Sunday, June 17, 2018

Where Are The Bluebirds?


I’m sitting on the deck at the cabin, it’s early evening. I’m listening to the birdsong and waiting for the thunderstorm that is predicted. A catbird is in the big willow tree to the west of the cabin. Singing its heart out with songs of other birds as it’s a mimic, like its southern relative the mockingbird. Earlier I spotted a Baltimore oriole.

If I had to pick out one of the best singers of the evening it would go to a saucy little wren. It chatters away, loud and clear, and happy. I am listening for a whippoorwill that I heard a few evenings ago, but not this evening. Perhaps it knows something about the coming storm and has found some sheltered place.

Now there is complete silence. Not a breath of air, not a hint of birdsong. And then I heard a low growl—thunder in the distance. A bit of a cooling breeze washes over me, and the birds begin signing once more, no doubt wanting to complete their regular sunset chorus ahead of the storm that creeps ever closer.

Missing from the collection of birds I see and listen to this evening are bluebirds. The house pictured above is equal distance from the cabin and the garden. A pair of bluebirds has nested in that house for at least ten consecutive years. Not this year. What has happened to the bluebirds? If you have an answer email me at jerryappsauthor.gmail.com.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Birdsong in the evening—a great way to end the day.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My writing class at The Clearing in Door County is scheduled: Friday, July 27, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to register. A few openings remain.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

--June 20, 1-3 p.m. Cheese Center, Plymouth. Book Signing

--July 27, 9-4, Writing Workshop, The Clearing, Door County

--August 3, 1:00 p.m. Chilton Library. With Sue. Old Farm Country Cookbook.

--August 7, 5:30 p.m. Downtown Madison Historical Museum. With Sue. Old Farm County Cookbook.

--Sept 8. 10 a.m. Mt. Horeb Library, Once a Professor.

Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
Phone: 920-622-3835

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).
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,)
Never Curse the Rain, (based on his book with the same title)
The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Once a Professor, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.







Sunday, June 10, 2018

It's Lupine Time




The lupines are open at Roshara. When I was a kid, I didn’t know about lupines, didn’t know If I’d ever seen one as they didn’t grow on the home farm.


When we bought Roshara in 1966, I discovered this patch of beautiful, lavender-purple flowers growing in on the south side of the property. I checked them out in my flower-identification book and learned that they were lupines and that they were in the pea family. Scientific name: Lupinus perennis L.


I was curious about their name and learned that it refers to Lupus, which refers to the Latin name for wolf. At one time it was believed that the lupines robbed the soil of its nutrients. The opposite is true. Lupines are long-lived nitrogen-fixing plants. They add to the soil’s nutrients.


Our sandy, acidic soils are ideal for this beautiful, native plant, which has a long tap root and allows it to go deep for moisture and survive during dry spells. Today, after removing brush and other shade-producing plants over the years, the patch of lupines has grown to a couple acres in size—quite a sight to see when they are all in bloom.


Beyond their beauty and soil enhancing properties, the wild lupines are host plants for the endangered Karner blue butterfly. We have Karner blues. Sometimes we may see a half-dozen or so of them flitting about the lupines—a double treat for any nature lover.


The Old Timer Says: Nature offers so much to enjoy—early June is lupine time.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My writing class at The Clearing in Door County is scheduled: Friday, July 27, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to register.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

--June 20, 1-3 p.m. Cheese Center, Plymouth. Book Signing

--July 27, 9-4, Writing Workshop, The Clearing, Door County

--August 3, 1:00 p.m. Chilton Library. With Sue. Old Farm Country Cookbook.

--August 7, 5:30 Downtown Madison Historical Museum. With Sue. Old Farm County Cookbook.

--Sept 8. 10 a.m. Mt. Horeb Library, Once a Professor.

Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
Phone: 920-622-3835

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).
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,)
Never Curse the Rain, (based on his book with the same title)
The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Once a Professor, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.


IO

Sunday, June 03, 2018

One Hundred Degrees in the Shade



It’s an old thermometer. One of those that has a red thread of mercury that climbs or descends against numbers. It’s probably 35 or 40 years old; I don’t know when I bought it. I nailed it against the side of the cabin in the shade, where I figured it would accurately tell me the temperature no matter what the season. And it has done that. I’ve read minus 20 on that old thermometer a time or two when the winters seemed colder than they are now. Never saw minus 40 though; I remembered those temperatures when I was a kid.

On Memorial Day, just a few days ago, that old thermometer reported a temperature I’ve not seen on it before. It said 100 degrees. I told my brother, Donald, who lives a quarter mile from my place what my thermometer reported.

“Can’t be right. That old thermometer is way off. I checked my thermometer and it only read 97 degrees.” He laughed when he said it. He’s got a fancy digital thermometer that displays the temperature on a little screen.

I checked my thermometer about 2:00 p.m. on Memorial Day when it hit 100. I checked that old thermometer the same time today, which is not quite a week later—62 degrees. That’s a 38-degree difference. Talk about a temperature swing. On Memorial Day I was looking for a shady place to sit. Today I’m looking for a jacket.

The Old Timer Says: Without a thermometer, some of us old timers wouldn’t have anything to talk about.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My writing class at The Clearing in Door County is scheduled: Friday, July 27, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to register.
Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
Phone: 920-622-3835

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).
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,)
Never Curse the Rain, (based on his book with the same title)
The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Once a Professor, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.





Monday, May 28, 2018

The Old Rocking Chair



It’s just a wooden rocking chair, and it’s about as old as our marriage. That old rocking chair has stories to tell. Stories of rocking our three kids when they couldn't sleep or weren’t feeling well. Stories about when after a day of hard work, I sat in the old chair watching the sunset and listening to the birds call in the trees to the west of the cabin. Rocking slowly, enjoying the evening. Feeling good about life.

