Saturday, December 28, 2019

Homemade Christmas Presents


Homemade deer Christmas Presents. Photo by Jerry Apps

On these days after Christmas, I often think about the gifts I have received in the past, especially when I was a kid growing up on a farm during the Great Depression. Money was scarce in those days and “store-bought” presents were few.

I remember most of all the homemade presents I received during those rather dreary times. My grandmother was a knitter, and I, along with my two brothers, often received newly knitted mittens as Christmas presents—how I prized them. Best of all she knitted a heavy woolen scarf for me one year. I wore it when I walked to school on below-zero winter days. My mother wrapped the scarf around my head and shoulders so everything was covered, except for my eyes. As I walked along our snow-covered country road, I thought about my grandmother sitting by a wood stove, knitting. The thoughts helped keep me warm.

I also remember fondly, the skis my Grandfather made for me one Christmas. He made them out of birch boards. I learned that he had steamed the ends of the boards over a boiling kettle so the boards turned up at the ends. He fashioned pieces of leather to hold my rubber boots in place. How wonderful they were. They did not have grooves on their bottoms, so on packed snow they were as likely to go sideways as straight ahead—but that was some of the fun in having them.

I received the two little homemade deer from my son and his family who live in Colorado. They have been a part of our Christmas decorations for several years. They welcome friends by our front door.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS:: There is something special about homemade Christmas presents.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Saturday, February 8, 2:15 p.m., Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison

Sunday, February 9, 1:00 p.m.., Garden Expo Alliant Center, Madison

Saturday, March 21, 1:30, Columbus Community Center, Columbus, WI Sponsored by Columbus Public Library and Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

WHERE TO BUY MY BOOKS AND DVDS.

Look at my books, ONE ROOM COUNTRY SCHOOLS and THE QUIET SEASON for about winter and Christmas.

Buy them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

If you travel to the western part of the state, stop at Ruth’s home town, Westby and visit Dregne’s.. They have a great selection of my books for sale, or order a book by calling them at 1-877-634-4414. Or visit your local bookstore.


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Friday, December 20, 2019

A Christmas Thank You


Book Display at McFarlane's in Sauk City. Photo by Steve Apps.


Christmas is a time to say thanks. I must say thanks to the many people who have helped me doing the past year and years before that. I’ll start with the booksellers, without whom my work would fall on its face. To mention a few: Mystery to Me in Madison, Jahnke’s Bookstore in Wausau, Books and Company in Oconomowoc, and Dregne’s in Westby. Then the non-traditional booksellers: Friends of the Patterson Library in Wild Rose and McFarlane’s in Sauk City. McFarlane’s is an upscale hardware store, but they have my books for sale, and invite me to do a special Merry Christmas radio show at their store each year. And a big thank you to the many booksellers I have not mentioned.

Above all, I must thank my many readers. First a big thank you to all who read my books, young and old. I especially want to thank those at nursing homes and memory care centers, who read my books to folks who can no longer read themselves.

A big thank you to those who read my weekly blog and my weekly column in The Wisconsin State Farmer. Thank you to those who read my twice-monthly column in Agri-View and those who previously read my columns in The Country Today. Not to forget, thank you, readers, of my monthly column in the Richland Electric Coop newsletter.

A Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year. As we old farmers always say no matter what happened this year, next year will be better.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: A writer without readers is like a car without wheels. Neither goes anywhere.

WHERE TO BUY MY BOOKS AND DVDS.

Get them from booksellers mentioned above. Here is how to buy them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org
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Friday, December 13, 2019

A Special Book



Photo by Jerry Apps

When I was a kid, the weeks and days leading up to Christmas were almost as much fun as Christmas itself. The Sears, Roebuck Christmas catalog arrived in our mailbox right after Thanksgiving. Up until a couple weeks before Christmas, my two brothers and I pored over that precious catalog. Instructions from our parents—you can select one toy and one article of clothing. And that’s what we did, although it wasn’t easy because that “wish book,” as it was commonly called, had so many choices.

My choice for a “toy” from about the time I was about ten years old was usually a book of some kind. That year If I remember correctly, I looked at the vast selection of books until I struck on the one that I absolutely had to have. Its title “Fun For Boys.”

This book had everything a boy would want to know. Chapters included: “How to be a Ventriloquist”. I had heard about people being able to throw their voices, and here I would learn how to do it. “How to Identify Aircraft.” We were in the midst of World War II, and by reading this chapter, I would learn how to spot enemy planes, such as German Messerschmitt’s. Reading this chapter, I would be prepared to identify such an enemy aircraft flying over our farm and notify the authorities—although I wondered how I would do that with our party-line telephone.

Other chapters covered how to build things and handle a rope like a cowboy—and much more.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Sometimes it’s fun to just sit back, and think about how things were.

WHERE TO BUY MY BOOKS AND DVDS.

Get them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

If you travel to the western part of the state, stop at Ruth’s home town, Westby and visit Dregne’s.. They have a great selection of my books for sale, or order a book by calling them at 1-877-634-4414.

Friday, December 06, 2019

Store-Bought Christmas Tree



Steve, Natasha, and Sue decorating our "store-bought" Christmas tree. Photo by Jerry Apps.


Some thirty years ago I said I would never again buy a Christmas tree. After all, Roshara, our Wild Rose farm is mostly a tree farm. Over the past 50 years, we have planted some 12,000 trees—red pine, white pine, Norway spruce. Even a few blue spruce and a handful of fraser firs. Here and there we also have a few Scotch pine and jack pine volunteers.

I reasoned that surely among that collection of trees there must be at least three decent Christmas trees available each year—for Sue and Paul, for Steve and Natasha, and for Ruth and me. For many years that was the case. Each year, the weekend following Thanksgiving, the family gathered at Roshara in search of the perfect Christmas tree. It was a fun time—so many choices, so many acres of trees to inspect.

But alas, the weekend following Thanksgiving this year included blowing snow, slippery roads, poor visibility—a bad weather weekend. We agreed it was no weekend for driving.

The tradition was broken. Once more, I was reminded about using the word “never.” Standing in our family room is a beautiful fraser fir Christmas tree—which I purchased. As to beauty, our homegrown red pine, white pine and Scotch pine trees are merely ordinary when compared to this fraser fir. But beyond ordinary, our own trees are special because we planted them and watched them grow. They are part of Roshara’s history, part of the place’s contribution to our family’s happiness.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Real Christmas trees are special---whether store-bought or homegrown.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

December 14, 9:30 to 2:00 McFarlane’s, Sauk City. Christmas on the Farm.

.For those interested in purchasing my books (Christmas is coming). Get them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

If you travel to the western part of the state, stop at Ruth’s home town, Westby and visit Dregne’s.. They have a great selection of my books for sale, or order a book by calling them at 1-877-634-4414.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Memories of Ice Fishing





The “try to keep warm” approach to ice fishing. Photo by Steve Apps

With deer season and Thanksgiving over, when I was a kid, thoughts on the home farm, turned to ice fishing. It was about this time that Waushara County’s lakes had two or three inches of ice, enough for us to try our luck. With the barn chores finished by late Saturday morning, my two brothers, dad and I piled into our 1936 Plymouth on our way to Mt. Morris Lake, our favorite ice fishing spot.

In those days we mainly fished with tip-ups, a device designed so that when a fish took the bait—a minnow—a little flag flew up. Arriving at the lake, we punched several holes through the ice with an ice chisel, which the blacksmith in Wild Rose had made for us from the rear axle of a Model T Ford. We fished for northern pike, always optimistic to “catch a big one” we made the holes ten inches or so in diameter.

With the holes open, we threaded a minnow on each hook, set our tip-ups in place (we each had two tip-ups as I recall) and made our way to shore where we built a little campfire. There, we could keep warm and watch our tip-ups. On a good day, we might have a half-dozen “tip-ups” as we announced when a flag went up.

Ice fishing took considerable patience—some days we’d catch a half-dozen pike. Other times we caught nothing. But I’ve never forgotten the fun it was, especially the storytelling around the little campfire.

THE OLD-TIMER SAYS: Ice fishing—a study in patience.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

December 14, 9:30 to 2:00 McFarlane’s, Sauk City. Christmas on the Farm.

.For those interested in purchasing my books (Christmas is coming). Get them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

If you travel to the western part of the state, stop at Ruth’s home town, Westby and visit Dregne’s.. They have a great selection of my books for sale, or order a book by calling them at 1-877-634-4414.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Deer Season




Grandson, Nick Apps on his first hunt. Composite Photo by Steve Apps and Jerry Apps

It is only an orange cap you say. What’s the big deal? The big deal is that it is a symbol of one of Wisconsin’s many traditions—the annual gun deer season. A blaze orange cap is on the list of Wisconsin’s important symbols: Turkey-Thanksgiving. Christmas tree—Christmas. Fireworks—Fourth of July.

