River Falls Library, Sky Line Golf Course. Stories from the land

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

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs, Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps and Jerry Apps A Farm Story.
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including The Quiet Season (on which the DVD A Farm Winter is based), as well as Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm, (which are related to the DVD Jerry Apps a Farm Story). Also available is Jerry’s new novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County.

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, March 21, 2015

March 20


On this first day of spring, with the temperature at 50 degrees, a soft southwest blows warm.   With sunshine muted by a few cottony clouds, I start my morning hike.  My goal is to inspect my white pines, about a five acre stand,  to see how they wintered, and note other signs of the changing season.

The snow has all but disappeared, save for the tiniest pile left from plowing my driveway—only once did I plow this year, some kind of record.

As I leave the cabin, a robin, sitting in a maple tree in my frontyard greets me.  It’s the first one I’ve seen at Roshara this year.  I also see a chickadee, an old friend, who not like the robin, has stayed here all winter.

 As I hike along the trail toward the stand of white pines, I hear in the distance the clatter of sandhill cranes calling.  I saw one at the pond yesterday—which is still frozen—making an inspection tour for a nesting site.  We’ve had a pair of sandhills nesting at the pond each spring for more than 30 years.  And yesterday, I saw a flock of Canada geese, a small group of a dozen, flying low and honking loudly.  Locals I’m sure, also inspecting my ponds, as we’ve had at least one pair of geese nesting at Roshara each year for some time.

The white pines, the original windbreak row planted in a dogleg around a five acre field during the dust storm days of the Great Depression (1930s), stand straight and tall, most of them.  A few have succumbed to disease.  But not many.  These 80 year old white pines have provided the seeds for the five acres of pines that grow to their east, as the westerly winds have scattered the seeds.  One of the pines, a big one that died last summer, has been attacked by pileated woodpeckers that have chiseled several six-inch long holes in the tree—searching for food and leaving behind a pile of fresh woodchips.

 I sit on an old weathered bench at the edge of the pines, rest and  listen to the soft sound of the wind playing with the pine needles.  And I smell spring, not quite here as the calendar suggests, but not far away.  Maybe just over the horizon?

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Take time to look for spring—and maybe smell it, too.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Wednesday, March 25. Noon. Banquet speaker for Wisconsin Agriculturist Magazine, Farmer of the Year Award Program.  Oshkosh.  Farm Stories.

Tuesday, April 7, 6:30.  Heritage Hill Museum, Green Bay.  Garden Wisdom

Tuesday, April 14, 7:00 p.m.  Friends of Eau Claire Library. Eau Claire, WI. Stories from the land.

Sunday, April 19, 7:00 p.m.  Lebanon Historical Society, Lebanon Community center.  Stories from the land.

 Monday, April 20, Noon. Fox Valley Book Festival, UW-Fox Valley. Whispers and Shadows

Wednesday, April 22, 6:30 Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. Mid-Wisconsin Launch of Whispers and Shadows. Fundraiser for the library.

Friday, April 24, 8:00 p.m. Ice Age Trail Org. Wis. Dells, Winter Green Resort.  Old Farm

Tuesday, April 28, 6:30 Black River Falls Library, Sky Line Golf Course. Stories from the land

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

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs, Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps and Jerry Apps A Farm Story.
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including The Quiet Season (on which the DVD A Farm Winter is based), as well as Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm, (which are related to the DVD Jerry Apps a Farm Story). Also available is Jerry’s new novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County.
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