Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Taxes, drought and raiding the international cookie jar

Tick tock. Is anyone else waiting for their tax refund?

Like everybody else I know, the drought last summer put the big kibosh on my hay budget.
I don't have the space to store more than 2 months of hay or I would have stocked up last summer when I had the cash. But I don't (have the space) and I didn't (stock up), so
now I'm down to the end of my last delivery. And because of extraordinarily poor timing on my part, also the end of my cash.

Tick tock IRS, where are you?

It'll be a race to the finish line. What will get here first? My federal refund? My state refund? The payout from the investment funds I cashed in just to buy hay (oy)? Or that sorry last bale?

Coincidently, I was searching some boxes this afternoon for something else and found...drum roll please...CASH. Yep, how great is that? The only's all foreign.

Still, cash is cash right? This particular cash comes with a trip down memory lane. It's left over from various trips and phases of my life, dating all the way back to my college exchange student days in Sweden...and that my friends, was a while ago. I've held on to it all these years, because it's just as easy to toss the dribs and drabs of leftover foreign currency in a drawer when you get home than it is to go to the bank and get it exchanged. I don't travel much these days, particularly not abroad, so I'd lost track of the drawer, which apparently had migrated to a box, probably in one move or another. Looks like it added up over the years.

 I found enough foreign currency to buy somewhere between 15-20 bales of hay. Woohoo. That's a week's worth of eatin' for the ponies and goats. Surely by the time they work their way through what we have left now and what we can buy with this foreign stuff, Uncle Sam will have ponied up.

So, just for fun, here's what foreign currency will get you on a farm in the American Midwest.

Swedish Kronor from my exchange student days = 3-4 bales of hay

Sweden was a life changing experience for this kid from the South.

Moroccan Dirham from a conference in Marrakech = 2-3 bales of hay 

Marrakech was fascinating, but the conference was a drag and I spent the whole time worrying about my dog at home, who often refused to leave the house when I travelled.      

Canadian Dollars = 4-5 bales of hay. God bless our friends to the north. 

These could have come from any number of trips. In recent years it's become so easy to use credit cards abroad, that I sometimes get cash when I arrive and then don't even use it.

Euros = 7 bales of hay. 

I have absolutely no memory of when or where I got these, but yay Europe! 

Norwegian Kronor and Italian Lire = nada

The lire are worth about 70 cents.


Lots of British pence and pound coins, Russian rubles, Cyprian something (sorry Cyprus, too lazy to look you up right now), and who knows what else. US banks don't take foreign coins, so none of this is edible.

Strangely missing are any British bills. I lived there for nearly two years in the '90s, but I must have gotten used to spending out the bills.

Oh sad. That's a whole bale of Canadian hay, maybe two right there. If I remember correctly, this hay was eaten by the same dog who wouldn't leave the house while I was gone. Trying to tell me something Bo? Miss you buddy.

So that's what a week's worth of hay looks like.

I'll gladly take the hay and keep this post as a digital souvenir of all those trips.


  1. Jeez, I hope the tax refunds get to you before the international cookie jar hay is gone. What a windfall though, that's a LOT of hay!

  2. Ha! Great post & great find! Who said the Euro is doomed? You've got HAY from it!