Friday, September 25, 2020

Sturdy Rose

 



Sturdy Rose.  Photo by Jerry Apps

During these days of uncertainly, despair, and disappointment, it is often the little things, the simple things that can cheer us up.  A baby’s smile, a puppy’s wagging tail, a playful kitten, an autumn sunset, the smile in the eyes of a friend who is wearing a mask, the smell of freshly baked bread.  And for me, an old rose bush that stands at the corner of our cabin.

I planted the rose bush 50 years ago; it must have a name but I don’t remember what it is.  Each year it grows a bit taller and a bit wider.  It begins blooming in early spring, and continues blooming all summer long—it is still blooming now as we move into fall.  It will continue blooming until a hard freeze when it drops its leaves and rests until spring arrives.

Besides its many cheering blooms, the rose bush requires no care.  No watering, no fertilizing, nothing at all. The deer don’t bother it. It grows and blooms during dry spells and rainy periods.  It is buried in snow during the winter. It asks for nothing and gives much.

My farm is located in the township of Rose, in Waushara County—perhaps this is one of the reasons that my old rose bush continues to do so well.  This is its home; this is where it is supposed to be.  And for me, just looking at it makes me feel better.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: It is often the little things, the simple things that can cheer us up.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Sunday, September 27, 1:00 p.m. Central Wisconsin Book Festival, Virtual event.  Go to https://www.mcpl.us/cwbf for further information. Discussion of When the White Pine was King.

WHERE TO BUY MY BOOKS AND DVDS.

My books are available at your local bookstore, online from bookshop.org, or 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

If you live in the western part of the state, stop at Ruth’s home town, Westby and visit Dregne’s. Say hello to Jana and look at their great selection of my books or order a book by calling them at 1-877-634-4414.

 


Friday, September 18, 2020

 



Autumn beauty.  Photo by Jerry Apps

With autumn here, we can look back at a most forgettable summer.  Who would have thought that so many events would be canceled, almost all county fairs, the state fair, festivals of every kind—all canceled?  Baseball and football games played without an audience.  Schools opening and then closing.  Many schools not opening for face-to-face, but teaching via computers.  Universities trying to open with face-to-face classes, and then closing as virus cases spike.

Many of us are learning new ways of doing things—social distancing, virtual learning, Zoom meetings, live Facebook presentations, wearing a mask wherever we go, staying away from large groups, working at home.  Just the other day, while grocery shopping, the checkout person looked at this mask-wearing old guy and said, “Is that you Jerry, behind that mask?” 

            “Yup, that’s me,” I replied as we exchanged pleasantries.

The summer has not been all bad.  The number of people with vegetable gardens has increased dramatically.  Families, especially those with children who were going here and there for summer activities, have become reacquainted with each other.  More of us ate home-cooked meals as restaurants closed and/ or cut back.  Large numbers of people enjoyed the county parks, state’s parks and recreation areas—hiking, camping, and taking time to enjoy nature.

 With the arrival of autumn—my favorite season of the year—we can look forward to cooler days, the beauty of trees turning many colors, and the final harvests of the year.  We

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can put the summer of 2020 into our bank of memories—trying to remember what was good, and leaving behind the many heartaches and disappointments that we all experienced.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: What a summer. More downs than ups.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Saturday, September 19, 1:30, Virtual Event, “Farm Stories,” Columbus Library. Click on the following for further information: https://www.columbuspubliclibrary.info/jerry-apps-live-virtual-event

Wednesday, September 23, 11:00 – 12:30, The Larry Meiller Show, Wisconsin Public Radio. Discussion of my book, When the White Pine was King.

Sunday, September 27, 1:00 p.m. Central Wisconsin Book Festival, Virtual event.  Go to https://www.mcpl.us/cwbf for further information. Discussion of When the White Pine was King.

WHERE TO BUY MY BOOKS AND DVDS.

My books are available at your local bookstore, online from bookshop.org, or 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

If you live in the western part of the state, stop at Ruth’s home town, Westby and visit Dregne’s. Say hello to Jana and look at their great selection of my books or order a book by calling them at 1-877-634-4414.

