Saturday, September 13, 2014

Last Days of Summer


During these last days of summer, my prairie at Roshara is a panorama of yellow with a sprinkling of purple accent.  Goldenrods provide the yellow; blazing star wild flowers offer the purple. Honeybees are everywhere, working on the goldenrods, gathering nectar for what must be a delightful goldenrod honey.  And the sometimes scarce Monarch butterflies flit here and there by the dozens.

On a steep prairie hillside, the big bluestem grass, several large clumps of it, is now six feet tall with its flowers spread wide—in the shape of a turkey’s foot, as the grass is sometimes called.

And a few hundred yards to north, in the deep woods, a maple tree’s leaves have turned a brilliant red.  Soon hundreds of other maples will join the aspen, birch and oak in a blast of color that will convert my woodlot from its many shades of green to reds, yellows, tans and brown.

Once more the seasons are changing.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Every new season is welcomed; every new season a joy.

ANNOUNCEMENT:  For those in the Madison area: Mark your calendars.  Launch of my new novel, THE GREAT SAND FRACAS OF AMES COUNTY will be at Barnes and Noble, West in Madison on October 7, 7:00 p.m. Free.  Everyone invited
UPCOMING EVENTS:
September 20, 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Stories From the Land, Stonefield Village, Cassville.

September 24, 10:15. Wisconsin Retired Educators, Marriott West, Madison. Rural Wit and Wisdom

October 2, Heartland Forum, Minneapolis: The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County

October 7, 7:00 p.m. Barnes and Noble, west Madison: The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County

October 16, 6:00 p.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose, WI The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County

October 19, 12:30 p.m. Wisconsin Book Festival, Rm. 302, Madison Main Library. The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County

October 23, 7:00, Green Bay Neville Museum. Horse Drawn Days.

November 1, 9:00 to 4:00 “Writing From Your Life Workshop” The Clearing, Ellison Bay, WI

November 1, 4:30 p.m., Book signing WI The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County The Clearing, Ellison Bay, Wi.

November 8, 9:00-11:30, Sheboygan County Research Center, Plymouth, WI. Barns of Wisconsin.

December 7, 1:00-2:15 and 2:30-3:15 Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells(Two sessions) Wis Farm Bureau Meeting. Writing From Your Life for Children and Grandchildren.


Sunday, September 07, 2014

Plants and Stories


Every old building has a story to tell.  Barns and old train depots, country schools and country churches, cheese factories and houses, these and many more have a story tell, it just takes a little digging to discover  the story.

Plants have stories to tell as well.  For years I have walked past a rather strange looking plant that grows at my farm.  It grows in clumps and some of the larger clumps resemble small shrubs.  Indeed, at one time I thought it was a shrub.

It’s a Lead Plant.  It has narrow, greenish-gray leaves and a rather striking blue flower that blooms in mid-summer. It will live for more than a hundred years and yet it never grows much taller than three feet. The older it is, the more it looks like a woody shrub.

It’s native to the sandy soils of central Wisconsin and is often found where big blue stem grass grows.  It’s sometimes referred to as a Prairie Shoestring because its roots will grow as long as 15 feet, thus its ability to survive on a droughty, sandy prairie, which is what I have.

I found two answers as to why it’s called a Lead Plant.  One answer: the plant’s leaves look like they've been dusted with white lead.  A second answer: the plant was found growing in southwestern Wisconsin when the lead miners arrived.  The miners thought that when they found this plant, they would find lead deposits beneath it.

Native Americans dried the leaves of the lead plant and made a tea from them.   And the first settlers in an area where the Lead Plant grew cursed it and called it the Devil’s Shoestrings because the roots became entangled with their breaking plows.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Look for the stories, they are all around us.

