Time has slipped by without me writing much about my husband lately. Today, I've got a few short stories about Bob to share.
Friends have asked if we're done planting. Bob says he is, mostly. We're luckier than many farmers who were so wet they haven't gotten all their crops in the ground. Oh, Bob had to deal with some wet fields, too. There are some places he couldn't manage, but to get done planting, he went around the mud holes - I bet if you had a birds-eye-view of our fields you'd wonder if the farmer was drunk when planting. The fields have all these rows going around empty spaces, but they are planted, mostly.
A while ago, when rain kept Bob from doing fieldwork, he got restless. All he could see was puddles where he wanted the dry earth. Of course, he couldn't just sit still. He had to do something.
The first tool Bob grabbed was a chainsaw. It wasn't his big saw, just one for trimming, but big enough to do some real changes - LOOK OUT, trees! Here comes Bob!
My husband had been talking about trimming the maple tree that lives right in front of our house. He studied it all winter long, figuring out which branches had to go, but did nothing. Too much snow around the yard made the work near impossible.
Then spring arrived and so did the leaves. As always, the big hand-sized leaves blocked our view as we sat by our kitchen table, but when the sap is running it's not a good idea to cut.
Bob waited until that rainy spell got to him and he went to work. I wasn't sure how much he was going to trim. Sometimes he gets carried away when he's cutting - ahem … trimming. I went outside to watch him work when I heard the saw roar to life. I hoped if I was there snapping photos, he would know when to stop ... or I could just say, "Enough! Stop cutting!" before the whole tree came down.
The plan was to take off the lower branches and leave the bulk of the tree. One, two, three, lower limbs hit the ground, but Bob wasn't done. He had to even things out to balance the tree. Zip, went a couple more branches.
"How's that look?" he asked - I thought was nice of him to ask me.
I suggested he snip one little hanging branch and stop and that's exactly what he did. I went back inside the house.
Bob wasn't finished with his saw yet. He went around the yard looking for anything else he could cut. A couple low-hanging pine branches were whisked off, along with a few dead apple tree branches. Nothing too severe. Thank goodness.
When the saw went back in the shop, I helped Bob pick up branches. The maple tree doesn't look too different when looked at from the road. The big change comes when we sit at our kitchen table. The view out is much better, yet the tree is still mostly there.
When we're together for a meal, Bob and I direct our eyes outside. Bird feeders bring all sorts of interesting birds there to entertain us - they also entertain our inside cats who watch out that same window when we are not around. But more goes on outside besides birds fluttering. Traffic gets our attention, too, especially farm traffic.
Farmers always are interested in what is going on in their neighborhood, especially on other farms. So we'll be sitting there, eating a meal and hear a vehicle coming down the road. As it gets closer, we'll both look up from whatever we're doing and watch to see what goes by.
Certain times multiple machines convoy from field to field. This happens when manure haulers are heading out on a project or the neighbors are chopping hay and wagons are being moved.
I identify the activity and go back to my meal. Bob watches machines move out of site. Of course, he understood more about the vehicles on the road than I did. My husband even could identify the machine before it came into view. The sound gave it away for him. Not only that, he knew which neighbor was coming - I can only tell who is coming by sound when it's Bob on one of our tractors.
Living with Bob makes life interesting. He can creatively take different machines, put them together, and make a third. But best of all, he makes me laugh with his dry, quiet sense of humor, which is a very good thing.
Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; Sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net; http://www.facebook.com/susan.manzke