Category Archives: Farming

An extra summer treat

It is a season for melons. Most are coming from the south, as they started growing earlier than here in Wisconsin. Today, I was thumping some watermelon at the grocery store looking for a tasty one.

After bringing the melon home, I sliced it into bits for Bob and me.

Watermelon ready for sharing.

The extra treat came when I took the rind out for our chickens.

chickens enjoying their treat

The melon was seedless, so there were no seeds to spit, yet it was enjoyed by all.

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.

Can’t keep a good man down

After we came back from Bob’s oncology appointment yesterday, we were both full of energy. The good news really picked up our spirits.

When Bob is full of energy, he needs to work. It was his idea to go down to a farm ditch and dig. The drain tile was a bit blocked again and not draining a field properly.

Off we went with the cart and tile shovel.

It was a bit awkward as Bob had to stand part way in the ditch to get a good view of the end of the tile–I offered to help, but Bob said I didn’t do it right.

Bob dug some mud out and watched the water run out of the field tile.

Bob may be retired and fighting cancer, but he will work all his life. Work makes him happy.

Tom Sawyer revisited

If you are a gardener you might be thinking of taking a trip over to Sunnybook Farm for some free chicken fertilizer–be prepared to shovel your own.

Bridget with two buckets of fertilizer gold, well gray.

There’s more to share. Chicken manure has a lot of nitrogen so it brings out the green of plants–not the blooms–bring containers if you have them otherwise I have a few more buckets to share, too.

I heard from another gardener who wants to give me a hand cleaning out the chicken house and taking some of this treasure home. Maybe they will drop by later today.

You can’t beat this deal–free fertilizer. It’s definitely a win-win opportunity. For me, it’s a big win.

FREE fertilizer!

This is an honest offer. Come to our farm with a bucket or bag and you can have free fertilizer. Many should jump at this offer, at least I hope so.

The free fertilizer is actually chicken manure. It is dry chicken manure, but there is a catch. You have to shovel your own…out of the chicken house.

Some country people would not flinch at this work, especially if they have need of good manure.

Since we only have 8 chickens, the amount in the chicken house has composted over the last six months–I really should clean it out more often. It really doesn’t smell…really.

The chickens do not add too much fresh to the mix. These days they mostly make their deposits around the farmyard, just ask Sunny where. He searches the ‘chicken treats’ out and eats them!

I have used some of the chicken manure in my flower beds, but there’s still a lot left.

Dry chicken manure going into flower bed
My raised bed is a holey water trough.

So if you are in need of a high nitrogen, natural fertilizer contact me. I’ll even give you a bucket to take your share home.

I am not Tom Sawyer trying to get you to paint a fence, but this can be fun. Also, you get to take home homegrown fertilizer for FREE.

Copyright © 2019 Susan Manzke, All rights reserved