Category Archives: art

Column from last July

I’ve been reading old columns on YouTube. Yesterday I thought I’d do something more recent. I chose one from last summer when Bob’s cancer treatments were working and he and I could happily work together. It turns out I couldn’t read it, but I’ll share it here instead.

A new adventure for the Manzkes

July 2019

When Bob and I lived in Illinois, we grew sweet corn to sell. Bob would pick it early in the morning into the back of the pickup truck. He’d then park the truck in the yard and put a sign up: fifty cents a dozen, self-serve. We never took our corn or pumpkins to a farmer’s market.

I’ve attended the Seymour Farmer’s Market many times in the past. Since we don’t grow much of a garden, I never even considered exhibiting. When I looked up the market on Facebook I saw the ‘about’ section said: Seymour Farmer’s Market has a venue of produce, crafts, and entertainment. “I do crafts and art,” I said. “We should set up at the Seymour Market.” The crazy thing is that Bob agreed.

Stashed in a shed I found the old canopy I used to use when I took my watercolor paintings to art fairs. To my astonishment, all of it was there. The two holes nibbled by mice were patchable. The only trouble was there weren’t any instructions on how to put up the canopy.

I started working on the assembly alone in our backyard, but I didn’t get very far. I needed help. Bob wandered out to see what I was doing and I drafted him to help.

There were all kinds of polls and six plastic connectors. All we had to do was to match everything up so it would stand on its four legs. I’m afraid that was easier said than done.

            Most of the braces and legs were the same length and could fit one into another. They even had numbers on them from 1 to 4. You’d think that meant four legs, but the 1s turned out to be part of the canopy roof arch.

            It took hours to get the stupid thing together, but we did it. It was a proud moment for us to stand under its shade.

            Okay, so we did this once, we shouldn’t have any problems when we took it to Seymour’s Farmer’s Market. Right?

            Lucky for us we got there early, because setting up that canopy was a bummer—and imagine I used to do it alone.

            Bob wasn’t much help our first Tuesday. I pulled all the parts out of the bag and put things on the ground in an orderly fashion—the canopy was very old fashioned compared to everyone else’s at the market. Since we were working from the ground up, Bob couldn’t bend to pick up parts. All he could do was hold the top and stop it from flying away.

            I put some of the legs together, but I couldn’t figure out how the plastic attachments connected them—and this is after practicing.

            Bob kept telling me I was doing it wrong, but he didn’t have very many ideas about how to get the darn bugger together.

            Did I mention it was a hot afternoon? Did I have to mention that I was totally frustrated?

            Somehow we got it together! Heavy sigh.

            The rest of the setup wasn’t hard: tables, chairs—painted tiles, copper trees, and my books were for sale.

            The rain didn’t come right away, but it did come. The only thing I had to worry about was my books. The other items could get wet. Luckily, it didn’t rain too hard and there wasn’t any wind to blow everything away.

            Our first afternoon had many highlights, like all the nice people who stopped by to visit.

We exhibited every Tuesday at the Seymour Farmer’s Market through August after buying a better canopy. (I wish I could say the same for 2020.)

Bob and I never went expecting big sales. Mostly it was to get out of the house and see people. We’d have lunch at the market and snacks, too. It was a good outing we could do together.

Here are some photos Bob took of me and our farmer’s market setup.

Susan with her books and more

Here’s a Farmer’s Market away from Seymour. There wasn’t a lot of traffic stopping by that day, but we still had fun.

Copyright © 2020 by Susan Manzke, all rights reserved

Picture Picture

Wednesday is the usual time I gather with others to do volunteer work. My favorite thing to do is to cut old calendars and make flipbooks for special people in nursing homes. It’s a way to entertain them and to keep calendars out of trash or recycling.

This morning I was looking at a 2018 calendar. It still hangs on my wall, not the dates, but the beautiful photos continue to entertain me.

Every year our daughter, Rebecca makes a photo calendar for us. Her photos are so beautiful, I can’t bear to throw them out or make a flipbook out of them. Now I’ve found a way of re-using my calendars.

I fold them up, using the photo as a decoration on my kitchen wall.

I’m currently enjoying these ducks. They also remind me of the summer vacation we took as a family just a couple of years ago. Seeing the ducks makes me smile.

May you find beauty in your day today, too.

Copyright © 2020 by Susan Manzke, all rights reserved

A day for a special visit

Our daughter Rebecca and our son-in-law Andy came out to the farm for a visit this morning–yesterday they celebrated their 16th wedding anniversary.

Today they were nice enough to carry all the heavy bags out of my car: softener salt, cat food, bird food, cat litter–everything I bought at Fleet Farm yesterday weighed 40+ pounds each.

I thank them for their help and for the visit.

If that wasn’t enough, Rebecca brought a treat for me, one of her copper tree creations.

This new copper tree has stone leaves.

I’m always impressed with Rebecca’s copper tree artwork, especially this one because it is MINE!

More will soon be made and for sale. Maybe you’ll be lucky to buy one of your own.

Copyright © 2020 by Susan Manzke, all rights reserved

Unusual creations

I paint small.

Today I’m showing watercolor earrings I just finished.

Here are a few. They are coated to protect the art.

They are $5 each pair and $1 postage from me. There are more at Sissy’s in Seymour.

Thinking of buying local? From the artist? Need a unique gift? Contact me at

Copyright 2019 by Susan Manzke, all rights reserved.

Movies at Muehl Public Library

It was the last showing at our library. I didn’t know if I’d make it, but somehow I managed to squeeze out three hours to join the fun in Seymour.

This was the second year our little library was included in the worldwide showing of the ten films featured in the Manhattan Short Film Festival.

Imagine little ole Seymour being included in this global event.

The other three showings had more viewers. Sunday afternoon is football time, after all, but we had enough people (all women) to make comments and share reactions during the break. Also, the free popcorn added to our movie event.

I can’t wait until next October when we will host the 23rd Annual Manhattan Short Film Festival.

Copyright © 2019 Susan Manzke, All rights reserved