Often while rocking, I remember dad and mother, and what life was like on the home farm going back to the 1930s and 40s. I recall the old rocking chair that sat on the porch of our farmhouse, with Fanny, our farm dog resting nearby. I will never forget those summer evening sitting on the back porch, my dad and mother and my two brothers, after a day of making hay, or shocking grain, or hoeing potatoes—always hoeing potatoes. We would talk some but mostly listen to the sounds of the early evening and enjoying those wonderful smells of new-mown hay coming from the hayfield in front of the house.

The old rocking chair reminds me of the early days at Roshara, back to 1966 when we bought the place. All coming back as I slowly rock in this old rocking chair. Stories about the grandkids when they were little and needed a little rocking in this old chair. Remembrances of my 70th birthday party, and a photo of me in that old chair in an invitation inviting people to help me celebrate.

So many stories associated with that old chair.


THE OLD TIMER SAYS: A old rocking chair can become a memory chair.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My writing class at The Clearing in Door County is scheduled: Friday, July 27, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to register.
UPCOMING EVENTS:.
Thursday, May 31, 7:00 Middleton Public Library. Book Launch for Cold As Thunder (New novel)
Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
Phone: 920-622-3835

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).
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,)
Never Curse the Rain, (based on his book with the same title)
The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Once a Professor, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.




Saturday, May 19, 2018

Lilacs Bring Back Memories



Dad didn’t like lilacs. I never knew why. So we had none growing on the home farm. But lilacs did grow all along the south fence at our country school. During the last days of school in May, these lilacs were usually in full bloom. A vase of lilacs sat on the teacher’s desk during this time, adding a pleasing smell to the schoolroom, and a reminder that the school year was soon over.

The early settlers brought lilacs with them to this country. They are not native to the U.S. There are some 20 varieties. Two are native to Europe and rest have their roots in Asia. George Washington grew them. So did Thomas Jefferson. Most farm families in the north grew lilacs; they need a period of cold weather dormancy to trigger flowering.

A long row of lilacs grows on the east side of the windbreak at Roshara. They likely came to central Wisconsin with the settlers, mainly those from northern New York State who found their way to Rose Township in Waushara County.

Lilacs are tough, requiring little care. They also live a long time. Supposedly, the oldest known living lilacs can be found at the Wentworth estate in Portsmouth, N. H. They were planted around 1750. Traveling around Wisconsin, I often spot a clump of lilacs growing along a road, with no buildings in sight. The lilacs remind me that there was once a farmstead there and all that remains are the lilacs to remind us of this history.


THE OLD TIMER SAYS: During these busy spring days, take time to smell the lilacs.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My writing class at The Clearing in Door County is scheduled: Friday, July 27, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to register.
UPCOMING EVENTS:
Sunday, May 20, 6:30. Lebanon Fire House, One-Room Schools.
Thursday, May 31, 7:00 Middleton Public Library. Book Launch for Cold As Thunder (New novel)
Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
Phone: 920-622-3835

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).
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,)
Never Curse the Rain, (based on his book with the same title)
The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Once a Professor, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.




Saturday, May 12, 2018

Dandelions


The dandelion is one of the earliest flowers to appear in the spring. But are they applauded? No, they are dug up, stomped on, cut off, sprayed with weed killers, and otherwise maligned as a weed for the keepers of perfect lawns. So I did a bit of research about this early bloomer.

Did you know that the dandelion is in the sunflower family, and is native of Greece?

That its name comes from the French dent de lion (lion’s tooth)—a reference to the jagged margins of its leaves? That it grows almost anywhere in the world where there is a bit of soil and sunlight? That it is rich in nutrients—potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, as well as vitamins, especially vitamins C and B? Put dandelion leaves in a salad. They are best harvested in the spring when the leaves are young and less bitter.

That the early colonists brought the dandelion to North America, as they were aware of its many medicinal qualities? The juice extracted from the stem and leaves supposedly will eradicate warts, soothe calluses and bee stings. Other purported medicinal uses include lowering blood pressure and providing relief from rheumatism and arthritis. The entire plant is important as a general tonic.

That dandelion blossoms make tasty wine? The plant has also been used as a dye, yielding a purple color.

So, there it is. The dreaded dandelion is a hero in the plant world.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: When is a weed not a weed?

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My writing class at The Clearing in Door County is scheduled: Friday, July 27, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to register.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
Tuesday, May 15, 11:30 a.m. Black Hawk Country Club, SAIL Group. Once a Professor.

Saturday, May 19, 10:00-2:00 Dregne’s Westby, Book signing.

Sunday, May 20, 6:30. Lebanon Fire House, One-Room Schools.

Thursday, May 31, 7:00 Middleton Public Library. Book Launch for Cold As Thunder (New novel)

Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
Phone: 920-622-3835

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).
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,)
Never Curse the Rain, (based on his book with the same title)

The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Once a Professor, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.




Sunday, May 06, 2018

Tree Planting at Roshara




Son-in-Law Paul, with a shovel and planted tree

Saturday was tree planting day at Roshara; more than three weeks late compared to other years. This year we planted 150 red pine, 50 jack pine, and 50 Colorado blue spruce—all little ones six to 12 inches tall. I bought them at Wheeler’s Laura’s Lane Nursery, north of Plainfield, as we have for many years.

Ten days ago there was snow on the ground. Today it was sunny and warm, in the high seventies by early afternoon. We planted in plantations where trees have died, so it is hard work. The only tool is a shovel. Remove a circle of sod a couple feet across. Cut a slit in the soil. Insert the tree, making sure the tree is well placed, with the roots all covered and ground firmly tamped. Move to the next spot. And the next one, and finally the 250th one. A little complaining that I have more than 250 trees, that I have fibbed about the number. Understandable. It is hard work, the sun is hot, the humidity is high, and there is no breeze.

It’s a family project. Sue, Paul, Natasha, and Cory. They do the work. I do the deciding. We began at 10:00 a.m.; we finished at 2:00 p.m. I am pleased as this is my 54th year of planting trees at Roshara even though I no longer do the heavy work. Some years we planted only fifty trees; one year it was more than 7,000—I hired a machine that year.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Plant a tree, plan for a future.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My writing class at The Clearing in Door County is scheduled: Friday, July 27, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to register.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Wednesday, May 9, Live At Four, CBS Madison, Channel 3. Once a Professor

Tuesday, May 15, 11:30 a.m. Black Hawk Country Club, SAIL Group. Once a Professor.

Saturday, May 19, 10:00-2:00 Dregne’s Westby, Book signing.

Thursday, May 31, 7:00 Middleton Public Library. Book Launch for Cold As Thunder (New novel)
Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
Phone: 920-622-3835

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).
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,)

Never Curse the Rain, (based on his book with the same title)

Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Once a Professor, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.




Sunday, April 29, 2018

Gardening Time



When I was a kid, our farm garden was the primary source of vegetables for our family of five. As I look back at those days, although it was never said aloud, “If if it doesn’t grow in our garden, we don’t eat it,” was what my mother and dad believed. I don’t remember that they ever bought vegetables.

My mother was in charge of the garden, which was about a quarter acre just to the north of the farmhouse. She decided what should be planted and when what was ready for harvest and what was not. She made the decisions, but she was not bashful in employing my Dad, two brothers and me to help with the garden tasks, from pulling weeds, hoeing, to helping her with harvesting.

In April we planted potatoes, lettuce, radishes, rutabagas, and cabbage. In May we planted sweet corn, green beans, pumpkins, squash and navy beans. In late May she set out the tomato plants that she had started from seed back in March, on St. Patrick’s Day to be exact.She had saved coffee cans, from which she had removed both the tops and bottoms. She placed a can around each little tomato plant, to protect it from cutworms and from the weather.

Now, many years later, my mother’s voice is still in my head as we garden at Roshara—telling me what to do and when. Today, my kids now do most of the work in our garden, which we have now had for more than 50 years. For my birthday a couple years ago, the kids gave me a folding rocking chair, with a sign on the back that read, “Senior Supervisor.”

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Growing your own vegetables is an old idea—but still a good one.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My writing class at The Clearing in Door County is scheduled: Friday, July 27, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to register.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Wednesday, May 2, 10:00 a.m. Book Launch at Oakwood West, Madison. New book: Once a Professor. Open to the public.

Tuesday, May 15, 11:30 a.m. Black Hawk Country Club, SAIL Group. Once a Professor.

Saturday, May 19, 10:00-2:00 Dregne’s Westby, Book signing.

Thursday, May 31, 7:00 Middleton Public Library. Book Launch for Cold As Thunder (New novel)

Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
Phone: 920-622-3835

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).
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,)
Never Curse the Rain, (based on his book with the same title)
The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Once a Professor, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Winter in April




April Grapevines

I’m looking out the window, and I see snow banks. How could this be? We are quickly pushing toward the end of April. Yes, April, not February.

Two memories come to mind. Last year, 2017, by this time we had planted 200 trees at my farm, and a good bit of our vegetable garden. The potatoes were in, the radishes and lettuce were planted. A pair of bluebirds were going in and out of the birdhouse that stands near the garden. This year. The garden is buried in snow. I haven’t seen the bluebirds.

A second memory, a bit dimmer. The year was 1948 or 1949. I was in high school. We had planted our oats in mid-April, as was per usual during those years. In late May, I was driving our Farmall H tractor, which Dad bought a couple years earlier. I was discing the corn ground, a twenty-acre field that we had fall-plowed. And it was cold. Cold for May. But I ignored the cold as I enjoyed driving the tractor from the first day we had gotten it.

I finished discing about supper time. Pa was doing barn chores. “Dang cold for this time of year,” I said.

“Feels like snow,” Pa said.

“Can't be, it’s May,” I said.

It snowed five or six inches that night. No corn planting for a few days. My twin brothers built a snowman. It remained until the first week in June.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Just when you think you’ve got something figured out, you discover that you don’t, especially when it comes to weather.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My writing class at The Clearing in Door County is scheduled: Friday, July 27, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to register.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Wednesday, April 25, 6:00 p.m. Book Launch at Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. New book: Once a Professor

Wednesday, May 2, 10:00 a.m. Book Launch at Oakwood West, Madison. New book: Once a Professor. Open to the public.

Tuesday, May 15, 11:30 a.m. Black Hawk Country Club, SAIL Group. Once a Professor

Saturday, May 19, 10:00-2:00 Dregne’s Westby, Book signing.

Thursday, May 31, 7:00 Middleton Public Library. Book Launch for Cold As Thunder (New novel)

Purchase Jerry’s signed DVDs and books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
Phone: 920-622-3835

DVDs: His latest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).

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,)

Never Curse the Rain, based on his book with the same title.

The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his latest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Wash Day on The Farm


My mother was way ahead of her time. When it came to washday, which was every Monday without fail, she and my dad brought from the woodshed to the kitchen her two washing machines. Neither required electricity. The simplest of the two, the washboard, needed nothing but a strong arm and lots of patience. The washing machine with ringer was powered by a little gasoline engine. Once Pa got the engine started, no small task, it washed clothes thoroughly, except for those dirtiest. These were first cleaned on the washboard.

Water was heated in a copper boiler that sat on the hottest part of the kitchen wood stove. My brothers and I had the job of carrying many pails of water from the pumphouse to the kitchen. There was no fancy water heater to worry about.

My mother was way ahead of her time when it came to drying clothes as well. She had a solar-powered clothes drier, also known as an outdoor clothesline. She hung the wet clothes on the clothesline, no matter the season of the year. During the winter months, the clothes freeze dried. All seasons of the year, the clothes came into the house smelling sweet and fresh. No buttons to push. No dials to spin.

Oh, I forgot to mention. We had no electricity, no indoor plumbing, and heated our farmhouse with wood stoves. But we all wore clean, fresh smelling clothes.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: People made do before electricity came to the country in interesting ways.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My writing class at The Clearing in Door County is scheduled: Friday, July 27, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to register.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Wednesday, April 25, 6:00 p.m. Book Launch at Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. New book: Once a Professor

Wednesday, May 2, 10:00 a.m. Book Launch at Oakwood West, Madison. New book: Once a Professor.

