A long time coming

Susan Manzke
Now Media Group

Sometime plans for the farm are put off for a time. Usually it has something to do with money, or rather the lack of money. Sometimes it's just that there are more important things to do, so certain projects go on the back burner for a while.

How about almost 40 years on the back burner?

Bob has worked this farm since the Manzkes moved to Seymour in 1978. Of course, then his parents owned the land and buildings. Farming was done under the partnership of Manzke and Manzke, meaning father and son.

I asked Bob if he ever suggested to his father about adding another large door to the machine shed. 'I don't remember,' he answered. Still, I know the idea for another large door opposite the first had been on Bob's mine for a long time.

For years, when Bob was backing wagons filled with grain into the shed before a coming storm, he would grumble how a second door would help. 'I could just pull through,' he told me (I've always been his sounding block). No one else may have known about his thoughts for another door.

I also heard his complaints about the absent door when the weather was hot. Bob would be in the shed, welding, wishing he could open the nonexistent door to catch the breeze — again, I was the only one who heard his complaints.

Bob tried figuring out ways to put in the large door himself — he's always been a do-it-yourself person — but he never had enough time. And now he doesn't have enough energy to do the job.

Recently, the hunters who search for deer each fall asked if they could do something special for Bob, and the idea of an additional door came up.

They talked and figured. Someone actually had a used door that would fit. Soon the project was under way, and Bob wouldn't have to lift a finger — something very odd for my husband.

The project would take place the following Wednesday, if it didn't rain.

Well, the rain did come during the night, but when it was time to go to work, it was gone. The door project was a go.

A three-man crew (Mike, Tom and Paul) driving a M. R. Neubert Construction truck pulling a trailer full of tools and another truck pulling a lift arrived at our farm. Bob was ready and waiting. Even if he didn't have to work, he planned to be there every minute. No, he wouldn't kibitz and tell the crew how to do their job.

Bob is interested in everything. He has his own tools, but this crew had the perfect tools for everything. It was a learning experience for Bob.

I came out of the house every so often to check on the work progress, and I brought my camera to document the changes.

First, there was a lot of banging as Paul pounded with a sledgehammer from the inside to take down the old corrugated siding to make room for the door; Mike and Tom were removing nails from the outside; and Bob stood, watching. Actually, I was surprised he wasn't trying to give the shed a whack or two.

I watched for a little while and then returned to my other chores.

Every hour I'd return to see how the work was progressing. The siding removal went fast; then came the cutting of the wood framing.

Once, I came out to find Tom cutting the metal siding. The tool he used went through it like butter. Bob called it a nipper. It was neat to watch.

It took two days to create the door. Only Tom returned the second day to finish. Of course, Bob was out there, and this time he got a chance to help a little.

The door is up and working. Bob hasn't needed to roll any wagons through it yet, but it sure helps air circulation when he's working out there and can open both doors. A nice end to a long thought-about project.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; Sunnybook@aol.com