COLUMNISTS

It's the little things that keep me going in the wintertime

Susan Manzke
Susan's computer keeps her connected to friends, family and readers.

Some friends worry about me surviving winter on the farm. I’m going to write about the things that keep me busy all snowy-season long.

One day, when the snow was just right for packing, I rolled a snowperson. The first giant ball started out white but as I neared the trees it changed. Leaves and sticks glommed onto the thickening snowball.

Last November I didn’t rake the last of the falling leaves. Many did blow out of the front yard, but not all. These were the debris that stuck to my snowman body. Even so, I kept on rolling. Those additions would add texture to my creation.

When it came time to lift the second ball of snow, I had some trouble. It was too big. Before I could get it off the ground, I had to trim it down. As I swiped away the packed snow, some of the leaves were removed. Too bad more leaves were revealed underneath.

The third ball went up with no trouble. I was proud of my yard art. It showed I was still a kid at heart.

After returning to the house, the weather changed. A gusty wind flew across the countryside. My snowperson toppled over—two lumps remain in the yard today, but they look nothing like my original creation.

Although Susan's snowperson didn't last long, the adventure made her feel like a kid again.

More often than not, I’m inside, especially on below-zero days. Mostly I can be found at my computer in the kitchen.

I survive best because I’m connected to family and friends via the Internet.

We talk and can see each other, as we did last night when we played Yahtzee. Family members can’t always attend these games, but those that can drop in and have fun. It’s also a time when we can catch up on other family activities—I have to admit that I didn’t do well last night. I lost both games. The dice were not hot for me.

Most days, when I’m at my computer I’m writing something, like this column or my blog—I figure writing will keep my mind sharp as I age.

Many times, my blog consists of the antics of my cats, Barn-E and Car-E wrestling around the kitchen. They entertain me and give me funny actions to record and post on my blog.

Sometimes my cats want to cuddle while I’m working at my computer. They will walk across the keyboard and write their own story while messing up mine.

Quite a few people follow those cat adventures. The videos are short and cute, so very entertaining.

Other writing goes on my blog. These past few months I’ve tried my hand at composing 50-word stories. The trick is to finish the story with only fifty words, no more, no less. I’ll share one with you today called COLD:

Eight below zero is bad, but with the windchill, it feels like twenty-five below.

Farmers continue to do chores, taking care of animals.

Letters come to your mailbox because a postal carrier is working.

Firefighters go out in all kinds of weather to save buildings.

I’m inside my home, warm.

It’s the little things that keep me going. Besides working at my computer, to get some exercise, I walk on my treadmill. I’d rather walk outside, but cold and slippery conditions make me rethink my walking. Inside is safer and warmer.

There are chores to do. I must make sure the bird feeders are full. The cardinals, blue jays, and all my feathered friends are counting on me—so are my watchful inside cats.

I keep myself busy. Baking bread adds to my larder and warms my kitchen. Another hobby, sewing, has taken my attention, too, but that’s another whole column in itself.

Now it’s time to check on my chickens. Strange sounds from the barn last night made me worry about those three hens. BTW: my three chickens are fine.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net/blog.