Sunday, February 22, 2015

Walking


When I was growing up on the farm we walked.  We walked a lot.  We walked after the cows.  We walked to school, which was about a mile from our farm.  We walked to the neighbors for card parties.  We walked behind a team of horses pulling a plow.  In a typical day, we walked several miles.  But we didn't talk about it.  We didn't have pedometers to measure it.  We just did it.  Walking was a way of life on the farm.

A neighbor’s parents, who had lived in Milwaukee, moved to the neighbor’s farm and retired there.  He was a walker.  Walter was his name.  But he was a different kind of walker.  He walked for exercise.  Pa thought he was a bit off in the head for walking around our block, which was four miles.  He did this every day.  According to Pa, he had no purpose for walking.  He just walked.   He wouldn't stop to talk with anyone; he said he was timing himself. Why, people wondered.

But he did have a purpose.  He lived to be a hundred.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS.  When you walk, you see more, hear more—and besides it’s good for you.

THANK YOU

A big thank you to everyone who responded to my request for Wisconsin CCC material.  I’m still looking for more, especially for CCC information from central and Northeastern Wisconsin.  Here is what I earlier said:

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:

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

Wednesday, February 25, 11:30-1:30 Chapter 2 Bookstore, Hudson, WI. The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County & The Quiet Season.
  
Thursday, March 5. 7:00 p.m. McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids.  Great Sand Fracas of Ames County, and intro to Whispers and Shadows.

Sunday, March 22, Noon. Schumacher Farm Volunteers Recognition. Stories from the land. Middleton, WI, place to be announced.

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.  Whispers and Shadows.

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

 Sunday, May 3, 1:00 p.m. Readers Realm Bookstore, Montello.  Whispers and Shadows

Tuesday, May 12. History Tour, Eau Claire

 Thursday, May 14, 7:00 p.m. Appleton Sierra Club, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County.

Wednesday, May 20, 6:30 p.m. Barnes and Noble, west Madison. Whispers and Shadows.

Thursday, May 21. Noon. Beloit-Janesville Retired Teachers. Stories from the land

Wednesday, May 27, 7:00 p.m. Middleton Library, Middleton, 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




Sunday, February 15, 2015

Garden Expo


“Dig In,” the 2015 Garden Expo, was held this past weekend at the Alliant Center in Madison, WI.  I was there on Valentine’s Day, and it was cold.  The day started with single digit temps and eased toward zero in the afternoon as the late winter wind roared out of the northwest, sometimes at 35 miles and more an hour.

Yet they came.  Winter weary people looking for a hint of spring, a new idea or two about gardening, perhaps some new ornament with a gardening theme.  They came from Iowa and Illinois, and from all parts of Wisconsin.  I talked with people from Ashland and Mt. Morris, from Wild Rose and Wausau, from Janesville and Green Bay, and many, many more.  Nonstop talking.

During the afternoon, in a workshop called “Garden Wisdom,” I talked about gardening as I remembered from my days growing up on a farm, working with mother and father, both excellent gardeners.  They had to be as we depended on our vegetable garden for much of our food.  Four-hundred twenty people came to my session.  Packed the room.  A humbling experience as I realized how many people would take time to listen to my gardening stories for an hour.

I’m also pleased that so many people are interested in gardening. Wisconsin Public Television, sponsors of the Expo, estimated 20,000 attended the three-day event.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS.  A hope of spring on a frigid weekend.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

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

Wednesday, February 25, 11:30-1:30 Chapter 2 Bookstore, Hudson, WI. The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County & The Quiet Season.

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, February 08, 2015

Snow


So here we are, deep in the depths of winter, with thoughts of spring six weeks away, at least that’s what a sleepy ground hog suggested. Many people by this time of the season are fed up with it.  They curse the cold; they despise the snow.  They complain about winter every opportunity they get.

So it’s time to  say a few positive things about snow, that white stuff which usually covers the ground here in Wisconsin from about the middle of November to the middle of March, give or take a few days on each side. That amounts to 120 days of snow in an average year, or almost a third of the year.  Now if you think about it that way, wow.  Depression and sour thoughts.

But let’s look on the bright side, sure snow is slippery—if it weren't, skiing and sledding and snowmobiling wouldn't work all that well.  And snow can be a bit heavy to shovel—but most of us could use a little more exercise.

Snow is also down right beautiful.  A snowfall turns a drab brown and gray landscape into one that sparkles in white.  Snow takes all the sharp edges and rounds them, forms the countryside into a broad sweep of undulating, sparkling uniformity.

So, let’s give a cheer for snow. It’s here for about four months each year.  Let’s quit badmouthing it and embrace it.  Go outside and build a snowman.  Or take a walk in a snowstorm.  Or strap on a pair of snowshoes and hike off into the woods.

“Snow kidding,” you might enjoy it. (Sorry for that.)

THE OLD TIMER SAYS. Three cheers for snow.  Or, at least two.

SPECIAL EVENT: Garden Expo. Alliant Center, Madison. Saturday, February 14.
I will be signing books in the UW Press booth from 11:00 a.m. to noon. Featuring the GREAT SAND FRACAS OF AMES COUNTY.

I will be speaking about GARDEN WISDOM from 2:15 p.m.-3:15, followed by a book signing.
            Hope to see you there.

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS:

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

Wednesday, February 25, 11:30-1:30 Chapter 2 Bookstore, Hudson, WI. The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County & The Quiet Season.

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, February 01, 2015

Wood Burning Cook Stove

           
 As readers of this blog will recall, I heat my cabin with wood stoves, one in the kitchen-dining room area, and one for the rest of the place.  When the outside temperature is above zero, I depend solely on the kitchen stove—an old, heavy, cast iron cook stove.  I bought it used in 1968, which means I’ve had for 47 years.  It was an old stove when I bought it, so I really don’t know it’s age.

The stove is a Home Comfort, and for it’s day it must have been the most up and coming cook stove on the market, for it is a combination stove.  On one side it burns wood, on the other side it has four gas burners.  We seldom use the gas side of the stove, maybe a few times in the summer when it’s too hot to light up the wood burner.

 The oven door even has a thermometer, with the following readings, “warm,” “moderate,” “hot,” and “very hot.”  But it’s broken; the faded red needle is stuck on “warm.”

 In winter, the old stove not only warms much of the cabin, but its surface is perfect for cooking—nothing tastes better than vegetable soup or chili that simmers on the stove for a couple of hours. 

 I also have an old-fashioned teakettle that sends up a little cloud of steam to add humidity to the cabin, and provide me with hot water when I want a cup of hot chocolate.
    
The other day I was reading that those of us who have desk jobs, which includes those of us who are writers, should get up and walk around every hour or so or we may die an early death.  I’m too old to die an early death, but nonetheless, to keep my stove going I have to get up every hour or so to feed it more wood.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Wood burning cook stoves have benefits that go beyond cooking and keeping you warm.

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:
 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.

Wednesday, February 25, 11:30-1:30 Chapter 2 Bookstore, Hudson, WI. The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County & The Quiet Season.

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 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