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Neighbor to Neighbor January 2. 2012

 

Welcome 2012!!! This year WILL be better for everyone. Many years ago Sonny said to his mom , after a very tough year, “it can’t get any worse”. She just smiled and said ” they were the same words we used in 1939.” I understand that to mean, no matter how bad we think we have it, it can always be worse.

We have been able to complete things around the farm that have needed work for several years, but we didn’t have the time. This year we had extra time away from farming due to very few crops to pick, so we had that “repair time” available.

One pole barn, built in 1965, with metal sides and roof, needed to be renailed so the winds wouldn’t keep lifting the metal from the wood. Eventually the metal would blow away and all the tractors would be at the mercy of the weather. Instead of using nails, like they originally did, we now use screws. Screws take more abuse from the wind before they can lift out. This was a very good improvement to our building industry. Things SHOULD stay together longer. Like the County Building. How many screw did they use?

The floods did give us added work, repair of culverts was a big one. Since we don’t own an excavator we were at the mercy of those that did. A wonderful young man worked on Sunday’s, his day off, to help us out. He can make an excavator work like an extension of his arm. Amazing to watch what he can do, place a rock like you were doing it by hand.

This young man has 2 different buckets for the excavator. He was able to put the wide one on and clean out our ditches. Unfortunately he had to do them 3 times. There was so much water in them he couldn’t get all the mud out with 2 times. Seldom do we need them cleaned that much. When was the Wallkill last cleaned, farmers do it every year. If you don’t keep your ditches clean, water can’t leave. HINT, HINT, HINT.
According to a search of the Wallkill River this info came up:
The Wallkill has 69 tributaries in New York alone. to name just a few:

Wildcat Brook Papakating Creek, Beaver Run,Pochuck Creek,Wawayanda Creek, Rutgers Creek, Monhagen Brook, Quaker Creek, Masonic Creek, Mannayunk Kill, Muddy Kill, Tin Brook, Dwaar Kill, Shawangunk Kill, Plattekill Creek, Kleine Kill

You can click on them and see where they are.

With all the flooding we had, just in the town of Goshen, has it dawned on “the powers that be” that EVERY waterway ends up in the Wallkill. It is the MAIN waterway that removes unwanted water from our landscape. If you don’t maintain this vital exit nothing will ever improve near your home.
Many years ago, Sonny went to a meeting with a federal Senator on the river. Sonny explained that as the water goes up and down, it takes land from behind our home and has come within 25 feet of our walkway. Sonny asked this man WHO is responsible to maintain the river and stop it from eroding the land near our homes? The Senator told Sonny, WE, as the home owner, have the right and responsibility to PROTECT our homes from any and all assaults. It was at that time we took it upon ourselves to protect our home. It took 15 years before the DEC came here and said we can’t do what we had been doing. By that time we had saved our home. Yes, it did cost us a great deal of money, but my home was worth it.

” It is easier to beg forgiveness than get permission.”

Neighbor to Neighbor Dec. 20, 2011

    With Thanksgiving behind us and the turkey finally gone, we are preparing for Christmas. Which will mean another turkey and leftovers for a week or more, perhaps even soup with these bones. 

      Christmas, to me, means a beautiful snow, drifting down quietly and making the world look clean. Everyone safe in their homes. Our military resting, after securing our safety.     
     I had taken all my photos off my walls and kept them in the barn until we could move back in. They were in crates and the crates were brought back and stacked all over my home. I finally put them back on the walls, since the nails were gone I had to replace them all. Being old, I couldn’t quite remember where I had them before, of course, Thomas noticed they were in different places. (note to Doris) take a picture of things before you remove them.
   
      We are almost “bundled up” for winter. Our markets are over for the year and all of the trucks, tractors and implements have been winterized and in a building. They have been put to rest up for the coming season. Now it’s our turn to rejuvenate the old bones. We have one mini market this coming Wednesday, December 21, then we can rest a bit.
      By the second week of January we will need to have our seeds inventoried and our plants ordered for next season.
     The Wallkill River is taking it’s good sweet time to get back to normal level. Why is that? What has happened down stream that is holding things up? Perhaps no maintenance? The county takes no care of the ONLY water way that removes the water from our entire county, sound like the county building?
      Do YOU maintain things or just let them fall to ruin? Do YOU wait until things can not be repaired and MUST be replaced? Our disposable society must learn to repair not replace. Our landfills are full of “things” that may have just needed a tweak. Tweak it, don’t toss it. 
     I am very concerned about the county closing/selling Valley View. I am not worried about the workers, they really have the ability to find other jobs or retire early. I am worried about the residents. When a person gets older, change can put their lives is jeopardy. They go into a panic and end up in the hospital. I hope this doesn’t happen to our local people. Very sad how we treat our elderly.
    I want to wish all a very Merry Christmas and If you don’t celebrate Christmas,  a Happy Hanukkah to you.
    Please be safe and happy and I will be back after Jan. 1.
    Happy Birthday, Kasha.
    Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you have never done it…..don’t tell others how to!

