Report from the OP, August 17, 2022

In macro news, I’m seeing items that seem to point toward food and energy conditions getting worse. Many of those items are from subscription sources, and I can’t in good conscious share those. One that I can note, because it comes from the USDA and is thus public, is that overall estimates for corn production and supplies are falling. Not drastically, but steadily falling.

You’ve seen stories that Ukraine is now shipping grain. However, the quantities are relatively small and I don’t see how this is going to have a major effect on those Third World countries that depend on Ukrainian grain to feed themselves. Plus these shipments are subject to Russian whims-one missile in the wrong place and they’re shut down again.

Drought is also a continuing problem, not only in the American West, but in the UK and Europe. In other areas, such as Kentucky, have gotten far too much rain. Both have deleterious effects on farming (among many things).

The long and short of it is that I firmly believe food prices are going to continue rising and availability will probably continue to fall. There are going to be a lot of hungry people in a few months, and people who are hungry are prone to making poor decisions. Be ready for that.

Expect to see energy prices beginning to rise again. News like the increase in West Texas Intermediate crude prices because gasoline stocks were drawn down more than expected get my Spidey-sense tingling. I’d also like to know just where all that gas went-into American gas tanks or someone’s tankers?

Locally, the news is mixed. Mrs. Freeholder has mostly come around to the idea that we need even more food stored away, and we went grocery shopping again. I was pleasantly surprised to see many workers in one of the local Food Lion grocery stores cramming food onto the shelves and into refrigerated and freezer cases like there was no tomorrow. Seriously, some of those shelves pleaded with me to take some of their load off. However, I noted bare spots in baby formula, potatoes, frozen potato products and the house brand ice cream. Thin spots were in hamburger buns, dried beans and canned fruits, although the fruit was in better shape than the last trip I made.

Restaurants continue to do everything short of shanghaiing workers in order to stay staffed. We saw a couple more local ones that are shortening hours due to staffing issues. We’ve also noted that many are raising prices, reducing portions or both.

I was fortunate to find a decent used 5-year-old 18 ft3 refrigerator for the basement for a price within my budget. It needed a thorough cleaning, as it had been used in a break room environment. It also needed a door gasket. Even buying that-and they are stupid expensive for what they are-I’m still on budget.

This weekend, I attended a workshop, hosted by one of my amateur radio clubs, where we built a 2 M tape measure antenna. This sort of thing is used for the radio sport of “fox hunting“. We were encouraged to obtain a cheap compass in order to note the direction of the signal on a map. As you can see from the featured image for this post, cheap compasses aren’t what they used to be. Another quality Chinese product to be returned. This is #4 in two weeks. The best story of the four is a tie between the compass and a set of metric crows foot wrenches, where the dimensional accuracy was off by as much as 0.4 mm, and always to the plus side. I’d love to know when these items were produced.

The weather is holding cooler than normal, but unfortunately, the feet are not holding up. I had to ease off yesterday and give them a rest. Neuropathy is a, well, pain.

That’s all I’ve got, other than a small brush pile I need to burn today. Out here.

7 thoughts on “Report from the OP, August 17, 2022

  1. I read last week that the potato crop in Idaho was going to to be significantly less than normal due to weather problems. Add that to drought in the grain producing states, Nebraska/Kansas/Iowa, and California’s usual drought issues, all sounds troubling for the coming winter.

  2. Just harvested half of our potato crop here in NH. A good number of potatoes, but thanks to the drought they are all quite small. Last night was the first rain in three weeks; so far we have had less than an inch of rain in total since early June. None of our winter squashes or melons are producing any fruit. Deer are eating the leaves off fruit trees due to lack of forage. At the local Market Basket, many of the store-brand products are absent. Many prices at 30-50% above what they were last year. Coffee prices are going crazy. We are starting to raise a new batch of meat chickens next week. Feed prices are also 50% above last year, and these birds will cost a total of $18 each ($3/lb) to raise and process. Pig feed has gone from $13 to $20 per bag. And thanks to the drought, we are out of pasture grass and have to start feeding hay this week, at $12/day. Normally we don’t start feeding hay until November. Crime is moving out to the suburbs with an armed robbery in the elitist town of Exeter this week. I believe that with the elections coming there will be a false-flag incident of some sort to demonize conservatives before the end of September.

    1. Deer ate all of our summer squashes and some leaves about a month ago. Some are growing back. Worse is the chipmunks. They’ve been eating 2 or 3 tomatoes every day. We had to resort to water traps to stop the damage, which are working well. Also had rodent damage to winter squash, and I’ve got fewer squash than usual. The drought has impacted us as well. I don’t know how the farmers manage with the high price of feed.

      1. Our two barn cats are killing about three chipmunks per week. They have definitely scared or killed all the rodent pests from the garden – even ran the groundhog out of his lair under the barn.

  3. Free refrigerators and freezers show up on Craigslist, under ‘free stuff’, in our local area. Some are good, some aren’t. But I’m sorely tempted to get another freezer sometimes. Lack of space prevents me from calling about them. We did pick up one a couple years ago just to use for dry storage, not as a freezer. Works perfectly for that, dry and rodent proof.

  4. RE: “I’m sorely tempted to get another freezer sometimes. Lack of space prevents me from calling about them.”

    Pro Tip: 5 cubic foot freezers are just about small enough to be used as end tables, and multiple small freezers are a better option than one large one. If one small freezer dies you may lose 1/4, 1/3 or 1/2 of your food, is your one big freezer dies you lose everything.

    Pro Tip 2: Don’t plug all your freezers in on the same circuit, and Failed Circuit Alarms are your friend.

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