Making Choices

Today I had a great comment on my $4 Gasoline post by Joy at Joy’s Victory Garden and Our Friendly Earth, that got me to pondering an issue that I have addressed here before. With the inevitable $4 gasoline, and the possibility of the rising cost not taking a downward turn anytime soon, what are average Americans going to do? Choices will be made…choices born out of fear and exasperation.

My concern with $5 gasoline is that people will have to choose between buying a gallon of milk or loaf of bread and buying a gallon of gasoline. Without fuel, people will not be able to afford to drive to work. If a person doesn’t work, then what? There are assistance programs, but I am certain it is not enough.

DH drives 36 miles round trip for work everyday. He drives an older vehicle with terrible fuel economy…but that is our only choice at the moment. Just cipherin’ in my head, I come up with a monthly expenditure of around $200 for him to drive back and forth to work. It is not proper form to tell you what percentage of his net income that actually respresents, but let’s just say….I would much rather that be going into a college savings fund instead pouring out into the environment. There is no choice for us for now, we will keep paying the amount, whatever it is, so that DH can earn his paycheck.

What about other’s who do not have other resources to offset this enormous budget buster? For a minimum wage employee, almost one hour work will pay for a gallon of gasoline. I am thinking that most minimum wage workers drive older less fuel efficient vehicles. Using the same scenario as DH’s, except on minimum wage, the percentage of net income spent on fuel is approximately 25%, a percentage that was once reserved for the most important issue of your budget…housing. Rising fuel costs added to a fixed rent figure could skyrocket to a 60-70% of a minimum wage earners net salary. So that puts us at 85-90% of salary….hmmmm….what about child care (I am thankful I do not have to worry about this expense), medical, and ummmm…let’s say FOOD? There’s another hit below the belt. Milk is as much as gasoline and bread/eggs not to far from it.

I am not an economist….and there is much I do not understand about inflation, recession, supply and demand, but one thing that I recognize with our current situation and where it is headed is that we are in deep stuff here. I think I could ramble on and on here with what ifs. It seems…and I realize that I will most likely be corrected in the comments section….that we have a full viscious cycle building larger and larger….like a thunderhead in the distance. If people are put into a position of making choices of whether to purchase gas to drive to work, or to feed a hungry family, what will that choice be and what are the ramifications of the choice? No work? No paycheck! No paycheck? No food or housing! Then what? Subsidies are available, but will they continue if a the need becomes greater? Certain jobs are filled with minimum wage workers (right or wrong) that will otherwise not be filled by anyone else. What will happen if the need for employees is not met? What if, what if?

I don’t know the answer. Do you? One thing I do know, it that I am watching the lightning strikes…..1….2….3…..and counting the moments…1…..2…..before I hear the thunder…..1……and I believe it to be a prudent time to take cover! There is a different kind of storm a-comin’!

Kansas City Video

Lately, I have been a bit afraid to travel. It seems that we cannot go anywhere without having to dodge storms…some that include tornadoes. Sunday, we traveled to Kansas City and then returned in the same day. I saw some of the most unique clouds I have ever seen while on this trip.  This video shows a storm in the Greensburg area.

You can view some sky photos at my new photo blog Kansas Weather.

Time Spent in Our "Shelter" Tonight

It is almost midnight and I am exhausted. We spent a good portion of our night either in the closet in the basement or glued to the television watching for the next tornado warning to sound. We sat calmly in the basement until the lights went out and then the sirens sounded. Tornados headed to Greensburg, but according to the news they came and went without damage. I can hardly wait to visit with Anita to see how she is. Listening to the police scanners, it seems that there was damage in Protection. The highway that heads south out of town is closed at the moment. Four cattle trucks were overturned and electric lines are down.  Sure hope it is all cleared out by 6 AM, when we have to go through on our way to OKC.

storms, tornado, clouds, sky

It's Going to Hail…I just KNOW it!

Wanna’ know how I know it? Because I just planted 20 pepper plants, 2 more tomato plants, 2 eggplants, watermelon, squash, brocolli, dill, asparagus, beans, and morning glories…THAT’S WHY! LOL! It never fails. These are in the ground, so I won’t be able to put them all up on the porch this time if it does decide to hail.

I am not certan where this day went. One moment it was morning and now it is evening…and I have no clue what happened in between. I did run to the greenhouse in Mullinville and bought several vegetable plants. When you buy 20 or more they are only .65. One thing interesting, I was able to drive 58 mph most of the way to and from Mullinville and I got 31-33 mpg. I was pretty happy.

Well, not much exciting to report for the day. I am just sitting here eating a salad that I made from store purchased produce, except for the alfalfa sprouts that I sprouted myself and the 4 spinach leaves I “harvested”. That was a little exciting to me. I think I have decided that I prefer the alfalfa sprouts over some of the other types I have tried these past few weeks.

Not much else going on here, just thinking I am a bit tired and may head for the bed a bit earlier tonight.

Before and After the Storm

It ended not being as bad as we had anticipated, but our yard flooded a bit and we had small hail. Originally the weather report indicated that the hail would miss us, but we knew better than to not protect the plants.

Herbs
Photobucket

Not the clearest of photos, but you can see some of the small hail.
Photobucket

Looking south from the front of our house.

Photobucket

I thought this would show up better, but you can still see a bit of the hail, rain, and lightning.

This is after the storm had passed and headed toward Greensburg.