Saturday, July 22, 2017

Family at The Lake



As most parents are well aware, once the kids are grown, leave home, and often move hundreds of miles from the home place, it’s difficult to keep contacts. In 2002, my wife and I tried an experiment, based on what we had learned back in the 1970s when I taught a two-week writing workshop at the School of the Arts in Rhinelander. At that time, we rented a cabin on a lake near Rhinelander, and oh how the kids enjoyed it.

Our children, in 2002, now grown, married, and with their own kids, encouraged us to do that again, but this time to invite the entire extended family. And that’s what we’ve done every year since. This year we rented a place on Long Lake in the Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes. We had as many as 18 people sitting around the dinner table each evening. Kids, grandkids, and even two great grandkids.

They swam, water skied, kayaked, played cards, read books, chatted with each other, or sometimes just sat by themselves looking out across the lake. Ruth and I did as little as possible, leaving the cooking to the kids and grandkids.

We also have contests. This year the main contest was who could grow the best mustache in two weeks. There was a junior and a senior division. The winner received a razor and shaving cream.

The week is planned a year in advance, so everyone can adjust vacation and work schedules. It is extremely rare for anyone to miss the event. We are four generations together, sharing, laughing, kidding, and most of all getting to know each other just a little better.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Never forget; family comes first.

SPECIAL NOTICE: My newest book, “Old Farm Country Cook Book” (with my daughter, Sue) is now available. It should be in the bookstores by now. See note below for upcoming launch at the Wild Rose Library.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: A couple of slots remain for my one-day writing workshop on writing your own story: Friday, August 18, 9-4:00 p.m. The Clearing, Door County. Call 920-854-4088.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Wednesday, Central Wisconsin launch of OLD FARM COUNTRY COOKBOOK. July 26, snacks at 5:30, book talk at 6:00 p.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose.

Saturday, July 29, 1:00 p.m. Symco Thresheree , Symco, WI.

Friday, August 4, 5:30 p.m., School of the Arts, Legacy Program. ArtStart, 68 S. Stevens Street, Rhinelander, WI. Keynote address.

Saturday, August 5, 1:00 p.m., Rhinelander Public Library, 106 N. Stevens Street, Rhinelander. Never Curse the Rain, talk and book signing.

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

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

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.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest nonfiction book, Never Curse the Rain, and his newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also available are Wisconsin Agriculture: A History,
Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their own stories.

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


Friday, July 14, 2017

A Daylilly Year


This is the year of the daylily. Those beautiful flowers that only bloom for one day, but what a show they put on during the day they bloom. The scientific name of daylily is Hemerocallis, which is quite a mouthful but becomes important in knowing, as guys like me sometimes have trouble telling one kind of lily from another.

There is a fellow in Wild Rose, my home town, who hybridizes daylilies, which means he creates new ones that are more winter hardy, more colorful, and have more blooms than some of the earlier types.

Oh, I forget to mention, this Wild Rose guy, happens to be my brother, Dr. Darrel Apps. Darrel has been developing daylilies for about as many years as I’ve been writing, and that’s a good long time. He is nationally and internationally known for his work as well.

When I am out on the stump giving talks, which I do probably more than I should, I often hear, “Are you any relation to Darrel Apps, the daylily guy.”

“I am,” I answer, and then the conversation swings around to daylilies a topic about which I am about 90 to 99 percent ignorant. The person goes on to applaud Darrel’s work.

I have several of Darrel’s daylilies, and they are putting on quite a show this summer. They thrive on lots of rain and hot weather. (See photo)

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Enjoy the summer of the daylily.

SPECIAL NOTICE: My newest book, “Old Farm Country Cook book” (with my daughter), Sue is just off the presses. It should be in the bookstores by now. See note below for upcoming launch at Wild Rose.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: A few slots remain for my one-day writing workshop on writing your own story: Friday, August 18, 9-4:00 p.m. The Clearing, Door County.
Call 920-854-4088.


