Sunday, May 31, 2015

First Radishes

We pulled the first radishes from our Roshara Garden yesterday.  Cherry red, crisp and sweet—an early taste of spring.  I don’t remember ever having radishes ready to eat in May—by mid-June usually, but not in May.  A pleasant surprise.  We also have lettuce ready to eat as well as collards.

            The other thing I don’t remember is harvesting early crops from the garden before half of the garden is planted.  At the same time that Natasha was pulling radishes, Steve and I planted cucumbers, winter squash, zucchini, rutabaga, pumpkins, beets, gourds and a second round of sweet corn—I planted a couple rows last Saturday.

            Last week, we had three and one-half inches of rain at Roshara—always welcome on our sandy soil, but a little too much in a short period of time.  Water stood on one side of the garden, very unusual.

            And to add to the weather challenges, I talked to my brother, Donald yesterday (his farm is next to mine) and I asked him what he was doing.  “I’m covering my tomatoes and potatoes because frost is predicted tonight.”

            So what to do.  We have about 75 tomato plants, way too many to cover.   We have a dozen or more long rows of potatoes—also impossible to protect.  At ten last night it was 47 degrees, at 5:30 this morning it was 37—and no frost in the garden that I noticed.  Whew.

Book of the Week

            One of my blog readers suggested folks might be interested in  books I’ve been reading, or have enjoyed and learned from in the past.  So here goes with the first one.  The book is THE LAND OF MILK AND UNCLE HONEY by Alan Guebert and Mary Grace Foxwell (University of Illinois Press) and just published (May 15). 

            Guebert is a nationally syndicated agriculturist columnist (see his column in THE COUNTRY TODAY). Foxwell is his daughter.  In a section that is titled “December Past,"  Guebert writes, “The gray gloom of December has arrived again and so, too, have the memories of boyhood on a southern Illinois dairy farm.  Most of the warm recollections, however, are of cold cows, cold hands, cold feet and old machinery.”

            For those interested in reading about Midwestern farm life during an earlier time, this is a most interesting, and valuable book.  Those of us who have had these experiences are fewer each year.

The Old Timer Says:  When working the land, one must always consider the weather, even though there is little we can do about it.

Special Announcement:  My one-day writing course on “Writing from Your Life,” is scheduled for Saturday, October 17 at the Clearing in Door County.  Go to  for detailed information:

Upcoming Events:

June 11, 5:30 p.m. Fund Raising Event, Stoughton Area Resource Team (START), Stoughton Hospital, Limping Through Life.

June 16, 6:30 p.m. Dinner and Lecture, Wisconsin Historical Society Museum, Whispers and Shadows. Call 608-264-6555 for reservations.

June 18, 6:30, Riveredge Nature Center, Saukville, Whispers and Shadows.

June 23, Midwest Secretaries of Agriculture, Dinner Meeting. Madison, Concourse Hotel, Madison. Keynote.

July 16, 6:30. Heritage Village at Big Creek, Sturgeon Bay, Remembering Farm Life from an Earlier Day

September 3, Noon.  Old World Wisconsin, Wisconsin Agriculture: A History (New book)

September 3, 7 p.m. Books and Company bookstore,  Oconomowoc,  Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.

September 12, West Madison Agriculture Research Station, Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.  Time to be announced.

September 17, 11:-a.m.  St. Luke's Church, Middleton, WI   Stories From the Land

September 19 , Stonefield Village, Cassville.  Whispers and Shadows.

September 23, Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.

September 26, 10:30 -2:00, Dregni’s, Westby, Book signing.

October 7, 6:30 p.m. Reedsburg Library, Whispers and Shadows

October 9-10, Heartland Forum, Chicago.

October 15, Prairie du Sac Library, Whispers and Shadows

October 17, 9-4 Teaching writing workshop at The Clearing, Ellison Bay, WI

October 17, 4:30-6:00 p.m. The Clearing.  Book signing, Whispers and Shadows, Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.

October 29, Brown County Library.  Premier of TV Documentary,” The Land With Jerry Apps. “ Book signing, Whispers and Shadows.

November 5, 7:00 p.m. Baraboo Library, Whispers and Shadows.

November 7, Edgerton Book Festival, The Land (TV documentary) and Whispers and Shadows

November 15, 9:15 Midvale Lutheran Church, The Land (TV documentary)  plus discussion of Whispers and Shadows.

November 14, 9:30 -11:30 a.m. Sheboygan County Historical Research Center.  Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.

November 18, Preview of TV Documentary, “The Land With Jerry Apps” Wild Rose High School Auditorium.  Whispers and Shadows book signing. (Time to be announced)

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