Ask Me Why

If you asked YA if traditions were important to her, she would emphatically say “No”. So ask me why I am making a whole batch of iced sugar cookies in the shapes of leaves this week (and airbrushed in autumn colors)?  Or trying to find the iconic green bean casserole recipe for Thanksgiving day?  Or why we’re going to get a tree on Black Friday, even though I’m going out of town two days later?

Any traditions you’d like to leave by the wayside?

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??

The Horror!

During the day yesterday, YA called me while I was at work.

YA: Do I need a library card to use the computers at the library?
Me:   I’m not sure.  Did you call to ask them?
YA: I’m there now. I don’t think I have a library card.
Me: I’m sure you do.
(Me rustling in purse)
Me: I have your card right here.  Do you need the number?
YA: No – they gave me a temporary number.

This seemed innocuous enough until the real implications of the phone encounter hit me. I had her library card in my wallet because when she was a toddler and kindergartner, she didn’t have a place to keep her library card, so I held onto it.  After all, back then, we were usually at the library together.

But if I still have her card, that means that since we quit going together (once she hit 2nd or 3rd grade),  SHE HAS NEVER STEPPED FOOT IN A PUBLIC LIBRARY ON HER OWN.

Not having a reader for a child has been a hard pill to swallow. Obviously your children aren’t little models of yourself, but when they differ from you in a treasured part of your life, it takes some getting used to.  I thought I had long ago come to this acceptance but yesterday’s realization was like that proverbial cold bucket of water.  Ouch.  If I was still in therapy we’d have to talk about this at my next appointment!

Any epiphanies recently?  (Good or bad.)

Read It or See It?

In ye olden days, the LGMS was my radio anchor, beginning at home through my morning drive time. After the show’s demise, I did Trial Balloon at home and in the morning hours of work.  But since then, I haven’t really found a radio show that strikes my fancy and have drifted away from radio to…  I know this will be shocking for some of you… books.  The first hour or so in the morning, I listen to an audiobook and then in the car, books on CDs.  I sometimes run out of books on CDs and so spend some time browsing the audio shelves at the library.  This leads to some interesting results, sometimes fabulous, sometimes not so much.

I’ve admitted here before that I like the Hallmark Mystery Movies, so last week, while browsing, my eye was caught by the first Aurora Teagarden mystery sitting on the audio shelf. I had been a little curious about the books, especially since my favorite character left the series; I was curious if the movies were true to the books.   So I was a little surprised right off the bat that while most of the characters bear the same names, most of them did not bear the description or personalities.  The most disappointing was the main character, Ro.  In the book she doesn’t have any drive to solve the mysteries and in the final chapters is rescued by the men in the story.  This is completely different from the movies, in which Ro is rabid about solving the mystery and it is her ingenuity that not only solves the crimes but saves her life (and often the man’s) in the end.

This made me think about the few instances in which the movie better than the book.  So rare.  Princess Bride, Romancing the Stone, Julie & Julia, Clue, Bladerunner.

There might be more but for my determination not to see movies when I have adored the book. I don’t want Hollywood messing with the pictures in my mind’s eye (Wrinkle in Time, The Martian, Uprooted, ANY of the Louise Penny books).  And, of course, the number of movies much worse than their books is legend.  Including Legend!

When were you last surprised about how a book turned out when adapted to the big screen?

Too Smart for My Own Good

As I’ve mentioned here before, I’ve been taking Guinevere to dog classes on Monday nights for a few months. While the training is a nice benefit, the main reason I take her is for her “social anxiety”.  She is afraid of everything and because of that she acts aggressively because she thinks she needs to protect herself from all that everything!  She’s doing fairly well and I think we’ll keep going even though she would prefer not to.

Because of this fear, I tend to think of her as not too bright, but I learned a long time ago that she can tell time. YA works mostly nights, usually getting home between 8:30 and 9 p.m.  Guinevere knows when that time frame rolls around and she reacts to every noise she hears that might possibly be YA’s car coming home.  And take a look at those ears; they hear A LOT.  The earlier part of the evening, she is calm but beginning at 8:30, she’s on alert.

I learned Monday night that she also knows the night of the week. I got home from work at the regular time, had a bit of dinner, fed them – all the usual stuff.  Then I headed upstairs to watch TV for a bit since we don’t have to leave for class until 6:30 or so.  Suddenly at about 6:15, Guinevere started to cry and whine.  She was on the bed with me, so she hadn’t hurt herself, she just started to fuss.  She kept it up until I put the leash on her and put her in the car, where she was quiet right up until we turned into the parking lot of the dog school.  Then she started to cry again – a pitiful cry that makes it sound like I’m sticking her with a hot poker.

Guess I’ll have to revise my thoughts on how smart she is. Now that she knows the nights of the week and how to tell time, it’s probably only a matter of time before she can spell!

Have you had any pets too smart for your own good? 

The Beginning of (Computer) Time

Today’s post comes to us from Barbara in Rivertown!

This morning, we had a young man named Paul come to help us with our computer – just a few little things that we might have been able to learn for ourselves with some internet searches, help links, etc. but WHO HAS THE PATIENCE FOR THAT? He was probably here a half hour, and I handed him a twenty… he thought it was a bit much, but it’s the best $20 I’ve spent in a while.

I was remembering back to the beginning of my computer use, in (I guess) the mid-nineties. The internet still didn’t really have ads (!), at least nothing I can remember. About all I did was to use an online encyclopedia, look at the library catalog, and email. There were a couple of amazing things about emailing with aol.com – which ‘most everyone had at the time. If memory serves: 

1) If you caught it in maybe half an hour, you could “delete” – remove – an email you’d just sent to another aol.com subscriber. I didn’t use this a lot, but came in handy when I’d caught a major error.

2) I hadn’t yet needed to keep any emails, and certainly not sort them into folders. Whatever emails were there in your inbox, AOL would delete after two weeks – kept you on your toes! [Who knows when I started doing folders? Now there are folders with hundreds of old emails that I should go through and delete.]

So, a couple of questions:   Am I dreaming – was aol.com really like that?

What do you remember about your very early computer days?

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?

%d bloggers like this: