Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Remembering the Pickle Patch

Back when I was a kid on a farm near Wild Rose, Wisconsin, by now in the season our pickle patch was beginning to look a little ragged from the twice a week pickings since July. By Labor Day the pickle picking season was about over. If the season had been good, my brothers Donald and Darrel and I had new bib overalls and new shoes for school, and maybe even a new Daisy BB gun or a shiny new hunting knife we'd eyed in the Sears Catalog for weeks.

The Old Timers says:

"Knew this blind fellow once. He could see more than most of us."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

In a Pickle on WI Public Radio

Tune in Wisconsin Public Radio on 11:45 Thursday, August 30 when host Larry Meiller and I will discuss my new novel, IN A PICKLE. Be prepared to call in and share your pickle picking stories.

Thoughts from the Old Timer:

"Patience is something you just can't have too much of. Most things don't happen near as fast as we'd like them to."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

What is In A Pickle?

Several people have asked recently, "Just what is that new novel of yours about?"

In a few words, IN A PICKLE is about small family farms and why we have so few of them these days.

In the book, the newspaper editor of the Link Lake Gazette, writes in response to questions about disappearing family farms: "Don't you realize what we are giving up when we lose a family farm? It's a way of life, but so much more. We lose people who who know the land and how to care for it, who know livestock and how to raise it, who know machinery and how to keep operating, and who know what community means. That's what will be lost when these family farms disappear."

If any of you have comments, please respond. I would enjoy a discussion about the family farm.

Old timer comment: "Life is like a river. There are twists and turns, quiet spots and rapids, deep pools and shallow flats. But a river is always moving. Always the same but always different. Just like people."

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Writing From Your Life

I've just returned from a great week at The Clearing in Door County, Wisconsin where I taught a workshop on "Writing From Your Life." Fifteen students from younger to older wrote their stories and shared them for critique. What fun it was.

I'm doing a one day intro workshop on the topic Saturday, September 15. Check my website and the Clearing's website for details.

Old timer Wisdom.

"When it comes to talking about something--if you can't put it in simple words, better keep your mouth shut until you can."

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Pickle Patches

This past week I drove past several huge cucumber fields in Waushara County, Wisconsin with migrant workers hunched over picking cucumbers as they have for many years. Try as they might, inventors have not come up with a cucumber picking machine that works as well as human hands.

Take a look at my new novel, IN A PICKLE: A FAMILY FARM STORY. It's all about cucumber growing in the 1950s in central Wisconsin, when nearly every farmer had a small "pickle patch" as we called them.

An old timer shared this with me the other day: "Being old is mostly not a bad thing. It's for sure better than being dead. But never having been dead, I can't speak with much authority."