Monday, April 28, 2014

Food Prices Have Risen 19% Jan - March. Pirces Will Escalate In The Coming Months.

Looks like the day has arrived. It has started raining. You know the old saying, "Save for a rainy day." If you have been to the grocery store lately you will have noticed the increase in prices. I heard on the radio that coffee will go up 25% next month. Glad I don't drink coffee. Other groceries will increase significantly in May but not quite as bad as this addictive drink. I looked up the CRB US Spot Foodstuff Index. From January to March food prices have gone up 19%. That means on average for every 100 dollars of food you are now paying 19 dollars more than in December. Spend five hundred dollars in December and now you are paying $595 and times that by 12 months and you have $1140 more than you paid last year only if the prices don't go higher yet. That is pretty much our electric bill for the year. So for some it will be do I pay my electric bill or my food bill? Prices they warn will increase at a escalating rate.

The problem is stemming in part from the drought in California that produces most of our vegetables and fruits. The government is paying farmers not to grow crops to divert the water to cities. In these farming communities 50% of the local populations depend on these food related jobs for a living. The drought in Texas, the droughts over the past years in the West and in South Dakota the huge loss of cattle from the early snow storm last fall have all had a devastating effect on the food supply. Ethanol has really messed up the corn balance. Every one I've talked to has cut WAY back on the use of grains for our animals or way back on the amount of animals they have. Corn diverted to ethanol has raised dairy product prices, egg prices, and meat prices. The sad thing is it takes too much energy to produce Ethanol and it just isn't efficient so it is just a mess.

You may of noticed the increase in disasters. I don't see them stopping any time soon. I do agree, as if I'm any expert, that the projections for food prices are to increase and retail food prices inflation to continue and escalate. That is coming from the experts and if you've monitored the ag report lately as in the last few years, you have noticed this too. I don't know about you but our income is not increasing- at all. So what is a family to do? It is slowly becoming a do it your self or do without situation. Haven't noticed yet? You will.

We aren't yet moved and keeping two places running is not cheap. We are trimming our budget. No trash pickup. We are the trash man now. We have set up a garbage system which I will go into detail later and get your feed back on for I'm sure many of you are more advanced on this than us.

No water and sewer bill as we have septic tank and a well  on the new place but we still pay that at the other house. We are just beginning to look into a hand pump to add to our electric pump on our well. We are also looking into a gas stove with a propane tank to cook on instead of our electric set up. These two back ups are for emergency situations and the power outages forecasted for the future. We also need to get a generator as the welder has one built in but it uses too much fuel to be efficient. There is a set pattern to the rise and fall of nations. The story is the same. Sorry but our nation is on the down slide no matter how progressive you think we are. That so called progression is progressing us right into the tank.

We no longer have a land line for telephone and we haven't had television forever so that is nothing new but we did drop Netflix. Maybe it won't make much difference but we were looking for areas to cut to pay for our more costly Internet. We now have a house payment we didn't have before and things just got a whole lot tighter. Our vehicle fuel bill is through the roof right now with moving but it will stay much higher as Kirk commutes further to work. If your income doesn't rise then your costs have to be lowered. Up here then down there to balance the budget. I'm betting you're doing the same thing.

I did splurge on groceries this past month as I had cut way down not wanting to move so much but when I saw things on sale at a good price I jumped. I found a good price on black olives. I've been looking for Vlasic pickles to go on sale since last September. They finally did. The bulk of our cucumbers come from California so that wasn't a huge surprise. I'm guessing these bottles were last years stock and they were moving them off their warehouse shelves. Anyone have an awesome dill pickle recipe similar to their Kosher pickles? I'm going to have to make my own now. Cucumbers should grow here. They weren't fond of our last location. I'm fairly stocked up now but I'm thinking of making a number of the things I bought just a little of before like barbeque sauce, ketchup, mustard. I'll make enchilada sauce again and bottle it. Got any really good condiment recipes to bottle? Please share. Even those things we don't use a lot of like these three condiments which haven't been on my priority list to make, are now. I don't have to bottle much so why not add? Not only am I preparing for now but for in the future when things rise even higher and mark my words, they will.

