Bread and Circuses Only Work When there’s Enough Bread to go Around

funny how a tactic developed more than a thousand years ago still works today. It must be human nature to be easily distracted at the expense of long-term problems.

The Roman Poet Juvenal coined the phrase “bread and circuses” to complain that the citizenry were distracted by cheap food and entertainment and no longer did their civic duty. Roman Emperors would feed the populace a steady diet of gladiators and other violent entertainment to distract their citizenry from the worsening state of the empire. You could argue that this was a contributing factor in the fall of the Roman Empire.

For years, politicians in the United States have used the same tactic, offering voters freebies so they would vote in their self-interest rather than for the interest of their country. Largely employed by the Democrats to attract under-educated and poorly informed populaces, the results can be seen in Democrat-run cities from Baltimore and Los Angeles with high poverty rates, poorly run inner-city schools, burned out building, high drug use, rampant homelessness, gang problems, and rising murder rates.

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It’s Time for the Pendulum to Swing Back to the Middle

You can always count on a pendulum to eventually swing back, but the problems start when it goes too far.

I am a firm believer that many things in life and in the natural world go through cycles, usually swinging from one extreme to the other.

Sometimes those swings are very slow and take thousands or even hundreds of thousands of years. For example, scientists estimate that there have been at least a dozen periods in the past million years in which glaciers covered much of the globe. The most recent, which we know simply as “the ice age,” peaked some 18,000 years ago and ended less than 12,000 years ago. Eventually, there will be another ice age, we don’t know when and we won’t be alive to see it, but some temperature variation is to be expected as the pendulum swings from one extreme to another.

Sometimes these swings take place over every generation. Think about style and fashion, where trends seem to repeat themselves, or at least elements, every 20 to 30 years. (I’m just hoping those big shoulder pads from the 1980s don’t come back.)

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My First Experience at Forging Yields a Rough Knife

I had a fun day forging, but the results of my first time at an anvil left something to be desired. Still, it was a good lesson.

The Bible verse Joel 3:10 says, “Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.”

I spent a morning last week beating a lawnmower blade into a rough knife shape. After three hours of forging and grinding, I have much greater respect for anyone who can fashion a decent blade from a hunk of raw metal. I’m also pretty certain that while I might be able to fashion a pruning hook into a spear, I could not beat a plowshare into a sword.

Forging is much harder than it looks on all those TV shows and YouTube videos.

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Feeding the Bees and Cleaning the Chickens

We may have small stock, but its keeping us busy! From feeding the bees to cleaning chicks with pasty butt, it’s all part of a day in the life of a homseteader.

Five or six days after transferring my bees from their nucs into a full-size hive, I inspected the three beehives. All of them were doing well. Plenty of yellow and orange pollen is being brought in by the foragers and I could see the bees storing it away.

Hive 1

I switched hive bodies in the first hive, which came on medium frames, putting a medium box on the bottom and adding a new deep hive on top of it. The bees had built comb below one of the medium frames, so I moved it to the larger box, along with a full-size frame on which they had drawn comb. I hope the queen will gradually move to top box and lay her eggs there. I prefer to use my large hive bodies for brood and the mediums for honey, but sometimes things don’t always go as planned. I’ll remain flexible and will wait and see what the bees do.

There were three or four frames with brood which had pollen and wet, uncapped nectar around it with some capped honey at the top. There was also a frame full of bee bread and honey. These bees were in the midst of drawing out a couple frames and are in good shape. I expect the hive to keep growing.

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Another Busy Week on the Homestead

With spring giving way to summer and summer storms rolling through, we have to plan our work around the weather. There always seems to be more to be done.

We tackled multiple projects this week, some inside and some outside as we received more than 2.5 inches of rain and plenty of mountain fog over the past few days.

I built a new desktop computer for my wife, after ordering all the components online, moving her from her creaky Windows 7 box to a new Windows 10 computer. Transition was pretty seamless and all her old peripherals and her wireless network card worked just fine, which was a relief. That filled a rainy day and then it took part of the night for Windows to update repeatedly.

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How to Cut Back on Spending and Live Frugally During Inflation

When inflation hits, costs outstrip raises and cost-of-living increases, making it difficult to maintain your standard of living. Here are 52 things you can do when inflation hits.

