Last week was a very physical week here

with lots of hay/feed moving and equipment wrestling and hog wrangling and other on-the-farm livestock sports that make me look forward to down time. But desk time was also had, with a lot of time put into creating a break-even spreadsheet for the garden area. Oddly enough, that particular spreadsheet is turning out to be one of our biggest, in terms of the types of inputs which can potentially go into any one planting bed, any one year. Thing is turning into a monster. But I have slated today and tomorrow to be “easy days” where I can get enough desk time to finish that particular project, after which point I’ll post it for all you folks who want to figure out how much your home-grown tomatoes are going to cost you this year. PS – Jan, once again your household and ours are working in parallel. We decided this year to limit our gardening work to crop types we know have succeeded in the past, and even then we’re going to limit our growing goals. Instead, we’re going to focus on bed renovation and getting all the stored compost out there. That’ll make for some very happy earthworms and perhaps a faster startup next year.

We are doing something new with the household and farm budgets for March. After a lot of discussion we’ve come to the conclusion that the method we’re currently using of allocating our various sources of income, needs to change. We’re equally unhappy with how money comes in, is deposited in this or that account, how it is transferred back and forth and ultimately where it “lives”. A lot of excess movement there, and each of those movements is one more darn thing we have to keep track of. So part of my tasks this week will be to brainstorm different ways to allocate funds. I’m not talking about changing $$$ amounts to each of the categories, per se. But rather which account(s) are used for various income, working money and savings. DH is very suspicious of automated withdrawals and transfers, and I guess I can’t blame him after my experience with Chase. But we need more efficient money movement because our current approach has become a weekly, time consuming chore. I’m not sure how that’ll go but we’re going to brainstorm different ideas and come up with something new between now and March. We’ll see how that works out.

Also, this coming weekend we’re going to attend a farm finances conference in our area, which should be interesting. Keeping in mind that the American agriculture community as a whole has become woefully dependent on credit, we may go to this conference and hear nothing but “borrow borrow borrow” for eight hours. In which case we’ll just quietly come home and think to ourselves we still prefer DR. What I’m hoping for instead, will be some discussion of how to manage things like cash flow and working capital and when is an expense really an investment, and how to proactively plan for those such that finances become another tool in the toolbox, rather than a dreaded topic that drags us around by the collar. Not sure what to expect from that conference, but it’ll be interesting from the small business end of things. I promise not to come home with a new line of credit from the Farm Bureau. If I am somehow bewitched into getting one, y’all have my permission and invitation to come up here and flog me good.