Saturday, October 30, 2010

Heath care reform news

We spent the afternoon meeting with political representatives.  We learned some things about health care reform that directly effect us.

Every employer must offer health care...only if they have 50 or more employees.  That surely excludes every farmer I know.

Medicare patients no longer have a co-pay for routine visits.  If they go for a cold, that is not routine, they will have a co-pay for that.

There is something in the bill that says all working people must pay for health insurance.  That is only people that show a net income above the poverty level.  Quite frankly, most anyone who is self employed can re-invest into their business until they are below the poverty level.

If your insurance company raised your premium by like 20% and says it's due to the health care reform, you might remind them that their expense in it will not take effect until 2014.  You might also ask them what their excuse has been every year in the past.  I know my insurance goes up 10 to 15% every year.  There should only be a 2% increase due to the new bill at this time.

Blue Cross has shouldered the entire expense for "high risk" patients.  Other insurance companies can refuse people with a "pre-existing" condition or will charge 3 times the normal rate for the first 3 years.  I already knew that because I have a son who had heart surgery 9 years ago and I pay 2 times as much as anyone else for health care to blue cross even though he has had a clean bill of heath sense.
What I did learn is that now all other companies have to take us without charging us their 3 year "high risk" fee.  I will get some quotes next week and see how that's going.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


For those who are more interested in my farm than my kitchen, I went to a farm meeting Tuesday.  While I was there we talked about my ideas to have my cows on pasture and planting conventional corn.  Terms you will need to know are:
GMO or Stacked corn - corn that has been modified by a scientist to kill bugs that try to eat it.
Corn - all the rest.
Conformist - a person who changes with the times, no matter if it is a good thing or not.

 I have been told in the past that if I plant Corn I will need to plan on losing money.  Also, I should tell people that they will be drinking nasty tasting milk due to the bugs and weeds that my cows are eating.  Was milk gross when my grandparents were farming?

A conformist told me that any farmer that has ever gone to pasture use has gone broke.  Maybe pasturing had nothing to do with those financial woes.  How crazy is it that two of the guys at the meeting have cows out on pasture and have money. 

Tuesday I was told that some of the farmers there are really planting Corn like our grandparents planted.  It also turns out that all that stacked corn is meant for farmers that actually have bug problems.  We rotate our crops so we don't even need their silly stacked stuff.   So why would a supposed trained salesman try to sell it to me?  Could it be that stacked corn is twice as expensive as just corn and he gets a commission?

I will not be a conformist!

Do I go farther?

I am so happy to see this hood vent come down!

Glenn is happy to run the saw for grandpa.  He wants this old kitchen to transform as much as I do.

Then we took the entire peninsula out.  I can't believe how much better the kitchen looks with all that gone.
So now that I have all this stuff gone, I think I'm going to keep going.  I like a kitchen that is open and has antiques against the walls.  I'm just not a fan of all these built in cupboards.  They look good in kitchens, they just aren't my personality.

Out with the old

    My workers are proud to have the stove gone, and so am I.    That empty hole behind Sadie was were that dreadful oven as.

     Then we had to tear down the cabinet that it went in.  I want a real stove.

Now we have a big open space waiting for some flooring and a new stove.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I am dumping this kitchen!

I have been working in an outdated, sub-standard kitchen for years.  All it took was my microwave breaking down to push me over the edge.  This lovely hood vent will no longer catch my hair in it, block my view, or be the sharp corner that I smack my head into!  Even though it was nice in 76'.

Notice it hangs low enough that when people walk in that door, I can't see their face unless they stand under 4 feet tall!  Look at the band on the left.  It is my hair catching on that stupid strap that pulled it away from the hood.  Painful, and I don't want hair in my food!

Okay, so I can't figure out how to turn this picture, but here is my too small wall oven.  It is too small for many of my pans.  Some of my best pans have been sitting in the pantry feeling useless!

And the fact that the knobs have aged so much that they disintegrated under normal use.  It is time to move on.

So today the wall oven found itself sitting in my garage!  Feeling useless!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fun with Aunt Cherie

Aunt Cherie was up before the sun baking for her big "decorating with the kids" day.  We always put the nanny, Miss Pearl to work with them.

The kids frosted pumpkin cupcakes and stuck in paper decorating toppers.

They frosted and sprinkled mini Brownie cupcakes.


They made chocolate fingers on a stick or pretzel.

Now we have a feast of treats to eat!  Thank you Aunt Cherie!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

All this high tech stuff!

