Saturday, May 20, 2017

It's Lilac Time


It’s lilac time. Those wonderful, sweet smelling flowers are in bloom. They bring back memories and they are filled with history. The old-fashioned ones come in white, deep purple and lavender and the bushes will grow twenty-feet tall and have trunks as thick as a small tree.

I will never forget the lilac bushes that grew along the southern fence at the one-room school that I attended for eight years. When the lilacs appeared in May, we knew the end of the school year was near. Our teacher would fill a vase with lilacs, and the musty, left over smell of wood smoke in our school room would be replaced with the gentle smell of lilac. The smell of spring.

We have a row of lilacs growing in front of the windbreak at our Roshara cabin. They were planted in 1912 when the farm buildings were moved across the road from their original location that dated to 1867. No doubt the Coombes family, who owned Roshara then, not only moved their homestead across the road, but they also moved their lilacs. Our lilacs are thus 105 years old and still going strong.

This time of the year is an especially interesting time to travel around Wisconsin. As most people know we’ve lost thousands of farms over the past several years. The barns are gone, the farm houses are gone. But a clump of lilacs often remains, like a tombstone that marks a grave, lilacs mark where once a farmstead stood. When I spot these often lonely bushes, covered with flowers, I think about the farm family that lived there. What were their stories? The lilac bushes remain to remind us of an earlier day.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Stop and smell the lilacs and think of the stories they have to tell.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Friday, August 18, 9-4:00 p.m. The Clearing, Door County.
Call 920-854-4088. Limited enrollment.
UPCOMING EVENTS:

May 25, 7:00 p.m. Richfield Historical Societ Never Curse the Rain. Richfield Fire Hall, 2008 Hwy 175, Richfield, WI.


Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest nonfiction book, Never Curse the Rain, and his newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also available are Wisconsin Agriculture: A History,
Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835





Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mother's Day Memories



When I was a kid, the day before Mother’s Day Pa would hike my little twin brothers and me to the far end of our twenty acre woodlot that began just outside the backdoor of our farm house. The oak trees had just begun to leaf out, and the spring birds were chattering away as we walked single file behind Pa.

Pa knew of a little opening in the far end of the woods on a hilltop where there were no trees. In this little opening the wild violets grew, hundreds of them. Mostly purple but some white ones. Some lavender ones. A carpet of violets with oak trees growing all around.

“Your Ma likes violets,” Pa said. “She’d like some for Mother’s Day.” Each of us picked as many as our little hands could hold.

A short while later we arrived home and went into the kitchen where Ma was baking bread. It seemed she was always baking bread, as we must have eaten a lot of it. Each of us handed our freshly picked, beautiful violets to Ma. “Happy Mother’s Day,” we said.

She took a water glass from the cupboard, filled it with water from the water pail that stood next to the sink, and placed our little hand-picked presents in the center of the kitchen table. Next to the ever present kerosene lamp.

“Thank you,” she said. “Thank you.” She had tears in her eyes.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Little gifts can mean a lot.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Friday, August 18, 9-4:00 p.m. The Clearing, Door County.
Call 920-854-4088. Limited enrollment.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

May 18. Neville Public Museum, Green Bay. Wisconsin Agriculture: A History. Dinner at 5:00 p.m. Program at 6:00 p.m. Registrations required. Call 920-448-7874.

May 25, 7:00 p.m. Richfield Historical Sociey. Never Curse the Rain. Richfield Fire Hall, 2008 Hwy 175, Richfield, WI.


Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest nonfiction book, Never Curse the Rain, and his newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also available are Wisconsin Agriculture: A History,
Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835




Saturday, May 06, 2017

Watching the Clouds Roll By


Okay you say. The old guy has gone daft—a word from an earlier day—today you’d probably say “gone off the rails.”

Doesn’t he have enough to do that he sits watching the clouds roll by? Something a kid would do on a summer day, looking at the clouds and seeing rabbits and dragons and whatever an active imagination might come up with.

Everyone has a creative side, whether it’s tuning an engine, baking a cake, painting a picture, writing a poem—or a hundred other examples. That creative side regularly needs encouragement. Our creative batteries need re-charging.

As a writer, I know my creative battery needs recharging, and often. Watching the clouds roll by on a warm spring day is one way to do it.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Find time to charge your creative battery.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Friday, August 18, 9-4:00 p.m. The Clearing, Door County.
Call 920-854-4088. Limited enrollment.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

May 18. Neville Public Museum, Green Bay. Wisconsin Agriculture: A History. Dinner at 5:00 p.m. Program at 6:00 p.m. Registrations required. Call 920-448-7874.

May 25, 7:00 p.m. Richfield Historical Sociey. Never Curse the Rain. Richfield Fire Hall, 2008 Hwy 175, Richfield, WI.


Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest nonfiction book, Never Curse the Rain, and his newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also available are Wisconsin Agriculture: A History,
Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835




Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Quiet





I’m sitting by my pond this chilly, late April afternoon, listening for the quiet. Quiet is becoming ever more difficult to find these days with ever-chirping cell-phones, loud shouting radio and TV commentators, sirens blaring, impatient motorists laying on their car horns, and the ever-present traffic sound in the background. No quiet. Nothing close to quiet. Even in the dead of night in the city.

