When journalist Josh Wittmore moves from the Illinois bureau of Farm Country News to the newspaper's national office in Wisconsin, he encounters the biggest story of his young career-just as the paper's finances may lead to its closure. Josh's big story is that a corporation that plans to establish an enormous hog farm has bought a lot of land along the Tamarack River in bucolic Ames County. Some of the local residents and officials are excited about the jobs and tax revenues that the big farm will bring, while others worry about truck traffic, porcine aromas, and manure runoff polluting the river. And how would the arrival of a large agribusiness affect life and traditions in this tightly knit rural community of family farmers? Josh strives to provide impartial agricultural reporting, even as his newspaper is replaced by a new Internet-only version owned by a former New York investment banker. And it seems that there may be another force in play: the vengeful ghost of a drowned logger who locals say haunts the valley of the Tamarack River.
Jerry Apps was born and raised on a Wisconsin farm. A former agricultural extension agent, he is professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His other novels in the Ames County series are The Travels of Increase Joseph,In a Pickle, Blue Shadows Farm, and Cranberry Red. His many nonfiction books include Garden Wisdom, Barns of Wisconsin, Breweries of Wisconsin, Every Farm Tells a Story, Old Farm, and One-Room Country Schools. Apps received the 2007 Major Achievement Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers and the 2010 Distinguished Service Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
Acknowledgments Prologue 1. Josh Wittmore 2. Lazy Z Feedlot 3. Fishing on the Millpond 4. Natalie Karlsen 5. Tamarack River Valley 6. Farm Country News 7. Tamarack River Ghost 8. Nathan West Industries 9. Dr. William Willard Evans 10. Randy Oakfield 11. Research Proposal 12. Big Hog Farm Coming 13. Dinner Date 14. Ice Fishing 15. Valley History 16. Fred and Oscar 17. Skiing in the Park 18. Informational Meeting 19. Opposing Positions 20. Fred and Oscar 21. Yes or No to Factory Farms 22. Winter Festival 23. Fred and Oscar 24. Paper Problems 25. Schmeir Tournament 26. Nathan West-435 27. Decision Time 28. Tamarack Museum 29. Zoning Committee Meeting 30. Newspaper Demise 31. New Journalism 32. Fred and Oscar 33. Different Results 34. Spring Snowstorm 35. Confession 36. Opening Day 37. Electronic News 38. Surprise Present 39. New Hog House 40. Outrage 41. Fourth of Seventh Month 42. Truce 43. Disaster 44. Blame 45. A New Beginning Epilogue