 


Friday, September 11, 2020

 


Daughter, Sue showing off a winter squash. Photo by Jerry Apps

Here is my Labor Day garden report with several changes since I shared my July Fourth report.  The most disappointing event was with my Kennebec white potatoes.  I gave them a grade of B in July.  Now I must give them an F.  In early August a blight attacked them and killed the plants. In my more than 50 years of gardening, this has never happened.  My red potatoes did not suffer from the blight near as much and they offered a fair yield.  A grade of A- to them.

As is true of every year of gardening, some vegetables do very well, some fail.  That is so true this strange year.  A grade of A goes to lettuce, (still cutting lettuce), kale, beets, carrots (best crop in years), string beans, and zucchini (never had a bad year with zucchini.)  

Those vegetables receiving an F, besides the Kennebec potatoes include radishes (not one), rutabagas (runty and wormy), and broccoli (never recovered from an early rabbit attack). I thought I had an agreement with the “Head rabbit” to stay out of my garden, but he said his extended family was hungry, what with the dry spell we had.

Grades for the other vegetables at summer’s end: Cabbage-C, Sweet corn-D, Kohlrabi-B. Cucumbers-B, Tomatoes-B, Winter squash-B (first year in three that we’d had any), Peas-C, and Pumpkins-C.

A rather average year when all is said and done.  My major disappointments were my Kennebec potatoes and my sweet corn.  I really like sweet corn; as does the rest of the family. I doubt we got a dozen ears.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Every gardening year is different; what will next year bring?

.UPCOMING EVENTS:

Saturday, September 19, 1:30, Virtual Event, “Farm Stories,” Columbus Library. Click on the following for further information: https://www.columbuspubliclibrary.info/jerry-apps-live-virtual-event

WHERE TO BUY MY BOOKS AND DVDS.

My books are available at your local bookstore, online from bookshop.org, or 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

If you live in the western part of the state, stop at Ruth’s home town, Westby and visit Dregne’s. Say hello to Jana and look at their great selection of my books or order a book by calling them at 1-877-634-4414.

 

Friday, September 04, 2020

A Cactus Surprise

 


Prickly Pear cactus.  Photo by Jerry Apps.

A few years ago my neighbor gave me this little cactus.  She called it a Prickly Pear.  It surely was prickly, but it bore no resemblance to a pear.

“What do I do with it,” I asked. 

“Just set it out,” she said, “Most anyplace outside, it likes lots of sun.”

I shook my head in disbelief. What I knew about a cactus was next to nothing.  I had seen them growing in Arizona where I visited a few times, but this little cactus didn’t look like it would grow several feet tall, as some grew in that state. (What I saw in Arizona was a Saguaro cactus.)

I planted the little cactus in a little sandy spot on the southeast corner of my cabin, where I knew it would get lots of sun.  I figured I’d enjoy it one summer, and then the winter cold and snow would do it in.

But how surprised I was.  Now, several years later, not only has the little cactus survived, it has thrived.  It survived winters when the temperature dipped well below zero.  It survived deep snow. And the deer and rabbits won’t touch it—need I say it has long, sharp spikes that cover its little green palm-like structures. The deer have mowed down my daylilies and gobbled up my hostas, but the little cactus sits by itself, showing off its very attractive little yellow flowers.  It is a true survivor.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: In this crazy world, we all need some positive surprises.

.UPCOMING EVENTS:

Saturday, September 19, 1:30, Virtual Event, “Farm Stories,” Columbus Library. Click on the following for further information: https://www.columbuspubliclibrary.info/jerry-apps-live-virtual-event

WHERE TO BUY MY BOOKS AND DVDS.

My books are available at your local bookstore, online from bookshop.org, or 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

If you live in the western part of the state, stop at Ruth’s home town, Westby and visit Dregne’s. Say hello to Jana and look at their great selection of my books or order a book by calling them at 1-877-634-4414.

 


Friday, August 28, 2020

Nothing Better Than Home Grown Vegetables

 



Homemade tomato soup.  Photo by Jerry Apps        

With so much turmoil this year, mostly caused by the COVID virus, many people have turned to home gardening.  Now,  the sweet corn is ready, the cucumbers are just right, the green beans can’t be bested, and the tomatoes are ready for picking and eating.  After several months of store-bought tomatoes grown at some far-distant place, we have fresh tomatoes, picked ripe from our garden.  How juicy they are and how special. 