But sitting by my pond the only sound I hear is the breeze rustling the tops of the oaks and maples still bare of leaves, and the subtle sound of the wind riffling the surface of the pond.

I need to hear quiet regularly, and here at my farm, sitting by my pond, I hear it. Hearing the quiet recharges my personal batteries, calms my nerves and restores my soul.

Photo: Roshara Pond, April 2017.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Listen for the quiet.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Friday, August 18, 9-4:00 p.m. The Clearing, Door County.
Call 920-854-4088. Limited enrollment.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

May 18. Neville Public Museum, Green Bay. Wisconsin Agriculture: A History. Dinner at 5:00 p.m. Program at 6:00 p.m. Registrations required. Call 920-448-7874.

May 25, 7:00 p.m. Richfield Historical Sociey. Never Curse the Rain. Richfield Fire Hall, 2008 Hwy 175, Richfield, WI.


Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest nonfiction book, Never Curse the Rain, and his newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also available are Wisconsin Agriculture: A History,
Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835



Sunday, April 23, 2017

Farm Garden Day



On this Earth Day, a “how could the weather be better” April Saturday, the garden crew consisting of Steve, Natasha, Paul, Sue and the Senior Supervisor gathered for the annual early crop garden planting at the farm.

The sky was blue. Birds were singing and a slight breeze rustled the pine needles of the trees that fronted the garden. The temperature was a “good for working” seventy degrees.

After disking the cover crop of winter wheat into the soft ground, and marking the rows, we proceeded to plant—well the crew proceeded to plant as I kept track of what went where and why.

By early afternoon we had planted six long rows of white potatoes and one long row of red potatoes, a row and half of red and yellow onions, a row of peas, and long row of what Natasha called our “salad row.” Here she planted several kinds of lettuce, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, radishes and carrots.

In a week or so we’ll set out the broccoli and cabbage. We’ll wait a few weeks before we plant the “warm wanting” garden crops such as sweet corn, green beans, and the vining crops.

Photo: Steve marking the garden rows with a marker my father made some fifty years ago.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: It’s a great feeling when the early garden seeds are in the ground.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Friday, August 18, 9-4:00 p.m. The Clearing, Door County.
Call 920-854-4088. Limited enrollment.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

April 27, 6:00 p.m. Waupaca Historical Society, 320 S. Main Street, Waupaca. Barns of Wisconsin.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest nonfiction book, Never Curse the Rain, and his newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also available are Wisconsin Agriculture: A History,
Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835


Sunday, April 16, 2017

First Garden Seeds Planted


It’s time. The weather is right. The soil is ready. The seeds are purchased. It’s time to plant the garden—the early stuff not tomatoes, sweet corn, squash, pumpkins, green beans and other such that requires warmer soil, warmer nights, and yes warmer days.

On Good Friday—a proper day for planting I’m hoping—I planted four rows in the raised garden in my backyard. One row each of spinach, radishes, lettuce and peas. It’s a tiny garden, only three feet by eight feet. But each year I’m surprised how much twenty-four square feet of soil will produce.

I have a problem with rabbits, and squirrels that want to dig up the seeds as soon as I plant them. I cover the garden with nearly invisible black netting that keeps the critters out. As the plants come up and grow, I keep raising the netting, but it remains in place throughout the growing season.

Next Saturday is garden day at the farm—long rows of potatoes, more lettuce, radishes and other cool weather crops. A much larger garden that feeds three families, and provides ample opportunity for hoeing, weed pulling, rototilling, and yes, harvesting when things are ready.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: The coming of spring is confirmed when the first garden seeds are planted.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Friday, August 18, 9-4:00 p.m. The Clearing, Door County.
Call 920-854-4088. Limited enrollment.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
April 17, 6:30 p.m. New Berlin Library. Never Curse the Rain.

April 23, 7:00 p.m. Lebanon Historical Society. Town Hall, Fire Station, Lebanon. Storytelling.

April 27, 6:00 p.m. Waupaca Historical Society, 320 S. Main Street, Waupaca. Barns of Wisconsin.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest nonfiction book, Never Curse the Rain, and his newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also available are Wisconsin Agriculture: A History,
Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835


Sunday, April 09, 2017

Tree Planting: 2017


Starting in April 1966, we have planted trees at Roshara, our Waushara County farm every year. That first year we planted 2,000 trees, as I recall. Since then some years we have planted as few as 50 trees and as many as 7,500 one year (we had machine help that year). Otherwise we planted them by hand, with two person crews—one with a shovel making little slits in the ground, the other placing the tree and stamping the ground firm around it.

We have planted while it snowed, while it rained, while it sleeted. And, on occasion, when the sun was shining the wind was down and it was a joy to be outside.

We have planted red pine, white pine, jack pine and spruce. But mostly red pine, which does well on our sandy, droughty soils. We have thinned and done some minimal logging twice in these fifty plus years. Those first trees planted are now some 75 feet tall and more than a foot across.