UPCOMING EVENTS:

Wednesday, July 26, snacks at 5:30, book talk at 6:00 p.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. Central Wisconsin launch of OLD FARM COUNTRY COOKBOOK.

Saturday, July 29, 1:00 p.m. Symco Thresheree , Symco, WI.

Friday, August 4, 5:30 p.m., School of the Arts, Legacy Program. ArtStart, 68 S. Stevens Street, Rhinelander, WI. Keynote address.

Saturday, August 5, 1:00 p.m., Rhinelander Public Library, 106 N. Stevens Street, Rhinelander. Never Curse the Rain, talk and book signing.

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

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

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.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest nonfiction book, Never Curse the Rain, and his newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also available are Wisconsin Agriculture: A History,
Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their own stories.

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, July 09, 2017

Rainy Days



It’s been raining at Roshara. Raining a lot. In June, raining more than fifteen inches in two weeks. A good thing for our sandy land. My little pine trees, especially those we planted this past spring are happy. So are the trees we planted last year and the year before. Little trees on sandy land like lots of rain.

Our prairie—see photo—is thriving. Grass is tall; wildflowers are everywhere. And in the deep woods, in my 50 acres or so of oaks and maples, I can’t see six feet off the trail as the woods are so thick with foliage.

My two ponds, with low water for a long time, are the highest they’ve been in ten years. But they still have a long way to go to match the high water years of the early 1990s.

And now to my garden. The potato crop has never been better at this time in the growing season. Anyone who knows anything about growing potatoes knows they like lots of water. Same for the cabbage, lettuce, and broccoli. The vine crops are another story—I’ve had to re-plant the cucumbers and squash that drowned out. And the beans, they are miserable with too much rain. Yellowish and struggling to live. And worst of all, the sweet corn. I’ve replanted some of it twice. Never before have I had to do this.

As many readers know, I’ve written a book with the title “Never Curse the Rain.”
“Are you sure about that?” one of my readers near Oshkosh recently wrote.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Some years are too wet, some years are too dry. But every year’s weather remains a mystery.

SPECIAL NOTICE: My newest book, “Old Farm Country Cook book” (with my daughter), Sue is just off the presses. It should be in the bookstores in a week or two. See notes below for upcoming launches of the book.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: A few slots remain for my one-day writing workshop on writing your own story: Friday, August 18, 9-4:00 p.m. The Clearing, Door County.
Call 920-854-4088.


UPCOMING EVENTS:

Wednesday, July 12, 7:00 p.m. Middleton Public Library. Launch of Sue’s and my new book: OLD FARM COUNTRY COOKBOOK.

Wednesday, July 26, snacks at 5:30, book talk at 6:00 p.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. Central Wisconsin launch of OLD FARM COUNTRY COOKBOOK.

Saturday, July 29, 1:00 p.m. Symco Thresheree , Symco, WI.
Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

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.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest nonfiction book, Never Curse the Rain, and his newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also available are Wisconsin Agriculture: A History,
Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their own stories.

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

Monday, July 03, 2017

Storm Damage at Roshara


The windstorm that roared through central Wisconsin in mid-June caused more havoc at Roshara than I first assumed. It toppled the 105 year old black willow tree that fronted the windbreak that has protected our farmstead these many years. It crashed trees across our trails in many places. But these bits of destruction were the least of the damage wrought.

As many of those who read these weekly ramblings know, Roshara is my family’s 120 acre farm in Waushara County. Of those 120 acres, 100 acres are wooded. About 50 acres of mixed hardwood and another 50 of red and white pine, with a scattering of native jack pine and few intruder Scotch pine.

We’ve planted all of the red pine, some by machine, but lots by hand, beginning in 1966 and every year since. The white pines are an interesting story. Back in the 1930s, in the midst of the Great Depression, a devastating drought and windstorms attacked western Waushara County. John Coombes, who owned our farm then, did what many other farmers did. He planted a windbreak, which consisted of white pine trees. These beautiful white pines, now some 80 plus years old, have succeeded in producing about five acres of self-seeded white pines, in what was an old cornfield when we bought the place 50 years ago.