Face to face encounters are wonderful.  At our markets, we often see people who haven’t seen each other in a long time and spend many minutes catching up.  It makes our hearts warm with joy.

There are other times when people interact, loudly and I step in to answer the questions they are asking each other.  Everyone uses the internet to become “experts” in everything.

I butted into a conversation on Saturday.  The 2 men were speaking loudly about aspects of farming they didn’t know about, but they knew the answers.  I was taught to question everything, prove it to me if you want me to believe it.

These men were speaking about Monsanto (surprise) and how they are running our food supply. This is NOT true. “But…but…I read it on the internet, it must be true.”

People often say “what if”?                                                                                        I watched a program on TV many, many years ago. It was panel of consumers and the moderator posed situations, the panel then voted, yes or no. One of the situations was 😦 I am paraphrasing)  should we allow a company to make a product, allow us to put it in our yards? This product has killed many children since it was invented, should we now ban it? Predictable response was given, yes we should ban it. Then the moderator told the panel, he was speaking about swimming pools. He did many scenarios like this, all of them were things we use every day. Life can be dangerous, be more careful.

Back to my story: These men spoke as if they knew about farming. The one man said he couldn’t get his potatoes to grow. I asked where he got his seed, the other man said it was a GMO, that’s why it wouldn’t grow. I gave him “the look” and he stopped speaking. The first man told me he bought it from the supermarket, figured it got sprouts so he would plant it and grow his own potatoes. I mentioned, most farmers spray a sprout inhibitor (not a Monsanto product)  on their potatoes while they are growing, we don’t want them to sprout, we want to store them for the future for us to eat. I told the man, we buy “seed” potatoes from a farmer in upstate NY. He DOESN”T spray inhibitor, he wants them to grow for us. Cycle of life.

The  first man said we shouldn’t use Monsanto’s Round up. I said we use it around our barns, I continued, if we sprayed it on our crops, it would kill them.  Round up is made to kill weeds. I also mentioned, we aren’t stupid. I asked him how many years he farmed for his livelihood, he never did, yet he knows more than one who has done it for over 40 years. The man didn’t like what he was hearing, so he left.  The other man and I had a nice talk. I did invite him to speak with hubby about the exact chemical that he uses, I only know he does it, because I pay the bills.

The first man was studying to be a nurse, the one that stayed was an electrician. He also never farmed for his living. I asked him if he would set up his lighting so that the person who turned it on would get electrocuted? He, of course said, NO. I said we wouldn’t do something to kill our customers either.

 

Neighbor to Neighbor Nov. 27, 2011

We are finally in our home. Our poor little dog has acclimated well, although I think she likes camping. It seems weird to reach for something and it’s not there. Many crates to unpack and put in their place. Right now, that place may have been destroyed, so a new place must be found. This should be fun for the old mind to remember where I put things when I change them. I am a scheduled and consistent person. “A place for everything and everything in it’s place”.

