Rain: Too much of a good thing lately?

Jerry Apps

Last year, I wrote a book titled “Never Curse the Rain,” published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press, and I did an hour-long documentary with Wisconsin Public TV with the same title.

Author Jerry Apps' son, Steve is pictured clearing dead brush from the family pond so that he can photograph it. Apps says the pond is the highest it has been in 40 years.

The idea came from my dad, who had farmed during the dry-weather Depression years of the 1930s, and the occasional dry summers that followed on our sandy, western Waushara County Farm. My brothers and I dared not ever say a bad word about rain, as, according to Pa, we never had enough.

Now, late summer 2018. It has rained. And rained. Fifteen inches of rain at my Waushara County Farm in 10 days. We have survived quite well. Some rotten potatoes, some spoiled tomatoes. Some trail washing. Not so in many parts of Wisconsin.

My nephew, Jim Olson, farms west of Westby. All of his valley fences washed away. He managed to save his cattle from drowning. Coon Valley is flooded. Reedsburg is flooded. Montello bridge is out. And many, many other places have suffered, including some Madison streets that are flooded. Several roads and bridges destroyed. Farm crop losses are unknown, but there will be many.

“Now can we curse the rain?” several people have asked me.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: “Under certain circumstances, a bad word about too much rain is probably appropriate."

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work go to