Trying to find autumn joy amidst cool, rainy weather

Susan Manzke

I’ve always loved fall.

Sandhill cranes gatheri on Sunnybook Farm as they ready to fly south.

There are exceptions though. I’m not fond of all the rain we received this October. All I can think about is how we needed and prayed for rain in August and didn’t get it. Now it’s time for dry weather and we have fields flooded.

I’m trying to find the bright side of lousy weather. The trees are pretty, but of course, those leaves will be falling soon. Our basswood tree in our front yard is almost bare—oops, that doesn’t sound positive. Let me try again.

After a hard freeze, Bob helped me dig up flower tubers before the weather got too cold. Right now the dahlias and cannas are waiting for the return of spring—I guess I’m already waiting for spring, too, but I know we have many cold months ahead.

Bob and I also planted tulips and daffodils, wishing them a good winter’s sleep and a bright return in April.

Bob harvests potatoes from a raised bed before the weather turned cool.

Our potatoes came out of the soil earlier, before cold and rain inundated us. Our raised bed produced an assortment of potatoes from regular size to marbles. All will be eaten. I’m going to take the smallest potatoes, scrub, oil, season, and bake them for a nice side dish.

Outside field work came to a halt when we got over four inches of rain in one week. Instead of having our soybeans combined we just sat back and watched Vs of geese heading south. They didn’t stop here for a visit as they had during their spring migration. It seemed they were in a hurry to leave us.

Sandhill cranes did stop before leaving on their yearly vacation.

 A pair of cranes always makes Sunnybook Farm their home each summer. When those two became three, we watched them wander through our soybean fields.

Other cranes have come and gone through the year, but usually didn’t hang out for long, until recently.

Sandhill cranes converge on Sunnybook Farm as they prepare to leave Wisconsin for warmer weather down south.

When a large migrating flock stopped in for a pit stop, I got out my camera and went to capture their visit digitally.

I couldn’t drive down the lane, that would have scared them into the sky. Instead, I walked toward the large birds, hoping I wouldn’t frighten them away before I could get a good photo or two.

Slowly I went, up and down the little hills between me and the cranes. Four stood out away from the flock on a rise in the lane—they could have been locals as they let me get close before walking away.

When I came over the same rise, I was able to capture part of the larger sandhill crane flock. Even though I was creeping along, my presence did alarm them and they took to the sky. “Bye-bye birdies.”

So much for fall activities. Hopefully, the land will dry soon and our harvest can begin in earnest.

Susan joins PBS star of Around the Farm Table, Inga Witscher.

Because yucky weather kept my husband inside, Bob joined me at an event in Seymour last Sunday. Inga Witscher, the host of the PBS television show Around the Farm Table entertained at a Muehl Public Library event. Inga’s presentation brightened a gloomy day for everyone in the room.

It was so neat to meet her personally—I didn’t know she was so tall, but of course, I’m getting shorter by the minute—after hearing Inga, I’ll feel more engaged when I watch her program. If you haven’t seen the show, I recommend you watch Around the Farm Table on your Wisconsin PBS station.

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