Tuesday, May 15, 11:30 a.m. Black Hawk Country Club, SAIL Group. Once a Professor

Saturday, May 19, 10:00-2:00 Dregne’s Westby, Book signing.

Thursday, May 31, 7:00 Middleton Public Library. Book Launch for Cold As Thunder (New novel)

Purchase Jerry’s singed DVDs and signed books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
Phone: 920-622-3835

DVDs: His newest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).

Also available, 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,) Never Curse the Rain, based on his book with the same title, and the newest one, One-Room School

The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his latest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.



Saturday, April 07, 2018

Nissen and Tomato Plants



No matter how blustery, how deep the snow, or how cold it was, my mother always planted tomato seeds on St. Patrick’s Day. “It’s a day to celebrate green,” she said.

Now, many years later, I continue to plant tomato seeds, not always on St. Patrick’s Day, but close to it. This year was no exception. Now a few weeks later, my little tomato plants are green and growing—even though the temperature seems to avoid climbing above 40 degrees and piles of the recent snow remain.

Three families eat fresh vegetables from our Roshara garden, and tomatoes are everyone’s favorite. My wife’s specialty is tomato soup—she makes many jars of it, which we enjoy all winter. She also makes “just the best” tomato juice. My daughter, Sue, and daughter-in-law, Natasha, make salsa. And everyone enjoys the taste of fresh tomatoes, just picked from the garden.

Always a sucker for pretty tomato pictures in the seed catalogs, I always try one or more new varieties. This year I am trying Atlas Hybrid, Bloody Butcher, and Steakhouse. Of course, I also grow several “never fail” varieties, Wisconsin 55, Early Girl and Burpee’s Big Boy.

A little Norwegian Nissen stands guard over my still tiny tomato plants. It’s hard to believe that these little plants will stand four feet and taller by mid-July. That is if winter decides to hand it up one of these days.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: When you are doing nothing, how do you know when you are finished?

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My writing class at The Clearing in Door County is scheduled: Friday, July 27, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to register.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Friday, April 13, 7:00 p.m. Fine Arts Center, Adams-Friendship High School. One-Room Country Schools.

Sunday, April 15, 6:30 p.m. Lebanon Historical Society, Fire House Community Room. One-Room Country Schools.

Wednesday, April 25, 6:00 p.m. Book Launch at Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. New book: Once a Professor

Wednesday, May 2, 10:00 a.m. Book Launch at Oakwood West, Madison. New book: Once a Professor.

Tuesday, May 15, 11:30 a.m. Black Hawk Country Club, SAIL Group. Once a Professor

Saturday, May 19, 10:00-2:00 Dregne’s Westby, Book signing.

Thursday, May 31, 7:00 Middleton Public Library. Book Launch for Cold As Thunder (New novel)

Purchase Jerry’s singed DVDs and signed books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
Phone: 920-622-3835

DVDs: His newest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).

Also available, 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,) Never Curse the Rain, based on his book with the same title, and the newest one, One-Room School

The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his latest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.




Saturday, March 31, 2018

What Happened to Spring?



I listened to the Friday evening weather forecast on my weather radio. Hoping to hear about warmer temperatures and sunshine Saturday. Saturday was set as a workday at Roshara. Clean up around the buildings. Do some raking. Take the straw away from the septic system. Check the bluebird houses. Cut a few black locust fence posts. That sort of thing.

I couldn’t believe the forecast. I listened to it twice. “Saturday, snow, heavy at times. Up to three inches, more to the north. High wind warning. Up to 45 miles per hour.”

I checked at midnight. Not a sign of snow. Bare ground at Roshara. Only a few piles of tired and retreating snow remaining. Saturday still looked promising. Weather forecast really meant someplace other than the Town of Rose, Waushara County. I hoped.

Up at 5;30 A.M., My usual time to crawl out of bed. No snow. No rain. Weather report obviously wrong.

Six A.M. I’m eating breakfast. I glanced out the window. What? It’s snowing. Snowing hard, big wet flakes. Within a half hour, the ground is covered, and the wind is coming up. Alas, winter has returned. How can this be? It’s the end of March. Time for spring work.

As I write this in late morning on Saturday, the snow continues to fall. As much as I hate to admit it, it’s a beautiful snow. It clings to the tree branches, gathers on top of the birdhouses—and keeps me inside, sitting by my wood stove,

What am I learning from all this? First off, never trust old man winter. If he wants a late fling in early spring, so be it. Secondly, something I learned a long time ago from my father when a late snowstorm prevented spring work. I had asked, “What do we do about the snow?” His answer, “Let it snow.”

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: There’s a time for winter, and a time for spring. Occasionally both happen at the same time.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My writing class at The Clearing in Door County is scheduled: Friday, July 27, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to register.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Friday, April 13, 7:00 p.m. Fine Arts Center, Adams-Friendship High School. One-Room Country Schools.

Sunday, April 15, 6:30 p.m. Lebanon Historical Society, Fire House Community Room. One-Room Country Schools.

Wednesday, April 25, 6:00 p.m. Book Launch at Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. New book: Once a Professor

Wednesday, May 2, 10:00 a.m. Book Launch at Oakwood West, Madison. New book: Once a Professor.

Tuesday, May 15, 11:30 a.m. Black Hawk Country Club, SAIL Group. Once a Professor

Saturday, May 19, 10:00-2:00 Dregne’s Westby, Book signing.

Thursday, May 31, 7:00 Middleton Public Library. Book Launch for Cold As Thunder (New novel)

Purchase Jerry’s singed DVDs and signed books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
Phone: 920-622-3835

DVDs: His newest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).

Also available, 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,) Never Curse the Rain, based on his book with the same title, and the newest one, One-Room School

The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his latest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.




Saturday, March 24, 2018

Home Place



So where did you grow up? A question I often hear as people read my books and watch my Public TV shows. The photo, taken in the 1960s, is the farmstead of the home farm located west of Wild Rose, in Waushara County.

The farm included 160 acres, 20 of which was wooded. Most of the rest of the farm was tillable. But it was hilly, stony and sandy. We never had enough rain. We had more than enough stones.

These farm buildings included a red barn, with a wood-stave silo and a big white house. In winter we closed off all but two rooms, the ones with woodstoves.The little white building between the house and the barn was the pumphouse, which also served as the milk house because it is where we cooled the milk cans after morning and evening milking.

To the west was the chicken house and immediately to the south a combination machine shed and granary. Then the corn crib, the kind where cob corn was stored.

Another machine shed stood next to the white pine windbreak, and a bit further to the south was the brooder house where my mother tended the baby chicks until they were old enough for the chicken house. The photo was taken in August, note the big straw stack just to the west of the barn.

Not to be forgotten, the white board fence that separated the barnyard from what we farmers called the dooryard. My folks were proud of these farm buildings, although there was nothing fancy about any of them.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: You can tell a lot about farmers by looking at their buildings.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My writing class at The Clearing in Door County is scheduled: Friday, July 27, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to register.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Friday, April 13, 7:00 p.m. Fine Arts Center, Adams-Friendship High School. One-Room Country Schools.

Sunday, April 15, 6:30 p.m. Lebanon Historical Society, Fire House Community Room. One-Room Country Schools.

Wednesday, April 25, 6:00 p.m. Book Launch at Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. New book: Once a Professor

Wednesday, May 2, 10:00 a.m. Book Launch at Oakwood West, Madison. New book: Once a Professor.

Tuesday, May 15, 11:30 a.m. Black Hawk Country Club, SAIL Group. Once a Professor

Saturday, May 19, 10:00-2:00 Dregne’s Westby, Book signing.

Thursday, May 31, 7:00 Middleton Public Library. Book Launch for Cold As Thunder (New novel)

Purchase Jerry’s singed DVDs and signed books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
Phone: 920-622-3835

DVDs: His newest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).

Also available, 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,) Never Curse the Rain, based on his book with the same title, and the newest one, One-Room School

The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year (reprints), One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his latest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.



Saturday, March 17, 2018

Signs of Spring



The sun is up, the sky is blue, the wind is down, and so is the temperature—it is 19 degrees as I write this. “Where is spring?” someone asked me the other day.

Snow covers much of Roshara’s woodlands. It also remains around the buildings. But it is a tired snow, a stiff, dense, not so beautiful, grainy snow. Snow that disappears a bit more with each sunny day.

Aside from the reminders of winter, cold morning temps and snow, the signs of spring are here. The robins are back. So are the sandhill cranes. The sun is high, and each day we have a few more minutes of daylight. A friend said he’d seen a bluebird. I saw a flock of high-flying geese winging north—geese that winter farther South and are not returning. Not to be confused with those tough, local geese that stay.

A sure sign of spring is my woodpile. Last November it stood four feet high, this morning but a few sticks remain.

I’ve seen the coming of a good many springs. No two are alike. Some are early, some are late, and some seem to last only a few days before they morph into summer. One year I planted my early spring crops in the garden by this time. Today, the garden remains snow covered, and the ground is frozen.

But spring is just around the corner, a bit shy to face up to old man winter with his bluster and might. But she will do it, as she always has. We just need a little patience.

THE Old TIMER SAYS: March on the farm builds character and challenges optimism.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My writing class at The Clearing in Door County is scheduled: Friday, July 27, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 to register.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Friday, April 13, 7:00 p.m. Fine Arts Center, Adams-Friendship High School. One-Room Country Schools.

Sunday, April 15, 6:30 p.m. Lebanon Historical Society, Fire House Community Room. One-Room Country Schools.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDs and his Books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
Phone: 920-622-3835

The library now has signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs: His newest Public TV show, One-Room Country School is now available. It’s based on his book, One-Room Country Schools (also available).

Also available, 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,) Never Curse the Rain, based on his book with the same title, and the newest one, One-Room School

The library has several of Jerry’s signed books for sale including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a County Year, One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his latest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.



Saturday, March 10, 2018

Bluebirds and Spring


One of our springtime treats at Roshara is seeing the return of the bluebirds. By late March and early April, they are usually back, not long after the winter snows have melted and before the prairie grass has greened up.

We built a bluebird trail about forty years ago, as a way to encourage bluebirds but also as a way to define the boundary between my property and my brother’s. The trail stretches for nearly a quarter mile along the southern border on my farm.

My son-in-law, Paul Bodilly, is the chief birdhouse maintainer and builder of replacement houses. We’ve discovered having a metal roof on our bluebird houses increases their life about twice. But we still have many with wooden roofs. Some other basics of bluebird houses: the hole should be 1 ½ inches to prevent larger birds from using the house and to help keep predators such as raccoons away. The entrance hole should be about six to ten inches from the house’s floor. Bluebird houses should be placed about 100 yards apart.

Don’t be alarmed if a pair of tree swallows takes up residence in your bluebird house. At Roshara, we have about as many tree swallows as we have bluebirds.

Violating the rule to place bluebird houses away from buildings, we have a house next to our vegetable garden. We have had a bluebird family there every year for the past ten years. What a joy to work in the garden and watch a pair of bluebirds go in and out of the house as we work.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: A bluebird has the blue sky on its back and the orange sun on its breast. Its arrival confirms that spring has arrived.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Saturday, March 17, 9:30-2:00. McFarlene’s Store in Sauk City. Every Farm Tells a Story.

Friday, April 13, 7:00 p.m. Fine Arts Center, Adams-Friendship High School. One-Room Country Schools.

Sunday, April 15, 6:30 p.m. Lebanon Historical Society, Fire House Community Room. One-Room Country Schools.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDs and his Books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
Phone: 920-622-3835

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,) and Never Curse the Rain, Jerry’s newest DVD based on his book with the same title.
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, One-Room Country Schools, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his latest 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 guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.


Sunday, March 04, 2018

The Old Wood Stove Teakettle


A teakettle always sat on the wood-burning cook stove in our farm kitchen. Why? Nobody in the family drank tea. Not once in my years at home, well maybe once when a fussy Chicago visitor demanded the beverage, did I see anyone make tea using our teakettle.

