December Farm Update

Sure been a nice week weather-wise. Temps In the 50’s the last few days. Ten-day forecast has the temps in the mid 30’s and no snow. I’m OK with that. My apologies to anyone waiting for snow.

Kelly and I got snowfence up the other day so there’s another thing checked off my list. Glad to have that done. 

There was a little wind to contend with and the cowpies were mostly dry.

Daughter and I did driveway markers. It was colder than I expected that day and she’s not a fan of the wind. Nice that Bailey could keep her company.

They kept me company inside the gator, too.

I was feeding the ducks one morning and that chicken came running from the pole barn, so she’s still back there laying eggs. .Way in the back, down in a corner. I’m still hoping she gets tired of this as the weather gets colder.

Last weekend I redid a few things in the chicken coop. I put the back wall back in place. (I take it off for more ventilation in the summer) and I changed their perches and got the water buckets and heated pad situated for winter.  

It’s odd, they barely use that rear nest box for eggs, often preferring the front unit. One hen must be molting. She looks really rough right now.

I don’t know if her feathers are going to come in a different color than she was? She used to look like the chicken in the front. Boy, hang in there, girl. Egg production is a little down; the old ones are starting to taper off and the new hens are just getting started.

End of the year finances: I’ve paid off our production loans from this years inputs and prepaid some expenses for next year. It’s funny; we have a good year and actually make some money, but it’s tough to save much because taxes will take a big chunk. I know taxes are important and provide a lot of services, but golly. It feels like throwing money in a hole in the ground. I went to the co-op and paid $900 for the grid soil sampling.

Paid $2800 for the lime and applications on half the farm. Prepaid for 4 tons of fertilizer for next year $3400 (again, maybe half of what I’ll need). They don’t have anhydrous nitrogen prices yet and they figure chemicals prices will hold steady so I didn’t pay on them. Easy come, easy go. Sometime before the end of the year I’ll get seed ordered for next year. That also becomes a deduction on this years taxes. Don’t have to pay for it yet, just get it ordered.

Remember getting your first check book? What was the first thing you bought? I bought a Timex Watch and you had to push the button so the time would show up in Red. 

49 thoughts on “December Farm Update”

  1. I remember, when in high school my dad taught me how to write out a check when he opened an account for me. I would imagine that first check went to some article of clothing that I just had to have – probably at Younkers, which was Iowa’s answer to Daytons.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Right. We joke it’s sort of reverse adolescence. It’s like the end of their first adult year, they need a new set of feathers, so they molt. And then they typically molt annually. There are different types of molting; a hard molt they will lose all the feathers at once. Or a soft molt meaning it happens more gradually. This one must be having a pretty hard molt.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. My experience with the first checking account isn’t a pleasant memory. Too many overdrafts. The overdraft fees were killers: $10/check.
    If considered as an interest rate, $10 on a $5 check for 10 days is a crazy number. Of course, these transactions are not loans. I received a financial spanking. Lesson learned.
    My current bank would charge $37/check or ATM overdraft and that is called “overdraft protection”. No thanks!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I remember one of my first overdrafts… I didn’t know the exact terminology or how it worked with the merchant; mom and dad never talked about that I guess. (Mom, told me I was real good with money; better than my older brother, haha) I was sort of freaked out about it.
      But then over the years it became a regular thing to have a line of credit / overdraft protection, because the farm never had enough money. At 16 or 18% interest! Plus the $35 penalty charge. Dang.
      Remember seeing checks stuck on the wall for people who passed bad checks? I thought for sure my name would be up there.

      Liked by 5 people

  3. My first checking account was with the almost forgotten Norwest Bank. My mom set it up for me. I think the first thing I bought was a blue cotton blouse with little white flowers which I loved and wore until I could wear it no longer.

    These farm reports are fun, Ben!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Norwest bought out one of the two banks in my hometown. It was the busier bank.Then they wrote all kinds of rules and regulations. Within 6 months the bank was almost empty when you went in. Most of their clients switched to the other bank. Their worst rule was that they closed all the checking accounts with less than $100 in them. They did not even send out letters. It was posted in the bank. If you did not close it within three months they took the money, which they did. Many of the accounts were children’s savings accounts. Remember when they were popular? An injunctiuon was

      Liked by 2 people

      1. quickly imposed. They could close the accounts and give the money to the cliet, if they could find the client, many of which they could not. I suppose that money ended up in that list you can access to see if any is yours. And they thought this was going to fly in a small town?