Especially in rural Wisconsin, never plan a wedding, a funeral, or anything else where you expect people to attend. They will not come. The men, and more women each year are out in the woods, wearing blaze orange, looking for a deer.

I must confess that I am part of the tradition. I hunted deer for the first time with my dad in 1946, the year I was old enough to buy a license. And I haven’t missed a year since—not even when I was in the army. These days, I hunt with my son, Steve, who hasn’t missed a year since he was twelve.

We also hunt with my brother Donald and his sons, Marc, Matt and Eric. Need I say that for our family, deer hunting, as it is for many, is much more than bagging a deer. It’s a time for storytelling and reminiscing: “Remember that 10-point buck you missed back in 82, or that season when it was below zero every day.”

It’s a time to connect with relatives. It’s a time away from hurry-up lives we all have these days. Don’t tell anyone, but for me, it’s also a great time for a nap in the woods.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Deer hunting: A Wisconsin sacred tradition.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

December 14, 9:30 to 2:00 McFarlane’s, Sauk City. Christmas on the Farm.

.For those interested in purchasing my books (Christmas is coming). Get them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org
If you travel to the western part of the state, stop at Ruth’s home town, Westby and visit Dregne’s.. They have a great selection of my books for sale, or order a book by calling them at 1-877-634-4414.
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Friday, November 15, 2019

Fresh Apples


Photo by Jerry Apps.


Fresh apples are a fall pleasure to eat. On the home farm, we had a half dozen apple trees or so in a little orchard fenced off in the field across the road from the farmhouse. We had Whitney Crabs, Northwestern Greenings, Russets, Wealthy, and Duchess trees. I don’t remember that we ever sprayed them with anything—but I also remember my dad would say, “If you happen to come onto a worm when you are eating an apple, be happy that it’s not half a worm.”

Starting in September, we picked the apples and stored them in the cellar under the house, along with the potatoes, rutabagas, onions, carrots and everything else we had harvested from our garden.

My mother made apple sauce, canning it for our use in winter. She made crab apple pickles canning them also. And apple pies, fresh from the oven for Sunday dinners, and for Thanksgiving. Of course, we ate apples from right off the tree. Talk about fresh. I’ve never forgotten that crisp, tart flavor of an apple right off a tree.
Today, one of my favorite apple recipes is Apple Crisp. Here is my wife. Ruth’s recipe

APPLE CRISP

Place in a greased 8-inch pan:

4 sliced baking apples

Blend until crumbly; then spread over apples:

2/3 to 3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
½ cup sifted flour
½ cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup soft butter
Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes—until apples are tender and topping is golden brown.
Serves 6-8

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Remember the old saying: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

November 18, 1:00 p.m. Kiel Public Library, Kiel, WI. “Wisconsin. CCC”

December 14, 9:30 to 2:00 McFarlane’s, Sauk City. Christmas on the Farm.

For those interested in purchasing my books (Christmas is coming). Get them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

If you travel to the western part of the state, stop at Ruth’s home town, Westby and visit Dregne’s. They have a great selection of my books for sale or order a book by calling them at 1-877-634-4414.
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Friday, November 08, 2019

First Snowfall



Photo by Jerry Apps

When I was a kid, the first snow in the fall was special. If we were on schedule, and Pa usually was, the fall harvest was completed—cob corn filled the corn crib, the silo was full, the oat bin in the granary was about to run over, the hay mows in the barn were stacked to the roof. All that was left to do was to make some wood as we heated our farm home with woodstoves in those days.

For my brothers and me, it meant looking for our sleds and skis that were stored somewhere in the woodshed. Summer softball and swimming were fun, but sledding and skiing were equally so. And dare I say, no other kind of fishing could be compared to ice fishing, which we did a lot of once the nearby lakes froze over.

At the country school, we switched from warm-weather games to playing fox and geese, a tag game laid out in a wheel-like circle in the snow with the spokes coming together in the middle. Lizzie Hatliff owned the land back of the school yard, which had a long hill, ideal for sledding and skiing. When we tired of fox and geese, it was off to Hatliff’s hill.
If the weather warmed enough to begin melting the snow, we switched to snowball fights—I don’t recall how we decided who should be on which side of the battle. One rule never to be broken, do not. hit anyone in the head with a snowball.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: The first snow marked the beginning of winter, not the calendar.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

November 9, (Saturday) 9:00 a.m. 2nd Sat. Plymouth Art Center, Plymouth, WI. Sheboygan County Historical Research Center. “Farm Winter With Jerry Apps”

November 14, (Thursday) 6:00 p.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. The Land Still Lives launch.

November 18, 1:00 p.m. Kiel Public Library, Kiel, WI. “Wisconsin. CCC”

.For those interested in purchasing my books (Christmas is coming). Get them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.

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

If you travel to the western part of the state, stop at Ruth’s home town, Westby and visit Dregne’s.. They have a great selection of my books for sale, or order a book by calling them at 1-877-634-4414.
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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Remembering Halloween in an Earlier Day




Jack-O-Lantern design by Ruth Apps. Photo by Jerry Apps

When I was a kid, Halloween meant tricks only. No “trick or treats.” The favorite trick was tipping over somebody’s outhouse. No one had indoor plumbing in those days. The country school outhouses were favorite targets.

The toilet tippers tried to avoid the possibility that someone might be in the structure when it was tipped. If that were the case, the consequences would be dire. Some farmers were known to sit up most of Halloween night, shotgun in hand, protecting their outhouses.

Another trick I heard about was a group of tricksters that managed to take the neighbor’s horse harnesses and put them on his cows. There was no dressing up in strange costumes and walking from house to house—just too much effort as the farm homes were at least half a mile apart.

We always had a Halloween party at our country school, with the mother’s invited. (The men were usually still involved with the fall harvest.) We bobbed for apples that floated in a galvanized washtub. The only way to retrieve an apple was to hold your breath and chase your apple of choice to the bottom of the tub, resulting in a very wet head. Additionally, the teacher would blindfold us and led us past a bowl of grapes, which we would feel and be informed they were a ghost’s eyeballs. We would smell some vinegar—a witch’s brew, and feel some cooked spaghetti—I don’t remember what the spaghetti represented. Mothers brought cookies and cake for treats.

At home, we carved pumpkins and put a lighted candle in them. But no trick or treating. Older boys usually were the ones involved with neighborhood tricks.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Fond memories of Halloweens past.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

November 9, (Saturday) 9:00 a.m. 2nd Sat. Plymouth Art Center, Plymouth, WI. Sheboygan County Historical Research Center. “Farm Winter With Jerry Apps.”

November 14, (Thursday) 6:00 p.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. The Land Still Lives launch.

November 18, 1:00 p.m. Kiel Public Library, Kiel, WI. “Wisconsin. CCC”

For those interested in purchasing my books (Christmas is coming). Get them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.

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

If you travel in the western part of the state, stop at Ruth’s home town, Westby and visit Dregne’s. They have a great selection of my books for sale or order a book by calling them at 1-877-634-4414.
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Friday, October 25, 2019

Autumn Means Lutefisk



Lutefisk on the left, lefse on the right. Photo by Jerry Apps

Little did I know when I married into a Norwegian family that I was expected to enjoy the Norwegian delicacy, lutefisk. For 58 years I have successfully avoided lutefisk (dried codfish that is soaked in a lye solution for several days to rehydrate it). All of this changed a few Saturdays ago when our friend, Patty Putnam invited my brother-law, Clarence Olson, my wife and me to attend the 72nd annual lutefisk dinner at the Vermont Lutheran Church located near Black Earth.

I was amazed to learn that over 900 people had signed up for this annual event. According to Pastor Barry Hoerz, people come from near and far—this year from Maryland, Arizona, and Missouri besides from all over Wisconsin. About every 45 minutes a new batch of people were served—from about eleven a.m. to six p.m. The meal was served family-style.

They served 600 pounds of lutefisk, 620 pounds of boiled potatoes, green beans, cranberry relish, and lefse. For the unknowing, lefse is made from potatoes. The Vermont church cooks made 1,400, 12-inch rounds of lefse, using an additional 350 pounds of potatoes. Not to forget the Norwegian cookies of many kinds—just the best.
To prepare the lutefisk, it is rinsed with cold water to remove the lye, then boiled or baked. It is served with lots of butter.

