The rain began in mid-morning with just a few scattered drops. No booming thunder. No flashes of lightning. No tree shaking wind. And then, slowly, the rain increased in intensity. Not a downpour, but a steady, soaking, earth loving rain. It rained all day and all night and most of the following morning. My rain gauge showed two inches when it finally stopped, as it had started, with a few scattered drops.
I remembered rainy days like this when my brothers and I were helping Pa with the haying season, during the days when we made loose hay and hauled it to the barn with our trusty team of horses, and piled it in the barn’s hay mow. Hot, dusty, heavy, hard work. So a rainy day was a day away from haying.
When the morning chores were done, and the cows were turned out to pasture—they didn’t seem to mind the rain splattering on their backs—we would crawl up into the hay mow where the freshly cut hay was stored. And there we would rest on the hay that smelled of sweet clover and alfalfa, and listen to the drumming of the raindrops on the barn roof. We’d listen to Pa’s stories of rainy days that he remembered—but mostly we’d enjoy a day of rest, and celebrate the rain, for our sandy farm never had enough .
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Never curse the rain.
My one-day writing course on “Writing From Your Life,” is scheduled for Saturday, October 17 at the Clearing in Door County. Go to http://theclearing.org/current/classes_workshop_description.php?id=26 for detailed information.
BOOK OF THE WEEK:
John Muir, THE STORY OF MY BOYHOOD AND YOUTH. Muir, who was born in Scotland in 1838, moved with his family to Wisconsin when he was eleven years old. They settled on a farm in Marquette County, where life was hard but the lessons were many. Muir went on to co- found the Sierra Club in 1892 and was a major force in establishing the National Park System in this country. He died in 1914.
Muir’s home farm, south of Montello, was located on Fountain Lake. Muir wrote this: “On Sundays, after or before chores and sermons and Bible-lessons, we drifted about on our lake for hours, especially in lily time, getting the finest lessons and sermons from the water and flowers, ducks, fishes, and muskrats.”
June 23, Midwest Secretaries of Agriculture, Dinner Meeting. 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, Whispers and Shadows.
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. Time to be announced.
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 10, Heartland Forum, Chicago. Book signing.
October 11, Old World Wisconsin [Time to be announced]
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)