Category Archives: Automotive

2019 Crop Wrap Up

Today’s post comes to us from Ben.

I hear lots of farmers saying “2019,” and they sigh, “It is what it is. And it needs to be over.”  Yep.

For me, it was December 15th, 2018 when the guy ran into me and totaled my car, and from there it was the leg infection and the rain and now the kidney stone and this year just needs to be over and I’m going to start fresh on December 16th 2019! With Jury duty!  A whole new experience!

I was big on having ‘Experience Adventures’ when I was younger. I quit using that term at some point, but I’m still up for an adventure or experience and they keep coming. Attitude is everything. 

Got the soybeans out. Yield was terrible. Mostly just the weather caused that. No one had great yields, but some were OK. I had that one field that was short. The one I said made me sick to my stomach every time I looked at it. That entire field yielded 89 bushels. Well heck. That was a 10 acre field. Should have done 45 bushels each ACRE! Should have had half a semi load from there! Should have had 450 Bushels! I had some fields here at home that ran 40 – 50 bushels / acre. Don’t know what was up with that one field. Planted same day, same variety of bean. Too wet, too many deer eating the tops off, too cool… it is what it is.

Overall, my beans averaged 28 bushels / acre which is about half of what they should have done. Crop insurance will kick in and cover some of the yield loss. At least they got combined before they got snowed on. Price was on the lower side. But test weight was good and soybeans are almost always dry enough that they don’t need to be dried so all that was good.

Corn was done last week. I knew the yield looked good. Which is pretty amazing considering again, it was planted late, it was cool, it rained, it had windstorms, and then it froze early. It averaged 167 bushels / acre. Above average for me. It doesn’t make any sense considering everything done wrong, but it is what it is. With the raccoons pulling stalks down and wasting the corn, deer knocking them down and eating the corn, and turkeys pulling up young plants, it’s a wonder any survives. Every night you’d see deer out there eating. And as I rode in the combine and he finished the last field, we chased 6 raccoons out of the last rows.

And it was wet, but we knew that. The combine was saying 25% moisture. Delivered corn to the elevator (where it really matters) and the loads were between 24% and 28% moisture. It has to be dried to 15% to store it and that cost me $0.50 / bushel to dry it down. Cost a few thousand dollars for drying. Price wasn’t great to start with. It is what it is. A good year, better soils, less deer, it’s not unusual to average 200+ bushels / acre on some farms in some places. The “Pie-in-the-sky” goal is 300. Takes lots of management to make that happen.

My dad, before hybrid seeds, got 50 bu/Acre so he’d be impressed with the 167.

Crop insurance may kick some in as a price insurance coverage. (because I can buy “revenue” insurance too. NOTE: In fact, the agent was here. No payment on corn because even though price was low, the yield was good. They always get ya).

It froze before I could get any fall fieldwork done. I thought maybe with the warmer weather the last few days maybe it would go; I hooked the chiselplow up and ran out and tried and no. Three inches of frost yet and I should have known but I would be mad at myself if I didn’t try.  2019 – It is what it is.

I’m wondering if the warmer weather the last few days might have helped take the frost out? But it rained too and it’s too muddy to try. Oh well. It is what it is. Next year will be better.

I got some cool pictures of the combine at night.

In the end we didn’t make as much money as we do some years. But I’ve been saying we’ll be OK. And we will; We won’t go broke.

The difference between me and the really big farmers is a matter of a few more zero’s on our checks AND bills.

I asked Craig, who was combining my corn, how much they had left to do. He grunted. “A lot” he said. Later on I asked again. About 900 acres he figured. Yikes.

And of course, the propane shortage we had wasn’t helping but I think that’s passed. Even the coop elevator was shut down because their natural gas was turned off. No one had ever heard of that before. Forty years, no one has heard of that. Craig said they use 1500 gallons of LP / day to dry. One day they got 500 gallons. So they just have to wait.

One guy I watch on YouTube (Mn Millennial Farmer) has a huge, multi-thousand gallon tank and contracts his LP for the year. Yep, he has a contract, he just can’t get it delivered either. He wanted a semi-full, got ½ a load.

I’ve heard it was Illinois’ fault. They usually are a month ahead of us combining corn and they don’t usually need to dry it. And it’s not usually this cold this time of year. It is what it is.

Next year will be better!   Right??

Decisions, Decisions

It has been my experience that where decisions are concerned, there are two kinds of people in the world: those who make snap decisions and those who don’t. Those who don’t like to spend time looking at every single facet of the decision, the possible consequences and the consequences of those consequences.  These folks usually make very good decisions, however when they don’t, it is terrible for them and they take it very personally.  Snap decision makers do a quick analysis, maybe think about a few of the consequences and then leap.  Not as many very good decisions are made this way, but then the snap decision makers don’t beat themselves up as much. Both of my wasbands were not quick decision-makers and this drove me crazy.

When we lived in Milwaukee, first wasband and I decided we wanted to purchase a stereo. Wasband #1 spent a few months scouring the resources, reading reviews, checking out issues of Consumer Reports from the library and mulling.  A lot of mulling.  He finally decided and then found a place to purchase said stereo system.  Unfortunately it was in a little strip mall in north Milwaukee and we didn’t have a car; being new to Milwaukee, we hadn’t cultivated any friends to borrow a car from either.  The little strip mall was on the bus line, although it was two transfers from our apartment.  So there we were with our several big boxes, lugging them on and off buses.  It took the better part of five hours for this project.  It was a very nice stereo but I know that left to my own devices, I would have bought something more quickly and from a company that delivered.

