Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sights and Sounds of Spring


Roshara’s pond is alive with the sights and sounds of spring, even though about three inches of new, unwelcome snow fell last Sunday evening, making the landscape look once more like winter.  But not the pond.  The ice is out and the migrants are back.  I counted twenty-five ducks, mostly mallards and wood ducks.  They lifted from the cold, black water with a flurry of pounding wings and loud quacking. 
I spotted a sandhill crane standing in shallow water on the other side of the pond.  When it saw me, it flew up, protesting my presence with its loud, prehistoric and unforgettable call.  It flew once around the pond, checking me out as it flew overhead so low I could hear the swishing of its wings.  Then it headed toward the north end of the pond and landed.  A pair of sandhills have nested there for many years.
 Hugging the east side of the pond, I glimpsed a pair of Canada geese, swimming slowly, but not attempting to fly.  Do they have a nest nearby?  Probably.
Although the landscape is winter-like—the pond is alive with spring.  Now for some warmer weather; it was eight degrees at the farm on Tuesday morning.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Short people are the last to feel the rain and the first to drown.
UPCOMING EVENTS:
April 24, 6:00 p.m. Walworth and Big Foot Prairie Historical Society, Lake Lawn Resort, Delevan, WI. Dinner.  Breweries of Wisconsin.

April 29, Noon Luncheon, Historical Society Foundation. By invitation
.
May 3, Wisconsin Dells.  District Rotary meeting. 

May 6, Noon. Retired UW-Madison Retirement Association

May 10, Noon. Madison Area Polio Survivors.  Monona Garden Family Restaurant

May 14, Young Writers Awards Meeting, UW-Madison.

May 17, Dregni’s Gift Shop, Westby.  Book signing.

June 21, Writing Workshop, The Clearing, Door County 9-4.

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 both of Jerry’s DVDs, 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.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.


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

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Importance of Public Libraries

It wasn’t long ago that the word was: public libraries will soon all close.  The internet will provide whatever it is you need to know. Libraries will join livery stables, ice boxes and buggy whips as artifacts of history.
But as Mark Twain once said, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” This is certainly true of libraries, which are alive and well and booming in popularity.
In the past several years, I have spoken at 92 libraries, the smallest of the small to gigantic, multi-floor institutions.  This past week I spoke at the Kiel and the Sun Prairie Libraries.  This past year I spoke at the Fitchburg, Shorewood (Milwaukee), Poynette, Frederic, Waupun, Plainfield, Reedsburg, Trempealeau, Wild Rose, Wisconsin Rapids, Boscobel, Mineral Point, Waupaca, Mt. Horeb, Green Bay, UW—Madison (Memorial), Park Falls, Brillion, Grafton, and Baraboo libraries.
Each of these libraries, although many with challenging budgets, are vibrant places for learning and where the community can gather.  Every librarian I have talked to, and I’ve talked to many, say they have never been busier.
Of course, like all of our public institutions, our libraries need our continued support, and for the “libraries are dead” folks—you are wrong. Communities love their libraries, and depend on them.   
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: If you haven’t done so recently, visit your local library.  Lots going on there these days.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
April 24, 6:00 p.m. Walworth and Big Foot Prairie Historical Society, Lake Lawn Resort, Delevan, WI. Dinner.  Breweries of Wisconsin.

April 29, Noon Luncheon, Historical Society Foundation. By invitation.

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 both of Jerry’s DVDs, 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.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.


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

Saturday, April 05, 2014

What to Make of April


April is a cruel month.  The month that doesn’t know if it’s winter or spring.  One day warm and sunny, the next day cold and snowy.  A month of indecision.  A month that Mother Nature plays with, taunts with hints of the coming spring, then brings back reminders of the winter we’d so much like to forget. 

 April keeps us northern folks humble and thankful for that occasional day when the temperature hits 60 and maybe even a little more.  April keeps us looking ahead.

The changes are coming.  The robins have been here for a while, singing their hearts out.  The cardinals have been whistling, and the sandhill cranes are calling—and yes, the wild turkeys are gobbling, searching for mates, not waiting for the weather to calm down and be pleasant.

The spring flowers, the tulips and the daffodils, are poking their heads into April, not too sure how fast they should grow.  Waiting like the rest of us for warmer days and spring temperatures.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Enough already for winter.  Let’s get on with spring.

