Category Archives: Friends

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.

Scampering squirrel

We don’t get many squirrels up by our house. I know many people have to fight squirrels off to keep them from raiding their bird feeders. We don’t.

I was going through some digital images and came across this one of a squirrel on our critter cam.

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I thought I’d share it today.

We haven’t gotten all the way down our farm lane because of rain. Our cart is 2-wheel drive and won’t go through the mud.

Since Bob and I have to take care not to get stuck we’re thinking of hanging the critter cam closer to home.

When the farm dries up a bit (over an inch of rain last night) we’ll set it up and see if any other wildlife visits.

Today it’s just this scampering squirrel.

Memories exchanged over coffee

Another Tuesday, another gathering with friends at Sissy’s in Seymour for coffee.

You can never tell where the conversation will take us as we sip our coffee. This day the talk took a turn when someone mentioned Maplewood Meats would no longer be butchering. This brought on memories of early days when butchering on farms was common.

Bob’s Dad (Shorty), Uncle (Hippy) and Grandpa John Manzke
taking care of a farm raised hog-1950s Mokena, Illinois

I remembered visiting one of my mother’s friends when I was 5 or 6. I always loved going to that farm, except for this one particular day. When we walked into their farmhouse that day we found the whole family busily cutting up the carcass of a hog.

I wasn’t bothered seeing the pig being cut up for food, until I rounded the table. There next to the table leg was a basket. Inside the container was the whole head of the pig. Seeing it look up at me freaked me out. For the first time ever, I wanted to hurry our visit and head home.

Back in our own kitchen, we found Dad cooking supper for the family. He was a great cook, but to my chagrin, that day Dad had decided to make us pork chops.

I couldn’t eat a bite.

A gift from a friend

My friend, Doris, returned late Wednesday with a gift for me. I now have a starter kit of alcohol inks and supplies of my own. I never expected Doris to do such a thing and I am grateful for the surprise. I’m even more thankful for our years of friendship.

I may work on a few eggs today, or I may wait for the weekend. It would be fun sharing this art with family.

Our actual family Easter get-together won’t take place until April 28. It doesn’t matter the day. All that I care about is that a big chunk of our family can come together on the farm. Maybe by then, the yard will be dry enough for our grandchildren to have their egg hunt outside. No matter, we’ll have good food and an abundance of fun.

Eggs of a different color

My friend Doris

My friend Doris came to teach me how to make these wonderful eggs. Doris had given me some as a gift a couple weeks ago and I begged her to show me how she made them.

My long-time friend not only showed me her secrets, she also brought all the supplies we needed.

Another friend, Bridget, found out what we were doing and asked if she could join us. Of course, we said yes.

I couldn’t believe the beautiful eggs we made in just one afternoon. I’m considering getting some of my own supplies so I can create more eggs in the future.

Bob even came by to check out our creative endeavors, though he wouldn’t attempt painting an egg himself.

Notice Doris is wearing gloves and our kitchen table is covered in a $1 plastic table cloth. Also, old clothes were worn. This kind of ink stains easily.

Our finished products

These are now my eggs. See the extra large egg. Before Doris came I happened on a Legg’s plastic egg I had saved for some reason for years and years. Now I know why. It was meant to become this lovely creation.