Friday, October 17, 2008


Shame on me for not keeping up with my blog, but it's been busy and on top of that I've been battling my natural tendency to eat and hibernate because winter is coming (and have been giving in to both way too often!)

First off, our government at work just sometimes leaving you shaking your head and wondering why. In Minnesota there is something called Green Acres. For someone with more than 10 acres you can get a break on your real estate taxes if you are involved in agriculture or wood harvesting. Well, several weeks ago I received a letter informing me of changes in the law. So last week I went to an informational meeting in Big Lake where they tried to explain the new law.

This was just a laugh and a half. They were talking about 'this seems to be the legislature's intent' and 'we're getting a new bulletin every week further explaining the new laws.' It seems the state auditor, sitting in his cozy little office down at the state capitol, decided the law needed changing. I doubt the man has ever been on a farm. What it comes down to is that anything not plowed, pastured or mowed is considered unproductive land and is taxed at the full rate. You can't have an electric fences; they're not considered permanent. Wood lots can be enrolled in a new category of Forest Management (after getting the DNR to come out and set up a forest management plan, which you then have to follow), and even then it's a higher tax rate than regular Green Acres. I'm glad I don't have any swamp or slough land, as it's considered unproductive and is therefore taxed at full rate.

And get this, this bill was added in an 'omnibus bill' at the last moment, the legislators were told it was to make things more fair (?), and didn't go through any kind of committees or public hearing. So the way the law reads right now, I have to get the rest of my land fenced in this year yet (right now I've only got about 30 out of 45 fenced with barbed wire). There's no way, not with still paying on Lukas' dental bill, and having had to pay $800 to have a new well pump put in. Fence posts are $5 a piece, barbed wire is $60 a spool, and just the work involved. I hate working with barbed wire; I always walk away bloody. But it's the only thing that will keep cattle in. Oh, another good one from our government. They are in the process of trying to decide how many cattle you have to have to qualify. Right now they can't tell me if two is enough or not. This is just a hoot!

So anyway, Wednesday Christian and I went up to Mora to pick up a calf. Sally still hasn't come into heat, and it's getting pretty late to have her bred. We ended up with 3 Jersey bull calves. They were really cheap, $17.50 each. I have got to get the clutch on the truck replaced next year (another $1200 I don't have) and have the boys build a livestock box for it. They had a half grown Angus calf at the sales barn, 400-450 lbs., would have been perfect for butchering next fall, and it went for $86.

So here's the new additions:
Burger, Fries and Shake (Christian named them. We don't name our butcher animals human names, if you're wondering about the names)

Yes, they're very cute, and it's sometimes hard to think about where they're going, but I'm NOT ready to turn vegetarian, and by raising my own meat, I'm making sure they have a good life up until that last ride, and also I know it's good healthy hormone and drug free grass raised meat.

So many things to do this time of the year... I still have bulbs to get dug up, apples and grapes to get picked (I'm going to try to make grape jelly), wood to get in and get cut up, barn to get cleaned one last time, and so on and so forth. At least the weather is cooperating.

A couple of more photos, my nephew Mark not watching his cigarette but Squeak is, and Scottie on the old Farmall tractor.