Eager to shed winterlike weather and her cast

Susan Manzke
A cardinal sits patiently on a branch near Susan's window.

Today I'm contemplating spring. Here on the farm, it doesn't look much like spring has arrived. Snow covers the ground, which is pretty normal for March in Wisconsin. Still, I can't help anticipating the green that is to come.

The days are noticeably longer and even a bit warmer. This week the weather forecast was for temperatures in the mid-40s in my area. With warmer temperatures and more daylight, I know spring is just around the corner, even when I remember having snowstorms in April and in May.

I try to stay positive about the coming growing year, even though the fieldwork is in other people's hands.

Blooming amaryllis are a breath of spring.

During the long winter months, I keep growing plants in my house. It was wonderful when my amaryllis bloomed in January. The plants grew so tall and so fast that one actually toppled over and left a mess of soil on the floor. It's a good thing that the plant didn't kill itself. After I picked it up and packed it back in its pot it continued to grow. I'm sure my inside plants will welcome their time on my enclosed porch when the temperatures rise.

Besides potted plants, I grew two aquaponic gardens over the cold season. The first one has two types of lettuce, one of basil, and the second one is overflowing with petunias. Sometimes as I walk past the lettuce I pick a leaf off and munch it. I just have to remember not to pick the leaf from the Petunia plants and try to munch them.

My son Russell gave me my first aquaponic garden. He always has such good ideas to help me get through the wintertime here. Right now, my petunias are getting near full bloom. Since they are in a small room when I opened the door I can smell their sweetness as I step nearby.

Petunia aquaponic garden. The blue plastic is the water reservoir.

Of course, I have to keep water in the garden containers all the time. Lights flash when the water starts getting low. Russell also supplied me with a special water tank that keeps the petunias happy. They sure suck up the water and when they are so heavy with growth it's hard to pour more inside. The gadget Russell gave me to help with this is a water reservoir that works by gravity. As long as I keep the reservoir filled the petunias will not go dry.

Besides enjoying the growing plants in my house, I also revel in the sight of birds at my bird feeder. Today there are Blue Jays, Cardinals, nuthatches, and mourning doves, among others. They all seem to love the food I put out for them and reward me with their daily visits.

As I contemplate my outdoor feathered friends and my indoor greenery I am looking forward to the day I get the cast off my left hand. I know things won't be perfect right away. I'll be going to a removable brace, but that will feel so much better than this heavy lump that I am dragging around now.

When I am distracted during the day, the cast doesn't bother me too much. It is the middle of the night that it seems to be such a pain for me. One night I woke from a dream that had me trying to pull off my cast. No, it didn't come loose, but it sure made me think about my life without it in place.

Sometimes, I feel like doing what one of my dogs did in the distant past and chew my cast off. But since it's not a plaster cast, I won't be able to do that. The pink fiberglass that is wound around my arm is much harder.

Now it's time for lunch. Today it's leftovers. Yesterday, when I wanted a potato I had to struggle to cut it into small pieces. Somehow, I managed without hurting myself. I'm looking forward to warmer days in a world where I can live without a cast on my arm.

Thanks to all who sent me get-well cards. It was nice finding them in the mail. Each one picked up my spirits.

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