Second wasband was the same kind of decision-maker. For his birthday one year, his grandmother sent him a nice check and he decided that he needed to use it to purchase a saw.  But what kind of saw, you say?  There’s the rub.  He thought of himself as a handy person and wanted either a band saw or a circular saw.  Like Wasband #1, he researched and reviewed and mulled.  And mulled some more.  Three years later when we separately, he still had not purchased a saw.  Sigh.

Now that I’ve had a lot of experience, I can tell a muller from a snapper fairly easily. I should probably apply it as a metric to any future romantic entanglements.  Forget whether you’re tall, good looking, well-read and rich – how fast can you make an important decision?

What was your last big decision?

The Cosmic Kitty

You probably never thought that you wake up to Verily Sherrilee recommending a car shop. Well, I guess recommend is a strong word.  Here’s the deal.

Last month my BFF and I went to a concert downtown (same night as *45s rally but luckily no consequences from that). As we were parking the car in the underground ramp, I saw this crazy decorated car.  It looked like one of those “art cars” that you see at the state fair.   I know I wouldn’t want to drive this around all the time (heck, I can’t even bring myself to put a bumper sticker on my car) but I thought it might be fun for a bit so I took a couple of quick pictures.

As we were heading back to the car after the concert, there was a woman unlocking it so I stopped to talk. I told her that I loved the car and hoped she didn’t mind if I had taken a couple of photos.  She said not a problem because it wasn’t her car.  It was a loaner car from the garage where her car was getting repaired.

Turbo Tim’s Anything Automotive was easy to find online and they are different than most other garages. They have photos of all their employees (mostly younger than you would expect) online, have a nice-looking garage cat, are involved in a lot of giving back to the community and then there are the art cars.  Looks like there are at least two: Cosmic Kitty and another sedan with oceanscape scenery.

They look intriguing to me so in the future, I might have to schlep farther north for car repair to see if I can get the Cosmic Kitty on loan!

Who do you trust to fix YOUR stuff?

Vanity Plates

I think that vanity license plates are aptly named. I was at the grocery store last night in some snowy weather and almost ran into a Mercedes with a license plate that read “GAS”.  We have some pretty affluent oil industry folks out here, as well as landowners who have oil royalties.  The driver and passenger looked pretty elderly.  I would love to know their story.

What are some memorable vanity plates you have seen or heard of? Give some hypotheses about the Mercedes I saw last night.

Minnesota Bus Nice

It was the first day of the fair. There was a new Park `n Ride at Allianz Field and by 8 a.m., the line waiting for the bus was pretty long, stretching from the volunteer pop-up tent, all the way to the stadium itself, about 2 blocks long.

When the bus arrived, instead of stopping at the tent (where they usually stop at the other Park `n Rides), the bus turned the corner and pulled into a long existing parking bay, about a half block from where the line started. It was far enough away that the folks in the beginning of the line probably wouldn’t have made it on the bus if people started boarding where the bus was stopped.

Then an amazing thing happened. People closer to the bus door begin to call and beckon to the folks at the front.  So those folks headed up the block toward the bus, making a big loop.  No one who was closer to the bus made a fuss or tried to push their way on.  They all waited for the line to get on the bus in the order they had been waiting.

I know that we sometimes scoff about Minnesota Nice, but I saw it first hand and it was wonderful to see. It gave me an extra glow as we headed off from the Park `n Ride towards the Fair.

Witnessed any extra special Nice recently?

State Fair Checklist

  • Ask boss for every day of the State Fair off. Check.
  • Get tickets and coupon books (that’s right, two books). Check.
  • Make grid of which kinds of dogs are at the Pet Pavilion on which days. Check.
  • Add what days there are bunnies at the bunny barn to the grid. Check.
  • Check where this year’s Park & Ride lots are situated. Check.
  • Install the State Fair app on my phone. Check.
  • Look at all this year’s new food with YA. Check.
  • Extra points for writing some of the new foods on the grid. Check.
  • Go over possible schedule with YA. Repeatedly. Check.
  • Purchase some more individual wet wipes. Check.
  • Dig the turtle purse out of the attic (it’s the perfect size for the Fair). Check.
  • Start a “take with” pile (purse, sunglasses, wipes, tickets, coupons, address labels, couple of band aids, couple of ibuprofen, collapsible food container). Check.
  • Watch the weather forecast like a hawk.  Check.
  • Do laundry so the clothes you like best are ready on Thursday. Check.
  • Get gas for the car (probably not needed, but what the heck). Check.

Except for getting some cash on Thursday morning, I think I’m ready!

What’s the last occasion you “prepped” for?

Real Life

In a TV murder mystery I watched over the weekend, the heroine is trailing some bad guy at a hotel. He leaves the hotel and gets into his car right outside.   She comes out and gets into her car which is parked right behind his.  That’s when I realized that Aristotle was wrong about art imitating life.  When, in any movie or TV show does the hero or heroine have to circle the block to find a parking spot?  Or park 3 blocks away and hoof it to where they are going?  Or stop to pay a parking meter?  Never.

It made me think about other things that never happen on screen. Nobody ever scoops poop when walking their dogs, nobody ever seems to put groceries away (although every now and then there is actually time spent in a grocery store) and nobody EVER stops to worry about birth control.

I think it would be nice to have a world in which I could always find a convenient parking spot and have my groceries put away magically.

What daily task would you love to have disappear from your life?