Monday, August 14, 2017

Cruisin' Down The River


From the day when I was first introduced to the writings of Mark Twain, I wanted to learn more about the Mississippi River and its famed steamboat history. This past week Ruth and I had an opportunity to do that in a special way.

We booked passage on the American Queen, a steam powered riverboat that travels the Mississippi from New Orleans to Red Wing, MN with stops at the river towns along the way.

We took an abbreviated trip, traveling from Red Wing to Dubuque, and then back to Red Wing with stops at Prairie du Chein, La Crosse, and Winona, MN, plus Dubuque and Red Wing of course.

The American Queen is a big boat, 420 feet long with 424 passengers and a crew of 172. It has six decks and as you might guess, one of its greatest challenges is traveling under the many bridges that cross the river. The boat has the capability of lowering its smoke stacks, was well as its pilothouse. But even then, for some of the bridges, only a few inches separate the top of the boat from the bottom of a bridge.

The several dams and locks along the river present another challenge. If I counted correctly there are nine dams and locks between Red Wing and Dubuque. These were built during the Depression years of the 1930s, as government projects, and each one is an engineering marvel. They were built, not for flood control, but as a way of maintaining the river depth so the many tow boats, and boats like ours could more easily make their way.

It was a great week on the Upper Mississippi, thought by many to be the most beautiful part of the river with the beautiful river bluffs, bald eagles everywhere, and interesting river towns along the way.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Too often we take the great Mississippi River for granted, the river that defines much of our state’s western boundary.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

August 15, 11:00 to 11:45. Larry Meiller Show, Wisconsin Public Radio. With daughter Sue, discussing Old Farm Country Cookbook.

August 18, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Writing Workshop, The Clearing.


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 books, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, 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, August 06, 2017

School of the Arts Legacy Program



My son, Steve, and I have just returned from a couple of most interesting days in Rhinelander, where I was involved with the “ArtStart School of the Arts—Legacy Program.” It was a Writer’s Retreat conducted at ArtStart and the Rhinelander District Library.

Many writers, artists, musicians and others interested in the arts will recall the School of the Arts in Rhinelander. It was started by UW-Madison Professor Robert Gard and carried on for many years in this beautiful North Country city. I attended the School of the Arts in 1967, when I was a beginning writer. I studied there with Bob Gard, August Derleth and Kentucky writer, Jesse Stuart.

I began teaching writing at the School in 1971, and I taught there for 32 years. Steve taught photography there for ten years. So it was a coming home experience for both Steve and me.

ArtStart, located at 68 S. Stevens Street in Rhinelander, in a wonderfully well restored old Federal Building, offers a series of events throughout the year—and is committed to bringing back to life the popular School of the Arts that had so many successful years in Rhinelander. (Click on http://www.artstartrhinelander.org/ for further information about ArtStart.)

I spoke to a group of writers and writing instructors on Friday evening. The event offered a variety of writing workshops from Friday through Sunday, August 4th to 6th. On Saturday, at an event open to the public, I spoke at the Rhinelander District Library—see photo—about my new books: Old Farm Country Cookbook and Never Curse the Rain.

I was pleased to be a part of this legacy program designed to bring back to life the School of the Arts in Rhinelander, which brought the arts to Northern Wisconsin, and ultimately attracted participants from throughout the Midwest.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: No matter how old we are, it’s never too late to learn something new.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

August 15, 11:00 to 11:45. Larry Meiller Show, Wisconsin Public Radio. With daughter Sue, discussing Old Farm Country Cookbook.

August 18, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Writing Workshop, The Clearing.


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 books, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, 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 30, 2017

Seventeen Inches of Rain in Three Weeks



Not unexpectedly I’ve been receiving more than a few comments based on my recent book, NEVER CURSE THE RAIN and the associated Public TV show with the same name.

Comments mostly from folks who have had more rain than they wanted. Comments from farm folk who see part of their cornfields under water. And not so friendly comments from people who have seen their roads and bridges washed away, and their basements flooded.

Southern and southwestern Wisconsin has been especially hammered with too much rain. Last Sunday, on our way to a family reunion near Westby, we saw some of the damage first hand. We saw the raging Wisconsin River, sneaking over its banks at Spring Green. We saw the angry Kickapoo River where it had flooded the Readstown Park. My nephew, Jim Olson, who farms west of Westby, saw all of his valley fences destroyed when flood waters washed through the valley on his farm.

Back in central Wisconsin at my farm, Roshara, we saw seventeen inches of rain in three weeks. For the first time in fifty years of gardening, I replanted my sweet corn twice. It washed out. Same for the snap beans. Replanted them. And mind you, we have sandy soil that can soak up a lot of rain.

On the positive side, the prairie land I’m restoring has never looked better, more wild flowers, more milkweeds (Monarch butterflies need them), and grass growing tall and thick. My long-time suffering ponds that had declined to mere shadows of what they had been in the early 1990s, have come back to a levels we haven’t known for ten years (See photo)

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Never too much rain on a sandy farm?

SPECIAL NOTICE: My newest book, “Old Farm Country Cook book” (with my daughter), Sue is now available.just off the presses.


UPCOMING EVENTS:

August 1, 6:30, Beloit Public Library, Showing of Never Curse the Rain, followed by interview with Jerry Apps (Skype).

August 5, 1:p.m., Rhinelander Public Library. Never Curse the Rain


Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, WI 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, Never Curse the Rain, and Old Farm County Cookbook--all signed by author, plus the the book, 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


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