 I especially enjoy spooning some cottage cheese into a bowl and then topping it with several slices of fresh tomato.  Or sometimes, I slice a couple tomatoes onto a plate, add a goodly amount of pepper and a little salt, and dig in. 

 My wife makes the best tomato juice you could imagine, not heavily laced with salt which is too often the case with store-bought tomato juice.  She cans it in pint jars and at days end, I often bring up a jar from the basement, pour it into a pint water glass—and sit back and enjoy.

 But what is most special of all, is the tomato soup that Ruth makes, many pints that we enjoy all seasons of the year, but especially during the cold, snowy days of winter.  Opening a can of home-made tomato soup is like a taste of summer when there is snow on the ground and the temperature crowds toward zero.  For the recipe, fetch a copy of my book Garden Wisdom from your local library or bookstore, and give the tomato soup recipe a try.  You won’t be disappointed.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS:  Homegrown vegetables, what could be better?

WHERE TO BUY MY BOOKS AND DVDS.

My books are available at your local bookstore, online from bookshop.org, or 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

If you live in the western part of the state, stop at Ruth’s home town, Westby and visit Dregne’s. Say hello to Jana and look at their great selection of my books or order a book by calling them at 1-877-634-4414.

 


Friday, August 21, 2020

A Walk in the Woods

 


A Walk in the Woods.  Photo by Jerry Apps

As long as I can remember, when things were going bad for me, I felt better after a walk in the woods.  On the home farm, we had twenty acres of woods just north of the farmhouse.  My brothers and I grew up in that woods made up mostly of oak trees.  When something bad happened, a favorite animal died, something I’d hoped for vanished, I would go out in the woods. 

We all faced a host of disappointments and tragedies during the trying years of the Great Depression and the challenges of World War II.  During those times I’d find solace in the woods. For me, it was a safe place to be. A place where I could find myself.

The trees would listen to me—and they didn’t talk back. I enjoyed the sound of the wind rustling the tree leaves on a hot day in summer, and the different sound the winter wind made as it moved through the bare tree branches.  On days when the wind didn’t blow, the woods were a quiet, peaceful place.  As I grew older, the woods continued to be one of my favorite places to visit-during good times and bad.

The farm my family and I now own is mostly trees, with many walking trails.  What a soothing pleasure it is, during these times of chaos and change, to spend time in the woods.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Take a walk in the woods. You will feel better if you do.

WHERE TO BUY MY BOOKS AND DVDS.

My books are available at your local bookstore or 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

If you live in the western part of the state, stop at Ruth’s home town, Westby and visit Dregne’s. Say hello to Jana and look at their great selection of my books or order a book by calling them at 1-877-634-4414.

 

 


Friday, August 14, 2020

Take Time To Watch a Sunset

 



Sunset at Long Lake.  Photo by Jerry Apps

Oh, the beauty of a sunset.  Especially during these trying COVID pandemic days when so much is so different.  Sunsets remain a constant during all this turmoil. 

I remember so well my growing up years when my dad and I, after the evening milking was done and the cows turned out to pasture, we would watch the sunset.  Dad had become quite expert on predicting the following day’s weather based on what he saw as the sun dipped below the horizon.  On these waning days of August, when we were usually in the midst of harvesting our grain crop, knowing whether or not it might rain the next day dictated what we would do.  Cut grain or not.  Beyond weather forecasting, sunsets, each one different from the previous one, provided a special kind of beauty to the ending of the day.

During the nearly thirty years that I taught writing at The Clearing in Door County, my students and I would gather each evening and watch the sun set over the waters of Green Bay.  Not a word was spoken.  It was a special experience, especially for those who lived in a city where a sunset could not be experienced.

Sunsets are a time to reflect on the day just passed, what happened that was memorable, what happened that was best forgotten, what was learned that would be useful for another day.  Sunsets are like turning a page on our lives, leaving the present day behind and looking forward to the next one.  During these days of challenge and change, sunsets remain a constant in our lives.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Take time to enjoy a sunset.

WHERE TO BUY MY BOOKS AND DVDS.

My books are available at your local bookstore or 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

If you live in the western part of the state, stop at Ruth’s home town, Westby and visit Dregne’s. Say hello to Jana and look at their great selection of my books or order a book by calling them at 1-877-634-4414.