This past Saturday was our planting day—son Steve, daughter Sue and son-in-law Paul did the heavy work. Steve and Sue sort of helped with the first planting back in 1967, but just a little, as they were little tykes at the time.

Different from many early tree planting days, Saturday’s temperature climbed into the high 60s, the sun was out and it was a grand day to do most anything outdoors. It had rained a lot during the week, so the soil was moist and easy for digging. No complaints from the tree planters this year.

Photo: Sue and Paul planting a spruce tree.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Little trees, like grandchildren, are essential for the future.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Friday, August 18, 9-4:00 p.m. The Clearing, Door County.
Call 920-854-4088. Limited enrollment.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

April 10, 1:30. Kiel Library, One-Room Schools

April 17, 6:30 p.m. New Berlin Library. Never Curse the Rain.

April 23, 7:00 p.m. Lebanon Historical Society. Town Hall, Fire Station, Lebanon. Storytelling.

April 27, 6:00 p.m. Waupaca Historical Society, 320 S. Main Street, Waupaca. Barns of Wisconsin.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest nonfiction book, Never Curse the Rain, and his newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also available are Wisconsin Agriculture: A History,
Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835


Saturday, April 01, 2017

Wisconsin Agriculturist Winners



On a cloudy, chilly “waiting for spring” day, Ruth and I traveled to La Sure’s Hall in Oshkosh where I spoke at the 2017 Wisconsin Agriculturist Master Agriculturist Program.

Starting in 1977, each year the Wisconsin Agriculturist magazine recognizes outstanding farmers in Wisconsin. The 2017 winners: Mike Cerny, Sharon; Rick Dado, Amery; Jim Rickert, Eldorado; and the Siemers family, Wally Siemers, Sherry Siemers-Peterman, Dan Siemers, and Paul Siemers, Newton.

I talked about Wisconsin’s rich agricultural history. Each of these winners talked about their agricultural activities. The contrasts between yesterday’s farming and today’s farming is near unbelievable. Each of these winners spent a few minutes talking about what they were doing and how they were doing it. I was impressed with how they spent time recognizing their families and their farm neighbors. This side of farming has not changed over the years.

My congratulations to each family. My hat is also off to Fran O’ Leary, editor of the Wisconsin Agriculturist for sponsoring the program.

Also, I want to recognize Halley Pucker, from the marketing department of the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. The Oshkosh event was her last day of work for WHSP. Over the past several years, Halley and I have traveled around much of Wisconsin, me talking, she driving and selling books. I will miss her friendly smile and her always upbeat attitude. Thank you Halley.



THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Today’s Wisconsin’s farmers are creating tomorrow’s agricultural history.
.
WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Saturday, April 8, 9-12:00 a.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose, WI. Call 920-622-3835 for reservations. Limited enrollment. Workshop meets Nine to Twelve in the morning.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Friday, August 18, 9-4:00 p.m. The Clearing, Door County.
Call 920-854-4088. Limited enrollment.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

April 6, 1:00 p.m. Union Grove Library.

April 8, 9-12:00 Writing Workshop, Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose, WI

April 10, 1:30. Kiel Library, One-Room Schools

April 17, 6:30 p.m. New Berlin Library. Never Curse the Rain.

April 23, 7:00 p.m. Lebanon Historical Society. Town Hall, Fire Station, Lebanon. Storytelling.

April 27, 6:00 p.m. Waupaca Historical Society, 320 S. Main Street, Waupaca. Barns of Wisconsin.



Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest nonfiction book, Never Curse the Rain, and his newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also available are Wisconsin Agriculture: A History,
Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835

Sunday, March 26, 2017

March Lion and Lamb


On this last weekend of March, I went looking for the lamb at my farm. It was supposed to appear at the end of March especially if we were blessed with March’s famous lion at the beginning of the month. Which we were.

The temperature was 36 degrees as I stood looking over my pond, which was still nearly completely frozen. A northwest wind sent spits of a cold rain in my face, as my watery eyes looked for even the slightest indication of spring and the sprightly lamb that was supposed to announce its arrival. A few feeble snow piles remained on the north side of the trail, holding on, letting me know that the lion of winter had not given up.

Off to the north I caught the sound of a pair of sandhill cranes. I always enjoy their call—they nest on the west side of the pond each year. Frustrated with the frozen pond, I’m sure. And flying low overhead I spotted a pair of ducks moving fast. Disgusted as they looked for open water and found none.

I hustled back to the cabin, put another stick of wood in the stove, and watched the rain. March’s lamb is got to be hiding somewhere—but where?

Photo: Roshara’s frozen pond.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Can’t remember when March came in like a lion and went out like a lion.
.
WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Saturday, April 8, 9-12:00 a.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose, WI. Call 920-622-3835 for reservations. Limited enrollment. Workshop meets Nine to Twelve in the morning.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Friday, August 18, 9-4:00 p.m. The Clearing, Door County.
Call 920-854-4088. Limited enrollment.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Wednesday, March 29, 10:00 a.m., Keynote speaker, Master Agriculturist Award Program, Oshkosh.