We see clearly that our garden has to take priority even if I have misplaced those pepper seeds. Where oh where did I tuck them. Probably in with the remote for the television I've yet to find. It has grown too late to start our own pimento and paprika peppers but I will definitely do regular bell peppers for sure even if I have to buy them from a greenhouse. Visited one greenhouse already but they stated that the customers prefer mainly hybrids of things. Bummer, I will do what I can and plan for doing even better next year. Our two greenhouses will definitely get built. Won't get used this summer but they will rise by the end of summer. I want a Benson greenhouse some day. I'll tell you more about it later. It is an underground greenhouse using the best of earth home principles and angling the roof towards the sun for increased heat. Also there is water barrels to conduct heat. Kirk was cutting our hay loft square tubing uprights off from the skids and he started on one that had water in it. BOY, did that one get hot and stay hot even though he had cut others much later. It was amazing the difference in the heat in the pipe. We are talking out hot staying hot and cool on the ones cut later. The wood box greenhouse just might get set down in the ground for added warmth. I'm thinking carrots and the like to winter over.

The greenhouse owner and I had a nice long visit. He said he likes heirloom crops best but his customers mainly buy hybrids so that is what he concentrates on growing. He said he usually grows the Siberia tomatoes I love but he couldn't find the amount of seed he needed. Do it yourself or do without once more popped up and luckily I do have seed for that. They and Washington Cherry tomatoes are going to be grown inside this winter. Wish me luck. We are going to have to get our sun room in full production. I'm thinking the entry way might support some plants too. I'm going to look for some lemon, orange and such trees to grow in the house. I hear they can be very productive if handled right. I need to find out what right is. Any experts out there?

We need to use the goat milk when it comes to its full potential. Not as a luxury but a necessity. I need to get to sprouting grains for the chickens again. I put four buckets by the back door today.  All those things I've learned to do are no longer extras but are going to have to become a way of life. We are going to have to watch our budget closely. A nightmare during this moving time and two household thing. I had hoped that the tough times would come a little later when we were better prepared and frankly moved and settled in but alas, I think things have already begun.

So let's network. Let's start sharing tips. I found one discount food place and I'm going back. It mainly has case lots on sale and doesn't carry everything but then I don't use a lot of store products and hope to soon use even less so it is my kind of store. Anyone growing bell peppers in the house? I've been buying those mini sweet pepper kind and loving them. I need to look into growing them inside. I have been making almost all of our bread since we moved so I've got that down but it has been white since I don't have time to deal with anything more. That will have to change. The sourdough has sat in the fridge at the other place until just recently and it needs to start up. Hard to do when you are running back and forth and back and forth but we are nearing the end. I know it is true but it still seems a long ways away. This week is lots of wind and rain so the moving will be put on the back burner and I'll try and get some things put away here and budget plans made.

 I bought a turkey breast for $1.49 a pound this week. The only one in the freezer bin but the whole turkeys were only $1.69 a pound. That is cheap meat and not just for holidays. One thing I just can't figure out is why people around here aren't eating lots of turkey. I bottled some up last fall for sandwiches and the like. We have got to start thinking outside of the box. I'm so grateful we began years ago becomes habits aren't easily formed, knowledge not quickly obtained and turned into wisdom, and becoming skilled doesn't happen over night. One thing we definitely don't have the habit of is eating lunchmeat. That stuff is way over priced and processed. Roast, turkey, ham, and chicken for sandwiches is simply that -- meat that was baked and sliced. With crockpots I don't understand why people buy the processed stuff. I guess it is because it was one of those habits started long ago.

A wise man said, “That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our power to do has increased.” Bread was quite a task to make at one time but now whip, whip and I'm done and the measuring cups are just great scoopers and not the precise instruments once used.

What are you changing and giving up because of economics? What new habits are you trying to form? What skills are you obtaining? I'm feeling overwhelmed and I think I need to make some lists. Get things out of my head and on to paper. Then from lists on paper to concrete plans.

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