I ate some lutefisk, but, with my German upbringing, I could not find anything especially notable about its taste. I found this old Norwegian-American saying: “About half the Norwegians who immigrated to America came to escape lutefisk. The other half came to spread the gospel of lutefisk’s wonderfulness.” That says it all.

THE OLD-TIMER SAYS: Always be open to a new adventure.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

November 9, (Saturday) 9:00 a.m. 2nd Sat. Plymouth Art Center, Plymouth, WI. Sheboygan County Historical Research Center. “Farm Winter With Jerry Apps”

November 14, (Thursday) 6:00 p.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. The Land Still Lives launch.

November 18, 1:00 p.m. Kiel Public Library, Kiel, WI. “Wisconsin. CCC”

For those interested in purchasing my books (Christmas is coming). Get them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

If you travel to the western part of the state, stop at Ruth’s home town, Westby and visit Dregne’s. They have a great selection of my books for sale or order a book by calling them at 1-877-634-4414.
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Saturday, October 19, 2019

Making Hay in October



Photo by Jerry Apps

Making hay in October. Cutting it with a rotary mower. Raking it with an ancient side-delivery rake. Stacking it in bunches that line up across the little field to dry. With a pitchfork. Just like farmers did many years ago. Why do all that work?

It was probably 15 years ago that the septic system at the farm froze up. From one end to the other. Nothing worked. Not a pleasant situation as anyone with a septic system quickly understands.

Remembering what I learned as a kid when the winters seemed considerably more fierce at least in terms of below zero days, Pa would say, “If you wanna keep something from freezing, cover it with some straw or hay.” And that’s what I’ve been doing every year since that freeze up. My hay crop goes on my septic system. I have not had a problem since I began doing it.

When spring arrives, I remove the hay from the septic system and we use it to mulch the cabbages, broccoli, and tomatoes in our garden. The mulch helps keep down the weeds, and also helps to hold moisture.

In the fall, when we put the garden to bed for the winter, we disk in what’s left of the mulch to add e organic material in our sandy soil. (I also plant winter rye, which, when worked into the soil in spring, also helps improve the garden soil.)

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Hay cut in October can have multiple uses.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

October 22, (Tuesday) 6:30 Sun Prairie Public Library, Sun Prairie, WI CCC History.

October 24, (Thursday) 1:00 p.m. Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 349 N. Main St., Seymour, WI. Sponsored by Friends of Muehl Public Library and Outagamie County Home and Community Education Assoc. “Rural Wit and Wisdom”

November 9, (Saturday) 9:00 a.m. 2nd Sat. Plymouth Art Center, Plymouth, WI. Sheboygan County Historical Research Center. “Farm Winter With Jerry Apps”

November 14, (Thursday) 6:00 p.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. The Land Still Lives launch.

November 18, 1:00 p.m. Kiel Public Library, Kiel, WI. “Wisconsin. CCC”

For those interested in purchasing my book (Christmas is coming) get a signed copy from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org
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Friday, October 11, 2019

Rain, Rain, & More Rain



In January 2017, I published a book titled Never Curse the Rain. A few months later public television aired an hour-long documentary with the same title. In both the book and the TV show, I talked about the importance of water and how we must work to keep it available, safe and pure.

When I was a kid, it seemed our sandy farm never had enough rain. When it did rain and my brothers and I complained about cancelling a fishing trip, my dad would remind us, “Never Curse the Rain.” I’ve never forgotten those words.

As luck would have it, not long after the book and TV show appeared, it began raining, and it continues. I checked some records. Wisconsin’s annual average rainfall is supposed to be about 34.5 inches. In 2018 the total rainfall for the state was 58.65 inches, with some areas receiving much more.

In 2019 the rains continue. Green Bay weather people report that this year is the wettest year in that city since 1890. As of October 2nd, Green Bay received more than 39 inches of rain.

Farmers had trouble putting in their crops because of wet spring weather. Now, like a double whammy, farmers are having trouble harvesting their crops because of too much rain. For those who remind me of my words, “Never curse the rain,” I suggest a few negative words may be in order. But no cursing.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Rain is important, but, but . . .

UPCOMING EVENTS:

.October 22, (Tuesday) 6:30 Sun Prairie Public Library, Sun Prairie, WI CCC History.

October 24, (Thursday) 1:00 p.m. Friends of Muehl Public Library and Outagamie
County Home and Community Education Assoc. Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 349 N. Main St., Seymour, WI “Rural Wit and Wisdom”

November 9, (Saturday) 9:00 a.m. 2nd Sat. Plymouth Art Center, Plymouth, WI. Sheboygan County Historical Research Center. “Farm Winter With Jerry Apps”

November 14, (Thursday) 6:00 p.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. The Land Still lives launch.

November 18, 1:00 p.m. Kiel Public Library, Kiel, WI. “Wisconsin. CCC”

To learn more pick up a copy of Never Curse the Rain, Wisconsin Historical Society Press. Signed copies of Never Curse the Rain are available for purchase from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Bees: Not to be taken for granted.




Photo by Jerry apps

As a farm kid, I took bees for granted. I knew not to tangle with a hornets’ nest, or a paper wasp’s special paper-like construction or a bumble bee’s nest. I learned that if I stayed away from their nests, the bees didn’t bother me much. One of my uncles had beehives and I came to like honey, especially during World War II when sugar was rationed. He would give us some comb honey; I really liked it smeared on a thick slice of home-made bread. I didn’t think of honey bees, in the same way, I thought of other bees—and they were different of course.

At the time, I didn’t know how important bees were to farmers, especially for our gardens and fruit. Bees do heavy-duty pollination. Without them we’d have few apples or cranberries, just to give a couple of examples.

I recently read an article with the headline, “The Bee is declared the Most Important Living Being On the Planet.” That that may be pushing it a little. But I got the point. The article went on to say that “the pollination that the bees make allows the plants to reproduce, of which millions of animals feed.”

And here’s the bottom-line. Bees are disappearing. To add a personal experience. For the past five years, I’ve had a steady decrease in the number of pumpkins and squash I grow in my garden. I plant the same amount of seed, the plants come up and look good. They form blossoms—but no pumpkins and squash. I see few bees in my garden.
THE OLD-TIMER ASKS: What can we do to increase the bee population?

UPCOMING EVENTS:

October 12 (Saturday) 1:00 p.m., Fox Cities Book Festival, Menasha Public Library. CCC

October 22, (Tuesday) 6;30 Sun Prairie Public Library, Sun Prairie, WI CCC History

October 24, (Thursday) 1:00 p.m. Friends of Muehl Public Library and Outagamie County Home and Community Education Assoc. Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 349 N. Main St. , Seymour, WI “Rural Wit and Wisdom”

November 9, (Saturday) 9:00 a.m. 2nd Sat. Plymouth Art Center, Plymouth, WI. Sheboygan County Historical Research Center. “Farm Winter With Jerry Apps."

November 14, (Thursday) 6:00 p.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. "The Land Still Lives" launch.

November 18, 1:00 p.m. Kiel Public Library, Kiel, WI. “Wisconsin. CCC”

To learn more about my gardening efforts, pick up a copy of my book, Garden Wisdom, Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

Available for purchase from your local bookstore or buy them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

Friday, September 27, 2019

Smallest Pumpkin Contest



Tiny Pumpkin Photo by Jerry Apps
As we slowly move into autumn, one national event captures attention each year—who has grown the largest pumpkin? I thought about the big pumpkin contests for a couple of years when I managed to grow a pumpkin that weighed nearly 150 pounds if I remember correctly. Perhaps a memory about big pumpkins is like big fish, they grow bigger in memory over time, but it was a big pumpkin.

I did a little checking and discovered that in 2019, 34 states held or are holding a big pumpkin contest, beginning with Alaska with its “Midnight Sun Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off” held last August in Palmer. California has eight different pumpkin festivals scattered around the state. New Hampshire has five, as does Michigan. Four pumpkin festivals are noted for Wisconsin including the Nekoosa “Giant Pumpkin Festival slated for October 5-6.

Wondering who got the prize for the biggest pumpkin in 2018? This giant of all pumpkins for the year weighed 2,528 pounds and was grown by a fellow in New Hampshire and exhibited at the Deerfield Fair in that state.

Quickly realizing that with my sandy, western Waushara County soil, my chances of growing a pumpkin weighing a ton were nil to none. So, taking the pumpkin by its stem, I decided to begin a new pumpkin contest. It’s a contest for the poor soil gardeners who never win anything in the “Big” category. Who can grow the smallest pumpkin? I offer the above as my entry. It is one inch across—a fully formed, orange pumpkin. Anyone with a smaller pumpkin?

