Sunday, January 25, 2015

Trees Have Personalities


A tree is a tree, is a tree.  Yes, but let’s also consider that trees have personalities like so many other living creatures.  And thus they may all be trees, but they are also different from one another.

Take the white pine, the tree that graced the northern regions of Wisconsin before the loggers arrived.  The white pine, with long soft needles, five of them in a cluster, grows tall and makes a majestic statement on a landscape. I have about five acres of them at Roshara, all self-seeded.

The red pine or Norway pine as it is sometimes called, with two long needles in a cluster, is less graceful, but will grow many inches a year on the worst possible soil. I've planted thousands of them on my farm.  They are not as graceful as the white pine but they, too make a statement.

 The jack pine is scraggly with branches that grow this way and that.  It is the toughest of the conifers that grow on my farm-- a survivor of frigid winters and dry hot summers. I have considerable respect for this native tree.

The white oaks that grow in my oak woodlot are tall and strong and powerful to look at it. Their soft gray bark contrasts with the deep furrowed bark of the black oaks.  Even in winter, when their leaves are down, white oaks are a sight to behold offering a dominant presence in my woodlot.

Not to forget the burr oak, sometimes spelled bur oak, in some ways the toughest of the oaks for they will grow two-hundred years and more.  They command respect if nothing more than for their long lives. 

I have a few trees that are a nuisance and have interfering personalities.  They want to take over Roshara and have an attitude that suggests they are more important than their cousins.  Black locust and box elder quickly come to mind.

What fun it is, at least for me, to think about all the different kinds of trees that grow at Roshara and how they manage to live together and mostly get along with each other. 

If we humans could do as well.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Get a acquainted with a tree.  You’ll be surprised what you might learn.

LOOKING FOR INFORMATION
I am working on the history of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in Wisconsin, which will be published as a book by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.  The CCC operated throughout the country from 1933 to 1942, and had a strong presence in Wisconsin.  CCC boys planted trees, helped with soil conservation, improved state and national parks, fought forest fires and much more.

I am looking for photos, letters, diaries, and stories told by and about Wisconsin CCC members—the work they did, what they did in their free time, how they related to the communities in which they worked, and whatever else someone might have.  Many Wisconsin families were involved with the CCC and their story has not been told.

If anyone has such information, please get in touch with me at: jerryappsauthor@gmail.com

UPCOMING EVENTS:
Thursday, January 29, 2015 7:00 p.m. Stoughton Opera House.  A Farm Winter. 

Wednesday, February 4, 6:30 p.m..  Mt. Horeb Library (The Quiet Season and The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County.

Saturday, February 14, 2:30 p.m.  Garden Expo Madison.  Garden Wisdom

Tuesday, February 24, 7:00 p.m. River Falls Library, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County

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, January 18, 2015

Ordering Trees


I ordered trees this past week, 250 of them that we will  plant at Roshara in April.  We have planted trees every year since we've owned the place, which goes back to 1966.  Some years only twenty-five.  Some years several thousand.  But every year we plant some.  The earliest trees we planted are fifty feet tall, the ones we planted last year are less than a foot high. So we have big trees and little trees, and every size in between.

Tree planting is a family affair; I have photos of my children helping plant trees when they were toddlers. I have photos of my grandchildren planting trees when they were toddlers.  It’s something the family looks forward to, and no matter if the day is sunny, rainy or even snowing, when the tree planting day rolls around, we plant trees.  It’s an event that helps tie a family together.

And as the years pass, we walk among the trees we planted. We remember when we planted them, and the good times we had even though the weather may have been miserable on that particular day. 

Tree planting like so many events at Roshara is filled with stories and running over with memories.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: When you are older you don’t plant a tree for yourself, you plant it for posterity.
UPCOMING EVENTS:
Thursday, January 29, 2015 7:00 p.m. Stoughton Opera House.  A Farm Winter. 

Wednesday, February 4, 6:30 p.m..  Mt. Horeb Library (The Quiet Season and The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County.

Saturday, February 14, 2:30 p.m.  Garden Expo Madison.  Garden Wisdom

Tuesday, February 24, 7:00 p.m. River Falls Library, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County

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, January 11, 2015

Talking Snow


It is ten below zero at Roshara this morning.  The snow is talking to me as I make my early morning walk from the cabin to the country road that trails by our place.  The snow is speaking of days past when I made my way on frosty mornings like this to the warm barn where our small herd of Holsteins waited to be milked.

The crunching snow reminds me of the days when I walked to the woodpile to carry wood to our ever-hungry wood stoves in our drafty old farmhouse.  And to carry wood from the woodpile to the stove in the pump house that kept our pump functioning, and from the woodpile to the stove in the potato cellar, which kept the potatoes from freezing.

The crunching snow reminds me of the mile-long walk to our country school, which remained open every day of the winter because everyone walked, including our teacher.

The talking snow also reminds me of the fun times we had in winter, sledding, skiing, ice skating, ice fishing with its story telling, walking to the neighbors on frigid winter nights to play cards, and gathering around the wood stove at the grist mill while Pa waited for the cow feed to be ground.

The talking snow has many messages for me these days, taking me back to the days of my youth when people mostly didn't complain about the cold, but made the most of it for cold was a part of winter, and talking snow was something to be enjoyed.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Listen to the snow.

COMING EVENTS:
Thursday, January 29, 2015 7:00 p.m. Stoughton Opera House.  A Farm Winter. 

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, January 04, 2015

Black Willows


A row of black willow trees stands just to the west of the cabin at Roshara.  John Coombes, who owned the farm before us, planted them in 1912, which makes them 103 years old.  The same age as our cabin.