    It took years of twisting and turning around to figure out the best place for all the junk I have. I’m serious, I have yard sale things that I use as “eye candy”. Most of the chairs around my home are ones I got for a buck, fixed and refinished them. I even learned how to cane so they would look original. I would collect things that make me smile when I look at them. I do try to use whatever I bought, but some is just junk, but I love junk better known as “pre-loved”.
I try to find tools or odd farm items that will fit in my home and I may be able to use them one day. I collect nothing specific, just the stuff that catches my eye. I haven’t been to a yard sale in years, with a market on Saturday, Sunday is too late for the “good” junk.
   Locally, I can’t believe how our legislators feel it’s okay to RE vote on something. Give me a break, he didn’t know HOW he voted?? I want a revote on a few things too, what do you think are my chances of that happening?
   Our markets are almost over, 3 more Saturdays and I will be open on a day before Christmas. This has been a tough year for so many of your farmers. They will have no extra money to spend and may be late on payments, be patient please.
   We need to set up a credit line to get through the winter, we are lucky to have a small onion crop to sell. Things need to be done on a farm, each year, so the following year will start out right. We will be ordering our seeds and plants very soon. Most of the seed companies we do business with extend us credit until the end of August, with no interest. That really helps out when you live and work on borrowed money until your crops come in. But, like most farmers, we will get by, tighten the belt another notch and move on.
   Unlike farmers, government only know how to spend. Since it’s not all their money and they don’t write their own check to cover it, seems to be Monopoly money to many. They are not alone, how many people EXPECT someone else to pay their way?
  We MUST get rid of the pension system for public employees. We keep hearing about being fair, well this system is NOT fair to the general public. NO ONE should be paid for 20 years of work then 40 years of retirement. That is just outrageous, expecting the rest of us to keep working so they don’t have to. I don’t care what your union negotiated, it is wrong. A system can not survive if more take out than put it.
  DOL has moved the workers from our farm labor department and has hired 13 NEW people. They have not been required to take any tests and have jumped to the head of the line for the jobs. Please tell me why a state in the last throes of life would hire more people? Governor Cuomo’s good friend from HUD was the instigator of this assault. “Politics makes for strange bedfellows”

Neighbor to Neighbor Nov. 14, 2011

My life here hasn’t changed much in the past 2 weeks, still living in the barn and carrying water. How did our ancestors do it without drugs? Imagine how strong they were to do the every day things, called living, and still have time for a smile. What would they have thought was a “better life” for their kids, running water IN the house? Did they foresee the future with electricity or was their time consumed with living? Did they feel they were poor or that someone owed them something? I don’t think so, they knew what had happened in the past and learned from it. If you want to get ahead, you have to work for it and work harder than anyone else.

If you notice 100 year old homes or buildings, these are the things the “uneducated” built, the ones that learned by doing and remembering the mistakes. They took good care of their possessions, it was very hard to replace them. They didn’t take tomorrow for granted, they worked hard to get there. Many of these homes are still standing today. People are proud to be in living in them, and they should be.

So many of our new buildings can’t get by for 40 years without giving in to nature, what are we doing wrong? Why didn’t we learn from our history? Government Center ring a bell?

November is flying past us and soon we will see a new year with the hopes of a better one for many people. On the farm things have to progress no matter what kind of year you have.

We had been planning to re-cover our smallest greenhouse, so we were prepared for “when the time was right”. Plastic had finally been delivered, after a month wait, and the days were warm. Now all we needed was a warm day AND no wind. Last thing you want to do is hoist a piece of plastic 100′ long and have a gust of wind pull it out of your hands. Tuesday was the perfect day. At the drop of the hat, Sonny pulled everyone off their original jobs and set the process in motion. We started around 9AM removing the old plastic and cleaning under the plant beds. Sonny got the lathes ready while the rest covered the ends of the green house. Ed found an old screen door to replace the “beaten to a pulp” door we had.

Everything needs to be in place before you start, once you get going it has to be quick and correct, no going back. The first plastic sheet went over with ease, we are able to stand on the beds for height and quickly fastened down with staples, the second sheet was a bit more difficult. With only 2 people on ladders at the ends of the greenhouse, they must be able to pull the plastic up one side and get it across the top to helping hands on the other side. Have to be careful not to pull too much, just enough to staple with plenty on the other side.

The one end is stapled first, then the other end is pulled tight to remove any wrinkles, winkles block sunlight and don’t allow for an even air barrier. After the ends are finished the sides are then stapled to ensure the wind won’t pick it up while we put the lathes all around it.
Once the lathes are secured and the plastic is sealed, Sonny takes a small fan and secures it on the inside of the greenhouse. The tube from the fan is then put between the two layers of plastic. When he starts the fan, it blows the plastic apart and we now have an insulated greenhouse. Wonderful system, and we only need to do this once every 5 years, as opposed to every year with the old plastics we had available.

Although many people ran unopposed this year in the elections, it was sad to see so few people voting. I understand if it’s the “new” machines. They are horrible to use and a waste of paper. Why aren’t the “tree huggers” up in arms about this?
NEW IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER.

I wish all a Happy Thanksgiving. Be thankful for what you have and thank those who have fought to secure your choice to have them.