With no indoor plumbing at the home farm, the teakettle, which never left its place on the cook stove, provided our sole source of hot water. Its uses were many. Thawing out a frozen pipe in the pump house. Removing the ice from a frozen pig trough. Providing hot water for what my father called a “whiskey sling” when someone in the family had a cold. [Directions for a whiskey sling: Start with a tall glass of hot water. Add a jigger of “medicinal” whiskey, and add a little honey to make the concoction go down more easily.]

The idea of the whiskey sling, which was taken just before bedtime, was to cause the sick person to sweat. “It’ll sweat that cold right out of you,” Pa would say.

It worked. I’m still here.

Today, at our Roshara Cabin, we cook with a wood-burning stove. And the teakettle (see photo) is always there. One difference. It has been a long time since I’ve partaken of a whiskey sling.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: I met a fellow the other day who talked nonstop and didn’t say a thing.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Tune in Public Television on Tuesday, March 6, 7:00 pm. to see my newest documentary, ONE ROOM SCHOOL.


Purchase Jerry’s DVDs and his Books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835
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,) and Never Curse the Rain, Jerry’s newest DVD based on his book with the same title.

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 latest 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 guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Cardinals Whistling for Spring


Temperature, 27 degrees. Cloudy. No breeze. Quiet. I am on my early morning walk. Watching for icy spots. Thinking about spring. Trying to dismiss winter. After all, old man winter has had his chance. It’s time to welcome spring.

Then I hear it. A cardinal’s call to break the silence. Crisp and clean. A spring welcoming sound from this beautiful red bird that stays here all winter. Doesn’t wing south where it is warm.

Back from my walk, I did some checking on cardinals. Did you know (I didn’t) that the female cardinal’s song is more complex than the males? That a pair of male and female cardinals stay together year around? That female cardinals build the nest? That the female cardinal, during the incubation period of their eggs, stays on the nest while her mates brings her food? That cardinal eggs hatch in about 12 days?
That cardinals are not found in the deep woods but live along the edges.

Did you know that the cardinal is the state bird for seven states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia?

Not only are cardinals one of the most beautiful birds that we can enjoy year around, they are also interesting—as are all living creatures.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Cardinals enjoy bird feeders, especially those offering sunflower seeds.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Premier Showing of JERRY APPS: ONE ROOM SCHOOL, Wednesday, February 28, 6:00 p.m. Wild Rose High School Auditorium. I will be there to answer questions.

Wisconsin Public TV stations, Tuesday, March 6, 7:00 p.m. JERRY APPS: ONE ROOM SCHOOL. I will be at the station, sharing more stories during the breaks.



UPCOMING EVENTS:

March 17, 9:30 to 2:00 p.m. McFarlane’s Sauk City.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDs and his Books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835
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,) and Never Curse the Rain, Jerry’s newest DVD based on his book with the same title.

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 latest 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 guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.



.






Sunday, February 18, 2018

Remembering School Days



During these final days of February, I am thinking about the one-room country school that I attended for eight years. February was a special month at our school. We celebrated Valentine’s Day with a party where the parents were invited. We exchanged Valentines with each other—a large decorated box, with a slit on the top—sat on the teacher’s desk from the beginning of the month until the 14th when it was opened and the cute, mostly, little cards were exchanged.

Our teacher also made sure we knew about Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12, and George Washington’s birthday on February 22. How could we forget, for these two presidents stared down on us from either side of the blackboard every day?

Besides these special events, February was a short month. Only 28 days most years. Before we could really get used to the month, March came roaring in—usually like a lion, but not always.

I have recently completed an hour-long Television documentary titled: Jerry Apps: One Room School. It will air on all Wisconsin Public TV stations on March 6, 7:00 p.m. To see the premiere of the show, travel to Wild Rose where it will be shown on the big screen at the Wild Rose High School. The date is Wednesday, February 28, starting at 6:00 p.m. I will chat a bit at both of these events.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Take time to reflect on your earlier education, you may have learned more than you thought.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Wednesday, Feb 28, 6:00 p.m. Wild Rose H.S. Auditorium, Premier showing of Jerry’s
new Public TV documentary on One-Room Country Schools.

Tuesday, March 6, 7:00 p.m. First state-wide airing on all Wisconsin Public TV stations of my hour-long documentary on One-Room Country Schools.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDs and his Books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835
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,) and Never Curse the Rain, Jerry’s newest DVD based on his book with the same title.

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 latest 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 guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.



.







Sunday, February 11, 2018

Garden Seeds and Thinking Spring



It’s time to think spring. We’ve just gotten our most serious snowstorm of the season. And my garden seeds have arrived. Just as my mother did for all the years that she and my father lived on the family farm, she ordered garden seeds when the snow was deep and the temperature hung around zero and below for days on end.

For those gardeners interested, my planting strategy, which I have followed for more than fifty years of gardening, I learned from my parents. Order seeds that you know will produce vegetables that do well with your soil type and climate. Always order a variety that is new, and you’ve not tried before. My Dad’s advice, plant something that’s pretty, and plant something that’s unusual

So, here are examples of vegetable varieties I plan to grow in my 2018 garden:

Varieties that have done well:

--Top Crop green beans
--Wisconsin 55 Tomato
--Burpee’s Big Boy Hybrid Tomato
--Early Girl Tomato
--Detroit Dark Red Beets
--Waltham Butternut Squash
--Cherry Belle Radish

What I’ve ordered but never tried:

--Bella Rosa Hybrid Tomato
--Atlas Hybrid Tomato
--Steakhouse Hybrid Tomato
--Bloody Butcher Tomato
--Nirvana Sweet Corn

What’s Pretty:

--Painted Mountain Ornamental Corn
--Fire Catcher Sunflower

What’s Unusual:

--Ornamental Luffa Squash
--Bird House Gourds
--Gremlin Gourds

Why do I grow seven different varieties of tomatoes? I am hoping that at least half of them will do well, resist disease and contribute to our need for several bushels of tomatoes for eating, and making salsa, and soup
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Spring is just around the corner. But where is that corner?


