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Archive for September, 2009

Good news on insurance

September 26th, 2009 at 05:56 pm

Got good news yesterday. We had freeze damage on 40 acres of our wheat this year, so we had to turn it in to insurance. We had 65% coverage and the price they guaranteed was around $8.50.

They guarantee the 5 year yield average on that farm. The theory behind that is so a good farmer, that consistently gets 50-60 bushels per acre gets more than the poor farmer that consistently gets 5-10 bushels per acre.

We just took the ground over so we didn't have a 5 year average on it. But, they took the 5 year average on the ground instead. That was 17 bushels. One of our fields got 18, so we had to cut it, but the other field was only going to get 6, so we didn't cut that and got 65% of 11 (the difference of 17 and 6). We already got paid for that.

It turns out they messed up, and instead of using the 5 year average of the ground, they should have used the 5 year county average. That is 32 bushels! So, we should get
32 - county average
-17 - what we already got paid for
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* 00.65 - 65% coverage
* 08.50 - $8.50 per bushel
* 40.00 - 40 acres
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$3315 - TOTAL

That is my back of the envelope math (we didn't have exactly 40 acres, and the $8.50 is an approximation), but should be darn close. They said we should get that check sometime next week!

That is awesome.

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As for the house cleaning and meal planning, that went well last week. I decided to take the same approach as working up to running a 5k...slow and steady, and add a little more each week. So last week, I just concentrated on keeping the kitchen clean. I kept a sink full of soapy water to wash everything while I was cooking, washed dishes immediately after supper, washed the floor, and made sure that I made a container for lunch the next day as I was cleaning the table off. It went very well.

It was great to have the meal planned before I got home. I could then start supper when I got home and have it ready to cook as soon as DH got home...as a farmer he generally works til dark, but sometimes earlier, sometimes later. I just have to wait until either he calls me to tell me he is on the way home, or start cooking when he gets in the door.

I made meatloaf on Thursday, and instead of cooking all of it, I put half of it in a ziploc bag to freeze, so next time I want to cook meatloaf, I just have to defrost and bake. I froze some cut up onions, and I also froze some pre-cooked vegetable mix from the chicken and vegetables night. My freezer is getting full! I have another little freezer in the garage, and a big freezer as well. The little freezer is half full of meat, but we haven't used the big freezer yet. So, if I continue like this, I'll have a lot of choices to pick from, and plenty of room to put it.

I need to plan next week's menus. I'll put them on my side bar as soon as I do that.

So, now that I have a good handle on the kitchen, I'm going add on keeping the bathroom clean all next week. Then, the living room, then the bedroom, then the office, then the back room.

This may sound very rudimentary to most of you, but I have been teetering between not caring if the house is dirty and overwhelmed when I think about tackling the whole thing at once. So, I'll add one room per week, and after 5 more weeks, the whole house will be spic and span. Keeping it clean should be easier than getting it to that point, right?

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One of my banks, the one that has my bill paying account in it, is going to start charging $8 a month if your balance goes below $2000. Well, they aren't going to get $8 a month from me! I have another account that we left $30 in just to keep it open, but haven't used for about a year that doesn't charge anything, and of course has free bill pay, so that is going to be my new bill pay account.

I also will be done paying off my pickup after two more payments (bi-weekly) so at the end of next month, I'll own the pickup free and clear. After that happens, I want to change my "gas/food/other" account to a bank up here. (The current one is in Texas and also has the pickup loan.) I can't put DH on it unless we go down there to sign something to put him on the account, so it will be easier to get the pickup paid off, open a different account and close that one. Then, we can have a farm account, a bill paying account, and an "other" account. Currently, DH has had to pull "other" out of the bill paying account, and I want to get away from that. I want to find an account that has ATM reimbursement and is local.

First things first, though, and that is to get all the automatic bill paying things moved over to the idle account we already have, and get that done by Nov 1, since that is when the fees start.

Inspired

September 22nd, 2009 at 04:09 am

I don't know why, but http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com has inspired me this weekend. I admit I haven't done too well managing my house, well, ever. Always dishes to wash, clothes to wash. The bathroom is dirty. The floors are dirty. I don't know why, but this weekend, it just got to be too much, and I started attacking.

Kitchen looks very nice now. All dishes are done and put away. Cleaned the outside of all the cabinets, moved some drawer contents around, etc.

Started planning my meals out today as well. That's what the meals on the side bar are about. I'm listing all the ingredients for making that stuff, so I can easily pick from the list to make a menu. I'll probably add a grocery list page, too, so I can access this at home and at work.

I'm just doing suppers. We eat leftovers for lunch, or DH grills something for himself when I'm at work. Toast, peaches (lately, but not for much longer), and sausage is breakfast.

When I got home today after shopping, I took the polish sausages and split them into 4-sausage packets. That way if we want to grill them, 4 will be enough for us and we won't have to thaw the entire package out.

I also chopped up every green, red, and yellow pepper I have. I have a bad habit of buying peppers and then not remembering if I have any and then buying more, so I waste a lot. I ended up chopping like 10! I bought 6 and found 4 in my fridge...but they are now all chopped up and mixed up and put in ziploc bags in 2 cup portions, so I can just grab and go now.