Farming in NYS

I can’t and won’t speak for other business.
With NYS farming, we have a “window” for income. Earliest would be late May latest for growing crops would be Sept.. Storage items we can sell for many months after the growing season, very small income, however. Potatoes and onions don’t sell for as much as fresh “greens”. We figure IF we can pay our expense bills by Sept. we are doing good. We use Sept. because that is when our income drops drastically. So, from Sept. to May of the following year (8 months) we live on whatever we can make between Sept. and Dec. We do grow an onion crop, for “winter” income. Income part depends on quality and quantity of our crop and price we will be paid. No, we don’t decide the price, the buyer does.
By the end of Dec. we know if we made a profit. Profit doesn’t mean we can spend, spend, spend, it means we get to pay taxes on that profit. Mind you, we have already paid school taxes, town and county taxes, and sales tax. We have paid unemployment, workers compensation, social security and medicare on all our employees. January rolls around and we get to see IF we have any left over for us.  (I’m sure all business are in this boat) If, we have a profit we try to spend it on improving our business. After those things are paid for, we try to put money away, “for a rainy day”. According to a study I was a part of, (7 years of farming)  2 were profit, 2 were break even, 3 were losses. This was for a “one crop” farm. Which is one of the reasons we changed our farming from only onions to many different crops and retailing it ourselves. A great deal more work, but money in hand is usually worth it.

Sonny has been farming since he was born, 1943. He quit school when he was 15 and has been farming full time since then. He says, he and his dad were always at odds, but when his dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he knew he had to take over the “man” part of the farm. As he looks back, it was the best thing he had ever done. He got to learn from his dad for 4 yrs and found his dad was a hard man for a reason. It was a tough job, owning a business, 6 kids, mortgage, bills, etc. but he also learned the pride his dad had in what he did for a living. That pride has continued with Sonny and we hope we passed that on to our kids.

The question:  should employees be required to return some of their pay from the year before?  They usually have more in pocket than the small business owner does.

I am not asking for this to happen, but remember, most business owners work longer, pay out most of their income and take all the risk when they sign mortgage papers. In our business, we have the best life anyone could have. We live frugally, we buy what we need and sacrifice so others get paid first. I am not complaining, I chose to live here. I am very happy with the choice.

I want you to understand what a farmer is. He is a person who will give you the shirt off his back, in the winter. He will work 10 hr days, with the thought he didn’t finish what he wanted to. He thinks about tomorrow and next week and next year. He tries to pay everyone, on time, even though he may have to borrow and pay interest to a bank. His neighbors are right next to his family in his thoughts and deeds. He treats people how he wants to be treated.  He may not “go to a man made church”, he feels his church is what God made, and he is there every day of his life. He is inspired by the world around him, the beauty God has given him and he respects that beauty. He thanks God every day for the blessings he has received.

I am very proud to be married to a farmer.

neighbor to neighbor April 04, 2011

YEAR IN AND YEAR OUT

This year Spring is taking it’s time. It’s not really that unusual, it just seems that way because of the cold and snowy winter that we had. Most years the farmers in this area don’t put anything in the fields before April .1 On the years when “spring is early” many of us take the risk and plant seeds hoping they make it to harvest. Fear not, Spring is right on time.

Sonny planted the greenhouse with many of the seeds we will need for transplanting in the fields. Those have at least 3 months of growing, under controlled conditions, before we even think about planting outside. The seeds are just peeking out of the ground and will need to be transplanted into cells so they have more room to grow. The cells also gives us a compact seed ball so they aren’t “set back” when we do get them in the field. So much more to do before we even think about field planting.

On to the sad things in life: GE made record profits last year, $14B, and paid no taxes. To help them out the Obama administration GAVE them $36M to offset the health premiums for their early retirees. Fear not, they are not alone, AT&T also received money for the same thing, $140M. Isn’t it nice of us to help them out? How can our government do this to it’s citizens? PAY PAY PAY that is our job. Funny thing is, the public blames corporations for making a profit yet they don’t see how our government is helping the corporations? I don’t understand people! To see a complete list of your donations go to http://www.wsbradio.com/weblogs/jamie-dupree/2011/apr/01/health-law-payments/ It will open your eyes.

Then we have the news media that constantly tries to keep us off-balance. Instead of ignoring things that don’t effect us, they blow them out of proportion so as to keep you sitting on that fence. Balancing yourself, trying not to fall off either side.
What should we do? My dad always told us, “never believe anything you hear and only half of what you see”. For those who didn’t know my dad, he meant always question when someone tells you something as fact (even me) and search for the answers from other sources. With the internet it makes it much easier today, in the “old days” we had to “walk uphill 5 miles to the library EACH way in the snow” to find any answers!

increase minimum wage

Everyone pays SS from their pay check. unlike some of the other “taxes” on their income, many are paid for by the employer only.