UPCOMING EVENTS:

Wednesday, Feb 28, 6:00 p.m. Wild Rose H.S. Auditorium, Premier showing of Jerry’s
new Public TV documentary on One-Room Country Schools.

Tuesday, March 6, 7:00 p.m. First state-wide airing on all Wisconsin Public TV stations of my hour-long documentary on One-Room Country Schools.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835
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,) and Never Curse the Rain, Jerry’s newest DVD based on his book with the same title.

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 guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.



.


Sunday, February 04, 2018

Cold Weather Snow


I’m sitting at the kitchen table at Roshara. The outside temperature is 17 degrees, and it is snowing. A fine-flaked, but persistent snow. My dad would have called this a cold weather snow. We haven’t had much snow at Roshara this winter. I have yet to plow my driveway with my tractor, which has a frontend loader. A few inches fall, and then it warms above freezing and mostly melts. Then it snows a couple more inches and then it once more melts.

The kitchen woodstove is slowly bringing the kitchen temperature into the 60s, but it is comfortable in the cabin and to use a not much-used word these days, cozy.

The weather person predicts three to five inches. One characteristic of cold weather snow, it doesn’t accumulate very fast. So far it’s been snowing for about an hour, and my Aldo Leopold bench has but a white frosting coating.

I’ve always liked to watch falling snow. Something peaceful about it. Something nonpolitical about it—especially during these days of political rancor, when too many folks are yelling at too many other folks

THE OLD TIMER SAY: Watching the snow fall—you could do much worse.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:

I am conducting a two-hour writing workshop on February 17, 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. at the Wild Rose Library. It is free, and workshop participants will also receive a free copy of my book, TELLING YOUR STORY. The workshop will focus on telling stories about your early childhood education, whether in a one-room country school, or a village or city school. But you must register for the workshop. Click on this link to find registration information. Register Here for the Workshop. The workshop will be filmed by Wisconsin Public TV.

UPCOMING EVENTS:


Saturday, Feb 10, 2:15 p.m. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison, with daughter Susan

Sunday, Feb. 11: 1:00 p.m. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison, with daughter Susan

Saturday, Feb. 17, 12:00-2:00 p.m. Writing workshop at Wild Rose Library. See above for details. Registration required.

Wednesday, Feb 28, 6:00 p.m. Wild Rose H.S. Auditorium, Premier showing of Jerry’s
new Public TV documentary on One-Room Country Schools.

Tuesday, March 6, 7:00 p.m. First state-wide airing on all Wisconsin Public TV stations of my hour-long documentary on One-Room Country Schools.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835
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,) and Never Curse the Rain, Jerry’s newest DVD based on his book with the same title.
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.



.


Saturday, January 27, 2018

Garden Expo Feb. 9-11


So, has winter got you down? Are you suffering from Cabin Fever?

Here is an answer to what’s making you depressed. It’s time to think about gardening. Mark February 9-11 on your calendar and attend Wisconsin Public Television’s Garden Expo at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

As a promoter of the show wrote, “Now in its 25th year, this three-day event celebrates the latest trends in gardening, landscaping and edibles, and attracts more than 20,000 people from across the Midwest. Join other gardening enthusiasts to share ideas, gain inspiration and create something new. All proceeds support Wisconsin Public Television.”

Oh, lest I forget. I will be speaking there once more, along with my daughter, Susan Apps-Bodilly. To quote the program:

Old Farm Country Cookbook

Saturday, February 10, 2:15 p.m. Room Mendota 1-2

Jerry Apps and Susan Apps-Bodilly

Representing the Wisconsin Historical Society Press

Listen to rural storyteller Jerry Apps tell stories of farm life during the 1930s-1950s. Jerry talks about how farm families depended on their gardens for food. Jerry's daughter, Susan, will discuss recipes from the old, white, wooden recipe box that her grandmother followed when there was no electricity or indoor plumbing and all the cooking and baking was done using a wood-burning cook stove.

Also: Sunday at 1 p.m. in Room Mendota 4.
I hope to see you there.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Time to think about digging in the dirt.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
Saturday, Feb 10, 2:15 p.m. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison, with daughter Susan

Sunday, Feb. 11: 1:00 p.m. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison, with daughter Susan

Wednesday, Feb 28, 6:00 p.m. Wild Rose H.S. Auditorium, Premier showing of Jerry’s new Public TV documentary on One-Room Country Schools.

Tuesday, March 6, 7:00 p.m. First state-wide airing on all Wisconsin Public TV stations of my hour-long documentary on One-Room Country Schools.

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

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835

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,) and Never Curse the Rain, Jerry’s newest DVD based on his book with the same title.
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 guidebook for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.



.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Track Makers




The temperature had climbed above freezing. I pulled on my boots, grabbed my new Christmas winter cap, and put on my winter parka. The snow at Roshara, about three-four inches was puffy and light and relatively easy to walk in without snowshoes. I was headed toward the small field south of my cabin, not looking for much of anything, but just walking and listening, and enjoying the quiet of this beautiful sunny, winter morning.

I shuffled along, walking stick in one hand, watching where I was going because there was no trail to follow, no path. Just a strikingly white expanse of snow. I caught a glimpse of movement, a deer, a big doe, and then another, and another—four of them, bounding a few yards ahead of me, their white tails high and waving. And leaving tracks in the snow.

Animal tracks have always intrigued me, from the time when I was a little kid and hiked with my dad. He knew deer tracks—how a fawn track compared to a sizable buck. He showed me the difference between the tracks made by a running deer to one that was merely walking. Same for rabbits, foxes, and squirrels, the animals that braved winters in Wisconsin.

So on this day I am thinking about tracks, and how tracks are one way of recording history. Tracks are a record of where the creature has been, and what it had been doing. We can learn a lot about a creature by looking at its tracks.

