Love’s Labour’s Cost

Today’s guest post comes from Reneeinnd

One of the highlights of our trip to Brookings, SD at the end of June was the Dakota Royal Draft Horse Competition. I love seeing those gentle giants.

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The competition involved about 12 teams of Percherons, Shires, Belgians, and Clydesdales in various rigs and numbers. Each horse weighed at least 2000 pounds.

The teams were comprised of either all geldings or all mares, and were evidently matched as close as possible for size, color, and gait. The largest teams were comprised of six horses. My favorites were the Shire horses.

I’m not sure what criteria the judges used to determine what team was the best. I imagine it had something to do with the way the drivers handled the horses and the uniformity of the team and the way the teams moved. The wagons they pulled were shiny and beautiful., and the horses looked to be pampered and well cared for.

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There were some pretty impressive semis in the parking lot that carry these teams all over the US for competitions. I can only imagine the cost of this hobby?, passion? I can’t imagine that anyone makes much of a profit off it.

We live in a semi-arid part of the country, and gardening involves liberal use of soaker hoses. Our water bill gets pretty high in the summer, but I think it is worth the cost to have home grown veggies.

I would hate to calculate just how much more we pay for our home grown garden produce compared to just buying it in the store. Our farmers markets aren’t much to brag about, and I get a sense of accomplishment starting plants from seeds and ushering them to harvest and then putting up the produce for the winter.

I recently ran across The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden by William Alexander. The author calculated that every Brandywine tomato he harvested cost $64. I sure hope that isn’t the cost for our tomatoes.

I suppose there are more expensive hobbies, like draft horses or collecting rare musical instruments or sailing vintage sailboats, and at least the vegetables are healthy for us.

What hobby or activity do you pursue where cost is not the main concern?  

 

111 thoughts on “Love’s Labour’s Cost”

  1. OT- Crazy skies this morning in St Paul ahead of the storm. Went from gold to red to lavendar within a half hour. Now it’s grey and here comes the rain.

    Hope it clears the air a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Record collecting is a passion, guitars, sports coats, hats, but everything has a price attached . I like 50 cent albums and won’t paym20 dollars no matter what it is. With hats it’s a mish mash. I buy and sell so I have paid a couple hundred for a good one and have recently sold one for 750 marked down from 1000.
    Guitars are worth what they sound like but some are overpriced and garage sale specials don’t show up too often any more. Record collecting is fun and is a great way to be your own therapist. The stones or peter paul and Mary? Opera or broadway? Garage sales are the best venue here. Old john Denver and credence Clearwater revival fill the apple boxes of the garage sale world.

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  3. Percherons are my favorite but I like them all. What monster critters? State fair only a month away. I reminded my son who keeps telling me I’m not giving him enough notice on camping up around ely that the summer is 5 more weekend then September.

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    1. When my daughter first acquired the horse boarding ranch 18 years ago, it came with a team of four Persheron. The manager of the ranch had all the bells and whistles for parading these huge horses. My son built Mary a large, red sleigh for them to pull. There was only one glorious outing with them when the whole family rode on the sleigh. Only the manager knew how to handle these larger than life animals and he had to be fired. The other obstacle for us was a couple of winters with no snow.

      It was fun that one time, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Rise and Shine from Home, Baboons!

    Art stuff. I spend liberally on Polymer Clay Lessons and Projects, Pastels, and the books I make for my Mom.

    FYI, I was surprised to open Polymer Clay Daily Blog today and find my piece featured, as well as my teacher in Jordan (Maureen Carlson)

    http://www.polymerclaydaliy.com

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    1. The piece is excellent. I wish I had a sense of the scale of it. I’m going to assume it’s three or four feet high.
      I was going to offer a correction to the link, but PJ beat me to it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 6 inches. The studio is on Sand Creek in Jordan. Maureen found the rock and gave it to me as a challenge to see what I would do with it. I finished it and gave it back. When she retires next year she says I have to take it back home.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. At least sculpture does not require lack of dyslexia! I thought it was very strange that this is the TB topic today and the Polymer Blog featured this. Synchronicity. I was planning a post about polymer clay. Now it is a must.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Ben, you surely have heard the joke about the farmer who wins a multi-million dollar lottery. Breathless reporters ask him what he will do with all that money. He says, “Oh, I ‘spect I’ll just keep farming till the money runs out.”

