Friday, August 21, 2009

Hot and Humid - again!

Perhaps it's the weather - 69 degrees and drippy - but both my computer and I are running very slowly, this morning, and even feeling as grumpy as this guardian of the Marshall Trail!

Here's just a quick post to start your day ..............

Tom has great advice!!


The WKTV forecast: "Good morning Central New York! The humidity will hang around today, with the potential for strong storms this afternoon and heavy rain. The latest forecast can be found below...

Mohawk Valley Weather Discussion

Showers and thunderstorms moved in early this morning, but have now exited the region. Expect a mix of sunshine and clouds this morning. As a cold front approaches from the west, showers and thunderstorms will develop as we head into the afternoon. With high humidity and warm temperatures, storms are likely to produce heavy rain and strong winds later on today. Severe weather is also possible. Keep checking back with us throughout today for updates.

Showers and storms end tonight with overnight lows 65-70.

Hurricane Bill, now a category three storm in the Atlantic, is expected to move closer to the east coast over the next few days. The storm is forecasted to turn sharply to the north and eventually pull out to sea. The hurricane will force today's cold front to stall near Central New York. With tons of moisture in place and a front overhead, heavy rain is likely to develop.

Saturday is expected to start out dry, but as we head into the afternoon rain will develop from east to west. The heaviest rain is expected to fall in our easternmost viewing area...areas like Eastern Otsego, Fulton, Montgomery, and Hamilton County. Most of the rain will fall Saturday night and may last into early Sunday. The front eventually passes east by Sunday, with a return to drier weather later in the day."


I went to the Library yesterday afternoon, to Congressman Michael Arcuri's meeting with local farmers.

I started out sitting in a chair against the back wall.
As more and more and MORE people arrived, I first got up to stand, then moved outside the door to the hallway!

The Activity Room was packed. It was an emotional, but not unruly meeting and, from a consumer's viewpoint, extremely informative.


I took notes and have also received several Emails from others in attendance, but need to sort them all out before I post anything.

I can, however, refer you to last evening's broadcast of NPR's "All Things Considered," the topic of which was

"Independent Farmers Feel Squeezed by Milk Cartel"

and also, repeating an urgent request made by one of the farming community right after the meeting, ask you to check the label of dairy products that you're buying: they may say "distributed by XYZ company Somewhere in the USA," but the product source (in very fine print) may say "Central or South America!" That's scary!



Less scary than the turtle head, above!


Look for railings and balusters soon!

More later, probably.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Starry clear at 5:30

59 degrees.

It's Garbage Day.

The forecast from WKTV: "A return to humid and some wet weather as we head into today.

Starting out this morning pretty comfortable, but that will change very quicky as we head into the day today. A warm front will cross Central New York this morning, bringing with it a surge of humidity. Look for increasing clouds today, with the chance of a shower or thunderstorm this afternoon and evening. Not everyone is expected to get wet today. Highs will climb into the low to mid 80s.

Clouds with a few showers and thunderstorms possible tonight and very mild. Overnight lows only near 70.

A stronger cold front is expected to move in by Friday, bringing us cooler weather over the weekend. The front is expected to be a slow mover, so expect a near washout on Friday with numerous showers and thunderstorms. Highs near 80. Cooler and less humid over the weekend, with more showers possible as the front stalls to our east.

Read the Observer-Dispatch's coverage of last evening's appearance by Congressman Michael Arcuri at MVCC by clicking HERE.

You can meet Representative Arcuri yourself, today, at the Waterville Public Library between noon and 1:30. He'll be there, primarily, to answer questions about the current Dairy Farm Crisis but will also take questions and comments about the Health Care Proposal.



Vendors relaxed, glad to have shade.

Shoppers found what they wanted without going far or fast.

The greatest activity was at the Bandstand. There really were four men working - I just waited for them to take a break so I could take a picture of the structure by itself.

Moving right along!


Hey! That's Wayne Pierson wielding the paintbrush a the Conway residence on White Street!

There are two fields of what I think must be Buckwheat, as silvery as frost, next to Daytonville Road.