As we go about living our lives, we leave tracks as well, perhaps not as easily seen as the tracks of a deer in snow. But tracks nonetheless—of where we have been, and what we have been doing.

THE OLD TIMER ASKS: Why do so many people try to cover their tracks?

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Saturday, Feb 10, 2:15 p.m. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison, with daughter Susan

Sunday, Feb. 11: 1:00 p.m. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison, with daughter Susan

Wednesday, Feb 28, 6:00 p.m. Wild Rose H.S. Auditorium, Premier showing of Jerry’s new Public TV documentary on One-Room Country Schools.

Tuesday, March 6, 7:00 p.m. First state-wide airing on all Wisconsin Public TV stations of my hour-long documentary on One-Room Country Schools.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835
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,) and Never Curse the Rain, Jerry’s newest DVD based on his book with the same title.
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.



.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Mouse in a Box



It happened between Christmas and New Year’s. When two of my grandsons, Josh and Ben were home. I sent them to our attic and to our basement for the retrieval of boxes, many boxes, 57 boxes to be exact. A history of my years working at UW-Madison and a history of 50 years of writing. All stuffed into boxes. Letters, manuscripts, interview tapes, speech notes, edited book pages, research notes. Lots of research notes. And several book journals. I keep a journal for each book I write—a topic for another day.

Oh, and a bit of mischief on the part of my grandsons, who knew well the whims and fears of my daughter, Sue, their mother. As Josh hustled box after box down the rickety folding attic stairs, he spotted a dead mouse in the attic. And he put said mouse in one of the boxes before handing it to Ben who brought the box to my office where Sue and I worked. She and I inspected each box as it arrived from the attic and basement for its contents, so I could develop an inventory. The work was progressing carefully and quietly.

Then a hair raising scream from daughter, Sue. So loud it brought my wife running. So loud it nearly short-circuited my hearing aid. And then laughter. Belly laughter from Ben and Josh who had once more “put one over” on their mouse challenged mother, about the only wild creature she can’t tolerate. She had opened a box, and there she spotted the dead mouse. Very dead.

After son, Steve removed the mouse, the work continued. Eventually the 57 boxes filled half our living room—until Jonathon Nelson from the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives arrived and hauled them away.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: One way to keep a record of one’s history: Stuff it a box and pile it in the attic

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Saturday, Feb 10, 2:15 p.m. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison, with daughter Susan

Sunday, Feb. 11: 1:00 p.m. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison, with daughter Susan

Wednesday, Feb 28, 6:00 p.m. Wild Rose H.S. Auditorium, Premier showing of Jerry’s new Public TV documentary on One-Room Country Schools.

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

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835

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,) and Never Curse the Rain, Jerry’s newest DVD based on his book with the same title.
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.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

New Reprints


During the early 2000s I wrote two books about farm life in central Wisconsin when I was a kid growing up on the home farm. Our farm was located four and one-half miles west of Wild Rose.

The first book, EVERY FARM TELLS A STORY was based on mother’s account books, which she diligently kept from the day they moved onto the farm in 1924 until they left the farm in 1973 to retire in Wild Rose. I found such items listed as: Fork handle--$.65, milk pail--$1.15, Horse collar and pad--$8.15 and gloves for Herm (my father)--$.52. These entries not only revealed something about the cost of farming in those days, but for me they triggered stories associated with the items. This book became the source of the stories that I shared in my first Public Television documentary, “Jerry Apps: A Farm Story.”

The second book, LIVING A COUNTRY YEAR, is also a story of my early farm life. But this time I’ve organized it around the months of the year on the farm, with a story for each month, some thoughts for that month, plus a recipe. For instance, for January I wrote: “January is for slowing down and reflecting, for considering the year that has passed and anticipating the year that is beginning.” The January recipe is for “Ma’s Homemade Chili.”
I am especially pleased that the Wisconsin Historical Society Press has reprinted both of these books, with new covers, and new introductions. Check at your local bookstore, order on line, or order from Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose. The Patterson will soon have copies for sale as a fund raiser for the library.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Cold and snowy winter days are made for book reading.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Saturday, Feb 10, 2:15 p.m. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison, with daughter Susan

Sunday, Feb. 11: 1:00 p.m. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison, with daughter Susan

Wednesday, Feb 28, 6:00 p.m. Wild Rose H.S. Auditorium, Premier showing of Jerry’s new Public TV documentary on One-Room Country Schools.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.org
www.wildroselibrary.org
920-622-3835
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,) and Never Curse the Rain, Jerry’s newest DVD based on his book with the same title.
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.



Monday, January 01, 2018

A New Year

Some things to do in the New Year:

Start a journal and write in it every day, or perhaps once a week, but regularly. Record the weather. Pen your thoughts. Write a story from your past. Remove an emotional ache from your system.

Vow to laugh out loud at least once each day, all year long. You’ll feel better. You’ll help others feel better.

Take time to see the whiteness of fresh fallen snow that sparkles and glimmers and covers the grime and dirt of an earlier day.

Watch the sun set when the temperature is below freezing and the sky is steel blue and turns black as the sun sinks away and the thermometer plummets.

Listen for the silence of winter, when snow buries the land and the cold tightens its grip. There is great beauty in silence, something that is in short supply these days.
Stand in a snowstorm and watch snowflakes accumulate on your sleeve. Each snowflake is different, each one special—a reminder of nature’s creative magnificence.

Sit by a fireplace or a wood stove doing nothing except listening to the occasional pop of the fire and smelling the hint of wood smoke that sneaks into the room.
Remember that doing nothing is sometimes the most important thing you can do.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Happy New Year!

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Saturday, Feb 10, 2:15 p.m. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison, with daughter Susan
Sunday, Feb. 11: 1:00 p.m. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison, with daughter Susan
Wednesday, Feb 28, 6:00 p.m. Wild Rose H.S. Auditorium, Premier showing of Jerry’s new Public TV documentary on One-Room Country Schools.

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,) and Never Curse the Rain, Jerry’s newest DVD based on his book with the same title.
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