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Small can be beautiful.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

October 1, (Tuesday), 12:15 p.m. Wisconsin Historical Society Museum, on the Square in Downtown Madison. Topic: The Land Still Lives.

October 5, (Saturday), 10-2:00 p.m. Dregne’s, Westby. Book signing with Daughter, Sue.

October 22, (Tuesday) 6;30 Sun Prairie Public Library, Sun Prairie, WI

October 24, (Thursday) 1:00 p.m. Friends of Muehl Public Library and Outagamie County Home and Community Education Assoc. Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 349 N. Main St. , Seymour, WI “Rural Wit and Wisdom”

November 9, (Saturday) 9:00 a.m. 2nd Sat. Plymouth Art Center, Plymouth, WI. Sheboygan County Historical Research Center. “Farm Winter With Jerry Apps

November 14, (Thursday) 6:00 p.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. The Land Still lives launch.

November 18, 1:00 p.m. Kiel Public Library, Kiel, WI. “Wisconsin. CCC”

To learn more about my gardening efforts, pick up a copy of my book, Garden Wisdom, Wisconsin Historical Society Press.
Available for purchase from your local bookstore or buy them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

Friday, September 20, 2019

Abundant Grape Vines




Grapevines on the Woodshed
Photo by Jerry Apps

With all the rain this summer, the wild grapes have outdone themselves. We have grapevines at Roshara climbing to the tops of trees that are fifty feet and taller. We have grapevines crawling to the top of the woodshed. We have grapevines crawling over the lilac bushes. We have grapevines hanging over the back trail to the prairie.

I’m reminded when I was a kid on the home farm; one summer produced an abundant grape crop. Pa came home one day, after seeing more wild grapes than he usually did and told my mother we should bottle up some of the grapes so we might have some grape juice during the long, cold days of winter. Ma agreed that would be a good idea.

Pa fetched some unused beer bottles from the cellar where they had been gathering dust, washed them, and began stuffing the little wild grapes into the bottles until each bottle was mostly full. Ma filled the bottles the rest of the way with well water, and then with a bottle capper, they fitted caps to each bottle. They stored the bottles on shelves in the cellar along with all the other fruits and vegetables that Ma had canned.

A month or so later, in the middle of a dark night, a loud explosion awakened us. My brothers and I ran downstairs. Pa had already figured out what had happened. One of the grape juice bottles had exploded. The grapes had fermented. There was glass and juice and grapes everywhere. What a mess they created.

THE OLDTIMER SAYS: Be careful what you stuff into a bottle and seal with a cap.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

October 5, 10-2:00 p.m. Dregne’s, Westby. Book signing with Daughter, Sue.

October 22, 6;30 Sun Prairie Public Library, Sun Prairie, WI

October 24, 1:00 p.m. Friends of Muehl Public Library and Outagamie County Home and Community Education Assoc. Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 349 N. Main St. , Seymour, WI “Rural Wit and Wisdom”

November 9, 9:00 a.m. 2nd Sat. Plymouth Art Center, Plymouth, WI. Sheboygan County Historical Research Center. “Farm Winter With Jerry Apps”

November 18, 1:00 p.m. Kiel Public Library, Kiel, WI. “Wisconsin. CCC”

To learn more about Roshara, pick up a copy of my book, OLD FARM: A HISTORY.

Available for purchase from your local bookstore or buy them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Saving the Monarch Butterfly




Monarch Butterfly on Blazing Star. Photo by Jerry Apps
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The Monarch Butterfly depends on the milkweed for reproduction. With ample rains and warm sunny days, the prairie at Roshara is flourishing. Wildflowers are everywhere and milkweeds are abundant. Along with all the milkweeds in the prairie, the Blazing Star wildflower (Liatris) is also outdoing itself this year. Never have I seen such a display of this beautiful plant. And guess what? Monarch Butterflies feed on the nectar of Blazing Star wildflower.

With several acres of milkweeds and Blazing Star wildflowers, we have, dozens, maybe hundreds of Monarchs flitting about, enjoying the sunshine and feeding on their favorite wildflower. And preparing for their winter migration. On a sunny day, I stood on the prairie and just watched the Monarchs. They would feed on a Blazing Star for a time, fly a few feet, and then feed on another.

Monarch butterflies spend their winters in Mexico. Hard to believe, but these rather fragile butterflies fly many hundreds of miles to escape Wisconsin winters. Why don’t they remain in Mexico, one might ask? Well, they can’t survive the freezing temperatures of the north, but, alas, the plants they need for reproduction don’t grow in Mexico, so the spring generation of Monarchs flies north where the plants are plentiful.

One way we can help Monarchs survive is to plant some milkweeds—a plant that, when I was a kid, was considered a weed and we cultivated and hoed it out of our garden, the potato patch, the cucumber patch, wherever they grew. Now, we should let them grow.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Plant some milkweed seeds, save a Monarch butterfly.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

September 18, 9-4 Writing Workshop, Wyocena Public Library, Wyocena.

September 20, 12:30 p.m. UW-Platteville, Baraboo Campus, 1006 Connie Rd., Baraboo, WI. “History of WI Agriculture”

October 5, 10-2:00 p.m. Dregne’s, Westby. Book signing.

October 12 1:00 p.m., Fox Cities Book Festival, Menasha Public Library

October 22, 6;30 Sun Prairie Public Library, Sun Prairie, WI

October 24, 1:00 p.m. Friends of Muehl Public Library and Outagamie County Home and Community Education Assoc. Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 349 N. Main St. , Seymour, WI “Rural Wit and Wisdom”

November 9, 9:00 a.m. 2nd Sat. Plymouth Art Center, Plymouth, WI. Sheboygan County Historical Research Center. “Farm Winter With Jerry Apps”

November 18, 1:00 p.m. Kiel Public Library, Kiel, WI. “Wisconsin. CCC”


To learn more about the prairie at Roshara, pick up a copy of my book, OLD FARM: A HISTORY.
Available for purchase from your local bookstore or buy them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Early Fall Harvest


Photo by Jerry Apps
It’s only a red maple leaf, but seeing it brings back so many memories. When the first maple leaves began turning from green to red and yellow, farm work turned from summer activities to fall work. We had already harvested at least one cutting of hay and had filled the hay mows in the dairy barn to full and overflowing. We had cut the oat crop and the threshing crew came by the farm in mid-August to thresh the grain and refill the bins in the granary with oats.

Now, in September, with cooler evenings, and shorter days, we looked to the first harvest of fall—silo filling. Everyday Pa would walk the rows of our 20-acre cornfield, checking an ear here and there, looking for what he called corn in the “milk stage.” By this he meant, when poking a corn kernel, a milk-like substance appeared. When he was satisfied that the corn was ready, he hitched our trusty team of horses, Frank and Charlie, to the one-row corn binder. Soon rows of green, heavy, corn bundles appeared on the ground.

Pa phoned Ross Caves, who did custom silo filling, that our corn was cut and asked when he could come to the farm. In a day or two, he did. Pa summoned the neighbors, the same ones who helped with threshing. By night time, the silo was filled with corn cut into little pieces. It would immediately begin fermenting, and by late October and early November, it was ready to feed to the ever-hungry cows.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Fall, such a wonderful time to be alive.


UPCOMING EVENTS:
Wisconsin Public Radio (Ideas Network), Chapter a Day. Reading at 12:30 September 9-13: The Civilian Conservation Corps in Wisconsin. Read by Jim Fleming.

September 12, 7:00 p.m. Belleville H.S. Auditorium, Belleville. “Simple Things: Lessons From the Family Farm.”

September 18, 9-4 Writing Workshop, Wyocena Public Library, Wyocena.

September 20, 12:30 p.m. UW-Platteville, Baraboo Campus, 1006 Connie Rd., Baraboo, WI. “History of WI Agriculture”

October 5, 10-2:00 p.m. Dregne’s, Westby. Book signing.

October 12 1:00 p.m., Fox Cities Book Festival, Menasha Public Library

October 22, 6;30 Sun Prairie Public Library, Sun Prairie, WI

October 24, 1:00 p.m. Friends of Muehl Public Library and Outagamie County Home and Community Education Assoc. Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 349 N. Main St., Seymour, WI “Rural Wit and Wisdom”

November 9, 9:00 a.m. 2nd Sat. Plymouth Art Center, Plymouth, WI. Sheboygan County Historical Research Center. “Farm Winter With Jerry Apps”

November 18, 1:00 p.m. Kiel Public Library, Kiel, WI. “Wisconsin. CCC”

To learn more about farm life in the 1940s and early 1950s, read EVERY FARM TELLS A STORY and LIVING A COUNTRY YEAR.
Available for purchase from your local bookstore or buy them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

Friday, August 30, 2019

First Day of School




My one-room school, west of Wild Rose, long closed. Photo by Jerry Apps.

