Outstanding in Their Field

Outstanding in their field Stng Head-WEB

It is time to do an end-of-the-year wrap-up. What have I omitted throughout the year that you might have found interesting, funny, or pertinent? Also, have you heard the quote, “You don’t know what you don’t know?”
A farmer from Greenville, Wisconsin, recently traveled to Manhattan to look at purchasing the John Deere 6620 combine I was selling.

Despite my phone’s navigation saying the trip would be 3.25 hours from his location, when he called for directions, it took him over 5 hours to arrive. He got caught in rush hour gridlock when he entered northern Chicagoland at about 3:00 pm. When he finally arrived at the farm, he could not stop apologizing.

He was certain he had wasted his and my time, stating there would be no trucking company willing to take the machine to his farm through the congestion he had just traversed. He stated he never saw so much traffic; he went 10 miles of bumper-to-bumper at less than 10 MPH.

He said he drives eight miles back home to get to his work and may not see five cars. He even exclaimed, “I thought Green Bay was a big town with too much traffic.” When he asked me, “Who would be crazy to live like this?” I replied, “7-9 million people.” He did not know how bad traffic could be, but now he does.

When Cora and I returned to O’Hare Airport from our recent vacation, we left the terminal to go to the shuttle pickup across from the Hyatt just as instructed to get a ride back to our car. With cold winds blowing, we followed others who were waiting for a shuttle into the large building to keep warm. There was only 30’ along the face of the building open to the public; most of the space was blocked by a long row of curtains.

Cora looked at me wide-eyed and said, “There are hundreds of people behind this curtain sleeping on the floor and cots.” A quick internet search on my phone produced an article from October about how the O’Hare Airport temporary staging area for migrants had gone from 300 to over 800 occupants in only one week. Who knew? We all do now.

At a Christmas dinner, I brought up the news story about the woman who accidentally purchased $10,000 of gift cards for Disney television instead of the theme park. When I questioned who would need that much money at Disney, I found out what I did not know. Several in attendance informed me what a Disney trip costs.

To me, the amount I was told people spend to stay at the hotels and visit the park was a nauseating amount of money. I was clueless and must admit even a bit skeptical still. I have absolutely no interest in traveling there to confirm or disprove the insane amount of money I was told.

Only minutes later that same night I mentioned that I was selling hay for $9/bale. A farmer friend was shocked; he had no idea that a shortage and current economics had driven the price of hay that high or higher. In my opinion, it isn’t high enough. I had hay acreage that only yielded 110 bales per acre. At $9/bale, that would only gross $990/ per acre. That is less than corn has grossed in the last three years.

This spring, at the end of May, I tried for the first time in my life to plant corn immediately after baling first cutting hay. I did not know how it would yield, especially when it failed to rain more than an inch in the next 45 days. On December 14, I harvested 135 bushels per acre at 24% moisture. Now we all know.

To try to sound smarter than I am, when I sat down to write this week, I googled, “Origin of you don’t know what you don’t know.” I found myself on a site about Socrates. It appears that since he lived thousands of years ago, he pretty much can be credited with every intelligent quote ever said. I wonder if he is credited with, “Do not believe everything you read on the Internet.” I am done writing and googling for now, so I guess we will never know.
Happy New Year, everyone!

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