Sunday, June 17, 2018

Where Are The Bluebirds?


I’m sitting on the deck at the cabin, it’s early evening. I’m listening to the birdsong and waiting for the thunderstorm that is predicted. A catbird is in the big willow tree to the west of the cabin. Singing its heart out with songs of other birds as it’s a mimic, like its southern relative the mockingbird. Earlier I spotted a Baltimore oriole.

If I had to pick out one of the best singers of the evening it would go to a saucy little wren. It chatters away, loud and clear, and happy. I am listening for a whippoorwill that I heard a few evenings ago, but not this evening. Perhaps it knows something about the coming storm and has found some sheltered place.

Now there is complete silence. Not a breath of air, not a hint of birdsong. And then I heard a low growl—thunder in the distance. A bit of a cooling breeze washes over me, and the birds begin signing once more, no doubt wanting to complete their regular sunset chorus ahead of the storm that creeps ever closer.

Missing from the collection of birds I see and listen to this evening are bluebirds. The house pictured above is equal distance from the cabin and the garden. A pair of bluebirds has nested in that house for at least ten consecutive years. Not this year. What has happened to the bluebirds? If you have an answer email me at jerryappsauthor.gmail.com.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Birdsong in the evening—a great way to end the day.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My writing class at The Clearing in Door County is scheduled: Friday, July 27, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to register. A few openings remain.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

--June 20, 1-3 p.m. Cheese Center, Plymouth. Book Signing

--July 27, 9-4, Writing Workshop, The Clearing, Door County

--August 3, 1:00 p.m. Chilton Library. With Sue. Old Farm Country Cookbook.

--August 7, 5:30 p.m. Downtown Madison Historical Museum. With Sue. Old Farm County Cookbook.

--Sept 8. 10 a.m. Mt. Horeb Library, Once a Professor.

Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

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

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).
Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows,)
Never Curse the Rain, (based on his book with the same title)
The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Once a Professor, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.







Sunday, June 10, 2018

It's Lupine Time




The lupines are open at Roshara. When I was a kid, I didn’t know about lupines, didn’t know If I’d ever seen one as they didn’t grow on the home farm.


When we bought Roshara in 1966, I discovered this patch of beautiful, lavender-purple flowers growing in on the south side of the property. I checked them out in my flower-identification book and learned that they were lupines and that they were in the pea family. Scientific name: Lupinus perennis L.


I was curious about their name and learned that it refers to Lupus, which refers to the Latin name for wolf. At one time it was believed that the lupines robbed the soil of its nutrients. The opposite is true. Lupines are long-lived nitrogen-fixing plants. They add to the soil’s nutrients.


Our sandy, acidic soils are ideal for this beautiful, native plant, which has a long tap root and allows it to go deep for moisture and survive during dry spells. Today, after removing brush and other shade-producing plants over the years, the patch of lupines has grown to a couple acres in size—quite a sight to see when they are all in bloom.


Beyond their beauty and soil enhancing properties, the wild lupines are host plants for the endangered Karner blue butterfly. We have Karner blues. Sometimes we may see a half-dozen or so of them flitting about the lupines—a double treat for any nature lover.


The Old Timer Says: Nature offers so much to enjoy—early June is lupine time.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My writing class at The Clearing in Door County is scheduled: Friday, July 27, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to register.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

--June 20, 1-3 p.m. Cheese Center, Plymouth. Book Signing

--July 27, 9-4, Writing Workshop, The Clearing, Door County

--August 3, 1:00 p.m. Chilton Library. With Sue. Old Farm Country Cookbook.

--August 7, 5:30 Downtown Madison Historical Museum. With Sue. Old Farm County Cookbook.

--Sept 8. 10 a.m. Mt. Horeb Library, Once a Professor.

Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

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

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).
Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows,)
Never Curse the Rain, (based on his book with the same title)
The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Once a Professor, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.


IO

Sunday, June 03, 2018

One Hundred Degrees in the Shade



It’s an old thermometer. One of those that has a red thread of mercury that climbs or descends against numbers. It’s probably 35 or 40 years old; I don’t know when I bought it. I nailed it against the side of the cabin in the shade, where I figured it would accurately tell me the temperature no matter what the season. And it has done that. I’ve read minus 20 on that old thermometer a time or two when the winters seemed colder than they are now. Never saw minus 40 though; I remembered those temperatures when I was a kid.