I found the following information in a seed catalog: "30-45 days as a green manure crop, 80 days for grain. Wait until grain heads form if you want the crop to re-seed itself. May also be used as a nutritious cereal grain or pancake flour. Young leaves may be added to salads. The deep root system of buckwheat is good at mining subsurface minerals and it is an excellent crop for utilizing the nutrients in rock powder fertilizers. Use as a green manure crop at the rate of 1 lb/400 sq. ft. A great quick summer crop -- fast-growing plants choke out weeds, bees love the white flowers that appear in 4-5 weeks, and the tender stems are easy to cut down when the crop's done. For a late fall/winter cover crop we recommend sowing buckwheat together with crimson clover. The buckwheat acts as a nurse crop for the crimson clover during the heat of the day. In the fall, the buckwheat is killed by frost."

(If the plant is NOT Buckwheat ... someone will let me know, won't they?)




There will be a Pop Warner Bottle Drive

on Saturday morning.

Pickups will begin at 9:00!



Annual Book Sale

August 24th - Sept. 1st

All proceeds from the Book Sale will benefit the Friends of the Library Group.

Refreshments will also be on sale.

Books are priced to sell and there will be a whole array
of books to look through.
Hardcover - $1.00 | Paperbacks - 25 cents
DVD's - $2.00 | VHS - $1.00

Preview Hour:
Monday, August 24th - 9am-10am

Regular Priced Days:
Monday, August 24th – 10-5:30pm
Tuesday, August 25th – 2-8pm
Wednesday, August 26th – 10-5:30pm

Half Priced Days:
Thursday, August 27th – 2-8pm
Friday, August 28th – 10-5:30pm

Bag Sale Day:
Monday, August 31st – 10-5:30pm



By popular demand, the Summertime program,

"Once Upon a Time in Waterville"

will be back in the Fall

at the original time --- 10:15 on every other Friday morning!!

Some of Waterville's most seasoned story-tellers swap reminiscences;

"youngsters" (under 65) are welcome to come and listen!

September 11 & 25; October 9 & 23; November 6 & 20.




Have a great day, everyone!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009



It's Recyclables Day.

65.5 and cloudy.

The WKTV forecast: "A humid start this morning, but some relief from that humidity is expected as we head into the middle of the day.
A cold front continued to chug in from the west this morning. This front will cross Central New York in the middle of the day, around noon. A few thunderstorms are possible, but most of us are expected to stay dry. Winds will shift from southwest to northwest, and the humidity will drop by the afternoon. Expect a partly to mostly sunny finish to the day, with high temperatures in the low to mid 80s. Mainly clear tonight, with overnight lows near 60.
Starting out dry with some sunshine tomorrow, but a warm front will bring in more showers and humidity by the afternoon. Clouds and a few showers and thunderstorms are expected to continue into Friday. Neither day looks like a washout, but be prepared to deal with some wet weather."


Hey, Brian: here's the answer:

"Archeologists from the New York State Museum work at the site of the former Deansboro Cheese factory next to route 315 in Deansboro, Tuesday, August 18, 2009."

-- from this morning's issue of the Observer-Dispatch:

"Cheese Factory Foundation unearthed in Marshall."


FARMING COSTS, continued from yesterday.

Yesterday I quoted from a letter written to me by Mabel Bushee:

"I will use a conservative and simplified expense account for a 100 cow dairy without any mortgages or notes on equipment. 100 cows giving 20,000 pounds of milk each, per year, would give a farmer 2,000,000 pounds of milk a year. By dividing this number by hundredweight (100 pounds) we get 20,000 hundredweight. Multiply this number by $10.00 milk gives the farmer $200,000 per year."

But read on - you'll be dismayed by what happens to that income! She writes:

"As to hundredweight of milk - a gallon of milk weights in at 8.6 lbs. A dairy farmer is paid by dollars per 100 pounds of milk. The reason for this is that milk is taken from the cow by machine, and transferred through a pipeline to a cooling, refrigerated type storage tank called the bulk tank. Tanks come in various sizes - from 1,000 to 10,000+ gallons. Each tank is calibrated by pounds so that when the milk is picked up by the milk truck it can be recorded in pounds of milk in the tank.

