Saturday, April 14, 2018

Wash Day on The Farm


My mother was way ahead of her time. When it came to washday, which was every Monday without fail, she and my dad brought from the woodshed to the kitchen her two washing machines. Neither required electricity. The simplest of the two, the washboard, needed nothing but a strong arm and lots of patience. The washing machine with ringer was powered by a little gasoline engine. Once Pa got the engine started, no small task, it washed clothes thoroughly, except for those dirtiest. These were first cleaned on the washboard.

Water was heated in a copper boiler that sat on the hottest part of the kitchen wood stove. My brothers and I had the job of carrying many pails of water from the pumphouse to the kitchen. There was no fancy water heater to worry about.

My mother was way ahead of her time when it came to drying clothes as well. She had a solar-powered clothes drier, also known as an outdoor clothesline. She hung the wet clothes on the clothesline, no matter the season of the year. During the winter months, the clothes freeze dried. All seasons of the year, the clothes came into the house smelling sweet and fresh. No buttons to push. No dials to spin.

Oh, I forgot to mention. We had no electricity, no indoor plumbing, and heated our farmhouse with wood stoves. But we all wore clean, fresh smelling clothes.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: People made do before electricity came to the country in interesting ways.

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, April 25, 6:00 p.m. Book Launch at Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. New book: Once a Professor

Wednesday, May 2, 10:00 a.m. Book Launch at Oakwood West, Madison. New book: 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 singed DVDs and signed 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 newest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).

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, and the newest one, One-Room School

The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, 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 latest 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, April 07, 2018

Nissen and Tomato Plants



No matter how blustery, how deep the snow, or how cold it was, my mother always planted tomato seeds on St. Patrick’s Day. “It’s a day to celebrate green,” she said.

Now, many years later, I continue to plant tomato seeds, not always on St. Patrick’s Day, but close to it. This year was no exception. Now a few weeks later, my little tomato plants are green and growing—even though the temperature seems to avoid climbing above 40 degrees and piles of the recent snow remain.

Three families eat fresh vegetables from our Roshara garden, and tomatoes are everyone’s favorite. My wife’s specialty is tomato soup—she makes many jars of it, which we enjoy all winter. She also makes “just the best” tomato juice. My daughter, Sue, and daughter-in-law, Natasha, make salsa. And everyone enjoys the taste of fresh tomatoes, just picked from the garden.

Always a sucker for pretty tomato pictures in the seed catalogs, I always try one or more new varieties. This year I am trying Atlas Hybrid, Bloody Butcher, and Steakhouse. Of course, I also grow several “never fail” varieties, Wisconsin 55, Early Girl and Burpee’s Big Boy.

A little Norwegian Nissen stands guard over my still tiny tomato plants. It’s hard to believe that these little plants will stand four feet and taller by mid-July. That is if winter decides to hand it up one of these days.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: When you are doing nothing, how do you know when you are finished?

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:

Friday, April 13, 7:00 p.m. Fine Arts Center, Adams-Friendship High School. One-Room Country Schools.

Sunday, April 15, 6:30 p.m. Lebanon Historical Society, Fire House Community Room. One-Room Country Schools.

Wednesday, April 25, 6:00 p.m. Book Launch at Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. New book: Once a Professor

Wednesday, May 2, 10:00 a.m. Book Launch at Oakwood West, Madison. New book: 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 singed DVDs and signed 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 newest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).

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, and the newest one, One-Room School

The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, 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 latest 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, March 31, 2018

What Happened to Spring?



I listened to the Friday evening weather forecast on my weather radio. Hoping to hear about warmer temperatures and sunshine Saturday. Saturday was set as a workday at Roshara. Clean up around the buildings. Do some raking. Take the straw away from the septic system. Check the bluebird houses. Cut a few black locust fence posts. That sort of thing.

I couldn’t believe the forecast. I listened to it twice. “Saturday, snow, heavy at times. Up to three inches, more to the north. High wind warning. Up to 45 miles per hour.”

I checked at midnight. Not a sign of snow. Bare ground at Roshara. Only a few piles of tired and retreating snow remaining. Saturday still looked promising. Weather forecast really meant someplace other than the Town of Rose, Waushara County. I hoped.