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Time was I would have said “theater.” Theoretically I was paid for most every show, but some of them I was paid so little it barely covered gas money (those were done because I liked the director, or the show, sometimes both) – and the ones that did pay better, well, there were shows I preferred not to do the math to figure out my hourly rate lest I decide it would be more profitable to ask, “would you like fries with that?”

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  6. I would have to say karate. With what I pay for tuition, I should never have signed up for it; but I can’t imagine NOT doing it. Doing karate certainly kept me sane during very challenging times and probably kept me from hurting somebody. But mainly it’s really fun! Another hobby that got expensive was making jewelry. It started out cheap — just re-using bits of old jewelry, but once you have some beads and stuff, you need other beads and stuff to finish up a project to make it pretty and worth wearing. So I started making jewelry for my 5 sisters, some nieces, sister-in-laws, etc., and now I have a desk full of beads and stuff. So I figured, well I’ll just use up what I have on hand and stop. Well, in order to use up what you have on hand, you need to buy a couple other beads and stuff to make it pretty and wearable — and so on and so on. It’s a never ending circle — but it’s fun!

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    1. Son does hapkido for his sanity, and also does Tae kwon do to improve his leg work. He tells me is working on breaking a brick with his head. It is pretty wild to see him, all 6’5” and 250 lbs, rolling and bouncing off the mats in hapkido class.

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  7. When I got into wedding photography I had to buy several lenses and gadgets. In the end I shot just one wedding for money. The profit from that wouldn’t have covered the cost of the gear I bought. But I was never good at bottom-line thinking. I had a helluva good time doing the shoots.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Can’t really say that money factors into very many of my pursuits. That’s not to say that money is no object, it just so happens that most of what I enjoy, doesn’t cost that much.

    Reading, even if you buy rather than borrow the books from the library, doesn’t cost much. Eating out once in a while, and attending the occasional concert or play are among life’s small pleasures, and I don’t fret too much about the cost.

    At this stage of my life, I don’t collect anything; in fact, I’ve begun divesting myself of all the stuff I’ve accumulated over the years.

    Husband’s passion for photography is turning out to be expensive, what with quality lenses and whatnot, but considering how much enjoyment he gets out of it, not to mention the quality of the images, it’s worth every penny. Funny thing is that I sometimes have to encourage him to spend the money for an expensive lens; he agonizes over parting with his cash. We’re very different that way.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, how do you measure what you get from arts. I wrote a piece about that awhile back for my own blog, now not there. Maybe I will see if it will recycle for here.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hobby farming…started out with a dozen chickens and two goats. Then there were more chickens and more chickens and more chickens. Two goats had twins, the twins had twins, the twins twins twins had twins. Bought two horses. Then another, then another., then another. Foals born. At one point I had 19 goats, 8 horses, 3 dogs, 40+ rabbits (did I forget to mention the rabbits?), three cats, 4 or 5 ducks. Then the husband left. But the animals stayed, most until they died. Now that I can afford them, I have 2 horses, 2 goats, still a lot of chickens, 8 barn cats and 1 dog.
    Then there is the art for the walls…

    Liked by 8 people

      1. I give away, I sell eggs and milk…I don’t kill anything so no meat or fur. Can you have chickens in the city now?

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        1. In St. Paul, yes, but no roosters. You must obtain signed permission from neighbors within a certain circumference, and pay a licensing fee.

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  10. I love draft horses, too. Always planned state fair trips to see them. Our county fair has small draft horse shows but not many teams show up lately because the prize money isn’t very good. Love the Clydesdales for their showiness. And lately Norwegian Fjords have been in the local show. Half the size of the others, but lovely. Driving teams of horses is definitely a special and challenging skill. The more the “merrier.”

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    1. If the photo is on the internet, you can paste in a link, as you do with youtube. If the photo is not on the internet, Dale would have to upload it, I think. I have a Flickr account, so I can upload images to that and link from there.

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  11. My mother said about our subsistence farming that we did not live any cheaper, we just ate better fir the money, had an independent life, and taught us kids some important things.

