After a rambling hour-long rant in which Putin outlined all the problems he has with the world, Russia is sending Russian “peace keeping” troops into the Donbas region of the Ukraine. An invasion by any other name, I doubt this is fooling anyone. Russian forces outgun the Ukrainian army, which has little in the way of air defenses or anti-ship missiles. Expect Kyiv to fall in days if they move in full force.
As I have written before, we should expect some disruptions due to cyberattacks, rising fuel prices, falling stock markets, and more inflation, especially food inflation as Russia and Ukraine combine to export more than one fourth of the world’s wheat.
The real danger to us here in America is not Russian tanks crossing a border 5,000 miles away but the message it sends to our enemies. I am sure both Iran and China are watching and calculating.
Speaking of Food…
While I was in the city this weekend, I went to Walmart to buy some food for my prepper pantry. This is not the Walmart we usually shop, but there was not much difference between the two. The shelves were well stocked, especially for a weekend. The emptiest shelves were in the noodles and pasta section. They had a decent selection of canned cat food, but only had one flavor our cat likes, so I bought half of it — 8 cans.
I purchased the following for our prepper pantry:
- 2 cans of roast beef–$3.74 each
- 1 can of pork barbecue (all I could find)–$3.92
- 3 cans of turkey, which I have not seen in our local store–$3.34 each
- 2 canned hams, also not in stock at my store–$3.18 each
- 4 pouches of flavored noodles – $1 each
- 2 pouches of powdered instant mashed potatoes – $1.12 each
- 2 boxes of flavored rice – $1.50 each
This came to $37.62. That’s eight cans and eight pouches, representing eight dinners for four people, or 32 meals. Even with the higher prices due to inflation, that’s only $1.18 per dinner. That’s far cheaper than a #10 can of freeze-dried beefaroni or chilimac with just 9 or 10 servings for more than $50.
If we use some of the ham in split pea soup and the rest in an omelet, or the turkey in a soup or casserole, it would stretch to even more meals. While I didn’t buy split peas this trip, we have them in both our prepper pantry and our long-term storage.
In hindsight, I should have bought more of the canned ham. Not only did they have a 2027 best by date, but $3.18 for a pound of ham is an excellent price. Per ounce, that’s less expensive than a 12-ounce can of Spam or the 10-ounce can of turkey. Of course, we all know what Spam tastes like, but this brand of ham is a mystery to me. If we have to eat it, I expect we’ll be delighted to have those calories, fat, protein, and the ham flavor.
Everywhere I looked, I could see the higher prices. For example, the cat food was up 12 cents per can in the past year, more than 20 percent. Yes, pricing on a few items had not changed, but many items were more expensive than just a few months ago, even at Walmart.
One thing I look forward to when I go to the city is stopping at my favorite fast-food restaurant for breakfast. When I commuted to work, I got breakfast there for $2.89. It’s now $4.89, up 70 percent over what I paid just two years ago. Next time, I’m going to skip eating out at make breakfast at home using our eggs, which cost me about 15 cents each.
Raising Eggs Starts Paying Off
My wife and I ran the calculations last week, and it costs between $11 and $12 per week in feed for our chickens, which produce about 80 eggs per week. This includes their layer feed, 5-grain scratch, grit, oyster shells, and occasional supplements. It does not include the cost of buying the chicks and feeding them for five months before they started laying, or the cost of materials for the chicken coop, their feeders and waterers, etc. Neither does it include my labor. But if we sell three dozen eggs per week, we break even on our costs to maintain and feed the chickens.
So far, selling three dozen eggs per week looks like it will be easy. We may sell four or five dozen, which will help offset those sunk costs. I’m not going to get rich, but every little bit helps and we are gaining good will as well as good customers. Hopefully, some of them will consider buying honey as well.
I am thinking of buying four new chicks this spring. I’m leaning towards Buff Orpingtons or Barred Rocks. If I buy 4 or 8 new hens each year, I will always have some youngsters laying at a good pace. I’ll wait to see if any of my Speckled Sussex gets broody first. We just may hatch our own.