Sunday, February 28, 2010

Discover Wisconsin: March 6-7

On a warm day last November, a production crew from the TV-Series, “Discover Wisconsin” stopped by my farm for a few hours. They asked me to be part of a program they planned called “Booked into Wisconsin.” (The program will air March 6 & 7 on TV stations throughout the upper Midwest. See the station listing at the end of this blog.)

Program host, Stephanie Klett interviewed me about my Ames County Novels, a series of historical fiction books I have written about the history of agriculture in central Wisconsin. Four novels so far comprise the series, “The Travels of Increase Joseph,” “In a Pickle,” “Blue Shadows Farm,” and soon to be published, “Cranberry Red.” All are published by University of Wisconsin Press and are or will be available in book stores and can be ordered directly from my website.

Here is a brief rundown of each novel:

1. The Travels of Increase Joseph (Time Period: 1850-1900) Published in 2003 & 2010.

The Travels of Increase Joseph tells of the first settlers coming to central Wisconsin in 1852, settling Ames County and naming their village Link Lake. These settlers followed an unusual preacher, Increase Joseph Link, from New York State to Wisconsin. Increase Joseph, tossed out of Harvard College for his liberal thinking, preaches, “The land comes first.” The novel emphasizes the environmental challenges of the time, with many applications to today’s situation.

2. In a Pickle: A Family Farm Story (Time Period: 1955) Published in 2007.

This novel takes place in Ames County in 1955, when nearly every small farmer in the western part of the county grew a small patch of cucumbers. The book focuses on the forces that caused many small family farmers to leave the land.

3. Blue Shadows Farm (Time Period: 1866-present time) Published in 2009.

Blue Shadows Farm follows three generations of the Starkweather family as they try to make a living on a farm in the Link Lake Community of Ames County. It is about connecting to the land both past and present. A contemporary sub-plot concerns environmental education in the schools and the importance of children having first hand contact with nature and the out-of-doors.

4. Cranberry Red (Time Period: the present.) Publication date: Fall 2010.

Isaac Osborne University (a for-profit institution) discovers a new chemical called “Cranberry Red” that promises to drastically improve cranberry growth. It also claims that consuming these treated cranberries will prevent heart disease, reduce brain damage from strokes, and ward off Alzheimer’s. Ben Wesley, the Research Application Specialist for Osborne University, must sell the new substance to cranberry growers in Ames County and other Wisconsin Counties. However, the chemical has not been tested adequately, and Wesley remains apprehensive about promoting the substance since research results seem limited and overstated. While the chemical does all that the University claims it will do, it also creates some disturbing side-affects,

The story focuses on the push and pull of big businesses’ need for fast profit, a community’s need for safety, and how people can be caught in the debate of balancing efficiency with morality.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Great truths are often revealed in fiction.

WRITING WORKSHOP: The dates for my writing workshop at The Clearing in Door
County for 2010 are August 8-14. Contact for further information.


Eau Claire Farm Show, Eau Claire Indoor Sports Center, March 3, 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. (Stories From The Land)

Aldo Leopold celebration, Lake Geneva Public Library, March 6, 10:30 a.m. (Old Farm and Ames County novels.)

Wisconsin Studio, Overture Center, Madison, WI, Sunday, March 21, 1:00 p.m. (Old

UW-Baraboo, “Add Learning to Your Life” workshop for those 55 and older. March 25, 11:30 a.m. (Stories From the Land) Call 608-355-5234 for further information.

Westfield Public Library. March 31, 12:45-1:30. (Ames County Novels)


The Discover Wisconsin – America's Dairyland "Booked Into Wisconsin" episode will air throughout the upper Midwest on the following stations during the times noted below:

Wausau WAOW TV 9 (ABC)
Saturdays 6:30 p.m.

Wisconsin (Statewide) FSN - Wisconsin
Saturdays 10:00 a.m. Outdoor Block

Baraboo WRPQ TV 43
Saturdays 1:30 PM & Mondays 10:00 PM

Cedar Rapids/Dubuque IA KFXA 28 (FOX)
Saturdays 6:30 p.m.

Chicago Comcast SportsNet
Saturdays 10:00 a.m.

Eagle River WYOW TV 34 (ABC)
Saturdays 6:30 p.m.

Eau Claire WQOW TV 18 (ABC)
Sundays 5:00 p.m.

Green Bay WFRV Ch 5 (CBS)
Saturdays 6:00 p.m

Hibbing, MN WIRT TV 13 (ABC)
Sundays 5:30 p.m.

La Crosse WXOW TV 19 (ABC)
Sundays 5:00 p.m.

Madison WKOW TV 27 (ABC)
Saturdays 6:30 p.m.

Milwaukee WITI TV 6 (FOX)
Sundays 9:00 a.m.

Minneapolis/MN FSN - North
Saturdays 10:00 a.m. Outdoor Block

Rochester/Austin FSN - North
Saturdays 10:00 a.m

Rockford WIFR TV 23 (CBS)
Saturdays 6:30 p.m.

Superior/Duluth WDIO TV 10 (ABC)
Sundays 5:30 p.m.

Tomah, WI WIBU - TV
Mondays 5:00 p.m

Upper Michigan - Escanaba, MI WJMN Ch 3 (CBS)
Saturdays 6:00 CST/7:00 EST

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