    Liked by 5 people

  12. Non of my pursuits cost much – collecting books could be tricky if I had to buy extra bookshelves, but I have a “collect/purge” rhythm going… kind of like my rule for collecting clothing – “no new hangers.” Having a small house helps keep it to a low roar…”no new furniture.” Like Joanne’s desk for her jewelry stuff, if you look around you can be creative about finding space…

    The hobby that could get really expensive is trying out all the good ethnic restaurants I can find… So many cafés so little time.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Husband and I had dinner last night at the Gorkha Palace in Minneapolis last night. Very nice little place with wonderful Himalayan/Nepalese food. We both enjoyed it very much.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Everest on Grand, PJ. It came closer than any place to producing the food formerly served by my all-time favorite restaurant, Caravan Serai. When that went out of business it marked the end of something wonderful in our lives.

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        1. Everest on Grand is very nice – still an ongoing concern, and I liked Caravan Serai a lot. But they are two entirely different cuisines.

          When I first separated from wasband, Caravan Serai was the first restaurant I visited solo, i.e. unaccompanied by anyone. When I entered I was greeted by a young man in the foyer. He inquired how many would be dining, and I told him just me. He excused himself and ran into the kitchen in a near panic where I could hear him telling the owner of the situation and asking what he should do. The owner responded, just seat her at a table.

          At the time, Caravan Serai didn’t have a liquor license, but it was understood that it was OK to bring a bottle of wine -preferably white – in a discrete brown paper bag. You’d hand it to whomever seated you, and they would take it into the kitchen and decant it into a teapot. This they would bring to your table along with a couple of small cups. There you’d sit on your cushion at a low table under the draped, black parachute in the pretend tent to enjoy a lovely meal. It was a unique dining experience, and one I’m glad to have had.

          By the time Caravan Serai was defunct, another Afghani restaurant – The Khyber Pass – had opened on St. Clair Avenue. I assume you went there as well?

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        2. Oh, if I’d known Caravan Serai was that cool, I would’ve managed to get there! Brooklyn (NY) had little restaurants that would allow you to bring your own bottle, and they’d provide the wine glasses – they didn’t have to go through the hassle of getting a liquor license..

          Liked by 1 person

  13. I had hoped to see Frisian Horses, but they are more like the Fjord horses, I think, and not quite as big as the draft horses we saw. The horses all had an odd habit of rythmically shaking their heads up and down while they were standing still, sort of like they were listening to rap music and keeping the beat.

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    1. I love Frisians. Big enough and small enough to be ridden by an armored knight.

      I have a very cheap stocked acreage in my head with Frisians and a pair of border collies 😉

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Actually Friesens are quite large and heavy, but not as much as our traditional draft horses. They were used by the knights of old so they had to be strong enough to carry all that armor. They are quite flashy and handsome.

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      1. Deer hunting is guns, scaffolding, cameras, baits, clothing, ATVs, etc. etc. what happened to four guys getting drunk in a crude shack in the woods?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Which reminds me of the dentist, Walter Palmer, from Bloomington, MN who shot a collared and much loved lion in Zimbabwe with a bow and arrow. He had £35,000 for the permit and relied on professional guides. The story is all over the internet, and from the looks of it, he may well loose his practice over this.

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  14. Golf. (For better or for worse). If I ever figure out what the “main concern” is, the Babooners will be one of the first groups to know (because I’ll have solved one of life’s great mysteries.).

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 4 people

  15. I have the fortune (good? Bad?) to make a living doing what for many people would be a hobby.

    I do occasionally buy other yarn in the delusional belief I will knit something for myself.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. If I look at my monthly expenditures, I find that groceries, arts events (theater/music) and charity are the areas with the most frequent output. I throw a few bucks toward Kickstarters, goFundme appeals as well as my usual list of arts/health/social justice organizations. I doubt that what I send covers the mailings, etc. that some of them send. I’m just a girl who cain’t say no.

    I missed my chance to chime in yesterday (great post, Clyde, and wonderful stories from everyone, BTW).
    I went to a new women’s college and was in the first graduating class. It was during the hippy-dippy days and the school was an embodiment of the times – write your own major, no grades, no exams, etc. One of my classmates was the daughter of a Life Magazine photographer and so there was an article on our graduation. The first full page spread featured a picture of my classmates and me (playing with my hair as always). I have tried to create a link but it’s a multi step process to get to the picture online.

