Saturday, May 20, 2017

It's Lilac Time


It’s lilac time. Those wonderful, sweet smelling flowers are in bloom. They bring back memories and they are filled with history. The old-fashioned ones come in white, deep purple and lavender and the bushes will grow twenty-feet tall and have trunks as thick as a small tree.

I will never forget the lilac bushes that grew along the southern fence at the one-room school that I attended for eight years. When the lilacs appeared in May, we knew the end of the school year was near. Our teacher would fill a vase with lilacs, and the musty, left over smell of wood smoke in our school room would be replaced with the gentle smell of lilac. The smell of spring.

We have a row of lilacs growing in front of the windbreak at our Roshara cabin. They were planted in 1912 when the farm buildings were moved across the road from their original location that dated to 1867. No doubt the Coombes family, who owned Roshara then, not only moved their homestead across the road, but they also moved their lilacs. Our lilacs are thus 105 years old and still going strong.

This time of the year is an especially interesting time to travel around Wisconsin. As most people know we’ve lost thousands of farms over the past several years. The barns are gone, the farm houses are gone. But a clump of lilacs often remains, like a tombstone that marks a grave, lilacs mark where once a farmstead stood. When I spot these often lonely bushes, covered with flowers, I think about the farm family that lived there. What were their stories? The lilac bushes remain to remind us of an earlier day.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Stop and smell the lilacs and think of the stories they have to tell.

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

May 25, 7:00 p.m. Richfield Historical Societ Never Curse the Rain. Richfield Fire Hall, 2008 Hwy 175, Richfield, 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





Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mother's Day Memories



When I was a kid, the day before Mother’s Day Pa would hike my little twin brothers and me to the far end of our twenty acre woodlot that began just outside the backdoor of our farm house. The oak trees had just begun to leaf out, and the spring birds were chattering away as we walked single file behind Pa.

Pa knew of a little opening in the far end of the woods on a hilltop where there were no trees. In this little opening the wild violets grew, hundreds of them. Mostly purple but some white ones. Some lavender ones. A carpet of violets with oak trees growing all around.

“Your Ma likes violets,” Pa said. “She’d like some for Mother’s Day.” Each of us picked as many as our little hands could hold.

A short while later we arrived home and went into the kitchen where Ma was baking bread. It seemed she was always baking bread, as we must have eaten a lot of it. Each of us handed our freshly picked, beautiful violets to Ma. “Happy Mother’s Day,” we said.

She took a water glass from the cupboard, filled it with water from the water pail that stood next to the sink, and placed our little hand-picked presents in the center of the kitchen table. Next to the ever present kerosene lamp.

“Thank you,” she said. “Thank you.” She had tears in her eyes.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Little gifts can mean a lot.

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

UPCOMING EVENTS:

May 18. Neville Public Museum, Green Bay. Wisconsin Agriculture: A History. Dinner at 5:00 p.m. Program at 6:00 p.m. Registrations required. Call 920-448-7874.

May 25, 7:00 p.m. Richfield Historical Sociey. Never Curse the Rain. Richfield Fire Hall, 2008 Hwy 175, Richfield, 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




Saturday, May 06, 2017

Watching the Clouds Roll By


Okay you say. The old guy has gone daft—a word from an earlier day—today you’d probably say “gone off the rails.”

Doesn’t he have enough to do that he sits watching the clouds roll by? Something a kid would do on a summer day, looking at the clouds and seeing rabbits and dragons and whatever an active imagination might come up with.

Everyone has a creative side, whether it’s tuning an engine, baking a cake, painting a picture, writing a poem—or a hundred other examples. That creative side regularly needs encouragement. Our creative batteries need re-charging.

As a writer, I know my creative battery needs recharging, and often. Watching the clouds roll by on a warm spring day is one way to do it.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Find time to charge your creative battery.

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

UPCOMING EVENTS:

May 18. Neville Public Museum, Green Bay. Wisconsin Agriculture: A History. Dinner at 5:00 p.m. Program at 6:00 p.m. Registrations required. Call 920-448-7874.

May 25, 7:00 p.m. Richfield Historical Sociey. Never Curse the Rain. Richfield Fire Hall, 2008 Hwy 175, Richfield, 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, April 30, 2017

The Quiet





I’m sitting by my pond this chilly, late April afternoon, listening for the quiet. Quiet is becoming ever more difficult to find these days with ever-chirping cell-phones, loud shouting radio and TV commentators, sirens blaring, impatient motorists laying on their car horns, and the ever-present traffic sound in the background. No quiet. Nothing close to quiet. Even in the dead of night in the city.

But sitting by my pond the only sound I hear is the breeze rustling the tops of the oaks and maples still bare of leaves, and the subtle sound of the wind riffling the surface of the pond.

I need to hear quiet regularly, and here at my farm, sitting by my pond, I hear it. Hearing the quiet recharges my personal batteries, calms my nerves and restores my soul.

Photo: Roshara Pond, April 2017.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Listen for the quiet.

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

UPCOMING EVENTS:

May 18. Neville Public Museum, Green Bay. Wisconsin Agriculture: A History. Dinner at 5:00 p.m. Program at 6:00 p.m. Registrations required. Call 920-448-7874.

May 25, 7:00 p.m. Richfield Historical Sociey. Never Curse the Rain. Richfield Fire Hall, 2008 Hwy 175, Richfield, 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, April 23, 2017

Farm Garden Day



On this Earth Day, a “how could the weather be better” April Saturday, the garden crew consisting of Steve, Natasha, Paul, Sue and the Senior Supervisor gathered for the annual early crop garden planting at the farm.

The sky was blue. Birds were singing and a slight breeze rustled the pine needles of the trees that fronted the garden. The temperature was a “good for working” seventy degrees.

After disking the cover crop of winter wheat into the soft ground, and marking the rows, we proceeded to plant—well the crew proceeded to plant as I kept track of what went where and why.

By early afternoon we had planted six long rows of white potatoes and one long row of red potatoes, a row and half of red and yellow onions, a row of peas, and long row of what Natasha called our “salad row.” Here she planted several kinds of lettuce, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, radishes and carrots.

In a week or so we’ll set out the broccoli and cabbage. We’ll wait a few weeks before we plant the “warm wanting” garden crops such as sweet corn, green beans, and the vining crops.

Photo: Steve marking the garden rows with a marker my father made some fifty years ago.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: It’s a great feeling when the early garden seeds are in the ground.

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

UPCOMING EVENTS:

April 27, 6:00 p.m. Waupaca Historical Society, 320 S. Main Street, Waupaca. Barns of Wisconsin.

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, April 16, 2017

First Garden Seeds Planted


It’s time. The weather is right. The soil is ready. The seeds are purchased. It’s time to plant the garden—the early stuff not tomatoes, sweet corn, squash, pumpkins, green beans and other such that requires warmer soil, warmer nights, and yes warmer days.

On Good Friday—a proper day for planting I’m hoping—I planted four rows in the raised garden in my backyard. One row each of spinach, radishes, lettuce and peas. It’s a tiny garden, only three feet by eight feet. But each year I’m surprised how much twenty-four square feet of soil will produce.

I have a problem with rabbits, and squirrels that want to dig up the seeds as soon as I plant them. I cover the garden with nearly invisible black netting that keeps the critters out. As the plants come up and grow, I keep raising the netting, but it remains in place throughout the growing season.

Next Saturday is garden day at the farm—long rows of potatoes, more lettuce, radishes and other cool weather crops. A much larger garden that feeds three families, and provides ample opportunity for hoeing, weed pulling, rototilling, and yes, harvesting when things are ready.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: The coming of spring is confirmed when the first garden seeds are planted.

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

UPCOMING EVENTS:
April 17, 6:30 p.m. New Berlin Library. Never Curse the Rain.

April 23, 7:00 p.m. Lebanon Historical Society. Town Hall, Fire Station, Lebanon. Storytelling.

April 27, 6:00 p.m. Waupaca Historical Society, 320 S. Main Street, Waupaca. Barns of Wisconsin.

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, April 09, 2017

Tree Planting: 2017


Starting in April 1966, we have planted trees at Roshara, our Waushara County farm every year. That first year we planted 2,000 trees, as I recall. Since then some years we have planted as few as 50 trees and as many as 7,500 one year (we had machine help that year). Otherwise we planted them by hand, with two person crews—one with a shovel making little slits in the ground, the other placing the tree and stamping the ground firm around it.

We have planted while it snowed, while it rained, while it sleeted. And, on occasion, when the sun was shining the wind was down and it was a joy to be outside.

We have planted red pine, white pine, jack pine and spruce. But mostly red pine, which does well on our sandy, droughty soils. We have thinned and done some minimal logging twice in these fifty plus years. Those first trees planted are now some 75 feet tall and more than a foot across.

This past Saturday was our planting day—son Steve, daughter Sue and son-in-law Paul did the heavy work. Steve and Sue sort of helped with the first planting back in 1967, but just a little, as they were little tykes at the time.

Different from many early tree planting days, Saturday’s temperature climbed into the high 60s, the sun was out and it was a grand day to do most anything outdoors. It had rained a lot during the week, so the soil was moist and easy for digging. No complaints from the tree planters this year.

Photo: Sue and Paul planting a spruce tree.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Little trees, like grandchildren, are essential for the future.

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

UPCOMING EVENTS:

April 10, 1:30. Kiel Library, One-Room Schools

April 17, 6:30 p.m. New Berlin Library. Never Curse the Rain.

April 23, 7:00 p.m. Lebanon Historical Society. Town Hall, Fire Station, Lebanon. Storytelling.

April 27, 6:00 p.m. Waupaca Historical Society, 320 S. Main Street, Waupaca. Barns of Wisconsin.

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