Up at 5;30 A.M., My usual time to crawl out of bed. No snow. No rain. Weather report obviously wrong.

Six A.M. I’m eating breakfast. I glanced out the window. What? It’s snowing. Snowing hard, big wet flakes. Within a half hour, the ground is covered, and the wind is coming up. Alas, winter has returned. How can this be? It’s the end of March. Time for spring work.

As I write this in late morning on Saturday, the snow continues to fall. As much as I hate to admit it, it’s a beautiful snow. It clings to the tree branches, gathers on top of the birdhouses—and keeps me inside, sitting by my wood stove,

What am I learning from all this? First off, never trust old man winter. If he wants a late fling in early spring, so be it. Secondly, something I learned a long time ago from my father when a late snowstorm prevented spring work. I had asked, “What do we do about the snow?” His answer, “Let it snow.”

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: There’s a time for winter, and a time for spring. Occasionally both happen at the same 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:

Friday, April 13, 7:00 p.m. Fine Arts Center, Adams-Friendship High School. One-Room Country Schools.

Sunday, April 15, 6:30 p.m. Lebanon Historical Society, Fire House Community Room. One-Room Country Schools.

Wednesday, April 25, 6:00 p.m. Book Launch at Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. New book: Once a Professor

Wednesday, May 2, 10:00 a.m. Book Launch at Oakwood West, Madison. New book: 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 singed DVDs and signed 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 newest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).

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, and the newest one, One-Room School

The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, 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 latest 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, March 24, 2018

Home Place



So where did you grow up? A question I often hear as people read my books and watch my Public TV shows. The photo, taken in the 1960s, is the farmstead of the home farm located west of Wild Rose, in Waushara County.

The farm included 160 acres, 20 of which was wooded. Most of the rest of the farm was tillable. But it was hilly, stony and sandy. We never had enough rain. We had more than enough stones.

These farm buildings included a red barn, with a wood-stave silo and a big white house. In winter we closed off all but two rooms, the ones with woodstoves.The little white building between the house and the barn was the pumphouse, which also served as the milk house because it is where we cooled the milk cans after morning and evening milking.

To the west was the chicken house and immediately to the south a combination machine shed and granary. Then the corn crib, the kind where cob corn was stored.

Another machine shed stood next to the white pine windbreak, and a bit further to the south was the brooder house where my mother tended the baby chicks until they were old enough for the chicken house. The photo was taken in August, note the big straw stack just to the west of the barn.

Not to be forgotten, the white board fence that separated the barnyard from what we farmers called the dooryard. My folks were proud of these farm buildings, although there was nothing fancy about any of them.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: You can tell a lot about farmers by looking at their buildings.

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:

Friday, April 13, 7:00 p.m. Fine Arts Center, Adams-Friendship High School. One-Room Country Schools.

Sunday, April 15, 6:30 p.m. Lebanon Historical Society, Fire House Community Room. One-Room Country Schools.

Wednesday, April 25, 6:00 p.m. Book Launch at Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. New book: Once a Professor

Wednesday, May 2, 10:00 a.m. Book Launch at Oakwood West, Madison. New book: 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 singed DVDs and signed 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 newest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).

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, and the newest one, One-Room School

The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, 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 latest 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, March 17, 2018

Signs of Spring



The sun is up, the sky is blue, the wind is down, and so is the temperature—it is 19 degrees as I write this. “Where is spring?” someone asked me the other day.

Snow covers much of Roshara’s woodlands. It also remains around the buildings. But it is a tired snow, a stiff, dense, not so beautiful, grainy snow. Snow that disappears a bit more with each sunny day.

Aside from the reminders of winter, cold morning temps and snow, the signs of spring are here. The robins are back. So are the sandhill cranes. The sun is high, and each day we have a few more minutes of daylight. A friend said he’d seen a bluebird. I saw a flock of high-flying geese winging north—geese that winter farther South and are not returning. Not to be confused with those tough, local geese that stay.

A sure sign of spring is my woodpile. Last November it stood four feet high, this morning but a few sticks remain.

