What's the plan? That is the the next question we face.As much as we would like to think we prepare, this summer confirms that we're not in control. Until this morning we haven't had a drop of rain in weeks, and today isn't a good soaking rain, just a gentle spot rain here and there. It isn't enough to save the garden, the bushes or provide nourishing moisture for the failing crops.
What many people don't realize is that the drought is more than a slight inconvenience to summer activities or a hobby garden next to the patio. The impact to our lives can be enormous, outside of grocery store produce. The farmers here are selling off their beef now because there isn't anything to graze them on. They are feeding their cattle the same hay that was supposed to sustain them through the winter. This will cause a glut of cattle to hit the market resulting in lower prices now. That might sound good on the surface but think of the ramifications. In another year, beef will be sky high, and anything made from beef byproducts.
Corn, wheat and soybeans are suffering. Ears are barely producing and the cost of harvesting these poor ears may exceed their profits. Some are simply plowing their fields under. With less corn in the market, prices will rise. This isn't just your basic canned corn or a few good ears on the bbq or roasted edamames. This affects your entire supply chain from food to clothing and industrial applications.
Non Food Uses for Corn
Adhesives, cardboard, charcoal (a binding), plastics, medicines, distillation, cosmetics, pet foods, sweeteners, ethanol, oils, hypoallergenic bedding and even tattoo inks! It's not only about eating the kernels but about the starches, oils and fibers. What does end up in the produce section of your local grocery will likely be affected by transportation costs. Barge traffic is affected by low river levels with some ports completely closed to commercial traffic. Now you're looking at potentially rail along with trucks running on diesel which is at a premium.
What about wheat?
Again, paper products, construction materials, fuels, medical supplies, health and beauty products, textiles and other industrial applications.
Everything. Think about everything that is soy related from the flour to seeds, hulls and oils. The list is too numerous to mention but again encompasses food, construction, medical and textile applications.
Now that we know these crops are used in making plastics, cardboard and adhesives, think about packaging. Everything you purchase in a package may be affected. Manufacturers will have to pass on higher costs to consumers - this is already happening so think of what costs packaging will add.
Prices will rise. Income isn't going up too quickly.
How much more can you cut back?
So, what's the plan?
I don't have the answers - I'm trying to figure it out.
Can, dehyrate and vacuum seal where you can. Watch for sales on canned goods, dried beans and pastas. Put up some shelves in your basement if you have room and store what you can which you find a good price.
Personally I would warn against freezing too much. It's fine to freeze some of your stock pile but in times of high heat there are also chances of power outages. For anyone who has not gone for a week or better without power, it's a battle to keep your perishables safe. One the members of our blogging community discussed the recent outages when powerful storms came through their area shutting down power for an extended time. People lost food that had to be frozen or kept cool. Pantry items were consumed, store shelves depleted. Then how do you restock unless you have ample funds, not to mention the extra costs associated with maintaining your household during these outages. Their power company is currently sending shut off notices to those that fell behind during this time and can't afford the payment arrangements the company is demanding. Some of these are folks that struggle paycheck to paycheck. Working folk that just need a break.
Not all dinged and dented cans are bad. Check the USDA dating charts to see what is not acceptable, everything else should be ok. Don't let expiration dates fool you either. They are generally Best By dates and I know some of the guidelines for food panties allow for a year past expiration on vegetables such as green beans but no allowance on any baby formulas.
I discussed Early Crops but neglected to look at drought tolerant crops. From what I have pulled off seed catalogs and the internet: black eyed peas (cow peas), millet, sorghum, spinach, collards, mustard greens- some of the same early crops I found. Tomatoes, surprisingly, are drought tolerant. I found a discussion that speaks about a method where you intentionally do not water them until their leaves start to turn yellow. It forces the plant to concentrate on fruit production rather than vining. Beans, if I could keep the darned deer away, tolerate drought well, particularly pole or snap beans with a short growing season. Also squash, which might explain my success this year even if I did battle the squash bugs. Deep rooted vegetables reach water where shallow rooted do not.
Using grey water is a good alternative so long as you watch your detergents. Accumulating additives can damage your crops more than the water is helping. I have seen some posts where plumbing (from sinks) is disconnected, allowing the water to run into a bucket. You would need to move this water immediately if humidity is a factor, again being cautious of what you are putting down the sink. Mulching where advised - not for squash. Drip hoses rather than sprinklers will allow your water to be placed exactly where you need it rather than spreading it over grasses and weeds.
Shop resale shops, particularly the ones that use proceeds to help the poor and hungry. There is no shame in purchasing second hand items especially if those purchases allow the organization to collect money for utility bills, food and rent for those in desperate need. Many sell items for $x.xx per BAG! One stay at home mom that I knew installed shelving in her basement. With six kids and very limited income, she knew she had to score some great deals to outfit the kids. Well, with six children spread over five ages, she purchased whatever was in the resale shop in several sizes. She folded them and placed them on the appropriate size shelf. Somewhere along the line Someone will be able to wear those jeans or this T-shirt. Brilliant.
Seek out fabric sales at your local quilt shops, fabric store or on line sources. Many are reduced down to $4-6 per yard, far less than the $8-12 for new lines. Those same fabric were all the rage just a few months ago and will look just a nice made into tops, skirts or home decor. Many second hand purchases can be repurposed cheaply into wonderful items. Check Totally Tutorials for some great ideas shared by our blogging friends!
Conserve what you have--don't waste. Be cautious with your purchases. If you need a critical product, stock up on it just in case. What will it hurt? If everything works out just fine, you got a great deal on something you needed anyway.
For guidance and mercy. For ourselves and all those in need.
As we have seen, we are not in control.
What's Your Plan?
I'd like to know, maybe it will be my plan too.
Linking to Homestead Revival Barn Hop 72
Linking to Homestead Revival Barn Hop 72