It is in this patch of 50-year-old white pines where the recent windstorm smashed off the tops of many trees, snapped off huge branches, and otherwise made a mess of things. Our forester is coming in this week to mark trees, these and others—a thinning is in order as well. And the loggers will follow shortly after to clean up the mess.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Remembering his farmer father’s words, “If it isn’t one thing, it’s another.” Meaning something unexpected is always happening on the farm.

SPECIAL NOTICE: My newest book, “Old Farm Country Cook book” (with my daughter, Sue) is just off the presses. It should be in the bookstores in a week or two. See notes below for upcoming launches of the book.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: A few slots remain for my one-day writing workshop on writing your own story: Friday, August 18, 9-4:00 p.m. The Clearing, Door County.
Call 920-854-4088.


UPCOMING EVENTS:

Friday July 7, 7:30, Village Booksmith, Baraboo, WI

Wednesday, July 12, 7:00 p.m. Middleton Public Library. Launch of Sue’s and my new book: OLD FARM COUNTRY COOKBOOK.

Wednesday, July 26, snacks at 5:30, book talk at 6:00 p.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. Central Wisconsin launch of OLD FARM COUNTRY COOKBOOK.

Saturday, July 29, 1:00 p.m. Symco Thresheree , Symco, WI

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

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

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.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest nonfiction book, Never Curse the Rain, and his newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also available are Wisconsin Agriculture: A History,
Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their own stories.

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, June 25, 2017

June 25 Garden Report


I suspect every garden year can be considered unusual and unexpected. This year, well I can’t remember another quite like it and I’ve been growing a garden for well over 50 years.

In our neck of woods in central Wisconsin, April and May were wet. On April 22 we planted potatoes, peas, lettuce, radishes, onions, carrots, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and sweet corn.

On Memorial Day weekend we set out tomato plants, planted zucchini, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins and more sweet corn.

Then we had a couple weeks of dry weather, no rain, and the garden struggled, and some of the vine crops did not come up.

The week of June 12 nature turned on the faucet and we had 8 ½ inches of rain, washing out some of the sweet corn, and leaving standing water on one end of the garden.

On June 16, we replanted sweet corn, squash, cucumbers and zucchini. And then it rained 4 ½ more inches before June 23.

Our sandy soil can take lots of rain, but 13 inches in less than two weeks??

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being outstanding, here is the report of the Roshara garden as of June 25, 2017: So far the only out and out failure has been the radishes. Apparently not their kind of weather.

--Potatoes-10
--Onions-10
--Lettuce-10
--Cabbage-10
--Brussels sprouts-10
--Broccoli- 9
--Carrots-8
--Tomatoes-8
--Snap beans-7
--Cucumbers-5
--Zucchini-5
--Peas-5
--Squash-5
--Pumpkins-5
--Sweet corn-3
--Radishes-0

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: It’s the mystery of gardening that keeps me in the garden.

SPECIAL NOTICE: My newest book, “Old Farm Country Cook book” (with my daughter, Sue) is just off the presses. It should be in the bookstores in a week or two. See notes below for upcoming launches of the book.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: A few slots remain for my one-day writing workshop on writing your own story: Friday, August 18, 9-4:00 p.m. The Clearing, Door County.
Call 920-854-4088.


UPCOMING EVENTS:

Friday July 7, 7:30, Village Booksmith, Baraboo, WI

Wednesday, July 12, 7:00 p.m. Middleton Public Library. Launch of Sue’s and my new book: OLD FARM COUNTRY COOKBOOK.

Wednesday, July 26, (time to be announced) Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. Central Wisconsin launch of OLD FARM COUNTRY COOKBOOK.

Saturday, July 29, 1:00 p.m. Symco Thresheree , Symco, WI

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

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

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.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest nonfiction book, Never Curse the Rain, and his newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also available are Wisconsin Agriculture: A History,
Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their own stories.

