Six inches of snow!

It kept coming down overnight. This morning I stepped out of our back door to see the total.

I’d call it about six inches. It may move around more now as the wind is picking up.

The wine bottle tree Bob made a few years ago shows off the snow.

Eventually, I will get the bulk of our driveway plowed out. But for now, I moved some away from the door and fence.

The good thing is the snow has ended. There are no storms in the forecast for the next few days.

There’s time to recover and watch it blow. ….. Wait a minute! Blowing isn’t good.

Copyright © 2020 by Susan Manzke, all rights reserved

A snowy dog

Sunny loves the snow. With new flakes falling, he comes in covered with a blanket of white.

I get a kick out of his antics, except when he comes inside and shakes the snow off before I can towel him off. I guess he wants to share the snow with me.

Sunny is good company. He stays close to me, going with me from room to room in the house. Of course, he’s always up for a treat, which I provide–but not too much.

“Good, Sunny Boy!”

Copyright © 2020 by Susan Manzke, all rights reserved

Kolacky by the lazy baker…me

My friend Joyce sent me a copy of her Kolacky recipe. Here it is:

Ingredients: 1 cup room temperature butter, 1 – 8-ounce package cream cheese also at room temperature, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, thick jam or canned fruit filling, such as apricot or prune and a little powdered sugar for dusting

  1. Cream butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract.
  2. Combine flour and salt; add in a fourth at a time to butter mixture, blending well after each addition. Chill dough until easy to handle.
  3. Roll dough to 3/8 inch thickness on a floured surface. Cut 2-inch circles or other shapes. Place on ungreased baking sheets.
  4. Make a ‘thumbprint’ about 1/4 inch deep in each cookie. Fill with jam.
  5. Bake at 350 F for 10 to 15 minutes, or until delicately browned on edges.
  6. Dust with powdered sugar

Joyce said, “I roll the dough very thin, and cut out squares. Put just a dab of filling in the middle. Pinch opposite sides together (looks like a bow tie). I bake my Kolacky at 375 for 10 minutes, more or less.”

I followed Joyce’s directions until it came time to roll out the dough.

The beginning — softened butter and cream cheese

Instead, I used a melon scooper to make balls of dough. I flattened them a bit by hand and made a thumbprint in the center before filling with jelly.

My jelly bubbled all over the pan. I had put too much in. You only need a dab. Luckily I used parchment paper on the pan. The dried jelly looked messy but pealed off the paper and tasted like a fruit rollup.

The filling on the parchment was a yummy treat for this baker.

Joyce’s Kolacky looked more like the ones my Grandma Jo made. Mine didn’t, but they did taste good if a little messy.

Copyright © 2020 by Susan Manzke, all rights reserved

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

Meeting author Michael Perry

Snow last night almost kept me home. If it wasn’t for two good friends (Jennifer and Doris) I wouldn’t have gone to Green Bay to hear Michael Perry speak.

GreenStone’s Ladies Day Out is always around Valentine’s Day. I hesitated to be among all the hearts and flowers. Yet, I really wanted to hear Michael speak again.

Bob and I were both fans of Michael’s writings, enjoying his wit and wisdom. We really liked listening to his recorded books together.

It took a lot to force myself out of the house this morning, but I’m happy I did.

Michael Perry entertained for an hour
Doris, Susan, and Jennifer
Two writers, Michael Perry and Susan

It wasn’t until the end of the morning that I had tears when two of my column readers came to me to give me hugs and send their sympathy about Bob. They were sweet ladies. I guess the hearts and flowers finally got to me.

Copyright © 2020 by Susan Manzke, all rights reserved