        Liked by 4 people

      2. I had a “student” savings account through Farmer’s & Mechanics Bank – you could bring in money to school and have it deposited. I think when F&M closed or merged, I got a letter telling me I still had a grand sum like $5 in my account…

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. And things got worse. They once refused to let me withdraw $100,000 from our company. My FBI agent buddy in office near ours heard about it by the grapevine. He walked in and showed his badge. I had the $ a few minutes later. He did file a report.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Funny, but I don’t recall my first checking account, at all. Guess it didn’t strike me as such a momentous moment. It must have a been a joint account with wasband, is my guess. How else would we have made the monthly payments to Montgomery Wards for that fancy stereo we bought? But honestly, I have no idea.

    I still have a checking account, though I write only four or five checks a year, tops. I pay all of our household bills on line, and use a debit card when I go shopping. Financial transactions are so much easier today than they used to be. It helps, too, to have money enough in the account that we can actually pay our bills without worrying about overdrafts.

    Ben, that poor chicken needs a sweater, it’s getting cold out there.

    Liked by 7 people

  5. I remember when I was a very little girl and had just learned that write my name, I took my mother’s checkbook and wrote my name on the signature line on every one. Mom wasn’t too upset, as I recall. Dad thought it was funny.

    Liked by 7 people

  6. My first checking account was when I went off to college but my dad gave me an envelope of cash when they dropped me off so I didn’t actually write my first check for a couple of months. First purchase was a very expensive, for the time, rapidograph pen. Wholly useless purchase. I don’t think I ever used it except for extravagant doodling.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. For some reason this made me think of check numbers. It was impressive to see someone who was in the 10,000’s check numbers.
      And how some businesses wouldn’t take a check if the number was under some certain number. I seem to recall for that reason our bank started our check numbers at 500 or something.
      We’re in the 6000’s, but yeah, only write a handful / year now.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Except for in meetings at work, my doodling has been replaced by my crafting. I got the last of the decorating and cookies done today so tomorrow is all day in my studio. I can’t wait!

        Liked by 4 people

  7. My first checking account was set up at my hometown bank following my high school graduation. I can’t remember clearly but one of the first deposit into that account was probably a $2500 federal college loan. That money paid for three quarters of tuition, room & board, books, a bit of discretionary spending, and I still had some left at the end of the school year. After college graduation, I closed that hometown account and set up an account with Northwestern National Bank, later Norwest Bank, and now Wells Fargo. I still pay utility, insurance premiums, etc. by check – it helps me budget. I use cash for as many in-person transactions as possible (gas stations in particular) for the same reason. I know exactly how much money I am spending versus using plastic and waiting for the end of the month statements. And I do balance my checkbook to the penny every month. Guess I am just an old dinosaur – although I do use a credit card for online purchases and my debit card occasionally.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I have had seven different banks while living here in Mankato for 24 years. I never switched banks. They got sold on, one time a year ago, and apparently are about to again. A year ago they switched to old banking hours. Closed Saturday and Sunday, open inside and at drive through 9-5. I do not know the impact. I never go in there, no reason to. I would switch to a local bank, which was how I got in that chain of sales, but with 11 auto accounts in and out, what a pain.
    The bank that took over Twin City Federal, is that the one, Hamilton, is that the one, did the same. They were very popular in the two Cubs because you could bank from 8-7 weekdays and limited hours Sat. and Sun. They gussied up the place to disguise the fact that they now had only two windows and no permanet loan officers.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I do not remember actually getting the checking account, but I know I had an account at the First National Bank of LeMars, which is still operating. In that small town where you banked was kind of like where you went to church. There was some kind of social division with it.

    I now use only a credit union. The service providers at my branch know me, and they keep their loans and mortgages within. The one I use (Spire) also has an excellent investment and retirement service that has their investment office on salary so that his/her income is not dependent on a certain relationship with one investment company. Until 2009 I was a customer at Wells Fargo. I closed all my accounts with them when I caught them doing all the things that later became a big, big issue. I confronted the bank officer at the time. She denied everything and I left. Changing a bank account for a business that gets electronic insurance payments is a hassle from start to finish, because everything has to be changed with each company you provide for. And Medicare takes 6 months to change their accounts. But I was determined not to tolerate the grift of Wells Fargo.

