Saturday, September 16, 2017

Prairie Restoration


What is now the prairie on our farm was a cornfield at one time. That was nearly 50 years ago. Over the years I have simply watched and waited to see what would happen to this once cornfield. It has been quite amazing. A little history.

Thomas Stewart, a Civil War veteran from New York State, homesteaded our farm in 1867. He broke the land with oxen. At the time it was mixture of oak trees and open ground—which was mostly big blue stem grass. The land was stony, hilly, and sandy. Far from ideal farm land. But homestead land was essentially free, 160 acres for someone willing to “prove up,” meaning putting up some buildings and farming the land.

Stewart sold the place and a succession of farmers continued to work these sandy acres. They sometimes harvested a decent crop if the rains came at the right time, but mostly the crops were poor and making a living was tough.

My goal is to try to return this old cornfield into a prairie of wildflowers and native grasses. It takes patience but so far, outside of some mowing and keeping out the rogue trees and brush, I have done little to speed up the restoration. I have too many nearby pine trees for burning.

It has been a joy, over these 50 years, to see how much Mother Nature can do to restore itself to what at one time it had been.


THE OLD TIMER SAYS: We are all so much in a hurry. Mother Nature is not.

COMING EVENTS:

Monday, September 18 Old Farm Country Cook Book. Willy St Coop West, Madison. – 6 p.m. cooking with Susie.

Saturday, September 23, 11:00 a.m. at Stonefield Village, Cassville, WI. Old Farm Country Cookbook. Jerry and Susie

Friday, September 29, 5:00 p.m. at Farm City Dinner, Platteville. Old Farm Country Cook Book. Jerry and Susie

Oct. 5 at Wisconsin Rapids McMillan Library 7 p.m. (One-Room Schools).

Oct. 14 at Neenah Public Library – Never Curse the Rain & Garden Book– 11 a.m. .

Oct. 18 at Water Conservation Presentation, Portage, 6:30 p.m. Place to be announced.

Oct. 25 at Cambridge Public Library – Never Curse the Rain – 12:30 pm

Saturday, October 28, at Edgerton Book Festival 9 a.m.Old Farm Country Cookbook. Jerry and Susie..

Sunday, October 29, 2:00 p.m. at Reed School, Neillsville. Old Farm Country Cookbook. Jerry and Susie..

Sunday, Nov. 5, 1:30 p.m. Mequon Nature Preserve, Mequon, WI. Never Curse the Rain.

Saturday, Nov. 11, Second Saturday, 9:00 a.m. Plymouth Art Center, The Land

Thursday, Nov. 16. 1:00 p.m. Berlin Library. Old Farm Country Cook Book.

Tuesday, November 28, Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Madison. Never Curse the Rain.

Saturday, December 2, Dregni’s, Westby. Old Farm Country Cookbook, Susie and Jerry.

Thursday, Dec. 7, 6:00 p.m. Waupaca Historical Society, Christmas on the Farm

Saturday, Dec. 9 McFarlane’s, Prairie du Sac. Old Farm Country Cookbook. Jerry and Susie

Sunday, Dec. 17 –Readers Realm Bookstore, Montello 1 p.m. Old Farm Country Cookbook. Jerry and Susie

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 books, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, 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, September 09, 2017

Grape Jelly




This will be short and sweet—pardon the pun. Remember the grapes I talked about last week. Well, they are now grape jelly. Forty-two jars to exact. And Ruth did it all.

For a recipe for making grape jelly, follow the directions on a fruit pectin box or turn to p.151 of Sue and my book, Old Farm County Cookbook.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Homemade grape jelly on toast. It’s so, so good.

COMING EVENTS:

Monday, September 18 Old Farm Country Cook Book. Willy St Coop West, Madison. – 6 p.m. cooking with Susie.

Saturday, September 23, 11:00 a.m. at Stonefield Village, Cassville, WI. Old Farm Country Cookbook. Jerry and Susie

Friday, September 29, 5:00 p.m. at Farm City Dinner, Platteville. Old Farm Country Cook Book. Jerry and Susie

Thursday, Oct. 5 at Wisconsin Rapids McMillan Library 7 p.m. (One-Room Schools).

Saturday, Oct. 14 at Neenah Public Library – Never Curse the Rain & Garden Book– 10 a.m. .

Wednesday, Oct. 18 at Water Conservation Presentation, Portage, 6:30 p.m. Place to be Announced.

Wednesday Oct. 25 at Cambridge Public Library – Never Curse the Rain – 12:30 pm WHSPRESS drives/sells JOHN

Saturday, October 28, at Edgerton Book Festival 9 a.m.Old Farm Country Cookbook. Jerry and Susie..

Sunday, October 29, 2:00 p.m. at Reed School, Neillsville. Old Farm Country Cookbook. Jerry and Susie..

Sunday, Nov. 5, 1:30 p.m. Mequon Nature Preserve, Mequon, WI. Never Curse the Rain.

Tuesday, November 28, Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Madison. Never Curse the Rain.

Saturday, December 2, Dregni’s, Westby. Old Farm Country Cookbook, Susie and Jerry.

Thursday, Dec. 7 Waupaca Historical Society, Christmas on the Farm

Saturday, Dec. 9 McFarlane’s, Prairie du Sac. Old Farm Country Cookbook. Jerry and Susie

Sunday, Dec. 17 –Readers Realm Bookstore, Montello 1 p.m. Old Farm Country Cookbook. Jerry and Susie

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 books, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, 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

Monday, September 04, 2017

Split Rail Grapes


About forty-five years ago I planted one Concord grape vine along the split rail fence in front of my house. It sputtered along for a couple of years, sending out a rather frail vine with few grapes. I did nothing, no fertilization, nothing special with weed control, except I pruned the vine back each spring, as per a grape-growing friend’s suggestion. Each year my neighbor was sure that I had killed the vine with what he said was excess pruning—but rather than kill it, the pruning encouraged ever more growth each year.

Around year five, the grape vine succeeded in growing to the end of the split rail fence, and was producing a quarter bushel of beautiful, plump, purple grapes.

By year ten the vine was producing a half bushel or so of grapes, again with no care on my part except pruning each spring and tying the vine to the fence here and there.

Then there was last year. Never had I seen since lush growth. The vine not only grew to the end of the split rail fence and headed south, but when it reached the corner post it turned and began growing west (with my help). I looked forward to the best crop of grapes ever. But alas, when I began harvesting I found five grapes. Not five quarts, not five pails, but five miserable little grapes. A late frost last spring had taken its toll.

Ah, but this year. More lush growth. More turning the corner at the end post and, yes, likely the most grapes we have ever harvested. It’s grape jelly making time.

THE OLD TIMER: There is a lot of talk these days, but little being said.

COMING EVENTS:

Saturday, September 23, 11:00 a.m. Stonefield Village, Cassville, WI. Old Farm Country Cookbook.

Friday, September 29, 5:00 p.m. Farm City Dinner, Platteville (details to follow)

Saturday, October 28, Edgerton Book Festival (details to follow)

Sunday, October 29, 2:00 p.m. Reed School, Neillsville. Old Farm Country Cookbook.

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 books, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, 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