by Jerry Apps
One of the Midwest's best-loved storytellers shares his most personal story. In Old Farm, Jerry Apps combines history, memoir, and call to action as he describes Roshara, the central Wisconsin farm where he and his family have spent more than forty years reaping the benefits of a close relationship to the land.
Jerry takes readers along as he unearths his land's history, from the last great glacier that dug out its valleys and formed its hills, through early land surveys and first settlers, to today. He describes the Menominee Indians who hunted, fished, and lived on this land for hundreds for years and introduces the succession of owners who tried but ultimately failed to make a living on this hardscrabble farm. Along the way Jerry chronicles his family's efforts - always earnest, if sometimes ill-advised - to restore an old granary into living space, develop a productive vegetable garden, mange the woodlots, reestablish a prairie, support a population of endangered Karner blue butterflies, and enjoy nature's sounds and silences.
Along with historic photos, maps, and documents, Old Farm features stunning color photographs by Jerry's son Steve Apps, capturing the beauty of the farm in all seasons and hinting at the spiritual gifts that are the true bounty of life at Roshara.
Central to Jerry Apps's work is his belief that the land is something to cherish and revere, to leave for future generations in better condition than we found it. Like Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac, Jerry's loving tribute to his own piece of land sounds an inspirational call to readers to preserve wild and rural places.