On one hand, I really use and am glad to have all this modern technology.  I use texting to send quick notes to people, but I try to use proper grammar and spelling. ( Although if you read my blog much you will notice I misspell words all the time.   Most of the time it is just a typo)  I use the computer a ton for my farm record keeping, on-line banking, email, and obviously blogging.  I don't know that a fax machine is high tech by today's standards, but I think I send a fax at least once a week.  It saves me tons of gas money and stamps.

On the other hand, I am not really great at it and that makes it scarey sometimes.  The last two weeks have been "techno crazy" for me.  First I upgraded away from this darn Windows Vista to Windows 7.  That took about 4 days because it is such a huge down load.  Then I had to move all my files from the old program to the new program.  Again it was very time consuming.  Not to mention how scared I was when I first realized all my stuff was not on my new Windows 7 program.  A few moments of panic before I decided it had to be here someplace.

 Then with a couple calls for technical help and wha la.  I was on the phone with the guy long enough to know all about his family.  His mother is American, his father is from China, she speaks fluent Chinese.  They have 2 children, my tech and his teen sister.  They own 4 hectors in California and grow sheep, make candles, and grow Dragon Fruit.

After all that, my hard drive was full!  So I ran to town and bought a 1TB external hard drive.  Today I moved everything I could over to my new drive.  Another long tedious task.  And as I type this, I am deleting all my pictures off my C drive. That alone will clear up 400 GB of my hard drive. I am fairly confident I will have them on this new external hard drive, but I will say it does make me nervous.

So after using my spell check, I find out that "texting" must not really be a word yet.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Spiral ham for dinner today.  One of the most important things in our families life is good food.  Today we had ham served on our Porchugeese platter (a gift from a dear friend)   along with some mashed potatoes and gravy, garden green beans, with Lauren's favorite "apple Johny" for desert.  Apple Johney is actually apple cobler without seasoning, then you pour warm milk and nutmeg over top of the individual servings.  That is how Great grandma made it, so that is how it should be done!
Then it is off to the field to rake some alfalpha hay.  We are going to have this wrapped into what they call silage bales.It
And this is how it looks as it is wrapping and moving along.
As a side note, I thought I would add this picture.  This would be my favorite sister in law (the only one I have) driving the Manitou for us.  I think she looks just a bit too pleased to have this photo opp.  We will take the picture and add it here as long as she is willing to work like a dog!  Actually, she is pretty good help.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Seed Update.

I did more research.  Oddly enough I discovered that conventional corn will NOT cost me twice as much as altered corn.  I also learned that the yield should be exactly the same, NOT 1/4 the yield.  If that is the case, I guess it also means I will NOT lose money for 25 years.

About 8 years ago rBST (a milk producing hormone) was introduced to the dairy industry.  I can remember salesmen coming to the farm and explaining to my father in law that without it we would not be competitive.  They told him he was the only farmer in the county that was not using their hormone.  Looking back I realize that those were all lies as well.  I know of at least 2 dairy farmers in our own neighborhood who never used rBST.  Now it is illegal to use it at all in Michigan. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Seed Threats

It's time to buy seed for next spring.  The seed companies all give you price breaks if you pay for next years seed now.  That's fair enough for me, I have the most money right now because I just sold my crops. I want to plant regular old corn and that can be a big deal.  I was told by one company (who is owned by a chemical company) that regular corn cost $50 a bag more than their spray ready stuff.  Wow!  Another company, who is NOT owned by a chemical company can sell regular seed for $50 less than a spray ready corn.  Could it be that I am supposed to buy the spray ready so that I have to buy the spray?  And will it really take me 25 years of losing money on non spray corn before I see a profit?  We never used this spray ready corn until last year and we seem to have made money before. 

The sad truth is,  I think someone is using scare tactics to make me think I need to buy their corn.  I don't like being threatened into buying anything.  But, I will do more research before I decide.  Maybe I will lose so much money planting natural corn that I will have to invest in Monsanto just to survive.  I was told today that scientist know more than "mother nature",( isn't that a politically correct term for "God"?)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Canoe Trip

My step dad is a great man.  He spends tons of time just being a guy with Glenn.  Today the two of them took his canoe down our local river.  It did start to rain, but that didn't seem to phase these two outdoor guys.   As you can see, they did some fishing in the rain.  They were hoping to enjoy the fall color and maybe see some wild life.  Glenn claims they saw a muskrat, and his photo proves they saw some color.


