Let’s look at the current local observations.
Gasoline is having multiple personality issues. Depending on the station and the day, it’s either $3.18 or $3.30/gallon. A given station’s price moves around seemingly at random, but only to one of the two prices. Diesel is a bit different, Seems like I remember that at $3.80 or so per gallon, but as I don’t own a diesel, I don’t keep a careful eye on it.
The good folks at Summit Racing have dropped a significant amount of my favorite motor oils on me. I have enough oil at this point to far outlast my gas supply. Speaking of gas, that’s been topped off. 93 octane, non-ethanol with Stabil added. I know a lot of folks prefer Pri-G, but I find Stabil works and it’s easier to dose with.
Son has decided that he no longer likes the Toyota Camry Hybrid we gifted him, as it has popped the dreaded P0A80 “Replace Hybrid Battery” code. Given his other car is a Dodge Challenger Scat Pack (6.4l of utterly debugged V-8 goodness) and with current gas prices and the expected rise in same, I think he’s guilty of not thinking things through, but he’s a big boy and that’s his issue. I’ll have the battery replaced, clean it up and we’ll have an inexpensive but high MPG vehicle for our longer drives.
Grocery stores have more and more holes on their shelves. Certain things are short everywhere, such as diet soda and Gatorade, especially G2. This week’s trip revealed that saltine crackers were out at one store. At another, it was non-Halloween oriented candy. This time around, what stores had they seemed to have in decent quantity (as in, the shelf was nearly full), but they aren’t even trying to fill in the gaps. Prices are up a bit more. Transient inflation at work.
Amazon seems to be having delivery issues. Some items are being delivered by UPS again, rather than their own delivery arm. The Prime 2 day shipping only works about 1/3 of the time, at least for what I’ve ordered. However, they usually have what you’re looking for.
We still have a couple of Christmas gifts to buy, for for all realistic purposes, that’s done. As has become my custom, stocking stuffers are practical, while gifts may or may not be. I noticed that 2 of 3 kids’ wish lists this year were more practical items than not. Son’s was more anime oriented.
I note that there are a number of houses with wood piles where wood piles either have not been in recent years or I have never noticed them. Some people are listening. I did see the first house with smoke coming from the chimney today as I was returning home from hauling trash. Given it was 60o, I wouldn’t be using wood now, given the current situation and the potential for that “long, cold, dark winter” that is the current talk. I’m hoarding my wood not for when electricity is expensive, but when it isn’t available. Otherwise, the heat pump can handle things. Ours is relatively new and pretty efficient. It can make reasonable heat until it’s in the mid-20s. After that, it’s those 10kw heat strips. Or I build a fire.
Now let’s go a bit into things I’ve seen in the past 3-4 weeks that haven’t gelled until now.
I’ve seen two instances of people living in RVs on a piece of land. One I noticed almost a month ago, but I wasn’t sure of the status until today. The other I saw last week. I don’t know for sure but I assume they both are accessing power and water from the local utilities and sewer via a septic tank. No solar panels are visible. I’ve also seen several parked in side or back yards that are being used as housing. Those I assume are are occupied members of the family who owns the house.
New housing construction has been shut off like someone threw a switch. There are no new starts, although that could be because we’re moving into winter. The very few still under construction seem to be moving forward very slowly. A couple of once-derilict house are being rehabbed.
Restaurants are not getting the amount of business they were in warmer weather. I don’t think this is due to the season or the weather. I think people are trying to conserve money. Sitting down for dinner in the dining room, we would always see delivery vehicles going down the road, and now they are few and far between.
Roads are increasingly potholed, and the holes aren’t getting fixed. Road repaving has also slowed way down.
And now for something to hopefully wake some folks up.
Remus always warned us to “avoid crowds”. A lot of people will tell you to avoid cities. Crowds and cities are dangerous and getting more so by the day. But there are people out there who think that “oh, but I live in a small town, so it’s all good.” Allow me to tell you that “It ain’t necessarily so”.
Bitty Burg, as I call it, is a small city of 20,000 or so. Located between two metro areas, it long ago lost the furniture and textile businesses that were the backbone of the place since forever. The big plan now is to promote it as an up-and-coming place where Gens X-Z can buy an inexpensive home and have access to neo-yuppy bars and restaurants. It seems to be working, much to the Camber of Commerce’s pleasure. The problem is, these twits bring their liberal-to-Leftist politics with them.
Bitty Burg’s diversity hire city manager celebrated the removal of our Confederate memorial statue last summer. She thought it was a great thing. I also suspect her hand in the lack of action on the part of the Bitty Burg PD when BLM and Antifa were causing issues just before the election. Now she’s persuaded the city council to hire a DEI officer. Yes, Diversity, Inclusion and Equity are going to be official city policy. What’s left of the local newspaper just gushed over it. If you’ve paid any attention to how well such things have worked out in the big cities, you know how it will work out here in a smaller venue. I’m grateful that I do not live in the city limits, and thanks to a Republican-controlled legislature, a few years ago the annexation laws were changed so that any non-voluntary annexation must be approved by a majority of voters in the annexation area. Since then, I don’t believe one non-voluntary annexation has gone through in North Carolina. I’m not sure one has even been attempted. I’m pretty sure none would pass around here.
However, we here at The Freehold are not safe. Neither are you, no matter what small town or red state you live in. Please get that thought out of your head NOW. For us in North Carolina, the only reason we’re still reddish-purple is that our Republican legislature has been the ones to redraw the voting maps the last couple of times. Leftist activists are having more success than I’m comfortable with in the courts fighting those efforts and are close to forcing the Republicans to redraw the maps in ways that will inevitably lead to this state turning blue. We’re trying to get conservative judges elected and have had some success, but that plan is slow in working. It may not work. The statistical work has been done, and although I can’t find it on the web (I know that web searches are all being “modified” and I need to start bookmarking more things like that), I remember it noting that the outcome of the governor’s race and a couple of others are high suspect. I have not doubt that such shenanigans will occur again.
I’m not a fan of bugging out if TSHTF, but in this case, I’m looking at alternatives. Southwest Virginia was always attractive, but since Virginia has fallen, it’s off the list. (Spare me the current election, no matter who wins. Once a state has went blue and passed a bunch of anti-freedom laws, those laws will never be revoked and the danger of it voting blue again is very high.) Tennessee is a possibility. I would say West Virginia due to family connections, but it has a distressing welfare habit and a tendency to vote blue because of that. Florida might be a possibility. Georgia is out for the same reason as Virginia. Alabama might be a possibility, and I need to look into that further. Anything that is more distant than that will never be a possibility. Honestly, I doubt that Mrs. Freeholder will move at all unless the kids move first. So I’m going to keep working to Keep NC Red-ish.
I’m already way long and supper will be on the table shortly. See to your preps and situational awareness. Out here.