Apps' pond seeks new level

Jerry Apps
Jerry Apps' grandsons Ben and Josh, along with his son in law Paul trim trees around the Apps Pond.

The pond at our farm nearly dried up in 2015, but then the water began rising with the heavy rains of the last couple of years.

By the fall of 2019, our pond was running over its banks. It had risen to a place it had never been. It was surrounding trees, some of which were likely more than a hundred years old. I have never seen it this high, even when I was a kid and that was a good many years ago.

One of the projects I had in mind once the pond froze was to cut some of the trees and brush that had been surrounded by water. My grandsons, Josh, who lives in Denver, and Ben who lives in San Diego, came home for Christmas. So with these husky lads, both in their twenties, plus my son-in-law, Paul, and daughter, Sue, we went on the ice with chain saws and loppers.

Soon, we had a sizeable pile of brush and trees on the ice. The grandsons asked about building a bonfire, and I said, “Sure, go ahead,” I didn’t tell them what happened when you started a brush fire on ice.

Soon they had a substantial fire. And then, just like that, the fire went out with a sizzle.

“What happened?” Josh asked.

“The fire melted the ice and put itself out,” I said, remembering when we had tried to build a campfire on ice when we were ice fishing.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Fire and ice have never been good companions.

Jerry Apps

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