Ridge Stories: Herding Hens, Powdering Pigs, and Other Recollections from a Boyhood in the Driftless

Ridge Stories: Herding Hens, Powdering Pigs, and Other Recollections from a Boyhood in the Driftless

by Gary Jones


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Straight talk from up on the farm

Raised on a small dairy farm in the Driftless Area in the mid-twentieth century, Gary Jones gets real about his rural roots. In this collection of interrelated stories, Jones writes with plainspoken warmth and irreverence about farm, family, and folks on the ridge. Readers will meet Gramp Jones, whose oversized overalls saved him from losing a chunk of flesh to an irate sow; the young one-room-school teacher who helped the kids make sled jumps at recess; Charlotte, the lawn-mowing sheep who once ended up in the living room; Victor the pig-cutter, who learned his trade from folk tradition rather than vet school; and other colorful characters of the ridge. Often humorous and occasionally touching, Jones’s essays paint a vivid picture that will entertain city and country folk alike. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780870209239
Publisher: Wisconsin Historical Society
Publication date: 11/07/2019
Edition description: 1
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 3 Months to 18 Years

About the Author

Gary Jones has written professionally as a freelancer since the 1970s, publishing in the Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee Magazine, and several Door County publications. He taught high school English for many years and in retirement has taught college composition courses at University of Wisconsin-Platteville. 

Gary Jones earned a bachelor of science degree from UW-Platteville, a master's from UW- Madison, and a PhD from UW-Milwaukee. 

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

If the Overalls Fit 5

Rubber Duckies 9

Edna 12

Boyhood Games 15

Pleasant Ridge School 19

Reading, Writing, and Sledding 24

A Cold Lunch Program 27

Do Ghosts Eat Cake? 30

Ida 34

Putting Powder on a Pig 40

Free-Range Chickens 47

Charlotte 51

A Civil Defense 56

Hike to Steeple Rock 59

In Gramp's Shoes 64

Farm Forecasts 70

The Grasshopper 73

Milking Time 76

Making Hay While the Sun Shines 81

Threshing on the Ridge 86

Getting Up Wood 92

Down on the Farm, TV Style 96

Memorial Day on Pleasant Ridge 100

When Angels Wore Bedsheets 105

Minnie and Mae 109

The Church Band 114

The Catholics 117

Hills and Valleys 121

Snowbound 124

Mixed Nuts 128

Within Walking Distance 132

The Good Life 135

Steve Bryant, the Storyteller 139

Victor, the Pig-Cutter 143

The Pressure Cooker 147

Silas Breese 151

Cursing Like a Farmwife 155

The Longs and the Shorts of It 158

Ain't That Pretty 162

Foods of the Ridge 165

Good Gardens 168

Uncle Jake 172

Raspberry Queen of the Ridge 177

A Life of Pie 181

Crazy Quilter 184

Searching for My Father 189

Burying My Father 195

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