    Liked by 4 people

  17. My grandfather loved his draft horses, the greener the better. He was sad when he had to start farming with a tractor. My grandmother tells of the times she would look out in the field to see the horses racing by, my grandfather’s hat flying. She was sure he would be killed some day. He died at 91 in a hospital.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I was telling my dad about the s&h’s rinning ability and that I really didn’t see where that came from.

      Dad said they did plenty of running on the farm. For certain tasks, the horses made more sense than the tractor. One of those tasks was “rolling” the fields after they had beem tilled up. The horse pulled the rollers and Dad’s job was to drive them. It seems the way you did this was to hold the reins and trot between the horses and the rollers.

      I imagine you’d get to be a good distance runner that way.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Draft horses might be making a comeback of sorts. People are now using them to drag logs out of forests in a reinvention of logging that isn’t possible without horses. As I heard it, this kind of logging involves a great deal of selectivity when choosing which trees to take. Mechanized logging excels at clear-cut logging, but this horse logging is supposed to be far kinder to the world.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. When my dad was a teenager, sometime in the late 1930’s, he decribed a day when it was really hot and miserable and he was plowing with the horses and it was so awful and he hated working the horses and himself under those conditions that he seriously considered walking away from it and joining the French Foreign Legion.

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        1. Wasn’t there some fictional character whose default ess the French Foreign Legion, especially for a broken or rejected heart?

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  19. It seems to me that, for a hobby or elective activity, if cost were the main concern, you could simply discontinue the activity and your concern would be assuaged. It’s hard to imagine that one would choose an area of special interest on the basis of its cheapness.

    That said, it is possible, apparently, to have too many interests– more than one’s realistically projected lifetime can fit. Robin and I are in that category. Together we have art supplies for drawing and painting in just about every medium, plus tools and supplies for woodblock printing and wood engraving, wood carving, stained glass and bookbinding. These have been acquired over the course of the last 45 years. I think we got rid of our mosaic and jewelry making supplies for the most part.
    Also cameras, of course and associated photographic equipment.

    Robin is currently focused on certain fiber arts, principally knitting and spinning. That requires a certain amount of equipment. I don’t even want to know how much she has invested in yarn.

    My bookbinding/ book repair hobby lets me buy copies of books I couldn’t otherwise afford by allowing me to buy copies in need of some repair. I’ve built most of my equipment myself, so the costs of tools and equipment are negligible but even in poor condition the price of some of the books I seek is not inconsequential.

    When we were doing mid-nineteenth century historical reenactment, we had each made ourselves a full wardrobe and we each had a stash of period-appropriate fabrics, plus hats, shoes and accessories. Having moved on from that hobby, I donated mine to an outfit that provides costumes for film productions. Robin still has some of hers.

    The problem that confronts us, more than the issue of cost, is the problem of accumulation and how and when to divest it all. Since most of our interests and sidelines are productive ones, it has gotten to the point where I am reluctant, as much as I enjoy it, to produce any more paintings. We are out of wall space and they just pile up. It’s easy when I can tell myself, “I’ll never do that again” to divest those supplies and tools but in most cases I am reluctant to close that door. There are so many things I’ve wanted to pursue if only I had the time. Equipping myself with the tools and materials has sometimes been a way of sublimating that desire. Giving up the paraphernalia while the interest is still intact implies giving up on that possibility; it signifies a narrowing, a filtering, a hobble on our choices. It’s realistic, I know, and practical, but it’s not easy.

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  20. I’m going to make an attempt at posting a link to a recent and very special video. Every late spring, my daughter has a pasture opening event at her ranch. We all gather on the back 40 and await the gates to be opened. Ninety three horses come thundering out and when they reach the crowd of several dozen people, gallop in circles around us several times. My son recorded this year’s with his new drone and put music to it.

    Well, here goes (I hope)

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Help!!!! Every time I go on the Trail, now the background music starts playing; now some other video’s talking is playing at the same time over my video! How can I shut it down – anybody???

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    1. Sorry, not idea expect to perhaps power down and restart. You must have some other video rolling somewhere. The horses are wonderful. We that filmed with a drone?