"Therefore, 100 pounds of milk will be equal to 11.62 gallons. The milk price to farmers you read or hear about ($10 to $12 per one hundred pounds) is a gross price.

"Consumers (don't forget we farmers are also consumers) do not hear about costs that are deducted from the farmer's price before he even receives a check, such as .25 to .50+ cents per 100 pounds for hauling, stop fees (a fee charged the farmer to have the milk company pump milk out of the bulk tank even though the farmer paid to keep the milk cool and it is his electricity used to pump the milk into the milk truck), a stop fee (a fee charged every time a truck picks up milk), a charge for advertising the finished product (how many other producers of a raw product have to pay for advertising the end product?), co-op dues (so much per 100 pounds if the farmer belongs to a milk co-op), a fuel surcharge for trucking and may also include health insurance through a dairy association, diary supplies, etc.

"For easy figuring I will use $10 per 100 pounds of milk. This 11.62 gallons of milk, or 100 pounds, in the grocery store at $3.50 a gallon brings the price of 100 pounds of milk to $40.67. Taking the same 11.62 gallons of milk per 100 pounds at the farmer's price of $10 equates to .86 cents per gallon. NOTE: I looked up our average price of milk for 1976 - it was $9.75. Also put in some of the 1976 prices for other expenses.

"This ($200,000.00) seems like a lot of income - but subtract some basic expenses per year. $9,000 electricity (1976 - $1200), $3,000 farm insurance, $1,000 vehicle insurance (1976 - $850 - farm and vehicles combined), $10,000 taxes - school and county (1976 $1500). This brings us down to $177,000.

We still have to feed the cows. If the 100 cows eat an average of 15 pounds of grain per day, that is 1500 lbs. a day times 30 days, times 12 months equals 540,000 lbs or 270 tons at $300 a ton (1976 $160), making a total of $81,000. The cows need salt and minerals to keep them healthy and keep producing milk (similar to humans taking their one a day vitamins). This may run anywhere between $200+ per month, making a total of $2400. Breeding and semen expenses will add another $15+ per cow, more if she doesn't breed on the first attempt. $1500. Now we are down to $92,100.

With animals there are always vet bills - from pregnancy checks, twisted stomachs, hardware, pneumonia, retained placentas, vaccinations, etc. and hoof trimming (similar to cutting your toenails). These figures do not include the vet expenses nor the costs incurred for raising replacement animals. The time a calf (baby) is born to the time the heifer (female cow) freshens (has a baby) is anywhere from 20 to 24 months. The average cost of raising each is between $1200 to $1300. Hopefully the calf crop will be at least 25 to 30 heifer calves per year, making a $30,000 yearly expense*.

Milk house expenses of soap, acids, sanitizers, hoses, milk filters, udder towels, teat dips, inflations (should be changed every 60 days) etc. still have to be subtracted. These will run, very conservative, at least $200 per month, adding another $4,800 to expenses. Fuel for the milk house hot water heater and tractors, combine and other equipment adds another large expense. In the 1976 with $10 milk, fuel averaged .398 cents a gallon. Today, at prepaid prices it averages $2.89, making a total of approximately $9000 to $10,000+ per year. Total now $78,300.

"Still have other crop expenses such as seed, fertilizers, crop spray, equipment maintenance parts (plow points, shins, frogs, moldboards, etc.) The average cost to produce an acre of corn is approximately $300 - $350 compared to about 1/3 of that price in 1976. This includes preparing the ground, corn seed, lime, fertilizer, insecticide, planting, and spraying for weeds and harvesting. Therefore 150 acres of corn will cost about $45,000. But there is more - hay has to be harvested. Again we have equipment maintenance costs and seeding costs as alfalfa is usually re-established every 3-5 years. As with corn seed, grass seed has tripled in price. 50 acres of alfalfa will easily cost $350-$375 per acre, making a total of $17,500.

We now have $15,800 left.