ANNOUNCEMENT:  My new novel, THE GREAT SAND FRACAS OF AMES COUNTY is now available. Go to this link for details: http://uwpress.wisc.edu/books/5392.htm.  Order from my website, www.jerryapps.com or purchase from your local bookstore.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
September 9, 6:30 p.m., Monroe Library, Limping Through Life.
September 14, 6:00 p.m. West Salem Historical Society, (West Salem American Legion). Barns of Wisconsin.
September 20, 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Stories From the Land, Stonefield Village, Cassville.
September 24, 10:15. Wisconsin Retired Educators, Marriott West, Madison. Rural Wit and Wisdom
October 2, Heartland Forum, Minneapolis: The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County
October 7, 7:00 p.m. Barnes and Noble, west Madison: The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County
October 16, 6:00 p.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose, WI The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County
October 19, 12:30 p.m. Wisconsin Book Festival, Rm. 302, Madison Main Library The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County
October 23, 7:00, Green Bay Neville Museum. Horse Drawn Days.
November 1, 9:00 to 4:00 “Writing From Your Life Workshop” The Clearing, Ellison Bay, WI
November 8, 9:00-11:30, Sheboygan County Research Center, Plymouth, WI. Barns of Wisconsin.
November 1, 4:30 p.m. The Clearing, Ellison Bay, WI The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County
December 7, 1:00-2:15 and 2:30-3:15 Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells(Two sessions) Wis Farm Bureau Meeting. Writing From Your Life for Children and Grandchildren.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Remembering My First Day of School


On this Labor Day weekend, I am remembering my first day of school, and how important it was and how I had looked forward to it.  I had just turned five in July, and because there was no kindergarten in the country schools, I was in first grade.  Scared out of my wits.  Not knowing what to expect.  Wondering how all those “big kids” would treat me.

Miss Piechowski was my teacher, in fact she was everybody’s teacher in the school as it was a one-room country school with all eight grades in one room.  I arrived at school, walking the mile from the home farm with neighbor kids, wearing my new bib overalls, a new shirt, and my special “go to town” cap.  And I had combed my hair.  Ma said I could not go to school without combing my hair.  I hated combing my hair, but I didn't want to get in trouble with Ma, especially not on my first day of school.

In 1939 the year I enrolled, the school had no electricity, no indoor plumbing and was heated with a huge old wood burning stove. Quite primitive by today’s standards.  I soon discovered I loved the place because it was here that I learned how to read and appreciate the importance of books. 

It was here that I learned how to spell, and how to take apart sentences and put them together again.  It was here that I learned that 12 x 12 equaled 144, and that the capitol of Ohio was Columbus.  And it was here that I learned how to get along with Polish kids, Bohemian kids, German kids, Norwegian kids, Catholic kids and Methodist kids and kids who never saw the inside of a church.

 It was here that I spent eight years and developed a great love for reading, for books and for writing.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Learning does not require a fancy place, although such a place can make it easier.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:  It’s time to sign up for my writing class at The Clearing (Saturday, November 1). It’s about writing stories from your life—to be shared with families, friends and more. Go to this link for further information. http://theclearing.org/current/classes_workshop_description.php?id=3
If that doesn’t work, write or call The Clearing:
12171 Garrett Bay Rd, Ellison Bay, WI 54210
(920) 854-4088.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

September 3, 5:00 p.m. Live at Five TV Show, CBS, Channel 3, Madison.

September 9, 6:30 p.m., Monroe Library, Limping Through Life.

September 14, 6:00 p.m. West Salem Historical Society, (West Salem American Legion).  Barns of Wisconsin.

September 20, 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Stories From the Land, Stonefield Village, Cassville.

September 24, 10:15. Wisconsin Retired Educators, Marriott West, Madison.  How to Tell Your Story.

NEW NOVEL OUT IN SEPTEMBER: The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County can now be pre-ordered. It's all about how a small town deals with the possibility of a frac sand mine coming to their community.  Go to this link for further information: http://uwpress.wisc.edu/books/5392.htm

Here are upcoming launch and signing dates for the book:

October 2, Heartland Forum, Minneapolis

October 7, 7:00 p.m. Barnes and Noble, west Madison,

October 16, 6:00 p.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose, WI

October 19, 12:30 p.m. Wisconsin Book Festival, Rm. 302, Madison Main Library

November 1, 4:30 p.m. The Clearing, Ellison Bay, WI



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Rain Dance Worked


The rain dance worked.  The shower shuffle succeeded.  The rains came to the farm, more than three inches the last couple weeks. The garden is happy, especially the squash and the pumpkins, the cucumbers and the gourds.  They've lifted their wilting leaves and are growing once more.  Yellow blossoms everywhere.

And oh, how happy are the late summer prairie flowers, ready to bloom a few weeks ago and then the dry weather came.  But now they are thriving once more, especially the wonderfully attractive purple-flowered blazing star, and the vast spreads of three kinds of deep yellow goldenrods.

