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Category: Other Things

Reflecting On The Past Decade

It goes fast, what did you do with it?

Each year I have a habit of looking back at the year and reflecting on the major accomplishments and failures. However, 2019 was an exceptional year, and I am sure I ‘m not the only one who is glad to see it go.

Not much went as planned for those of us that work in agriculture. Let’s be honest, there weren’t that many wins in 2019 and since we are at the end of a decade, I thought I’d put together a list of my personal and professional accomplishments and failures for the past 10 years.

In no particular order, they are:

Built 3 new houses

Moved 5 times

Increased our family size by 25%

Managed the build of a really bad website

Learned how to build WordPress websites

Built 3 more websites

Started 3 businesses, closed one

Developed a consumer line of fertilizers

Developed branding for a new ag fertilizer brand

Lead the rebranding of a fertilizer company

Wrote close to 1000 blog articles

Produced over a dozen videos

Hired 8 people, inherited 4 more

Had 3 people quit

Had to let go of 3 people

Taught one child to ride his bike, the other refuses to learn

Developed many new friendships

Sold a company

Bought a farm (follow my progress at )

Took my only consecutive 2-week vacation

Ended a 750,000-mile driving stretch with an epic car wreck

That is my truck in the side (nobody was hurt)

Got two full-time jobs and a bunch of contract work through my network/social media

Got fired for the first time

Resigned from a company

Help launch an award-winning agriculture app (check it out at

Got a dog

This is Scout the day we got her

Grew my personal social following to almost 5000 contacts

Founding member of a trade association

Board member on a couple of industry associations

Lost two grandparents

Became a Cub Scout leader

Rebuilt a shed

Hired an ad agency

Fired an ad agency

Told I was bad at marketing (many times)

Told I was great at marketing (many times)

Told I was bad at sales (many times)

Told I was great at sales (many times)

Moved a company’s server and data to the cloud

Personally only use the cloud

Rode in RAGBRI

Lead and completed an ERP install

Finished two basements

Created an agricultural email marketing list of over 4000 people

Developed a web promotion that went viral and in 24 hours had a 10,000 person email marketing list (consumer products)

Spent approximately 1/3 of the past 10 years in a hotel

Was asked by my oldest, “How come you only live here on the weekends”

Lost 30 lbs

Gained 30 lbs.

Had the most helpful boss

Had the least helpful boss

Went 100% digital

Went back to reading paper books and taking paper notes

Coached youth baseball and soccer

I am sure I am forgetting many, many more failures and few wins. Looking back at the past decade, as a whole, though, there were many more ups than downs. As tough as 2019 was, I have to say the past decade was really amazing and I am looking forward to the next one.

Thank you to everyone that was a part of the wins and the loses. Hit me up on Twitter or LinkedIn and let me know what your 3 biggest accomplishments of the past decade were.

Oh, and Happy New Year!!

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Agriculturalist Christmas Presents

If you are looking for a Christmas gift for that special someone in your life, maybe a farmer. Or perhaps an acreage owner, or a ruralist that just enjoys country living, here are 5 recommendations.

These are based on my experience living on an acreage for the last 15 years. Merry Christmas!

1. EGO Power+ Battery Powered Chain Saw

This is my favorite purchase for my farm in the last year! It always starts, you don’t have to mix fuel and oil. It doesn’t leak gas on you, there are no fumes and almost no noise.

This thing is amazing! It’s perfect for trimming trees along fence lines or around the yard. Each charge lasts about 20-minutes of cut time. If you want to cut all-day, get a couple of extra batteries. You can get one with a battery and charger for $279.

2. EGO Power+ Extra Battery

I have 3 batteries and I usually run out of gas before the three batteries are out of power. If that special someone in your life has EGO tools than they’ll love getting another battery and charger. At $145, its a small price to pay to not have to deal with gas cans.

350 Lb Tow Behind Spreader

If you have more than an acre of lawn and apply fertilizer throughout the year, a high capacity spreader is a must. Since most of your time will be driving back to the shed to dump 50 lbs bags, these large spreaders save a bunch of time! While pricey at $599.99 + Shipping, it’ll outlast that chain store spreader that’s built for city yards.

Logitech Farm Simulator Bundle

When it gets too cold and nasty to go out and run the real equipment, keep your operator skills sharp with this heavy equipment bundle. Compatible with PC or PS4 for Farming Simulator 19 features realistic operations. At $249.99 it’s less than the cost of a service call. A small price to pay to stay in field-ready condition.

Snappy Grips

Where have these been my whole life? Why has no one ever told me about these? One spring I moved 5 tons of landscaping rock with 5-gallon buckets. Snappy Grips will make a great stocking stuffer for anyone that uses 5-gallon buckets to feed or water livestock or move stuff around. They’ll fit anyone’s budget at only $10.50 + shipping.

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What Did Kevin’s Dad Do?

Happy Thanksgiving!What Kevin McAllister's dad did

Even before Thanksgiving people were posting the popular meme, What Kevin McAllister’s dad did.  It’s floated around for a few years and now that we are officially to the Holiday season, I am curious. I did a little research, discovered the value of the house, what the current owner does, how much it costs to maintain it, what you might have to make and backed into a couple of jobs. Here is the breakdown.

The House Today

For simplicity and not wanting to deal with inflation, let’s look at the house today.

Today the house has an estimated market value from the Cook County Assessors of $1.5 million. The median price of a home in the suburban Chicago town of Winnetka is $992,500. The median income in the neighborhood is $218,542. Oh, and in 2015, Winnetka was the second richest town in America.

The current owner works in Finance. He has been a CFO of a bank and is currently a partner at a financial advisory service. Dare I say a prominent businessman. Trust me on this, to maintain their privacy I have omitted the research links.

What it would take to own it today

If you bought that house for $1.5 Million and put $300K down, then your payment would be about $6,300 per month. Don’t forget another $1600 per month for taxes and insurance.

The house is 4,243 square feet and built in 1920. It’s really big and really old, close to 100 years old, so they’ll be plenty of upkeep. For maintenance, upkeep and cost of utilities, you’ll need to tack on another $3000 per month.

Oh, don’t forget lawn care, a gardener and exterior decorator to replicate those sweet Christmas lights from the movie.

Better plan on $11K per month just to own and properly maintain the McAllister’s House.

So how much did Kevin’s dad make?

Since Peter (Kevin’s dad) was able to take his whole extended family on vacations and was pretty chill throughout the movie, I am guessing he wasn’t house poor or worried about making ends meet.  Based on that, let’s say his mortgage and total cost of keeping the home was only 1/3 his take-home pay.

That would mean he is bringing in $33K per month after taxes or $396,000 per year. That’s $575,000 pretax, in today’s money.

So what did he do?

Today a CFO in Winnetka, IL could make $300,000 to $485,000 and a CEO would range from $625K to $1 million, according to Before doing any research, I would have guessed Peter was a CEO or CFO or perhaps a business owner. In fact, according to Todd Strasser who wrote the novel based on the movie, Peter is a prominent businessman and Kate (Kevin’s mom) is a fashion designer. Today a fashion desginer in Winnetka could make around $100K per year.

It’s completely plausible that Peter and Kate could have a combined income of $575K or more, live in that huge house, the whole reason Harry and Marv started working the block, and a Paris vacation for everyone.

Keep the change ya filthy animal.


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