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Are you a Grasshopper or an Ant?
Planning for this winter and spring.
It is a week of travel for Jill and I. Yesterday, we were in Nashville for day 2 of a meeting, today we flew into Dallas, TX for a documentary interview, then on Friday we fly to the Orlando Florida Summit on Covid II: The Future of Medicine in Post-COVID America (this is for CME credit, as well as for a general audience -tickets still available) and finally I speak at the Children Health Defense Conference (tickets sold out) in Knoxville, TN - starting Sunday night and then we get to home on Tuesday.
Yesterday morning, I had the pleasure of listening to a talk by David DuByne. Who is David?
David DuByne is the creator of the ADAPT 2030 Climate Preparedness Channels and Mini Ice Age Conversations Podcast. He is the author of Climate Revolution which is now being updated and edited for the second edition. As a former coffee buyer in Myanmar, he saw cold weather damage to coffee trees firsthand and heard farm owners telling stories of how their great grandfathers in the 1880s experienced the same conditions when coffee was being introduced as a cash crop. Freeze damaged top leaves, bean density changes and 14% overplanting of new seedlings to compensate for cold losses sent him looking for answers and he found cycles through history that affect food production.
He believes understanding our Sun-driven climate is crucial as we progress deeper into the new Eddy Grand Solar Minimum. Weather extremes leading to global food scarcity and high food prices are here now, and David’s work describes the expected changes, and how to survive & thrive during future challenging times with practical preparations.
In this talk, David presented data documenting that volcanic activity produces particulates that rise into the atmosphere and greatly influence global weather patterns.
After large volcanic eruptions, vast quantities of particulate matter rise up into the atmosphere, this causes cause decrease in global temperatures. Those particulates also cause large increases in rain and snowfall - as water droplets coalesce around these dust particles. On average, the effect of a volcanic eruption on global climate patterns will last for about two years. Historically, crop failures globally have been associated with large volcanic eruptions for a period of about two years after that explosion. David’s assessment of historic wheat and grain prices after large volcanic eruptions is very convincing, he documents this link going back hundreds of years, even to the 1815 volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora.
On April 5, 1815, the residents of Sumbawa Island heard terrifying explosions. The government mobilized the army, thinking they were under attack.
But no army could subdue this monster, which turned out to be the largest volcanic explosion in human history. The eruption of Mount Tambora, in what is now Indonesia, was so big, it would go on to impact people around the globe and our culture and history to this day, according to the new book “Tambora and the Year Without a Summer: How a Volcano Plunged the World into Crisis” (Polity), out now.
Around 38,000 people in the surrounding area were killed. Every house in the village was blown to bits, trees were uprooted and flew through the air and volcanic ash reached heights of four feet. This destroyed the local water supply and 95 percent of the rice harvest, leading to mass starvation.
“People were so desperate, they sold their children into slavery and opened graves to look for any items they could sell,” writes the book’s author, Wolfgang Behringer.
Ash and other pollutants from the volcano floated through the world’s atmosphere, affecting countries thousands of miles away months and years later.
England experienced “unusually colorful sunsets” in the fall, vividly depicted by painters such as J.M.W. Turner. Red and yellow snow fell over the Adriatic Sea, while snow from a raging blizzard in Hungary was reported to be “flesh-colored.”
In China, meanwhile, the Zhejiang province “reported virtually no sunny days between January and November.”
The weather shifts led to crop failures and famine worldwide, Behringer writes.
Just as in other large volcanic eruptions, David documents that temperatures in the southern hemisphere have crashed this summer. Furthermore, as these particulates (volcanic dust) have spread across the world - colder temperatures, combined with large snow and rainfall are already occurring. It can be expected that this winter in the USA and the European continent, there will be colder temperatures than usual, more rain and snowfall. Already, Europe has had a colder than usual fall. David also documents that it has become extraordinarily difficult to track these particulates and changes associated with this explosion, as the government(s) appears to be playing “hide the data.”
David’s lecture centered on the fact that these particulates in the air, combined with with unique solar/sun conditions, and the inclusion of water vapor in the mix (it was a subsea volcanic explosion) mean we can expect see colder temperature, snow and rain events in the northern hemisphere and there will be crop failures this winter in the southern hemisphere. With luck, the particulates will settle out by spring, so our planting season in the northern hemisphere will be less impacted. But that is an unknown. A hypothesis.
According to David, we can expect that food will continue to be both expensive and there will be shortages throughout the winter/spring. In the USA, this will translate into higher prices and specific food items being unavailable. However, in other countries - there could be outright food shortages, such as the world has not experienced in a very long time. Yes, this means starvation for many populations through out the world. Of course, this is forecasting - based on science and historic data, but nothing is ever 100% certain.
David also discussed that with the grain, fuel and fertilizer shortages due to the Russian/Ukrainian war, it is a perfect storm. Many European countries, such as Germany, have shut down industrial manufacturing because they literally don’t have enough energy to both keep people warm and run heavy industry. These governments are frightened that if people can’t heat their homes, there will be civil unrest. Such as already being seen in France (which coincidentally shut down a large fraction of its nuclear power plants this year for maintenance).
Finally, word on the street is that our railway workers are gearing up for a major strike and have been told to please wait until after the election. This means our fragile supply chain and transportation system could also be paralyzed. As I wrote- a perfect storm.
A union representing about 12,000 rail workers on Monday voted down a tentative contract that was brokered by the White House last month ahead of a possible rail strike.
This vote will force the two sides back to the negotiating table and creates the possibility of a nationwide strike. The potential work stoppage could paralyze the nation's supply chain and transportation rail service later this fall as the U.S. enters peak holiday season.
I suppose now might be a good time to do some early Christmas shopping. Or maybe expect Christmas to be a bit smaller this year.
Privately, David expressed to me what I have been “preaching” to all of you, this year - this winter, we all should consider stockpiling some food staples, fuel, and we need to grow our own food, if possible. He predicts that in the USA, food will be expensive but mostly available - as in we won’t starve but that selection will be more limited. People on a budget will be having a very hard time making do, particularly as inflation is not easing.
I hope to get David to write a guest article here and we have plans to do a podcast together soon. This man is brilliant!
David said - that in his opinion, “if you have open ground, you should be planting a seed.” He also agreed with my assessment that it is crazy that our government in not advocating this policy. Except as we all know, our government prefers to keep us dependent and they wish for big business to succeed, even at the expense of feeding our children and ourselves quality food.
Stockpiling items that will be in short supply is a little different than being a “prepper.” Selective stockpiling is a good way to live through hard times.
Crop failures in the southern hemisphere will mean grain shortages - in particular, rice and soy. As wheat and corn are grown in northern climes, such as Russia and Ukraine - those will also be in short supply. We all know by now that Russia is a huge exporter of fertilizer, and so that is also in short supply. Bottom line, bread prices, products made from grain, and seed oils are all likely to show sharp price rises in the near future. Soy in particular will be expensive, as the price for export will be very high - there likely will be a large global demand. Soy and grain prices are already through the roof.
I am lucky that Jill bakes a lot. She has already gone to our local Yoder’s market and bought bulk flour, oats and ordered organic soybeans online. She also buys baker’s yeast by the pound (a pound will last for about a year, I am told). Keeping lots of canned goods in the cupboard, such as beans, tomato products, sauces, etc is a good idea. Keeping the freezer well stocked - another good idea.
Coffee -Coffee is grown in the southern hemisphere. We have been gifted with some amazing coffee beans recently (you know who you are) and we are putting those bags away for the winter. I think we can only anticipate that the prices of coffee will continue to climb and this particular item may be hard to find. So, we intend to stockpile even more coffee, as our habit is severe.
LONDON, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Coffee farmers in Colombia, the world's No. 2 arabica producer, have failed to deliver up to 1 million bags of beans this year or nearly 10% of the country's crop, leaving exporters, traders and roasters facing steep losses, industry sources told Reuters.
World coffee prices have soared 55% this year, mainly due to adverse weather in top producer Brazil, prompting Colombian farmers to default on sales clinched when prices were much lower in order to re-sell the coffee at higher rates.
Traders say up to 1 million bags of Colombia coffee crop undelivered
Surging prices prompt farmers to renege on previously agreed sales
Colombia coffee federation says delivery defaults widespread
Tip - we do have a vacuum sealer and will often buy items in bulk and then reseal into smaller bags. Doing this yourself, as opposed to buying “prepper” food already packaged saves a lot of money and will ensure quality. Ziplock bags also work if you can’t afford a vacuum sealer, although this method of storage is not quite as good for getting air out and can leak. Consider reading up on ways to store food long-term.
Buying items as a hedge against inflation, as well as crop failures is super important to the household budget. But it does have an upfront investment.
Expect the cost of dairy to increase significantly. Meat prices will rise also.
A shortage of cattle nationwide is forcing businesses in our area to hike their beef prices.
Some people say those prices are the highest in decades.