With schools starting, I remember my first day of school years ago. There was no kindergarten, so I was destined for first grade. I had just turned five in July. I stood by our dusty country road waiting for the neighbor boy, Mike Korleski to come by. He was in sixth grade, and my mother had talked with his mother and asked if Jerry could walk with Mike to school... I stood with my lard pail lunch bucket, two new yellow pencils and a five-cent pad of writing paper, waiting for Mike. Finally, he appeared and we began walking toward the school.

Elderberries hung heavy along the road, which was heavily shaded with elm and oak trees. As we walked along, we watched a squirrel scamper up an oak tree. We saw goldenrods’ yellow heads hanging over the road. Mike was more interested in these things than I was. My thoughts were all about school and what it would be like. What other kids I would meet, and would I be able to learn all that kids were supposed to learn?

When we got to the top of Miller’s hill, we heard the school bell ringing, echoing down the valley and rolling up the hills that surrounded the school. Mike told me we had to hurry for that was the eight-thirty bell and we didn’t want to be late. Once there, Mike pulled the big schoolhouse door open for me and I entered. My life would be changed forever.

THE OLD-TIMER SAYS: So much was learned at the one-room country school that was not in books.

ANOTHER WRITING OPPORTUNITY:

WHAT: A “Telling Your Story Workshop”
WHEN: Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019—9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
WHERE: Wyocena Community Center, Wyocena, WI
REGISTRATION INFORMATION: Contact Wyocena Library (608-429-4899) or Portage Public Library (608-742-4959)
Workshop fee includes a copy of my book, “Telling Your Story,” and a catered lunch.
Sign up soon, limited seats available.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

September 12, 7:00 p.m. Belleville H.S. Auditorium, Belleville. “Simple Things: Lessons From the Family Farm.”

September 18, 9-4 Writing Workshop, Wyocena Public Library, Wyocena (see above for details)

September 20, 12:30 p.m. UW-Platteville, Baraboo Campus, 1006 Connie Rd., Baraboo, WI. “History of WI Agriculture”

October 5, 10-2:00 p.m. Dregne’s, Westby. Book signing.

October 12 1:00 p.m., Fox Cities Book Festival, Menasha Public Library

October 22, 6;30 Sun Prairie Public Library, Sun Prairie, WI

October 24, 1:00 p.m. Friends of Muehl Public Library and Outagamie County Home and Community Education Assoc. Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 349 N. Main St. , Seymour, WI “Rural Wit and Wisdom”

November 9, 9:00 a.m. 2nd Sat. Plymouth Art Center, Plymouth, WI. Sheboygan County Historical Research Center. “Farm Winter With Jerry Apps”

November 18, 1:00 p.m. Kiel Public Library, Kiel, WI “Wisconsin. CCC”

To learn more about country schools, read my book ONE-ROOM COUNTRY SCHOOLS.

Available for purchase from your local bookstore or buy them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

Saturday, August 24, 2019

The County Fair Evokes Memories



Merry-Go-Round at Waushara County Fair. Photo by Jerry Apps

What would Wisconsin be without its fairs? The first one opened in Waukesha in 1842, six years before we became a state. We’ve had fairs almost every year since, somewhere in the state—or better said, about everywhere in the state.

Last week my brother Don and I attended the Waushara County Fair—and the memories began flowing. I showed cattle at that fair from 1946-1955, the years that I was a 4-H member. All summer long during those years, I couldn’t wait for the fair to open, as I not only showed my 4-H calves there, but I got to stay overnight. My 4-H Club purchased a surplus tent left over from World War II—I think we paid $25.00 for it, and several used army cots for around $5.00 each. And it was in that old tent where the boys slept so we could take care of our calves.

It was my introduction to cotton candy and the Merry Go Round, plus a ride on the Ferris Wheel. It was my first look at a harness race and a horse pulling contest. It was the first time that I saw an airplane up close as a “barnstorming” pilot with a double-wing open cockpit plane offered rides. “See your farm from the air,” the pilot announced. I didn’t begin to have the money he wanted. So I watched as the plane bumped along the cow pasture just to the east of fair grounds and climbed into the air.

So much more. Fairs are as Wisconsin as cheese.

THE OLD-TIMER SAYS: What could be more fun than attending a fair?

ANOTHER WRITING OPPORTUNITY:

WHAT: A “Telling Your Story Workshop”
WHEN: Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019—9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
WHERE: Wyocena Community Center, Wyocena, WI
REGISTRATION INFORMATION: Contact Wyocena Library (608-429-4899) or Portage Public Library (608-742-4959)
Workshop fee includes a copy of my book, “Telling Your Story,” and a catered lunch.
Sign up soon, limited seats available.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

September 7, 5-8:30, (Cancelled) Autumn with the Al Ringling Theater.

September 12, 7:00 p.m. Belleville H.S. Auditorium, Belleville. Simple Things: Lessons From the Family Farm.

September 18, 9-4 Writing Workshop, Wyocena Public Library, Wyocena (see above for details)

September 20, 12:30 p.m. UW-Platteville, Baraboo Campus, 1006 Connie Rd., Baraboo, WI. History of WI Agriculture.

October 5, 10-2:00 p.m. Dregne’s, Westby. Book signing.

October 12 1:00 p.m., Fox Cities Book Festival, Menasha Public Library

October 22, 6;30 Sun Prairie Public Library, Sun Prairie, WI

October 24, 1:00 p.m. Friends of Muehl Public Library. Outagamie County Home and Community Education Assoc. Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 349 N. Main St. , Seymour, WI Rural Wit and Wisdom

November 9, 9:00 a.m. 2nd Sat. Plymouth Art Center, Plymouth, WI. Sheboygan County Historical Research Center. Farm Winter With Jerry Apps

November 18, 1:00 p.m. Kiel Public Library, Kiel, WI Wisconsin. CCC

To learn more about my prairie restoration project, read my book OLD FARM: A HISTORY.
Available for purchase from your local bookstore or buy them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org


Sunday, August 18, 2019

Prairie Restoration




Daughter, Sue in Roshara Prairie. Photo by Jerry Apps.

When my two brothers and I first got our farm in 1966, we decided to grow corn on the only field that wasn’t too steep for cultivation. It was about six to eight acres. We asked our neighbor and longtime friend, David Kolka if he’d be interested in planting corn in the field for a share of the profits.

For three years, if I remember correctly, David planted and harvested corn from this sandy, stony field. Our goal was to make enough money from the corn to pay the taxes on the place. David made little money. We made little money. We pulled the plug on corn growing on the field.

A few years later we divided the farm into three equal pieces, and later I purchased my brother Darrel’s share, which included most of the old cornfield.

Along the way, I had been researching the history of the place, discovering that Tom Stewart, a Civil War veteran, had homesteaded the farm in 1867. I wondered what he saw when he first broke this land. I began calling the former cornfield “the prairie.” I set out to restore it by doing nothing, except keeping out the brush and trees that wanted to grow there. For a couple of years, we had weeds, but then, slowly the native grasses and wildflowers began returning.

Now, some forty years later, we have a prairie of wildflowers and grasses. Something new almost every week as new wildflowers come into bloom.

THE OLD-TIMER SAYS: Nature has its own way of healing—if given a chance.\

ANOTHER WRITING OPPORTUNITY:

WHAT: A “Telling Your Story Workshop”

WHEN: Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019—9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

WHERE: Wyocena Community Center, Wyocena, WI

REGISTRATION INFORMATION: Contact Wyocena Library (608-429-4899) or Portage Public Library (608-742-4959)
Workshop fee includes a copy of my book, “Telling Your Story,” and a catered lunch.
Sign up soon, limited seats available.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

September 7, 5-8:30, Autumn with the Al Ringling Theater, Wild Rose Ranch, E12311 Cty. Rd. W, Baraboo, Wisconsin. Circus stories.

September 12, 7:00 p.m. Belleville H.S. Auditorium, Belleville. Simple Things: Lessons From the Family Farm.

September 18, 9-4 Writing Workshop, Wyocena Public Library, Wyocena (see above for details)

September 20, 12:30 p.m. UW-Platteville, Baraboo Campus, 1006 Connie Rd., Baraboo, WI. History of WI Agriculture.

