Too early a season

When I married into the Manzke family, I found that one winter activity they did was jigsaw puzzles. I think I had attempted one once in my life but found we didn’t have a large enough table for a puzzle so that one was never solved.

Bob taught me how to start a puzzle. When turning over the many pieces, extract the edges and put them together first.

It wasn’t until we moved here on Miller Road that Bob and I took up doing winter jigsaw puzzle ourselves.

Today was the first of the 2019-2020 season. It came to us as a gift for my August birthday from a friend named Susan and is 500 pieces.

Our first finished puzzle of the 2019-2020 season.

These days our pieces are larger in size, but fewer in number. Only on rare occasions will we do 1000 piece puzzles. Five hundred and even three hundred work better for us these days.

So we’re off, with one puzzle under our belt, though it’s too early. In many past years, we didn’t start until December, after fall farm work was finished, but nothing is ordinary anymore, especially the weather.

Now it’s time to box this puzzle up and bring out a second. The season has had a good start.

Copyright © 2019 Susan Manzke, All rights reserved

The runaway

It snowed today. Not more than two inches, but that made a spot in our yard slippery. As I threw a bit of garbage in the outside bin, my foot slipped. I was heading head over heels, knocking the bin over, but somehow saved myself from a complete fall. Thank goodness. Too many friends have had falls lately that left them bruised and hurting. I’m happy to have saved myself today.

After bringing in the mail, I went to check on my seven hens and give them some table scraps.

Since the hens have been docile, I left the outside door open. That was a mistake. One white hen raced passed me when I opened the coop door. She stopped suddenly when her feet hit the snow.

I figured this was my chance to recapture her, but she had other ideas.

Not liking the two inches of snow, the hen flapped into the air and flew about twenty feet away to an open space under a nearby pine tree.

Grumpily, I followed after her, hoping she wouldn’t go farther afield.

The hen did think about escaping under her favorite bush, but the snow made her rethink that exit.

Little by little I turned her toward the coop, my arms outstretched giving her directions.

She went left. She went right and then back again. The cold snow stopped her again.

“You’ll have to fly home,” I told her and to my surprise that’s what she did, flapping right to the open door.

At least she was home. I returned to the house, carefully stepping over the slippery ground.

This episode gives me more reason to rid myself of my little flock, but the question still remains. Where?

The hen who escaped.

Copyright © 2019 Susan Manzke, All rights reserved

National Chicken Lady Day!

I am down to seven hens but I’m still a chicken lady.

Chickens and cats eating on our front porch in summer.
A past watermelon eating contest
My favorite hen, a bantam, with summer’s crop of chicks.

I love my feathered pets but I don’t know if I can keep them. Winter issues might be too much for us.

Stay tuned. Fingers crossed we don’t have a terrible winter again.

Copyright © 2019 Susan Manzke, All rights reserved

Out the window

The family that rented our farm started harvesting here last night.

Bob came out of his chair to see the lights moving through the dark field. Today his view was better.

Bob sat at our kitchen table and watched. He may not be farming, but farming is still a big part of the man he is.

Dump carts are used because they are lighter than big trucks. Big equipment gets stuck too easily. It’s not a usual farming year here in Wisconsin.

Bob watches as trucks of chopped corn go to farms in need of livestock feed.

Copyright 2019 by Susan Manzke, all rights reserved.