UPCOMING EVENTS

April 7, 7:00 p.m., Kiel Library.  Garden Wisdom presentation and book signing
.
April 8, 6:30 p.m. Heritage Hill Historic Center, Green Bay. Old Farm.  Book signing to follow presentation.

April 10, 6:30 p.m. Sun Prairie Library, Limping Through Life. Book signing to follow presentation.

April 24, 6:00 p.m. Walworth and Big Foot Prairie Historical Society, Lake Lawn Resort, Delevan, WI. Dinner.  Breweries of Wisconsin.

April 29, Noon Luncheon, Historical Society Foundation. Farm stories. By invitation.

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 both of Jerry’s DVDs, 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.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.


Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division St.
Wild Rose, WI  54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.orgA

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Deer in the Rain


Out of the cold, late March gloom of a rainy afternoon the deer came, single file, walking with heads down, seven of them.  Walking slowly through the slush and snow, walking along my driveway a hundred yards or so from my cabin window.  Looking for spring.  Big deer first, then mid-size ones and finally a little, skinny one in the rear.  All walking slowly, but surviving and with the promise of warmer weather this weekend, hoping they will once more find something to eat on this cold, rainy day (if indeed deer are able to hope).

                The fields and forests at Roshara remain snow covered, two feet or more.  So are the trails that wind through the property.  The ponds are still frozen.  Everything waits for some warmer weather, at least enough warmth to melt the snow and thaw the ice

                I heard a sandhill crane call yesterday.  What a surprise for the sandhills to find their nesting spot on the edge of my pond still frozen and snow- covered.  I wondered about the call—maybe it was one of “What am I doing here when my accommodations are far from ready?”  Or maybe just a string of cuss words in bird language.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS:  Getting into something is usually easier than getting out of it.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

April 5, 7:30 p.m. Stoughton Opera House, Stoughton.  WPT Farm Story, discussion of film and book signing.

April 7, 7:00 p.m., Kiel Library.  Garden Wisdom presentation and book signing.

April 8, 6:30 p.m. Heritage Hill Historic Center, Green Bay. Old Farm.  Book signing to follow presentation.

April 10, 6:30 p.m. Sun Prairie Library, Limping Through Life. Book signing to follow presentation.

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 both of Jerry’s DVDs, 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.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division St.
Wild Rose, WI  54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835



Saturday, March 01, 2014

Garden Thoughts


This is for all the vegetable gardeners out there.   I am a bit reluctant to say anything about the coming garden season for fear I will encourage what already looks like a late spring.  For the winter lovers, a few more days of enjoying snow, ice, and temps around zero seems to be in the offing.

This is dangerous to mention I know—but remember 2012, just two years ago?  The temperature in mid-March soared into the mid-eighties and I planted radishes, carrots, lettuce—set out cabbage plants—and even planted some early potatoes.  That’s right.  Mid-March.  This year we’ll be lucky if we can see the ground by mid-March, and who knows when the soil will warm enough for planting.

Oh, I must also say, that as the gardening season in 2012 went on, the early start really didn't help much—in fact probably cut into my vegetable yields.  That was the year of almost no cherries and limited apple yield for the blossoms quickly appeared and froze during a cold April.

It’s a good time to order seeds and think spring as you study the pages of beautiful vegetables and avoid looking out the window.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS:  Keep the faith.  There will be a gardening season.  Patience is a wonderful virtue this time of year.

ANNOUNCEMENT NUMBER 1:  Tune in Wisconsin Public TV on Tuesday, March 4, 7:00 p.m. for a showing of A FARM WINTER WITH JERRY APPS.

ANNOUNCEMENT NUMBER 2: No more blogs until the end of March.  I’m off to a writing retreat where there is limited Internet connection.  My email will continue to work for those who want to keep in touch. jwapps@tds.net

COMING EVENTS:

March 5-March 25, Writing retreat, Indian Shores, Florida.

April 5, 7:30 p.m. Stoughton Opera House, Stoughton.  WPT Farm Story, discussion and book signing.

April 7, 7:00 p.m., Kiel Library.  Garden Wisdom presentation and book signing.

April 8, 6:30 p.m. Heritage Hill Historic Center, Green Bay. Stories from the Land.  Book signing to follow presentation.

