LAKE MACBRIDE— People have been talking about the coming storm like they never experienced an Iowa winter. Yes, we should be safe… but what else? On wintery days, I drive Jacque in to work so she doesn’t have to broom the snow from her automobile after her shift. While back at home waiting, I’ll make a dinner to be heated up when she returns, and begin garden planning. There are about 50 kinds of seeds including 36 purchased this year to be plotted out on a chart, but first, dinner.
We make chili in big batches. To use some of the leftovers, we make a dish called Pecos Pasta. It is simple. Take a cup of dried elbow macaroni and prepare according to the instructions. Drain the noodles and pour back into the pot. Add one quart of leftover chili, one cup frozen cut corn, and heat until the mixed begins to boil. Turn the heat down to low simmer, and top the dish with shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Cover with a lid and heat thoroughly until the cheese melts.
I’ll drink a beer with Pecos Pasta when we have them, but last year’s case is long gone, so water will suffice (Note to self: put a quart of cider in the refrigerator). A quick and tasty meal that satisfies as the wind howls outside.
Only two dates are sacrosanct in our garden: March 2 and July 25. The former is when “Belgian lettuce” is planted, or as soon as the ground can be worked thereafter. The idea is to broadcast last year’s leftover lettuce seeds and see what germinates. I don’t know why it is called Belgian, except that’s what my maternal grandmother called it. The latter date is when to plant the fall crop of turnips. In our garden, turnip greens are a primary crop used to make soup stock by the gallon. Besides those dates and crops, everything else need looking up and planned. There is plenty of work to keep me busy until the end of her shift.
This morning I began working on our income taxes, and it looks like we sent in enough early payments last year to receive a small refund. I report all of our income and pay taxes on it— some don’t, but I do. As a self employed writer and farm worker, my business tax rate is 15.3 percent of 92.35 percent of income. For example, if I earn $1,000 dollars, the tax rate applies to $923.50 and amounts to $141.30, or 14.13 percent of the total.
The Internal Revenue Service began doing this to capture people who work like employees, but are considered to be independent contractors by the company from whom they are compensated. Seems to me they could be chasing some of those corporations who make the big bucks and pay no taxes instead of folks like us trying to get by. In the end, our overall federal tax rate, including the business tax, was 4.7 percent of total income, so not much to complain about here. It is well worth it to participate in our society.