Let’s fast-forward six months or a year and imagine that the country remains in the grips of a wave of inflation. The amount of money you spend weekly to put food on your family’s table has increased 50 percent. Gasoline is $5.39 a gallon. It cost $1,350 to fill your propane tank and you know you usually have to fill it at least three times over the winter. You don’t have to be a budgeting genius to realize you have to do something different or you will run out of money leaving your belly, your gas tank, or the propane tank empty.

What will you do?

First, don’t panic. It accomplishes nothing and leads to despair. There are steps most families can take to reduce their expenditures, and hopefully you only have to do it for a couple years before things stabilize and your financial situation improves.

Second, you must accept the fact that you cannot continue to live like you have been. Some sacrifices will need to be made and the sooner that you accept that and move on, the better. It’s going to be an adjustment, but it’s better to pick where you will sacrifice rather than going hungry when the cupboards are bare.

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It’s Official: Inflation is Setting Records

New data was released today showing that inflation continued to grow, even outstripping expectations. Food, gasoline and cars prices are all rising

When COVID-19 first started out, we covered it almost every day. These days, I feel I am covering inflation every day. That may be a reflection how serious it is. While the coronavirus threatened our health, Inflation threats our wallets, and in the end it will probably impact more people than the virus itself.

Today’s news is worth covering, as new government figures show inflation is growing at 5 percent, the fastest rate since 2008. Core inflation, which is when you remove the volatile food and energy categories, grew 3.8 percent, the fastest in three decades. All across the CPI data, categories set records for growth.

According to the Wall Street Journal, restaurants like Chipotle, Shake Shack, and Cracker barrel are raising their prices. For those that don’t eat out, companies that supply food and household goods are also raising prices. We’re talking big brands that dominate grocery store aisles, like Campbell Soup, Unilever, and General Mills.

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Inflation, War, COVID-19, and Other Dangers Lie Ahead

Our hopes of getting back to the pre-COVID normal seem pretty dismal, but there have always been reasons to prepare.

We addressed inflation as recently as two days ago, but in their article “The perfect storm making everything you need more expensive” CNN sums up their reasons for rising prices thusly:

“Companies are furiously trying to restock inventories following last year’s global recession, straining supply chains already reeling from the pandemic to breaking point. A shortage of shipping containers and bottlenecks at ports have made matters worse and increased the cost of moving products around the world. Throw in accidents, cyberattacks, extreme weather and the huge disruption caused by the desperate hunt for cleaner sources of energy, and you have a perfect storm.”

No mention of the money supply’s explosive growth, but CNN admits that the pursuit of green energy is a contributing factor. While the word “inflation” does not appear until the sixth paragraph, they admit that “inflation is back and it’s widespread.”

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New Technology for Building the Dystopian Future

My idea of hell is a world of chat bots and automated systems where you can never get to a real human being on the line.

Today, we have companies like Twitter and Facebook determining who gets to say what, deciding about what qualifies as “fact” and what is not, and determining what news most young Americans see daily. If that is not enough of a dystopian nightmare, let’s look at what the future holds.

Three technologies are in the midst of development and rollout that will change the world, starting with the U.S. and other first world countries. They are Artificial intelligence, 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT). While each one seems like a great idea on its own, it’s the combination of all three that leads to potential problems.

While 5G may allow autonomous vehicles to talk to each other on a crowded highway, and will allow you to stream live events from the comfort of your car while it drives itself, it will also allow the collection of greater amounts of data on you. This data will be collected not only by your car and your phone or tablet, but by every Interne connected device in your house. This data is far too much to be analyzed by humans, so artificial intelligence will mine the data, using it to not only to send you personalized advertisement, but to predict your future actions.

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Prices are Rising, but Inflation is Only the Tip of the Iceberg

Inflation is going to be bad, but the broader economic and social disruption it can kick off are even worse. Are you prepared?

With some ammo manufacturing leaders stating that they are back ordered anywhere from 12 to 24 months, most shooters have admitted to themselves that high ammo prices are here to stay. About the only thing I can see that would send prices down would be the election of a Pro-Gun Republican president combined with a recession that causes commodity prices, including lead and brass, to drop.

I used to reload to save money on ammo prices. Now you can no longer get powder and primers. Even the hardware is in short supply; good luck ordering something like 9mm or .300 black out reloading dies. Even simple equipment is often back-ordered three months or more.

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