I’ve seen the coming of a good many springs. No two are alike. Some are early, some are late, and some seem to last only a few days before they morph into summer. One year I planted my early spring crops in the garden by this time. Today, the garden remains snow covered, and the ground is frozen.

But spring is just around the corner, a bit shy to face up to old man winter with his bluster and might. But she will do it, as she always has. We just need a little patience.

THE Old TIMER SAYS: March on the farm builds character and challenges optimism.

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:

Friday, April 13, 7:00 p.m. Fine Arts Center, Adams-Friendship High School. One-Room Country Schools.

Sunday, April 15, 6:30 p.m. Lebanon Historical Society, Fire House Community Room. One-Room Country Schools.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDs and his 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

The library now has signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs: His newest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).

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, and the newest one, One-Room School

The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year, One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his latest 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, March 10, 2018

Bluebirds and Spring


One of our springtime treats at Roshara is seeing the return of the bluebirds. By late March and early April, they are usually back, not long after the winter snows have melted and before the prairie grass has greened up.

We built a bluebird trail about forty years ago, as a way to encourage bluebirds but also as a way to define the boundary between my property and my brother’s. The trail stretches for nearly a quarter mile along the southern border on my farm.

My son-in-law, Paul Bodilly, is the chief birdhouse maintainer and builder of replacement houses. We’ve discovered having a metal roof on our bluebird houses increases their life about twice. But we still have many with wooden roofs. Some other basics of bluebird houses: the hole should be 1 ½ inches to prevent larger birds from using the house and to help keep predators such as raccoons away. The entrance hole should be about six to ten inches from the house’s floor. Bluebird houses should be placed about 100 yards apart.

Don’t be alarmed if a pair of tree swallows takes up residence in your bluebird house. At Roshara, we have about as many tree swallows as we have bluebirds.

Violating the rule to place bluebird houses away from buildings, we have a house next to our vegetable garden. We have had a bluebird family there every year for the past ten years. What a joy to work in the garden and watch a pair of bluebirds go in and out of the house as we work.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: A bluebird has the blue sky on its back and the orange sun on its breast. Its arrival confirms that spring has arrived.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Saturday, March 17, 9:30-2:00. McFarlene’s Store in Sauk City. Every Farm Tells a Story.

Friday, April 13, 7:00 p.m. Fine Arts Center, Adams-Friendship High School. One-Room Country Schools.

Sunday, April 15, 6:30 p.m. Lebanon Historical Society, Fire House Community Room. One-Room Country Schools.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDs and his 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

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,) and Never Curse the Rain, Jerry’s newest DVD based on his book with the same title.
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his latest 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 guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.


Sunday, March 04, 2018

The Old Wood Stove Teakettle


A teakettle always sat on the wood-burning cook stove in our farm kitchen. Why? Nobody in the family drank tea. Not once in my years at home, well maybe once when a fussy Chicago visitor demanded the beverage, did I see anyone make tea using our teakettle.

With no indoor plumbing at the home farm, the teakettle, which never left its place on the cook stove, provided our sole source of hot water. Its uses were many. Thawing out a frozen pipe in the pump house. Removing the ice from a frozen pig trough. Providing hot water for what my father called a “whiskey sling” when someone in the family had a cold. [Directions for a whiskey sling: Start with a tall glass of hot water. Add a jigger of “medicinal” whiskey, and add a little honey to make the concoction go down more easily.]

The idea of the whiskey sling, which was taken just before bedtime, was to cause the sick person to sweat. “It’ll sweat that cold right out of you,” Pa would say.

It worked. I’m still here.

Today, at our Roshara Cabin, we cook with a wood-burning stove. And the teakettle (see photo) is always there. One difference. It has been a long time since I’ve partaken of a whiskey sling.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: I met a fellow the other day who talked nonstop and didn’t say a thing.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Tune in Public Television on Tuesday, March 6, 7:00 pm. to see my newest documentary, ONE ROOM SCHOOL.


Purchase Jerry’s DVDs and his 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
920-622-3835
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,) and Never Curse the Rain, Jerry’s newest DVD based on his book with the same title.

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 latest 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 guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.