Sunday, January 18, 2009

Blue Shadows Farm

I learned last week that my newest book of historical fiction will be published by the University of Wisconsin Press in August of this year. It is my third novel in the Ames County Series, which so far includes THE TRAVELS OF INCREASE JOSEPH and IN A PICKLE. In these novels, I examine how history has influenced family farms and the direction for agriculture in the heartland of this country.

The new book is described this way:

BLUE SHADOWS FARM follows the intriguing family story of three generations on a Wisconsin farm. It begins as Silas Starkweather, a Civil War Veteran, is lured to Wisconsin and homesteads 160 acres in Ames County. Mysteriously, his first interest is not farming. He quickly becomes known as a peculiar man who is forever digging holes and putting up new fences.

Through years of hardship and tragedy, Silas discovers a respect for his community and a love of his land. His son Abe, an alcoholic, continues to live on the farm during Prohibition and the Depression. Abe doesn’t inherit his father’s love for their land, but continues farming out of economic necessity.

Abe’s daughter Emma, a contemporary character, has remained and cared for the land, fences and buildings. She shares her farm with school children and families who also appreciate and respect this place. Emma is faced with a difficult decision, she must sell the family farm, but to whom? A for-profit educational organization is interested in buying. Within a controversy that disrupts the entire community, Emma looks to her past to make decisions for the future of Blue Shadows Farm.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: When you think you have gotten something about right, consider that as the starting place for making it much better.

January 19, 6:00 PM, Portage (Columbia County) Historical Society dinner, Old Farm featured. Call 608-742-1445 for further information.

January 30, Viroqua Public Schools.

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