April 6, 1:00 p.m. Union Grove Library.

April 8, 9-12:00 Writing Workshop, Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose, WI

April 10, 1:30. Kiel Library, One-Room Schools

April 17, 6:30 p.m. New Berlin Library. Never Curse the Rain.

April 23, 7:00 p.m. Lebanon Historical Society. Town Hall, Fire Station, Lebanon. Storytelling.

April 27, 6:00 p.m. Waupaca Historical Society, 320 S. Main Street, Waupaca. Barns of Wisconsin.



Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest nonfiction book, Never Curse the Rain, and his newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also available are Wisconsin Agriculture: A History,
Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Master Gardeners


Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak to the Madison Area Master Gardeners at their annual meeting. The Master Gardeners, organized in the late 1970s in Wisconsin, are trained by University of Wisconsin-Extension specialists in all matters related to gardening. As a group of volunteers, they answer phone requests for horticultural information, work with youth groups, schools, help with demonstration gardens and more.

I wish there had been Master Gardeners when I worked as an Extension agent in Green Bay, in the early 1960s. I worked as a livestock and 4-H agent, at a time when the folks living in the city of Green Bay discovered that the our office knew something about horticulture. I was the one with the least knowledge about horticulture—except for my practical experience as an already long-time vegetable gardener.

A call came in with a question about a plum tree. I drove out to the woman’s house on the east side of Green Bay. I soon learned, even before I saw the plum tree, that it was one of this woman’s favorites. She told me she had bought it from a nursery in New York State, and she said, “It has done so well until this year.”

I walked with her to her backyard, where she showed me her little plum tree, now about eight feet tall. This was in June, and already the little tree, clearly in trouble, had dropped most of its leaves, which lay on the ground under the tree.

“What spray would you recommend for my poor little tree?” she said.

After looking closely at the tree, and deciding there was no hope for it, I said, “I would recommend pruning.”

“Oh,” she said. “What kind of pruning?”

“I would suggest pruning--level with the ground?”

“What?” she huffed. Had there been a shovel handy I believe she would have clobbered me with it.

I hurried to my car and back to the office where I encountered the office chair who had already gotten a call from this woman, insisting “that the incompetent young man you sent to solve my plum problem should be fired.” He was laughing, and when he regained his composure said, “You likely gave her the correct answer, but you need to work on your approach.” He was still laughing when he said it.

Photo: Speaking to Madison Area Gardeners.


THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Sometimes how you say something is more important than what you say.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Saturday, April 8, 9-12:00 a.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose, WI. Call 920-622-3835 for reservations. Limited enrollment. Workshop meets Nine to Twelve in the morning.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Friday, August 18, 9-4:00 p.m. The Clearing, Door County.
Call 920-854-4088. Limited enrollment.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Wednesday, March 29, 10:00 a.m., Keynote speaker, Master Agriculturist Award Program, Oshkosh.

April 6, 1:00 p.m. Union Grove Library.

April 8, 9-12:00 Writing Workshop, Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose, WI

April 10, 1:30. Kiel Library, One-Room Schools

April 17, 6:30. New Berlin Library. Never Curse the Rain.



Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest nonfiction book, Never Curse the Rain, and his newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also available are Wisconsin Agriculture: A History,
Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Muddling



The word “muddle” is defined as a state of confusion or disorder. “Muddle through” means to do something when you don’t know how to do it.

On the farm, on those days when the weather couldn’t decide whether it should be winter or spring, we had lots of mud. And did lots of muddling. The barnyard was mud, and the cattle stomped around in it. The path from the house to the barn, once snow covered and firm, was mud. Oozing, dirty, despicable mud. Mud that got on Ma’s nerves. “Leave those muddy boots on the porch.”

The road past our farm was mud. A challenge for the milk hauler; a problem for the mailman. In the mornings, when the mud had become frozen ruts in a once smooth road, we walked to school with little difficulty. Coming home was the challenge as mud sucked at our boots and made walking difficult.

As the definition of “muddle through” suggests, we tried to make the best of it—but mud is unpredictable. Ask any milk hauler who had to enlist a nearby farmer and his trusty team to help pull his milk truck to drier ground.

In a week or two, the mud disappeared, as spring once more returned, but the ruts in the road remained until the road grader appeared. The path from the house to barn was worn smooth again, and grass once more began to grow.

Photo: A deer outside my cabin window looks forward to spring.


THE OLD TIMER SAYS: When I am alone, I prefer to be myself.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Saturday, April 8, 9-12:00 a.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose, WI. Call 920-622-3835 for reservations. Limited enrollment. Workshop meets Nine to Twelve in the morning.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Saturday, March 18, Noon. Madison Area Master Gardeners, Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa St., Madison.

Wednesday, March 29, 10:00 a.m., Keynote speaker, Master Agriculturist Award Program, Oshkosh.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest nonfiction book, Never Curse the Rain, and his newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also available are Wisconsin Agriculture: A History,
Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Spring Pushed Back


It’s a perennial battle this time of the year in the Upper Midwest—the battle between an arrogant spring and an overconfident winter.

