Category Archives: Weather

REAL CRABBY

I had a strangely quiet afternoon on Tuesday, and when my only late afternoon appointment cancelled, I went home. I felt  tired, slightly unwell, and really crabby.

I was crabby for several reasons. It is bitterly cold out most of this week. Our local paper just announced it is going to be published only weekly starting in March.  Since January 4th,  our mail has been  delivered a total of four times.  The last time it was delivered there were five pieces of mail belonging to a couple who live on the next block. I delivered it to them myself.  We are told that the carrier for our route quit, and our mail will only be delivered if other carriers have time. They are in the process of hiring, and suggest we have our mail held at the post office for us to pick up ourselves until we have a regular carrier.  Who has time to do that? Grrr! I wrote my congressman about this even though I don’t care for him and he makes me crabby, too.

I also was crabby due to the frustrating work of getting all the necessary documentation for an  appointment later in the week to get my REAL ID.  That is the identification card/drivers license that one needs to have after 10/2020 to use as an ID for air travel.  My driver’s license expires February 1, so it was time to get the new ID. There are very specific requirements for the documents so that there is primary source verification of identity and address. Do you think I could find my Social Security card?  Of course not. I am thankful that my most recent W-2 form came in one of the two mail deliveries this week so I can use that to provide proof of my Social Security number.

I am a government employee and I am pretty used to the slow workings of the bureaucracy.  That said, I really hope that the bureaucracy is in good fighting trim and all my documents are the right ones and sufficiently current to make my appointment at the DOT go smoothly this week.

What makes you crabby? Are you getting the REAL ID? Got any good bureaucracy tales?

Abundance of Socks

When I was getting dressed yesterday, I pulled open my sock drawer (although it’s a huge bin actually) and found a new pair of socks laying on top of the others.

Now I know for a fact that these socks belonged to YA: when she was laid up with her broken foot, I did all her laundry, including sock sorting. I really liked them and I may even have said that if she ever gets tired of them, I would take them.

I have way too many socks. Socks are like cookie cutters and flip flops in my view… as long as you don’t have a anything exactly the same, why not add to your collection.  I have enough socks that I have them sorted out, with the holiday red/green socks in a separate section.  This is why my sock drawer is the same size as my t-shirt drawer.

This overabundance of socks is something I recognize, in fact I told YA NOT to get me socks for Solstice this year. I really just don’t need more.

So why am I happily wearing the adopted socks today? They are comfy and warm and I love the pattern.  Do I need any other reason?

What do you have too many of?

Thunder & Lightning

Photo credit:  Javsama

As part of my site inspection in Peru, we spent two nights in Cusco, which is also known as the “Gateway to Machu Picchu”. Cusco is in the mountainous part of Peru and is 11,152 feet in elevation (this is actually HIGHER than Machu Picchu).  While there are certainly spots on the globe higher than this (Kilimanjaro, Mount Everest), Cusco routinely makes the list as one of the highest altitude cities on the planet.  Many of the hotels in Cusco pump extra oxygen into the rooms and almost every establishment of any kind (shops, restaurants, hotels) have access to oxygen tanks, just in case.  If you search the internet, you’ll find a massive amount of information about altitude sickness, what causes it, what you can do about it.

But nowhere are you warned about the thunderstorms. In the mountains and tropical areas of Peru, it’s rainy season right now.  That means a lot of gray days and in Cusco, thunderstorms – three to four a week for a few months.  We experienced a thunderstorm the first afternoon we were there and let me tell you, when you are 11,000 feet up, the thunder and the lightning is MUCH closer to you than down in  the lower climes.  It’s hard to describe the visceral feeling that goes through you when the lightning seems just on the other side of the street from you and the thunder crackles and booms loud enough that you cover your ears.  We were touring a couple of convents during the storm, both with large courtyards and covered walkways; we weren’t actually standing out in the rain (which was intense as well) but close enough that the storm felt startlingly  close by.