Black willow trees prefer low ground; stream banks and pond shores are favorite sites.  But they have thrived on our sandy, high ground—they were planted as a windbreak.  Oh, how important are windbreaks in this sometimes bitterly cold climate when the northwest wind comes roaring out of the northwest and the temperature sinks well below zero.

The old willows are bent and twisted; several have their tops smashed off, more have broken branches, but they continue to protect the cabin, provide summer shade, and offer a home to squirrels, rabbits, grouse and songbirds of every color and tune.

When the kids were little, they built a tree house in one of them, and put up a swing in another.  Today, these old trees, like so much at Roshara, are filled with stories and memories, and are often unappreciated for the good they have done as a windbreak and much more for these many years.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Remember to appreciate that which is so often unappreciated.
COMING EVENTS:
January 28, 2015 7:00 p.m. Stoughton Opera House.  A Farm Winter.

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
50 Division St.
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835



Sunday, December 28, 2014

Thank You


As 2014 has but three days left, it’s a time for saying thank you to all who helped me this past year.  Topping the list is my wife, Ruth, who has a “to do” list for me that never seems to get done—yet in midst of undone duties, she continues to read all my writing with her critical, consumer eye.  “Jerry what does this sentence mean?  You sure this is the right word?” and so much more. Add to the list, my daughter Sue, who is not only an excellent writer, but a first class editor.  And my son, Steve, who is a big picture (no pun intended as he is a professional photographer) guy who keeps my writing head pointed in the proper direction, and his partner, Natasha, who is a professional editor and always has excellent comments on how to improve my work.  And there is son, Jeff, in Colorado, who gives me a broader, wider perspective on things.

And that’s just the “at home” support group.  A little inside secret; if my writing doesn't get by this cluster of critics it goes nowhere.  You might be surprised at the size of my “gone nowhere” writing—but maybe not.

Now to the next group of folks to thank, my publishers: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, University of Wisconsin Press and Fulcrum Press.  At each publishing house, editors, marketing directors and publicists have done so much to see that my work gets a careful and comprehensive editing before it goes into print and then is well publicized.  Also, a big thank you to the weekly and monthly publications that run my columns.

I add to this list the people at Wisconsin Public TV and PBS who have now produced two hour-long documentaries based on my writing, with a third one in production.  A huge thank you from this once shy farm kid, who has been pushed, shoved, helped and allowed to appear on TV screens across the country.

And to the many, many others who have helped promote my work: booksellers, museum directors, historical society volunteers, farm organization leaders and librarians.  Thank you.

Lastly, to all my readers across this great country who read my work, watch my TV shows and keep me writing.  A huge thank you.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: One thing I believe for sure.  A big reason we’re on this earth is to do something for others.
COMING EVENTS:
January 28, 2015 7:00 p.m. Stoughton Opera House.  A Farm Winter.

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
50 Division St.
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835









Sunday, December 21, 2014

Dark Days


It’s here.   The first day of winter.  The winter solstice.  The day with the shortest number of daylight hours in the year.  Of course daylight hours depend on where you live.  Here in Madison, Wisconsin we have 8 hours and 59 minutes of daylight on this day.  In Anchorage, Alaska, daylight hours equal but 5 hours and 17 minutes with the sun coming up at 10:14 a.m. and setting at 3:42 p.m.  And for Barrow, Alaska, there is no sunrise or sunset, with but three hours of what they call twilight from noon until three.

            We must have some kind of record for cloudy days here in southern Wisconsin, which make the short days even shorter.  We are going on three weeks of cloudy, dreary, sometimes foggy, sometimes a few ice pellets weather.  Good thing we have the holidays to cheer us up a bit, keep us focused, and more or less in good spirits.

            I remember the saying, better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.  I’d suggest lighting two, maybe three, or even a dozen candles.  A little light goes a long way on these cloudy, dark days.  A lot of light is even better.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Merry Christmas to all—and cheers for the days now begin to lengthen.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

January 28, 2015 7:00 p.m. Stoughton Opera House.  A Farm Winter.

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


The library now has available both 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 book 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
50 Division St.
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835



Sunday, December 14, 2014

La Crosse Book Signing


After a foggy, dizzily, dreary  Saturday drive to La Crosse, I spent a bright and cheery afternoon signing books at Barnes & Noble.  Joining me for the book signing were Kenny Salwey (the Last River Rat), my daughter Sue, with her book about one room schools, and Travis Dewitz with his Blaze Orange book of deer hunting photos.

It’s the people who stop by to talk that make these events interesting.  A couple drove all the way across the state from Sheboygan to buy a few signed books.  Long time friends from Monona, Iowa, Elmer Marting and his wife Carol and daughter Leanne drove through the gloom of an unusual mid-December day to chat for a bit.  So did nephew and niece Jerry and Barb Johnson—but for them the drive was short as they live in Holman.

And not to forget Sam Scinta, publisher for Fulcrum Press and Richard Chrz with Barnes & Noble who put the event together.  Sometimes we forget to mention and thank those working behind the scenes who make these events work.

It was a good afternoon, and my last event for 2014.  Time now to put my feet up for a few days before 2015 rolls around and a new season of events appears on my calendar.

THE OLD TIME SAYS: In the midst of all the hustle and bustle of the Holidays, remember to spend some time relaxing.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

January 28, 2015 7:00 p.m. Stoughton Opera House.  A Farm Winter.

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


The library now has available both 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 book 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
50 Division St.
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835