This year it happened earlier than usual, in February, with a sprightly spring catching a complacent winter by surprise. Temperatures soaring into the sixties, when they should be in the thirties. Melting snow, rainstorms complete with thunder and lightning. Cardinals singing, sandhill cranes returning from their southern winter haunts, Canada geese on the wing.

Spring smiles, believing it has won. But alas, those of us with many winters in our histories know winter’s mean streak. Know that winter has more to offer before it takes its long seasonal sleep until next fall.

And so the northwest wind blows once more, and it snows, and the temperature drops way below freezing. Winter gloats and spring wonders what happened. Deep down, as the calendar marches relentlessly into March, winter knows it will eventually lose the battle. That spring will eventually win. But does a beaten back spring know it?

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Met this fellow the other day who said he was born with nothing and had most of it left.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Tune in: Wednesday, March 8, 7:00 p.m. Never Curse the Rain on all Wisconsin Public TV stations. Based on my book, Never Curse the Rain, Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2017.


WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Saturday, April 8, 9-12:00 a.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose, WI. Call 920-622-3835 for reservations. Limited enrollment. Workshop meets Nine to Twelve in the morning.


UPCOMING EVENTS:

Saturday, March 18, Noon. Madison Area Master Gardeners, Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa St., Madison.

Wednesday, March 29, 10:00 a.m., Keynote speaker, Master Agriculturist Award Program, Oshkosh.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest nonfiction book, Never Curse the Rain, and his newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also available are Wisconsin Agriculture: A History,
Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835



Sunday, February 26, 2017

Writing the Words


“Can you tell us how you go about writing?” I’ve gotten that question many times over the past several years. It’s difficult for me to explain how I do the actual writing, how I put words down on paper, one after the other, to make sentences. Some of the process involves creativity, some of it tapping my memory, but a lot of it a mystery.

When my writing students ask how I spend my time as a writer, I tell them I spend a third of my time doing research, a third of my time writing, a third of my time revising and re-writing, and a third of my time marketing what I’ve written. I also fess up that my math skills were never especially good.

“It takes a village to raise a child,” is a common phrase. I’ve modified that a bit pertaining to my writing. For me “It takes a family for my writing to succeed.” Let me explain. Once I have some words down on paper, whether it’s this blog, columns I write for a weekly newspaper, a magazine article, or a chapter for a book--my wife reads it. If the material does not get past Ruth, it goes nowhere. As I jokingly say, my first reader is ruthless.

If the writing gets past Ruth, and the material is on its way to becoming a book, I bring in other members of the family. My daughter, Susan, an elementary teacher and a published author, is an excellent editor. She’s an expert at spotting errors in logic, inaccurate dialogue and overwritten description.

For big picture critiques, I turn to my Son, Steve, who is a photo-journalist. He helps me with the big ideas, the themes in my writing. If I’m writing something related to the environment, which is fairly often, I turn to my daughter-in-law, Natasha. She is a former environmental editor, trained as a journalist, and has an uncanny ability to spot dumb errors I often make. When I seek a business person’s take on what I’ve written, I turn to my son, Jeff, who is an investment counselor in Avon, Colorado.

I do all of this before I send my writing off to my editors, who put their professional training and experience to work on my words.

I also do joint projects with my kids. Steve and I have collaborated on several books. In the above photo, taken by Kathy Borkowski, Steve and I are signing a book we did together, Roshara Journal, at the recent Garden Expo. I did the words, Steve the photos. Sue and I have a new book coming out this fall, Old Farm Country Cookbook. I wrote the stories; Sue did the recipes.


THE OLD TIMER SAYS: There’s many a step between the first word written and it being published.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose, WI. Call 920-622-3835 for reservations. Limited enrollment. Workshop meets Nine to Twelve in the morning.


UPCOMING EVENTS:

Wednesday, March 8, 7:00 p.m. Never Curse the Rain on all Wisconsin Public TV stations.

Saturday, March 18, Madison Area Master Gardeners, Goodman Community Center, Madison. Whispers and Shadows.

Wednesday, March 29, 10:00 a.m., Keynote speaker, Master Agriculturist Award Program, Oshkosh.

Saturday, April 8, 9-12:00 a.m. Writer’s Workshop, Wild Rose Library.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest nonfiction book, Never Curse the Rain, and his newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also available are Wisconsin Agriculture: A History,
Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The New Normal


It’s not normal. That’s what my dad would have said had he been here to experience these days of 60 degree temperatures in February. The snow is nearly gone. The ice is melting. The golfers are golfing. Teenagers are playing basketball outdoors without their shirts.

But there’s a downside to this respite from winter. We had something similar last year, but a little later. It warmed up; my grape vine began to blossom, and it got frosty once more. The result: In 2015 I harvested a bushel of grapes, in 2016, I harvested five grapes, not five pounds, not five quarts, but five, scrawny little grapes. The grape blossoms had frozen. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen this year.

I talked to a friend a couple days ago about this. He told me the acorn production last year was way down—the oak flowers came out too early and had frozen. I’m sure there were many other examples.