"We still have not expensed out baling twine, hydraulic oil, regular oil, and other numerous smaller expenses, nor have we bought any personal items, such as groceries, clothes, health insurance, car payments and many other expenses that are incurred by the average homeowner. Don't forget this did not include vet expense or herd replacement costs."

*If she HAD subtracted $30,000, she have been left with:

minus $14,200.00.

That sheds a whole new light on the subject of "Farming," doesn't it!



Three useless wildflowers!

Long tendrils of "Wild Cucumber."

Banks of feathery Wild Bamboo

Prickly Teasel.

Actually, this was used centuries ago by the Greeks to "tease" woolen fabric and by ladies (as well as some gentlemen) to "tease" their hair.

At one time Teasel was a cash crop in this part of New York State.



Align Center

Have a good day, everyone!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Oooohh, it's warming up!


The day began at 67 degrees with weak sunshine and a nice breeze!

Towards noontime: 87 degrees and sticky.

From WKTV: "Starting out this morning on a very mild note, with temperatures falling back to only the upper 60s. Hazy sunshine is expected this morning, with another hot afternoon. High temperatures will range from 85-90. As a cold front approaches, we'll run the risk of a shower or thunderstorm this afternoon and evening. Still muggy this evening and tonight, with overnight lows in the mid to upper 60s.

The cold front passes through tomorrow morning. While a brief shower or storm can't be ruled out, the vast majority of the day is expected to be dry. Sunshine will arrive in abundance Wednesday afternoon. Temperatures will average about 5-10 degrees cooler, with highs in the low 80s."

Yesterday in Waterville .............

....... and out on Sally Road.


"The Dairy Farm Crisis"

For the benefit of those of us who live in and around Waterville but don't understand what the "crisis" is all about - myself included!

(Crisis, as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. An unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending; especially : one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome b : a situation that has reached a critical phase .)

Over the past several weeks I've received a heap of Emails - press releases or letters to editors - referencing a "Crisis in Dairy Farming in Central New York." This subject matter was new to me and seemed to indicate that an unwanted state of affairs had developed overnight, without warning, but that's not the case!

The situation has actually been growing worse and worse for several years and attempts to rectify it have, thus far, been unsuccessful.

What's the problem? The cost of manufacturing the dairy farmer's product - MILK - has grown larger than income realized from the sale of the product............... something that the consumer who just went to the grocery store and paid about $3.50 for a gallon of milk may not believe!

If the product were shoes, for instance, the consumer would have stopped wearing them; the manufacturer would long ago have decided to switch to "flip-flops" or would have found another retail outlet for his product: you can't do that with cows or milk!


I asked for input from farmers and I got it! Thank You!

From John/JackBrouillette:

"I want to emphasize that dairy farmers are not begging or looking for handouts.

Yes, there is extreme financial stress on dairy farms. Farms locally and nationally are not able to cover their production costs. Furthermore, there is no control over the base milk price and even many of the fixed costs associated with dairy farming.

However, the industry is attempting to get everyone's attention and gaining support to devise plans to accomplish short term relief until a more equitable plan can be devised that would be more of a 'fix' and change in the milk pricing system that would be more equitable to farmers, processor and consumer."

To that end .............

ONEONTA, 07/31/09 -- State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I – Oneonta) and Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R/C/I – Schoharie) are calling on the governor to release a minimum of $60 million in federal stimulus funds to save New York farms.

“Milk prices are dropping and many of our dairy farmers are at the brink of financial disaster,” said Senator Seward. “We need to take immediate steps to protect our number one industry, or many small family run farmers will be forced out of business.”

Dairy farmers in New York received an average of $11.50 per hundredweight of milk sold during June, down 40 cents from May and $7.40 below June a year ago. A study by Cornell University estimated that farmers need to be paid at least $17.00 per hundredweight in order to meet their production costs.

“The price farmers are receiving for their milk has dropped to 1970s levels, while taxes, fuel prices and other production costs have skyrocketed,” Seward added. “I am encouraged by federal proposals under consideration to fix the archaic milk pricing system, but if we don’t take action now, many of our farmers won’t be around to experience the changes.”

