Mellow Bob

Susan Manzke
Now Media Group

For many years, my husband worked on the farm and off. During those summers, Bob didn't have a spare minute for anything or even enough time to sleep.

Things are so different now. Bob is in less of a race to work himself to death.

These days, Bob will take our dog for a walk. It may be a short walk, but it's a time they enjoy together. Also, every evening, Bob and Sunny ride our cart down to the woods to observe nature. The dog looks forward to these outings and is sad when they are missed. Lucky for me they make room in the cart so I can join them, too.

About a week ago, we three went for a ride around 7. This was later than usual for some reason, but it turned out to be a perfect time for sighting wildlife.

Deer were abundant. Across an unplanted soybean field, we spotted five on the edge of our woods. Bob stopped the cart so I could work the zoom on my camera and snap a photo. When those five wandered into the woods, our trip down the lane resumed.,

Bob drove slowly. Sunny stood up on the seat between us, sniffing the air and scanning the fields. I kept the camera ready and good thing, too. As we neared an adjacent wood, more deer appeared.

The first grouping leaped from the tree line not far from us. Those four came from the north. My camera isn't good for action shots, but I did manage to capture one white tail springing over the ground as it went high in the air.

'That's nine,' Bob said (we keep track of what we observe during our evening excursions).

I pointed into the woods. More deer were visible behind unleafed trees. They were standing like statues, watching us.

Sunny huffed as he caught their scent, but he didn't charge after the deer. Thank goodness — he was satisfied to limit his nature hunting to his seat in the cart.

I brought my camera up and tried taking more photos. This time it was a bit of a challenge because the gadget wanted to focus on nearby branches instead of the deer just beyond.

I kept adjusting the focus and zoom and captured a few nice photos along with a bunch of out-of-focus shots. It was a great night for nature viewing.

When all the deer moved on (a total of 15), Bob started the cart again and rolled toward the end of the lane where he planned to turn around.

'Stop!' I said. No, I didn't see more deer. In fact, I didn't see anything. I heard a thunk, thunk, thunk. We had a flat.

It was 7:30. We were three quarters of a mile from home with no one to call.

'We better start walking,' said Bob as he took Sunny's lead.

'At least it's still light out,' I said.

We took our time. Neither of us wanted to trip on the uneven lane and fall. Sunny wasn't so cautious. He continued sniffing and looking for the deer.

I could tell by my husband's gait his bad hip was bothering him. My legs were like lead. Neither of us was racing ahead.

As we ambled along, we observed sandhill cranes and even a turkey. All were heading to their night homes.

Halfway back home, we came to a bench in our lane. Bob had brought it out for me last year. When I walk the dog, I now have a place to rest. He and I were very happy to see that bench that night.

After about five minutes of rest, I told Bob to stay put. 'Keep the dog with you. I'll go get the car, and come pick you up.'

With no one to talk to, the last stretch of lane seemed to go on forever.

By the time I got the car, it was 8 p.m. All three of us were very happy to get inside that evening. As always, there's no place like home.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; ;