Today Glenn found his cat, Mary with a hole in her hips.  Someone shot our cat all the way through her hips.  I am not the biggest fan of cats, but I detest abuse.  I just cannot believe that anyone had a reason other than pure evil, to shoot his cat.  Mary is a quiet, fixed female cat that stays close to home.  What crime could she have possibly been commiting?  Everytime I go outside and call her, Mary is within ear shot.  I don't have her confined, but how far away could she have been?

So the good news is that I took her to the vet and she is being treated.  Not a cheap adventure, I'm sure.  She will get sedation while they clean the infected wounds, then they will give her pain meds and antibiontics.  I am just appauled that some mom out there raised the rotten person that shot an innocent cat!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I Planted

I have worked like a borrowed mule on this farm for 18 years.  It finally earned me the right to run the planter.  It may not seem like that big a deal to some, but it is on this farm.  First of all, my husband and father in law don't let anyone else plant their fields.  In fact, my husband has not done much planting, mostly Papa, my father in law, does all the planting.  Plus, as I was planting, I was trying to think of the women I know that get to help their husbands plant.  I came up with one, our late neighbor, Janet Noon.  And how ironic that her husband stopped by today.  I shared my thoughts with him about his late wife, and told him how excited I was to plant.  He said his wife was a great helper.  I hope my husband will feel the same.

So I set out to spend about 4 hours planting a 20 acre field for our milk cows.  I am happy to say the girls will have lots of grass to eat in the spring.  Anyways, I didn't quite get done before dinner because I ran out of seed.  That turned into quite the ordeal.  We had to gather seed from a gravity wagon into the loader bucket, then dump that into the gravity wagon with the auger.  From there we could haul it out to my field and load it in the planter.  Then it was time to eat, so we took a break for dinner.

After dinner I got right to work on my pasture, but before I was done, my father in law had an idea.  He figured I might as well finish the seed in the heifer lot.  That meant loading more seed again and planting another 20 acres.  So my four hour project ran ten hours of my day.  Okay, minus the hour it took us to eat and clear the table.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Gladwin, MI

Today the kids and I are in Gladwin, MI.  We are here with my dad visiting his brother,my uncle Melvin Dale Secord.  My grandfather 7 generations back, was the first white settler in the Gladwin area.  Our family name is plastered all over this area because of that.  In fact, next year he will be celebrated for settling here 150 years before.  We stopped in the bar  and had a delicious Secord Burger.  It is a juicy burger with cheese, pickles,and hash browns on it.

There is an entire township bearing our name because it is where our grand farther first settled.

What fun it is to trace down your family history and find such great stuff to learn about.  Now we are looking forward to coming back to Gladwin for their history days.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fence and Water

I am so greatful for this wonderful fall weather.  We are working on several things at once.  Duane is trying to get the beans done, but at the same time he is installing a new GPS system on a tractor before he plants wheat.  The GPS will help him steer in the fields and help me with my record keeping.  Research shows that a man planting with his naked eye misses about 8 acres of every 100.  When you consider we are planting close to 800 acres, you can see that that would add up fast. 

It will also be used when we are spreading manure in the fields.  Every farmer with animals tends to have more manure close to the barn and that can do more damage than good.  As they say, more isn't always better.  We are going to do grid soil sampling this year.  That's when they sample soil in a square pattern all over each field.  With our GPS we will be able to spread manure just where it is needed and not over saturate places that don't need it.

In the mean time, the kids and I are trying to get more fence up for the calves.  We have dreams of several small paddocks rather than pens.  We want our cows and calves to have more room to roam and grass to eat.  That also requires more water being piped out to them.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Harvesting beans

If you look real close you can see that both our kids and the chihuahua are in that combine gathering beans with their dad.  They do have their own seat, for those concerned about their safety.  We dubbed my husband, Duane "Safety Sam" years ago.  He used to make me wear steal toe boots and safety glasses to push mow.  So, I guarantee his kids are not leaning on the glass or the door in that combine.
We got half the beans done and now we have moved onto the corn.  We will put some high moisture corn in the big blue silo, the Harvestore. 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pony Fun

Today my kids hooked up their miniature horse, Summer so they can take their friend Abby for a cart ride.  I love the fact that they can do all this without any help.  Summer is such a good sport about it all, we love and appreciate her a ton.

They are in the new hay field across the road from our house.  You can't see her in this picture, but our loyal Australian Shepherd, Molly is jogging along beside the cart.  No other dog can get close to that pony and cart with her on guard.  No strangers either, for that matter.  Also on the ride is Glenn's new pal, Tucker the Chihuahua.  What great memories for these kids.  I love all our animal friends.  We are so blessed to spend our lives surrounded by all these cows, horses, and dogs.   Okay, the cats are fun too.