And my little pine trees planted in the spring, struggling to stay alive, now are likely saved with the ample rains.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: A rainy day is a happy day.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:  It’s time to sign up for my writing class at The Clearing (Saturday, November 1). It’s about writing stories from your life—to be shared with families, friends and more. Go to this link for further information. http://theclearing.org/current/classes_workshop_description.php?id=3
If that doesn’t work, write or call The Clearing:
12171 Garrett Bay Rd, Ellison Bay, WI 54210
(920) 854-4088.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

August 26, Neville Museum, Green Bay. 6:30 p.m.  Breweries of Wisconsin

September 3, 5:00 p.m. Live at Five TV Show, CBS, Channel 3, Madison.

September 9, 6:30 p.m., Monroe Library, Limping Through Life.

September 14, 6:00 p.m. West Salem Historical Society, (West Salem American Legion.  Barns of Wisconsin.

September 20, 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Stories From the Land, Stonefield Village, Cassville.

September 24, 10:15. Wisconsin Retired Educators, Marriott West, Madison.  How to Tell Your Story.

NEW NOVEL OUT IN SEPTEMBER: The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County can now be pre-ordered. It's all about how a small town deals with the possibility of a frac sand mine coming to their community.  Go to this link for further information: http://uwpress.wisc.edu/books/5392.htm

Here are upcoming launch and signing dates for the book:

October 2, Heartland Forum, Minneapolis

October 7, 7:00 p.m. Barnes and Noble, west Madison,

October 16, 6:00 p.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose, WI

October 19, 12:30 p.m. Wisconsin Book Festival, Rm. 302, Madison Main Library

November 1, 4:30 p.m. The Clearing, Ellison Bay, WI



Sunday, August 17, 2014

Garden Report


Mid-August garden report.  An inch of rain last week helped considerably.  We had been watering, but a good, slow, soaking rain reaches every corner of the garden, something my watering system does not do.

Saturday was a harvest day.  I dug two long rows of onions.  We have two grocery bags of onions—I leave on the tops, which we tie together and hang up in the garage so the onions dry.  What a year for zucchini.  Once more I planted a few hills too many, so we had two grocery bags plus more of this prized green vegetable.  Ruth makes bread, muffins, and cake from zucchini.  Natasha has umpteen zucchini recipes, so we use them all from the finger-size ones, to those that are a couple feet long.

I dug the early red potatoes—a so-so crop, perhaps a half bushel.  And I dug the late potatoes that are ripe—another bushel.  Some of the potato patch is green and growing, which we will leave until the plants dry down.

The tomatoes are late; we picked perhaps 50 or so in various stages of becoming red, with many more to come.  Cucumbers have done well; we grow a long, skinny variety that is great for salads.

The sweet corn is also late.  Natasha picked a couple grocery bags.  Can’t beat fresh corn on the cob, ranks right up there with garden-ripe tomatoes.

My experiment this year, collards, have done well.  This is about the third harvest and they keep coming back.  They make a fine salad and are supposed to have big-time nutritional value as well.

More rain would be welcome, to top off the potato crop, keep the tomatoes doing well, and assure us of a decent squash and pumpkin crop—a few pumpkins have already turned yellow,  a reminder that summer is leaving us.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Troubles in your life—a vegetable garden can help them disappear.

NEW NOVEL OUT IN SEPTEMBER: The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County can now be pre-ordered. It's all about how a small town deals with the possibility of a frac sand mine coming to their community.  Go to this link for further information: http://uwpress.wisc.edu/books/5392.htm

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:  It’s time to sign up for my writing class at The Clearing (Saturday, November 1). It’s about writing stories from your life—to be shared with families, friends and more. Go to this link for further information. http://theclearing.org/current/classes_workshop_description.php?id=3
If that doesn't work, write or call The Clearing:
12171 Garrett Bay Rd, Ellison Bay, WI 54210
(920) 854-4088.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

August 20, Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. Madison. 5-7 p.m. Stories From the Land.  For more information: elindell@wisconsinacademy.org

August 22, Verona Library 7:00 p.m.  Farm Stories.