The next day, I got to spend a couple of hours with the tour guide all to myself (a serious perk in my estimation) and he told me that in the Andes, the god of thunder is the most popular weather god as he is associated with the health of agriculture and crops. He is not known as Thor there, but as Illapa (pronounced E-yapa) and he even has his own holiday – July 25.  Apparently he is the keeper of the Milky Way which he keeps in a jug and pours out to make the rain.  Did I mention that on a clear night in Cusco, the Milky Way is very bright and visible?

So I came home from my trip with a robust appreciation of the god of thunder and lightning. When thunderstorms season rolls around next year, I’ll have to try to enjoy it more.

Any gods or goddesses that “speak” to you?

Preparedness?

It’s Tuesday afternoon and folks all around me are panicking. In the last hour I’ve overheard at least 5 different conversations about how much snow we’re likely to get in the next 24 hours.  Our boss has declared tomorrow a “work-at-home” day so the office will be officially closed.  YA has texted me to please stop on the way home to pick up a couple of boxes of macaroni and cheese.  Even Nonny has called from St. Louis to tell me she’s glad she’s coming to visit in December this year and not this week. And I see from the Weather Channel that the coming storm now has a name – Dorothy.

I just can’t get worked up about this. There have been many times that extreme weather has been forecast and then never arrives.  Or arrives in a dribble.   I’ll take my laptop home just in case and will probably stop and get YA’s mac and cheese, but I don’t think I’ll be investing any emotional energy in a winter storm.  I live in Minnesota – we get winter storms.  Snow shovels, snow blower, salt – all at the ready for whenever they are needed at this time of year.

How will you be entertaining yourself if the big snow comes?

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??

Again?

Well, the heat is finally back on. I’m not going to bore you all with the details but suffice it to say that six days without heat really brought out my need for comfort food.

On Thursday, YA made macaroni and cheese. Nothing fancy – just out of a box, but I had a few bites right out of the pan and it really hit the spot.  So on Friday, as I was waiting for what turned out to be the first of a series of boiler/chimney bad news, I decided to make a big batch of mac and cheese for the weekend.  I used my Instant Pot and instead of water, I used a box of vegetable broth that I had in the cabinet.  Then instead of cheddar, I used some pepper jack, a little mozzarella and a handful of shredded parmesan.  I wasn’t following a recipe – just punting.  It was really really good.  So I had mac and cheese for dinner.  Then for lunch on Saturday.  And Sunday.

So you’d think that by Monday I might be sick of mac and cheese? I would have thought so too.  But when the caterers showed up at my warehouse event to set up the mac & cheese bar, I wanted to just dive right into the big chaffing dish.  The mac & cheese bar had been my idea, but I hadn’t known how much I would personally want it myself.  There were lots of toppings on the bar (bacon, scallions, toasted breadcrumbs, etc.) but when the participants headed back to their hotel, I had a bowl without anything but the pasta and cheese.  If I’m counting correctly, that’s mac and cheese five days in a row!  And I still have some of the pepper jack dish in the fridge, so it might be six days in a row.  If YA doesn’t have any tomorrow, maybe I can make it seven days!

Do you like to adulterate your mac & cheese??

 

Brrrrr…..

There have certainly been better weeks than this. Boiler went out on Wednesday.  After two days of nagging the gas company (and running the little space heaters pretty much 24/7), the service guy finally showed up and fixed the boiler.  Then he said that he couldn’t leave the boiler or the water heater turned on since the “chimney liner isn’t venting properly.”  I didn’t even know what a chimney liner was.  Of course, the repair company protocol is not to recommend anybody.  At all.  This meant a few hours trying to figure out WHO to call and then trying to find someone who actually has availability.  Finally got somebody who will come out first thing this morning.  Hopefully this means we’ll have heat and hot water tomorrow.

Tell me a funny story – I need the laughs!