Old Farm: A History

Old Farm: A History


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One of the Midwest's best-loved authors tells the story of his land, from the last great glacier that dug out its valleys and formed its hills, to his own family's 40 year relationship with the beloved farm they call Roshara. In this quiet but epic tale, Apps describes the Native Americans who lived on the land for hundreds of years, tapping the maple trees and fishing the streams and lakes, as well as the first white settlers who tilled its sandy acres, plowing the native grasses that grew taller than their teams of oxen. For all their work, the farm proved tough to tame. Hardscrabble farming methods and hard luck often brought failure.
"From land that provided only a marginal living for its early owners, this place we call Roshara has provided much for my family and me," writes Apps. He and his wife and their children have cared for the farm not so much to make a living as to enhance their lives. Apps chronicles the family's efforts — always earnest, if sometimes ill-advised — to restore an old granary into living space, develop a productive vegetable garden, manage the woodlots, reestablish a prairie, and enjoy nature's sounds and silences. Breathtakingly beautiful color photographs by Apps's son, Steve (a professional photographer), highlight the ever-changing beauty of the land in every season and hint at the spiritual gifts that are the true bounty this family reaps from Roshara.
Central to Apps' work is his belief that the land is something to cherish and revere. Like Aldo Leopold before him, Apps sounds an inspirational call to readers to preserve wild and rural places, leaving them in better condition than we found them for future generations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780870206368
Publisher: Wisconsin Historical Society
Publication date: 03/29/2013
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 603,095
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 3 Months to 18 Years

About the Author

Jerry Apps is professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of many books on rural history and country life. His nonfiction books include Horse-Drawn DaysBarns of WisconsinEvery Farm Tells a Story, and Living a Country Year. He received the Council for Wisconsin Writers' 2007 Major Achievement Award and the Wisconsin Library Association's 2007 Notable Wisconsin Author Award. Jerry was born and raised on a small farm in Waushara County, Wisconsin.
Steve Apps is an award-winning photojournalist with twenty-three years in the newspaper industry. As a Wisconsin State Journal staff photographer he has covered a wide range of assignments including the Green Bay Packers and University of Wisconsin-Madison sports. He enjoys documenting Wisconsin and in particular photographing at the family farm in Waushara County.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction xiii

Part I Beginnings

Chapter 1 Our Farm 1

Chapter 2 Skunk's Hollow 9

Chapter 3 Terminal Moraine and Tension Zone 13

Chapter 4 Surveys, Maps, and First People 19

Chapter 5 Early Settlers 27

Chapter 6 Tom Stewart 31

Chapter 7 John, Ina, and Weston Coombes 41

Part II Roshara

Chapter 8 Lay of the Land 55

Chapter 9 Gray Buildings 63

Chapter 10 Pump House 69

Chapter 11 Old Barn 73

Chapter 12 Granary 79

Chapter 13 Cleanup 85

Chapter 14 Cabin Building 91

Chapter 15 Roshara 103

Part III Living on the Farm

Chapter 16 Old Road 109

Chapter 17 The Pond 115

Chapter 18 Apple Trees, Lilacs, and Daylilies 123

Chapter 19 Wildlife 127

Chapter 20 Characters 137

Chapter 21 Gardening 143

Chapter 22 Prairie and Karner Blues 153

Chapter 23 Forestry 163

Chapter 24 Making Wood 179

Chapter 25 Deer Hunting 183

Part IV A Sense of Place

Chapter 26 Solitude 193

Chapter 27 Roshara Sounds 197

Chapter 28 Living on the Land 203

Appendix: Sources and Tips for Researching Land and Ancestors 209

Notes 214

Index 217

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