Category Archives: Farming

Booking it!

My 1980-1981 column collection is finished and is up on Kindle for purchase. The paperback will be in production as soon as I get my proof and check it over. I’m supposed to get my proof copy by next Tuesday.

Stories from these two years include three children: Robby, Becky, and Russell–Rachel came into the picture in 1982.

Here’s a romantic story form this book in honor of Valentine’s Day:

Oh, Rats!” to those bats

August 5, 1981

       He came out of the house. We sat by the picnic table, a full moon above our heads. It was so romantic, a fragile evening.

       The work noises of the day had faded. I was no longer overpowered by the roar of the tractor being tuned up near the shop. It sat quietly nearby—in pieces—not to roar again until a needed part was shipped in.

       Birds swooped about the yard in silent precision, eating hundreds of juicy insects. The sound of a muffled train whistle sounded in the distance.

       It was an evening all the money in the world couldn’t buy. It was an evening worth waiting for, for weeks… for months.

       He whispered into my ear, “You’re alone?”

       I sighed, “Yes.” And thought, “Oh Boy! Here it comes. Here comes one of his priceless romantic statements.” (They are so priceless because they’re so rare. Anyway, it had to be one the evening called for one; it yelled for one. And so did I, silently, of course.)

       So I waited and waited for the words that were sure to come from his lips—words I would cherish for another five years, until the next time, when he’d again stumble over another few.

       “I’m surprised you’re sitting out here like this,” he said.

       “The night was made for it… for us.” I thought a few words from me would help him spit out a good line.

       “I’m just surprised. I know how much you hate them,” he said with a yawn.

       Somehow it wasn’t quite what I expected him to say. I wanted romance. Instead I got a puzzle.

       “What are you talking about? What do I hate?” I had to ask, knowing his answer was sure to blow the evening for good.

       “Bats… you hate bats.”

       “So?”

       “Those happen to be bats flying around the yard,” he said, calmly.

       “Bats? No…. BATS? Are you sure?” (Why I asked him if he was sure I don’t know. He’s always sure. And with one more look up so was I.).

       “BATS!!! I thought they were birds.” I jumped up and ran to the house, my head tucked under my arms.

       “Where are you going?” He remained sitting on the bench, in the moonlight.

       “IN!”

       “But it’s such a nice night…. I thought you knew they were bats. They weren’t hurting you.”

       “They didn’t hurt me when I thought they were birds. They might now that I know they’re bats.”

       For a man who claims to love me so much, he can be cruel. He stole away the night and the promise of romance, with one word – “BATS!”                         “Oh, RATS!”

I hope you enjoyed the story I shared.

I also hope that you would consider buying this kindle book or the paperback when it comes out.

Copyright © 2020 by 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.

A two-tone car

Come ride down farm roads these days and you may end up with a two-tone car. I did.

Farm machinery is going in and out of wet fields, leaving trails of mud. It gets scraped off the roads as soon as the farmer can, but some recent mud is inevitable.

Take this as a warning. Harvesting this year is a bugger for farmers. They would rather not have the mud, but wet weather has made mudpies of many fields.

Lucky for me, my husband is fast with a power washer. Bob said he’d take care of the addition of mud to my car exterior.

It didn’t take much spraying to bring back the silver.

Thanks, Bob.

Copyright © 2019 Susan Manzke, All rights reserved

Expert driver

Yesterday afternoon I was on the Internet visiting face to face with friend, Pauline, in Tasmania. At the same time, Bob was waiting for a truck to arrive to pick up the corpse of an old tractor.

I didn’t know exactly when Bob went outside. I was too involved with Pauline. We hadn’t connected in months and I didn’t want to miss the time with her–it was 3:45 pm Thursday here and 6:45 am Friday in Hobart, Tasmania. You can see why it’s hard to connect at the same time.

If I had been outside, I would have taken photos of the tractor (missing one large back wheel) as it was loaded on the truck. Bob was impressed with the process.

Months ago, someone else tried loading that tractor and couldn’t. He left it out in a spot where it was in the way. We were so glad when this truck came and was successful with the loading.

Heading to old tractor salvage yard

I arrived as the last chains were set in place after the tractor was loaded.

The truck couldn’t use our farm driveway as that is just mushy from all the rain. He was sure to have gotten stuck there.

Instead, he had to back out between our buildings, which was a tight squeeze.

I held my breath as he backed out. The mirrors on his truck were sure to hit the building.

No worries. This expert driver knew exactly what he was doing and was soon on the road with his load.

Both Bob and I were impressed.

Copyright © 2019 Susan Manzke, All rights reserved

Enjoying the season

Too much rain has put a damper on the best of days. Water and mud block our farm lane. Yet I am enjoying today’s warm, windy weather–I’m trying to take it all in, even the humidity, and keep it in my heart. That way I can bring it out mid-January and remember.

Last evening I raced outside with my cell phone to take a photo of the sunset. It was another day I’ll set in my heart.

As I was enjoying the sun setting over the cornfield, I saw another view of the sky.

I stepped down into the ditch and used the tops of the corn to frame the evening sky colors.

Hope you enjoy my view.

Copyright © 2019 Susan Manzke, All rights reserved