All posts by susanmanzke

Doggone it

During the early years of writing my column, if I didn’t have a subject idea, all I did was wait around a little bit. One of our kids was bound to do something either crazy, interesting, or cute. After they grew up and moved out I have less opportunity of using them–but I still do now and then.

These days when I’m scrounging around for an idea I look around at critters. They could be wild or domesticated. Our dog, Sunny often turns up in these writings. I think that happens because he’s the closest animal we are related to. Also, he’s handy to photograph, though sometimes he doesn’t want his picture taken and turns his head away.

Sunny enjoying a roll.

I try to take him for a walk every day and most times he starts our adventure by rolling down the ditch. Most times he looks cute, but once he rolled in something disgusting and smelly. That day ended with a quick scrub at home and eventually a trip to get a professional dog shampoo. Ugh!

I’m sure Sunny will appear here in the future, but for now, that’s my blog for the day.

Susan’s first column

The beginning of many years writing a weekly column – printed in the Farmer’s Friend and Rural Reporter.

      What’s rotating besides crops?

      January 17, 1980

It’s always silent. Not a word is ever heard. It’s the heart of every man or woman concerned with crops out in the field. It’s the farmer’s prayer.

My heavenly request started in midwinter. I was trapped indoors with three children and a man crazed with the cabin fever. The one who could end our imprisonment was reached only through prayer.

“Oh, God, let the sun warmed the hills and valleys. Let the green spring come. And let my nervous husband sit once more on his tractor to till the soil…. His winter pacing has a 10-foot path worn across the living room rug…. Amen.”

My prayer was answered… finally, spring arrived. A little late, in my opinion, but it arrived. Was it my fault that came as a wet, rainy spring? Did I forget to say I wanted a dry spring?

“P.S. God, thank you for the glorious spring. I appreciated it very much. But I do have to ask you to hold back the rain. My husband’s still in the house. Now that living room path is 15 feet long…. Amen.”

Well, He heard my prayer again in our crops found their way into the ground. And there they sat high and dry…. I must have forgotten something again.

“It’s me again…. I’m sorry to bother you, but remember that rain you so graciously turned off? Well, it would be greatly appreciated if you could turn it back on again…. Please?”

This year my prayers were answered tenfold. The rain came and gave life to failing fields. But again, I didn’t want to stop. So humbly I approached the Almighty once more… after a while, the weather changed. The clouds remained, but they were dry. Only trouble now is the slight shiver threatening an early, killing frost.

“God, I know winter has to come. I’ll even welcome its white beauty and time. But would you mind holding the cold off until we get our crops out of the field…. I promise not to complain… much… about a long, cold winter, if only you let fall continue warm and dry a little longer…. Amen.” I’m not sure what the answer will be to this last prayer, yet. But I know it won’t be my last request.

Susan a budding author

2019–Things have changed over the years, but praying continues for good weather and a lot of other things, especially good health.

Spots disappear

When we at the oncologist for Bob’s checkup, the doctor brought up a digital display of Bob’s scans.

There were the newest ones on the left and the ones from six months ago on the right.

Bob’s brain

While comparing the images, the doctor showed that the three small brain tumors Bob had in December were gone and no new ones had popped up. I had tears of joy.

So much to celebrate! Hooray!

Brushing Sunny

About a month ago I thought I had finished brushing away our dog Sunny’s winter coat. He usually starts shedding in January, but this year he waited a little longer. I guess that was because of the terribly cold weather we had.

Last week, I noticed more clumps of hair coming off our dog. Some were vacuumed up in the living room–a few others now need vacuuming.

I took Sunny outside and started brushing away his second wave of shedding. After running through a swath of fur, I had to stop and remove the clump from the brush. Over and over again I freed the clumps until there were no more.

Sunny didn’t seem to appreciate my work, though he did look a lot lighter.

I told Bob that we did not kill a rabbit in the yard, even if it looks like we had. All the hair on the grass was from Sunny, and some had even floated away in the wind.

Sunny and his hair

Sunny is all set for summer, except he’ll probably have a third bout of shedding in about a month. But even with all that hair, I wouldn’t trade him for anything.

Oh ‘deer’ me

For the first time this year, Bob and I were able to dive the cart all the way down the lane toward our woods. Because of this, we changed where we set up our critter cam–it’s farther back, tied to a tree, right now.

On the way back to the farmyard, something moved ahead. It was a deer! Walking along the ditch.

Using my cell phone camera, I tried to get a closeup–that works better with my camera which was on my desk at home. Anyway, I did snap a few shots of the deer as it walked along the overgrown ditch.

Sunny, also watched the deer walk. He got all excited and wouldn’t settle onto the seat again.

The deer is hardly visible next to the large tree on the left, but Sunny can’t take his eyes off it.
A closeup (sort of) of the deer on Sunnybook Farm

Such a nice ride into the far reaches of our farm. Hope we don’t get too much rain tomorrow. I’d rather not have mud blocking our path again, at least not too soon.

Bob returned to the back of the farm without me later in the afternoon. He was cutting the tall grass and almost ran over a fawn. Luckily, he saw it in time–no photo of the fawn…darn.