In Old Farm: A History, Jerry Apps, 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 forty-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, as well as the first white settlers. 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.
From the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. Hardcover, 256 pages, 8 1/2 x 11 in., 80 photos.
Author: Jerry Apps
Photographs by: Steve Apps
100 photos, 2 maps
8 x 9 in.
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Jerry Apps is professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than twenty-five books, many of them on rural history and country life. Jerry's nonfiction books include Every Farm Tells a Story, Living a Country Year, When Chores Were Done, Humor from the Country, Country Ways and Country Days, and Ringlingville USA. He has written two books for young readers; Tents, Tigers and the Ringling Brothers and Casper Jaggi: Master Swiss Cheese Maker; and two novels, The Travels of Increase Joseph and In a Pickle: A Family Farm Story. He received the 2007 Major Achievement Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers and the 2007 Notable Wisconsin Author Award from the Wisconsin Library Association.
Steve Apps is an award-winning photojournalist with twenty-three years in the newspaper industry, including his present job as a Wisconsin State Journal staff photographer. He enjoys documenting Wisconsin and in particular photographing at the family farm in Waushara County.