Saturday, June 7, 2014

Farms and family

Life is coming at us about as fast as we can take right now.  Since my last general update, both sets of grandparents visited us, and we took a weekend trip to Michigan.  "Why is this vacation so short?" was Clara's question of the weekend.  We assured her that at longer trip is forthcoming during which we'll travel even further north.

On recent bikes rides through the farmland surrounding our fair town, I've wondered about the economics of corn farming.  Thanks to a quick internet search, I'm an agricultural economics expert.  Farm roads around here are generally on a mile grid, so that's what I'm using for the numbers here.  Granted this is far from 40 acres and a mule, but I have no idea when that was a typical size, and I don't know the typical size "family" farm around here.  The bottom line:  a square mile has about $500,000 worth of corn.  About $100,000 of that was spent on fertilizer, $200,000 on all other stuff (seeds, pesticides, tractor, etc).  If all goes well, the farmer takes in about $200,000, IF they own their land outright.  Not too bad, if you inherited the land.  If you want to buy that square mile of land in our county, consider paying about $6 million.  Which you will pay off in somewhere around 30 years (I've made a zillion wrong assumptions here, but it's probably close).  Or you can rent land to farm, but you'd be pretty lucky to make about $30,000 each year.  As a non-owner of land, I'm sticking with my desk job.

Since grandma K was in town, we have some great photos to share.

Our adopt-student family has a big overhaul forthcoming.  4(?) of our students graduated this year, leaving us with only Tariq the senior and Sean the grad student as actual students in the group.  We're planning to recruit Kim's younger brother and hopefully some of his friends.

We got to see the Smith/Whites twice in the last month.  Our trip to Michigan included Jill's cousin's son's high school graduation party, where we also got to say a belated happy birthday to great-grandma (we decided to not drive the icy roads to attend her actual party in winter).
We're in the middle of softball season now.  The squad is undefeated so far, with a couple of nail-biters and a couple of 10 run rule wins.  The wind was blowing in from left/left-center at about 20-30 mph for the middle two game, which made it very difficult to get hits.  We won those games 3-1 and 5-0 (pitcher Jim filled in for the co-rec team on of those weeks and pitched a shutout for them.  3 games, 1 run scored.  He's just unhittable!).  In last week's game, the wind wasn't blowing as hard and was blowing out to right.  To make up for lost time, we scored 15 runs in the first inning (also thanks to some poor defense by the CFC gang).  Then we didn't score again until the 5th inning.  Consistency is overrated.