We’re battening down the hatches prior to the coming of Tropical Storm Claudette, which will be a tropical depression by the time it fights its way across the South to reach us. We’re going to be on what’s known as the back side of the storm, and about the only thing we’ll get is rain, somewhere in the 1-2″ range. It’s been rather dry here, and we could use it. No word if the Karens have stripped every grocery store in the storm’s path of toilet paper.
To address an item from our last report: Gas prices remain high at most locations across the area. There are some stations that have reduced the price, but $2.90/gallon seems to be where things have settled. I guess the excuse is the Fourth of July now.
The ATV repairs have advanced to a new fuel pump and fuel gauge plus pulling the tank off for a through cleaning. The old pump was rusted in its gasoline bath, as did the fuel gauge (which lives in the tank), and the gauge has shed some unknown amount of crap into the tank. Since I run non-ethanol fuel in it, I have to assume that at some point I got a lot of condensation in the tank. The fuel valve may need to be replaced as well. Something is clogging the fuel path and all the fuel I get at the new pump (by gravity) is the barest trickle. Fun times.
We continue to rebuild and add to our food supply. It took another trip to the meat packer to complete refilling the freezer. We’re working out what we can bring in by way of canned goods and food items that are lower in carbs. We have plenty of carbs stored, and in an extreme situation we’ll want them, but you have to plan for less extreme situations, too. And this stuff isn’t going to get any cheaper or more available any time soon.
I’m also adding to the medical supplies. I figure that being able to take care of more things ourselves, versus having to trot off to the doc-in-the-box, assuming we can get in at all, is a Good Thing. I need to find some hand-on training classes nearby sometime soon.
I’ve been traveling around this part of the state the past couple of weeks, and I’ve seen some interesting things. A area to the southwest of us has nothing but fallow fields. They look as if they’ve been Roundup-ed and then left. Areas to the north and east are totally planted in corn-not a bean field in sight. Some of those fields look like they’re suffering from lack of water, but others are fine. It’s the hit-and-miss nature of summer thunderstorms, I suppose.
And while I was driving, I saw a “Trump 2024” flag flying in front of a house. This isn’t going away, Democrats.
From talking to friends and acquaintances, it appears that more and more people are getting the message that random and ongoing shortages are now a thing, and they’re starting to at least *talk about* stocking up on various items. While I’d like to see everyone get the message and act on it, if they do and all go shopping at once, the stores will empty out again, and getting them refilled will not be as easy this time.
“Help Wanted”. That sign is everywhere, from restaurants and fast food joints to manufacturing concerns. For whatever reasons, jobs, all sorts of jobs, aren’t being filled. Son, the fabricator/welder, says his workplace is having a hard time getting welders. They also had a plasma cutter catch fire, and it took 3 weeks to get that repaired. They are several months behind on production at this point.
In sad news, Son-In_Law’s grandmother died last week. She was nearly 90 and had been in declining health for some time. It had gotten bad recently, and after one procedure more than she wanted to deal with, she decided that she was ready to go meet her Lord and maker. He was pretty upset; he’s not lost anyone important to him in his memory. But he’s keeping busy and everyone is supporting him and his family. We’ll be having a combined family Father’s Day cook out at his parents.
In ham radio news, I was able to pick up an amplifier (Ameritron ALS-1300) along with the automatic band switching gear and a high power antenna tuner (MFJ-998). I’m not a big MFJ fan, but these are known to have been working, so, given what I payed, I’m OK with them. The former owner and his wife both had to enter an assisted living facility unexpectedly, and his family had to get the house cleaned out in a hurry-it sold in 3 days and for over the asking price. The contents of the home were going at fire sale prices. The home is in excellent condition and the new owners want in right away.
I worked a VE (Volunteer Examiner) test session today, and we created 4 new hams with their Technician license. One took a chance and successfully upgraded to General. One current Tech tested for General but didn’t make it. I’m glad to see folks continuing to get into the hobby. And it’s a great skill and gear set to have it things get well-and-truly bad.
Speaking of homes and the selling of, the most recent home to go up for sale in our subdivision seems to have sold in 2 weeks. There are very few houses available around here, and if it’s for sale long, bet on it having huge issues. Major issues only delay the sale a couple of weeks. Given that we don’t live in a metro area, I find this a bit disconcerting.
I subscribe to several weekly newsletters on the topic of economics. They’re free, and of course they’re meant to drum up business, but they still have a fair bit of meat in them. This week’s “On My Radar” from Steve Blumenthal is particularly interesting. The prevailing trend from everyone I read is that “the market is very overvalued”, but that every indicator points to a continued bull market. The consensus opinion on inflation is that there will be short-term inflation, followed by a mid-term break, followed by long-term inflation of a pernicious sort.
I’m not investing at this point, and probably never will again, except in very small ways. But things are pointing at a long-term downtrend that is going to be very painful. And that plays into those what are preaching “new dark age”. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I can tell you this isn’t how I saw my old age playing out. I had figured something more along the lines of a trainer for the Swedish Bikini Team. Or maybe a greeter at Walmart, but I figure that job will go to a robot soon.
My neighbor brought me a couple of slices of egg custard pie a few minutes ago, so if you’ll forgive me, I have a date. More when there’s enough to make it worth telling.