    Liked by 7 people

  10. I’ve been thinking about how how many businesses I use that have merged. From Norwest to Wells Fargo, my cell phone was Midwest Wireless and they became something else that maybe was something else before becoming Verizon. The Co-op I write about has been ‘All American Coop’ even back when Dad was there but it was mostly just a feed store. Now they do both feed and agronomy and the agronomy portion has changed names and merged and now AAC was bought out by Ag Partners about two months ago.
    The theater world has also had companies merge and change. It’s kinda funny, it’s a small world and all the same players, they just move around a bit. Even my local John Deere dealer, which has changed names and merged over the years and was 6 locations, has been bought out and is now part of a group that must have 20 or 30 locations. When I was there the other day, the parts guy I was talking with, Ed, said “Have you heard the news?” I hate it when they say that. But he meant the merger and yes, I had heard that…

    Liked by 4 people

    1. The western world has so thoroughly bought into the idea that bigger is better. In the 1980s when I worked for the accounting firm that was then known as Peat Marwick Mitchell, there was an elite group of accounting/consulting firms known as The Big Eight; Peat Marwick Mitchell was one of them. Through mergers, a few years later there were now only The Big Six. Then the Enron scandal forced one of the powerhouses, Arthur Anderson, to fold. Today there are The Big Four, and Peat Marwick is still a player, albeit as a result of a couple of mergers subsequent to my tenure there, now known as KPMG.

      Something similar has been happening with law firms.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. Son and dil were happy to deal with a locally owned bank in Brookings when they bought their house. They transferred all their other banking to the new bank from WF, and were glad to do so.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Good to read the latest farm update. I hope the chicken is one with her molt before it gets well and truly cold.

    My first checking account was through Minnesota Federal – there is an apartment building now where the bank used to be. I got it about when I started college – and sometime curing college switched to TCF because they had a branch close to campus. Oof was that a mistake – TCF was notorious for making their money off of fees for people who didn’t actually have money… so if your account dropped below a certain amount, you were charged a fee, heaven forbid you bounce a check (which I did) – that would spiral until you were paying for that check three times. Shortly after college I switched to the credit union now called Spire, and I have not looked back. (And while I don’t remember what I wrote my first check for – I do remember that I got a debit card to use with the savings account I also had with it, and used that to buy the base level membership in MPR my freshman year of college…)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I remember a time when there were businesses in my neighborhood (and possibly elsewhere in the Twin Cities) that had signs saying they would not accept checks from people with TCF accounts. Apparently, it was well known that they opened accounts for people who didn’t have money and often bought things they couldn’t pay for. There a West Side Chinese take-out place, now long gone, that had an impressive display of bounced checks on a permanent display, many of them from TCF accounts.

      Liked by 3 people

  13. When I was seventeen and had just started my first job, my mother opened a checking account for me for Christmas. It was to have been a surprise, but the checks appeared in the mailbox addressed to me, so I found out about it a little early. I think my mom must have put some money in the account, but I don’t think it was much. maybe five dollars or something. I was very balance conscious and never had an overdraft fee. When I was perhaps in my twenties my bank offered overdraft protection, and I signed up immediately. The minimum charge was fifty cents, but it usually ended up being around a dollar or so. I didn’t use it often, but it was nice to not have to guess how many days it would take for the check to travel in the mail and then how many days it would take to return to the bank and get processed. Kinda funny to think about how complicated it was. Pretty jurassic.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I’ve found this old, old Cash Book kept on my mom when she was first out of High School, working at the phone co. trying to save up for college. Here are some more of the more interesting expense entries, after she had deposited her check – for a little perspective, this was 1944:
    Shoes – 5.05
    (Dry) cleaning – 1.00
    Dinner – .56
    Music book 1.02
    Eats – .18
    Purse – 2.04
    Combs – .16
    Shampoo – .10
    Toothpaste – .40
    Powder and rouge – .24
    Scarf – .71
    Candy bar – .05
    Banana split – .36
    Rain coat – 7.43
    Dress – 5.00

    There is a repeated mystery entry “Chips” – always $ 1.00 or 2.00, so I know it wasn’t something like potato chips, according to the other snack items.

    Liked by 3 people

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