While we in the Midwest are basking in pseudo summer, the West Coast is drowning in floods, and the East Coast is buried in winter. Are these kinds of weather patterns the new normal? Researchers on climate change say “yes.” Unexpected weather patterns. One-hundred year rainfalls coming every couple of years. Record high temperatures in winter. Then below freezing.


THE OLD TIMER SAYS: The new normal for weather—fooling the plants. Confusing the people.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose, WI. Call 920-622-3835 for reservations. Limited enrollment. Workshop meets Nine to Twelve in the morning.


UPCOMING EVENTS:

Wednesday, February 22, 6:00 p. m. Wild Rose H.S. Auditorium. Premier Showing of Never Cruse the Rain, A Film by Wisconsin Public TV. Jerry’s newest hour-long documentary.

Wednesday, March 8, 7:00 p.m. Never Curse the Rain on all Wisconsin Public TV stations.

Saturday, March 18, Madison Area Master Gardeners, Goodman Community Center, Madison. Whispers and Shadows.

Wednesday, March 29, 10:00 a.m., Keynote speaker, Master Agriculturist Award Program, Oshkosh.Saturday, April 8, 9-12:00 a.m. Writer’s Workshop, Wild Rose Library.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
Jerry’s newest books, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their stories—are also available.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Garden Expo 2017


With temperatures in the high thirties, the snow melting and the ice disappearing, people flocked to Wisconsin Public Television’s annual Garden Expo held at the Alliant Center in Madison. The show began on Friday, Feb. 10 and continued through Sunday, February 12

My son Steve and I were there on Saturday. Steve and I talked about our book, Roshara Journal: Chronicling Four Seasons, Fifty Years, and 120 Acres. Steve shared photos from the book and he talked about how he shot the various pictures. I shared entries from my journal that I’ve kept since we bought Roshara, our Wild Rose farm, 50 years ago. We both suggested that people with land, backyards, and gardens do what we’ve done over the years—capture what was happening in words and in pictures.

Attendees to the Garden Expo could also learn about straw bale gardening, “Landscaping tips for Elderly Living,” and “Birdscaping in the Midwest.” You could attend a session titled, “Everything you wanted to know about beets.” Square foot gardening remains popular—there was a seminar on how to do it. And if growing tomatoes has become a challenge, there was a seminar to answer your tomato questions.

For the nature lovers, there were seminars on Monarch Butterflies, Gardening for Humingbirds, and attracting Eastern Bluebirds. And much, much more.

If you came with garden questions, UW-Extension experts were there to help with information from insects to soils, plant diseases to how to enroll in a Master Garden program.

It was a great break from winter, and an opportunity to capture a bit of spring.


THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Garden Expo. A warm taste of spring.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose, WI. Call 920-622-3835 for reservations. Limited enrollment. Nine to Twelve in the morning.


UPCOMING EVENTS:

Wednesday, February 22, 6:00 p. m. Wild Rose H.S. Auditorium. Premier Showing of Never Cruse the Rain, A Film by Wisconsin Public TV. Jerry’s newest hour-long documentary.

Wednesday, March 8, 7:00 p.m. Never Curse the Rain on all Wisconsin Public TV stations.

Saturday, March 18, Madison Area Master Gardeners, Goodman Community Center, Madison. Whispers and Shadows.

Wednesday, March 29, 10:00 a.m., Keynote speaker, Master Agriculturist Award Program, Oshkosh

Saturday, April 8, 9-12:00 a.m. Writer’s Workshop, Wild Rose Library.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.

Jerry’s newest books, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their stories—are also available.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Teakettle



When I was a kid, a teakettle always sat on the back of the kitchen woodstove. I don’t remember that we ever used it for tea. Nobody in the family drank what I considered at the time the most foul smelling, bad tasting drink that had ever been invented, discovered, or however it came to be. A city relative offered me a drink of tea—the one-time, bad experience.

That’s not to say that the teakettle wasn’t important. It was of critical importance, as it was the only source of hot water on the farm. The kitchen woodstove had a reservoir on its right side, but water there only reached a tepid temperature.

When Ma needed hot water for something she was cooking—the teakettle provided the answer. If one of my brothers or I had a sore throat, hot water from the teakettle and several teaspoons of salt in a glass and we gargled and killed the sore throat—at least tried to.

If a spot of ice on the step to the kitchen door needed thawing—the teakettle was there to solve the problem.

If a bump, bruise or injury required a hot water bottle, the teakettle provided the water.

And when the teakettle was simply left alone, its steady trickle of steam added a little humidity to the too dry air of the winter kitchen. I found the gentle sound of steam coming from the teakettle on a cold winter day pleasing and relaxing.

Today, a teakettle sits on my woodstove at the cabin, adding a little humidity to the air—but more importantly, triggering memories of an earlier day. Ruth also likes the teakettle water for hot chocolate. Still no tea, after all these years.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Home is where your story begins (Annie Danielson) A gift from a Minnesota friend, Nan C. Corazalla.

