Friday, July 27, 2007

Another. Hog. Update.

Are you guys getting tired of these updates?
I sure am.

Anyway, I said I would try to post after the last meeting and I didn't. Sorry.
The board of Supervisors, after having a public hearing where we all said our thing, went into executive session so they could privately discuss the matter. This time at the public hearing the cattleman's association, the chamber of commerce, the zoning commission, the county lawyers, a spokesman for Harry Kenobe, and a privately hired lawyer all spoke on behalf of Mr. -------. Those are the big guns here in NE. They are richer than we'll ever be. They are worried that if the board votes against this one hog barn that it will set a precedent against agriculture here in NE. Which is really quite extreme, and not true.

The board voted to basically erase the last decision they made to deny the hog barn, and to table the discussion for two weeks so the lawyers could issue statements. At this point they are, to my understanding, just trying to avoid a lawsuit. The farmers from all over NE are supporting Mr. ------- , and they have money; they are really pressuring the board to approve the barn.

So, it seems like we are going to lose, but that isn't a done deal. Our options appear to be:
  • Sue
  • Move
  • or just put up with it.
Our four year old thinks we should take the house apart, put it and the pool in the truck, drive to Africa, and live there. None of the options before us are particularly desirable. I will not be here for the next meeting(s?) since I am leaving in about two weeks for Ft. Bragg. There is no way to know how long this will go on or what will happen next. I probably won't be posting much about it while gone since I won't have access to the information, but I'll let you know if anything big happens.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Summer heat

Weather flash: It's 94 in the shade here, and very humid. Granted, it's not as hot as Iraq. But it's still hot. We would very much appreciate some rain very soon. Mom's garden is suffering.

Our water pump broke.
We have no drinking water, no hot water, and worst of all, no running water. We can get cold water from the basement, but that's it. We've been washing our hair in buckets; at least, those of us who care about cleanliness have, and have been carrying and heating water on the stove to wash dishes. I would tell you what we are doing with the toilet situation, but I don't think it would be proper to say in such a public spot. The whole situation is annoying, but not too terrible. It looks like it will be fixed by the time I get home from work tomorrow.

Monday, July 16, 2007

hog update and other news

Tonight is our hog meeting before the planning commission. I'm exhausted, but I really want to go. This meeting is going to be big and we'll have a few new tactics going on, and I want to blog about it. Aren't I a dedicated blogger? We are expecting Mr. ------- to maybe have a lawyer there, and have a much much stronger voice about the issue this time around. Everyone is saying he's going to "bring out the big guns." So another late night for me. Just to be clear, this is not our last hog meeting by far. We have no idea how long this will go on. They will probably still be having meetings while I am gone, and maybe when I get back even, if nothing decisive happens, like a court case. Even then, who can say? I know it might sound a little overdone, but this issue has brought a lot of stress int our lives. It can be hard not to get discouraged when thinking about the affects of CAFOs on people, and the subsequent changes we would have to make in our lives if it goes up, for example- moving. So I guess I shouldn't think about it!

On the subject of leaving- I now have less than a month left before I leave for Ft. Bragg. That doesn't seem like a very long time to me! It is scary and exciting to think about leaving home. I know I will really miss my family. It turns out I will be gone for more like three and a half months, rather than two and a half. The return date is still not clear.

On a more lighthearted note, Mom was telling us the other day about the investments she had made and how they were doing (Mom is the family financial dealer) and one of her investments is doing real well- Smith and Wesson. That's good, of course, but we thought it was funny; she only invested in that stock because she thought she was investing in Wesson cooking oil.

Monday, July 2, 2007

More random tidbits

I cut my finger today. I was cutting up a watermelon in a very stupid way. As I was remarking how it pained me, oh the blood, etc., my loving brothers said, "don't you want to be like a lean, mean, Marine?"
Now I wonder where they learned that expression?

I made reese's today- peanut butter and chocolate were made to be together! They have to be kept in the freezer because they melt so rapidly otherwise. And they were calling my name... I could not escape them... in the end I managed to take them out of the freezer, put them all in a plastic bag, and eat two without the boys in the next room even noticing. That's what you have to be careful of- if one boy sees you eat a sweet, they all want to eat one too.

Various topics of conversation

Jeremy keeps us all either laughing or frustrated. Today he asked me a Theological question: can God turn me into food? I am not sure even Seminary would prepare you for that question. Jeremy still has a small bruise where the toilet lid shut on him- another story we laugh at. He spent a lot of the day outside spraying water all over with a plastic spray bottle. So cute!

So the 4th of July is almost here. We are going to the State Capitol for a Christian celebration of our Country's heritage. The ceremony should be wonderful, but I am a little apprehensive about afterwards. Having Jenni gone might be good for me, as far as gaining confidence by being alone in certain situations, but it's sure not fun. It was very depressing to me to be alone on Sunday, especially after various disagreements with friends.

Speaking of Jen, she called yesterday and she is having an awesome time dancing and making new friends. She said pointe class is painful, jazz and modern are easy, praise dance is God-honoring, combinations are good for her, and conditioning class is like ballet boot camp. She said they do lots of push-ups, sit-ups, etc, and they work her so hard her arms shake and she sweats a ton. But she is really having fun being with so many Christian girls who all love ballet.
I miss her!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Hog update

Here is a newspaper article about our last hog meeting:

”One of the most livestock-friendly counties in Nebraska rejected a proposed hog-confinement operation on Tuesday. After hearing complaints from neighbors about potential odor and health problems and damage to property values, the County Board voted 5-2 to reject a proposed 2,496 head wean-to-finish hog barn. Mr. -------, who lives (in a different county), said that he was surprised by the rejection of his hog operations after the first County Planning Board earlier had approved his plan on a 5-1 vote.
"I think they got a little bit scared," ------- said of the County Board. "It's a live stock operation, so it does smell some. But I don't think it would be as bad as what they think."
------- said that shortly after the negative vote, he reapplied for a county conditional use permit to build the hog barn, which would be the first one he owns.
While (our) County is not an officially designated "livestock friendly" county it has been in practice. It ranked No.1 in cattle on feed, 229,321 head, and No.4 in total hogs, 150358, according to the state's most recent agricultural census in 2002.”

The next meeting is two weeks from now, so we’re looking at getting a lawyer and some more support, because we know he will be a whole lot stronger in his denial of our concerns this time around. I guess I am very easily discouraged about this whole issue right now, because a) our county leadership doesn’t seem to care about the issues we brought up last time, b) we live in such an agricultural state that some of our friends and most of our leadership support big hog operations, in all their filth, and especially when it’s your friends opposing, it’s discouraging, and c) I’m missing Jen an whole lot more this week. The longest we’ve been apart before is a week, and it’s been two. I’m starting to feel very lonely. Today was especially bad. But our “We don’t want hogs for neighbors” group met tonight and everyone is still going strong on opposing this thing, so that is a plus. And besides that, God is in charge. Whew!