My favorite coffee cup.
Yes, it’s Hello Kitty.
Yes, it has butterflies in it.

My favorite coffee cup.

Yes, it’s Hello Kitty.

Yes, it has butterflies in it.

Power Hour: Is Oil Pushing Grain Off the Rails? | Top Producer Magazine

Raising a crop isn’t enough. Somehow you have to get it to the people who want to buy it, and that’s always been an issue for farmers. This is actually something that hit Canada this past winter, and had a significant effect on prices as farmers and grain dealers were having trouble finding transport for their grain. It caused a significant bump in prices for a while until the Canadian government stepped in and threatened to start levying huge fines against the railroads unless they started to move grain.

The railroads at the time were claiming that it wasn’t the oil producers hogging the transport, but that it was the severe winter weather. Few people seemed to believe that, though, hence the threat of massive fines if they didn’t get grain moving again.

The railroads have seen an enormous jump in the amount of oil being moved by rail. As the story points out, the number of cars of crude oil being moved in the US has jumped from under 10,000 in 2008 to over 400,000 in 2013. That has almost certainly reduced capacity in some markets.

(via Tasting With Our Eyes: Why Bright Blue Chicken Looks So Strange : The Salt : NPR)

interesting article about the effect the appearance of food has on us.

(via Tasting With Our Eyes: Why Bright Blue Chicken Looks So Strange : The Salt : NPR)

interesting article about the effect the appearance of food has on us.

The Joys of Wisconsin Weather…

They got blasted up in the northern part of the state. Up in the Eagle River area they got hit with 12 - 16 inches of snow.

Ah, yes, spring in Wisconsin…

The Hottest Conservative Campaign Gimmick of 2014: Free Guns | Mother Jones

Oh dear… If a politician giving away a gun in a raffle upsets MJ, they’d be in a permanent state of outrage in Wisconsin where we give away guns when you buy a car, get a new fridge, buy an engagement ring, raffles at churches and other charities.

It’s just another gimmick used to attract attention.

(I should add that they can’t just “give away” guns. The person who wins the raffle or whatever has to pass the same background checks you have to go through at a gun dealer.)

Land Sale of the Week: McLean County, Illinois

Egads… $13,750 an acre? Sheesh… that’s just crazy.

Antigovernment ‘Patriots’ Gather Near Scene of Nevada Rancher’s Dispute Over Cattle Grazing Rights | Hatewatch

What should have been a minor incident that deserved little more than a footnote on the back page of a local Nevada newspaper has been blown up into a major incident, thanks in large part to the media pimps like Drudge, Beck and others who thrive on hype, outrage, hypocrisy and paranoia.

So here’s what’s really been going on out there…

Bundy is a rancher out in Nevada. Like a lot of other cattle ranchers, he grazes some of his cattle on land owned by the federal government. This is land that, for one reason or another, isn’t actually owned by anyone. Either it’s too bad to develop commercially, or it might be in an area considered to be environmentally sensitive, part of a public park, whatever… Bundy doesn’t own the land. The Fed does, held in ‘public trust’.

In exchange for paying a fee and following BLM regulations to insure cattle are kept out of sensitive areas and it isn’t over grazed, ranchers are allowed to run their cattle on the land.

Back in 1993, Bundy decided he wasn’t going to pay the rent any more, but continued to run his cattle on the land. And while the fed is far more patient than your average landlord, eventually they got tired of it and started muttering things about maybe he should think about paying the bill or they might do something, and he ignored them. It took BLM 20 years, but finally they told him to get his cattle off the land he’d been using without paying. He won’t. He defends his position with the usual arguments; the fed doesn’t have the right to the land in the first place, and even if it did, it doesn’t have the right to charge rent for it, etc. etc. etc. All of this has been thrashed out in the courts ages ago and he pretty much doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on.

But that hasn’t stopped the right wing ranters from turning it into a “cause”, wildly blowing the whole thing out of proportion, and altering the story from a rancher who won’t pay his rent, to a man standing up for his ‘rights’ against the ‘evil government’. The result is that what should have been a simple case of the landlord evicting a tenant for non-payment of rent, has been turned into a potentially very dangerous situation thanks to armed so-called “patriots” turning up to ‘defend’ Bundy’s imaginary rights. | Goldman negative on ags, despite El Nino, Ukraine

What is always entertaining is when people make long range predictions about commodities prices. Goldman-Sachs has released some long range prognostications where they’re looking at commodities prices one year out, and what they see in their crystal ball isn’t too good.

They’re predicting corn will be down to $4 next year, down from around 5.06 at the moment, and even more interesting, that soybeans will be down to $10.50, which are currently sitting at 14.69 right now.

A first I thought this was just silly, but on second thought it does make sense. If nothing throws a monkey wrench into their calculations, that is.

There are a lot of ‘ifs’ mixed into that calculation, though. If the weather cooperates, if production in Ukraine is not disrupted, if China continues what seems to be a trend towards less importation of grain, if there aren’t transportation disruptions like the ones in Canada and Brazil… well, you get the idea.

Japan Restricts Chicken Shipments After Bird Flu Outbreak - Bloomberg

While we’re worrying about the pig virus here in the US that is estimated to have killed 6 million piglets and seems to be spreading throughout the country, over in Asia the bird flu is still a major issue, even though we haven’t heard much about it here in the US.

Japan just had an outbreak that resulted in authorities culling over a hundred thousand birds. There was an outbreak in ‘10 that resulted in the destruction of nearly 2 million birds.

Culling of birds that are ill or might have been exposed to the virus has been going on in South Korea and China, with more than ten milling being killed in Korea alone.

things like this have a ripple effect that spread throughout the world. It’s resulted in a decrease in demand for chicken and duck in Asia which, in tun, causes a decrease in demand for imported grain to feed the birds, so grain farmers here are going to take a hit.


Been raining fairly hard for the last six hours or so, and we were already soaked before that. Back yard is under about a foot of water, and the sump pumps have been kicking in about every 30 seconds. Remember when I was complaining about winter hanging on for so long? Forget I said that. Can we switch back to snow?

Hmm… maybe I shouldn’t have said that… We had about 4 inches of rain by the time I went to bed last night at midnight. At 7 AM right now we’ve got 4 inches of snow on top of it and it’s still coming down…