Saturday, February 16, 2019

Sauerkraut Supper



It was cold. It was snowy. It was time. I pulled out my big cast-iron frying pan from my wood burning cook stove’s oven. It was the same frying pan my mother used when I was a kid. I took a big jar of sauerkraut from the fridge and dumped half into the frying pan. I cut up some sausage and mixed it with the kraut, then put the big pan on the hottest part of my old cook stove.

Soon the kraut began to bubble as its smell seeped into the kitchen, bringing back many memories. Growing up on our farm, every winter without fail, we had a big crock of sauerkraut brewing in the pantry. Each fall, we cut several heads of cabbage, shredded them, and packed them into a five gallon crock, adding salt between each layer. We ate sauerkraut at least once a week all winter long. Fried sauerkraut. Baked sauerkraut. Sauerkraut with ham. Sauerkraut with sausage. Even sauerkraut chocolate cake—mighty fine tasting

I stirred the kraut and sausage and waited. Cooking on a wood burning cook stove requires patience. When the kraut turned to a golden brown, I dumped it on my plate—supper was ready. And what a treat it was. It was a meal full of memories. When I finished, the cleaned frying pan went back in the oven until next time.


THE OLDTIMER SAYS When was the last time you ate sauerkraut as the main course of your meal? Give it a try—you may be surprised?

UPCOMING EVENTS:

March 3, 1:00 p.m. McFarland Historical Society, McFarland Municipal Bldg. Topic: Simple Things: Lesson from the family farm.

PURCHASING BOOKS AND DVDs:

Order your signed Apps books and DVDs from 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

Popular recent Books:

Simple Things: Lessons from the Family Farm (fun to read in winter)

Garden Wisdom (Time to begin planning for the upcoming garden season)

Old Farm Country Cookbook (Try some of yesterday’s recipes)

The Quiet Season (All about winter)

Cold as Thunder (A look into the future)

The Travels of Increase Joseph (Historical fiction about Wisconsin before 1900)




Saturday, February 09, 2019

Woodpecker Thaw


When I woke up that morning, our upstairs bedroom with the stove pipe leading from the downstairs woodstove was warmer than usual. Much warmer. After quickly dressing in front of the woodstove, I found my barn lantern and headed to the barn for the morning milking. In those days we had no electricity and milked cows by hand.

Once outside, I noticed that the kitchen porch eaves were dripping, the snow was mushy underfoot, and it was foggy. So foggy I could scarcely make out the barn and it was only a short hike from our farm house.

“Feels like spring,” I said to Pa, when I arrived in the barn. Pa laughed. “It’s a woodpecker thaw,” he said. “Be cold again in a day or so.”
The entire family enjoyed the brief pause in the long winter.

Last week we experienced a “woodpecker thaw” when the temperature at the farm climbed to 45 degrees, the eaves dripped, the snow became mushy and fog encapsulated everything. It was a much appreciated break in the snowy cold spell when temperatures fell into the minus twenties. These winter thaws allowed all of nature’s creatures, as well as we human “northerners” to re-group, re-supply and prepare for the next blast of winter.

I learned from when I was a kid to take winter as it was delivered, but also to appreciate and enjoy those few days when winter retreated for a few days. When the temperature felt spring-like, and snow melted, at least some of it.

THE OLDTIMER SAYS: Ah, the joy of a woodpecker thaw.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

February 15, 6:00 p.m. State of Wisconsin Mediation Program, Wintergreen Hotel and Conference Center, Wisconsin Dells. After dinner speaker.

March 3, 1:00 p.m. McFarland Historical Society, McFarland Municipal Bldg. Topic: Simple Things: Lesson from the family farm.

PURCHASING BOOKS AND DVDs:

Order your signed Apps books and DVDs from 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
Popular recent Books:
Simple Things: Lessons from the Family Farm (fun to read in winter)

Garden Wisdom (Time to begin planning for the upcoming garden season)

Old Farm Country Cookbook (Try some yesterday recipes)

The Quiet Season (All about winter)

Cold as Thunder (A look into the future)

The Travels of Increase Joseph (Historical fiction about Wisconsin before 1900)




Friday, February 01, 2019

Time to Think Garden



With the snow piled high and recent temperatures at record and near record lows, it’s time to think spring and gardening. Several seed catalogs arrived in my mailbox before Christmas. I gave them a quick glance and stacked them up. Now with February and the back of winter broken (I can hope), it’s time to gather up the seed catalogs and savor the beautiful photos of ripe tomatoes, long green cucumbers, and sweet corn so fresh and yellow that it wants to jump right off the page.

Seed catalogs, somewhat like the old Sears Christmas catalogs that I fondly remember, are filled with hope and joy. The vegetables displayed set a high bar for my gardening adventures, now going on for more than 50 years. I remember my mother, sitting by the wood-burning cook stove on a cold winter evening, paging through a seed catalog and smiling. Her mind was well into the gardening season, while the rest of her was trying to keep warm with temperatures well below zero.

It is now that I must make up my mind about which vegetable seeds to order, especially which tomato seeds. Last year I grew seven different varieties of tomatoes. With a very wet August at the farm—15 inches of rain in 10 days—none of them did well. Too much water and too much blight.

For those interested, I am speaking at Garden Expo (Alliant Center in Madison) on Saturday, Feb.9, 2:15 and again on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 1:00 p.m.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Time to think spring. Seed catalogs can help do it.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

February 5, 11:45-12:30. Larry Meiller Show, Public Radio. We’ll be discussing my books: Once a Professor, and Simple Things: Lessons From the Family Farm.

February 9, 2:15 Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison “Ten Simple Things I’ve Learned From Fifty years of gardening”

February 10, 1:00 p.m. Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison (Repeat topic)

February 15, 6:00 p.m. State of Wisconsin Mediation Program, Wintergreen Hotel and Conference Center, Wisconsin Dells. After dinner speaker.

PURCHASING BOOKS AND DVDs:

Order your signed Apps books and DVDs from 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

Popular recent Books:

Simple Things: Lessons from the Family Farm (fun to read in winter)

Garden Wisdom (Time to begin planning for the upcoming garden season)

Old Farm Country Cookbook

The Quiet Season (All about winter)

Cold as Thunder (A look into the future)

The Travels of Increase Joseph (Historical fiction about Wisconsin before 1900)