Tomorrow: an"eye-opener" from Mabel Bushee, farmer, who took the time to get out records from as far back as 1976, compare costs and revenues and send me an outline that starts off by explaining how milk is measured and why and makes the following statement -- one that's most likely to give consumers an erroneous impression that's proving very hard to dispell!

She uses "a conservative and simplified expense account for a 100 cow dairy without any mortgages or notes on equipment. 100 cows giving 20,000 pounds of milk each, per year, would give a farmer 2,000,000 pounds of milk a year. By dividing this number by hundredweight (100 pounds) we get 20,000 hundredweight. Multiply this number by $10.00 milk gives the farmer $200,000 per year."

"Wow!" thought I, not knowing any better!

On July 27, a letter from one such consumer appeared in the Syracuse newpaper and Bonnie Johnson-Allen of Waterville wrote back:

"In response to the July 27 letter from XXXXXXXXX concerning the complaining farmers: Does he really believe that farmers are the reason prices are so high in the stores?

Yes, farmers receive about $10 per 100 pounds of milk, more or less. They also pay out to produce that 100 pounds of milk. there are feed costs, fuel, vet costs, supplies to keep those cows healthy, along with all the other expenses to run a business such as rent, electricity, insurance and so on.

The milk companies pay the farmer for his milk, but they also charge him for hauling, fuel surcharges and stop fees. Three charges for one service. Imagine being paid three times for one job that you have done - life would be sweet.

Farmers were hit with fuel surcharges when fuel was $5 a gallon. Now that fuel prices have dropped, have they dropped their surcharge? No.

In the long run, it may cost about $17 or more to produce that 100 pounds of milk. How would you like to pay your employer $17, so that he will pay you $10 for the job you have done? I'm sure you would be complaining long and loud.

All farmers want is to be adequately compensated for the product they produce.This is our way of life and a great environment to raise our families. All we want is to be able to survive and provide our children with a future. Isn't that what you want for your family?

Too bad that $10 isn't for after expenses instead of before. then we wouldn't have to deny our families anything they need to survive.

Bonnie Johnson-Allen, Waterville"




Down a penny.

Have a great day and keep cool!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Two weeks ago we wondered.......

......and now we know:


It's garbage day.


(Dumpable Containers only, please!)


63.9 degrees, heading upward again.

WKTV predicts that: "A very mild start to the day today, with some patchy fog. Look for plenty of sunshine this morning with hazy, hot, and humid weather today. High temperatures are expected to be near or above 90 degrees, making it the hottest day of the summer. The humidity will be quite high too. With dewpoints in the mid to upper 60s, the heat index (what it 'feels like') will be in the low 90s for many spots. Not much of a breeze is expected this afternoon. Like yesterday, an isolated shower or thunderstorm is possible with 95% of the area staying high and dry. Another uncomfortable sleeping night tonight with overnight lows only in the upper 60s.

Continued hot and humid weather tomorrow. Temperatures are expected to once again apporach 90 degrees. As a cold front approaches the region, a late day shower or storm is possible.

The cold front will pass through early Wednesday, giving us a better bet for showers and thunderstorms. Cooler weather by the afternoon, with highs near 80."

Oh, that feels good!



A note from Cindy Gallagher to let us know that Roseann (Gallagher) is at Harding's.

"She's recovered nicely from her most recent fall, but is very confused. If anyone wishes to visit, it would be appreciated. She's in Room 408 West."


Sunflowers behind the garage at St. Bernard's Rectory.

Hops at the new Library.


Yesterday afternoon in Bouckville.

The big parking lot was still fairly full ............

........... and the crowds could have been at any seaside resort in summer ........

............ but shops were empty .............

.............. shoppers were weary .......

..... and the only really busy establishments offered either resuscitation or reward!


Favorite photo:

on Main Street in Madison.



There will be a Pop Warner Bottle Drive

next Saturday morning.

Pickups will begin at 9:00!



"The Dairy Farm Crisis"

presented in a way that we can ALL understand
thanks to explanatory help from farmers that we all know!




Have a Great Day, Everyone!

Keep cool!