October 5, 10-2:00 p.m. Dregne’s, Westby. Book signing.

October 12 1:00 p.m., Fox Cities Book Festival, Menasha Public Library

October 22, 6;30 Sun Prairie Public Library, Sun Prairie, WI

October 24, 1:00 p.m. Friends of Muehl Public Library. Outagamie County Home and Community Education Assoc. Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 349 N. Main St., Seymour, WI Rural Wit and Wisdom

November 9, 9:00 a.m. 2nd Sat. Plymouth Art Center, Plymouth, WI. Sheboygan County Historical Research Center. Farm Winter With Jerry Apps

November 18, 1:00 p.m. Kiel Public Library, Kiel, WI Wisconsin. CCC

To learn more about my prairie restoration project, read my book OLD FARM: A HISTORY.
Available for purchase from your local bookstore or buy them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org


Friday, August 09, 2019

Mid-Summer Garden Report



For my vegetable garden friends—time for a mid-summer report on how things are doing. In a word, quite well but first the failures—radishes just didn’t make it. Too hot too soon, I’m guessing. They immediately went to producing seeds and forgot about first making a radish. So zero radishes. Last year they were one of my best crops. Sweet corn doesn’t look all that great either. First harvest coming up.

Outstanding crops so far this year: Cucumbers, broccoli, zucchini, green beans, lettuce, kale, (especially Russian Kale that apparently finds Waushara County a good place to expand its influence), and early cabbage. Beets are tasty, but I’d put them in the average category. Onions are okay, but a bit small. Tomatoes average. None ripe yet.

Three unusual crops, unusual to me anyway. First climbing purple snap beans. Never saw any beans quite like these. They are pretty to look at as they grow. And guess what? When you cook them, they turn from purple to green. I planted some Red Gold early potatoes. New to me. Yield not great, but very tasty. Red on the outside, gold on the inside. And carrots, well my main weed-puller and harvester, daughter-in-law, Natasha, suggested we try some multi-colored carrots. That’s right, you can grow carrots that are white, purple, brown, everything but the orange color of “regular carrots.” They grow kind of long and skinny, to my mind they look like a cross between a poorly developed radish and a lead pencil, Guess what? When you cook them, they don’t turn orange. But they do taste like carrots, mostly.

No comment on my winter squash, pumpkins, and gourds. Patience.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: When you are gardening, remember to do first things first, but not necessarily in that order.

ANOTHER WRITING OPPORTUNITY:

WHAT: A “Telling Your Story Workshop”
WHEN: Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019—9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
WHERE: Wyocena Community Center, Wyocena, WI
REGISTRATION INFORMATION: Contact Wyocena Library (608-429-4899) or Portage Public Library (608-742-4959)
Workshop fee includes a copy of my book, “Telling Your Story,” and a catered lunch.
Sign up soon, limited seats available.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

September 7, 5-8:30, Autumn with the Al Ringling Theater, Wild Rose Ranch, E12311 Cty. Rd. W, Baraboo, Wisconsin. Circus stories.

September 12, 7:00 p.m. Belleville H.S. Auditorium, Belleville. Simple Things: Lessons From the Family Farm.

September 18, 9-4 Writing Workshop, Wyocena Public Library, Wyocena (see above for details)

September 20, 12:30 p.m. UW-Platteville, Baraboo Campus, 1006 Connie Rd., Baraboo, WI. History of WI Agriculture.

October 5, 10-2:00 p.m. Dregne’s, Westby. Book signing.

October 12 1:00 p.m., Fox Cities Book Festival, Menasha Public Library

October 22, 6;30 Sun Prairie Public Library, Sun Prairie, WI

October 24, 1:00 p.m. Friends of Muehl Public Library. Outagamie County Home and Community Education Assoc. Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 349 N. Main St. , Seymour, WI Rural Wit and Wisdom

November 9, 9:00 a.m. 2nd Sat. Plymouth Art Center, Plymouth, WI. Sheboygan County Historical Research Center. Farm Winter With Jerry Apps

November 18, 1:00 p.m. Kiel Public Library, Kiel, WI Wisconsin CCC

Purpose a copy of THE CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS IN WISCONSIN, and SIMPLE THINGS: LESSONS FROM THE FAMILY FARM from your local bookstore or buy them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org


Saturday, August 03, 2019

A Wren Family in Trouble





The birdhouse was meant for bluebirds. It stood a few yards from our front window, and not far from a big maple tree. As it turns out, not far enough from the maple tree.



Almost every year a pair of bluebirds took up residence in the house, providing Ruth and me a treat watching them fly in and out of the little house, tending to the little ones there.



Not this year. No bluebirds—the birdhouse stood vacant. But not for long. A pair of wrens, searching for a suitable place to take up residence and raise a family, moved in. We watched them and listened to their early morning chatter and their saucy scolding if we walked too near their newfound home.



All was well until a stormy night in late July smashed off a major part of the maple tree, but mostly leaving the birdhouse untouched as the smashed limb surrounded it. A week later, when I assembled my little crew of chainsaw users and brush haulers, everything changed for the wren family. We couldn’t avoid it. A major part of the chain-sawed limb smashed off the birdhouse post and the house fell to the ground.



I hoped the wren family had grown and left, but not so. The little ones were still in the house, shaken, but alive. Steve gathered up the birdhouse—still in good shape, but without a support post—and fastened it to a pine tree. All the while the wren parents flew about, chattering their unhappiness of all that had happened to their little family.



A few days later, I once more watched the wren couple flying in and out of the house. Wren family life back to normal?



THE OLD-TIMER SAYS: Saving a wren family is the right thing to do.



ANOTHER WRITING OPPORTUNITY:

.

WHAT: A “Telling Your Story Workshop”



WHEN: Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019—9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.



WHERE: Wyocena Community Center, Wyocena, WI



REGISTRATION INFORMATION: Contact Wyocena Library (608-429-4899) or Portage Public Library (608-742-4959)



Workshop fee includes a copy of my book, “Telling Your Story,” and a catered lunch.

Sign up soon, limited seats available.



UPCOMING EVENTS:





August 8, 6:30 p.m. Galloway House and Village, CCC Barracks, 336 Old Pioneer Rd., Fond du Lac. CCC story.



September 12, 7:00 p.m. Belleville H.S. Auditorium, Belleville. Simple Things: Lessons From the Family Farm.

.



Purchase a copy of THE CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS IN WISCONSIN, and SIMPLE THINGS: LESSONS FROM THE FAMILY FARM from your local bookstore or buy them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.

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







Thursday, July 25, 2019

Telling Your Story





They came from Minnesota and Illinois. But mostly they came from Wisconsin, from Suring and Evansville, from Mosinee and Pulaski, from Wittenberg and Spring Green and places in between. They came to a place called The Clearing Folk School, an adult learning center just north of Ellison Bay in Door County, which was founded in 1935. I was their workshop leader.

Thirty-four of them, all with one purpose in mind—to learn a bit more about stories and how to write them. Personal stories, stories about childhoods, about people who made a difference in their lives, about first memories when they were impressionable toddlers and more. They wrote their stories and shared them aloud for comments of praise and suggestions for improvement.

Some participants were younger—in their thirties, many were older, in their seventies and eighties. But one woman held the record. She looked to be in her late seventies, maybe early eighties. Her little critique group selected her story for one to be read to the entire group. Smiling, she stood up and began reading her story in a loud clear voice. When she finished, I asked, “Would you share your age with us?”

“Sure,” she said. “I’m 79.” She hesitated for a moment. Then she said. “I have dyslexia, I’m really 97.” Silence in the room for the moment. Then everyone stood up and clapped, and the 97-year-old storyteller smiled broadly and sat down.

It was a day of uncovering memories long forgotten, a day for laughter and for tears. A day when the “story” made all the difference.
THE OLD-TIMER SAYS: When we forgot our histories, we forgot who we are.

ANOTHER WRITING OPPORTUNITY: For those unable to attend my Writing Class at the Clearing, here is another opportunity for you.

WHAT: A “Telling Your Story Workshop”
WHEN: Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019—9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
WHERE: Wyocena Community Center, Wyocena, WI
REGISTRATION INFORMATION: Contact Wyocena Library (608-429-4899) or Portage Public Library (608-742-4959)
Workshop fee includes a copy of my book, “Telling Your Story,” and a catered lunch.
Sign up soon, limited seats available.