On Memorial Day, just a few days ago, that old thermometer reported a temperature I’ve not seen on it before. It said 100 degrees. I told my brother, Donald, who lives a quarter mile from my place what my thermometer reported.

“Can’t be right. That old thermometer is way off. I checked my thermometer and it only read 97 degrees.” He laughed when he said it. He’s got a fancy digital thermometer that displays the temperature on a little screen.

I checked my thermometer about 2:00 p.m. on Memorial Day when it hit 100. I checked that old thermometer the same time today, which is not quite a week later—62 degrees. That’s a 38-degree difference. Talk about a temperature swing. On Memorial Day I was looking for a shady place to sit. Today I’m looking for a jacket.

The Old Timer Says: Without a thermometer, some of us old timers wouldn’t have anything to talk about.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My writing class at The Clearing in Door County is scheduled: Friday, July 27, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to register.
Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

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

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).
Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows,)
Never Curse the Rain, (based on his book with the same title)
The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Once a Professor, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.





Monday, May 28, 2018

The Old Rocking Chair



It’s just a wooden rocking chair, and it’s about as old as our marriage. That old rocking chair has stories to tell. Stories of rocking our three kids when they couldn't sleep or weren’t feeling well. Stories about when after a day of hard work, I sat in the old chair watching the sunset and listening to the birds call in the trees to the west of the cabin. Rocking slowly, enjoying the evening. Feeling good about life.

Often while rocking, I remember dad and mother, and what life was like on the home farm going back to the 1930s and 40s. I recall the old rocking chair that sat on the porch of our farmhouse, with Fanny, our farm dog resting nearby. I will never forget those summer evening sitting on the back porch, my dad and mother and my two brothers, after a day of making hay, or shocking grain, or hoeing potatoes—always hoeing potatoes. We would talk some but mostly listen to the sounds of the early evening and enjoying those wonderful smells of new-mown hay coming from the hayfield in front of the house.

The old rocking chair reminds me of the early days at Roshara, back to 1966 when we bought the place. All coming back as I slowly rock in this old rocking chair. Stories about the grandkids when they were little and needed a little rocking in this old chair. Remembrances of my 70th birthday party, and a photo of me in that old chair in an invitation inviting people to help me celebrate.

So many stories associated with that old chair.


THE OLD TIMER SAYS: A old rocking chair can become a memory chair.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My writing class at The Clearing in Door County is scheduled: Friday, July 27, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to register.
UPCOMING EVENTS:.
Thursday, May 31, 7:00 Middleton Public Library. Book Launch for Cold As Thunder (New novel)
Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

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

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).
Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows,)
Never Curse the Rain, (based on his book with the same title)
The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Once a Professor, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.




Saturday, May 19, 2018

Lilacs Bring Back Memories



Dad didn’t like lilacs. I never knew why. So we had none growing on the home farm. But lilacs did grow all along the south fence at our country school. During the last days of school in May, these lilacs were usually in full bloom. A vase of lilacs sat on the teacher’s desk during this time, adding a pleasing smell to the schoolroom, and a reminder that the school year was soon over.

The early settlers brought lilacs with them to this country. They are not native to the U.S. There are some 20 varieties. Two are native to Europe and rest have their roots in Asia. George Washington grew them. So did Thomas Jefferson. Most farm families in the north grew lilacs; they need a period of cold weather dormancy to trigger flowering.

A long row of lilacs grows on the east side of the windbreak at Roshara. They likely came to central Wisconsin with the settlers, mainly those from northern New York State who found their way to Rose Township in Waushara County.

Lilacs are tough, requiring little care. They also live a long time. Supposedly, the oldest known living lilacs can be found at the Wentworth estate in Portsmouth, N. H. They were planted around 1750. Traveling around Wisconsin, I often spot a clump of lilacs growing along a road, with no buildings in sight. The lilacs remind me that there was once a farmstead there and all that remains are the lilacs to remind us of this history.


THE OLD TIMER SAYS: During these busy spring days, take time to smell the lilacs.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My writing class at The Clearing in Door County is scheduled: Friday, July 27, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to register.
UPCOMING EVENTS:
Sunday, May 20, 6:30. Lebanon Fire House, One-Room Schools.
Thursday, May 31, 7:00 Middleton Public Library. Book Launch for Cold As Thunder (New novel)
Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

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

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).
Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows,)
Never Curse the Rain, (based on his book with the same title)
The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Once a Professor, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.




Saturday, May 12, 2018

Dandelions


The dandelion is one of the earliest flowers to appear in the spring. But are they applauded? No, they are dug up, stomped on, cut off, sprayed with weed killers, and otherwise maligned as a weed for the keepers of perfect lawns. So I did a bit of research about this early bloomer.

Did you know that the dandelion is in the sunflower family, and is native of Greece?

That its name comes from the French dent de lion (lion’s tooth)—a reference to the jagged margins of its leaves? That it grows almost anywhere in the world where there is a bit of soil and sunlight? That it is rich in nutrients—potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, as well as vitamins, especially vitamins C and B? Put dandelion leaves in a salad. They are best harvested in the spring when the leaves are young and less bitter.

That the early colonists brought the dandelion to North America, as they were aware of its many medicinal qualities? The juice extracted from the stem and leaves supposedly will eradicate warts, soothe calluses and bee stings. Other purported medicinal uses include lowering blood pressure and providing relief from rheumatism and arthritis. The entire plant is important as a general tonic.

That dandelion blossoms make tasty wine? The plant has also been used as a dye, yielding a purple color.

So, there it is. The dreaded dandelion is a hero in the plant world.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: When is a weed not a weed?

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My writing class at The Clearing in Door County is scheduled: Friday, July 27, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to register.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
Tuesday, May 15, 11:30 a.m. Black Hawk Country Club, SAIL Group. Once a Professor.

Saturday, May 19, 10:00-2:00 Dregne’s Westby, Book signing.

Sunday, May 20, 6:30. Lebanon Fire House, One-Room Schools.

Thursday, May 31, 7:00 Middleton Public Library. Book Launch for Cold As Thunder (New novel)

Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

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

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).
Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows,)
Never Curse the Rain, (based on his book with the same title)

The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Once a Professor, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.




Sunday, May 06, 2018

Tree Planting at Roshara




Son-in-Law Paul, with a shovel and planted tree

Saturday was tree planting day at Roshara; more than three weeks late compared to other years. This year we planted 150 red pine, 50 jack pine, and 50 Colorado blue spruce—all little ones six to 12 inches tall. I bought them at Wheeler’s Laura’s Lane Nursery, north of Plainfield, as we have for many years.

Ten days ago there was snow on the ground. Today it was sunny and warm, in the high seventies by early afternoon. We planted in plantations where trees have died, so it is hard work. The only tool is a shovel. Remove a circle of sod a couple feet across. Cut a slit in the soil. Insert the tree, making sure the tree is well placed, with the roots all covered and ground firmly tamped. Move to the next spot. And the next one, and finally the 250th one. A little complaining that I have more than 250 trees, that I have fibbed about the number. Understandable. It is hard work, the sun is hot, the humidity is high, and there is no breeze.

It’s a family project. Sue, Paul, Natasha, and Cory. They do the work. I do the deciding. We began at 10:00 a.m.; we finished at 2:00 p.m. I am pleased as this is my 54th year of planting trees at Roshara even though I no longer do the heavy work. Some years we planted only fifty trees; one year it was more than 7,000—I hired a machine that year.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Plant a tree, plan for a future.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My writing class at The Clearing in Door County is scheduled: Friday, July 27, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to register.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Wednesday, May 9, Live At Four, CBS Madison, Channel 3. Once a Professor

Tuesday, May 15, 11:30 a.m. Black Hawk Country Club, SAIL Group. Once a Professor.

Saturday, May 19, 10:00-2:00 Dregne’s Westby, Book signing.

Thursday, May 31, 7:00 Middleton Public Library. Book Launch for Cold As Thunder (New novel)
Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

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

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).
Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)

Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)

The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows,)

Never Curse the Rain, (based on his book with the same title)

Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Once a Professor, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.