THANK YOU; A big thank you to the 75 people who turned out for the mid-Wisconsin launch of my new book, NEVER CURSE THE RAIN, at the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose last Saturday.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Tuesday, February 7, 11:00 a.m. Larry Meiller Show, Wisconsin Public Radio.

Saturday, February 11, 2:15. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison. Roshara Journal

Sunday, February 12, 1:00 p.m. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison. TV documentary “Never Curse the Rain” book signing and discussion.

Wednesday, February 22, 6:00 p. m. Wild Rose H.S. Auditorium. Premier Showing of Never Cruse the Rain, A Film by Wisconsin Public TV.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
Jerry’s newest books, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their stories—are also available.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Looking for Barns





On Saturday morning, Steve and I spoke to a group of folks who do regular tours around Wisconsin in convertibles—they assured me they would have the tops up when they toured around southern Wisconsin this weekend.

Directed by Gary & Mae Knowles of Madison, and Mike and Donna Perontka of Green Bay, the group, some one hundred of them, learned a bit about Wisconsin Barns and how to photograph them.

Photographing barns is not only a summer activity, but a red barn in winter makes for a beautiful iconic photo of Wisconsin’s agriculture. I introduced the group to my book, BARNS OF WISCONSIN. Steve did the photos, I wrote the words.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Wisconsin is noted for its beautiful old barns.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Monday, January 30, Channel 3, Madison. Live at Four program. Discussion of NEVER CURSE THE RAIN.

Saturday, February 4, 10:00 a.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. Book talk and signing. NEVER CURSE THE RAIN.

Saturday, February 11, 2:15. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison. Roshara Journal

Sunday, February 12, 1:00 p.m. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison. TV documentary “Never Curse the Rain” book signing and discussion.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)

Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)

The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.

Jerry’s newest books: Never Curse the Rain, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their stories—are also available.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835




Saturday, January 21, 2017

Winter's Challenging Moments


My hometown weekly newspaper, the Waushara Argus, said it all in a headline that read, “Ice storm shuts down Waushara County schools and businesses: Sheriff reports 22 slide-offs and crashes over two days.”

All of southern and central Wisconsin and much of the Midwest saw people sliding, slipping and falling this past week. Driving off the road or into each other. Late for work or not getting to work at all. Salting and sanding. Chipping and pounding. Fighting the dreaded ice that coated everything and refused to budge.

The road past my farm was so icy that the sand truck had to back down the road to get some traction from its own sand. No danger of backing into another car. There were no other cars.

The irony of it all. My new book, NEVER CURSE THE RAIN, came out last week. And I heard from a friend, “What about freezing rain? What’s your take on freezing rain? Okay to curse freezing rain?”

“Sure,” I said go right ahead. But keep straight the difference between “freezing rain” and “rain.” I said.

“Huh,” my friend answered.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Winter has its challenging moments.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Sunday, January 29, 2:00 p.m. Midvale Lutheran Church, 4329 Tokay Blvd. (corner of Midvale and Tokay), Fellowship Hall. Launch of new book, NEVER CURSE THE RAIN. Books available on site for sale and signing from Mystery to Me bookstore. All are welcome. Enter the church from the parking lot. Enter north door where an elevator is available to lower level Fellowship Hall.

Monday, January 30, Channel 3, Madison. Live at Four program. Discussion of NEVER CURSE THE RAIN.

Saturday, February 4, 10:00 a.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. Book talk and signing. NEVER CURSE THE RAIN.
Saturday, February 11, 2:15. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison. Roshara Journal

Sunday, February 12, 1:00 p.m. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison. TV documentary “Never Curse the Rain” book signing and discussion.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:
Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)

Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)

The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.

Jerry’s newest books, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their stories—are also available.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835




Sunday, January 15, 2017

January Thaw


Once again it arrived. In mid-January. After days of bitter cold, and deep and drifted snow. It often arrived overnight, while my brothers and I slept in the cold upstairs bedroom in our drafty farm house. A room that was supposed to be warmed by the stove pipe that made its way from wood burning stove in the dining room through our room and then into the chimney.

We knew the winter thaw had arrived when the eaves on the house were dripping, which I noticed when I hurried to the barn for the early morning milking. By mid-morning it began to rain. A slow, steady, snow-melting rain. And as it rained, my brothers and I kept watch of the big hollow in front of the house as the snow turned from white to gray and then to melt water as the hollow became a pond.

With the pond becoming slowly larger, we began looking for our ice skates, the clamp-on-your-shoes type that you fastened with a little key that you carried in your pocket. We had hung the skates in the woodshed last spring, forgotten about, until the thaw arrived.

The thaw disappeared quicker than you could say, “Isn’t that a north wind blowing this evening?” Freezing weather returned, but the pond remained. A beautiful, flat slippery surface just made for three boys and their clamp-on skates. The ones we bought at Hotz’s Hardware in Wild Rose for fifty cents a pair.

Ice skating remained perfect, sometimes for several weeks. Another gift of winter, for boys who’d tired from shoveling snow, carrying wood, and doing all the other winter-required jobs.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: It’s important to remember the good things about winter.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Saturday, January 21 Noon. Heidel House, Green Lake, WI. Pheasants Forever. Noon talk. Whispers and Shadows. Book signing.

