“Downwind”  Spread across my desk are papers, files, sticky notes, pink “important messages” and other “tools” of this craft know as “being a manager”. My desk serves as a giant “to do” list…if I hide these materials by filing them, they may never see light again, I’m afraid. I “hear” that laptops, pda’s notebooks, and other electronics will lead to a paperless system…riiiggghhhttt. As I allow my eyes to drift across my “to do” list that some people call a desk, it strikes me that the biggest piles of stuff seem to related to what government is doing or going to do to our members.  There is a word used by bureaucrats to describe this “doing” to people…the word is “Regulation”. Bureaucrats like that word. Bureaucrats enjoy that word. Bureaucrats need that word…Regualtion is the backbone of government growth and involvement.  Here are 3 quick examples I see from my vantage point from this old, black chair that I am parked in… There is a note from a member who runs a Day Care saying, in part… “By government r ...

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Manifolds, Manolos and Manure

Several years ago I adopted a massive mean looking Maine Coon cat from my local animal control.  Ignoring his apparent hatred for life insurance salesmen, carpenters and painters he’s actually quite a peach complete with buck-teeth. Since the quiet arrival of my blue-eyed daughter he’s gone from king of the castle and surveyor of his kitty underlings to the occasional pillow, tea partner and “pony-ride” provider.  Like her kitty ‘Monday’ he will tolerate just about anything a two-and-a-half year old can dole out. Each morning before her perpetually late parents manage to creep from bed, my blue-eyed daughter opens her door and calls for her kitty.  While we don’t know exactly what goes on, we’ve founded them curled up asleep, ‘dining’ on muffins prepared in her kitchen and scavenging through her sock drawer.  At the end of last year, my little blue-eyed girl overslept and ‘Xanadau’ sat outside her door just willing it to open. To say that my family and I are animal lovers might be an understatement.  But I ...

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"Downwind" - December 2011

I remember the gold-plated offering plate being handed down the rows of pews…a check, a dollar bill, a handful of coins made the little pile grow as it approached. No one was "keeping score" and yet I had this "guilty" feeling because I was empty handed. Sure, I was only 8 years old. Sure, I did not have a job. The rub was…I knew that I had a piggy bank chock full of money and I had a bank account and years of generous birthday gifts from family members. I felt a hand slip a quarter into my hand…how do Moms know so much…somehow, she knew what I was thinking and came in to rescue me. I know that my Mom and Dad and all of our neighbors gathered at church were not necessarily "well-off" financially but that offering plate was full every Sunday. You’ve gotta love a farming community! I remember my early years of 4-H. As a part of our community service, the club would select a worthwhile charity and members of the club would then seek donations. Our selected charity that first ...

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"Downwind" - November 2011

In the world of Bob, there are two food groups. Large Meat Large Potatoes Sure…a salad here or fruit there is handy to supplement hunger cravings...a bit to tide me over until the next real meal. But don’t try to fool my stomach at meal time with that fluff. My stomach demands substance, a hunk of meat and a chunk of tater. My stomach (I named it Vernon) and I have conversations periodically. Vernon growls, rumbles, and grouses…I interpret those communications for others who may be in the area, listening. Vernon is most vocal at 11:00 a.m., 4:00 p.m., and 10:00 p.m. The other day, Vernon expressed outrage at the USDA and the agency’s efforts to limit the numbers of potato servings consumed by school children on a weekly basis to a measly, little two occasions per week. Vernon said (I quote), "What are they thinking? Potatoes are essential for life, a true comfort food, and so satisfying! Potatoes have been good enough for Rohrer’s for generations and look at us…no u ...

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"Downwind" - October 2011

"Farm families do the best they can with what they’ve got"… That mantra captures a philosophy that spans the centuries from the time when early man decided to plant a seed in the ground or to domesticate a wild boar or harness a wild ox. More seeds, more wild boars, more oxen meant more labor needs…and creating one own labor force was many times the most inexpensive way to fill this labor need. Thus, agriculture has had a long history of kids helping on the farm. As a child, raised on a farm, I did not know anything different than having certain responsibilities, chores, jobs, and duties. We were a small, struggling farm and everyone was expected to do his or her part. I was the oldest of five kids and was, therefore, the first to do most everything related to farmwork. That is why it seemed perfectly natural to be placed on a small loader tractor at age x#@$% by my father to assist him in moving equipment from one location to another . The fact that my legs were not long nor strong en ...

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"Downwind" - September 2011

I must be a local foodie because… The Rohrer’s planted a garden this year! It is not a big garden which was probably good. I have this habit of under estimating the time and energy it takes to handle such projects! A small garden was manageable for this underachiever. (It is appropriate to remind the readers that my family kicked me off the farm for being a farming menace). Our garden was a "reclaimed" area that once proudly featured beautiful flowers…then "Bob" bought the property and the flowers beauty faded away. Frequently this summer, I felt as if those perennial flowers, which previously occupied the area, went to the dark side and became noxious weeds. I am still "weeding" those flowers out of the vegetable garden. The Rohrer Victory Garden (I call it a "victory" because some vegetables actually grew) is less than ideal…a large pine tree borders the eastside, a 4 ft retaining wall borders the north side, a garage wall borders the westside, and a patch of lawn and a house wall ...

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"Downwind" - August 2011

Life is different now-a-days. Recently, there was a major storm (on July 11th, 2011) that swept across the area, knocking out power to over 800,000 ComEd customers including the Cook County Farm Bureau building. With everything today being related to computers, we were virtually shut down…we did get creative by using a blackberry device to run the membership database to assist and serve our members…5 minutes to look up a membership does not cut it these days, however. How different this is from when I was kid. The only "bases" I cared about is those days related to baseball. And yes, we played baseball outdoors, not online! How different youth sports are today in so many ways…sure my kids play baseball but somehow, baseball today requires "a signup registration", volunteer fee, uniform, helmets, a $300 bat, cleats, batting gloves, a donut, and specialized gear designed by the position one wants to play. Oh yeah, kids also need a schedule of when and who they play. I ...

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"Downwind" - July 2011

A friend of mine and I have decided to start our own Country. There is probably a lot of paperwork involved but it may be worth it…Don’t get me wrong…We love the Red, White and Blue, it’s just some of the people here. The name of our Country will be BobandChuckland…or maybe it will be ChuckandBobland…it really matters not to either of us. We decided that the form of government will be "assigned benevolent dictatorship." My fellow dictator and I will be working each "half time." I know some of you are thinking "Why doesn’t Bob go start a Country without a partner" so that he can carry full-time dictator status? Must I remind you that being a Dictator is a 24 hour per day gig…there are no coffee breaks, downtime, nor relaxation when you are dictating all the time. Being a half-time "benevolent dictator" will allow me to have downtime to play golf, learn video games, and read "foreign" novels from those American writers. When starting as your own C ...

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Downwind - September 2005

I’ve heard a rumor (a story without confirmation and fact) and feel it is my duty to pass it on to all the members of Cook County Farm Bureau. The rumor I heard, from an excellent source for rumors, was that farmers will be "fine" despite the drought this summer because the government "will be paying them". However, I don’t believe this rumor is complete, so I’ve added to it…the government will also be buying for farmers new John Deere tractors and will be sending the farmers and family to Florida for a 3-month farming sabbatical. As a bonus, farmers with Crop Insurance will be paid twice.

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