According to a Weis Markets spokesperson, three years ago meat packers processed an average of 620,000 cattle a week and today that number is in the low 500,000's.
Other items to consider stockpiling.
(Grass fed) whey is a great source of protein. It keeps a long time, if stored properly. Of course, A2 cattle will produce a more digestible product.
Non-fat dried milk. Dried buttermilk.
Seed oils will become more expensive, as the crops are failing.
Nuts are always a good, calorie rich food. Easy to store and stockpile.
Luxury items, such as oils, condiments, olives, dried fruits.
Frozen goods - particularly frozen vegetables and fruit.
Look for food items NOT produced in China. Country of origin labelling is worth reading. Of course, organic is best but not always possible.
Another way to be prepared is to keep chickens - yep, chickens. We tend to have a few for eggs. Due to our wild fox population, we have been keeping chickens in a large coop and they don’t get to free range. However, this year we are preparing to build a mobile coop that we can keep near our house. The advantage to this is that they eat flies, Japanese beetles, bugs, etc and these enrich the eggs greatly. This also cuts down on the feed bill - as they forage for their own food.
The key to egg chickens in my opinion is only buy pullets (young hens) or buy a sex-linked variety - no roosters! Too many chickens always ends up with rodents and mess. We like keeping four chickens - enough eggs for us and our dogs, but no more.
Speaking of dogs - dog food prices are rising. It is easy to cook up dog food using an Instapot. This can yield a huge savings and your dogs will love home cooked food. We tend to make up our own recipes with the base being leftovers or almost out of date food items and homegrown veg. Adding dried beans to the dogfood base is super cheap and healthy. Tip- add eggs while the dog food mixture is hot (they will cook). If you overcook eggs in a pressure cooker - the smell is nasty.
Other tips to build redundancy during these hard economic times.
Fuel. Keep your gas tanks full. Don’t let your tank get below half full - yes, more trips to the gas station, but well worth it, if a shortage comes to your area.
Consider stockpiling gas and diesel in cans or even a small tank, if you live rural.
Heavy snows and cold temps can mean blackouts. Be ready. Have an alternative fuel/energy source - such as wood fire or stove, generator, and/or battery back-ups. We keep battery run lights and flash lights handy.
If you are on a well water, make sure you have a generator to run your pump, even if it is just to get enough water to your animals and yourself. Keep a stock tank or tank with enough water in the barn ( our barn tends to stay warm enough that bulk water doesn’t freeze).
Finally, another plea to get out and garden. It is not too late to plant a winter garden in most climates (OK, maybe not in the “great white north). But in Virginia, we can grow parsley, spinach, cabbage, some varieties of lettuce, brussell sprouts, etc. For fun, we like to add daffodils and spring bulbs into our winter garden.
Furthermore, consider a hydroponic garden, even a small greenhouse. Use this for high value items, such as growing basil - which is a super easy crop and yet due to shipping issues is always a high cost item.
Over the long term, consider growing berry plants, blue berries fruit and nut trees. I know, not everyone has land - but if you have a passion, a plot of land in the city for growing crops is a good hobby.
A tip for eating healthy is shop on the outside aisles (produce, meat and dairy) of the grocery store - avoid processed foods, which are found on the inside aisles.
Lately, with all our travel, Jill and I have had issues with eating healthy lately. Maybe writing this article is my way of reminding myself about the importance of food as medicine.
Eating out wastes time and money, plus the quality of restaurant food just isn’t the same. A plea to avoid fast food.
One way to save money and have fun is to invite people over. Have a dinner party and invite people to bring a dish. Nothing is better than a potluck. Have a party - build community!
Some thoughts -
A vegetable garden doesn’t have to be big or fancy.
Grow potatoes in an old tank or even a burlap bag.
We have a lemon tree in a big pot that always produces; we just bring her in each winter.
For a long while, we used an old round bale feeder (repainted black) for our raised vegetable garden. Five years ago, when we move to our new farm - we left it behind. This was such a great raised vegetable garden - that I am now looking around for another old feeder to rehab.
We have had big gardens, small gardens, plots in co-ops when we were younger, plants in pots - you name it. Gardening is a passion.
Garlic, spinach, cabbage, parsley in February.
Jill once painted an old box and used it for parsley.
We have a few friends that love to forage. Right now, various nuts can be found on the ground. Foraging mushrooms, greens, berries - can all be done on public lands. This is something that kids love -
Other friends keep bees, grow mushrooms and even grow up their own meat or keep dairy animals.
Have fun and get the kids involved!
Don’t be a grasshopper.
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