I was traveling north of Madison on Highway 22, in Amish country, when I spotted it. An oat field with oat shocks lined up in neat rows, drying and awaiting threshing. For this old farm boy it was a sight to behold.
My mind immediately took me back to the late 1940s, when on the home farm we cut oats with a grain binder and my brothers and I stood the oat bundles on end, making oat shocks. Pa insisted they be made just right, so they would shed water if it rained, and that they would remain standing in a strong wind.
It was a hot, sweaty job, made more miserable in the hollows for here the bull thistles grew. The thistles found their way into the oat bundles, and in turn the sharp thistle spines found their way into our arms.
After Pa had finished cutting the oats, he joined us with the oat shocking. The oat field was usually 20 acres in size, and at the end of a long, tiring day, with oat shocks stretching in long rows from one end of the field to the other; we all stood and looked across the field.
Pa would say, “Isn’t that just something to see.” And it was.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Beauty takes many forms. A field of oat shocks certainly is one.
BOOK OF THE WEEK:
WEATHER WISDOM by Albert Lee. (Double Day and Company, 1976). Most of us remember, “Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning,” and “Red sky at night, sailors delight.” Here is a book full of these weather sayings. Such quaint ones as “When the ditch and pond affect the nose, then look out for rain and storm blows.” Or, “Ants that move their eggs and climb, rain is coming anytime.”
Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fund raiser for them):
The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs, Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps and Jerry Apps A Farm Story.
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including The Quiet Season (on which the DVD A Farm Winter is based), as well as Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm, (which are related to the DVD Jerry Apps a Farm Story). Also available is Jerry’s new novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
August 12, 6:00 p.m., Westfield Library. Whispers and Shadows
August 26, 9:30 a.m. Farm Technology Days, Sun Prairie. Farm Stories.
August 30, 1-4 p.m., Book World, West Bend. Book signing.
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, 2-4 p.m. West Madison Agriculture Research Station, Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
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 4, 1-3 p.m. Readers Realm bookstore, Montello. Ag. History
October 7, 6:30 p.m. Reedsburg Library, Whispers and Shadows
October 10, Heartland Forum, Chicago.
October 11, Old World Wisconsin
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 14, 9:30 -11:30 a.m. Sheboygan County Historical Research Center. Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
November 15, 9:15 Midvale Lutheran Church, The Land (TV documentary) plus discussion of Whispers and Shadows.
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)