April 10, 6:30 p.m. Sun Prairie Library, Limping Through Life.

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 both of Jerry’s DVDs, 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.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division St.
Wild Rose, WI  54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835




Sunday, February 23, 2014

Talking About Yesterday's Winters


Just back from a showing of “A Farm Winter” at the Gard Theater in Spring Green with a book signing that followed at Arcadia Bookstore.  About one-hundred people at the theater watched the film, then most walked across the street for more stories and lots of questions. 

“Tell me about those big Diesel snowplows that took all night to plow a mile of concrete hard snow.”

            “I want to hear the rutabaga story when you grew all those rutabagas and they spoiled in your cellar.”

            “Say something more about the importance of neighbors and the value of community when you were a kid.”

            Retired farmers, present day farmers, city folk, small town people—all gathered on a sunny, but chilly winter day to talk about winter during the old days, not necessarily the good old days, but the old days. A time when there was no indoor plumbing, houses were heated with wood stoves and the laundry was hung out to freeze dry on wire clothes lines strung out behind the house.  A time on cold winter nights when the family gathered around the wood stove and read books and played games and kids did their homework with the dim light of a kerosene lamp.  Lots of stories, many memories.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Stories are a connecting link between people and across generations.

COMING EVENTS:

March 5-March 25, Writing retreat, Indian Shores, Florida.

April 5, 7:30 p.m. Stoughton Opera House, Stoughton.  WPT Farm Story, discussion and book signing.

April 7, 7:00 p.m., Kiel Library.  Garden Wisdom presentation and book signing.

April 8, Heritage Hill Historic Center, Green Bay.  Details to be announced.

April 10, 6:30 p.m. Sun Prairie Library, Limping Through Life.

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 both of Jerry’s DVDs, 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.

Contact them for prices and special package deals.

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division St.
Wild Rose, WI  54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835



Sunday, February 16, 2014

Country School Valentine's Day

With the Christmas break a distant memory and the brief celebration of Lincoln’s birthday but a couple days previous, at our country school we all looked forward to Valentine’s Day.  For several days at school we had worked on making valentines for our mothers out of paper doilies and red construction paper.  Back in late January, the Sears sales catalog arrived in our mailbox.  Several pages in that slim publication were devoted to Valentines.  Slim little cards with colorful puppies, kittens, hearts, flowers and statements of love and affection. They came in packages—assortments of maybe twenty or more of these little cards proclaiming in large print and small, “Be My Valentine!”

My task, once the cards arrived, was to decide which one to give to Jim, to Dave, to Mildred, Joyce, and Nita.  To Bob and Marvin.  To Lyle and Dick.  To Darrel and Donald, my twin brothers. And all the other students attending our school. One card for every student.  Choices to make.  Big decisions. Few of the cards were the same, so I had to decide who should receive which one.

On the teacher’s desk stood a big box decorated with red hearts.  All of the cards were deposited in the Valentine box, waiting for February 14 and the Valentine’s Party planned for that afternoon.

Students’ mothers were invited to the party, bringing treats—home-made cookies of many kinds—chocolate chip, peanut butter, sugar. As we ate cookies, our teacher opened the Valentine box and distributed the valentines.  Each of us got a valentine from every other student.  Most of them were “store bought” but several homemade as some families couldn't afford the fancy ones from the Sears catalog.

We enjoyed them all. Enjoyed the little celebration with our mothers.  And probably most of all, enjoyed the break in winter.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS:  Valentine’s Day was more than Valentines.

COMING EVENTS:

February 23, 2:00 p.m. Gard Theater, Spring Green.  Showing of Winter on the Farm with questions and discussion.  Followed by book signing of THE QUIET SEASON. Sponsored by Wisconsin Public TV and Arcadia Bookstore.

March 5-March 25, Writing retreat, Indian Shores, Florida.

April 5, 7:30 p.m. Stoughton Opera House, Stoughton.  WPT Farm Story, discussion and book signing.

April 7, 7:00 p.m., Kiel Library.  Garden Wisdom presentation and book signing.

April 8, Heritage Hill Historic Center, Green Bay.  Details to be announced.

April 10, 6:30 p.m. Sun Prairie Library, Limping Through Life.

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 both of Jerry’s DVDs, 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.

Contact them for prices and special package deals.

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division St.
Wild Rose, WI  54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835