Rumor has it, as a joke between dairy farmers and urbanites, long-cold winters bring a time for dairy farmers to do nothing. Personally, I like to sit around and eat delicate bon-bons.
Don't I wish?
Of course, we do have a little bit more free time during the cold weather.
Our family likes to challenge each other with games. Russell is the Chess champ. Joey is the Checkers champ. And Steve and I are the champs at trying to figure out how the heck our two boys can whoop our behinds in these games.
Naturally, our favorite family challenge is Monopoly John Deere Monopoly of course. It involves purchasing and selling John Deere equipment and scads of money.
It's a fun educational game for us.
Well it is for Joey, 12, and Russell, 10, anyway. Seems they have a better understanding of business than we give them credit.
Joey is also the John Deere Monopoly champion in our house. He races around the board game scooping up every bit of property he lands on. I don't know how, but he invariably lands on the "big" property.
The 9000-series combine and 9020-series four-wheel-drive tractor are the equivalent of Boardwalk and Park Place on the average Monopoly board.
Whoops of excitement go up when Joey lands on them. And their not whoops from Steve, Russell or me.
As soon as Joey acquires the property, and as soon as he scrounges enough cash (and he is good at scrounging cash), he starts building garages and machine sheds for his hefty equipment and charging his other family members exorbitant amounts for rent.
I think I stink at this game because, I like to own all the antique property, like a John Deere B and walking plow. I also fancy the John Deere periodicals.
Russell just takes what he can get, and in between turns he plays with his semi tractor trailers and race cars rebuilding crashes he has experienced on Need for Speed.
During the game, Joey and Steve will dicker back and forth and try to make deals. I have to watch out for Joey, as sometimes Steve doesn't offer enough money for Joey's properties or tries to squeeze more money out of Joey than he should.
Do I have to wonder where Joey learned his money-grubbing skills?
When we play Monopoly, we set time limits and play the by the short-version rules so we can finish a game is a couple of hours.
This past weekend was no different.
I was the proud owner of the B, the Furrow and all the headquarter buildings.
Russell owned a few properties here and there, but nothing of real value.
Steve owned whatever he landed on, and Joey was the proud owner of his two favorite properties.
Joey was drooling over his combine and tractor.
The only difference during this match was the death of Russell. He was showing us an accident reconstruction and then decided he died. He also declared Joey the soul beneficiary of all his belongings even the cash.
In the end, after calculating all our cash and property values, the results were the same as usual. If Russell hadn't died, he would have come in third; I came in last place; Steve in second and Joey was once again the Monopoly Master-defeating Steve by $101.
I know I have never beaten Joey, and Steve can't recall the last time he creamed Joey.
See there are things to do during the winter. Dairy farmers teach their kids how to be money hounds. So in the future they can afford to buy the best bon-bons.