Category Archives: work

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?

Inked For You

Photo credit:  Cody Black

I saw an article about the taboos of tattoos on bbc.com yesterday. We all know that tattoos are much more prevalent  – almost a fashion statement these days – among the younger generations, but there is still a lingering social taboo against them.  Apparently it is legal in the US (and the UK) for companies to have a “no tattoo” policy.  Never occurred to me that a company would even have such a policy, much less that it would be legal!

YA has a few piercings and two tattoos. I’m not crazy about her tattoos (some style choices, some money issues) and just a few days ago we had a discussion about still being careful about tattoos and piercings until you know the acceptance level of a possible employer.

For quite a few years, I’ve fantasized about getting tattooed myself. Small, on my wrist (toward the inside), multi-colored hibiscus flower with YA’s name, in her handwriting.  She knows about this plan and every now and then tries to encourage me.  My guess is it will probably never happen, but you never know.  I know it won’t be a problem here at my company but I might have to wait until Nonny is gone!

Knowing you could get rid of it tomorrow if you don’t like it, tell me about the tattoo you would get.

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??

Armadillos!!!!

I am a calendar person. I love them.  I have multiple calendars at work: one online, my Daytimer, a year-long calendar on the wall so I can look ahead and a month-at-a-time –print out on which I cross off each day as it goes by.  I started doing this last year, to count down to a program that was driving me crazy and after the program was over, I just kept doing it (I assume one of these days I will decide I really don’t need to do this anymore.)

At home I have a pretty calendar on the fridge, a handmade calendar in my bedroom that attaches to a wooden pedestal and a birthday list in my studio that “says” it’s a calendar, but it’s just a listing by month of birthdays so I think that might be stretching it. I also keep a few things on my phone calendar.

In addition to having birthdays listed on the “calendar” in my studio, I also keep birthdays in my Daytimer. This means that once a year I go through the old Daytimer pages and copy the birthdays over to new Daytimer pages.  It’s a relaxing project; this year I used magenta ink.

As I was copying over the birthdays yesterday, I came across a notation on June 27 of this year that said “Armadillos”. It was written in big letters in the after-hours section of the day.  And it had several  exclamation marks and was highlighted!   I have no idea what this was about.  Was it a southwestern-themed bar that I was supposed to go to after work with colleagues.  Was it a concert that someone on the Trail mentioned?  Was it some National Geographic special I wanted to watch?  No clue.

Any idea why I wrote “Armadillos” in my Daytimer?

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??

 

Getting Deposed

I am being deposed. No, I don’t mean thrown out of office or my job. I mean that I will be soon sitting in a room at a court house with four lawyers, their assistants, and a court reporter. I have been subpoenaed as an expert witness in a case  related  to my work.  Three of the lawyers will ask me questions. One will try to discredit me and my testimony, while the other two will like what I have to say.  The fourth lawyer is sent from the Attorney General’s office, since I am a State employee,  to help me out if needed.

My lawyer from the AG’s office is a very nice man who sent me a list of helpful hints for giving testimony and  who will  provide all the documents that I was ordered to bring to the hearing. I have testified in court many times before and have given at least one deposition, but it was nice to talk it over with him.  I am not a difficult witness, and I know how to behave on the stand. This made me think, though, what a thankless task it will be for the poor lawyer or lawyers who will prepare 45 for giving testimony and answering questions on the stand.  I can’t imagine it will be pretty.

Have you ever had to testify in court? Imagine you are a lawyer.  Think of some historical or literary characters and tell us how you would prepare them to testify in court. 

Work Friends

Last week was pretty dull for me at work, as two of my favorite floor mates were gone, one to Montana, and one to California.  They are Developmental Disability Case managers, and I have worked with them for 20 years. We tease, laugh, and help each other out. We only see each other at work.  Work is mere drudgery without them. We are all set to retire about the same time, and imagine ourselves waltzing out the door on our last day like Dorothy, the Scare Crow, and the Tin Man.

Tell about your best work buddies. What made them special?