UPCOMING EVENTS: Monday, July 29, 6:30 p.m. Winchester Academy (Waupaca Public Library). The Civilian Conservation Corps.
For more about how to write your own story, pick up a copy of my book, TELLING YOUR STORY, Fulcrum Press.
To learn more about The Clearing Folk Schools and its classes and programs, go to https://theclearing.org/wp/

Purchase TELLING YOUR STORY book from your local bookstore, or buy them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Dreaded Buckthorn




It’s an invasive plant; growing where I don’t want it to grow. Taking over. Shading out other plants, especially new little ones trying to establish. Buckthorn is its common name. It was once considered an attractive ornamental plant, especially when it was introduced into the United States in the mid-1800s.

Not content to remain as an ornamental, it escaped and proceeded to go on a growing rampage, especially in the oak woodlots on sandy farms such as mine. I have buckthorn twenty feet tall, looking like small trees. I have buckthorn six inches tall, and everything in between. It will grow in the shade; it will grow in full sun. It will grow on sandy soil and heavier soil. I even found buckthorn growing in the middle of my tractor shed, which has a dirt floor and little light (see photo above).

Birds love Buckthorn. Mature plants produce abundant purple berries that begin to ripen from August through September. Each berry contains three to four seeds that remain viable in the soil for up to three years. The berries have a laxative effect on birds and mammals assuring widespread distribution of buckthorn through their droppings. The Latin name for Buckthorn, Rhamnus cathartica, recognizes this characteristic of the plant.

Few plants are as competitive as Buckthorn. It is one of the first plants to leaf out in the spring, and one of the last to drop its leaves in the fall. Buckthorn is also allelopathic, which means it produces chemical compounds that inhibit the growth of other vegetation.
I work at controlling this energetic invasive. But I am not winning the battle.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Nature has its challenges. Buckthorn is one of them.

UPCOMING EVENTS: Monday, July 29, 6:30 p.m. Winchester Academy (Waupaca Public Library). The Civilian Conservation Corps.

FOR MORE ABOUT OUR FARM, PICK UP A COPY OF Old Farm: A History,. Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

Purchase from your local bookstore, or buy them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org


Thursday, July 11, 2019

Story of Two Ponds


Back in the 1940s, the ponds on our present-day farm were small lakes, teaming with wildlife, fish, and lots of ducks and geese during the spring and fall migrations. Some 25 years later (1966), when we bought the place, the ponds had all but dried up. Even in the spring, with the snow melt, the ponds gained little water and by mid-summer had become wet marshes. Trees began growing where water had been.

In 1993, the ponds began filling with water and continued so into the early 2000s. We canoed on the pond, exploring its many nooks and crannies. A pair of sandhill cranes nested on the northwest shore of the pond, a pair of wood ducks raised their brood on the south shore, a pair of mallards on the east shore. Deer came down to the water to drink, so did raccoons, and songbirds by the dozens gathered there.

Then the water began disappearing, each year a little more, until 2017 the ponds looked like they did in the middle 1960s. Where once there was water, now grew birch and willow trees, some thirty and more feet tall.

In 2018, it began raining. An inch of rain one day, two inches another day, and even more than that on some days in late summer. The pond began inching higher. The snow was deep during the winter of 2018-2019, and more rains fell in the spring. The ponds rose rapidly. Birch trees stood in four feet of water, all dead. Once more we canoed on what are now small lakes.

Will the pond waters recede again? Probably.

THE OLD-TIMER SAYS: Never curse the rain.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
Monday, July 29, 6:30 p.m. Winchester Academy (Waupaca Public Library). The Civilian Conservation Corps.

FOR MORE ABOUT OUR FARM’S HISTORY, PICK UP A COPY OF Roshara Journal:"Chronicling Four Seasons, Fifty Years, and 120 Acres." Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2016.
Purchase from your local bookstore, or buy them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org


Sunday, July 07, 2019

FOURTH OF JULY GARDEN REPORT





For my vegetable gardening friends., my Fourth of July report. In comparison to other gardening years, my Waushara County garden is about two weeks behind. Cool weather has been the culprit up until a week ago when the temperature soared into the 80s and mostly stayed there. And the rains continued about 4.5 inches in the past two weeks. Even on our sandy soil, that is more rain than we needed. Last fall we had standing water in our garden. Same thing last week—standing water in the southwest corner.

On the positive side, everything seems to have come up, different from some years when the pumpkins and squash seeds only germinated by half, and the occasional potato plant failed to appear. This year progress has been slow. I have rated each vegetable on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being downright awful and 10 is beyond what one would hope for.

Those that rated five and below:
Radishes---2
Cabbage---3
Cucumbers---4
Green Beans---4
Pumpkins---5
Zucchini---5
Sweet Corn---5

Those that rated six and above:
Winter Squash---6
Late Potatoes---6
Early Potatoes---7
Broccoli---8
Beets---8
Carrots---8
Kale---8
Leaf lettuce---9
Onions---9

Weeds continue to flourish—too wet, too dry, too cold, too hot—no problem for the weeds in my garden. Steve and Natasha are mainly in charge of the vegetable garden these days—but even Steve’s new rototiller and Natasha’s diligent weeding are challenged.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Every year a different year for a gardener.

ANNOUNCEMENT: My “Telling Your Story” Writing Class at The Clearing in Door County is set for July 19, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 if you are interested in attending. A few slots are still available.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
July 12, 6:00 p.m. Frank B. Koller, Memorial Library, 2 US-51, Manitowish Waters. Old Farm Country Cookbook, with co-author, Susan Apps-Bodilly.

See more about gardening in my book, GARDEN WISDOME, Wisconsin Historical Society Press. Purchase from your local bookstore, or buy them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Enjoying Lakes


Photo: Long Lake near Waupaca, WI

My fondness for lakes began in the mid-1940s when we regularly visited Chain O’ Lake, which was but a mile and a half from the home farm. To clear up the spelling of the lake’s name, Chain O’ Lake has no above ground connection to another lake. But it is connected to a series of other lakes underground. So those naming it comprised—no “s” on the name.

One of my favorite memories involves Hank Lackelt, who Pa hired him for the summer of 1943 or 1944. He owned a Model T Ford “Touring car,” which today we would call a convertible.

On hot summer evenings, after the cows were milked and turned out to pasture, my two brothers and I would pile into the Model T with Hank at the wheel and chug our way along the dusty country road to Chain O’ Lake. Once there, he would back the car into the lake, far enough for us to jump off the back of it into the lake’s cool waters. What fun it was. We would splash around in the lake for an hour or so, until sunset. Then we’d push the car out of the lake and be ready for our trip back home.

But we had to do one more thing before we left the lake, check for bloodsuckers (leaches). We saw them as an annoyance, even if we might emerge from the lake with one or more hanging on us. Earlier we’d discovered the remedy for removing them. We had a salt shaker with us. A little salt sprinkled on the bloodsucker and it fell to the ground.

THE OLD-TIMER SAYS: Nothing better than jumping into a lake after a hard day’s work on the farm.

ANNOUNCEMENT: My “Telling Your Story” Writing Class at The Clearing in Door County is set for July 19, 9-4. Call 920-854-4088 if you are interested in attending. A few slots still available.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
July 12, 6:00 p.m. Frank B. Koller, Memorial Library, 2 US-51, Manitowish Waters. Old Farm Country Cookbook, with co-author, Susan Apps-Bodilly.

BOOKS FOR SUMMER READING;
For more about our antics on the farm when I was a kid, check EVERY FARM TELLS A STORY and LIVING A COUNTRY YEAR.. Purchase from your local bookstore, or buy them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Strawberry Time




June on the home farm meant strawberry-time. My mother was in charge of our half acre or so patch of the lush, beautiful red berries. It was one of Ma’s money-making projects; the other major one was the chicken flock and the sale of eggs. Beyond the strawberries for our own use, Ma opened her strawberry patch to town folks on a “pick your own” basis. She sold them by the quart picked—and found herself reminding the town pickers that heaping the quart box too far beyond its rim was a “no-no.” I remember hearing her muttering, “Some of them folks pile two quarts of berries in a one-quart berry box.”

Everyone picked strawberries in quart boxes, like the one pictured above. Pa, my two brothers and I also picked lots of strawberries. Ma traded crates of them—16 quarts to a crate—for groceries at the Wild Rose Mercantile. My dad, brothers and I peddled strawberries to the cottage owners scattered around the lakes east of Wild Rose. They were easy to sell. Who could pass up a beautiful quart of strawberries?

And we ate strawberries, three times a day. On our cornflakes for breakfast, strawberry shortcake for lunch, and if we were lucky, a strawberry pie for supper. Sometimes, we made strawberry sandwiches by mashing a few red ripe strawberries between two thick slices of home-made bread. Ma also made jar after jar of strawberry jam, which we enjoyed all winter. In Old Farm Country Cookbook, that my daughter and I wrote, you’ll find several of my mother’s strawberry recipes.