Sunday, January 29, 2:00 p.m. Midvale Lutheran Church, 4329 Tokay Blvd. (corner of Midvale and Tokay), Fellowship Hall. Launch of new book, NEVER CURSE THE RAIN. Books available on site for sale and signing from Mystery to Me bookstore. All are welcome. Enter the church from the parking lot. Enter north door where an elevator is available to lower level Fellowship Hall.

Saturday, February 4, 10:00 a.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. Book talk and signing. Never Curse the Rain.

Saturday, February 11, 2:15. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison. Roshara Journal

Sunday, February 12, 1:00 p.m. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison. TV documentary “Never Curse the Rain” book signing and discussion.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)

Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several
of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
Jerry’s newest books, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their stories—are also available.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835




Sunday, January 08, 2017

Appreciating the Cold


I wrote this three years ago, but I’m repeating it today because last week was just like this.

It was five above zero when I put on my down jacket, pulled the earflaps down on my cap, grabbed my walking stick and set out from the cabin for my morning walk. The sun, struggling to climb above the pine woods to the east provided a bit of light for what had been a very dark night, but offered little warmth as I headed down the trail.

How soon one forgets how quiet a chilly winter morning can be. I heard not a sound, no crow call, no rustling of dead oak leaves, no creaking of bare tree limbs. Nothing, save for the crunch, crunch of the cold snow under my boots as I trudged along, often stopping to listen and hearing nothing. Hearing silence.

As the landscape grew lighter with the rising sun, the frost covered branches of the trees along the trail sparkled and glittered and reminded me how beautiful can be the most simple of things—morning frost in first light.

Upon returning to the cabin, I pushed another stick of oak wood in the wood stove, sat in my rocking chair with a cup of coffee and reminded myself that life couldn't get much better than this.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Take time to appreciate the simple things.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
Wednesday, January 11. 6:30 p.m. Midvale Lutheran Church, 4329 Tokay Blvd. (corner of Midvale and Tokay), Fellowship Hall. Launch of new book, NEVER CURSE THE RAIN. Books available on site for sale and signing from Mystery to Me bookstore. All are welcome. Enter the church from the parking lot. Enter north door where an elevator is available to lower level Fellowship Hall.

Saturday, January 14. 9:00 -12:00 a.m. Sequoia Library, Madison. Writing Workshop.”Writing From Your Life” Limited enrollment. Contact Sequoia Library: 608-266-6385.

Saturday, January 21 Noon. Heidel House, Green Lake, WI. Pheasants Forever. Noon talk. Whispers and Shadows. Book signing.

Saturday, February 11, 2:15. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison. Roshara Journal

Sunday, February 12, 1:00 p.m. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison. TV documentary “Never Curse the Rain” book signing and discussion.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:
Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
Jerry’s newest books, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their stories—are also available.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835




Sunday, January 01, 2017

A New Year


I’m sitting at the kitchen table at my farm, looking out the window where snowflakes are gently falling. My wood-burning cook stove is keeping me warm and cozy.

On these last days of 2016, I’m thinking about the highs and lows of the year just past. It’s fairly easy to think about the negatives of the year, the shouting and finger pointing, the sadness experienced with the passing of a close friend or relative. The anger and unhappiness experienced by many. There were high points, too. The joy of weddings, anniversaries, and new babies born. For me, the opportunity for our family, all the kids and grand kids, and now two great grand kids gathering together for a week at a cabin on a lake last summer.

For many people 2016 was a difficult year. Other years have been difficult as well. I think back to when I was a kid, during the depths of the Great Depression of the 1930s, when many people were without work and had no place to live and nothing to eat. We were farm people. We had food; we had a roof over our heads, but not much else. I remember my folks took in relatives who did not have food and shelter. Relatives who lived with us until things got better in the country.

And then World War II came along, a devastating time, when everyone worked hard and hoped for a victory. But we made do as the war effort consumed the country’s resources at an ever increasing rate.

Through all of this and much more, my dad and mother had hope. They never lost it. My dad’s words, I’ve never forgotten them, “Remember, Jerry, next year will be better.”

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Next year will be better.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Wednesday, January 11. 6:30 p.m. Midvale Lutheran Church, 4329 Tokay Blvd. (corner of Midvale and Tokay), Fellowship Hall. Launch of new book, NEVER CURSE THE RAIN. Books signing and talk. All are welcome.

Saturday, January 14. 9:00 -12:00 a.m. Sequoia Library, Madison. Writing Workshop.”Writing From Your Life” Limited enrollment. Contact Sequoia Library: 608-266-6385.

Saturday, January 21 Noon. Heidel House, Green Lake, WI. Pheasants Forever. Noon talk. Whispers and Shadows. Book signing.

Saturday, February 11, 2:15. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison. Roshara Journal
Sunday, February 12, 1:00 p.m. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison. TV documentary “Never Curse the Rain” book signing and discussion.
Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):
The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:
Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
Jerry’s newest books, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their stories—are also available.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835