Category Archives: Automotive

Auto Update

Finally – some science I can completely get behind! An article last week declared that drivers of expensive cars are jerks.

One study measured this by clocking vehicles at various crossroads. It found that drivers of more “flashy vehicles” are less likely to stop for pedestrians.  And not just that, but as the cost of the car goes up, the likelihood that the driver will even slow down decreases.  The researchers speculate that luxury car owners “feel a sense of superiority over other road users” and were thus less able to empathize with lowly sidewalk-dwellers.  And I’m sure no one will be surprised that the race and gender of the pedestrian matters as well.

Apparently this discovery of a car-value-to-jerkish-behavior correlation isn’t new; The Journal of Transport and Health, backed up a Finnish study published in January found that men who own flashy vehicles are more likely to be “argumentative, stubborn, disagreeable and unempathetic.” According to the study “these personality traits explain the desire to own high-status products, and the same traits also explain why such people break traffic regulations more frequently than others.”

Obviously no one wants to tar every single luxury-car owner with one broad brush, but the generalities don’t look good. We just have to worry about how all the small, cheap, beater car owners will now feel smug!

What’s one extra component you’d like to have on your car? Extra smugness points to anybody who doesn’t have a car!!

Best Laid Plans

Over the weekend I made thank you cards for the good Samaritans that pulled me out of the snow last week, baked two loaves of zucchini bread, wrapped them and tied them with ribbon. When it was time to go to dog class Monday night, I put everything in a tote bag and took it along.  Neither of my Samaritans was there.  One is on vacation in Mexico, the other under the weather and skipping class.  I left one loaf for the other staff to enjoy and YA has already polished off quite a bit of the second loaf!

When have you had best laid plans go awry?

Stuck!!

I know we’ve had “kindness of strangers” stories before, but here is another.

Took Guinevere to her doggie class Monday night.  The school is built on a hill and there are two parking areas, one up top that we’ve been warned is occasionally ticketed and the one that goes down the hill in the back.  I have always parked down the hill.

It was only about an inch of snow and I wasn’t very worried until I got down to the bottom of the hill and turned around to get into my favorite parking spot and slid a bit.  So I thought maybe I should park up top, just in case.  Now, you should know , I don’t have great tires, but I don’t have a great need for them, living on a well-plowed county road and surrounded by other well-plowed thoroughfares (50th, Crosstown, 35W, 100).  But this was one of those times when I needed better tires;  I could not get back up the hill.

There is a spot off the parking lot, behind a bank of garages and I thought “I’ll zip in there and when I come out I can get a little speed to get me up the hill”.  If I had really looked at the area I was about to enter, I would not have done this. It clearly hadn’t been plowed since the LAST snow – once I was back there, I could not get out.  And to add insult to injury, for some reason I did not have any gloves in my pocket.

In between the two halves of the class I tried shoveling out and did get the car moved closer to the parking lot, but then got stuck again.  When I went back inside and started to call AAA, Terry (one of the instructors) said “Let’s go take a look.”  He and John (who I had never met) came out, attached a big strap to the back of my car and basically pulled me out of the snow and all the way to the top of the driveway backwards.  I was able to park up top and finish doggie class!

I have a thank you card design in mind and I think I will deliver them with zucchini bread next Monday night.

What the last kindness you’ve received (or given)?

Hotdogging It!

Every now and then I just have to laugh at what makes the news these days. I’m not talking about the incessant political news that is spewing these days, or even the complete over-saturation of stories about the helicopter accident last weekend.  No– I’m talking about the fact that a Weinermobile driver got a traffic warning.

The Weinermobile driver (drivers are called Hotdoggers) got pulled over by a Wisconsin traffic officer and was given a verbal warning about the state’s “Move Over Law”.  This law says if someone is pulled over on the side of the highway with their flashers turned on, you have to move to the next lane over from them or if that is not possible, to reduce your speed significantly.

Oscar Mayer was quick to announce how much training their Hotdoggers get before they are allowed to take to the road in the Weiner mobile, but I guess there will always be a slip up. Luckily instead of getting a fine and points on his license, the Hotdogger just got a warning.

What’s the whackiest “news” you’ve heard/seen recently?

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?