This is Bistek al la Mexicana a common dish found many places. There are several places I get this some better than others but all real decent! Kind of a tomato based sauce with generally pretty tender pieces of beef and a fair amount of it. The rice is pretty generic but the frijoles can be something else. This also includes as many fresh made in front of you tortillas you want and brought to you with a smile. Something like this costs around 50-60 pesos or $3. The squeezed as you watch orange juice is 20 and brings the price up a bit but worth it. Nothing in the States I've ever had compares to this not even close plus it'll cost 7-10 smacks. I don't know what I'm going to eat when I return. It will be an adjustment as I do this so much that is go into Puerto Vallarta on the south side and have me a excellent lunch with "real" Mexican food not the slop I get back there. I do not plan on eating out much at all only at maybe three select places. Pricey yes but worth it because it's so good. I threw away so much money last summer eating way overpriced shitty food. Several times the food got thrown away as well. The whole of Mexico is an eating machine I tell you. I'm gonna miss this.

I feel good and and think the higher temps and humidity contributes to that. It's the same every time. After a month or two you realize and say " Hey I feel pretty damn good!"

Just as important I believe the food made fresh with wholesome fresh ingredients as well contributes to that. Get off the bus in town the food smells everywhere make me hungry just like that.


Post for High Country News

Written 4/07

This is a picture of an ethanol plant. There are many of these in the area with quite a few others being planned and the ones in operation many of which are being expanded. I bring this up because the dynamics of this area will affect all of our pocketbooks. Last July(2006) we heard of recent land sales that were far higher than what was the norm of 3500 to $4000 an acre. We were not sure whether this was a fluke or not but what I found out this time is that it is not a fluke. Land is selling for that amount and has risen from that lower figure in a very short period of time. Cousin Jay has listed his 80 for $5,400 an acre. There was a recent land sale west of West Bend for $6,000 an acre. It is true that speculators from Chicago are buying land for the asking price sight unseen. The ethanol plant in Emmetsburg uses 100,000 bushels of corn a day. Palo Alto County which has some of the best land in the world cannot produce enough grain for this plant. This fall corn prices which traditionally were below two dollars a bushel went to four dollars a bushel in the same short time land prices escalated. Some operators have contracted two years out at $4.30 a bushel. When I left corn prices had dropped to about $3.50 a bushel. One of the benefits from the production of ethanol is that the byproduct can be fed to cattle at a 30% of the total amount of feed and that does help. The problem is some of these cattle get half drunk and go into town on Saturday night and raise hell. Said this in jest but today 1/27/08 this article suggests feeding this material may be the reason for so many e-coli outbreaks.

The reason I bring this up is that in the very near future the beef and pork you buy will be more expensive how much more is unclear. Right now there is tremendous competition between ethanol plants and the beef and pork producers. For some of these plants grain will have to be transported rather large distances. Greg's wife Lisa runs a supply center for one of the several companies that operates hog confinement operations in the area. Until recently this facility serviced 28 different operations. Recently that number has changed to 60.(it's now close to 80) When I say operation I mean this. Most operations consist of at least two buildings with many having three and there are some that I have seen that have four. Each building contains 1800 to 2200 hogs. In Iowa at county level these confinement centers cannot be denied and all permitting is done at the state level. It does not take much imagination to understand the problems that develop from the magnitude of this business. When the people who are involved in this as conservative as they are state that they are unclear on how all this will play out in the end you can be assured there is cause for concern.


  1. When even "Screamin'" Jim Cramer is calling ethanol "a fuel with no future," I think it's safe to say this fad won't last long.

    I'm very fond of saying that when it comes to our farmland, we can have food or fuel, but not both.

    I wonder how many people-- especially children-- will have to starve in this Country, before we return to our senses, and change our ways?

    I worry about our future, and am busy converting my two-acre yard in West Tennessee into a micro-farm.


  2. Monkeyfister- I agree and you made the right choice with your land. To think that not that long ago each section of land had four homesteads that compared to now were self sufficient in many ways. That changed when corporations and the government became involved plus the failure of farmers to organize to enable them to have some control over crop prices led to the demise of the small farmer. I saw the end of that era and a much different world it is now and truely believe it is a extreme negative. Soon I plan on doing a post on the high number of ballrooms there were in the cornfields some of which are still there. The house I grew up in is still there and still being lived in which is not the norm. A youg man from Tennessee has worked with us the last two seasons. Like this young man a lot and has a work ethic pass all.