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, June 18, 2017

End Willow



We lost the end willow tree at Roshara this past week. It succumbed to the nearly eight inches of rain we had during the week and storms that knocked out our power for most of two days.

The Coombes family planted that old black willow tree in 1912, the first tree in a long row of them. The willow trees provided a windbreak from the summer storms and winter blasts for 105 years—they still do. But their leader, the first in line thus the title “end willow,” is now gone. A twisted mass of broken branches and fractured trunk.

During our early years at Roshara, our kids played in that old tree, climbed it, played games under it, saw it as a friend. For my first book, THE LAND STILL LIVES, I featured that old tree as a character in the book.

On Friday, my son, Steve—who had played in that old tree—and son-in-law Paul sawed up enough of the tree so we could use our driveway once more. (See Photo above.) But we decided to leave most of it where it fell. It seemed only fitting that in death it should remain where it had lived for more than a hundred years: protecting the farmstead, providing a place for kids to play, and leaving behind so many memories.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Remembering an old tree that has so many stories to tell.

SPECIAL NOTICE: My newest book, “Old Farm Country Cook book” (with my daughter), Sue is just off the presses. It should be in the bookstores in a week or two. See notes below for upcoming launches of the book.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Friday, August 18, 9-4:00 p.m. The Clearing, Door County.
Call 920-854-4088. Limited enrollment.


UPCOMING EVENTS:

Friday July 7, 7:30, Village Booksmith, Baraboo, WI

Wednesday, July 12, 7:00 p.m. Middleton Public Library. Launch of Sue’s and my new book: OLD FARM COUNTRY COOKBOOK.

Wednesday, July 26, (time to be announced) Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. Central Wisconsin launch of OLD FARM COUNTRY COOKBOOK.

Saturday, July 29, 1:00 p.m. Symco Thresheree , Symco, WI

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

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

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.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest nonfiction book, Never Curse the Rain, and his newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also available are Wisconsin Agriculture: A History,
Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their own stories.

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, June 11, 2017

What's Your Hurry?


This past week I began reading a book by Carl Honore, an Italian born author. His book: IN PRAISE OF SLOWNESS: CHALLENGING THE CULT OF SPEED got me thinking. Why are we in such a hurry? Driving faster, having ever-faster performing computers, writing quick little notes on Twitter or on Email. Rushing from here to there, as my late father would say, “Like chickens with our heads cut off.”

Honore wrote, “But now the time has come to challenge our obsession with doing everything more quickly. Speed is not always the best policy. Evolution works on the principle of survival of the fittest, not the fastest.”

As an octogenarian (I still have trouble spelling the word to say nothing about living with the designation), the aging process has forced me to slow down. To walk more slowly, to alas, think more slowly, to do almost everything more slowly.

A cheery note on this warm June Sunday morning. What I am doing because of necessity appears to be the right thing for everyone to do. Slow down. Take your time.

Hiking in my woodlot at Roshara, where the wild Geraniums grow (see photo above) is one way for me to do it.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: What’s your hurry?

SPECIAL NOTICE: My newest book, “Old Farm Country Cook book” (with my daughter, Sue) is just off the presses. It should be in the bookstores in a week or two. See notes below for upcoming launches of the book.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Friday, August 18, 9-4:00 p.m. The Clearing, Door County.
Call 920-854-4088. Limited enrollment.


UPCOMING EVENTS:

Friday July 7, 7:30, Village Booksmith, Baraboo, WI

Wednesday, July 12, 7:00 p.m. Middleton Public Library. Launch of Sue’s and my new book: OLD FARM COUNTRY COOKBOOK.

Wednesday, July 26, (time to be announced) Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. Central Wisconsin launch of OLD FARM COUNTRY COOKBOOK.

Saturday, July 29, 1:00 p.m. Symco Thresheree , Symco, WI

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

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

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.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest nonfiction book, Never Curse the Rain, and his newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also available are Wisconsin Agriculture: A History,
Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their own stories.

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