We’re just a tiny bit past the Winter Solstice about to touch Christmas. The reason these (almost) coincide is the same reason Easter falls on an approximation of the Spring Equinox. The Ancient religions celebrated the cycles of the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth. When Christianity came along, it found easier acceptance if they planted a Holy Day right on top of the exiting Holi-Day. Then, over a 1000+ years the calenders tend to drift a bit from the Stars… so it’s an Almost.
The day length in the Northern Hemisphere is just past the shortest it will be, from here on out, days get longer and nights shorter (and exactly the opposite in the Southern Hemisphere). Yet the brunt of Winter is still in front of us. There’s a time lag of about 3 months between when the solar input changes and when the result is finally able to move the masses of air, water and dirt to warmer (or colder). So the top few meters of ocean and soil have been giving up heat for a few months now, but still need to cool some more before they catch up with the loss of insolation. In another month or three these catch up, only to find the sun running to hotter and they must change direction and try to catch up, again, but to the warming side. Thus “February is the cruellest month”. Days are getting longer, it ought to be warming, but it isn’t warm yet… But that is still a couple of months away.
For now, we’ve got a long run of holiday time ahead of us. Christmas, New Years. Congress not in session (Hip Hip Hooray!)
Enjoy ’em if you got ’em!
This is another of the W.O.O.D. series of semi-regular
Weekly Occasional Open Discussions.
(i.e. if I forget and skip one, no big)
Immediate prior one here:
and remains open for threads running there (at least until the ‘several month’ auto-close of comments on stale threads).
Canonical list of old ones here:
For just general FYI notices, use to “tips” pages. All the old ones remain for historical reference:
What’s Going On?
Boris won. His Parliament is behind him. They past a law saying basically “Its On! No More Extensions.”
So now it’s January 2021 – “This time for Sure!”. But will it be BINO? Brexit In Name Only?
At present the law passed is an act of parliament to make an agreement to negotiate a “deal” on trade. Weak tea, but the best we’ve seen so far.
IF this space stays dull for the next few weeks I’ll likely drop this section until / unless something actually happens.
Impeachment Circus, Sort Of
The Dims voted for Articles. One of them is now a SCOTUS case (the “obstruction” for asking the court to decide) so mooted on the face of it. The other, “abuse of power” is laughable. Ukraine was a Democratic Money Laundry for $Billions, a conduit for “Foreign Aid” money to be laundered into the pockets of Democrats like Biden. Trump held up more aid until he could assure the new President of Ukraine was actually going to stop corruption, then let the aid flow. There is a treaty between the two countries that we are supposed to help each other investigate crimes.
In essence, Trump is being Impeached for doing his job and stopping the Democrat / Soros driven corrupt money laundry.
But Pelosi is sitting on the Articles. Until they are transmitted to the Senate, Trump is not impeached. So Pelosi is trying to use this as leverage to get the Senate to do things Her Way. Fat chance. Her leverage amounts to “Give me concessions or I will NOT impeach the POTUS and NOT disrupt the Senate with an impeachment trial”! Or perhaps she has had a bit of a think (or been “consulted” with a money stick) to understand that if she now just doesn’t send ’em over, nobody calls Biden & Son or Soros to a Senate trial and the Dims in Trump States can claim that “yes, they voted for it, but nothing came of it”? With this crowd of corruption and deception, any game is possible.
POTUS has now signed a temporary funding bill, but it included some “gifts” to the Democrats; in particular a statement that no more aid would or could be put on hold by the POTUS. They are trying to spin this as stopping Trump from using it for blackmail when in fact the purpose is to keep the money laundry funded and running. I say “Hey, Barr! FOLLOW THE MONEY!”. I want to see Perp Walks in January.
I’m leaving other political news of the world blank for now as typically it all takes a break for Christmas. Only exception is that the Yellow Vests in France said they will keep protesting. I suspect it will be more wine and cheese than bricks and tear gas when protesting over the holidays… but “we’ll see”.
Snow Season & Food Prices / Prepping
It’s here. We’re getting lots and lots of snow all over the planet. Lots of records falling. Washington State (and some of Oregon) being whacked with a Pineapple Express “Aerial River” so record rain.
After the wet spring last year, and then the early rain and snow this year, causing a lot of crop losses; I’m expecting the same thing this coming year. LOTS of rain and snow leading to a late start to planting season, and another early onset of winter in 2020. Cattle culling is happening now as herd sizes are reduced; so beef will stay reasonably priced until that ends. Figure about 2 months more, maybe. African Swine Fever has already killed about 1/4 of the swine on the planet and is just now knocking on the door of Australia. Putting a couple of canned hams or cans of Corned Beef in the pantry and a few pounds of bacon in the freezer is not a bad idea. China is busy buying meat and grain anywhere it can get it. This will only get worse.
If you do not have some degree of strategic food reserve (i.e. a Prepper Pantry), do so while you can still do it relatively cheaply. There’s lots of low cost options for putting some food by without a lot of effort or cost. Just a simple thing like buying double your usual buy for anything that keeps well and putting the extra in a closet. Canned goods, tuna, peanut butter, boxed dry meals like Mac N Cheese or Potatoes Au Gratin, jam & preserves, spam or canned ham or canned corned beef, breakfast bars or fig newtons. Have some “staples” extra too. Salt, Sugar, Pepper & Spices. A 20 pound bag of white rice was selling for $10 today. Add a 20 pound bag of beans for a little more and you have “beans and rice” for a month for 2, or longer if used as sides to things like that canned ham.
If you buy things you regularly eat, the money isn’t wasted and isn’t going into a pile of freeze dried diced Whatzits or hard winter wheat berries that you will never eat. If you like tuna sandwiches, buy extra tuna and a couple of boxes of crackers. Tuna and crackers store well. Tuna, peas and a box of Mac N Cheese makes a great casserole and the whole lot stores well. The mix does want butter and milk, but you can substitute olive oil or coconut oil and canned or powdered milk. Doing this, you can have a 6 month “food supply” in about 6 months without breaking the budget or working at it too hard. Plus, it’s stuff you already eat.
The bad weather this year is not going to have a major impact on prices, but will have an impact. The big hit will come next year. That’s when the inventory from this year runs short. Shortages of seeds (seed potatoes took a big hit this year as did the valley that grows most of our vegetable seeds) and another year of bad weather will leave a mark on food prices and availability. That’s not the time to want to be buying extra. Do it now. The worst that happens is you learn some new food storage skills and don’t have to buy beans and rice again for a year ;-)
It isn’t (yet) a dire “running out” situation. I expect it to be more of a food price arbitrage situation. I’ve canned about a dozen meals worth of chicken meat ( I like mine better than the store bought cans). I’ll be canning another batch “soon”. Right now I can get it on sale at 79 ¢ to 99 ¢ per pound. I expect that to be $1.50 in 6 months to a year, maybe. I’ll let other folks pay up then and make my own chicken and rice. Even things like ocean fish, not subject to rain and snow, will likely have price rises as folks buy more alternatives to their “usual” meat as the prices rise or the supply drops. One pound of dry goods feeds a person for a day with plenty to spare. Dry goods are running abut $1 / pound. That’s about $360 for food for a year. 6 tanks of gas. Then you get to stop buying beans, rice, canned goods, etc. for a few months as you “rotate stock” using up the first of it you bought. A pretty small price to pay for avoiding the whole issue of weather driven crop losses and price swings.