THE OLD-TIMER SAYS: What would a day in June be without strawberries?

ANNOUNCEMENT: My “Telling Your Story” Writing Class at The Clearing in Door County is set for July 19, 9-4. Call 920-854-4880 if you are interested in attending. The class usually fills, so you may want to reserve a spot sooner than later.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

July 12, 6:00 p.m. Frank B. Koller, Memorial Library, 2 US-51, Manitowish Waters. Old Farm Country Cookbook, with co-author, Susan Apps-Bodilly.

BOOKS FOR SUMMER READING:

For strawberry recipes and many more” OLD FARM COUNTRY COOKBOOK

For garden recipes: GARDEN WISDOM

Purchase from your local bookstore, or buy them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

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Friday, June 14, 2019

Haymaking Breakthrough



Pa bought our first side-delivery rake back in about 1947. It was an important technological breakthrough. Haymaking was hard work. Now it would be easier.

Before the side-delivery rake, we made hay like this. First Pa cut the hay with our five-foot McCormick mower pulled by our trusty team of horses. Once the hay was cut and dried for a day or so, depending on the weather and lack of rain, he raked the hay with a dump rake, a distant cousin of our new side-delivery rake.

Once the hay was raked, my brothers, Pa and I piled the hay into little bunches—sort of like overgrown cupcakes that soon appeared across the field. After another drying period, a day or so, we pitched the hay bunches on to our steel-wheeled hay wagon, and hauled it to the barn.

Arriving at the barn, we pitched the hay, into the hay mow, by hand. With three-tined forks. All of this was before 1945, when Pa bought our first tractor. And soon after a side-delivery rake and a hay loader.

Haymaking became easier. Once the hay was cut, now with a tractor-pulled mower pulled by the tractor, the hay was raked in long ropes with the side-delivery rake. No more bunching hay by hand. The tractor pulled the hay wagon—we now had one with rubber tires. A mechanical hay loader was attached to the back of the wagon. which automatically loaded the hay onto the wagon. What could be easier?

THE OLD-TIMER SAYS: Learn to appreciate the things that make life easier.

ANNOUNCEMENT: My “Telling Your Story” Writing Class at The Clearing in Door County is set for July 19, 9-4. Call 920-854-4880 if you are interested in attending. The class usually fills, so you may want to reserve a spot sooner than later.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

July 12, 6:00 p.m. Frank B. Koller, Memorial Library, 2 US-51, Manitowish Waters. Old Farm Country Cookbook, with co-author, Susan Apps-Bodilly.

BOOKS FOR SUMMER READING;

Want a book to read this summer? Here are two more of my novels for your consideration.
Each deals with a contemporary rural issue. Purchase from your local bookstore, or buy them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984
barnard@wildroselibrary.
www.wildroselibrary.org

Cranberry Red

From Booklist:
In the fourth book in the Ames County series, Ben Wesley, an agricultural agent for the past two decades, is suddenly out of work when funding for his program is cut. He’s immediately offered a job with Osborne University, doing pretty much what he did before but charging people for his services. This makes him a little uncomfortable but not nearly as much as Cranberry Red, a new chemical developed by the university’s researchers that could have spectacular benefits for people with heart disease or Alzheimer’s. When it begins to appear that Cranberry Red has some pretty nasty side effects, Ben is faced with a difficult choice: keep his job and find a way to protect the community, or blow the lid off the secret and risk everything. Apps approaches his familiar themes (honor, the importance of community, the increasing threat to traditional farming) from a new angle, focusing on the issue of genetic modification and its impact on an entire way of life. As usual, he creates compelling characters and places them in a vividly realized setting. –David Pitt

Tamarack River Ghost

When journalist Josh Wittmore moves from the Illinois Bureau of Farm Country News to the newspaper’s national office in Wisconsin, he encounters the biggest story of his young career—just as the paper’s finances may lead to its closure.

Josh’s big story is a corporation plans to establish an enormous hog farm that bought a lot of land along the Tamarack River in bucolic Ames County. Some of the local residents and officials are excited about the jobs and tax revenues that the big farm will bring, while others worry about truck traffic, porcine aromas, and manure runoff polluting the river. And how would the arrival of a large agribusiness affect life and traditions in this tightly knit rural community of family farmers? Josh strives to provide impartial agricultural reporting, even as his newspaper is replaced by a new Internet-only version owned by a former New York investment banker. And it seems that there may be another force in play: the vengeful ghost of a drowned logger who locals say haunts the valley of the Tamarack River.




Friday, June 07, 2019

Stonefield Historic Site



Interested in Wisconsin’s agricultural history? Do you enjoy looking at early farm implements? How about the fun of visiting a 1900 replica of a farming village, along with a 1901 farmstead. Yes? Well you are in luck, because in Southwestern Wisconsin a place called Stonefield has all of these things. It’s a Wisconsin Historic Site, one of several operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Stonefield is just a short drive north of picturesque Cassville, one of Wisconsin’s several towns and cities tucked up against the mighty Mississippi River. Stonefield is about a two-hour drive from Madison, and only 37 miles north of Dubuque, Iowa.

The place is steeped in history as Nelson Dewey, Wisconsin’s first Governor, farmed some 2,000 acres here at one time. His beautiful Gothic Revival home is open for tours—it’s a part of Nelson Dewey State Park, which is across the road from Stonefield.

The State Agricultural Museum is located at Stonefield. Here you can see a McCormick Reaper, along with tools large and small that depict the state’s agricultural past. Also there are walls of historic photographs. One is of a group of men raking cranberries by hand. Something I did back in the fall of 1955.

Cross the covered bridge and find yourself in an early Wisconsin village, complete with a cheese factory, newspaper office, saloon, blacksmith shop, railroad depot, saw mill, bank, livery stable, a one-room school, barbershop and more. Visiting the farmstead, you’ll see a farm house, dairy barn, corn crib, chicken coop, and hog house.

What a great place to relive your childhood and to bring the kids and grandkids to show them some early Wisconsin history. Go to: https://stonefield.wisconsinhistory.org/ for more information.

THE OLD-TIMER SAYS: When we forget our histories, we forget who we are.

ANNOUNCEMENT: My “Telling Your Story” Writing Class at The Clearing in Door County is set for July 19, 9-4. Call 920-854-4880 if you are interested in attending. The class usually fills, so you may want to reserve a spot sooner than later.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
July 12, 6:00 p.m. Frank B. Koller, Memorial Library, 2 US-51, Manitowish Waters. Old Farm Country Cookbook, with co-author, Susan Apps-Bodilly.

BOOKS FOR SUMMER READING:

Want a book to read this summer? Here are two more of my novels for your consideration.
Each deals with a contemporary rural issue. Purchase from your local bookstore, or buy them from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.

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

Cranberry Red

From Booklist:

In the fourth book in the Ames County series, Ben Wesley, an agricultural agent for the past two decades, is suddenly out of work when funding for his program is cut. He’s immediately offered a job with Osborne University, doing pretty much what he did before but charging people for his services. This makes him a little uncomfortable but not nearly as much as Cranberry Red, a new chemical developed by the university’s researchers that could have spectacular benefits for people with heart disease or Alzheimer’s. When it begins to appear that Cranberry Red has some pretty nasty side effects, Ben is faced with a difficult choice: keep his job and find a way to protect the community, or blow the lid off the secret and risk everything. Apps approaches his familiar themes (honor, the importance of community, the increasing threat to traditional farming) from a new angle, focusing on the issue of genetic modification and its impact on an entire way of life. As usual, he creates compelling characters and places them in a vividly realized setting. –David Pitt

Tamarack River Ghost

When journalist Josh Wittmore moves from the Illinois bureau of Farm Country News to the newspaper’s national office in Wisconsin, he encounters the biggest story of his young career—just as the paper’s finances may lead to its closure.

Josh’s big story is that a corporation that plans to establish an enormous hog farm has bought a lot of land along the Tamarack River in bucolic Ames County. Some of the local residents and officials are excited about the jobs and tax revenues that the big farm will bring, while others worry about truck traffic, porcine aromas, and manure runoff polluting the river. And how would the arrival of a large agribusiness affect life and traditions in this tightly knit rural community of family farmers? Josh strives to provide impartial agricultural reporting, even as his newspaper is replaced by a new Internet-only version owned by a former New York investment banker. And it seems that there may be another force in play: the vengeful ghost of a drowned logger who locals say haunts the valley of the Tamarack River.