I also made bread today. I mean, what is up with that? I don't know. It is doing its final rising now, and we'll see how it goes. Hope it tastes good! It is just normal white flour bread, since thefamilyhomestead.com said try that first and then get fancy. I would like to start making whole wheat bread, even going so far as to grind my own wheat I take from our combine. How awesome would that be? Of course, I'd have to get a grinder, and those look kind of pricey. I'll see how I do with the bread making for a while before getting one of those.

I also bought the stuff to make my own laundry detergent. Ivory soap, washing soda and borax. I'll try that tomorrow.

I also ran tonight with Bandit. Man, I've had a busy night!

is it tax time yet?

September 20th, 2009 at 03:55 am

Apparently, at our house it is. Smile I went through my pile of receipts today, sorting them into farm expenses, farm income, job searching expenses, depreciation, etc. I just had a huge pile I needed to get through, and it is now residing in a 1" binder and a 1" pile, sorted by date.

Usually I tape the smaller receipts to a piece of paper and put them in the notebook as well. I plan to do that, and then scan everything in so I have a backup of it in case something happens to the paper.

The push to do this is because I am planning on figuring my taxes as close as I can before the end of the year and convert an IRA to a Roth IRA in 2009. I plan to convert enough of it to get my income up to the top of the 10% bracket. I am transferring my old 401k to the IRA right now (just got the check for $16,954, and need to forward it on). What with me losing my job this year, being on unemployment, buying more cows, a planter, etc., I think we will have quite a bit of room to do this. I can only foresee taxes going up in the future, so I want to shelter as much as I can in the Roth IRA as possible.

You know, that gets me thinking. What happens if some kind of a fair tax is implemented? People have already paid taxes on Roth IRAs and their income. So if a fair tax is implemented, won't that be double taxation on that income? I have never heard anyone explain how that would work.

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I ran that 5k last weekend, and I am so proud of myself. I hadn't run 3 miles without stopping since college 10 years ago (I did it once before the race). It was very slow, but I didn't walk at all, which was my goal. There were so many hills, at one point I wanted to, but I figured I could jog as slow as I could walk, so why not reach my goal when I could do that?

It was a really fun weekend. We had 19 walkers/runners in our group. My mom paid for all the t-shirts we were wearing (an early Christmas present), so we all stood out.

Brother T won his age group (15-19)
Sister J won her age group (15-19)
Sister K got 3rd in her age group (20-24)
Sister E got 4th in her age group (20-24)
Brother D got 3rd in his age group (25-29)

I didn't walk. That's winning for me Smile Actually, I got 21st in my age group, out of 41. It took 42 damn minutes, but I got through it.

We then went to my sisters house for lunch. I had taken some cans of stuff (corn, mushrooms, black beans, salsa and a bag or brown rice) and my crockpot, and made that in the hotel in the morning before we left for the run. It was done by noon, so that was my contribution to lunch.

We then went to a park for a niece's birthday party.

Then, my brother in law just had to go to Hooters. Ok, we'll all go. We had one table of guys (including my dad, my 16 year old brother, my husband, by 24 year old brother, and 4 BILs) and a table of girls and kids.

Service was absolutely horrible. It took 30 minutes for the waitress to get our drinks at the girl table. It took another 20 minutes to take our order. The order was all messed up (she forgot 3 orders of fries, and had a salad that no one ordered, and one of the drinks had a hair in it). I asked for our checks, and she only got mine and DH's, after 30 minutes, and then had to come back and ASK us all what we got because she didn't have it written down? I don't know. We were there for over 3 hours.

DH was paying, and I told him to not tip because her service was terrible. All the guys at their table erupted "Why? We all got our beers on time." He ended up tipping her awesomely. I was pretty peeved at that. My sisters paid their tabs for their families, and didn't tip at all. The waitress didn't even give my brother a check. By that time, we had waited for our checks for over an hour, so we told him to just leave.

So, other than that tipping incident, the weekend was really fun. All of my family in one place doesn't happen that often.

My sister wants us to do another run on Thanksgiving day in Salina. I am planning on keeping on running 3 times a week. I haven't lost any pounds except the 6 I initially did, but I am feeling better and my jeans feel more comfortable, so I know I am losing some weight. I take Bandit (my dog) with me, and he really needs it, because when DH is working all day on the swather, he is tied up all day...and very rambunctious when I get home. After 2 miles, he usually is pretty calm when we get back.

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Things are moving along on the farm. Beans are almost ready to be cut, milo is almost ready as well. We will be weaning calves in a few weeks. DH is currently swathing and baling for a lot of people, which will bring in some good money, once he gets it done and can bill it.

My dad wants us to swath and bale for him, and have him trade some work. He can put on siding and do windows, so I think I want him to replace our windows and at least one door before winter hits. We only have 6 regular windows in our house and one big picture window. And the back door needs to be replaced (you can see light through the edges when it is shut). I don't know how much it is going to be, but I think that should be done before the siding is done. Maybe next year he can do siding as trade?