August 26, Neville Museum, Green Bay. 6:30 p.m.  Breweries of Wisconsin

September 9, 6:30 p.m., Monroe Library, Limping Through Life.



Sunday, August 10, 2014

Dry Weather

Dry weather at the farm.  Lawn has turned brown and crunches under foot.  Garden  suffers in places where we are not able to water.

Rain clouds build up in the afternoon, then disappear at sunset.  Everyday the same.  Bright sun in the morning, eighty degree temps., storm clouds but no rain.

Prairie remains green, but not growing. Late summer prairie flowers, goldenrods and blazing star—so stunning when they open—seem to be waiting for the rain. In a holding pattern.

The prairie grasses know drought, especially the big blue stem grass that continues to grow on the side hill where I first found it, a place that was likely never plowed so the grass is old, hundreds of years maybe.  Big blue stem, grows six feet tall, rain or no rain, as it has a root system that goes nearly as deep as its height above ground.

I worry about the little pines I planted in the spring.  Off to a good start, but now in need of rain.  Everything could benefit from some rain.  An all day soaker.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Time for a rain dance, or at least a shower shuffle.

NEW NOVEL OUT IN SEPTEMBER: The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County can now be pre-ordered. It's all about how a small town deals with the possibility of a frac sand mine coming to their community.  Go to this link for further information: http://uwpress.wisc.edu/books/5392.htm

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:  It’s time to sign up for my writing class at The Clearing (Saturday, November 1). It’s about writing stories from your life—to be shared with families, friends and more. Go to this link for further information. http://theclearing.org/current/classes_workshop_description.php?id=3
If that doesn’t work, write or call The Clearing:
12171 Garrett Bay Rd, Ellison Bay, WI 54210
(920) 854-4088.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

August 20, Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. Madison. 5-7 p.m. Stories From the Land.  For more information: elindell@wisconsinacademy.org

August 22, Verona Library 7:00 p.m.  Farm Stories.

August 26, Neville Museum, Green Bay. 6:30 p.m.  Breweries of Wisconsin

September 9, 6:30 p.m., Monroe Library, Limping Through Life.


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 both of Jerry’s DVDs, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps and Jerry Apps A Farm Story.
Also available are several of Jerry’s book 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).
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.




Sunday, August 03, 2014

Reed School


This past Saturday, Ruth, my daughter, Sue and I visited the Reed School, a former one-room country school on Highway 10 east of Neillsville and now a Wisconsin Historical Society site.  It’s open for visitors from ten to four on weekends from May 3 to October 26.  Sue’s new book, One Room Schools: Stories from the Days of 1 Room, 1 Teacher, 8 Grades, (Wisconsin Historical Society Press) features the Reed School on its cover.

Visiting the school reminded me of my days attending the Chain O’ Lake one-room school west of Wild Rose with its pictures of Lincoln and Washington hanging on the wall, the Red Wing water bubbler, the black board stretching across one end of the building, an upright piano standing off to the side, and the seats, some designed to fit first graders, some for eighth graders, all lined up in rows.

 

Hanging on one wall was the big regulator clock that I remember so well from my school days.  Our teachers were tough disciplinarians.  They wanted it so quiet in the school that we could hear the ticking of the clock.  Still today, I can hear the “tick-tock, tick tock” of that old clock, telling us how much time we had to be quiet before recess and we could race outside and play pom-pom-pull-away, anti-I-over, or kick the can—and use our outside voices.


THE OLD TIMER SAYS: One room schools evoke many memories.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:  It’s time to sign up for my writing class at The Clearing (Saturday, November 1). It’s all about writing stories from your life—to be shared with families, friends and more. Go to this link for further information. http://theclearing.org/current/classes_workshop_description.php?id=3
If that doesn’t work, write or call The Clearing:
12171 Garrett Bay Rd, Ellison Bay, WI 54210
(920) 854-4088.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

August 20, Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. Madison. 5-7 p.m. Stories From the Land.  For more information: elindell@wisconsinacademy.org

August 22, Verona Library 7:00 p.m.  Farm Stories.

August 26, Neville Museum, Green Bay. 6:30 p.m.  Breweries of Wisconsin

September 9, 6:30 p.m., Monroe Library, Limping Through Life.


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 both of Jerry’s DVDs, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps and Jerry Apps A Farm Story.
Also available are several of Jerry’s book 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).
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.