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The best way to shovel snow off your walk

by Miriam - January 6th, 2017

All I need is a pre-teen or teenager to drive the snow shovel.  And a hoverboard.

20 Lessons from the 20th Century – New Year’s Resolutions

by Miriam - January 4th, 2017

Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions, yet? Regardless, check out this short essay from Timothy Snyder, the Bird White Housum Professor of History at Yale University.

The author provides compelling food for thought as we move forward into 2017.  This is definitely worth the read and worth thinking about.

20 Lessons from the 20th Century

Thanks to [D]mergent for pointing to the post on the author’s Facebook page.

How Tabasco is Made

by Miriam - January 2nd, 2017

Chipotle is my favorite flavor. I now have an appreciation for the time and effort that goes into the production of Tabasco.

The Secret to Christmas Song Success

by Miriam - December 28th, 2016

Who knew?  Now that I know the formula, tune in next year for my #1 Christmas hit.

Merry Christmas

by Miriam - December 25th, 2016


On Lighting Candles

by Miriam - December 23rd, 2016

Like a Candle in Berlin suggests an interesting interpretation of our community response to terrorist attacks.  What’s more, it suggests that humanity, while disregarding religion as being difficult and inconvenient, still seeks some sort of spiritual comfort in times of crisis and after senseless tragedy.  The author also gently suggests that this is a simplistic and naive response, which, while probably does no harm, also does not do much good, other than to provide a little self-assurance of our own good nature and pure intentions.

I like that the author notes that this is not a terminal naivete, though he does not speculate on the motivation that will be necessary to snap us out of our need for candles for comfort and into mature action (whatever that might be).

While the author does not go this far, his article can lead one to the conclusion that rejection of the discipline of religion in exchange for the easy, lost-cost, no-obligation form of spirituality is a step backward in humanity’s maturity.  This is consistent with our current culture of “Snowflakes” who aren’t mature enough to exist in the free and open discussion found in college environment without sensitivity warnings, and with our society’s general response of instant offense and violent response to viewpoints different from our own, rather than the more difficult and disciplined path of encouraging open discussion and making an effort to use education and understanding to resolve differences (or, which is perceived as worse yet, learning to live in peace with people who hold different viewpoints from our own).

Yes, I recognize that this is a broad conclusion based upon a single article.  I also realize that this opinion might be offensive to those of a spiritual-but-not-religious persuasion.  I hope only to generate thoughtful discussion, and I welcome discussion that might dispel my conclusion.

Thanks to Maggie’s Farm for posting the link to this very thoughtful article by Theodore Dalrymple, Dietrich Weismann Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal, a magazine published by that institute.


Merry Christmas – Here’s Your Prenup

by Miriam - December 21st, 2016

prenupChristmas and the holidays are the most festive and romantic time of year.   43% of engagements happen between November and January, with the top proposal dates as Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day.  (These believable but unsourced statistics were found on Wedding Wire and Elite Daily).

For farm families, the addition of a “non-blood” member of the family causes mixed feelings.  Of course, you want to be happy that your loved one found a loved one, but because of the high divorce rate (3.2 divorces per 1,000 people in the US, according to the CDC) this new member of the family is also a new and scary risk to the farm operation.

Prenuptial Agreements (Prenups) are a good idea for any marriage, but are especially important for farm families.  If you read the farm planning material I post on this website, you know that my mantra is “discussion, discussion, discussion” when it comes to farm planning.  Full disclosure applies to the incoming spouse, too.  While you might not want the newest “outlaw” in the family to know the finer details of your business, you also don’t want him (or her) to learn of the extent of your farm operation during the middle of divorce, when compassion and understanding is not usually part of the process.

Prenups offer an “eyes wide open” approach to asset management in a marriage.  Where a farm kid may own or inherit substantial farm assets, what happens to those assets in the event of a divorce can discussed and agreed before the marriage occurs.  In Indiana, once you are married, it is considered to be against public policy to make those decisions after the rings are exchanged.

Attorney Polly Dobbs, my colleague in Peru, Indiana, and frequent contributor to Farm Journal,  has a terrific no-nonsense approach to prenups and farmers.

Do Farm Kids Need a Prenup?



Sorry, kids.

by Miriam - December 13th, 2016

Below is data which supports what I’ve long suspected – that my children are not positioned to make more money over their lifetime than I am. My generation is the last to achieve that part of the American Dream.

From The American Dream, Quantified at Last, by NYT op-ed columnist David Leonhardt, the average American born in 1940 (which would refer to my parents and other early Baby Boomers) was 92% likely to earn more than his or her parents. Today, the average American born in 1980 is only 50% likely. My expectation is that children born in the ’90’s (which would be my children) are even less likely.


If you read the column, also check out the comments. One in particular struck me: For young people, being debt-free is the “new wealthy.”

Mathematical Gift Wrapping

by Miriam - December 9th, 2016

See… Math is important.

Christmas Wish List – Digital Sundial

by Miriam - December 8th, 2016

I know people who are clever enough (and have access to a quality 3D printer) to build this for me for Christmas. (Hint, hint)

The sundial in action (less then 2 minutes):

The math and programming behind it (15-minute video)

Rubics Cube World Record Solving

by Miriam - December 5th, 2016

Very cool.

And… if you want to see an insane 17x17x17 Rubic’s cube solving video (done by human hand and brain):

And… so insane that only a computer can do it:

OK GO The One Moment

by Miriam - December 2nd, 2016

Check out OKGO’s newest video. The way they manipulate time and perspective to capture a moment is amazing.

And, check out the “behind the scenes” video to see the thinking and planning that went into the video:

5 Fun Facts About Coffee

by Miriam - November 28th, 2016

Because – lawlatte.

Happy Thanksgiving from Lawlatte

by Miriam - November 24th, 2016

Taken at Shades State Park, early November.


Fun with Drones for Christmas

by Miriam - November 22nd, 2016

Disney and Intel team up for a terrific 300-drone light show for the holidays. It takes special permission from FAA to deploy a drone swarm (technically, ‘drone fleet’).

Another drone light show from Intel – provides a behind the scenes look at the technology: