Report from the OP, January 15, 2022

Today, in the Piedmont area of North Carolina, all eyes are on the weather. After two winters of no winter precipitation other than cold rain, we’re due for 3-5″ of snow, followed by some sleet and 1/3-1/2″ of freezing rain. As usual, people are losing their minds.

Life’s much easier if you’re a prepper. While we did top off our gas tanks, check run the generator and make a trip to the grocery store (which had to be made anyway), I feel no sense of dread. Oddly enough, I’m wondering what I must have missed, but can’t come up with a thing.

Son came over Thursday to help me install the plow blade on the John Deere lawn tractor, and I knew we would need some nylon bushings, so off to the local hardware store. I think I may have been the only person not buying a kerosene heater or sled. I’m looking forward to trying the plow out. It’s an ABS plastic plow from Nordic Plow. I’ve owned it for a couple of years, and I’d like to finally give it a try. I picked it because of it’s more generic attachment system, light weight and low price. I don’t see the need to put a lot of money into something that gets used every couple of years. If the forecast keeps moving in the current direction, toward ice and away from snow, it may not get used this year either.

As you might expect, the grocery store was a hot mess. Items like bread, milk and convenience foods were hammered. We managed to get milk, but it was the 2% stuff. Oddly enough, beer was well stocked. Ah, for the days when I could have ethanol with my snowstorms.

But it was the things that don’t usually sell out in these situations that I noticed. Rice and dried beans, peanut butter, baby formula and pet food were all in very short supply. Meat was short and expensive, poultry was almost gone and expensive. Pork, however, was in good supply-and expensive. Seeing a trend here?

Last week we hit the local Walmart for groceries and sundries. On the grocery side, it was much better supplied than it has been recently. The obvious fronting of stock wasn’t going on for the most part. They seem to be just leaving the holes and really there weren’t that many holes.

The subject of propane prices came up with some folks this week. Those of us on contracts fortunately have our prices locked in, but those who don’t are singing the blues. Gas prices have also went up 10¢ in the last 48 hours. I know propane prices have to do with energy issues in Europe, but I have heard nothing so far about why gas would be going up this time.

Construction, which had showed some signs of picking up, has slowed down. Part of that is seasonal, but I have to wonder how much is due to materials costs forcing people and companies to delay work hoping that prices come down.

My next door neighbor, who is also a ham radio guy, had his only transceiver go dead on him last weekend. He really wanted a Kenwood TS-590SG to replace it, but there were none to be had online. He wound up going with only thing he could find in his price range, the now ubiquitous Icom IC-7300. I was a little surprised at how few new radios, especially in the mid-range, were available new.

Daughter continues to recover from her bout of pneumonia. She caught it early, and the steroids and antibiotics have done the job. She was able to ride out with her husband today while he ran some errands. Talking to her, it seems that she was on the downside of her bout of Wuflu when this hit her. We both assume that it was being worn down, which lowered her immunity, and voila!

Mrs. Freeholder finished her first week back at work. She’s just doing it part-time. So far, so good. Of course, so far she hasn’t had a kid in her classroom yet, so we’ll see how it goes after contact is made with the enemy.

I’ve been watching the availability of various items sourced from China, and have decided to go ahead and spring for some of the less expensive ones that have been on my list for a while. They’re all tools, and I think I’ll have need of them all sooner or later. A lot of the items are getting to be in short supply. If you have some Christmas money left over, you might check your lists as well.

That’s about all of the noteworthy things I can think of at the moment. Out here.

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