What will happen when the employee goes from $10/hr to $15/hr. OUT OF THEIR POCKET: 40 hr/ week @ $10 = $400. SS deduction will be $30.60, take home pay (without state or fed tax deductions, each person would be different )would be $369.40. the employer matches this from his pocket. So the feds get $61.20 to spend on whatever.( please don’t believe they hold it for your SS benefits) raise this to 40 hrs/ week at $15/hr = $600. Now your SS deduction is $45.90 + employer portion, total will be $91.80. Take home pay would be $554.10. As for personal income tax deduction:  you would raise your taxable income, which COULD force you to have that deduction raised too. As I said, this is an individual tax, so no one rule will apply.

More money for the government to waste.

Many things the employer pays is calculated on TOTAL income of all employees. Workers compensation is just one. this rate comes from how much the insurance company pays out. You may start at a low rate, have just ONE report and your rate can double….and it never goes down, even if you never have another report. Disability and unemployment are 2 more that come out of employers pocket. The worker, nor the employer EVER MAKE OUT, only the government coffers are kept filled.

What does a burger cost? I don’t know. let’s say $3. If I increase my cost of production (wages) by 50%, in order to stay even, I must increase my prices by the same amount. That burger would now be $4.50. If I was making minimum wage ( I wish I made that much) and I wanted to buy all the things I always did, how am I getting ahead? Everything I buy is regulated by profit. (I an NOT complaining about profit) I make more each week, but everyone has to pay more, so my personal costs go up.

Our government has showed us that you can have everything without any consequences. But there are consequences. You may lose your job or your hours may be reduced. How is that getting ahead? Have to live on minimum wage? REDUCE YOUR COSTS, GET A SECOND JOB. YOU DON’T NEED, NOR DO YOU DESERVE EVERYTHING, NOW. WORK, SAVE, BUY.

Birds are humans too!

One thing I love to do in the winter is feed the birds in my backyard. I try to make sure they have plenty of food for the cold, snowy months. I spend hours shoveling snow away from the feeders and even clean the ground near them, every time we get a new snow fall.
I like to keep many different birds here during the winter, because they eat the weed seeds in the summer. We help each other, good thing.
Lately I have been thinking about “what if I don’t feed them” what will happen to them? Will they move on and look other places for food? Will they just sit in my feeders and wait until they starve?

Then I compared them to humans, how long will humans wait for someone to feed them? Once we lose the ability to feed ourselves, will we starve while waiting for someone to feed us?
This is my problem with government. They force people to be dependent on them, sadly, we need honorable people in control. We don’t have that now. We have people that love the control and will do anything to keep it.
Luckily, my birds know I am honorable and will go out of my way to make sure they don’t die in the winter.

Common Core

I guess you have to start at the beginning to understand how detrimental this form of schooling is for your children.
The past generation has decided it’s more important to have fun with their kids than it is to teach them to be independent. Teaching them to use the brain they have and figure things out for themselves. Nurturing their natural curiosity and abilities. YOU have allowed government to dictate what  your kids should learn, eat, and play with.
You have allowed someone else to do your job.
Because of this lack of responsibility on your part, you have chosen to force your kids into a “no win” situation.
One of my passions is archeology. I have many artifacts that were made by early man and woman. I am still amazed at what these people made out of stone. They learned things and past them down to the next generation. That new generation improved on the originals and this continued until “white man” took these items and made them out of steel. One thing that still amazes me, if I drop a steel knife in the dirt and leave it there for 50 years, it rots. The artifacts I find are thousands of years old, buried in the same dirt and are as pristine as the day the were dropped.
I speak about this because, I look at our society today and wonder not who, but, will ANYONE be intelligent enough to start over with stone? Common Core takes away any curiosity that helped early man to build.
I remember making a bird watching stick for a little girl. This was a long, light weight stick with a bike mirror taped onto it. She could lift it up to look inside a bird nest, without bothering the birds. This helped her to be curious with out injuring any wild life. That was 30 years ago. She had kept that stick and used it to teach her daughter the wonders of nature.
What will your kids remember about you? Fear not, I am not saying I am perfect, but I like knowing this little girl learned a valuable lesson and kept that knowledge tucked away until she could use it on her daughter. These two young women could start over building out of stone, could yours? Have you “short changed” them? They will not remember the places you took them when they find out you have ruined their chances of a happy future. TEACH YOUR KIDS TO BE INDEPENDENT. It could save their lives.