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      1. Some other video next to this one just started over talking mine. Yes, Steve has a drone and has recorded many amazing things on it. One of his businesses is cedar roof repairs and his drone prevents him from risking his life crawling on top of roofs.

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  22. I was told a long time ago that the three surest ways to joy are singing, dancing, and laughing. I can’t sing at all and don’t find many things that funny, but I’ve sure got the dancing down!

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  23. OT- We have had sustained winds all day today between 40 and 50 MPH with gusts up to 59. I hope they blow themselves out before they get to Minnesota. My it is windy. I hope the pole beans poles don’t take off and skewer someone.

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  24. I know of one hobby that has a high potential for mission creep. Folks get into mushing on a small scale, using sled dogs to access wilderness fishing or doing casual fun races. But this often escalates. If you’ve got six dogs, you get itchy for a few more dogs to give you more speed or more options.

    My buddy was a fussy sort of fellow who thought he’d never be able to live with a dog because dogs are so messy. But he challenged his own uptight tendencies by getting a dog. Then he got eight sled dogs. Then he decided to run the Bearskin race, so he added dogs. Then Bill began racing the Iditarod. More and more dogs. He began running dog sled wilderness trips as a way of paying for all the dog food and medical expenses. I think he got up to 80 dogs. When he and his wife split, she kept the dogs and her dog yard eventually got up around 100.

    Bill explained that up to a point, this was a hobby. But when you feed and care for 60 dogs, you are not a hobbyists. At some point, mushing becomes a lifestyle that takes over your whole life. The best part of the divorce was that was his escape from his dog yard. He has one dog now.

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  25. My dragon boat team is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. A Hong Kong style dragon boat costs close to $10,000, and you must have a trailer for it, and a fitted boat cover so that you don’t have to keep bailing rainwater out of it, and a place to dock it, and a dry place to store it in winter. It is over 40 feet long, so a typical garage is not going to suffice. It has to be repainted periodically. The wooden paddles also need regular refurbishing. It requires a boat license from the DNR. And, of course, it must be insured. All this means we are always looking for sponsors. he care and feeding of a dragon boat is no small thing.

    The cost of having a garden is something I’ve mulled over for many years. I’ve downsized a lot after having too many seasons of having to harvest everything in haste just before an early frost, and having produce anxiety over how to use everything up promptly. When you are a one-person household, even a small garden can produce an awful lot all at once. Nowadays I plant two or maybe three tomato plants and a couple of peppers, some basil, and maybe some other herbs if I can get them at the neighborhood plant exchange for free. I usually have one vining plant, either squash or cucumber. There are several farmers’ markets in my area, and I’m happy to just buy a little at a time, and to take fresh produce off the hands of friends and neighbors who have a bounty.

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    1. I just got home and found that many of the leaves on our Vermont cranberry pole beans were stripped off by the relentless winds that gusted up to 66 MPH through here today. I really love those creamy beans and that is sad. 😦 The vines are there but many of the leaves are just gone. Everything else was on a side of the house that didn’t get the full brunt of the winds. There are branches down and we have had power outages because of branches falling on power lines.

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      1. Sorry to hear it! As I get older I get wearier of problems caused by weather events – don’t we have enough to worry about without power outages and falling trees and flooding?

        I suppose, though, as long as the people and animals are safe. things could be worse.

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        1. You are right, of course. The doors on the two entrances to the building in which i work were damaged today when the wind caught them and banged and twisted them.

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  26. I’m afraid, like you Renee, my gardening activities may cost more than they return. I do try to keep my garden costs down. However, I can not keep myself from dishing out money for various things such as purchased compost, tools, and other supplies and equipment that are not cheap. I’m not spending money on stuff that I can improvise myself which would be expensive if purchased such as various kinds of plant supports and plant covers. Over time I hope to do more to reduce my costs. Right now I am willing to spend a little extra because I haven’t found the the time or the means to avoid some fairly large expenses.

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  27. I know we’re onto the next day already, but I missed yesterday – trying to catch up at work from being gone over a week.

    Like others, it’s the vegetable gardening. I’m sure by the time you count the bales, the fertilizer, the water and the starter plants themselves, I would have saved money by just heading over to the farmer’s market. But there is just something about watching the plants grow and the unbelievable first bite of home-grown tomato that transcends the wallet!

    Liked by 1 person

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